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  • Locked thread
Apr 12, 2006


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Carl Killer Miller posted:

There's that classic, not-at-all-tired TD charm.

E: have a reading of sittinghere's orchid

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 12:52 on Aug 17, 2016

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition

Welp, time to get my fat black rear end back on the writing horse lest someone think they're better than me


(get back here horse I'm riding you)

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

in :toxx:

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you


sebmojo posted:

E: have a reading of sittinghere's orchid

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

sebmojo posted:

E: have a reading of sittinghere's orchid


This is the best, thank you!

take the moon
Feb 13, 2011

by sebmojo
vs. God over Djinn

1479 words

VHS AND gently caress

As Meta laces her sneaker the elastic of her sock falls and the pale Elfin ear curls out.

The ear tapers to a point as thin as paper, the lobe inchworm thick, half visible over the shoe. She flips the sock back, double knots, and steps outside where stars fight for breath in the overlit urban sky.

Her phone vibrates and a MIDI ripped from a livejournal page seven years ago starts playing. She doesn’t answer. Tonight it’s VHS and gently caress but right now she’s promised to streetlights and rainfall from unseen clouds. She cushions the rain with her hood and watches the lamp glow play off her outstretched hand. Light and shadow spill across moving fingers, falling to fissured concrete.

The longing has started. Far away. just whispers. She moves slow, watching the ground. It’s wide and clear and the ear strains through fabric and denim but doesn’t pick up words, only breath.

She hugs herself against the wind. When she reaches the subway entrance, a black pit in the sidewalk, she stops. She counts her breath off, and when she moves it’s because she feels made of stone. Letting the fear petrify her. But the descent underground feels like being swallowed.


The station is a ghost town so it only starts when she swipes her pass. The operator has a light set face, a white beard and green eyes flashing behind his glasses and the barrier. He gives her a smile as she goes through, and she waits for it to hook at the corners, but it doesn’t. It’s nice and flat and she grits her teeth.

“I’d like to bone a hot Elf maiden right now.”

Under her sock the ear quivers. Bile rises in her and she fights it down, slowing her. She can feel the operator’s gaze on the small of her back.

There’s someone on the escalator who slouches to the side as she jets past. He’s wearing a trucker cap over a day’s dusting of beard and looks at her warily.

“Elf girls are so, so lovely and I wish they’d sleep with me.” The ear pushes against the cotton, pulling the sound through the dark material. A small animal is trapped in her, dying of hunger, gurgling rot through her system.

People on the platform are sparse but spread evenly so she can’t find much space. As she passes people by, the susurrus becomes a storm and quiets again, coming through in pulses. Swelled waists and pockmarked faces. Orcs and goblins. They all want Elf maidens.

The reasons are many but the flattery is a thematic gravity well. Like space and time collapsing on a black hole.

Elf skin is white snow and flawless pearl. Elves have waterfall hair cascading down their slender bodies. Elf eyes are pools of moonlight and their blood runs red as the morning sun.

There’s most space between people halfway down the platform. She stands there, shivers, though it’s hot in the station. The painted edge of the platform is a mercurial yellow. The train is a beast and the tunnels are its hunting ground. When the doors rush open the people that flow out are all thinking about they’d do to a hot elf maiden if they had one alone.

There’s only one empty seat. She takes it, between a teenage boy and an unkempt vagrant. The train is an ocean. The beast is in heat. They all want to defile something pure. The sound of their wanting blows a cold wind through her.

The teenager has his hormones going. He thinks about what an Elf maiden would look like twisting under him. Ripping the sheets out with her teeth. Drooling on his chest. How they’d go all night. But the vagrant on her right is a void of silence and it takes her time to fixate on it. When she does, the calm covers her like a fuzzed blanket, and she snuggles close. It looks like random motion on the packed train, but eventually they’re breathing together, heartbeat for heartbeat, the people around them hellbound, bones and muscles decaying, minds falling.

When the toneless female voice calls the stop, Meta stands and feels torn away. She looks back. The vagrant’s eyes are closed, his mouth set flat. He nods like he senses her. The teenager is staring at her chest.

She slips out of the train and moves at top speed to the stairs and when she reaches the night sky again she checks her phone. Missed message. Without reading it she sends a text back. Against her ankle the Elfin ear coos.


Harlan’s place is a room. It’s upstairs, past a woman, maybe in her thirties with unkempt hair, who emerges from the kitchen on the second story and freezes when Meta gets close. She backs away and Meta moves past. “I’d like to suck an Elf maiden’s toes,” she hears as she’s halfway up the last short flight.

She knocks and Harlan lets her in. Loose hair clings to the cheek of a diamond shaped face, sides and back shaved in that cyberpunk way. He opens the door hesitant and closes it slow behind her. There’s a waterbed lodged in a corner and a television set on a milk crate. It’s old and grained with a twenty five percent static gradient. It cost ten dollars. She was with him when he bought it, before the Elfin ear grew. She remembers walking back with him. He put the weight down every minute or so. The people around them were so nice. They were all smiling, teeth catching sunlight like dragonfly wings.

Harlan wants to make slow love to an Elf maiden.

Harlan is hype for this movie. He shows her the cassette. The cover shows a snarling werewolf, the art blurred to disguise the costuming. Japanese lettering scores the top half in a violent green that sets off the wolf’s yellowed eyes.

Harlan has never seen her naked. That fact settles in her lobes. She can feel it in her fingertips. She hugs her knees close and settles against the wall and hopes she doesn’t look frosted. When the winter comes she’ll cover up the ear with woollen socks and heavy boots. Or maybe she’ll never go outside, see the ear starve on silence. Shrivel up putrid and, she hopes, fall off.

The movie is paced bad and it takes fifteen minutes for the monster to show up at all. The dialogue is Japanese but bits of English audio are spliced in at random. Harlan is paying rapt attention, eyes washed over with the screen’s dim light. She tries to make out the English words. Chill, she hears. Hug. Support.

She leans closer.


She starts breathing heavy. Harlan feels it next to her. He’s only wearing a tee and his arm brushes against her sweater sleeve. She looks at him. He pulls her close, twisting her so her legs jut out straight from the waterbed, ankles overhanging the ridged edge.

“I’d like to be there for an Elf maiden,” the wolf says. “Listen when times are tough. Hear the words from her Elfin throat, cool and clear as river water. I’d like to hug her when she needs a hug but stay away when she needs her space. I want that for an Elf maiden, deep in the tangles of my fur.”

She pushes him away. Confusion flashes in his eyes. Hurt. She’s breathing hard now, chest heaving. “I have to go,” she says. She darts to her shoes and puts them on. The ear is tingling. It slips out from the denim, presses flat against the outside of the leg. Caught in a patch of cheap B-movie lighting. Hears Harlan gulp. She doesn’t care. She’s outside his room. She’s down the stairs. She’s gone, gone, gone.


She thought she’d heard a scream. She looked for it. Is that what happened?

She’s the only one near him. There’s so much space now. Like a force field pushed people back. They’re a wall vivisecting the car. Talking to each other but God, not about how much they want Elf maidens.

The vagrant is still. Splayed against the seat, body contorted like a spider. But he’s saying something.

“I want,” he says, “to meet an Elf maiden, because Elves live forever. Time gives them the knowledge to judge. An Elf maiden would know me as a totality, my virtues, my flaws. Sunrises and sunsets would be stars in the sky of her memory.”

Tears are sliding down her cheeks, stalling at tiny creases of skin. Spit is dripping from his mouth, hanging from his lips, splashing on his ragged coat.

“I want her to love me,” he says, and doesn’t say, and behind her the other passengers hit the emergency bell.

take the moon fucked around with this message at 18:47 on Aug 17, 2016

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010


I signed up for this week, but I'm going to have to flip it into an OUT because I'm starting a new job this week that's surprisingly exhausting my brain. Sorry about that, I'll :toxx: next time I can sign up or something. :ohdear:

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

my cat is norris posted:

I signed up for this week, but I'm going to have to flip it into an OUT because I'm starting a new job this week that's surprisingly exhausting my brain. Sorry about that, I'll :toxx: next time I can sign up or something. :ohdear:

Cool thanks for the tips!!

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
I'm in it to _____ it. I'll fill that in later with my result.

Edit; Oh and just and advanced warning, my fictional character is going to be made out of Donald Trump's hair.

Chili fucked around with this message at 19:59 on Aug 17, 2016

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Lol guess I shouldn't record drunk

Aug 22, 2012


my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010


Djeser posted:

Cool thanks for the tips!!

Do better next time and I'll do 18%, honey.

i don't understand your post at all :downs:

my cat is norris fucked around with this message at 01:42 on Aug 18, 2016

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007


I'm in, yo.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards
I think I was brawling some ghost or somethin right?

Pretend I'm Not Here (1496 words)

Let's start with a close-up on a sickly-looking rose.

From out of frame, bring in a pair of kitchen shears. Have them snip the rosebud from its stem. The flower falls; the camera doesn't follow it. Pause. Next, we'll hear the narrator.

On August 17, 1992, journalist Ed Merriman suffered a severe brainstem str-

Hold on, does that imply that there are mild brainstem strokes?

Are there? I guess I'll never know.

On August 17, 1992, renowned documentarian Ed Merriman's life was changed forev-

Scratch that, Ed. This isn't a made-for-TV movie.


Scene: a view of ceiling tiles, with a triangle of yellow light splashed across them. A Mylar balloon floats across the frame, slowly, as the scene unfolds.

From out of frame, to the camera's left, a woman weeping.

From the right, a man's voice, speaking Caribbean-accented English. "I know it's hard to think about right now - Mrs. Merriman - but we need to discuss what happens next."

Subtitles: Helen Merriman, wife of Ed Merriman. "I just, I guess, I don't know. I really just don't know what to do."

"Your job here is to speak for Ed, since he can't tell us what he wants himself. You know him better than anyone. Would he want us to keep treating him?"

The weeping intensifies. "I don't know."

Enter: the head and shoulders of a young, dark-skinned man in a white coat. His face wears a look of concern. He leans over the camera, looking towards Helen. "Mrs. Merriman, I'm sorry. I understand that this is diff-"

"That's not what I meant."

"Excuse me?"

"I don't mean I don't know as in, I'm not ready to make this decision! I just don't know what Ed would have wanted. I don't know what he would say. I don't know. I can't help you. I just don't know."

As Helen leaves the room, a rush of air catches the Mylar balloon. It bobbles along the ceiling for a moment, then settles in an unseen corner.


Narrator: This scene appeared in Ed Merriman's award-winning 1989 documentary, We Don't Have That Here.

We start with a medium shot of a middle-aged man, sitting on an exam table, naked to the waist. His ribs protrude. His heart flutters visibly beneath his sternum.

Zoom in towards his face, and as the shot tightens, he seems to grow younger. He isn't middle-aged, no, he's a young man, albeit one with grey and sagging skin. Cut to the doctor.

"Unfortunately, we were correct. The test was positive. You've contracted the AIDS virus."

The young man says nothing. As seconds pass, with the camera trained on his face, the doctor grows visibly more uncomfortable.

"The front desk can help you with the paperwork," he continues.

"What do I do now?"

"You'll want to follow up with your family doctor as soon as you can. They'll tell you where to go from here. Sound good?"

The doctor is bodily moving out of the room. The camera stays on him until he's out of sight.


A lopsided view of a hospital-room wall. One corner of a window is barely visible.

At first, it almost seems as if nothing is happening at all. Then, you realize: the scene sways slowly up and down as the ventilator breathes for me.

The sunlight grows harsher and softer again with the passing of clouds. An alarm pings, several rooms away, then goes silent.

Much later, a rush of sound and movement. A nurse's lilting voice: "Let's get you more comfortable, okay?" then "Can you help me out for a second here? He's a pretty big guy!" then the world heaves and rotates.

We're back to the view of the ceiling. Someone's taken away the Mylar balloon. Hours pass. The light goes from yellow to pale to grey to blue.

Another rush of movement: " Mr. Merriman, we need to get you cleaned up!"

Someone switches on the fluorescent lights. Jostling. Biological noises.

"Oh, there is still a mess," says the nurse who sounds Filipina. "Oh dear, Mr. Merriman."

The ventilator breathes in. The ventilator breathes out.


The young man stands in a parking lot, looking directly into the camera. He keeps raising one fist, as if he wants to strike out at the viewer, then dropping it. "What the gently caress am I supposed to do now, Ed?" he says.

Ed says nothing for a long time, but the young man keeps staring. Finally, we hear Ed's voice, muffled, picked up by a microphone that isn't aimed at him. "Can you go see your doctor?"

His face turns stormy. "Do you think I'm retarded? Do you really think I didn't try that first?"

A long shot of the clinic, which stands in a decrepit strip mall. Somebody's spray-painted an indecipherable name across one wall.

"He told me oh, don't worry, we'll get you tested, and he hustles me out the door with a referral to this shithole. And two days later, I get this loving letter that says I'm being dismissed as a patient. That's it."

This is where the scene ends, in that documentary.

In this one, it continues.

" How the gently caress do you just watch this happen? Seriously, how do you do it?"

In the distant background, a man glances at the camera, then walks briskly towards the clinic door. His face is blurred.

"What, you're not going to talk to me?"

"James - "

The camera jostles backwards, as if someone's just shoved the person holding it. We see James against the winter sky, walking away. "Go home and gently caress your wife," he calls over his shoulder.

Subtitles: We Don't Have That Here was a critical success, playing at a number of film festivals in the late 1980s and winning universally positive reviews.


Do I show you the hundred other men like James?

It depends. Do you mean the footage? It's all in the film.

And the men themselves, mostly, they're already dead.


Bring it crashing back to institutional brightness: pinging alarm bells, the sound of casters on tile. Helen is looking into the camera, looking older, visibly, than she did in her first scene.

"You know what drives me nuts? That you didn't leave a note."


"Did you think we'd all be too dumb to understand?"


"I'm sorry. That's a horrible thing to say."


"Ed. Please."


The next scene never made it to film. It's an audio recording, made using my home phone, a few months after We Don't Have That Here came out. The cassette is in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet.

Play it against a black background. Don't worry about the other side of the conversation; mine is enough, and they wouldn't give permission for it to be used anyways.

"Yes, hello, my name is Ed Merriman, but I'm actually calling on behalf of someone else. His name is James," and censor the last name. If I sound a little drunk, if I sound like I'm slurring my words, that's okay.

" I understand that he was discharged from your practice for outstanding bills. Is that right?"

"I'm a filmmaker. I followed him for a while for a documentary. I went to a number of doctors' offices with him, although I don't believe I've ever been to yours. He told me that he'd been undergoing treatment with you for a while, though."

"I'm not asking you to release his medical information."

"For Christ's sake. So you're telling me that if I just send you the money anyways, you're going to, what, send it back?"

"Look, I can't. I'm not in touch with him anymore."

"I know a hell of a lot more about his medical history than you do."

"Have you heard of We Don't Have That Here? It's -"

"gently caress you."


Here's the very last scene.

"Good morning, Ed! We're going to try something, okay?"

The head of the bed rises, until we're looking directly at a sturdy, anonymous woman in blue scrubs.

"I'm a speech therapist here at the hospital. Now that you're not on quite as many medications, we thought we'd repeat a couple of tests, okay?"

She peers into the camera.

"First, I'd like you to blink if you can hear me."

She waits.

"Can you blink your eyes for me, Ed?"

The ventilator makes a thrumming noise.

"Mr. Merriman. Blink your eyes." Louder, this time.

Zoom in on her face. Closer, closer.

"Mr. Merriman! Ed! Blink!"

Her eye makeup is too heavy, and it's wearing off unevenly. Little flecks have fallen onto her lower eyelids.

"Okay, Mr. Merriman, let's take a break and try again later. Do you want to stay sitting up like this?"

Here's what we're going to do: we're going to cut to black. But don't just do a quick cut. Do something absurd. Make it look like the camera's eye is closing. Make it almost like a blink.

Feb 15, 2005
Errybody in the dome gettin' brawling

Don't be Sorry, 401 words

"I'm sorry," Anna said as she stared at the floor between them. Her father shifted, rattling his chains but otherwise silent. "I didn't mean to set off the alarm."

"No poo poo," her father muttered under his breath, barely audible over the sound of the prison van.

"But it was an honest mistake and I hope you can forgive me," Anna continued as if she hadn't heard. His father rattled his chains again, trying to get comfortable.

"I guess Mom won't be going to the casino this weekend," Anna said with forced levity. "She'll be a bit heartbroken."

"She'll be fine," his father replied. "We'll be fine too."

"I’m sorry-" Anna started.

"I heard you the first time," he interrupted gruffly. They sat quietly for a bit while Anna studied her shoes.

"We'll bribe the guard before the processing center. They'll be able to deny ever receiving us, so it'll be cheap," his father said finally. "But you can't rely getting lucky like this."

"I don't feel lucky," Anna muttered.

"You dropped a loving Monet thirty feet onto a ming vase. Luck had nothing to do with that."

"It slipped," Anna said quietly.

"You dropped it."

"Every time I mess up, it's my fault. Whenever things work out, it's luck!" Anna said.

"Yeah, pretty much," his father replied. "... Maybe you should go back to college."


"No, listen. I've made my way already. Me and your mom could be down in Boca right now. But you wanted to follow in my steps... I can't do this forever, you know. You're going to be on your own one day, alright?"

"Is that why you're doing this? Because you don't think I can take care of myself? Papa has to save the day?" Anna said heatedly.

"Don't talk back to me!" Her father's voice was as sharp as a knife. "But... yes. I worry. Fathers worry. You could be a doctor, or a lawyer..."

"I don't-! This is what I want to be, okay? This is where I want to be. I mean, not right here, but..." Anna said, looking around the prison van.

Her father was silent.

"I'm sorry, Dad."

"Don't be," her father replied. "Be better."

Feb 15, 2005
I'm in by the way.

Feb 25, 2014

ugh i dont know how i feel about both of these stories. theyre two very different stories and they both have elements that pull me in and pull me out and that it becomes hard to really figure out which one i like better. so honestly, im just gonna write out my opinions and im gonna see what happens from there


its a bold choice to go for "let me explain this like its a movie" which of course begs the question "why not make it a movie?" there's some elements where it works, let the ending where he says it closing like an eyeblink that might not have worked in a movie. so that's probably the thing that pulled me away. and also the jumping around in time. it works, kind of, but also doesnt work. theres a lot going on this, which is something it has a leg up on spectres. theres ed, his wife, then his friend James, though i get a lot of confusion of who's narrating this stuff. like theres that scene where the narrator is talking to the nurse or w/e on the phone and he says its him, which means its Ed, but then how is Ed giving stage direction when he's in a coma so i guess there are multiple narrators and ahhhhhh my head hurts.

and yet, it still had that something. like, i felt like i was in there, that i was watching this, that it worked for me. that it brought me in and even though i was lost and confused at times i still felt for Ed and James and even Helen despite them being in only a couple scenes. i think its because every scene was so specific, so focused, that you used all of your words to great effect. i was dragged in and never let go. the gimmick works in its own strange way, but idk if its actually good lol. all i know is that i liked this story. if its in spite of or because of the gimmick, i really dont know.


your prose is great. i want to lead off with that because thats where you excel, but man, this also confused me. not rly in the way djinn did with the time jumping and narrator poo poo, but just like, why were there things in this? like, what was the ear? why could the narrator read minds? idk. and yet, there was something that grabbed me into this story. the way the narrator reacted to the world she was in felt real. she felt at all times vunerable, which worked for me because in a lot of ways were always vunerable, especially to the thoughts of other people. and it was nice with the vagrant, where its just nice to have that one person who's not judging. the world was engaging and interesting but theres something lacking.

this feels more like worldbuilding than a story. or at least, an introduction to a longer piece. like, i would easily keep reading after this, but where it ends, it doesnt feel right. there's more in here, there's something else to this girl's story, and im not sure what it is. this feels like the beginning. that's not a bad thing, as it's a great beginning, something that did keep me engrossed despite some of its weird unexplained poo poo, but i want more. that's a good thing, mind you, but probably not a good thing when you want to win a brawl.


this still feels hard. each story had their own little special elements that made me enjoy them. and that's what i did, i enjoyed these stories, truthfully, despite some of the confusing bits. but one must stand victorious and one must stand defeated, as much as it pains me. both of these stories grabbed me in different ways and that really i didnt hate either of these so in some beautiful way your both winners.

but actually the real winner is djinn. for me, it came down to the fact that she made her story work in the confines of the word count.

flerp fucked around with this message at 08:43 on Aug 18, 2016

Apr 12, 2006
jonked brawl

Noah and the Painted Sea

--see archive--

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 16:18 on Jan 2, 2017

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward

crabrock posted:

Sebenzahn Brawl

1268 words

My dad walked in, and I couldn’t help myself. I’d prepared for this moment for the last hour, just sitting in the waiting room, clock ticking in the background, receptionist constantly typing and taking calls, and I’d sat there and I’d told myself, “You’re going to look him straight in the eye when he comes in.” And there he was, and I was looking at the ground like a child.

It was black linoleum with a random pattern of colorful hexagons. Very 80’s.

He walked past me without a word, into the headmaster’s office. I pretended I was just stretching my neck while muffled voices conversed on the other side of the door. I psyched myself up for the grand finale, when he’d walk back out and I’d tell him that the weed wasn’t mine. Maybe if I really believed it, I could make him believe it too. So that’s what I told myself. Over and over again. It wasn’t mine. It wasn’t mine.

He came back out with my spliff in hand.

“It’s wasn’t mine--” I started, but he motioned with his hand and I saved myself the words. I didn’t feel like explaining myself anyway.

He drove me home. We were living in this suburban hellhole where every other street was a quaint promenade, rows of trees and colorful houses passing by your window until you got carsick. It was a small town. Word got around.

“Don’t tell mom,” I said.

“Of course I’m not telling mom,” he said. “Don’t be ridiculous. She’d lose her mind.”

I probably should have thanked him, but I was 16 at the time so instead I locked my arms and sunk deeper into my seat, staring out into the most uninspired landscaping project since they started doing nuclear tests in Nevada. Right then I wished somebody would drop a bomb on us.

“This can’t go on,” my dad said.


“You’re locked in your room day and night and now you’re pulling this… look, this is going to be the most Dad thing you ever hear me say, but I’ve been your age too, once.”


“Have you smoked weed before?”

“No.” I’d read about it on reddit (seriously, gently caress that site) so I’d wanted to try it. Turns out the guy who sold me the joint was just doing it as some sort of joke, and I was the butt of it. The punchline was that he’d gotten me into poo poo with the school. Guess he and his buddies had a good laugh at that. Maybe I hadn’t been aware of just how unpopular I was.

“This isn’t the way home,” I said as we turned a corner onto a gravel road. Suddenly, we were in a different world. It was like walking behind the set decor: the curtains had been drawn away and where we’d just been smack dab in the middle of the motherlode of suburbs we were now in its neglected maintenance shaft, driving into a nothing dotted with occasional shacks and chain link fences that seemed to have no purpose. It went on forever.

We ended up at the old quarry. It had been abandoned decades ago, after an industrial accident put the operators out of commission. They say the ghosts of the dead still haunt the place.

“When I was a kid,” dad said, “this was where we got up to all the shenanigans. No-one bothers you.”

He pulled the joint out of his pocket and lit it.

“Dad!” I said.

He took a drag like it was the most normal thing to do, then blew smoke out his nostrils and held the joint out towards me. I knew a trap when I saw one. I almost melted into the car door as I tried to edge away. The whole situation was a bit too weird for me.

“Look,” he said, “we can’t bring this stuff back home. There’s a good chance your mom’s gonna find it. We can’t just throw it out the window either, because then who knows what kid is gonna pick it up. It’s safest for everyone to just smoke it.”

It was a thinly veiled excuse. But I was curious. So I took the drat joint. It was warm from the fire. A thin paper sausage with grass inside. It rustled as I moved it up to my mouth.

“Don’t swallow the smoke. Inhale slowly.”

I breathed in through the spliff, and warm air went down my lungs, slowly trickling in, filling me up, and it didn’t quite burn but it wasn’t pleasant either. I coughed, and wafts of smoke burts from my mouth, and somewhere in my coughing I inhaled some of the the smoke back in again. My dad gave me a pat on the shoulder and I was just about to feel really weirded out by that when time melted away.

The quarry seemed to move around us. Pebbles slid down the top of the hills and they dragged more pebbles with them and then there were pebble avalanches. The car got dark. I was back in my room. I was staring at my computer. There were no new messages. Why didn’t people want to be my friends? I dressed sharply and I was nice.

There were pictures on the computer. Happy faces. I knew them from school. Their laughter resounded in my head, crept down my throat and took hold of my lungs. It went off inside me like a nuclear bomb. Smoke came out my nostrils. I had been thoroughly burned today.

I compared the pictures with my own: there were none. Nobody took any pictures of me because I was never outside--

My dad chuckled somewhere in the far corner of the room.

I was never outside. I didn’t know how. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

Only in my dark room, I was safe.

Only here.


It was evening.

The sun was just about to disappear behind the horizon. I’m not sure if I’d smoked the joint all the way through, or if my dad had, or we’d each taken a single drag and then he’d let it burn out while he watched me getting baked. “How was it?” he said. He started the engine.

“Bit weird.”

“Well, if that’s the worst that ever happens to you with that stuff…”

The car moved. I was still a bit wobbly from the weed, so it kinda felt like the car was moving my body ahead of me. I shook my head to get it clear again. Didn’t do much.

“Wanna go on a hike this weekend?” my dad said all of a sudden.


“A hike. You know, walking. Forward. I’m thinking the mountains. There’s some nice routes for beginners. Your mother can pack us sandwiches. Heck, if we’re being sneaky, we might be able to take some beers along.”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s fine. You’re sixteen. Most countries in Europe--”

“No, I mean the hiking thing.”

“Oh,” he said. We were crunching along the gravel road again and now the nothing from before had made place for something greater: an all-engulfing twilight, stars fading in, and the faint outline of a moon far off in the distance. It wasn’t nothing no more, but endless. “So you’ve got other plans?”

Yeah. Browse the internet in my lovely room.

I tried to come up with excuses, but my heart wasn’t really in it, and then I came up empty.

“Alright, fine,” I said. But I didn’t do it without a sigh.

I was sixteen after all.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Ironic Twist posted:

Actually, I've just remembered a different suggestion I received for a THUNDERTOME BOOK CLUB submission, one that's probably more widely available than the three posted previously, and judging by the lukewarm response, I think I'm going to take it.

So, if you'll allow me:

Vonnegut's first, and one of his best. Next meeting date: Friday, August 19th. Get to it.

E: Player Piano. The book is Player Piano. Tinypic can go gently caress itself.

moved to August 26th.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:04 on Jan 2, 2017

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Jonked posted:

Errybody in the dome gettin' brawling

Don't be Sorry, 401 words

"I'm sorry," Anna said as she stared at the floor between them. Her father shifted, rattling his chains but otherwise silent. "I didn't mean to set off the alarm."

"No poo poo," her father muttered under his breath, barely audible over the sound of the prison van.

"But it was an honest mistake and I hope you can forgive me," Anna continued as if she hadn't heard. His father rattled his chains again, trying to get comfortable.

"I guess Mom won't be going to the casino this weekend," Anna said with forced levity. "She'll be a bit heartbroken."

"She'll be fine," his father replied. "We'll be fine too."

"I’m sorry-" Anna started.

"I heard you the first time," he interrupted gruffly. They sat quietly for a bit weak, if you just want to indicate 'time passes' it's normally better to find a telling detail in the environment you can use to convey character. e.g. in this situation in a prison van with her chained up dad after being busted stealing paintings, what would Anna notice? while Anna studied her shoes. this is a nice setup and i do want to know what comes next, but you only have 400 words, so cutting to the chase a bit quicker would have probably been a better choice than adequate but bland dialogue

"We'll bribe the guard before the processing center. They'll be able to deny ever receiving us, so it'll be cheap," his father said finally. "But you can't rely on getting lucky like this."

"I don't feel lucky," Anna muttered.

"You dropped a loving Monet thirty feet onto a ming vase. this is a 'wacky situation' placeholder and i think you could have found a funnier one Luck had nothing to do with that."

"It slipped," Anna said quietly.

"You dropped it."

"Every time I mess up, it's my fault. Whenever things work out, it's luck!" Anna said.

"Yeah, pretty much," his father replied. "... Maybe you should go back to college."


"No, listen. I've made my way already. Me and your mom could be down in Boca right now. But you wanted to follow in my steps... I can't do this forever, you know. You're going to be on your own one day, alright?"

"Is that why you're doing this? Because you don't think I can take care of myself? Papa has to save the day?" Anna said heatedly.

"Don't talk back to me!" Her father's voice was as sharp as a knife. "But... yes. I worry. Fathers worry. You could be a doctor, or a lawyer..."

"I don't-! This is what I want to be, okay? This is where I want to be. I mean, not right here, but..." Anna said, looking around the prison van.

Her father was silent.

"I'm sorry, Dad."

"Don't be," her father replied. "Be better." this is actually all solid dialogue and good character work if a little cliche, but you've put your characters in a white box with the merest hint of context. weird thing is you did the hard stuff, this is a very robust foundation for a story, but why not show us the interesting bit e.g. the heist?

Tyrannosaurus posted:

jonked brawl

Noah and the Painted Sea

“Sorry,” Noah said. He wasn’t though. He was actually quite pleased with himself. The redneck in clown makeup clutched his broken nose but smiled back at Noah all the same. great opener, jonked watch how much he did with these three sentences - the flipflop in the sorry/not sorry (conveying character), the smiling broken nosed redneck (which is a fantastic mental image.

“Ay, no worries, my ninja,” the man replied. “poo poo happens in the mosh, yo. Whoop-whoop!”

Noah nodded, turned, and then shoulder charged into another twirling stranger. Noah’s mother had made him escort his younger brother to the stupidest music festival in the stupidest state in America (The Gathering and Ohio, respectively) and he’d been pissed about it right up to the point where he’d discovered just how much the idiots in attendance loved mosh pits. And how little they seemed to care what he did. He trucked two teenagers into the mud. They laughed and high-fived him. another great para, dynamic, great voice, good details

“This place is crazy,” Noah said to himself.

Three songs later, he pushed his way out to grab a bottle of free water. On the way, he saw his brother. Liam was sitting in the shade of a massive black trash bag. He was hugging his knees tight to his chest.

“What are you doing?” Noah asked.

Liam rubbed his black and white painted cheeks and squinted. “Noah?”

“Yeah. What are you doing?”

“I, uh,” Liam took a deep breath and tried to hold back tears, “I wanted to follow you. You looked like- like- like you were having fun. But I got hit in the head...”

“Well, it’s a mosh pit.”

“And then I dropped my glasses!”

Liam covered his face with his hands and burst into tears. Noah just sighed. He could already hear their mother finding someway to blame him for Liam’s carelessness.

“Mom’s not gonna let me come back,” Liam sobbed. “And this is… This is the greatest thing in my whole life! Everybody thinks I’m cool here.”

Noah rolled his eyes. “You’re not cool, though. And you won’t be cool as long as you keep wearing that loving clown paint everywhere. This place is full of loving weirdos and you dress like one and that makes you a weirdo. If you weren’t my brother so many people back at school would have kicked your rear end already. Hell, I would have kicked your rear end already.” this isn't really answered in teh story, and it would be a better story if it was

“You don’t get it.” Liam wiped his nose. “Whoop-whoop.”

A security guard in face paint stopped walking. “Lil’ ninja,” he said. “You aight?”

“I lost my glasses in the mosh pit. My mom’s gonna be so mad she won’t let me come back.”

“poo poo,” the guard said. “Lemme walkie talkie the boys.”this is a total :-3

And just like that the music was paused. The lead singer asked everyone to stop for a moment and look for a little boy’s lost pair of glasses. It took about three minutes before a celebratory “Whoop-whoop!” rang out like a Christmas bell. The one turned into a chorus. The security guard led Liam to the pit and lifted him into the air and passed him to the crowd and the music returned and the people body surfed Liam up to the stage.

Noah blinked. “This place is crazy,” he repeated to himself. He watched his brother be welcomed on stage with a hug. And he listened to his brother sing with hundreds of people just like him. And it felt kinda weird. And he didn’t know what to think. and this is a total cop out of an ending, i think you could have tied a really nice bow in this with a skerrick more effort and a couple more lines, but you probably read Jonked and thought 'eh, good enough'

So, yeah, this is a straightforward win to T.rex on quality of prose and having some action, but it's not a walkover - jonked you have the bones of a solid piece there, better than T rex's, and if you're up for it then you should write another chapter in those characters' lives - i'd be happy to have a look at it.

Loss with honour - Tyrannosaurus wins.

Feb 15, 2005
Thanks for the crit

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Week 210 crits. I did these in judgemode this time around, I found it helped me a lot. I tried breaking things down into five different categories. If these crits read well, and people like them, I'll probably do it that way again.

Clarity: Could I understand what happened?
Impact: Did I care about what happened?
Feel: Did the story flow nicely, did the words do work for you?
Plot: Is there a story in here? (Was a little forgiving this week since vignettes were allowed)
Polish: Did this need proofreading?

From Capes To Cameras

This was a middle of the road story to me, didn't upset me reading it or anything but I didn't much care about any of it.

Clarity : High marks for clarity. I understood what was happening, for the most part. I didn't quite get that we were dealing with superheroes at first, but I think that poor reading and not necessarily poor writing.

Impact: Not so much here. I didn't care about your protagonist. His decision to leave didn't matter at all to me because I didn't know anything about him before he made it. I get that he wants to be a photographer, but I don't know why, and therefore, I don't care if he succeeds or fails.

Feel: Fair to middling here. Your word choice is fine, for the most part, but you never sentences don't sing and aren't doing work for you. Also, ditch words like "interesting", you're asking us to take your word for it, tell us what your character is looking for the in the sky that would make a cloud interesting. Also, you've got a lot more passive voice in this than you want in a story. Makes the whole thing feel kinda bleh.

Plot: Not much really happens, guy leaves, guy fails, guy steps up, guy gets creepy with a sooty woman. Doesn't really matter.

Polish: No hugely glaring problems.

Random Pedantic Quibbles:

Are terrorists known for holding a camera a certain kind of way? I guess you mean he's holding it like a bomb, but that doesn't work either.

Also, this sentence : "I've decided," Ahmed said. "I'm going to be a photographer. Say cheese!" Made me groan.

Your hardcut before "After the shoot" is unnecessary. If you're going to tell us "after the shoot" just lose the hashtags.

The Sixth Sun

Overall, this was not a good entry. I didn't care about much of any it, and it's a mess. This is probably a DM vote for me. Could be a loss if this is a strong week.

Clarity: Low. This is Michael Bay action. I didn't understand much of what was happening.

Impact: I didn't care about this. With so much action and not much in the way of clear motivation, it just didn't matter to me what happened.

Feel: I kinda like your descriptions of some things, you have the tools to paint a lovely image. Probably your strongest suit that I'm noticing. Those last couple of paragraphs go on forever and reading them did get a touch tiring.

Plot: Again, Michael Bay action. I guess your characters move through their beats in an OK way, but not much resonated with me.

Polish: Not good. You're missing words, there are comma splices, "it's" instead of "its" ... this needed proofreading. I'm especially frustrated with the "it's" business because sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't so I'm inclined to think you know better. If you want judges to read your stuff with a critical eye, you should do it first.

Come Live With Me

This didn't work for me. The eponymous repeated phrase is cumbersome and doesn't do anything. Is this like a ghost story or something? I didn't know how to feel with this; it didn't feel sad, funny, scary, or particularly dramatic. The annoying thing is this started pretty strong, I liked the opening paragraph. This ranks low for me this week.

Clarity: Not great, towards the end I had a hard time understanding what was happening

Impact: I should've cared more, and maybe that's my fault. Either way, I didn't care about your protagonist. Why is your character alone? What's their deal? Give us something; it'll help us care.

Feel: Again, the repeated phrase just sounds stupid to say and it disrupted any flow that you had built up.

Plot: Buys record, goes home, listens, gets haunted, goes to the library, deals with the haunting. Fine, whatever.

Polish: Not bad, couple of times where the tenses get a little hairy, but for the most part this is pretty clean.


I didn't understand this. I liked how it started, and then I just got confused. Some of the words were pretty. That's about all I got. Low-Mid

Clarity: Nope. Just nope nope nope. I'm guessing there's some kind of symbolism here, but it's not clear, early on, what's happening, why the character was locked away, why they're leaving or the source of sudden confidence.

Impact: I was rooting for your lead from the start. You get points for that alone. Not much else here though.

Feel: I liked how you handled your environments. I'm not so into how you handled your character's thoughts and feelings.

Plot: Can't tell when critical decisions are being made. It seems like the decision is made in the beginning, and then made again for some reason?

Polish: Pretty fresh and clean, for the most part.

The Tortoise and the Tiger

Style over substance here, pretty to read but it didn't do much else for me. Wasn't bad. Probably Midtoppish.

Clarity: Lot of action, both of your characters names ended with U, I got them mixed up a couple of times. Your action was, for the most part, pretty clear.

Impact: Nah, didn't really care. I felt pretty safe reading this, not threatened at all, I wanted to buy in more.

Feel: I'm getting that this symbolic and that these animals aren't just animals. But I'm not entirely clear as to what they are, that could be my failing or yours, not sure.

Plot: Tiger gets pissed, goes after turtle, turtle kind of wins but teaches a lesson or something?

Polish: You're missing something at the start of your third paragraph, or at least I hope you are. Also, this sentence is bad: What surprised Bai Hu was when he spat her out on the ground again, right in front of a crude -- though sturdy -- structure of logs and branches.


Boy this started out great. Took a bit of a turn for the hosed up, which is nice when it works, but it didn't really work for me here. There's nice things in here though, and those nice things persisted. Midtoppish. (Upon a re-read when this was up for the win, I did understand what was going on here more, but I didn't at first, so this was still not my vote for the win but definitely an HM.)

Clarity: I understand what's happening in this story. I think. Where you lost me was with the business where they try to start killing each other. I get that there's some outside influence happening, but I was slightly confused reading this.

Impact: The horror of the situation eclipses the characters. That's OK, this is a reality show type of deal so we don't need to know their motivation, but giving them traits that separate them from each other was good enough.

Feel: The recurring italicized statements could have gone very poorly. But they didn't. I think they served the story well.

Plot: Good, but I didn't follow it much at first. Upon a re-read this is some good hosed up poo poo you've brewed.

Polish: Couple of small things, a "me" instead of "I" and "covers" instead of "cover", not a big deal. Otherwise fine.

Special Sauce

The protagonist being a junkie is fine, making him entirely unlikable and brooding makes your story harder to sell. Fortunately, most of it works. Mid

Clarity: Totally fine. I understand everything that's happening.

Impact: I don't care about this guy, and I don't care about his friend. A junkie may do whatever they need to get their high but that doesn't mean that have to joke about tumor clubs in their dying siblings.

Feel: This was probably the best "voice" so far. I heard this story coming from the mouth of an addict. You nailed that and it served you really well.

Plot: I'm not sure why many of the things at the end happened. I understood the whole "go get drugs" bit, I don't really understand the revolution bit. I also don't understand why we should take your leads word for it that we need one.

Polish: Fresh N' Clean, by my eye.

Puppy Love

This was fine. Middle of the road story for me. Very simple John Wickian story, with the problem of a godmode protag.

Clarity: Perfect. Understood everything just fine.

Impact: None. This guy felt totally invincible, him winning felt like a foregone conclusion.

Feel: You handle action nicely, I can tell you visualize this stuff playing out. Well done here.

Plot: Mohawk Man is a waste of time. I guess he was an informant, but who cares? Dive could have just as easily walked into the bar by himself and appeared as menacing.

Polish: No egregious problems, little bit of confusion with who is speaking, make sure it's clear.

Single Celled

A bunch of little vignettes told by folks didn't get any empathy out of me. This could work as some of kind of short video, but without characterization and actors to bring these words to life, it was tough to care. Low DM/loss candidate.

Clarity: I get what's going. There's not a whole of risk in just telling rapid fire stories though.

Impact: None.

Feel: I guess you kinda catch a decent sense of tone from most of the characters, but they feel pretty interchangeable.

Plot: Doesn't really exist.

Polish: The language is abhorrent to read, another reason why this would be better suited as a script. Apart from all of that though, I guess it's fine.

Going Down the River With You

Fine, I guess. Didn't wow me. I suppose I'm more interested in what's going on with the void than the relationship or motivations of the characters. That's probably not a good thing. Midlow

Clarity: Pretty good, followed this.

Impact: I cared a little about the relationship, that was nice, as individuals, didn't care much about the characters. I'd like to learn more about why or how the world is falling apart.

Feel: You handle movement of the characters well.

Plot: Not really compelling, but I guess it all makes sense.

Polish: Little mistakes , "turns arounds" things like that, but mostly OK.

they name storms after people for a reason

I didn't follow this, pretty much at all. The cuts were jarring and I'm not sure what was happening. This felt pretty low to me.

Clarity: See above

Impact: Didn't know what was going on, hard for me to care.

Feel: I liked starting off with the joke, I didn't like the callback to it. Waste of time.

Plot: Eh, still lost.

Polish: Guess it's OK?


Going into this story, I was worried about not have a clear pick for the win. By the end of your piece, I didn't feel that way. This was gorgeous and I loved it. My win pick.

Clarity: You took a totally out of the box concept and handily made it work. I understood what was going on despite the premise being very whimsical and somewhat complex.

Impact: I was rooting for your character, the image of her lilting about with a net gave her an innocent and childish presentation.

Feel: This read very whimsically, and I dug it all the way through.

Plot: Little bit hazy in the middle, but pretty clear for the most part.

Polish: Fresh N' Clean

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Oh right, the DQ'd story:


I liked this one. The story itself is small and straightforward and since it’s compehensible and the motivation is explained the lack of characterization of the protagonist isn’t a huge strike against you.

Clarity: Very good. A lot of time descriptions can disrupt my sense of understanding, that didn’t happen here.

Impact: Meh, I didn’t really care. I cared about the salamander than your people. If they failed, it wouldn’t have bothered me, if your protag was murdered, it wouldn’t have bothered me.

Feel: Again, the descritipons didn’t distract, so that’s good, but I don’t think they necessarily added anything to the story for me. I was more interested in the journey proper over how the salamander looks. With your careful attention to detail, it’s no wonder you ran over the wordcount, if you were a touch more conservative, you could’ve told an equally effective story within the 1,000 limit easy.

Plot: Simple story, not much in the way of excitement or tension and the end result doesn’t really land for me. Maybe it all happens to quickly. I think if your protag got to the bottom a lot quicker, maybe like 1/3 of the way through your story, and then spent the rest dealing directly with the salamander, you’d have a lot more to talk about. Getting there didn’t feel important. The wrestling match over keeping wits about him was far more interesting.

Polish: Couple of missing words and such. For the most part, lookin’ good.

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011

In. :toxx:

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Philip Rivers
Mar 15, 2010

Guess I'll try this! I'm in.

Mar 21, 2010
So Kaishai thought that I had written some crits and not posted them, but neither of us were sure which week it was for. So, here's all the crits I have sitting in my Drive that weren't put in the right folder for posting. I am not sure which weeks they correspond to.


Okay you losers, I am sleep deprived and high on painkillers and everybody on IRC is going MUFFIN WHERE ARE THE CRITS. I have a bottle of cheapass 15% “whiskey flavoured liquor” in front of me and every time you make me mad, I take a shot. You fucks want crits, you got crits.


Congratulations you’re first so I’m totally sober, but you’re also going to be the first one to drive me to loving drink.

I mean it’s a dumb/funny patch note but you don’t really do anything with it. Your story is just the tweet but dragged out to 1200 words with nothing new or funny to say.

When I drank: I GUESS THEY’RE DEAD NOW YEAH THAT MAKES SENSE. “eachother”. What the gently caress why is this kid suddenly brain damaged nothing in this story makes any loving sense. Seriously what the gently caress happened in this story. Shot count: 4.


This has a really good setup and then it gets to the joke halfway through and sits there going “HUH, HUH, HUH, WADDAYA THINK IT’S PRETTY FUNNY ISN’T IT” for the rest of the story.

When I drank: this man literally commands life and death why is he still hanging out with his loser bandmates and not making trillions of dollars. SUDDEN VIOLENCE ENDING. Shot count: 6.


I REMEMBER THIS ONE. I ACTUALLY LIKED THIS ONE. It’s basically Shadow Over Innsmouth written from the perspective of the fishpeople but it’s well-written and has a lot of emotional torque in it.



Prettily written but not really suprising. I’ve seen a lot of the best sentences here in better books, but I don’t begrudge you for knowing what to steal. This is one of the stories that took the prompt and did something interesting with it, rather than just playing it out as a lolwacky joke. The fact that it feels a little stale and by-the-numbers is ultimately what pushes it down, but I still enjoyed it.

When I drank: I DIDN’T. At this rate I might start sobering up. SHOT COUNT: 6.


OH GOD I REMEMBER THIS ONE HOLD ON I GOTTA POUR ANOTHER SHOT. imma be doing that a lot for the next ten minutes

this is just a bunch of old dudes talking about boring poo poo and of my god can’t you just loving kill me. this is why I didn’t visit my grandad when he was in the retirement home because it’s just this poo poo endlessly and the smell of antiseptic ane i barely even knew the man anway im not a bad person i swear




I am going to present myu critd in the style of your story. G’day chappo me matey innit this just fuckeen annoying an duch give us a monkeyshine for a bobbler dibby dabby dooby boo ive been to london once in my entire life and i know this is a load of horseshit from somebody who has never met a real english person in their life whattoo me flibber flab

WHEN I DRANK: its probably cheating but i just kinda turned the bottle upsidedown and sculled for about eight seconds i think. currnet shot count: gently caress i dunno. I think the alcohol has reached by bloodsteam by now


people do not talk like this. i hate stilted dialogue where somebody is trying to sound fancy so they just throw in lots of big words and remove all thwe contratctions and they’re like “yup tyhat’s works’ and then they go home for dinner

““I will choose to ignore this impropriety as well as your previous refusal to treat this matter seriously. You will find me someone who will be willing to take responsibility for this incident! We are talking about a development on an intergalactic scale!””


i have no idea what is going on in this story. There’s a man and he has a radio and then there’s Jerry Falwell and a ratpror and popopop watching fmotherfuckers drop

jam rating: this is not my jam but it could be worse

alcohol: good


oh no Bluseman is writing about Adele i dont wanna think about my ex and how much my sex life sucks you can go right to hell with your SHOOP BOOP A DOOP A BOOP. NO. NONE OF THAT.

this is everything wrong wit hthe fdialogue in the last story except its the wjhole loving story is like that. you dont write beautifully by throwingh $20 words at the screen and seeing what syicks goddam man read some hemingway or som,e salinger or some poo poo whwere the oldf dead white man words goofd

drunk\; yes! happyL: no! D:

sssh guys quiet i think there’s a mouse in my room



this opening paragraph is like the guy you get when you cant afford michael chabon it is trying waaaaay too hard to be literary with its “his umbrella eyes flashed like insect rockets” overwought bullshit and it’s just kinda silly. dial it back mofo just step off the gas and chill out by the fire chlifford the big red dog does not deserve this kinda bush league interpretation HE IS AN AMERICAN HERO

i guess overall it can’t decide if it wants to be “funny”(read: loving irritating and twee) or whether it wants to sound all serious and literary and it doesn’t do either

current rating:


“lissome” K DRINKING

“watching his cock wither away” dude if that’s what your dick does you should get it checked that is not normal

“David recalled a gold sedan that the two had passed on the ride back from the bar. Everytime he thought about her, David returned to that image: a missing passenger side mirror, mismatched hubcaps, a driver in a knitted black skullcap, his face covered in a heavy blonde beard. In that momentary passing on a hot summer’s night’s asphalt, David thought of a similar car that he once knew years ago and the blonde haired boy who drove it.

this is actually good dexeription keep it4 up mon amis, my friendo

you need to dial the prose back just a little but but i duno it’s working okay. this is a competent piece, but it just doesn’t really do anything for me


Some Guy TT

Larry is a loving dumbass I hate him already. I work with a lot of Iranians are there's a million ways to have an adventure in Iran without running around border mountain passes all “look at me I'm such a rebel, oh no real rebels!”

Also why the gently caress is this even happening in Afghanistan. I feel like you were trying to write about the IS but got confused.

My job is teaching English to Iranians and Afghanis, and you couldn't have hosed up how they tend to speak English worse. Farsi/Dari is really florid and they tend to come off more like Japanese Engrish (“you must relocate yourself to the sunset, and then happiness will melt the happiness bliss of your heartmelt love snow”) than this terrible Team America durka-durka bullshit.

Oh look we're finished. There was lots of quasi-racist dialogue and LOL STUPID FOREIGNERS DON'T UNDERSTAND AMERICAN CULTURE. There's no arc, there's no point; it's just a bunch of dumb references with a stupid punchline.

Less dialogue, more physical blocking, give it a coherent story arc and a more relatable protagonist and maybe I'd give a gently caress. Awful racist bilge.



Hey look it's the guy who knows how to start really strongly then peter off and disappoint everybody. I like your opening. I wonder how this is gonna go.


The grammar is really messy. Normally I'd allow it, but it's to the extent that it's making the sentences difficult to parse in a lot of places. There's some nice descriptions and physicality here, but the more technical aspects of your prose are killing you here. You're usually better than this. You really needed an editor to look it over first.

It's not awful, but considering your past history it's a real disappointment.


Cache Cab

I hate your avatar so I’m already disposed to hate this.
aaaaaaand … that’s a decent opening. It’s a little overplayed, but it works. It ties the sci-fi thing with the Western thing and it does it with a certain confidence so have a cookie.

aaaaaaand …. nope I already hate it again. The teacher is a loving dickhead and the protagonist is dumb for liking him. MAKE ME LIKE YOUR PROTAGONIST, PEOPLE. THEY DON’T NEED TO BE MOTHER-loving-THERESA BUT THERE’S GOTTA BE SOMETHING FOR ME TO HOLD ONTO.




ok what the gently caress even happened I don’t care this is terrible


Schneider Heim

It’s that time of the week again! Watch Schneider claw his way up from competency into actually-maybe-being-good. Will he succeed? Let’s find out!



That ending is really weak though. I am already kinda bored. You have my favourite cheesy Indonesian b-horror movie to live up to.

This is really static for what feels like it should be more of an action-adventure. Too much internal monologue and not enough doin’. Not a huge fan of first-person either. It works better for slower introspective pieces (you coulda done it Music Week ok) but it doesn’t really work here.


“The camp turned out to be on the other side of the mine. The Japanese weren't expecting an attack coming from inside the tunnel--our four jeeps burst through without any resistance. We whooped and yelled and made as much noise as we could to make our paltry squad seem bigger than it was. Many enemy soldiers were dazed to see us; we gunned them down before they had the chance to grab their weapons. Most fled--Yamashita's greed had shot the vaunted Japanese fanaticism to hell. None of them wanted to be here.”

Oh my god this coulda been so cool but you spent all this time loving about with people having a boring conversation and not enough time having jeeps burst out of a tunnel full of screaming dudes. I am not always a screaming action lunatic but this whole setup is just asking for big dumb action.

also everybody needs to stop writing action scenes like video games with “I shot a man then I shot another man in a different way”. Watching my friends play CoD is loving boring, and I certainly don’t want to read about it. Go and read a bunch of airport novels to learn how to make this sorta poo poo work. Different medium = different conventions.

Ok that ending was pretty cool, but I just wasn’t engaged throughout. There’s too much focus on the visual and aural, when I scene like this really needs a lot more tactical physicality to make it really pop.



I loled at your opening line. Good job.

This is loving weird but I like it. You’re ok Fumblemouse. You can come to my house and play with my Warhammers but not the big ones ok.

He’s a total rear end in a top hat but she feels guilty because it’s her fault that he’s in that situation and in the end she … does nothing about it. I feel you didn’t really stick the landing. If you wanted to represent an endless depressing cycle, you needed the protag to be more sympathetic. She’s not as actively annoying as a lot of them this week, but she’s just kinda bleh and I don’t care.


Ironic Twist




holy poo poo what is this somebody describing poo poo instead of just throwing me into a huge dialogue you win forever.

oh my god I really like this what is happening. Is this joy I am feeling. The voice is clipped but cool, and I can visualise everything pretty well. Cool. Sexy.


goddamit man there’s SPG errors in there. It would be hypocritical of me to slam you 100% for that because I often need a copy editor myself, but it’s such a silly thing to do.

No real plot arc: just a little vignette with two characters. They’re nicely written characters though, and the prose is cool enough. Needs a more critical editing eye to go and clean up the grammar issues but it could definitely be worse. We cool.


Sitting Here

if this makes more sense high, we are going to have words

hmmm ok this isn’t bad. Short paras, but you make it work.

very emotionally cutting, gorgeous imagery, kinda experimental in the format and I’m not sure it really works that well. I rage against dialogue a lot and this is basically all dialogue, since it’s a direct address to the protag. It’s got a certain slant to it and you’ve got the chops to almost make it work, but I’m not sure how much I’m digging it.

I think your intention was to have the plot all happen between the lines, and I’m kinda feeling it I guess? It’s you: you know what you’re doing, but I think this was a brave-but-failed experiment in making a letterstory something worth a drat.



Opening sentence could use a comma, but I like it. Very cool.

ok yeah your punctuation is a mess. Go back and learn what does what please. This is bothering the poo poo out of me. It is distracting me very much.


huh what’s this it’s actually pretty good and you make the present tense work. Second para is very strong: probably the best thing I’ve seen so far. SH’s imagery is a little more bombastic and strong, but this has a kinda understated grace to it. I tend to be a bigger fan of the trippier stuff, but I can definitely dig it.

very nice ending



Your Sledgehammer

Cool title. Most of the titles this week have been poo poo. People underestimate how important that this.

Opening is a bit of a run-on dealie, but it works ok: gives it a kinda manic feel. I think if the title hadn’t grabbed me I’d be less forgiving, but you’ve given me a certain context already and it all kinda flows together. SEE PEOPLE? THE TITLE IS IMPORTANT.

red red red red red red irish red red catholic red red red red i wonder what colour his hair is. Pronouns are not the enemy.

‘ No, Red’s God was the God of the Old Testament, a God of locusts, creeping death snatching away firstborn‘ loving rad

Past Perfect (“he had ridden”) adds another level of emotional distance between the reader and the characters. Sometimes it’s unavoidable (it’s contrastive: it appears with Past Simple, and tells you that both things happened in the past, but the Past Perfect happened first) but having most of the story written in it isn’t doing you any favours. It feels dry, and uninvolved. Flashbacks don’t work nearly so well in prose as they do in film.

ok, this aint bad but it could’ve been a lot more involved and gutsy if you’d cut directly into it rather than going through a framing device. I feel like you’re going to be all “but the ending”, except the ending was weak and bad anyway, so you probably coulda lost it and just told the flashback story.



one sentence in and you’re making Fanky look like a punctuation master. How did you miss a loving full-stop right in the middle of the first sentence? Did you not proof read this one?

I have not one single idea what is happening right now. There’s a game and there’s Kickstarter and there’s the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the futurethe way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the future the way of the futurethe way of the future the way of the futurethe way of the future the way of the futurethe way of the future

oh my god spelling/grammar/punctuation issues out the rear end. Realtalk: is English your first language? That’s ok if it isn’t, but if it is you need to either go back to school or proofread your poo poo.

oh my god this is almost entirely dialogue what the poo poo

STOP DOING THAT PEOPLE IT DOES NOT WORK JESUS CHRIST. Brandon Sanderson might be a robot nerd with a terrible hat but the man knows his storytelling, and everybody needs to watch this video over and over again Clockwork Orange style until it is has been etched into their grey matter with a loving chisel:




Something that tends to bother me more than the other regular judges is white space concrete. It might be the poetry background, but the way the words physically look on the page/screen and how they interplay with the white space is really important, and in terms of concrete, this is a big ugly apartment block. It’s just a big slab smeared all over the page, and it automatically kinda turns me off. This isn’t the only entry to do it, but it’s probably the worst.

I think I’ve brought it up with you before, but I feel like there’s a lot of physical/mechanical things wrong with your writing. It’s actually pretty solid on a character/plot/description level, but there’s lots of little niggling things in the punctuation/spacing/paragraphs that just bother the poo poo out of me.

Very Kiwi without overplaying it, which is probably gonna serve it a lot better with me and Mojo on the judging panel (Wellingtonians ‘til death) than it would in any other week. Honestly the trick I’ve found with writing NZ stuff people like is to frame it in such a way that everybody understands what you’re saying without you needing to explain it. I think you’ve done a decent job here, but I’d ease back the slang a little.



Fanky has too many commas, and you have too few. I feel like I’ve been greased up and slid through your story headfirst. Nice physicality though: this is how you do it, people. Notice how he’s not writing 1,000,000 words: it’s just a few choice sentences with very well-described movements. Good work there.

Your dialogue is still a bit robotic/cliche fantasy, but the descriptions and bits in between give it enough character to keep the engine chugging along.

The issue is that the dialogue carries a lot of the emotional stuff here, and it’s just not that strong. Overall, this is a pretty top contender though. I liked it, but it fell apart a little towards the end.


Grizzled Patriarch

‘Richard made a show of chewing his lip and drumming his fingers on the roof, but Jack already knew what the answer would be. ‘

Cool. That’s the kind of quiet characterisation I like.

Is a male elephant called a bull? It might be true, but a lot of people (myself included) don’t know that, and it’s kinda jarring for the picture in my head to suddenly go from farm to savanah. You need to set up some other African stuff a little earlier. You don’t need to have a zebra run by shouting in Swahili, but something a little more direct would help a lot. I notice ‘Shona’ also crops up, but the average reader isn’t going to recognise that without some more context.

You’re dancing on the razor between too little information, and just the right amount. Sometimes you land it, and sometimes you don’t.



oh my god what the poo poo is this I hate you already and I haven’t even started reading

The dialogue would be really good if it had some loving physical context

1/10 die in a fire


Hello fart-smell-o!

that is a hell of a cliche to throw on me right out the gate. Couldn’t you just have waited outside my house and then thrown tumbleweeds at me?

Nice descriptions. You’re not exactly covering new ground, but you’re covering old ground pretty drat well.

it works pretty well. My worry is that you’ve basically just written fanfic for the movie instead of doing your own thing. I would’ve liked to see something more creative and less literal with the prompt, but overall it’s solid.


God Over Djinn

A dude in one of my classes was talking about how Djinn are real and they’re in the Quran but God is higher than them, and I thought of you. Not related to the story.

Huh, first person intro but it really pops. Ok. Concrete looks nice.

HAL meets Hunter S. Thompson. It’s all one big evil monologue dealie but it works out ok. It’s the sort of thing that would be horribly wrong in the hands of a worse writer, but you know what you’re doing and steer clear of the rocks for the most part.

yeah this is cool.


^^^ apparently this is for the wrong week

Amused Frog

“Bin Blossoms” sounds like weird slang for beautiful homeless women or something. I read the opener as ‘The Bin Blossoms. The Flame Mushrooms,” and both of these came off as proper nouns rather than noun + verb combos. Be careful with your flowery word choice.

The verbal fireworks verge on gaudy, but it kinda works in the context of the punk-kid narrator so rock on.

wait the narrator isn’t a punk? That’s kinda confusing and needs to be set up earlier. He refers to the other punks in insulting ways right from the start, but punks always do that.

ok, that was sweet. Took a little too long to get going, but I liked what you did with the ending.


Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
Signups are closed, have been closed, get to writin'.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

So Kaishai thought that I had written some crits and not posted them, but neither of us were sure which week it was for. So, here's all the crits I have sitting in my Drive that weren't put in the right folder for posting. I am not sure which weeks they correspond to.

Thanks, Muffin! That first batch is Week 179. The second batch is Week 110.

Aug 22, 2012

Submission - Week #211 - Next-Best Friend Week

That Much He Knew
949 Words

This is the story is of a man who, upon waking up, had absolutely no clue where he was.

He was laying on a bed, that much he knew. Probably a bed inside a house, that much he supposed. Either his own or somebody else’s, that much he theorized. Scanning around the room, he would notice a framed picture of a woman in the negative that smiled at him through black teeth on the bedside table. That much he now knew, too.

Not wanting to know anymore, he would pull the bed sheets up to his neck and stare at the ceiling. He would think to himself, “if I don’t do anything; nothing will happen to me”. This thought would calm him down considerably. And so he laid, staring at the ceiling, achieving nothing and having nothing done unto him, for the better part of an hour, being as boring as humanly possible.

That is, of course, until the natural defects of such a plan would make themselves apparent to him and cause his stomach to rumble and his throat to ache.
“Just a glass of water,” he would think, “Just a glass of a water and then I hop back into this here bed again and continue staring at the ceiling, achieving nothing and having nothing done to me.”

And so he would finally began to rustle. Tentatively at first, but the more he would move, the more he would disprove his previous dictum, the more confidence he would seem to gain. At the peak of his confidence, he would lift his body out of the bed and sanguinely plant his feet on to the frigid concrete floor, all the while making sure his gaze didn’t cross with the negative’s on the bedside table.

Now out of bed, he couldn’t help but realize how painful it was to move his body. Not agonizing per se, but rather a dull sort of pain would accompany him every step of the way to the doorway on the far side of the room, the end of the hall thereafter, and finally to the open door of what ostensibly was the bathroom; the open door neatly framing the darkness beyond it. He would feel along the inside of the wall and flip on the light switch, causing all the light to flood out of the hall and into the bathroom. The door now framing the contour-less void from the other side, as if he had flipped an hour-glass.

He would think that the switch seemed a queer thing.

The bathroom was only big enough for the porcelain-white toilet and sink, and a mirror which, upon further inspection, would seem to be held together by a piece of electrical tape along a crack that spread along the width of it. The reflection in the mirror showed the fractured face of a paltry old man in neatly pressed pyjamas with a cursive L.K. monogram stitched on to the breast. The man would be exploring his face with his hand along his smooth but wrinkled chin when he heard a maternal voice call out from the void beyond the door,
“Good morning Mr. Kooenig.”
L.K. stared into the void. He would feel his voice rebel into a ball in his throat.
“You are Lars Koeenig, no?”
L.K. would nod.
“You were out of it for a lot longer than I had expected. Well Mr. Kooenig, if you can just step into the void, we can get on our way.”
“Who are you?” L.K. would manage to push out of pathetically quivering lips.
“It will all be revealed to you if you would be so kind as to show me the courtesy of stepping in to the void.”

And so L.K. would step into the void and find his foot level with an invisible floor. The womb-like darkness stopping at his very rim. He emitted no light, but neither did the darkness encase him. He was thing in a void of nothing.

Behind a blink, a glowing red pentacle would materialize. As L.K. would approach he would notice something floating upright in the centre: the negative of the woman from the bedside table.
“Recognize her?”
L.K. would nod.
“You hosed her and made me.”
L.K. would start to see a figure form itself out of the darkness beyond the pentacle. Phasing in from the nothing as if being born. Pushing against it like film. All he would be able to make out was the contour of a human head.
“Step into the pentacle if you wish to learn more.”
L.K. would step into the pentacle. Its glow intensifying as he would approach the portrait of the woman with black eyes.
“Who am I?” LK would ask.
“You are Lars Koeenig, incubus. The woman in the picture is your succubus. Tonight is our melding. Today is the culmination of centuries of struggle. You have grown old and I have worked tirelessly to bring you Youth. Today, we shall become One and take to the nether.”
L.K. would feel his skin tighten and his knees shake as his knee caps pushed further and further inward until snapping and dropping him helplessly on the floor. Amidst screams of agony would the creature emerge from the darkness to reveal she had the body of a bird and the face of a beautiful crimson-headed woman. The succubus would begin to pluck her vocal chords,
“למה אתה מטריד לתרגם את זה”
As L.K’s eyes would roll like lost cueballs in his skull. As the slick stalks of wings would burst through the flesh on his back. As he would feel his rim mould itself out of the nothing.

As he would become One with the help of the woman in the photograph.

s7indicate3 fucked around with this message at 22:28 on Aug 21, 2016

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

These episodes are brought to you by the jubilant fist of Big Otis.

Hello again, Thunderdome. Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and I have been hard at work confirming that fecal matter has been interfered with in a carnal fashion, and we present the evidence to you in the form of a discussion of Week 198: Buddy Stuff and Week 199: EVERYBODY KNOWS poo poo'S hosed. Among other things, we attempt to make sense of Hammer Bro.'s "Equites" and punish Twist for existing by putting him through ZeBourgeoisie's "The Emperor." Don't miss it!

Click here for lizard sex!

:siren: Wait! There's more! :siren:

sebmojo joins the Recap Crew to take you back to the past in a retrospective look at Week 1: Man Agonizes over Potatoes! Hear tales of those halcyon days when no one knew what was going on and sticking a random dick in your work was not a winning strategy. This episode also covers Week 200: Taters Gonna Tate Fuckers and all its starchy sins, and we wind up the show with an ultra-kawaii reading of Fuubi's "Perfect Art."

Click here for animes!

:siren: We're still not done! :siren:

The usual suspects take on Week 201: Old Russian Joke, Week 202: THUNDER-O-S!, and Week 203: MYSTERY SOLVING TEENS in what will be the first of several triple features. If improbable murder-suicides, insufferable atheists, or fifty-years-expired boxes of cereal are your jam, you're in for a treat. If not... well, you can still hear Twist give a giant space bat the voice of Solid Snake. Paladinus's "Funding Cuts" and Fuubi's "Legends of War" occupy our stage this time and offer an experience like no other.

Click here for eeeeeeeeevil!

Episodes past:

Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 178:  I'm not mad, just disappointed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 179:  Strange Logs						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 180:  Maybe I'm a Maze					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 181:  We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 182:  Domegrassi						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood
Week 183:  Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots			Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock
Week 184:  The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 98:  Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 185:  Music of the Night, Vol. II				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 186:  Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 187:  Lost In Translation					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 188:  Insomniac Olympics					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 189:  knight time						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 190:  Three-Course Tale					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 191:  We Talk Good						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 192:  Really Entertaining Minific				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 30:  We're 30 / Time to get dirty -- A magical time	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 193:  the worst week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 40:  Poor Richard's Thundervision -- Let the ESC begin!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 144:  Doming Lasha Tumbai -- Classic performances		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 194:  Only Mr. God Knows Why				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 195:  Inverse World					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 196:  Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 197: Stories of Powerful Ambition & Poor Impulse Control	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai

Special Features!

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

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 00:03 on Aug 24, 2016

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you

Submission - Week #211 - Next-Best Friend Week

Last Light
1458 Words

It was the first day of spring. Maggie’s face was buried in her pillow, damp angel-wing stains slowly fading. She was mostly quiet now, only the occasional sniffle interrupted the dawn chorus. Her father sat down on the foot of the bed and placed a gentle hand on her ankle. “It’s time,” he said.

At first, she refused to move. When he touched the wooden box tucked under her arm, Maggie clutched it to her chest, forming a question mark around it as she rolled to face the wall. The box had been sanded until the fragrant wood felt soft to the touch. The filigree inset on the lid was invisible unless it caught the light just so; then the blossoms and branches of silver thread gleamed.

“One more snuffle, then.” Maggie opened one eye to glare, but her father was ready with his handkerchief. He grabbed her nose and wiggled it as he wiped. She tried to resist, but the sniffle happened. “There we go,” he said. Maggie felt the hum of his baritone through the mattress more than she heard the words. She sat up.

The sun parted ways with the bristled crown of the tallest tree as they reached the grove. Maggie hugged the box as she stood in the shadow of that tree, alone. She looked back towards her father. The amber light caught his eyes as he nodded.

Maggie opened the box and tipped it, scattering the ashes among the roots. She placed the box in a hollow then turned and ran to her father. He swept up his daughter held her until the sunlight kissed their toes.

Rays burrowed down through the tangled bramble; Maggie watched as the filigree amplified the scattered beams, burning away the shade. Leaves grew from tiny buds and the tree was verdant.

Blooms unfurled and expanded, translucent as rice-paper lanterns. Inside each was an egg. The ova were swirls of color, lit from within as though luminescent jellyfish inside flirted with the surface of oil-slicked waters. The branches sagged low under the fullness, strained to reach Maggie. She plucked one with shaky hands and cupped it. Her blood glowed through her skin.

The egg trembled and a tiny beak emerged. Feeble wings stretched as the shell dissipated in a flurry of sparks. “Fen,” she said.

It was the first day of summer. Maggie slacked the line and the box-kite dipped. Fen swirled and swooped around it, an iridescent cyclone, tail feathers streamed behind longer than the kite’s. She ran as fast as she could down the packed-dirt path; the kite trailed low behind her and Fen glided alongside.

Exhausted, she collapsed against a mossy embankment while the kite fluttered aimlessly to the ground. Fen lit beside her. They rested until Maggie caught her breath then went in search of water.

Small farmsteads dotted the rolling hills where they roamed, and soon they found an unattended handpump. Maggie lapped at the sweet water while Fen soaked in the midday sun. Fen leapt to attention, hackles raised.

“What is it, Fen?”

She heard the cracking of the rough-hewn fence. Before she could turn, the pig charged. It crashed into the pits of her knees, upending Maggie. The pig reoriented. The swirling whorls on Fen’s feathers resolved to a singular, glowing amaranth. The air around Fen miraged and the grass withered in the haze. Fen faced it down.

The pig bolted for the treeline. Maggie’s sense returned as she massaged the back of her head. She saw eyes peering through parted curtains in a window of the farmhouse. She waved, and the eyes disappeared as the curtain dropped.

She marched up and pounded on the door. It opened just a crack and she saw the face of a boy her own age. “Hey,” she said. “We’ve lost your pig.”

The door opened the rest of the way, and the boy stepped out. “Mum’s not going to like that.” The boy examined the fence and shimmed the slat back into the post. He scooped some feed into a worn burlap pouch and trudged after the pig.

“Wait up.” Maggie skipped along a few steps until she matched his stride. “What’s your name?”


“We’ll help you catch it,” Maggie said. Fen took flight and circled around them as they walked, darting off occasionally as a butterfly or bee caught interest. When they reached the edge of the forest, Gideon shushed her and scattered a few kernels on the ground.

He put two fingers in his mouth and loosed a high, clear whistle. Almost instantly, the brush rustled and the pig burst forth. It rutted the ground at Gideon’s feet, eager for the morsels. Adversaries forgotten, the pig followed trail of food Gideon doled out, and was soon returned to the pen.

Gideon sat on the porch while Maggie laid in the grass beside, idly flipping a heel. “I didn’t need your help,” he finally said.

“I know,” she replied. “But it’s more fun this way.”

It was the first day of fall. Gideon was in the field, stacking chaffs of wheat. Magdalena watched him through the kitchen window as she kneaded, the same window through which Gideon first spied on her. The old curtains were drawn up. Gideon’s mother had sewn them just before he was born.

He knocked his dusty boots on the door jamb as she took the loaves from the oven. They ate their simple meal, then retired. She wasn’t sure if he was asleep or not, but she whispered into the mattress hoping he would feel it. “Gideon, we’re having a baby.”

Little Dalia crawled in the yard. Magdalena watched through the kitchen window as she made dinner for her husband and daughter. Fen was fully grown now, larger than any of the livestock. With the last moulting, the shifting eddies of color on Fen’s feathers gave way to a permanent scarlet resplendence.

Little Dalia screamed. Fen towered over the baby. Magdalena raced outside, the bread pan clattering to the floor. She snatched up her child. Dalia’s hands were scalded. Fen charred grass with each footfall, unable to control the ferocity of his power.

There was no malice in Fen, but the danger was real. There was just a look between them—Maggie and Fen—before Fen took to the sky. Magdalena carried her baby to the old pump and let the cool water bring relief.

Gideon had put the cart in the barn and was walking back to the house when he saw Fen fly overhead and out of sight.

It was the first day of winter. Gideon was never much for conversation, but each harvest took more out of him. He was only a little gray at the temples, but his eyes were tired. Magdalena and Gideon sat outside and watched the sun dip below the trees. Their pinkies intertwined as they rocked on the swing. The rusty chains echoed the last locusts—and Gideon’s faint snore.

A light appeared at the horizon as though the sun reversed course. For a moment, Magdalena thought she, too, had fallen asleep. The comet bore down the small farm, and as it shot past, she made out a familiar outline.


She hadn’t thought of Fen in many years. Dalia was grown and married. Magdalena stood as her old companion circled wide around the farm before finally settling down near the pen. Fen shone like firelight, but she felt no heat as she approached. She cautiously reached up to stroke Fen’s beak and smiled when they met. The warmth was gentle and soothing. Where Fen stepped, the first frost melted away, but the grass remained green.

“Gideon, Fen’s back!” The gray of his temples had spread and he sported a shock of unruly white hair that sparkled in Fen’s light. She went to wake him and saw that it was frost.

Magdalena stood in the shadow of the tallest tree in the grove, Dalia beside her. She held a rough-hewn box in her hands. There was a shim in one of the joints. She placed the box in a hollow and they stepped away. Folded inside was Gideon’s curtain.

The light was not the morning sun, but Fen’s radiance warming Magdalena and her daughter. Maggie’s friend roosted in the top brambles of the old tree, shining like a beacon. Magdalena could always find her way back to the grove, but the tree never bloomed again.

It was the first day of spring. Dalia sat in the old farmhouse. She embroidered a curtain as she looked out the kitchen window, while her husband mended the fence. Near the edge of the woods, just below the setting sun, she saw the last light of the day reflecting off the gravestones of her parents.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


On the third of March, Shona was halfway down the block from Redwood Primary when she heard a noise in the hedges, sounding very much like something crying and hissing simultaneously. She debated for a few moments before fishing out the other half of the tuna sandwich she hadn’t eaten at lunch, squatting down and holding it out as a lure.

A few moments later, a furry muzzle stuck out of the bush followed by the rest of the beast. It was black and furry, the size of a cat with humanesque eyes, folded leathery wings, long erect ears, clawed paws, and a scaly black tail with a snake’s rattle at the end. It sniffed at the sandwich, its blue eyes staring at her green ones.

She slowly held the sandwich out. “Go on. It’s all right. Good boy.”

It sniffed once more before opening its mouth to show three rows of shark-sharp teeth as it took a huge bite. It quickly gobbled the rest in three and a half bites without nipping her, before licking around its mouth with a forked red tongue and tilting its head.

She bit her lip. “I only have that, boy. But I can make another at home. Come home with me?”

The beast cocked its head to the left, one ear wiggling. Then it shuffled close, brushing up against her thigh next to the crop lash under her biking shorts, and wrapped its tail around her wrist as it made a huffing growl. I’ll call him Midnight, Shona thought, as she tucked it under her jacket and took the quicker route past the library.

Shona settled Midnight in her closet with her second-best blanket before she set her review folder on the kitchen table and started her afterschool chores, with just enough time to make him another sandwich before dinner preparation. She didn’t overcook the pasta or undercook the chicken, so Father only had cause to swat her four times with the crop—one for each spelling mistake. He left her to the chores as he went out, and she took her leftovers to Midnight. He ate everything including the chicken bones, and bumped up against her hand as she cried quietly.

During shower time, Shona made sure to avoid the new lashes so they weren’t irritated on their first night, then tucked Midnight into bed in the laundry basket to remind her to start a load before school.


On the ninth it was hot, but Shona wore jeans so the lashes from neglecting dirty plates weren’t visible. While Mrs. Cook went over fractions for sixth grade math reviews, she thought about how Midnight—the size of a retriever after only six days—had seen her bruises and rubbed against them, making a thick growling sound in his throat that had to be hushed when Father sharply reminded her to roll the trash bins to the curb.

She’d only tried to have a pet once before, an orange tabby cat named Eggo. She’d kept him quiet for four days before he’d been found. Father had grabbed him by the scruff improperly, Eggo scratching him on the arm just once before Father snapped his neck cleanly. Once he’d disinfected his scratches, Father had whipped her for an hour with the crop, snapping that cats were filthy animals that shat indoors; only when he was done reprimanding her had he added she had all weekend to clean herself up because if he was questioned by children’s services again, she would be punished.

But Midnight wasn’t a cat. Shona couldn’t get in trouble, maybe, as long as she kept him a secret.

She left her homework folder on the table in the right spot before she took her other sandwich half to the closet. Midnight only took two bites to finish it now, licking her cheek and making a pleased churl-wuffing sound.

“Shh,” she whispered, patting between his wings. His back came up to her waist now. If he got used to making noises too often, Father would surely find him.


The seventeenth was rough. While Shona finished her homework before Father was home, the garlic bread burnt so she got six crop smacks across her hands for ruining half of dinner. Midnight didn’t mind the burnt parts, eating all six pieces before licking at the red lines on her palms. He bumped his head on her shoulder, making a sound halfway between a hiss and a sob, as Shona wiped the crumbs from his fur and cried into it where only he heard.

She didn’t think about the rumbling sounds Midnight was making until she heard hard thumping knocks. “Are you crying, Shona Margaret?” Father’s voice boomed.

Shona’s throat tightened as she pressed Midnight’s muzzle on her chest and her face in his fur to muffle them both. “No sir, Father.”

“Do I need to come in?”

Midnight growled louder against her chest.

“No sir, Father.” She squeezed Midnight tighter. His fur fluffed as his tail curled around her ankle, the tip making a soft rattle as his eyes darted towards the door.

There was a long silence before Father spoke again. “Finish your chores before bed. All of them. Or else.”

“Yes sir, Father.”

Shona waited until Father’s steps let her know he was gone before she let go of Midnight. “You have to be quiet,” she murmured tensely, “or Father will find you.” Midnight growled, as his tongue brushed her cheek.

After chores, she lay in bed with one of Midnight’s paws for a pillow, his fur soft under her cheek, having trouble sleeping.

She’d have to keep her door closed as much as possible. Midnight might be found.


Just before lunch on the thirty-first, Mrs. Cook handed Shona back her math test with a frown. “65/100” was written in bright red ink, with a space for Father to sign his name.

Her stomach twisted. She had tried so hard to get the decimal problems right.

Shona didn’t eat lunch or pay attention for the rest of the day, When she got home, she scrubbed the kitchen counters spotless, cleaned the bathroom toilet, and vacuumed the living and dining room twice before she spent the rest of the evening pacing the living room, Midnight growling from the bedroom. The sound of Father’s car in the driveway made her heart drop to her stomach.

Father looked around the perfectly spotless room as he entered, before he picked up the crop. “Your math test.” It wasn’t a question.

“I can explain—” Shona started, knowing they were the wrong words even as they left her mouth, fighting a sob as he walked to the table with strides longer than hers. Father picked up the paper, looking at it for several heartbeats before his hand holding the crop rose.

“Father, please—the decimals—” was all Shona could squeak out before the crop struck across her cheek sharply. There was a bloody taste in her mouth.

“One for every point down—” she heard, before another strike across her ears that made them ring. The next near the temple struck her to the floor.

It was Friday evening. She’d have all weekend to clean herself up. He would make sure of it.

She flinched her hand up to protect her face; it wasn’t enough. Sharp pain radiated across her fingers, enough she cried out, enough she was struck again for fighting back. She heard a buzzing, hissing sound as she curled into a ball onto the floor, choking back the rest of her cries. She felt Father strike the back of her head. Her back. The bare exposed part of her thighs. Over and over, before the floor shook under her with a thump.

She turned her head just enough to see Midnight, his head brushing the upper door frame, front row of teeth bared.

She’d left her bedroom door open, she thought as Midnight’s snarling roar muted Father’s scream.

Shona curled in on herself, face hidden as Midnight bounded forward. There were the sounds of strikes and blows, kicks and snarls and hits and panic, until Father’s screams tapered into a gurgle. She only lifted her head when she felt Midnight’s forked tongue brush her cheek and his paws gently prodding her. She lifted her head and glimpsed the red pool and smears for just a moment before Midnight pushed her away from it, leaving red paw prints on the carpet. Fresh crop lashes split his black fur at the shoulders and one eye was bruised, but he laid down against Shona, wings spread to block her view, making rumbling purring sounds.

Shona buried her head against Midnight, ignoring the mess, ignoring everything but him. “Good boy,” she murmured against his fur. “Good boy.”

It was Friday. She’d have all weekend to clean up the mess properly.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Someday, this poo poo may be included in a volume of bad stories.

Chili fucked around with this message at 08:17 on Jan 1, 2017

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
IV – (1181 words)

Outside is a sign signaling the stop of the Q13, which runs every fifteen minutes from 5:15AM to 11:45PM on Tuesdays. Tory peels away from the window with sunken eyes and pulls the IV pole with him towards the bed. From the TV that hangs from the ceiling, the news runs the story of a convict who managed to escape prison with no signs of force. Tory secretly roots for the man before he thinks about where the Q13 goes, he thinks of each corner it stops at. Before he imagines where the line ends, he’s already dreaming.

He rubs his eyes as he sits up in bed, clearing the afterimage of a monster. A dream, he thought. He peels the curtain at the side of the bed to reveal the room’s open door. Cleaner air that fills his nostrils. It stings of chemicals. He sees nurse Abi behind the station in the hall. She turns her head and smiles as she picks at her cafeteria chicken and, after a moment of fussiness, puts down her half-eaten meal before walking into Tory’s room. She replaces the bags on his IV pole, showing off her bitten fingernails. Before she leaves, she scratches Tory’s head. It’s dull and soothing.

Tory bounces in and out of sleep. In his dreams the afterimage grows more tangible. It’s dark, of few teeth, and has many protrusions. But it is no nightmare.


Two dozen empty chairs surround assorted blocks and dolls in the play room on the opposite side of the hall. He missed recess, where there would be cheering. Instead there are low heads and hopeful smiles. It smells like a place that hasn’t been nuked with chemicals, like his sparse living room after a good mopping. Tory sees over the heads of the other children, which makes it easier to bear when they ignore him. He plays with an action figure attempting to shoot down an invisible monster that has invaded an alphabet block city. Unknown and unseen. Only the plastic hero within his fingers knows the truth.

He feels something large looming behind him. But when he turns his head, it’s gone.

Holding the action figure and the monster, he looks out the door and sees no one in the station. He drags his IV pole and it squeaks beside him, slowing him down. He turns his head out towards the exit. Tory slowly makes his way towards it, but he feels a hand press down on his shoulder. He looks down to see blunted fingernails and then he hears a tsk in the corner of his ear.


Tory blinks awake from an odd dream. A monster stands above his bed. It has the inklings of a face and many arms that lead into small appendages shaped like tools. One a key and another a sharp wedge like the end of a crowbar. It reminds him of the old Swiss army knife his dad gave him three days before he left. The monster moves like a paranoid spider even when still, with its circle of eyes around the top of its head darting around, never looking in the same place at once. It tries to smile with the few teeth it has, Tory knows it’s trying to tell him there will be no harm. Tory knows it cannot speak.

He names it Swiss.

Tory wonders if this is how he’s taken. He’s been in the hospital so long that he accepted it months ago. Swiss moves towards the window and spreads the digits of its lone hand among its many arms and points towards the bus stop with its key-shaped appendage. It worms and shifts. Tory looks outside towards the sign and points. They nod their heads together.


Tory almost loses his grip in Swiss’ oily mane. For once, Tory is thankful he has no hair to flop into his face.

Without the IV in him, everything feels smaller.

Swiss slides around a corner and reorients its legs before darting towards the door. It runs a card shaped appendage by a plastic lock and the light flips green with a click. Tory wraps his hands around Swiss’ neck as they tumble down the stairs. They make it to the front of the lobby, where Abi chases out of an elevator. She’s out of breath, but manages to shout something. It’s almost a word, but not quite. The tone in her voice compels Tory to turn his head back at her. He shakes his head and frowns, trying to inform her wordlessly that he knows the consequences.

Swiss presses the wheelchair button and stumbles outside. The fresh light dizzies everything to a blur. Tory blinks a few times and sees blue above, and green and gray below, all of it a blur.

A lone security guard almost catches up to Swiss before leaping towards the creature. Instead of grasping onto the rearmost limb, the guard’s arms miss and he falls on his face. Tory chuckles.

Finally, they make it to the bus stop where Swiss lets Tory off. He leans against the sign and holds himself up, then he takes a deep breath. It smells like freshly cut grass. His knees wobble as he waits. In the distance he sees the bus coming towards him until he can finally read the marquee: Q13 to Castle Road. The bus drives up and the doors part. The guard is closing distance. Before he does, Tory steps forward. Before his foot reaches that first tall step, he is swallowed by dizziness. It drags him like a current into darkness. He feels the impact, and then, the abyss.


Tory shifts in his bed to ignore the many people above and around him. They filter out, leaving only nurse Abi. Her eyes are wet and her cheekbones are more pronounced from the glisten of her coffe-stained teeth. When she speaks, it merely rings in Tory’s ear. Before she turns and leaves, she gives him a hug with her cooling arms. She steps by a security guard that remains in the door, one with a red scuff on his face. He folds his arms, blocking the doorway and facing the nurses’ station. Tory scoots out to the window with his IV in. He was so close, he thinks. He looks towards the sign, but it’s gone now. Was that all a dream?

He looks toward the IV and he punched the bag weakly, it response it swings. The news on the TV changes stories to the escaped convict from a few days ago. They found him at his wife’s house. The arrest video plays next, in it the convict is smiling.

Tory, frustrated, peels back the curtain to open up the room a little. To make it a bit freer. The drag of plastic ring against metal pole makes Tory wince. Returning his eyes to where they were before, he sees Swiss hunching over and hiding. It offers the prize contained within its many arms forward as consolation.

Tory takes the Q13 bus sign, torn free.


Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011

Chasing That
787 words

My mind wasn’t what it used to be. I had been a scientist. Real smart kid. I read rather than watched. Had friends, knew people when I walked down the street. Now I just tried to stay clean. The council helped me. Well they created something to help. First time I saw it, I thought I was high. It’s about as long as my bony forearm. It has the body of a whale, but with just one enormous eye covering most of its head. No mouth and a pair of feathered wings.
“What is that?” I said. I might have peppered my question with some profanities. You don’t forget them.
“Your new best friend,” said some double-glazing oval office from the council.
Aye, but he was right. This little monster was my guardian angel. I didn’t want one. Who wants an eye on them all the time?

I got used to that eye. Had to name it. My parole officer suggested Moby. Moby seemed to like it. Sorted. When I watched TV he would land on my lap and lie there all night. He would get frightened when I watched sports. Couldn’t help myself. Something about an athlete messing up gets me going. I would apologise and he would come back, mollified for a while. Until the next mistake made me boil. I stopped watching sport. Wasn’t fair on Moby.

Moby’s back felt horrible to stroke, but his wings were pleasant to touch. It wasn’t long until I was stroking those wings compulsively while my ego was replaced with that craving. One time when I almost gave in to it, Moby, flew at me and my poison, knocking it on the floor. I cursed. I swiped at him. Still regret that. But before I could get on my knees, he had knocked over an open bottle of beer. No chance of a high now. I had a good greet. It took a while before I could talk to him again. When I did, I apologised. And thanked him. He came back to my lap.

I worked at a local college in the evenings. Sweeping and the like. Sometimes I would linger at the door of at teaching room when there was a night class on. Didn’t take long before I felt like an idiot. Especially with Moby about. People knew what he meant. A fall from grace. I tried not to resent him for what others thought. But I did. I also knew he was the only thing stopping me from falling further. He could tell when I was upset with him. I tried to console him, but he would be sad for days.

I walked to work. I wasn’t permitted to drive with my record. No harm. One evening, I walked past a group of dolled up girls. I avoided looking at them. I didn’t want to cause offence, and didn’t like the thoughts in my head when I looked. But they saw me.
“Disgusting. Why are they allowed to be out alone?”
“If only he was alone! That slimy gremlin is an abomination.”
“Tell me about it. I feel sick.”
I marched past them as quickly as possible. Moby wasn’t for it though. He stayed behind. He swooped about their faces and tangled himself in one of their nests of hair. She screamed. The other two laughed, keeping their distance. Moby struggled to free himself, but couldn’t. The girl slapped at him. No luck freeing him either. I ran back with a belly full of crushing sickness. I didn’t need any more reminding that I was a low life sack of poo poo. I set about freeing Moby from his hirsute prison. It didn’t take long.
“Don’t touch me! Ugh. Get away from me!”
I apologised and fled the scene. Who knows what sort of trouble I’d get into if I lingered. I was furious with Moby.
“It's quite cute actually,” one of the laughing girls said before I escaped. “Abnormal? Yeah, but still cute.”
I turned around, and she smiled. At me. I know it didn’t mean much to her. But god, it meant a lot to me. Probably smiled at Moby actually. Either way it reminded me of kindness. I didn’t fall in love with her or anything. But it felt like it. Aye, and I remembered those highs too. Those scummy episodes forever intertwined with happiness. I forgot my anger for Moby. I felt lucky for the first time in a long time. You just have to remember it isn’t all poo poo, all the time. I wonder if Moby was upset that they thought I was disgusting or he was an abomination? Probably a bit of both. He can be quite sensitive. And protective.

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