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  • Locked thread
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
In with:

Switched to judge

Chili fucked around with this message at 06:47 on Jul 30, 2016


Mar 21, 2010

spectres of autism posted:

u had no trouble being last last week
Neither sick, nor weak. No change in word count. Boo.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

in, :toxx:,

Feb 15, 2005

ErowidRecruiter posted:

Life at Techshed includes company ski trips, wine tastings, beer Fridays, and work-abroad opportunities like our company trip to happyville.
I'm in.:toxx:

Jul 26, 2016


@erowidrecruiter posted:

Our office is in full swing, and unfortunately, I find that terrifying.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

flerp posted:

*nods slowly* it looks im the one thats been owned

In, In, In, In

From Erowid:
Next Step: Please let me know if this grotesque pile of waste is coming from me

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Ironic Twist posted:

And now, for the next meeting of the THUNDERTOME BOOK CLUB, something a bit less dense, but no less good.

Next meeting tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 5th.

Ok I'm in for real this time. The Westing Game is one of my favorite books. Might be working, though.

Sep 20, 2015

In with


Erowid Recruiter ‏@erowidrecruiter
Goblins, Murgos, Viashinos, Skull Bearers, Trolls, Gnolls, and a team that’s as passionate as you

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

In with

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

In with the InspiroBot prompt:
"Duty - What you must always do destroys a window to eternity"

May 27, 2013

No Hospital Gang, boy
You know that shit a case close
Want him dead, bust his head
All I do is say, "Go"
Drop a opp, drop a thot
in with

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you

There is a lighthouse in St Petersburg that is infinitely large.

a new study bible!
Feb 2, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


take the moon
Feb 13, 2011

by sebmojo
god over djinn more like god why are you so bad at writing

:toxx: to make sure i show up which is all i ever need to do

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

spectres of autism posted:

god over djinn more like god why are you so bad at writing

:toxx: to make sure i show up which is all i ever need to do

omg look at this is it not just the most precious thing you've ever seen i mean the lil guy is throwin' down the gauntlet!!!! omg :3: :3:

see you in hell, spectres.

also if whoever wants to judge would do me a favor and give us 2 weeks or so for a deadline, that would make it wildly more likely that i'll actually show up to the party. but i leave it up to ur humble judgely discretion.

Feb 25, 2014
god over autism brawl

prompt: "we arent alone" that also involves a physical transformation. interpret as you will

1500 words
due 8/14 11:59 pm pst

Nov 11, 2010

Raise Chris Coons' taxes so that we can have Medicare for All.

Thanks for the crits from a brawl or two ago, had to take a week off for some poo poo, but I'm in on this one with:

Aug 15, 2015
in, not sure if this attempt at twitter embed is gonna make me look dumb

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007


In, with

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Week CXCIV: What For Aren't There Endings?

My love for Eurovision will never, ever die, and neither will my love for Eurovision Weeks, even when the results are somewhat less interesting than Belarus's naked wolf holograms. This round offered mildly disagreeable experiences, a couple of disappointments, and no true blazes of glory--much like the 2016 ESC! Some performances still proved to be worth the time they took to watch. Actually, you know what? They were all worth it. I'm grateful to all of you who celebrated the greatest spectacle in song with me this year.

That's not to say I'm not going to tear into your stage shows, mind you; an ESC without critical commentary is no ESC at all.

Sitting Here, for Ireland 2008: "YOU MADE ME DO THIS"
Lyrics: Dustin the Turkey - "Irelande Douze Pointe"

Kai's Video Notes: Dustin and his wildly tacky dancers are a mother lode of inspiration. Those feathers! The costuming's just brilliant, but if that doesn't shake your tail, the whole show is also a brazen-but-jovial flipping of the bird at a system. You can't tell me that isn't rich material. Honestly, though, I'm crossing my fingers for characters in glorious feathered clothes. Themes: Ireland, turkeys, puppets, disco, contests, feathers, dancing, outrageousness, mockery, rebellion, Europe, Eurovision itself, drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan's wig.

Oh, heck no. I did not make you write about a wobbling feathered penis! You did that of your own accord!

Maybe it's the turkey dividers, maybe it's the fowl twerking, but something about this entry gives rise to a hunch that you got hung up on the flashing Irish disco and rapping game bird and couldn't get past the zaniness. It's like you threw in the towel in a way you hoped would still entertain. If that's the case, then mission accomplished: I don't appreciate feathered penises as much as you might have hoped, but otherwise the lighthearted playfulness of it all makes me smile.

You could have done better, however. There's plenty of potential in Dustin's opus that you don't exploit. That aside, even, the relationship between Cillian and Maria is pointlessly obscure: are they roommates? Siblings? How do they know each other? What exactly makes Cillian think decking his halls out in turkey feathers is a good idea? How does that go with the "I am not illegal"? Which I don't like, by the way; it's a bit of politicking tacked on where it doesn't fit, much like a feather on a penis. The whole thing is super light and underdeveloped. The fun absurdity is somewhat mitigated by the aforementioned decorated dong. You picked an odd audience for which to whip that one out, I tell you what. But I sure can't complain about your grasp on the spirit of Eurovision.

The American jury gives you: 5 points.


Toxxupation, for Finland: "Realism"
Lyrics: Sandhja - "Sing It Away"

Kai's Video Notes: You can't go wrong with horses, excessive lengths of fringe, and glitter shoes. The brassy notes in the background suit the singer and her safari-print combination of cropped top and adult diapers, but not the horse or the kids. I'm not convinced the tune is a good match for the words or message ("don't worry, be happy," basically). Maybe it'll work better on the Eurovision stage, since she probably won't bring the horse or sick boy along. Though at this point I know better than to bet. Themes: Hardship, fear, solitude, family, imagination, singing, defeating despair through cheer and will.

What I think you were trying to do was illustrate a girl and her decision to pursue art rather than give it up under the demands of rote practice. I believe the idea is that she takes inspiration from Giorgi and his tired mare, seeing something beautiful, or moving, or at least worthwhile in the unspoken bond built between them over hundreds of repeated motions. A parallel is lightly drawn between Giorgi's greetings and Ekaterina's drawings. I would guess she recognized it herself and made her choice accordingly. I'm not 100% sure, but you were probably going for something along those lines since the alternative is that you wrote something that doesn't even begin to have a point.

The execution fails you in several ways, all relatively minor but one. The opening recalls your video, but it's slow and not much of a hook. Your meticulous description of the steps of drawing a horse evokes a mechanical process, which is somewhat appropriate, but you don't make it interesting reading. The freshman orientation is more so. I rather like the adolescent dialogue, but even though it's the best part of the story prose-wise, there's too much of it. The only part of the orientation that matters is the moment Ekaterina names her major. Everything else is agreeable fluff.

The italicized sections are Ekaterina's daydreams of memories, so it's peculiar they don't take place in her own perspective. They read like she's daydreaming about watching herself draw.

Of course, the fatal issue is how and where the character sketch stops. I won't say ends, because it doesn't, and I won't call it a story, because it really isn't. What conflict exists is set up and knocked down within six paragraphs (and calling the sixth a paragraph is generous), with most of the remainder of the text only tangentially related. Ekaterina's choice has no consequences we can see. Her relationship with Giorgi is too briefly shown to have the impact you likely wanted. At the end of the day, even if you ignore the stopping point, who cares? You're trying to say something cool, but you need better characterization and much better pacing to do it. And dropping the ball where you do is suicide.

Maybe you wouldn't have shot your own foot completely off if you'd stopped with "'Illustration,' she responded in heavily accented English." That's your real, proper final beat, insofar as you have one. Going on past that point leaves the work looking incomplete, like there was more to say but you got bored and didn't bother. (If "Georgian" and "Giorgi" are meant to be related and this is some sort of subtle underlining of her artistic influence, ugh. No.) It emphasizes too how much the orientation stuff murders the rest: it doesn't matter and wastes time and words that could have been used to give Ekaterina more personality or make her tie to Giorgi more than a flash of exposition.

In retrospect I'm almost sorry we didn't choose DurianGray for the loss, but not quite, since that not-end remains a mess no matter how I look at it. You had a better idea, but your narrative structure doesn't support it at all.

The American jury gives you: 2 points.


Thranguy, for San Marino: "The Final Logs of Doctor Omega"
Lyrics: Serhat - "I Didn't Know"

Kai's Video Notes: Disco glitter, a fedora, and herky-jerky dancers? Now we're talking. This man's voice keeps the song slow and low-key despite the beat. I shouldn't like that, and I'm not sure I do, but it's distinctive. Is it only me who expects him to crack out a bottle of Dos Equis any moment now? Themes: The seventies, disco, ladies' men, love, the realization of feeling.

That first sentence is an anti-hook. It tells me, "Whoa nelly, you're in for some awkward SFnal gobbledegook now!" Two paragraphs in and my teeth are on edge. Three, and I know that this. Is. Not. Working. The technobabble muscles its way in between me and any appreciation of the story, shouting for attention with every capitalized word, killing my interest instead of raising it as you may have intended. The world and people are defined way too much by the omnipresent nonsense terms; since the terms bore me, everything else does, too.

Here's what I think is going on: the main character is some sort of mad scientist who has been reduced to micro size during a conflict over a "Tessimal Sphere" with "The Dragon Protector of Earth" and "The Moment." The Moment possesses "Nega Energy," which somehow caused him to shrink and, as the story goes on, maintains his continued existence on her skin. Nega Energy must be amazing stuff since it can apparently do whatever the plot wants it to with no pretense of explanation. Dr. Omega goes into The Moment's brain, and I expect this is when he begins to fall in love with her, as the workings of her mind leave him humbled. A battle ensues. Why? Because the Dragon Protector and The Moment hate each other for no established reason. Dr. Omega is largely passive in this fight, but he manages to make Fafnir flinch at the last minute, allowing The Moment to escape. She floats in space, unconscious. When she hits the ground outside Dr. Omega's lunar base, she does herself enough damage that death is certain, so Dr. Omega somehow restarts her heart with Nega Energy in a suicide maneuver and commands her to avenge him.

You make it clear you have no idea how Dr. Omega gives The Moment his energy, just as you have no idea why he shrank. I'm supposed to go along with it and not think about that. You're likely trying for pulp style, in which logic and science and character et al are secondary to compelling adventure--but you've left out the compelling adventure! This is a long sequence of weird science being weird and random super-powered people fighting because they do. It isn't grounded: I don't have any sense of what started all this conflict or why I should care. The characters don't make me care. Dr. Omega is a stock scientist and that's all. The Moment gets less characterization than that, and Fafnir gets none whatsoever. That The Moment is undeveloped is especially detrimental since Dr. Omega's growing appreciation for her is the fulcrum on which the story moves.

This attempt at an unusual love story pulls from its song brilliantly, incorporating many lines in a fluid, seamless, and rather clever manner, but it falls over in every other regard except the competence of prose. I do love realizing how "Your eyes never told me lies" (for example) plays out in the story, but that's not something that can save a piece so weak at its heart.

The American jury gives you: 3 points.


DurianGray, for Austria: "Looking for Paradise"
Lyrics: ZOË - "Loin d'ici"

Kai's Video Notes: Colorful, sweet, and I enjoy the thing on her head. All those spring flowers and the white dress are trying to give the singer a maiden vibe, but the sheer skirt works against that. It also makes it look as though she were wearing diapers. The screen behind her is doing a lot of the visual heavy lifting; it's a good thing stars and clouds are pretty! A look at the lyrics tells me this is a simple love song bordering on the bland, but the sweet melody and relatively fast pace keep it from being a yawn. Themes: flowers, spring, sky, love, romance, a journey.

Give your characters names! "The lieutenant's lover" is incredibly awkward as a replacement for a name, and it also defines this woman entirely by her sexual relationship. Not a plus. Everyone being referred to by titles not only makes this a lot harder to follow than it has to be, it underlines that the people in your story are defined by and as roles. They have very little personality.

My take: in a time of drought and starvation, two camps of pilgrims have come to a sacred grove to sacrifice each other to a goddess in holy combat. The main character conspires with her lover to murder the priest--after the sacrifices start and everyone else is dead, not before; one young man seems to escape, but nope! An armored soldier presumably catches and kills the boy, then returns to the meadow to harangue the lieutenant and her lover about hubris. It's the goddess, condemning the rites. And also condemning their decision to stop the rites? The goddess withdraws her "help," which none of these people got much good out of anyway. It's probably meant to be a triumph of atheistic humanity, but it doesn't begin to work as such.

That's a whole lot of nonsense in one place. Why don't the "heroes" try to stop the sacrifices before everyone dies? Why does the goddess call the hubris that inspired the sacrifices a sin, considering she's just killed a boy herself? Why does she then withdraw her dubious aid? Why is she such a bitch? She's a pointlessly and hilariously awful strawman, assuming this is meant to be a RELIGION IS BAD MM'KAY fable. I can't see what other intent could have driven it.

If the story had hung together, it would have been a solid use of your video, but I'm disappointed in retrospect that you took a happy song down the well-worn Grimdark Lane. The violence was made absurd by the complete lack of an attempt to prevent it. Toxxupation's botched ending saved your bacon, so maybe give him a nice present when his regdate comes around.

The American jury gives you: 2 points.


CANNIBAL GIRLS, for Azerbaijan 2008: "It's Not the Dark that Kills You"
Lyrics: Elnur & Samir - "Day After Day"

Kai's Video Notes: You're no Cezar, angel singer, but your costume is as amazing in its way. The angel/devil motif is cool here. Especially when the devil, who lounged in his throne while the angel stood, is saved by the winged ladies and stands tall to warble like a sheep as white fire sprays to Heaven. The song has a powerful message from which the camp detracts just a trifle, yet I wouldn't have it any other way. Themes: angelic and demonic influences, Heaven, Hell, sin, self-control, redemption, salvation.

I conjecture the nature of Celine's experiment is being kept vague to try and intrigue me, and that irritates me instead. It's too clumsily done. The physical blocking is no better, using words evocative of water to describe going down to a cellar and being grandiose with its phrases: "lifeless soil," "approach the precipice." I'd rather have clarity than dramatic staging, and the way you're setting the scene bogs things down at the very start because it doesn't strike me as natural or clear. A cellar isn't an ocean; the metaphor doesn't float, so to speak. There's zero excuse either for a TD vet not to capitalize the first word of a dialogue sentence.

For all that the prose doesn't win me over, the concept does--until the end when I'm not sure anymore what that concept is supposed to be. I can buy these kids as young siblings. I like the way that "evil" Emmitt runs away from the devil's offer and "angelic" Goff maims the moth without a thought. But did Emmitt break a bone in Goff's hand or crunch the moth? The former would be a severe punishment for Goff's casual cruelty, but it would fit the concept of Emmitt as the actual "good twin," sort of. The latter would put the twins on a more level ground as it would turn out they were both little bastards. (Though maybe killing the moth once it was short a wing was mercy. Was that what you were going for? Probably not, but if so, it's not clear enough.)

The third possibility, that the moral of the story is that neither morality nor people are black and white, is perhaps the most likely but is marred by Emmitt showing shades of grey but Goff having no visible goodness to offset his cruelty. He asks whether Emmitt has to go through with the experiment, I suppose, but that very tepid "good" is invalidated by his participation in Celine's prank. Goff's a pure jerk from what we see. I don't think you were going for the crappy twist of both boys being bad, the end, so something is awry.

My personal preference would be for Emmitt to be the better brother and show that by protesting what Goff does to the moth, though a broken bone would be overkill, but the shades-of-grey version could be good too with some tinkering to balance the boys' moral scales.

The American jury gives you: 6 points.


Carl Killer Miller, for Poland 2006: "The Dance, the Dress, their Dream, and the Sun"
Lyrics: Ich Troje - "Follow My Heart"

Kai's Video Notes: Masks and masquerades are fantastic. As is that woman's twenty-foot satin train. As is Real McCoy! That man's green hair, on the other hand... well, at least he has the world's greatest pauldrons to make up for it. I'd probably like this even more if I spoke Polish, German, Russian, or Italian, but the costumes, pyrotechnics, and melody are more than adequate recompense. What's with him yanking off her skirt at the end, though? Aww, Wiki tells me the couple in the costumes is married and he was celebrating her pregnancy. That's the most adorable thing I've seen on the Eurovision stage. Themes: Masques, weddings, aristocratic opulence, love, anime hair.

The core of your story isn't bad, if I ignore certain particulars. Iliona and Beata are two women alone, working together toward Beata's dream of dancing in a competition and presumably winning a purse. The sun of the world in which they live is dying, so to dance is to defy despair--and reality, perhaps, but in a manner that resembles determined hope more than delusion. When Iliona finishes her labors, she reveals an intricate ballerina costume, telling Beata that her persistence was what kept her weaving; the pair pray together, finally daring to believe a stronger sun will rise.

That much is decently good. Though the relationship between mother and daughter is a familiar one, and the ending especially verges on cloying, the theme of hope persisting past when it should have failed lifts the story up. You said something here--not every piece of writing has to do that, but a message that resonates with the reader can make up for some ills.

On the other hand, your astrophysics are pants. The sun of a habitable planet isn't going to be brown or grey. It isn't going to rise again because one woman's mother made her a pretty dress, either, unless it's ruled by a god with very peculiar priorities. A loom weaves cloth, but it won't shape cloth into a dress, I doubt it will sew on sequins or feathers, and I'm drat sure it won't produce a tiara. Definitely not the gem-studded headpiece I imagine when I hear that word. Where did the sequins or feathers even come from? Why make Beata a ballerina specifically? Why not a form of dance with a more credible costume, one more readily self-taught, or one easier to believe would still exist in a dying-sun apocalypse? Who the hell is running ballets?

A story this short shouldn't strain (or break, in the case of the dress directly from a loom) my suspension of disbelief so often. The brown/grey sun is the worst offender in a way, because it isn't necessary. Remove the apocalypse element and ballet becomes less implausible. Your flash rule is responsible for it, I reckon; you took the concept of sunset to an extreme, and colors aside, it would be an interesting idea to spin a different story around. In this one the concept of love as light could have and probably should have been less literal.

The decision to hop from Iliona's head to Beata's and back again without the benefit of scene breaks is one I don't fancy. Iliona is the more interesting of the two, her viewpoint the more refreshing to me. This may be worth revising; I'd consider shifting everything to Iliona's perspective if you do.

All the faults are somewhat balanced by a storyline I care about and a conclusion that hangs together. This piece desperately needs its impossible edges sanded down, but it has a heart.

The American jury gives you: 4 points.


Quidnose, for Czech Republic 2009: "Atlanta, 1959"
Lyrics: - "Aven Romale"

Kai's Video Notes: Oh, Supergypsy, why does your costume look so much like bell-bottomed pajamas? Dick Tracy on the guitar is almost as curious. The woman with the violin is the real style star for her hair alone, never mind the stockings or attempt to stick her bow in Supergypsy's eye. The fiddle and drums provide most of the musical enjoyment; the singing--well, this landed in last place in its semifinal for a reason, but I love the chutzpah and off-the-chart goofiness. Themes: Gypsies, superheroes, comics, fun, music.

I possibly dislike this more than many readers would due to the use of dialect, which I consider ill advised in a few respects. One, it rings false as a transcription of a Southern drawl. You also give me the impression you're using this drawl to help illustrate these characters as coarse and uneducated, and that's not an endearing move for all that plenty of other writers have made it before you. The nonstandard punctuation isn't effective: clauses rattled out without pauses between them are another false step in the dialect. More than anything else, maybe, I don't buy all this cussin' from two Southern girls circa 1959, and that puts a cap on the voices sounding wrong, wrong, wrong. If this took place in 1989, say... honestly, I still wouldn't buy it. You overdo the profanity, straight up. A more modern time frame would nevertheless be easier to swallow for the story's sake.

While my distaste for the above issues may be subjective, I can't imagine any reader looking at what the prompt asked you to do, then at your song, then at your story, and not asking, "What the gently caress?"

You blew this so thoroughly that I almost believe there has to be some way the "riddle" actually works. That if I stare at it long enough, I'll be able to puzzle love out of it. Otherwise I have to believe you decided to take the bridge of the song and stick it in the story word for word in a way that ruins everything. Those lyrics weren't written as a riddle and don't serve as one. You did nothing to bend them into a workable form. This is atrocious, wrecking your ending as well as your middle section because, short a suicide note, I'm not convinced Char(e)lene could ever work out why Billie killed herself. The "riddle" drat sure wouldn't tell her. Your central plot device is sheer nonsense and transparently so.

(I can't honestly convince myself there's any way those lyrics work, but on the off, off, off, off, off chance you intended us to see an answer--we didn't, so it failed in practice if not intent.)

If one manages to ignore that, one's still left with two characters bitching at each other with very little personality-wise to recommend either of them, but the ending does make me sorry for Billie. Her one-sided crush on and caustic relationship with Charlene feels genuine, so that her death has some weight. The suicide is an element I do buy, given the ages in question. It's sort of infuriating that there's a solid cord of story here. The content--gee dee riddle aside ("gee dee" for "goddamn" is one bit I liked)--is potentially worthwhile, but the style choices deform it.

That flash of something almost good in the ending most likely spared you a DM. My co-judges liked the story itself more than I did, and even so I had their blessing to hit you for prompt misuse. Convince me I was right not to do so by integrating your future prompts better.

The American jury gives you: 3 points.


Tyrannosaurus, for Russia: "Medusa or the Lotus Eaters"
Lyrics: Sergey Lazarev - "You Are The Only One"

Kai's Video Notes: The man in the bed being slowly consumed by stripes is visually offputting. The synthesizer(?) notes get repetitive at about the time his chest collapses into a black hole. But then! He's standing in a TRON geode! He's on an upside-down mushroom made of light! He's conjuring paper art with his mind! The beat picks up from the first "Thunder and lightning," and the song doesn't stop being great past that point. The visual razzle-dazzle is a fire-breathing cherry on the sundae. Themes: Dissolution, circuits, thunder and lightning, storms, the classical elements, love out of reach, dedication, determination, fidelity.

The run-on sentence in the first paragraph isn't as effective as I suspect you want it to be: the idea behind it is probably to give an impression of how John's mind is flooded with the sight of his dead wife, with no pauses for thought between what he sees and what he feels, but I think you do need a comma after "Sundays," when the subject changes from she to John. The lack sounds wrong to my mental ear. Not a major problem, but it does trip me up. So does "Online-Reviews-Is-A-Hustle" a bit later--hustle is singular, but in a clause like that you want the verb to match the number of the word it follows.

Although you've done a great job in terms of the prompt, I'm more frustrated every time I read this. Decent, potentially good ideas are wrecked by terrible pacing and the inclusion of the weird psychiatrist, who seems to exist to add more dialogue where there's already more than enough and to bring a quirky, "funny" tone to a story that doesn't benefit from that a bit. What is the deal with this guy? Why does the scene in which he takes off his shirt to jiggle at John exist? Who does that? His appearances take away from the poignancy John's grief could have had, never mind John's death. The ending you chose just does not fit a story with Dr. Wackypants as a major factor.

Not that Dr. Mitchell is the only issue. The other judges didn't have this problem, but I thought which book Melissa was reading was going to be important. The cover is described twice; the blurred title is mentioned twice. It's set up as a mystery. That's apparently a black-and-red herring, though, because the significance of the book seems to be that either Melissa's genuine ghost tells John where to find it or that John subconsciously knows the book is there (maybe because it keeps poking his posterior when he sits on the couch? I'd like for all the rear end-pinching to have a point) and convinces himself it's a message from Melissa. The ambiguity borders on lovely, but I'm disappointed by the non-reveal of the book. I still want to know what book it is! And how a whole book could vanish between couch cushions, while we're at it.

It's the pacing that delivers the deathblow, however, as the story crashes into an eighteen-wheeler with PROTAGONIST DEATH written on the side. John's suicide isn't well supported. The text faffs about with Dr. Mitchell and burns a lot of words on Melissa's and John's post-death sex life, and it doesn't manage to present John's death as a natural conclusion. Honestly, it reads like you killed him off because you didn't know what else to do. I doubt that's entirely true because of the mildly haunting question of whether he conjured those conversations with his wife to give himself an excuse to die. Maybe you wanted it to be abrupt because that's sometimes the nature of death? No, I can't excuse it on those grounds, not with Dr. Mitchell shoved off the stage as abruptly just before, as though you didn't have a better plan for getting rid of him either.

The American jury gives you: 5 points.


SurreptitiousMuffin, for Ireland 2011: "Brood"
Lyrics: Jedward - "Lipstick"

Kai's Video Notes: Wait, did I say the Polish man had the world's greatest pauldrons? What was I thinking? Jedward's ruby jackets are the epitome of Eurovision chic. I love these guys--the hair, the dancing. It's terrible. It's wonderful. Who could care whether they can actually sing once the chorus kicks in? Not I. I'm too busy dancing along in my chair. Themes: Twins, rubies, troll hair, shoulders, exuberance, cosmetics, hit-and-run romance, symbols from a video-game controller.

A three-hundred-word story casting Jedward as malevolent elves is more or less my favorite thing in the week. Think upon that, ye Thunderdomers, and despair.

This tiny legend is absurd and grim and lovely in a similar manner to your tribute to Lordi long ago. I didn't rank this one as a win contender, though it made my top three even as slight as it is; you and Daphnaie are the only two who didn't make any significant mistakes, your sentences have more elegance to them, and you hit my weaknesses for the beautifully absurd and for literal, earnest interpretations of silly source material. Why don't I love it quite as much as "Chainsaw Buffet"? The changeling myth is maybe too familiar to me. I think, though, that something about the end beat is to blame. The final line makes sense, but it doesn't hit the spot. I wish I could tell you why. Maybe it's as simple as you stopping so soon when I'm sure more could be said of cruel, fae Jedward, and I want to read that more. Gorgeous use of the song, though: you capture the predation that lurks in the lyrics of "Lipstick."

A win for three hundred elegant-but-not-outstanding words was too hard a sell with more satisfying, more memorable material on the field, but I imagine you accomplished what you set out to do here.

The American jury gives you: 8 points.


Ironic Twist, for Cyprus: "Peculiar"
Lyrics: Minus One - "Alter Ego"

Kai's Video Notes: Does that man have a blue puff on his chin for a beard? That... isn't a good look, sir. Stop distracting me from the promising beat of your song. The lead singer's hood is just as distracting, to be fair, but in a good way because it makes me think he's some sort of hard-rock druid. It's interesting to see what a living room arranged on grass looks like in real life instead of in the Sims. On the whole, I dig the music--a flat stage performance could kill it, though, so I hope they bring some of that druid flare. Themes: Wolves, black clothes, intensity, open land, love, captivity, questionable facial-hair decisions.

Ridley and Joslyn are siblings; they live in the swamp, presumably together. Two persons trespass in their home one day and make as though to search the place for someone they are seeking while Joslyn's right there at the dinner table. Naturally enough, Joslyn's having none of that and pulls a rifle on them. The pair shift shape into talking wolves. The girl they seek insulted one of the pair, evidently, but Joslyn's not convinced this is a good reason to let them have her and shoots one of the wolves with silver bullets. The other's at her throat when Ridley bursts in and punches the wolf with a silver charm bracelet. It burns him, too: he's a werewolf himself, and he was probably the one who found the girl and hid her in the back room of his and Joslyn's house. Joslyn throws the corpses of the werewolves into the swamp before she and Ridley watch the girl depart for the nearest bus station.

This is the story I've put together from the pieces you've presented. I like it--what there is of it, at least, and more on that in a moment. The bayou atmosphere is vivid, and in only a few lines you sketch out an eccentric, interesting brother-sister relationship. Above all else I appreciate the coherent story thread that makes sense and never breaks. I've criticized your stories often for making a jump somewhere along the line and leaving the reader behind, so I was delighted when I reached the end of this and saw the overall shape. That you got my win vote is probably due to that in part, though you might have had it regardless since your story is more lively than Daphnaie's, with more substance than Muffin's.

My co-judges were confused, however. And that wasn't their fault. In truth, your entry is to a story as a doily is to a plate: both may have the same shape, but one is full of holes. Who is the girl? What did she do? How did she get hurt? How and where did Ridley find her? Who are the evil wolves? What's going on in this swamp that Joslyn recognizes them right away for what they are? Why do they act like they do instead of trying to pass as human? What is the girl's story? The conflict is over the girl; the plot revolves around the girl; you leave the girl a total enigma and her situation only slightly less obscure. On top of that, the opening in which Ridley appears to have maybe maimed the girl himself confuses the issue further (as does calling her "lady"). That piece of the story still doesn't quite fit with the rest. The jump's short enough that I can make the leap with you, but I wonder whether you had a somewhat different tone in mind initially.

A minor issue crops up that I last remember seeing in your previous Eurovision entry, interestingly enough: I assume Where was it? Where was it coming from? are supposed to be Ridley's thoughts, right? The past tense is the wrong choice considering that from his perspective, the blood smell is there now. Treat italicized thoughts--or documents written by a character, like that list in "Sunstroke"--like dialogue, because like dialogue, they're what the character is saying (or thinking) in that moment. It's a little complicated, though. If you hadn't italicized those sentences, the past tense would be fine because the implication that those words were his exact thoughts wouldn't be there.

It's a tiny point, but I find Joslyn's age unconvincing. She doesn't sound like she's in her fifties, and for a woman that old to be hanging out in the swamp with her werewolf brother and no visible means of support strikes me as odd. It's one more way in which the piece feels incomplete, as it calls for some explanation that's never provided.

You apparently tried to squeeze much too much story into too few words and cut out much too much of the meat to make it fit. Some straightforward exposition might have gone a long way. Don't beat around the bush regarding how Ridley found the girl or why he and Joslyn took her in; tell us straight out why the girl needs protecting, if you have to. More words are probably most of what this needs, but if you expand it, consider dropping the did-he-or-didn't-he ambiguity of the first section and possibly setting the whole thing in Ridley's perspective.

The American jury gives you: 8 points.


Daphnaie, for Australia: "Silence"
Lyrics: Dami Im - "Sound Of Silence"

Kai's Video Notes: Oh, Australia, it's your second year in and your second inoffensive pop ballad. One topless male dancer is not nearly enough to mitigate my disappointment. The song's basically okay, but I expect to forget it five minutes after hearing it. Ms. Im's chained rings might stick in my memory, though. Themes: Fog, loneliness, silence, sorrow, a call that goes unanswered.

A good story, though not a great one, in a largely lackluster week. It delighted me to discover a piece so thoroughly solid at this point in my reading. It describes the course of a friendship--everything else is ornament--and does a lovely job, especially in the final note of the shattered, mended crow. I'm not convinced a straightforward chronology wouldn't have served it better than telling the most eventful third as backstory, but the form it's in now does the trick.

I wish the robots either weren't robots or were at all convincing as robots, though. The protagonist and Ruby are both humans in very thin robot costumes. I'm supposed to believe someone programmed a robot to feed crows? To blow glass ornaments to give as personal gifts? For heaven's sake, the humans are using weapons meant to be "[sunk] into my metal flesh." I'm checking the Eurovision lyrics to see if there are any lines about metal people... no, it looks like their inclusion was your own idea. I don't see a reason there needed to be robots or anything that's gained by this being a robot apocalypse rather than a human dystopia, and the robots-in-name-only nature of the characters is the entry's largest flaw. Nevertheless, your skillful prose and evocation of emotion earned your victory.

The American jury gives you: 8 points.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 15:08 on Sep 27, 2016

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Carl Killer Miller posted:

Ok I'm in for real this time. The Westing Game is one of my favorite books. Might be working, though.

Oh good, a whodunit spooky mystery from CKM. I wonder where your influences came from, you loving hack.

I'll be cashing in those 140 words, Muffin

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Carl Killer Miller posted:

Oh good, a whodunit spooky mystery from CKM. I wonder where your influences came from, you loving hack.

I'll be cashing in those 140 words, Muffin

Attacking yourself eh? And here I thought it was just your stories that lacked a spine.

Mar 21, 2010

Carl Killer Miller posted:

Oh good, a whodunit spooky mystery from CKM. I wonder where your influences came from, you loving hack.

I'll be cashing in those 140 words, Muffin
It's a bold move.

I like it. +140 words.

Chili posted:

Attacking yourself eh? And here I thought it was just your stories that lacked a spine.
+140 words.

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

:toxx: in

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
A yew tree whispers to an archivist: "I feel so scared."


Mar 21, 2010

(two hours left for signups)

(no you do not have to write magical realism)

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Chili posted:

Attacking yourself eh? And here I thought it was just your stories that lacked a spine.

Just like the structure of your stories, these two sentences have nothing to do with one other. All you need is to insert another completely horrible protagonist into one for another DM.

Can I suggest an unlikeable Dutch womanizer since who the gently caress says 'eh' anymore and that seems to be your speed.

May 5, 2014

by FactsAreUseless
I'm in with a :toxx:


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
The Case of the...Wait What was I Saying Again?
2000 words

The last of Mike’s neighbors trickled out his front door with sleepy expressions and, in some cases, a slight wobble in their step from one too many appletinis. Mike wrapped his arm around Zahrah’s waist. Her hair smelled of smoked ribs and summer heat. Six year old Aiden was half asleep on the couch, sunkissed and tuckered out. Another picturesque neighborhood barbeque.

He did the obligatory dad things: Got teeth brushed and jammies on, carried Aiden to bed. Then he went to help Zahrah in the kitchen. He found her leaning against the counter with her arms crossed, chin down, eyes up. This was her battle stance.

“Did you notice anyone acting strange tonight?” Her voice was cool and controlled. Terrifying.

“Nope,” Mike said, and forced himself to walk over to the kitchen sink like nothing was wrong.

No one had been acting strange at the barbeque. They’d been acting high. It was an unspoken tradition at neighborhood parties since, geeze, Mike didn’t know how long. Those adults who were still ‘chill’ in their old age would, inevitably, sneak into Mike’s garage to smoke Mike’s weed. He’d never actually, like, got Zahra’s approval for the clandestine toking, but he’d been under the impression she knew and turned a blind eye.

“I thought Keith was being…” Zahrah trailed off. She looked straight into Mike’s eyes like she was willing him to complete her thought.

And now Mike really started sweating. Keith--six doors down, beige house, double chin--had, of course, been part of the small group who’d snuck off to Mike’s garage. Mike went over the night in his head in fast-forward. Here and there were images of Keith. Keith laughing with a beer in hand. Keith tossing the kids, one by one, into the pool as they giggled and squealed. Keith’s wife Laura--now there was something.

“Do you think they’re having, you know, marital issues? Laura was really quiet the whole time.” Mike was almost proud of himself. It was a good conversational feint, and way juicier than a bunch of stoner dads and stoner moms taking bong rips in secret.

“I think it’s maybe something more than that,” Zahrah said. Mike could feel her positively willing him to see what she was getting at, but all he could think of was the hazy garage.

Zahrah threw her hands up in the air. “Maybe it’s just me. I am tired. Forget the dishes and come rub my back.”

“Of course, joonam,” Mike said as he followed her to the bedroom. She turned and smacked him playfully on the arm.

“Every day, you fill me with regret,” she said. One of the first things Zahrah had done, once she’d decided Mike was hers, was teach him a number of Persian terms of endearment, which he’d proceeded to mangle and misuse with all the ignorant gusto of an American in love.

After tenderly kneading and rubbing and kissing his wife to sleep, Mike tiptoed down the hall to the heavy door that led to the garage. In the paradoxical way of stoners, the near-miss had given him a fierce desire to light up. Above his workbench was a cupboard, and in that cupboard was a safe. He opened the safe and withdrew the scuffed white first aid kid that was his stash box.

Nothing but a few dry, yellowing bits inside. Someone had stolen his marijuana.

Zahrah was preoccupied over coffee the next morning. Mike made light conversation, and she had all of the right responses, but her attention kept wandering to the kitchen window, which afforded a broad view of the neighborhood.

When Aiden woke up--late, a little sunburned, and cranky--she told him, in her sternest Because-I-Said-So voice, to play in the backyard and not go out into the street. Aiden had a tummy ache and asked if he could stay inside watching Spaceman Jim. Zahrah waved him off and said, “Yes, yes, just stay in my sight and out of the front yard.”

Mike was sort of doing two sets of calculations in his head. One involved the time table on which he could reasonably pay the teenager down the street for more marijuana. The other involved the likelihood that this was all some oblique punishment by Zahrah. Perhaps she’d stolen his weed, and was using this nonsense with Keith to guilt him into confessing to the loathsome crime of doing drugs at a family-oriented event.

They did the dishes in silence, Zahrah glaring out the window the whole time. Mike excused himself on a walk.

“Look,” he said when Zahrah turned her glare on him. “If I see any of the other parents, I’ll ask if they thought something was weird with Keith.”

Zahrah’s expression eased into a small grin. “Just be subtle, okay? If it’s nothing, I don’t want to be the one who started something for no reason. American women are always like, who is this pushy Iranian lady?”

Aha, Mike thought.

He found himself wandering towards Keith’s house. He could practically feel Zahrah watching him from the window. She was seeming more and more guilty of theft, but he wasn’t certain. Another scenario was playing out in his mind: Maybe Zahrah was right, and Keith had been acting weird, probably because Keith had gone back and had a second helping from the stash. Mike could not specifically remember locking the safe. And maybe old Keith had thought to himself, hell, this is a polite neighborhood. I’ll bet no one will have the nerve to say anything if a little dope goes missing. Mike pounded on Keith’s front door.

Keith didn’t look particularly pleased at Mike’s appearance on his doorstep. “I was actually about to head to the hardware store,” Keith said. He looked past Mike, over his shoulder.

“What’s the rush?” Mike said. “I thought we could chill out. Only a couple August weekends left, you know?” He did his best impression of Zahrah’s brain-piercing stare.

“Your lawn is looking a little uneven lately,” Keith said. There was none of the rosy-cheeked joviality he’d shown at the barbeque. “Maybe you’re wasting your time on the wrong kind of grass.”

Mike held his hands up, a placating gesture. “Sorry for troubling you, neighbor.”

After a terse goodbye, Mike made a show of sauntering back to his own house and went inside. Zahrah had abandoned her post at the kitchen window and, from the sound of it, was in the bathroom having an argument with a tearful Aiden.

There was the sound of a car door, tires on gravel. A quick glance told Mike that Keith’s car was gone.

He walked back up the street, all smiles, waved at other neighbors out mowing lawns and washing cars. No big deal. He strode around the side of Keith’s garage and stopped. There were bits of insulation in the grass, errant pieces of cotton candy. He stood on his toes to peer through the high, small window into the garage, but the view was obstructed by stacked boxes.

Mike had never noticed Keith cutting insulation. The whole thing had the reek of secretive DIY. It was something Mike knew a thing or two about. Keith had constructed a private man-cave. And what better way to christen it than with a bit of pilfered bud? Stealing meant no pesky ATM withdrawals on the monthly bank statement.

He continued around to the back of the garage. There was another window, higher up, slightly open. From inside wafted the smell of something harsh and chemical. A sealant of some kind, maybe. For the first time, Mike noticed how high Keith’s backyard fence was. Tall enough to hide him from any prying eyes. He wheeled over a yard waste bin and climbed shakily on top of it, which put him about chest level with the window. He peered inside.

The space visible through the window was like a room within a room. Crude drywalling extended from floor to ceiling and created a small enclosure that was barely big enough for the small, bare mattress inside and a grey plastic tub. The tub was full of frilly pink tutus and nude-colored unitards and little kid-sized bikinis--which, Mike had always been creeped out by the whole concept of tiny bras for prepubescent people.

He clambered down from the yard waste bin. His ears were ringing and his face was numb. Compared to the relative dimness inside Keith’s whatever-the-gently caress, the daylight was white-hot and blinding.

Mike shambled into his house. He barely saw his own hand turn the knob to the front door. His mind was still back in that room, revisiting its every detail in an effort to convince himself it wasn’t what it looked like. He thought even further back, to the barbeque, to Keith tossing the kids into the pool one by one. His big hairy fingers around little waists. It was a polite neighborhood, after all. A neighborhood where no one said anything if a few grownups wanted to be high around their kids. Or stay up all night cutting drywall and insulation.

He went to the window above the kitchen sink. There was Keith’s beige-rear end house, six doors down and across the street. The green Honda was still gone.

Zahrah stomped into the kitchen, her hair pulled back into a loose, frizzy bun. Before Mike could gather words to describe what he’d found at Keith’s, she said, “Aiden will not go. You need to do something.”

Mike furrowed his brow. “What? Where won’t he go?”

Zahrah threw her hands up in the air. “He won’t use the toilet, why must I spell this out for you? I do not want our son to become anal-uptight.”

“I think you mean anal retentive, but that’s not--” he stopped midsentence as the meaning of her words caught up to his brain. “Aiden can’t take a dump?”

“Can’t or won’t,” Zahrah said, visibly disgusted. “Go talk to your son, Michael.”

“He had a stomach ache earlier, didn’t he?” Mike said. Aiden was at that age where he was finicky about food but totally indiscriminate about which non-food items went in his mouth. Mike knew for a fact the kid had only eaten half a hot dog the night before. Something other than barbeque had stopped up Aiden’s plumbing.

Mike had had no recollection of locking his safe.

A few hours later, after encouraging words and eventual stool softeners, Aiden dropped a baseball of a turd. The toilet choked, Aiden squealed, and Mike came running just in time to see a fountain of soiled water spill over and onto the plush carpet on the bathroom floor.

He attacked the toilet with a plunger. Bits of green, leafy matter were visible in the slurry churned up by his efforts. Thank god he’d consumed the last of his edibles. The raw weed couldn’t have done anything to Aiden.

The toilet unstopped with a throaty gurgle and nearly five grams of grass swirled down the drain. It occurred to Mike that he could probably convince Aiden that marijuana didn’t work on him. For a few years, at any rate.

The visceral grossness of the present situation had distanced Mike from the dull pangs of dread associated with his recent discovery in Keith’s garage. For all he knew, they guy was setting up a guest bedroom for some niece.

He’d hold off on telling Zahrah, Mike decided as he rinsed the plunger off in the bathtub. She’d storm over there and kick down the front door assuming the worse. And she did already have sort of a reputation with the other moms in the neighborhood. Really, it was for the best if he didn’t worry her, not until he had more proof.

Mike washed his hands and check his wallet. There was a crisp twenty inside, enough for a couple grams at least. There was time to deal with everything the right way, and anyway, he needed something to calm his nerves.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
^^^^ this is for Muffin's megabrawl BTW.

Mar 21, 2010
Signups closed, 48 hours until the submission deadline.

Mar 21, 2010
Also I still need a third judge. Volunteers welcome.


SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 06:38 on Jul 30, 2016

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Twitterbot Nightmare (1053 WORDS from 1000 + 140 WORDS)

Baby, we're Not Defined by Old Times.

"Is this grotesque pile of waste coming from me?!" Harold Pennington, in character, gestured to his pant leg. It was leaking stage feces.

Martha, his onscreen wife, gave him a confused chuckle. It was sharp and condescending. "Well? Sweetheart, did you forget your-?". She glanced at Harold's groin.

"You forgot your Dominance!"

Harold turned to the camera. He was beaming but his eyes weren't crinkling. He felt filthy. But, there was Blondie in his mind. After a pause, Harold picked up his lines. He grinned, dead-eyed. "Dominance! The only adult control garment for me!"

Cooper Darling, the director, cut the scene.

Harold played a pleated-khaki buffoon who climbed a ladder to reach a spice jar in his kitchen after forgetting to wear adult undergarments. Once, Harold Pennington had shown a thousand people what Shakespeare meant in Pericles.

The actor wiped the slurry of pea soup and canned beans from his shoes. He was squeezing it from a sock as the director approached.

Cooper Darling spoke calmly. "Look, Harold. I know this is different for you." Cooper came in closer and continued. "This isn't the theatre. We're filming, canning, and moving on."

Pennington began squeezing his other sock.

The director softened.

"How about we take the rest of the day off, okay?" Cooper shuffled and continued.

"It's a stupid commercial, you know? We're being cute about literal poo poo to get millenials to buy mom and dads' diapers." Pennington looked to be very concerned about his boots.

Darling continued, one last shot.

"Niche, right? For the internet? Look, people remember you from their parents' old days. You make an ironic commercial, we wrap in a couple of days."

Cooper walked a few steps, then turned back and put his hands in his pockets. "My Uncle Les loved you. I told him you were here. 'Best Laertes,' he said. I'll see you tomorrow."

Pennington hadn't said a word. He drove in recollection. The old life. Whiskey. The Barbaro. That old groove. Their corner table. New York Strips. Alicja.

He met Alicja when they were twenty-five. She told him she hated her own name. They took his corner table and she said, without a hint of irony, "Too Polish."

He called her Blondie. Four hours later, he touched the little traces of red lipstick she'd left on his earlobe. After a week, they were inseperable. After forty years, he'd slave for her.

Harold pulled into his carport.

He stepped cautiously into their foyer. Didn't want to wake Blondie. Pennington balanced himself on the walls. The shades were drawn. He used the walls to guide himself. His hands passed over little photos and framed correspondences and artifacts of their lives in shadowboxes.

When Blondie woke up, Harold was three tumblers into scotch and daydreaming. Years ago, they'd danced for hours, hopeless in love, her Swiss yellow hair whipping from side to side and kissing his face.

Blondie touched Harold in his half doze. Her hair was stringy and it brushed its little willow leaves across Harold's cheeks. He jerked awake and smiled. A real smile, with creases on his forehead and cheeks and nose.

Blondie settled into his lap. He spoke soft. "How's my sweetheart?" She was so light.

In her mind, Blondie was ready to bound into him, straddle him, match him. But today, she coughed hard and long and spat in a cup she kept. She studied Harold's face and wiped her mouth. Her nose was six inches from his.

"You hate what you're doing, Harold."

Harold spoke, perturbed. "I don't want to talk about this again, sweetheart." He leaned kiss her cheek, but Blondie pulled away.

She knew when Harold was hurting. She still wore lipstick for him. It left a sweet, cardinal red on his ear as she spoke:

"You're doing it for me, Harold. You hate what you're playing." Harold was silent.

She stroked his hair. "Do you remember the first week we met? We drank at that cheap place and you told me you were just an actor. You gave me a ticket." She let out a weak giggle. "Just one ticket. You decided to call me Blondie? Then, on opening day, you were Hamlet. Hamlet." She took a breath, she was sick.

"I had roses to give you after the show and you? You." She paused. Her mouth was getting dry. "You had a rose for me, too."

Harold put his head on Blondie's lap and she looked down.

"You can't be that poo poo coated caricature."

Harold's spoke softly. "How else will we pay? My days buy you days. My worst days can't compare to yours." He'd sat up. His arms were around Blondie's limp shoulders, now.

Blondie looked at their walls, the decorations, the prizes. Their Golden Age. She made up her mind and spoke to her husband.

"We need to leave the old things behind." Harold remained buried in her shoulder, his face in her skin's fine vellum. Harold frowned and she continued.

"Do you believe that, Harold? Do you believe we can leave it behind?" She pulled back a little and gave a smile through red-grey lips. They locked eyes. Soon, Harold was asleep. Blondie stayed up a little while longer, her fingers in his hair.

Harold Pennington finished the production the next day. Darling Cooper gave Pennington his check, a personal agency card, and thanked him for his professionalism.

He drove home in silence.

Harold walked in to a barer home with its shades open. The museum on their wall was gone. Blondie was awake and rosy on the sofa. She extended her hand.

She was wearing deep red with a hibicus in her hair. Like she had. She was, to Harold, radiant before the sun touched her. Blondie beamed as her husband sat down.

"Baby, I sold them. I sold them all."

Harold looked around. His friends were gone, the signatures and the silver record and every picture from a lifetime.

Blondie was here. She'd sold their fossils for money. Money for months. Blondie for months.

She leaned in close, her bones and joints creaking with the cancer that was eating her. She whispered close and left lipstick on Harold's ear.

"I'll always love you."

Harold laid his head deeper into her neck. Blondie whispered again.

"When I'm gone, baby, I need you to love yourself."

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Magical Realism Bot: A witch is chewing gum in a golden meadow."


Word count: 908

a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 04:01 on Dec 15, 2016

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

SurreptitiousMuffin at Jul 29, 2016 21:04 posted:

Signups closed, 48 hours until the submission deadline.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Deadline: August 1st 11:59pm EST

is this some magic kiwi nonsense where a day disappears

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Signups closed, 48 hours until the submission deadline.

Uh, the prompt post says submissions are due by 11:59 Monday night for Americans. So, over a day from right now. Just FYI, I don't know how many people noticed or were planning on the extra day.

edit: dammit djeser

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

Duty - What you must always do destroys a window to eternity


Some Strange Flea fucked around with this message at 15:18 on Dec 21, 2016


Jul 26, 2016

Our office is in full swing, and unfortunately, I find that terrifying.

Inertia (998 words)

Jon wanted to get off this ride. The walls of the office groaned and shook, dislodging plaster and motivational posters. And Craig was there. Of course Craig was there.

The Grand Majesty, an award-winning assemblage of high-tensile cables and concrete, was no longer grand nor majestic. Steel tendrils grasped at the skyline, whipping chunks of concrete into the air.

Thirty seconds ago, the architectural marvel was intact. At the top, fourteen stories up the stunted cone of a building, was the pièce de résistance - a dramatic circular outcrop. It was held in place by perfectly engineered cables and counterweights, balanced by a large concrete arch that ran up the opposite side of the building.

Jon had followed Craig here to escape the party down the hall. Standing next to a large bronze statue of Rutherford Industries’ founder, he’d marvelled at the panoramic arc of toughened glass.

Now the view was a kaleidoscopic whirl of blue and grey and white and speed. The clipped circle spinning like a top and crunching against the building.

Jon always thought Craig was a bit of a tool, the kind of person who finds their way into management through determined lingering. But Craig led a team in the IT department and Jon desperately wanted in, this was an opening. It hadn’t been going well, Craig kept calling Jon “Jeff” and Jon was pretty certain he’d been confused with someone else.

Craig had decided to demonstrate to Jon how sound the cabling was. It should have been sound enough to take a swift, unfortunately placed kick to one of the locking clamps. It wasn’t.

The terrifying rotation of the office started to slow as the two central cables ran out of intertwining to do.

“Why didn’t you stop me? I mean, the engineers should ha - I.. You wait here and I’ll go get someone.”

Wow. Apparently Craig hadn’t climbed the corporate ladder through staying power alone.

“H..hey, what do you mean by ‘we’? I mean, there was a pretty clear warning sign, and you kicked i..”

“Jeff. Please. This is an emergency situation, so if you’d just let me take charge instead of trying to undermine me, I’ll get us out safely.”

Craig, I hate you. I hate you so much. I’m going to die because of you and architectural hubris. You can’t even get my name right and I’m going to die and it’s your fault.

The office slowly accelerated in the opposite direction as the cabling untwisted. Jon felt a tearing and then a crunch through the floor as it tilted sharply. He looked out the window at the accelerating backdrop of building/ocean/building and could see that they were also descending.

Craig had frozen and wasn’t doing Jon any favours.

“Craig! Grab that rail, now.”

Craig lurched toward the viewing platform’s guard rail and held himself against it. Craig didn’t look confident that a guard rail would save him from the fall, but it was the best Jon could do on short notice. At least Craig would be out of the way.

Jon needed to stall the office’s descent. He couldn’t exactly grab the cables to slow them down, so maybe there was something outs- the Arch! If he could shift the weight of the circle, maybe they’d roll around?

He looked at bronze Roger Rutherford. Bronze Roger looked out across the office, unperturbed by the unfolding disaster. Jon staggered to the outer wall.

Jon hit Roger at full tilt, leaping at the last moment and wrapping himself around Roger’s chest like an awkward koala. Roger toppled over onto his side, landing on Jon’s forearm. Jon screamed in pain, but through the haze he saw centrifugal force take Roger and roll him toward the outer walls.

Jon, clutching the now vacant base of the statue with his one good arm, watched Roger now roll with purpose, bouncing violently toward the outer wall. As it crashed against the wood panelling, Jon felt the direction of the office shift.

The office swung around the outside of the building and Jon’s knuckles went white. It had started to slow as the cables began to wind themselves again, tearing a ragged scar down and now around the side of the Grand Majesty toward the brilliant white counterweight arch.

The office thundered into the arch. Jon was airborne, and then suddenly not. He slammed into the back of a couch, bounced slightly and found himself lying on the cold, sloped marble floor. Craig seemed to have done little better, and looked just as dazed as Jon felt.

The office had stopped its rampage, lodging itself between the building and the counterweight. They could walk straight out what was left of the panoramic windows into the fresh hole in the second floor staff cafeteria wall.

“Come on Craig, we can get out this way.”

After hours, the place was empty. Craig and Jon clambered down into the main building and onto firm, flat footing.

“Jeff, I’m going to have to tell Kevin that you attacked his statue”

Obviously firm ground was giving Craig some of his bluster back.

“Wait a minute Craig, you’re the one who -”

“Jeff. The damage that you did to that office is irreparable. You can’t expect me t-”

“That I did?! Craig, I just saved our lives. What the hell, man?”

“Man? Jeff, you will address me with the appropriate tone, you -”

Jon had made some decisions about his desire to work in IT at Rutherford over the last five minutes. He had one more to make. He balled his fist around all the bubbling rage and used it to make a career limiting decision about Craig's face.

Craig dropped to the floor. Jon propped him against the gash in the wall.

He crossed the darkened room and stepped into the stairwell. As the door closed behind him he could hear a mixture of expensive, angry and concerned footsteps clipping down the hallway toward Craig in the cafeteria.

gently caress you, Craig.

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