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  • Locked thread
Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011


I've got more short crits for week 220, and even shorter 221 crits for the DMs/Loser.

Chili - Protocol Gamma
- In my opinion, you spend too much time worldbuilding. I wasn't particularly interested in what exactly Voidball was or why it took off.
- I think you could cut the entire first section of your story. It doesn't really seem to start until this sentence "Professional Voidball players hated going to Voidmart."
- bad pacing in general, there's too much fluff between interesting stuff.

ZeBourgeoisie - A Completely Standard Furnace Repair Job
- I was originally going to say you could cut the first 120 words, but the voidbugs weren't important at all. So you could actually cut ~275. "The final door stood between me and my destination." would be a decent place to start your story.
- Why does the narrator think being a maintenance worker is so badass if he didn't know about the furnace dwellers?
- You have a tendency to soften the impact of your sentences by using too many words or clauses. Examples include: "A complex and sprawling catwalk hung high overhead." and "Their eyes were bulging black disks, and their 'skin,' what little they had, was more akin to heavy burlap than anything you'd see on an earthly animal."


BeefSupreme - Trickle-Down Economics and a friendly penguin - Passenger Pigeons share the same problem: the protagonist doesn't make any decisions throughout the course of the story.

anime was right - From Loaf to Crumbs
- I legitimately have no idea what's going on in this piece.

widespread - Squawk at Night
- too many wasted words. examples: " In the woman’s mind, she wanted to silence the bird by any means necessary." and "The bird was right in her hands, vulnerable to whatever the woman attempted."

Third Emperor - Flying Machines
- also had too many wasted words, in the sense that nothing happened.

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

sebmojo posted:

i'll do three crits, newbies preferred. pipe up if you want one.

to do these in 48 hours

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


sebmojo posted:

to do these in 48 hours

If newbies don't get back to you hearing something about my DQ from Voidmart would be nice.
I'm 100% willing to cede my crit to new-blood that wants it though.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Recap!



Attention, Voidmart shoppers! Double features are on sale this week in Aisle 152: Rhymes with Red, White, and Blue and Aisle 220: Enter the Voidmart. Please have your coupons ready at the register to avoid paying the full price in suffering. Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and I follow the lead of only too many of you in conducting a tour of Voidmart and its marvels, from the moo-moos and Ativan to the hermaphrodites and tentacled vegetation. The shopping spree ends with a one-time-only offer on Twist voicing the role he was born to play: the boner-bearing janitor of contagonist's "Aisle Null."

They banter and bitch about biology homework, between Darla asking Miles and Jim about the sizes of their dicks.


Episodes past:

pre:
Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 178:  I'm not mad, just disappointed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 179:  Strange Logs						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 180:  Maybe I'm a Maze					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 181:  We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 182:  Domegrassi						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood
Week 183:  Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots			Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock
Week 184:  The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 98:  Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 185:  Music of the Night, Vol. II				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 186:  Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 187:  Lost In Translation					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 188:  Insomniac Olympics					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 189:  knight time						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 190:  Three-Course Tale					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 191:  We Talk Good						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 192:  Really Entertaining Minific				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 30:  We're 30 / Time to get dirty -- A magical time	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 193:  the worst week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 40:  Poor Richard's Thundervision -- Let the ESC begin!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 144:  Doming Lasha Tumbai -- Classic performances		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 194:  Only Mr. God Knows Why				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 195:  Inverse World					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 196:  Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 197: Stories of Powerful Ambition & Poor Impulse Control	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 198:  Buddy Stuff						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 199:  EVERYBODY KNOWS poo poo'S hosed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 1:  Man Agonizes over Potatoes				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo
Week 200:  Taters Gonna Tate Fuckers				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo
Week 201:  Old Russian Joke					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 202:  THUNDER-O-S!						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 203:  MYSTERY SOLVING TEENS				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 204:  Hate Week						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 205:  the book of forgotten names				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 206:  WHIZZ! Bang! POW! Thunderdome!			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 207:  Bottle Your Rage					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 208:  Upper-Class Tweet of the Year			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 209:  WHAT DO YOU GET A DOME THAT HAS EVERYTHING??		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 210:  Crit Ketchup Week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 211:  Next-Best Friend Week				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 212:  Vice Week						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 213:  Punked Out						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 214:  THUNDERDOME ALL-STAR TRIBUTE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 215:  El sueño de la razón produce el Thunderdome		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 216:  Historical Redemption (or:  Sin, Lizzie)		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 217:  SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS, ATTACK!			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 218:  Duel Nature						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 219:  cos wer goffik					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai


Special Features!

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

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat



Toilet Rascal

ENCOURAGEMENT: I can't join in this week; however, I look forward to reading everything that's being written for Flerp's cool prompt.

Maigius
Jun 29, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER


IN!

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Here's some short critiques on some short stories.

SurreptitiousMuffin - Under the sun

Nice imagery, and I really loved the idea of the two cultures both believing that birds ferry the souls of the dead. It had some well crafted prose but I wish you'd done more with this idea. Obviously with the low word count it's going to be a snapshot but I still think there could have been more done in terms of plot and development.

J.A.B.C. - War on the Wings

The writing is fine and it grabbed my attention right off the bat.. But I guess I don't really understand the motivation of the main character — why does he choose to stay, other than "drama"? It sounds like there's no birds left to protect, although it's kind of ambiguous if there are other animals there or not. There's a lot of shouting and emotion, but it's dulled by all the extra words you use that could easily be cut out.

Jitzu_the_Monk - Doping

It took me a few reads to unpack this one, and a quick googling of what vinkensport is. So overall the story is fine, the father's drug use and the girl's lack of eating as how they deal with the mother's death is an interesting reveal at the end. I felt like I had to work too hard to get that payoff though, obscured as it was through the details of the bird competition and blood test.

a friendly penguin - Passenger Pigeons

Started well, the migration metaphor was sort of interesting. But it never really went anywhere, then the jarring jump to the car accident scene threw me off completely. I guess the idea you were getting across was the pointlessness of our daily routines, but then the random pigeon and car accident and nothing really tied together.

ZeBourgeoisie - Something Innate

I liked this one. The boy's little micro-journey through parenting the baby bird was tidy and well executed. I just wanted one more line at the end where maybe he shows some empathy with his father, or in some other way ties together these two relationships. The last line isn't strong enough to make that happen, which I think was your goal.

Mercedes - The Ineffable Mr. Bancroft

I liked the tone and story was fine. It did have some overly long sentences that would be punchier if you'd broken them up. The characters were cutouts, even Mr. Bancroft. Give me a reason to care about them.

anime was right - From Loaf to Crumbs

A tough one to decipher. The prose is fine. My guess is that Richard gets some kind of brain damage in an accident involving Johanna and Pat and then he gets stuck in an endless routine feeding the ducks. Whatever the actually story is, it's very obtuse so open to a lot of interpretation.

Hammer Bro. - The Feast

Funny and well written, even if it broke the fanfic rule. Equal parts horrifying and hilarious, the gradual reveal perfectly executed.

Fleta McGurn - Kotjebi

Another somewhat obtuse entry. On first read I thought they were vagrant children, but the swallow imagery is clever and woven nicely throughout, so I wasn't entirely sure. The ambiguity and the clear division between the 'swallows' and the foreign teacher and her friends is powerful. A really good entry.

widespread - Squawk at Night

I don't really get the point of this one. Out of nowhere the bird she rescued speaks to her, why? The backstory about the bird rescue is irrelevant and doesn't address the main idea of the story (the bird talking). Instead the most important element of the story seems tacked onto the end without much thought or explanation. You should try varying your sentence length more. Way too many of them have the same structure: clause comma clause. Clause comma clause. The entire third paragraph is written this way.

The Cut of Your Jib - Pin Feathers

I liked everything about this one. Great imagery in the opening paragraph. I'm a sucker for those melancholy 'lost dreams of childhood' pieces and it's done well.

Crab Destroyer - Cuckoo

There's nary a bird or avian metaphor in sight other than the title, so not sure how this fits the prompt. Carl is immensely unlikeable and tragically he is really the only character in the story. The writing is relatively straightforward and lacking any depth., like a newspaper account of events. Could perhaps be improved by a first person perspective.

Ironic Twist - Oh

First half was great, the opening line cleverly reveals the motive and the menacing intent of this not so chance encounter. The second part slogged, however, and I had to go back and re-read it several times to attempt to understand. There's some odd imagery ("...groups of five unrelated circles, black holes eating each other" and "...the capital letter clawed out from the guts of the alphabet") that popped out of nowhere and didn't seem to fit with the narrative. Final line is strong but seems isolated from the rest of the piece.

Some Strange Flea - Legion

Your prose is too thick with adverbs and adjectives, cut them out and replace with stronger verbs and nouns. The concept of the man with bird vision is pretty cool, but nothing is really done with it except 'here come the birds to claim their price' which doesn't really give it much plot. In the end it's just old man being attacked by birds.

flerp - Twittering Machines

The mechanical birds are very well described and I enjoyed the pacing and prose in this one. "Playstation controllers dangle from their claws" I found jarring, I think because of the brand name. And the last line was unsatisfying. It seemed overly specific about where the birds were going to crash, didn't seem necessary. Overall really cool imagery and I enjoyed it.

Sitting Here - Deep Sky

Beautifully written, my favorite by far. You so perfectly describe the inverted perspective of your sea-crow. As it watches the human sink (or rise) to the hydrothermal vent its silent observation is moving and quite mystical. Very vivid and well executed.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X23Fzs1QBZA


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy0aEj85ifY

my cat is norris posted:

ENCOURAGEMENT: I can't join in this week; however, I look forward to reading everything that's being written for Flerp's cool prompt.

im not

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Hawklad posted:

Here's some short critiques on some short stories.

SurreptitiousMuffin - Under the sun

Nice imagery, and I really loved the idea of the two cultures both believing that birds ferry the souls of the dead. It had some well crafted prose but I wish you'd done more with this idea. Obviously with the low word count it's going to be a snapshot but I still think there could have been more done in terms of plot and development.

J.A.B.C. - War on the Wings

The writing is fine and it grabbed my attention right off the bat.. But I guess I don't really understand the motivation of the main character — why does he choose to stay, other than "drama"? It sounds like there's no birds left to protect, although it's kind of ambiguous if there are other animals there or not. There's a lot of shouting and emotion, but it's dulled by all the extra words you use that could easily be cut out.

Jitzu_the_Monk - Doping

It took me a few reads to unpack this one, and a quick googling of what vinkensport is. So overall the story is fine, the father's drug use and the girl's lack of eating as how they deal with the mother's death is an interesting reveal at the end. I felt like I had to work too hard to get that payoff though, obscured as it was through the details of the bird competition and blood test.

a friendly penguin - Passenger Pigeons

Started well, the migration metaphor was sort of interesting. But it never really went anywhere, then the jarring jump to the car accident scene threw me off completely. I guess the idea you were getting across was the pointlessness of our daily routines, but then the random pigeon and car accident and nothing really tied together.

ZeBourgeoisie - Something Innate

I liked this one. The boy's little micro-journey through parenting the baby bird was tidy and well executed. I just wanted one more line at the end where maybe he shows some empathy with his father, or in some other way ties together these two relationships. The last line isn't strong enough to make that happen, which I think was your goal.

Mercedes - The Ineffable Mr. Bancroft

I liked the tone and story was fine. It did have some overly long sentences that would be punchier if you'd broken them up. The characters were cutouts, even Mr. Bancroft. Give me a reason to care about them.

anime was right - From Loaf to Crumbs

A tough one to decipher. The prose is fine. My guess is that Richard gets some kind of brain damage in an accident involving Johanna and Pat and then he gets stuck in an endless routine feeding the ducks. Whatever the actually story is, it's very obtuse so open to a lot of interpretation.

Hammer Bro. - The Feast

Funny and well written, even if it broke the fanfic rule. Equal parts horrifying and hilarious, the gradual reveal perfectly executed.

Fleta McGurn - Kotjebi

Another somewhat obtuse entry. On first read I thought they were vagrant children, but the swallow imagery is clever and woven nicely throughout, so I wasn't entirely sure. The ambiguity and the clear division between the 'swallows' and the foreign teacher and her friends is powerful. A really good entry.

widespread - Squawk at Night

I don't really get the point of this one. Out of nowhere the bird she rescued speaks to her, why? The backstory about the bird rescue is irrelevant and doesn't address the main idea of the story (the bird talking). Instead the most important element of the story seems tacked onto the end without much thought or explanation. You should try varying your sentence length more. Way too many of them have the same structure: clause comma clause. Clause comma clause. The entire third paragraph is written this way.

The Cut of Your Jib - Pin Feathers

I liked everything about this one. Great imagery in the opening paragraph. I'm a sucker for those melancholy 'lost dreams of childhood' pieces and it's done well.

Crab Destroyer - Cuckoo

There's nary a bird or avian metaphor in sight other than the title, so not sure how this fits the prompt. Carl is immensely unlikeable and tragically he is really the only character in the story. The writing is relatively straightforward and lacking any depth., like a newspaper account of events. Could perhaps be improved by a first person perspective.

Ironic Twist - Oh

First half was great, the opening line cleverly reveals the motive and the menacing intent of this not so chance encounter. The second part slogged, however, and I had to go back and re-read it several times to attempt to understand. There's some odd imagery ("...groups of five unrelated circles, black holes eating each other" and "...the capital letter clawed out from the guts of the alphabet") that popped out of nowhere and didn't seem to fit with the narrative. Final line is strong but seems isolated from the rest of the piece.

Some Strange Flea - Legion

Your prose is too thick with adverbs and adjectives, cut them out and replace with stronger verbs and nouns. The concept of the man with bird vision is pretty cool, but nothing is really done with it except 'here come the birds to claim their price' which doesn't really give it much plot. In the end it's just old man being attacked by birds.

flerp - Twittering Machines

The mechanical birds are very well described and I enjoyed the pacing and prose in this one. "Playstation controllers dangle from their claws" I found jarring, I think because of the brand name. And the last line was unsatisfying. It seemed overly specific about where the birds were going to crash, didn't seem necessary. Overall really cool imagery and I enjoyed it.

Sitting Here - Deep Sky

Beautifully written, my favorite by far. You so perfectly describe the inverted perspective of your sea-crow. As it watches the human sink (or rise) to the hydrothermal vent its silent observation is moving and quite mystical. Very vivid and well executed.

hey thanks for the crits

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


Sitting Here posted:

hey thanks for the crits

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Nice Brawl against Sebmojo, the swellest fella this side of the Mississippi.

The Heron and The Beaver
483 Words

As spring set in the bustling forest, Heron worried that he wouldn't find another mate. Though he tried and tried, year after year, he never found love. As the sun rose and the first warm air of the season filled his feathers, Heron got an idea. Perhaps he wasn’t the most beautiful, bright, or courageous, but maybe he could work really hard and show how he was the most special.

He looked around the floor of the forest and saw that winter had covered the ground with loose branches. Heron got an idea: ‘Maybe if I build a big stage out of branches, and stand up tall on it, all of the other herons will see how hard I work.’

And so, Heron set out to collect all of the branches he could find. He worked by sunlight and moonlight, until after three days, he gathered a pile of branches ten feet tall.

‘Now to build my stage!”

But as Heron began clearing a space, Beaver walked by, crying. Noticing the pile of branches, Beaver stopped and wiped the tears from his cheek.

“Oh Heron, you have so many branches and I have found so few. I must build a drat to help keep my family safe. Will you lend me some of your branches?”

Heron looked down at Beaver and saw that the winter had not been kind to him. He was missing chunks of fur and his teeth looked as though they had split. Heron needed those branches, but Beaver needed them more.

“Of course, my friend. Please, let me help you carry the branches to the river. If we work together, we can do it quickly.

And so, Heron and Beaver carried the branches to the river, and Beaver went to work building his drat.

Heron was tired, and knowing that he no longer had a plan, decided to take a long overdue rest. He slept for three days in a tree by the river. After the third day, he heard a knock at the trunk of the tree. Heron flew down to the ground, and Beaver looked up at him, smiling.

“Oh Heron, thank you so much for lending us those branches. May I show you the drat that my family and I have built?”

“I would be honored,” said Heron.

Beaver led Heron around the drat; it was truly impressive. Finally, when they arrived at the center of the river, Beaver turned to Heron.

“I saved this for last,” Beaver said.

And there, at the center of the drat, stood a high stage.

“What’s this?” Heron asked.

“It’s for you,” replied Beaver. “My family and I will guard it, and make sure you’re the only bird to stand on it.”

Heron, shedding a tear, looked down at Beaver and thanked him. He flapped up to the stage where he looked unique and beautiful. It would be a good spring.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe


Thanks for these. You were on point with my story, it's appreciated.

Oh and thanks to Jitzu as well for carrying out his judgely duties.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

deleted

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2017 around 22:05

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


nice brawl judgment

Chili posted:

The Heron and The Beaver
483 Words

As spring set in the bustling forest, Heron worried that he wouldn't find another mate why tho. Though he tried and tried, year after year, he never found love. As the sun rose and the first warm air of the season just say spring or w/e filled his feathers, Heron got an idea why now. Perhaps he wasn’t the most beautiful, bright, or courageous, but maybe he could work really hard and show how he was the most special. this is a p cliche opener but like cliche isnt the worst thing in the world (still not good).

He looked around the floor of the forest and saw that winter had covered the ground with loose branches. Heron got an idea: ‘Maybe if I build a big stage out of branches, and stand up tall on it, all of the other herons will see how hard I work.’

And so, Heron set out to collect all of the branches he could find. He worked by sunlight and moonlight, until after three days so i guess this is a jesus story now, he gathered a pile of branches ten feet tall.

‘Now to build my stage!” ok wait are you using british quotation marks or american???

But as Heron began clearing a space, Beaver walked by, crying. Noticing the pile of branches, Beaver stopped and wiped the tears from his cheek.

“Oh Heron, you have so many branches and I have found so few. I must build a drat to help keep my family safe. Will you lend me some of your branches?” gently caress having consistent quotation marks i guess

Heron looked down at Beaver and saw that the winter had not been kind to him. He was missing chunks of fur and his teeth looked as though they had split. Heron needed those branches, but Beaver needed them more. prompt found. now im just waiting for the Beaver to turn into a beautiful Heron princess and for them to have a nice gently caress session

“Of course, my friend. Please, let me help you carry the branches to the river. If we work together, we can do it quickly."

And so, Heron and Beaver carried the branches to the river, and Beaver went to work building his drat.

Heron was tired, and knowing that he no longer had a plan, decided to take a long overdue rest. He slept for three days in a tree by the river. this really is a jesus story also wtf what a lazy bird he just carried some drat branches After the third day, he heard a knock at the trunk of the tree. Heron flew down to the ground, and Beaver looked up at him, smiling.

“Oh Heron, thank you so much for lending us those branches. May I show you the drat my virgin eyes noooooo that my family and I have built?”

“I would be honored,” said Heron.

Beaver led Heron around the drat this is hosed up; it was truly impressive ill take ur word 4 it. Finally, when they arrived at the center of the river, Beaver turned to Heron.

“I saved this for last,” Beaver said.

And there, at the center of the drat, stood a high stage.

“What’s this?” Heron asked.

“It’s for you,” replied Beaver. “My family and I will guard it, and make sure you’re the only bird to stand on it.”

Heron, shedding a tear, looked down at Beaver and thanked him. He flapped up to the stage where he looked unique and beautiful but he didnt really earlier. It would be a good spring.

So I mean yeah this is p on-the-nose fable stuff but like I was hoping that the end wouldn't be like "Heron now gets to have his gently caress on and instead learns the value of helping other people" but it really did just become "Heron now gets to get his gently caress on" which ok you set that up at the beginnin and then resolved it and there's a moral but the moral is pretty plain like "be a nice guy 'cause then people will be nice to you". i mean its not like im expecting gold here but a little bit of a subversion or surprise here wouldve been p. nice to add to this story.

so its a solid effort but nothing to like write home about



sebmojo posted:

The spider and the fly
440 words

A fly was buzzing around the living room one day when he scented a most marvellous odour is this a legit kiwi spelling? what a hosed up place. He cast around for it with his sparkling many faceted eyes before finally spying a perfectly fresh nugget of cat poop, nestled in behind the tattered couch, doubtless laid there by one of the many feral cats that prowled the house.

‘I shall eat well tonight,” he thought happily to himself, “and lay hundreds of eggs which will hatch into hundreds of happy fly children who will care for me in a couple of days when I am old!’ idk i like this a little bit. its not a voice id give to a fly

But as he was thinking these happy thoughts he flew right into a sticky web that a spider had stretched across the gap between the couch and the wall.

The fly buzzed like a tiny winged doorbell but could not free himself. Ourt of the corner of one of his eye facets he saw a black shape scuttling towards him across the web and rear back above him, its fangs dripping with poison.

‘Wait!’ shrieked the fly. ‘Please don’t eat me!’ you should probably have quotations for these still

The spider, taken aback, lowered its fangs and said ‘But I am a spider! It’s my job to eat you.’

‘I acknowledge that,’ the fly said, ‘but if you eat me I will not be able to fly down to that cat poop and lay hundreds of eggs in it, all of which will doubtless hatch and produce many new flies which you can catch on your beautiful web.. So if you eat me you will give up being able to eat my children. And may I say what a handsome and well appointed web you have made here.’ this loving fly man. i love him a whole bunch

Spiders, being invertebrates, cannot nod. lol. i actually legit laughed here However the fly thought he could hear a note of thoughtful approval in the spider’s voice.

‘You have given me a lot to think about, fly. I consider myself a reasonable spider and so I will cut you loose, on the basis that you will fly down to that dollop of feline faeces and lay your eggs in it.’ And being a spider of his word, he cut the fly free with a few quick snips. The fly buzzed a few times to get the threads off then bounded into the air.

‘Thanks,’ said the fly. 'And so long, sucker! Not a chance in hell I'm gonna let my kids get stuck on your ugly-rear end web and eaten! I'm off to the back yard to fly in circles around that dead sheep!'

The fly was about to dart away and never return, but he was at that moment snapped up by a leaping feral tabby. yep totally unexpected ending to the wacky ending which turns out to be a bit predictable

Moral: don’t trust cats, they’re assholes. preach it

truthfully i expected you to take the piss out of this prompt so thanks for not disappointing me. this is a fun little story, kinda the same level as chili's with it being the more standard wacky fable but you got a good voice and the fly is a funny character. a little predictable but hey 500 words written in a day im not expecting gold here

anyways these are both alright and are p close to each other but im gonna give it to sebmojo because he made me laugh out loud (or lol as its known in some circles) once in his story that was supposed to be funny so thats an achievement.

so everyone please welcome Chili to the judge team!!!!!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Fleta Mcgurn posted:

Kotjebi
250 words

We crowd around the train station downtown and take anything we can. nice musicality in this line Usually, we’re unlucky, but sometimes the foreign teacher walks by with food in her hand. We’re supposed to run past and grab it without acknowledgment. this is a good example of where telling works better than showing I wish I could thank her, but we wouldn’t understand each other, anyways.

They call us swallows. I’ve never seen a real swallow- they were all probably eaten. Moran told me swallows wouldn’t taste good, anyways, but I didn’t understand. If we can eat something, we do. ditto

Moran was my sister for a long time, but she died. I was small when I joined the other swallows by the station and she was kind, so I called her my older sister. She died last year when we had no food for a long time. I couldn’t help her. The others didn’t see right away, so I took her hat and what little there was in her pockets, and I walked away. If she had died this year, I could have spent time with her body and sang a song or something, but it was too cold last winter. Too dangerous to linger. aw poo poo that's a good para. Look how much is packed into each sentence.

I see the foreign teacher coming. She looks like everyone else, but I know she’s foreign because she says strange words to her yellow-haired friends and they say them back. I lower my head and run past her before anyone else sees, snatching a lump of bread from her hand. eh, by contrast this is just words this is sor

“Hello,” she whispers in my own language, but I can’t reply. no, i don't think this lands - you've set up a brilliant brutal scene but you don't close the loop and turn it into a story.

Beige posted:

Morning Coffee (233 words)

My coffee is cooling and I am watching the pigeon beside me on the pavement. It is a grey morning and cold gusts leaf through my open newspaper on the table. Part-time job vacancies circled in pencil. Obituaries. I was twenty pence short for the coffee but the girl let me off. She knows my circumstance. nice situation sketching

I hope this pigeon’s life is more than roosting and foraging for food. I tip the crumbs from my finished plate onto the floor and the bird walks closer and pecks at them. Pigeons have a bad name but I am more sympathetic to them. Would it feel feel content with a fuller stomach; respite with more time to roost? there's a nice use of the pigeon as a hook to hang character on here

The cafe sign blows over on the street corner and it breaks my reverie. thsi is the only actual action in the piece, and it's essentially random - that's a problem, it would be a better story if your protag made the action happen I cannot make rent this week. My daughter despises me. My wife was buried before I could make amends. My coffee is cold.

I wonder if birds can recognise people. This pigeon - could I pick it out from a throng? And would it come back to me when I return tomorrow if I could provide it with crumbs?

I look in through the window and see the girl at the counter. I accept her food each morning but I insist on paying for the coffee. She is kind to me and when she sees me in the streets she smiles and says hello. hrmmmm this is nearly quite good. obviously 250 is ridiculous, but i feel you could have economically sketched the cafe girl and made the whole thing come into focus

Okua
Oct 30, 2016


I'm in for some surrealism.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


Okua posted:

I'm in for some surrealism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFpIMLL9V0c

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

by R. Guyovich


In.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Greetings from IRL Voidmart, and in

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


in, might as well

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6THFGWLEn7w

Djeser posted:

Greetings from IRL Voidmart, and in

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P-EKQp4Hedk

Ironic Twist posted:

in, might as well

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W7llAsIH5SY

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

by R. Guyovich


Is it Taboo?
721 words
Prompt song: Skullgirls OST #06 - Moonlit Melee

I step down off the last stair onto the concrete landing, I knock and the hat-check girl swings open the door and the music pours out. Something is wrong

She's got no headscarf , she's crammed into a slinky black dress. She smiles, holds out her hand "your hat, monsieur?" I take it off and hand it over, but it's not a hat, it's a metal bowl; she throws it clattering onto the counter: stage-whispers, "it's taboo." She's cute but her perfume stinks. Something is wrong.

I shrug past her; the music swells as I glide through the doorway. Dancers fill the open floor, shelves of bottles line the bar. Onstage, a girl hammers away at the keyboard; it's a Casiotone 201 just like Hassan got, expensive. The dancers are all spastic, they bounce off-rhythm and whirl and jerk past me. A bearded man with bloodshot eyes throws aside his partner and shoves his face close to mine. His skin blue under the lights. I can feel and smell his reeking breath; he growls "it's taboo." Something is wrong.

I think but my head hurts, and the music and the dancers won't stop and it won't come together. A sliver of memory breaks free into my flow: the mullahs banned these clubs, even in Tehran. They're haraam, that's why I feel so nervous. Relief drips over me, my chest untightens a little but then the hat-check girl tugs my collar from behind: "your coat, monsieur." Something is wrong.

I try to shrug her off, I'm more cold than hot anyway, but she keeps pulling so I give up and unbutton: it's army camouflage. She smirks, "it's taboo," and skips and twitches away with it. Another shard of memory cracks free: I'm a soldier, so that's the problem. Not just that the club is haraam, I'm a soldier and I'll get punished and the dancers don't want me here anyway. Something is wrong.

The girl jamming on the Casiotone is gorgeous; her almond eyes catch mine, her cherry lips purse, her ivory skin is blue under the light. The music is terrible but that's not what's bothering me now as she leaps away from the keyboard, but the music keeps playing as she rushes towards me. Something is wrong.

She stutters across the stage, whirling flailing, arms and legs and long loose hair all over. She grabs the bowl I was wearing on my head a minute ago, but now it's full of cherries. She holds them up to my face. They're rotten, I can tell by the smell. Something is wrong.

"Bless them" she says, but I hesitate. She shoves the bowl closer, I'm sure they're rotten now. She hisses in my ear "bless them!" I roll my eyes a little and hold my hands palms-up below my face: "bismallah ar rahman ar rahim", and I stroke my hands down my chin. She frowns, purses those cherry lips. "Bless them!" she almost shrieks in my ear. I mutter the prayer again, and again, and again, sweeping my face with my hands. I don't want to eat a loving rotten cherry. Something is wrong.

She dips into the metal bowl, pulls out a pair of cherries, hangs them over her ear by the stem so they dangle like earrings and swing as she sways and jerks. "It's taboo," she murmurs in my ear, pressing my face against her lovely neck, the rotten cherries bounce against my nose now. Something is wrong.

I guess it must make sense, a soldier can't go into an illegal jazz club, dance with some mystery girl, and eat rotten fruit, right? I think I understand what's wrong, it's everything, it's all wrong. Is it taboo?

****

"Praise God, this fucker finally stopped kicking. Can I move him to the goner pile, Doc?"

"Yeah, that one took a healthy whiff, right there in the front trench. Mark him and move him, he's a goner."

"Do they always twitch around like this? Fucker kept grabbing his face too."

"Tabun's a nerve agent, lotta spasms, and the poor bastard was probably trying to get his mask on, way too loving late. Tabun's horrible poo poo, stinks like rotten fruit, burns up your whole system. Those Iraqi pigs should fry in hell for using it, loving kufars. It's just wrong, just wrong."

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

DEAD STOCK: HARDLINES
1995 Words

I’d been waiting for the better part of an hour super dynamic to start with someone doing nothing when Tariq crossed the threshold clunky into the Golden Bean. I’d been on this Voidmart™ i personally hate the arch little tm's - i won't ping you for it, but what does it add? job for a little more than a year now. Even though my loyalties had changed it was still nice to see an old friend. that's nice!

“Clive!” He bellowed. A warm smile barely visible behind his beard. bad sentence fragment “How does this place treat you my friend?”

“Better than your barber has,” I laughed as he pulled me into a warm hug, “I swear the only thing thicker than your accent these days is your facial hair.” lolol yes let us have banter, fellow human being

“And the only thing deeper than your cover is the amount of poo poo you are in.” this is bad dialogue His smile melted he pulled back from our embrace. “There hasn’t been word from you in months.”

“Sit down Tariq,” I said taking my own what the poo poo is this grammatical construct you are laying upon me my dude it is not pleasing to my eyes , “Coffee is on me.” We hadn’t so much as settled into the sofa before Riley set down two small cups on the table before us.

“Qahwa seasoned with cardamom, ginger, and saffron.” I struggled to decide whether her learning Pashto or finding saffron was more impressive as she poured two cups, “Kha sehat walary shaghly.”

“Who do you think you are ndzhelkei,” Tariq chuckled, “that you would butcher the tongue of my people just to serve me coffee?”

“I'm so sorry sir.” Riley stumbled over her words as Tariq took a sip in an attempt to hide his grin.

“Relax ndzhelkei I am only joking. The only thing more flawless than your Pashto is this qahwa.” Tariq smiled through another sip as he looked to me. “I now see why you were so quick to go native.” i am pleased with the richness of either your research or your upbringing but i am also getting p bored at this time fyi

"Yeah, I've got a good thing going here.” I inhaled deeply. “Besides, I’ve always had a habit of siding with underdogs.” The warm blend of coffee and spice instantly transporting me back to the caves of Panjshir province. Caves filled with the hearty laughter of the insurgents I was there to support. The fact that I considered the Soviet-Afghan War to be ‘simpler times’ probably spoke volumes to my personality (a) finish sentences with a full stop you monghead (b) this is tellier than the worst poker player in middle school and (c) sentence fraaaaagmmennnnttssssss

“The Mujahideen were not underdogs my friend.” Tariq was terse reply, mojo was angry bold text “To business; I came here as a courtesy. Nulgreens has decided to scrap the spy games. They intend to take this place over and they intend to do so tonight.” ok this is literally the first thing that has happened luckily your dialogue and writing have been really oh wait

“Why tell me this?” I asked, thankful that Tariq owed me his life several times over.

“You can thank your cheerful little barista.” COMMA He stated SAIDBOOK dryly, ADVERB CHECK FAIL BLAM BLAM“It pains me to imagine a future without another cup of such delicious qahwa.”

“So I’m on my own then?” I questioned, SAIDBOOK “You’ve never been much of a spectator.”

“I assure you old friend I want nothing to do with this fight.” Tariq placed a comforting hand on my shoulder. “I just want to see you come through this in as few pieces as possible.” He downed his drink and made for the door.

I had work to do…

man i really got very little from the beginning of your story and i suspect...


The fortunate thing about working in a big box store is that there is no limit to the destruction you are capable of. Given a colorful imagination and carte-blanche appropriation of products for in-store-use even an otherwise hopeless person can be made into a formidable opponent. ...that you could have started it here. see how good this is as a first line? it pops.

With a skull full of bad ideas and a shopping list that would land me in several government databases I set to work preparing for the coming siege. Any operative with half a brain knows that rope can save your life in more ways than you can imagine, so I decided sporting goods should be my first stop.

I found the last bit we had being eyed pensively by some forgettable looking customer. Normally I was all about the Customer First ethos Voidmart™ made a fuss about. This was an issue of store security though, so without hesitating I snatched the last bundle of paracord from the shelf.

The stare that terrifying bastard why is he suddenly terrifying? gave me stopped me dead in my tracks. cliche A blank expression that seemed to don't have things seem to imo do or do not retell every horror story of what ffs this is nonsensical I had from my years of service with the Agency. For what felt like minutes I stared into the eyes of this customer; only faintly aware of the terrified scream spilling out of my chest. this is purple and dumb, a scream doesn't spill

“I’ll do without it.” I told the customer with the last bit of breath in my lungs, “You obviously need this more than I do.” this could have been a good scene, maybe, but the customer was uncharacterised, the action/reaction unjustified and the protag looked like an idiot

The rest of my shopping spree was fairly uneventful. cool, i was getting bored of stuff happening Even with the unreasonable influx of customers I managed to build myself a happy little arsenal of homebrew mayhem. OSHA wouldn’t be happy about my appropriation of fire extinguishers or the precariously balanced stacks of air conditioners placed at every point of egress, sesquipedelian! but I didn’t plan on living to see the consequences.

It was five minutes past the hour when I saw the convoy roll into the parking lot. Six obsidian black cargo vans peeled from their formation in an attempt to cover all the exits. The first team filtered bad verb, they are not an ideal gas through the main entrance.

Of the five man breaching team only two managed to escape the tumbling pile of air conditioners that came down on their heads as they burst into the store. I greeted the first of them with a cheerful “Welcome to Voidmart” and a swift knee to the face. His body went slack with the impact but not before shielding me from the barbs comrade’s huh? taser.

I could hear another team charging up from the rear. Outnumbered weird thing to say he's out numbered if there's more than one person I bolted for the break room, three of the invaders hot on my tail. cliche The closest catching my collar with a single finger as we crossed the threshold. sentence loving fragment also who cares

The stragglers were drenched in a mix of vegetable oil and Voidmart™ Genetically Enhanced Fury-Peppers propelled by a dozen or so fire-extinguishers rigged to the door. Cries of agony at being maced with the hottest peppers our corporate geneticists could legally sell this line gave me a faint smile drowned out my own as I caught a stun-baton to the kneecap.

I couldn’t help but think ugh that I was done for as my attacker raised his baton above his head. I was calmed by a faint breeze from somewhere behind me. Reality hit me just before my attacker’s baton. whaaaat I grabbed his wrist and threw him over my shoulder.

THWUMP

He let out a Wilhelm scream NO as he was pulled into the tube leading deep into the catacombs below the store. The other two were too busy tripping over themselves in a genetically modified inferno of capsaicin. Only a handful left. I thought returning to the sales floor.

My emergence was met by two more Nulgreens goons with tasers drawn shouting commands to halt. Having previously experienced a couple million volts In the X26 Taser system the voltage peaks at 50,000 volts and when it reaches the body it is substantially less. The volts are responsible for delivering the amps. Taser runs off 0.0021 amps at average performance shooting through me I obliged.

“You got me, the Jig NO is up.” Disappointment clear in my voice who is listening to him I continued, “I’ll comply with anything you ask. For the love of God though please don’t tase me bros.” oh get fuuuuuuucked

“They won’t,” a thick Afghan accent chimed in somewhere behind me, “Turn to face me traitor.”

Again I complied, dismayed to see Tariq standing with a shotgun aimed just a few feet from my face. so is the shotgun aimed a few feet to his left

“Seems like you’ve lost the high-ground spinay.”

“Why do you keep calling me ‘white-boy’ Tariq?” I’d dropped our previous cordial tone, “Wasn’t you who made declared me an honorary Pashtun all those years ago?”

“Things change old friend?” He shook the barrel of the shotgun as if to move me out of the way. “Now kiss the dirt and pray to Allah for a swift death.”

I covered my head with my hands as I went prone. No sooner had I buried my face in the linoleum before two loud blasts shook me to the core. I argued with the thought of whether a dead-man could flinch before mustering enough courage to look up.

“So I guess that’s that for not getting involved in this.” I sighed. Nulgreens’ goons lay on the ground, the unfortunate victims of bean-bag rounds to the stomach.

“You do not then understand how rare good qahwa is in this part of the world then.” Tariq joked SAIDBOOK as he pulled me to my feet. “Now assess me as to the situation.” i like this line which makes it unique in you story dialogue wise

“Twenty-five hostiles. Five unconscious, two incapacitated.” One of my attackers groaned. Tariq knocked him out with the butt of his shotgun.

“Fine. Six incapacitated.” I laughed as I ran a checksum on my statement, “Oh and one more thwumped.”

Tariq raised an eyebrow at the addendum.

“I honestly don’t know what it does outside of the sound it makes.” I told him. My statement was puzzled as his expression. ok that's a little haha

“So should we need to make a stand...where would you suggest we do so?” Tariq asked.

“Lawn And Garden is a safe bet.” I replied, “Though ‘safe’ is relative. I avoid that department like the plague.”

“Clive Barton afraid of some harmless foliage?” My comrade joked.

“Harmless is not the word I would use buddy.” He saw my sincerity instantly, “If you buy a plant at Voidmart odds are it is deadly toxic.”

“I see…”

“Or insatiably carnivorous…”

“Lets not see for ourselves then.” COMMAAAAAA He told me as if it had been his plan all along.

Most of Nulgreens’ invasion force was routed without much effort. HURRAH It was only in the clearance aisle of hardlines that we met real resiStance. Crounching behind dead-stock doomed to collect dust in this retail purgatory I found myself praying to the CEO and Allah to spare me a similar fate.

An explosion roared above us. All manner of useless and forgotten goods cascaded down upon us.

“It appears that our former colleagues no longer intend to play nice.” He chuckled. “Which is a shame, because I am all out of ammunition.” Tariq punctuated his statement by pumping his shotgun and pulling the trigger.

I nearly went deaf from the following blast.

“I apologize old friend,” He said through a laugh that belied premeditiation. “NOW I am out of ammunition!”

Are you a former spy pinned down by rocket fire in an aisle of useless product? Voidmart™ asked us from on high.

Tariq’s cackling grew louder, “Your PA is...”

Then check out our selection of overstock PVC and camping accessories for all your DIY rocket launcher needs.

“Oddly specific,” he said surveying the merchandise around us, “but at least she is extremely helpful!”

Six feet of plastic tubing and a dozen propane tanks later we were ready to fight back.

“So you wanna play this Tariq?” I inquired.

“Jalalabad is coming to mind.” He responded, hefting a PVC tube onto his shoulder.

“Goddamn I’ve missed you.” I declared with a slap of his shoulder.

Jamming a steel kabab into the valve of the first tank I shouted “Clear” before slamming a pipe cap over the back end of of our DIY bazooka.

THUNK

The first rocket missed by just enough to save us. The tank ignited an endcap of fireworks, illuminating the area in a shower of brilliant white sparks.

THUNK

The second struck true, ravaging an endcap of Promethium brand lighter fluid and making hellfire of everything in the immediate area.

THUNK

The third found purchase in bulk foods and restaurant supplies. Immediately tearing a hole in an industrial sized barrel of peanut oil and setting half of the store alight.

Any of the invaders not fleeing from embarrassment could be heard barking orders for their colleagues to do so. Voidmart™ had survived its first hostile takeover.

“Just like Jalalabad.” I said. Smug satisfaction carved into my features I looked to my old spy buddy. “I’m guessing you’re in the market for a new job then?”

“I am not a betting man.” Tariq responded, “But on that I would be willing to wager.”

“If you’re interested I could probably pull some strings and land you a gig here.”

“That depends spinay.” his face was deadpan. It was that poker face that made me glad Islam counted gambling as one of its greater sins.

“On what?”

“What would be my discount on that fantastic qahwa?” lolololOLOLOLOLolol im literally laughing over here


This was really pretty extremely bad and would probably have lost/DMd (maybe it did, idk). the core of the story, dude is visited by old buddy on other side, fight occurs, old buddy swaps side, is adequate if agonisingly cliche but you don't come close to pulling it off. A few nice lines in there, and I like some of the images.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Nov 4, 2016 around 00:16

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Ironic Twist posted:

NEXT THUNDERTOME BOOK okay I'll give you what you want, fuckers



8 pm, November 11th, Friday

Just a reminder, Goons on Dunes will take place in a little over a week. The saltiness must flow.

SkaAndScreenplays
Dec 11, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


sebmojo posted:

This was really pretty extremely bad and would probably have lost/DMd (maybe it did, idk). the core of the story, dude is visited by old buddy on other side, fight occurs, old buddy swaps side, is adequate if agonisingly cliche but you don't come close to pulling it off. A few nice lines in there, and I like some of the images.

Thanks for the crit Seb.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at Nov 4, 2016 around 02:29

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


SkaAndScreenplays posted:

Thanks for the crit Seb - doubly so since it was a crit that was already claimed.
I'm glad some of the things that I felt good about worked and I'm not surprised some of what I wasn't sure about didn't.
Sorry about the piss poor proof-reading/lovely grammar. I'm working on some way to not gloss over all these blatantly obvious mistakes I make.


dont respond to crits no one cares why u wrote bad write good next time

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

three more crits going - to do them within 48 hours

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Prompt: https://youtu.be/aZuI3ZkCHfs

(594 words)

Transfer Request

Dear Executive Dartboard Operator,

I work as the secondary assistant P.R consultant of The Glass Tunnel Salt Mining Company.
I’m a good employee, I turn off all the phones when I clock in on the abacus.
"If you don't have a way to listen, you won’t have to listen!" Mr. Ditch, my retired mentor from the old office, gave me this solid advice every morning.
He would usually be sitting behind me, mumbling and drooling, and typing a one page book about the clemency of the salt-of-the-earth middle class,
or some last-rites poo poo appropriate for men his age-I don't know.

As you know, when half of the staff decides to shoot themselves in the head, those packs of big eyed puppies pass to my end of the office.
They swarm in from some godforsaken, affordable part of ancient history, and they-ohfuck it’s one of them now!

Anyway. I follow company procedure for dealing with delicate issues like this. In keeping with precedent, I put on a burn victim mask and hide underneath my desk.
Ditch is senile so he’s got automatic immunity from questioning. The same stupid kid (or his sister) would come in asking about dead mother’s desiccated blah blah blah, or missing father’s ashes in the hot dog cart salt shaker- you know the drill.

If those little petition paper-boat hat wearing nags see me playing dead, I follow code red protocol and play techno music on the radio.
If that doesn’t work, I smash said radio on the floor shouting, “I'm sorry! The radios busted! I can't help you right now! Try the door on the left, take a step without looking, and you’ll find your way out."
I follow these parameters to a tee. The company standard for excluding boredom from the accounting office is in my Bible footnotes. I tell you this, because obviously, I follow these rules.

I deserve a transfer.

As you guys know, Ditch scarfed down way too much government funded PEZ and it put him in untimely catatonia. Somehow this made you shift me to an office right next to the front doors. Let me tell you about the front doors. I got my name on a door and I thank you for that (thanks for the Speed in the water cooler too), but now,
no one will leave me alone. Dry-skinned workers wanting retirement keep banging on my stairwell. It’s annoying! I can’t help them because I can’t tell who is old from who is crippled.

Whole mobs of little lawyer children hit me up for lawsuits now, due to my proximity to-ick-sunlight. I wear designer glasses so--NEWSFLASH--I can’t do anything about small boring font or Mandarin legalese. Finally, because I’m sitting rear end pointed out, every salt shaker salesman is rear-ending me with offers of THE NEW HOT PINK SALTSHAKERS, For girls, and boys who want to be girls. Or so says their pretzel cartoon mascot with his pedophilic smirk. Also, I can't stand this new throne; it doesn’t flush as good as the other one.

Bottomline:

I heard security has a position open where you can beat the poo poo out of someone with a crowbar. If I understand that correctly: I can get into scuffles with those accused of stealing another employee’s lunch. I’d love to bathe in blood, and beat skulls in. I’ll take the pay cut if I get cutbacks in the micro-aggression budget. I’ll do anything to not take another letter from another sweaty Jane Fonda lookalike, whining about no handicap parking.



Kisses,

J.R Ditch Jr.

01/01/SALT

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

sebmojo posted:

three more crits going - to do them within 48 hours

Why in the Blood God's name is this offer still on the table? I'll take one for this story if three other people don't speak up.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

sebmojo posted:

three more crits going - to do them within 48 hours

Yeah, since no one has grabbed these, would you kindly take a look at this one?

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

sebmojo posted:

three more crits going - to do them within 48 hours

May I have a crit on this one?

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


signups are closed! i advise you all to reread the prompt post and this post to see what i want!

i look forward to you all disappointing me!

vintagepurple
Jan 31, 2014

by Nyc_Tattoo


Prompt: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hELte7HgL2Y

Butterfly Sails
618 words

Long ago there was a sailor from Languedoc, named Guilhèm. During one battle, when the carnage had all but become too much for him, he lept from the deck and took flight. He couldn’t explain what had possessed him to jump from the deck, and he had no intention or expectation of flight. Under normal circumstances this would have earned him strange looks and perhaps a flogging. But instead, he flew.

He circled upwards, and far on the horizon he spied the ship. Made of a bright red wood and crowned with a masthead in the shape of a butterfly, this was no ordinary ship. Its sails were gone, and instead a team of enormous butterflies were lashed to the mast, pulling it through the air. There were no cannons on deck or gun-ports below, and Guilhèm flew as fast as he could towards the ship.

The butterflies flew faster, though, so Guilhèm resolved himself to a long flight. He could intercept the ship when it next made port. He made westwards in its wake, dreaming of what sort of exotic landscapes such a ship must sail to. After two days in the air it became clear that Guilhèm now needed neither food nor rest. Perhaps flying was much more efficient than the gruelling activities normal man could do.

A few more days into the flight, a dolphin descended from the clouds and took flight alongside Guilhèm for a while.
“Guilhèm, hello,” it said. “What’s possessed you to make a flight like this?”

Guilhèm was not as shocked as he once would have been, and tried to respond. But no words came from his lips. It felt like sea mist had filled his body, making him lighter than air but unable to force words through his lips.

“I know you feel like this is an escape from where you were. Heaven knows we dolphins don’t like wars or fighting. But let me tell you, you should slow down. Look at me, look all around you. Not every mortal gets the chance to sail the skies.”

Guilhèm knew he’d sail further and faster in the ship. But he couldn’t tell the dolphin, so it continued.

“I know I can’t choose your course for you, but you’ll get where you’re going, eventually. This journey you can only make once. Come up into the clouds with me, or visit the depths of the sea. Turn left or right and see lands far beyond your native coasts.” The dolphin took one last, long look at him. “Very well then, friend. Farewell.” It turned and swam back up above the clouds.

No more companions visited Guilhèm, and after a week he spied the ship again. It floated low towards the sea, and at the edge of a green coast with purple mountains far beyond, just visible on the horizon.

Happily he descended down towards the ship. But he fell faster and faster. He was so close to the sea now. Too close! Too fast! He was going to land far short of the ship. He tried to twist in the air, he tried to call out. But he was stuck in some aerial current, stuck mute and numb, and with great speed he slammed head-first into the ocean.

The fate of the butterfly-sailed ship no one knows, but the last mortal to see Guilhèm was a fellow, who murmured a prayer for the youth who stood in the path of the cannonball. The boy was taken straight in the neck, and for a handful of long seconds his head careened into the air, eyes cast about in fear and mouth straining for breath, before it slammed hard into the water and was gone.

Okua
Oct 30, 2016


Prompt music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFpIMLL9V0c#t=78s
How Birds Are Born (760 words)

The poster above the train seats explains what birds are. The letters are bright and large enough that even the children, loosely strewn around the floor, can read helpful tips: ”A BIRD HAS WINGS. A BIRD HAS TWO EYES. SOMETIMES THEY HAVE BEAKS, AND THEY LIVE IN TREES.” The guide accompanying my little kindergarten trip ignores the posters and painted buzzards. He seems to care only for his assortment of pickaxes.
I grip Sarah's tiny hand a little tighter, and she looks at me, squinting. Her first time at a feather-farm, even though she’s older than the other kids. She stares at the painted toy animals they play with, but when she reaches for a miniature mouse, her hand is swatted away.
"Hey now," I say, trying to sound like the responsible teacher I’m supposed to be. "Let her be. Go have a look at the sharks instead, okay?"
With excited squeals, the kids run to the windows, suddenly reminded that we're about to pass under the lake. It is as blue as bug-wings and the bellies of its lazy fish. As the train turns, the boys admire the air-bubbles caught in the feathers that line the entre exterior. Sarah crawls into a corner and crams the mouse into her mouth in the usual manner to get to the gooey candy insides. Eyes that are not like mine or anybody else's peer out from the shadow of her red cloak, second eyelids blinking irregularly - also in the usual manner.
The train shudders as it emerges from the lake and coos happily to itself as it slows, window-membranes quivering. I count the kids on the platform once they’re in their usual cheery line. A pickaxe-armed guide takes us in along a worn path, up across low ridges and into the woods.
"We're almost there," I tell Sarah. "What kind of bird do you think we'll find?"
"Owl!" she exclaims. ”Like my plush!”
“And where’s your plush now?”
“Gone. But my ma kept th’ eyes.”
Turning to the guide, I ask, "What kind of bird today?"
He shrugs, broad lumberjack shoulders rising and falling. "We'll see," he says. "Over there's them first trees."
These trees are black, the trunks thin though still beset with familiar bulges and pustule-like growths. They bop back and forth. They swell.
"These are corvids," says the guide, "not ready yet."
Further on, the first egg technicians wander around in their white and yolk-yellow costumes, gently tending to their crop. Their wicker baskets overflow with eggs, white and pink. They do not look at us, but wave at each other in passing.
We approach trees taller than grown men with branches twisting in every direction, steel-grey, leafless. The ground is marked by footprints as the technicians take good care of the plants in this last stage of their life. Bark distends rhythmically as the bulges move.
"Quiet," I tell my children, and in the silence, we can her clacking of beaks and faint, faint rasping sounds, synchronized with the swelling and shrinking.
The guide swings a particularily light pickaxe.
The tree splits with a sound like an eggshell cracking. Round, wide-eyed bird-heads poke out, competing for space until the first ones take flight, and then they come out one after another, owl after perfect owl, finally born. They are a little wet, tree sap still clinging to large feathers, but they'll shake it off quickly. A living cloud blathers in bird-language above us. I am close enough to smell their rich scent and feel their wings brush past my face. Sarah, clinging to my leg, yells -
"Want one!"
But even though I could grab the last rotund birds straight out of the air - I don't. They are too beautiful in the golden late-afternoon light, castng blue shadows on the lake.
When it is over, Sarah lingers by the empty trunk.
I tell the kids to go, too distracted by Sarah's mumbling to come along. When I turn to her, she is crouching in the grass, hood pulled up so that the doll-eyes sewn onto the back of it are watching me. They blink.
"What'd you find?" I ask her softly.
She stands up and shows me what she found on the bottom of the crack, in the depth of the tree-trunk. The bird that didn't make it. She cradles the half-formed owl-creature as it lies in her arms, one-legged and sticky with one eye bulging out far more than the other. I don’t know if that owlet smiles, but I am certain that she does.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Flash: Character Needs to Learn When to Shut Their Mouth
Song: Some Shovel Knights Thing

Creative Disobedience
Words: 635

John was a coworker of mine who’d fallen victim to ‘reductions in human resources,’ effectively booting him out of his pricey hillside home. On John's last day, he invited everyone in our department to scavenge his garage and take whatever we'd liked, free of charge.


The garage was mostly filled with old furniture, but a jar sitting on a bar table managed to catch my interest. Spun from a glittery black clay and painted with a shiny lacquer, it stood out from the otherwise mundane clutter. I called over to John.


“Hey, John, I actually found something I like in all of your junk!”


I held up the jar. John looked over and stared at me with this odd expression.


“I’d really hate to part with that, Nathan. Would you mind finding something else?” John asked.


“I don’t know, Johnny boy. This is an awfully nice piece. Would be perfect for my living room.”


I didn’t care that much about the jar, but John promising us anything for free and recanting irked me.


“Nathan, please, I have a lot more pottery. In fact, I’ve got this lovely vase somewhere that I’m sure you’ll like much better.”


I turned the jar over in my hand.


“What’s so special about this thing anyway, Johnny boy?”


“It was my grandmother’s. Now put it back and find something else.”


John grit his teeth.


“Fine,” I said.


I wandered around the garage, unable to find that vase John promised. I looked back at the jar. John needed to repay my wasted gas with something. While he was busy talking to some other guy, I snuck the jar under my jacket and slipped out.


“I never liked that ol’ Johnny boy anyway,” I thought.


***


I put the jar on my coffee table and plopped down in front of the tube. Some stupid sitcom played and I zoned out.


The picture on the television screen smeared together, almost as if I had tears in my eyes. I rubbed my face, yet when I looked back at the TV the image had only become more distorted. Then I noticed it wasn’t just the boobtube.


I scanned the room. It’s hard to described, but everything looked runny, and faded. I glanced at the jar and found its glittering form unaffected.


“What the hel-”


A streak of a syrupy fluid dribbled down my chin, cutting my words short. The back part of my mind could tell what it was, but the frontend of my brain refused to accept it. I touched my hand to my face and gently pulled back. A string of upper lip clung to my fingers.


I sprang up. Bits of flesh flew from my body, but they didn’t behave how one would expect melting flesh to behave. They maintained their pale color, like I was nothing but pasty white skin to the core.


An off-white hunk of slime that had been part of the ceiling slammed into the carpet, splashing me with motley colored splotches. I sprinted for the door as my house and person dissolved. I smacked my fist against a dripping brown frame and cried in horror when my hand snapped from my wrist.


I slumped down. Out of the corner of my eye was the vase, its form pristine. I’d abandoned the living room, but the vase was still there to taunt me.


“You did…”


***


John daubed his turpentine-soaked sponge against what remained of Nathan’s frightened expression. The once masterfully crafted still-life had been reduced to an abstract smear of oil paints. John smirked. Disobedient little paintings were worth neither his time nor talent.


Nathan’s pupils were still darting around his ruined world when John blotted the last of his being out. John swirled his brush clean in a black jar before taking out another canvas to try again.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


i forgot to say this but please link your song in your submission post it helps make our friendly archivist's job just that little bit easier!

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


Week 220 (Voidmart) crits, Part 2

18. Aisle C-U-L8R

- Good opening line, it piqued my interest.

- This story is a good example of when “show, don’t tell” goes too far. It’s vague. The description, the streaming thought patterns, the perspective/time jump—really the narration as a whole—is too loose and airy for the reader to want to invest in.

- First person present tense is often good, but it doesn’t work well in this particular story. It gives your piece a disjointed, overly subjective, stream-of-consciousness feel. The style contributes to the piece not seeming anchored to anything objective enough for the reader easily to grasp what is going on. With a re-read or two, the reader *can* piece it together. But even though the piece has its poignant elements, the high amount of mental effort necessary to fully appreciate them doesn’t pay off enough.

19. Cut Pills, Bargain Thrills

- Good opening line.

- Typos abound! You can do better than this at proofreading.

- Couldn’t the MDMA ravers just use a test kit? Never been to a rave, but isn’t that XTC-buying 101?

- Seems like there are more secure places to discuss raiding Voidmart Pharmacy than inside Voidmart.

- “Carefully, on tip-topes, they crept inside… Perhaps they did.” Say what?

- The term “whistleblower” typically applies to insiders within the company revealing secrets to the press or government. It doesn’t refer to unaffiliated investigators or citizens who discover something.

- The sudden shift to magical realism with “broken dreams” as a drug ingredient is jarring.

- On a positive note, the annoying employee saving the day was a nice touch. I also notice that you took care to make your characters distinct, so good job with that.

- “Lance sat back down on the chair, to which he was still tied to.” See the problem? I think you mean “to which he was still tied.” Please brush up on English grammar and devote more time to proofreading.

- Sorry, but your story doesn’t quite work. It’s loaded with basic composition errors and the story seems poorly thought out.

20. Distractions

- A great many stories this week consisted of people running or searching through various wacky Voidmart departments. Yours was maybe the most egregious of these. Nobody wants to read that much worldbuilding.

- There wasn’t so much content as fluff. The forward motion in the story was literal, that is, the protag is physically moving from department to department, but actual plot progression was rather stagnant.

- Your protag isn’t likeable enough for the reader to care very much about his quest to find an appropriate gift.

- The ending doesn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the piece.

21. Chasing the Dragon

- Your title is itself a cliché.

- You fell into the now-well-worn trap of listing zany items that Voidmart has to sell, as if that isn’t the obvious and trite thing to do.

- Not much of a clear resolution.

- What’s the point of the yellow sticky note? Is the note supposed to identify Jenny as the CEO or was it just some random memo from the CEO that Fred only saw a part of?

- This piece is more world building than story.

22. Claims Adjustment

- It’s cool that the vent creature seems to be physically adapted to crawling through the vents.

- The premise is good, but the piece is wanting for a more conventional plot structure. There is too little conflict or rising action. Certainly not a dramatic climax. There is description and clarity, so I’ll give you that. Still, the gulf between what you could’ve done plot-wise with such a cool premise and what you actually did is so vast it makes for disappointment.

- The ending is decent, but would have felt more satisfying having been built from a more solid plot foundation.

23. Lifting the Veil

- I don’t think that it’s reasonable to assume a 1:1 correspondence between (secret) extra floor space of a store and how much in taxes that store is evading.

- Story could have been a lot tighter. It’s not like the plot or characterization were so complex that the piece needed 1800 words to breathe.

- Loop ending is lame.

24. Ascent

- Second person present works for me just fine.

- You were inconsistent with tense. You switched to perfect tense for no reason: “You marched against a swarm of flamingoes…”

- Oh great, another story that includes a customer navigating the store and witnessing zany things.

- The ending is great. It’s emotionally resonant and satisfying. Good job.

25. Gainful Employment

- Prose is good.

- This story is tough to crit because it is an unusual case of I don’t fully understand what’s going on, but I somehow still like it.

- So I take it that Marcus and the book club ladies are all undead. It seems like the books themselves can impact actual reality too? That’s the best I can come up with, so good job if that’s what you were trying to convey. If not, your story was too vague.


26. Russell Saves Voidmart

- Please don’t open your stories with “My name is [protagonist].”

- Okay Enos is interesting and so are his apparent dimensional abilities.

- A little telly in places, like, “I can tell right away she's nuts.”

- Okay, you’ve got a good, exciting plot here. The concept with n-dimensional space functions well and is creative.

- You took the road less traveled in that your protag actually likes Voidmart. I suppose you could’ve hinted better at why he feels that way. But still, you deserve props for breaking away from the pack.

- Satisfying resolution. Well done.

27. No Evil

- Interesting concept. I like the idea of you making “see the world in a new way” literal, while also alluding to the fact that some medicinal treatments for depression can themselves cause suicidal ideation.

- Okay, given that Evan has been contemplating suicide, you do a good job establishing the stakes.

- Not a whole lot of conflict here, but the interesting premise and poignant execution of that premise more than make up for it.

- Wow, brilliant ending.

28. The feeling behind the feeling

- “we can almost certainly solution your…” Solution as a verb. Well you’ve got the corporate jargon down.

- “Mr Jones, Jay, you are what we call a high intensity customer…” The humor here works well. There is a funny kind of irony involved in characters being explicit about things normally kept in the background of a conversation.

- My main gripe is that your story centers around a customer bantering with a smarmy employee who herself mainly serves to introduce another smarmy employee.

- Your ending is a bit of a head scratcher. It’s unclear to me whether you’re suggesting that the answer which found Jebediah was that he doesn’t really need to seek answers, or if the answer instead was that he needs to die, hence the trap door.


29. The Plunge

- Reading 550-ish words seemed like it would be a welcome change after so many stories spent close to 2000 guiding us on a wacky tour through Voidmart. But at the end of your piece I was disappointed there wasn’t more. It’s evident that you ran out of time and if you find yourself in a similar situation in the future, do consider running past the deadline and fleshing out the story, even if you get the DQ. That way, to the extent that your piece gets crits, it will get crits on the whole completed version, which I suspect will help you grow more as a writer. As it stands now, I’m seeing an unfinished story that teases something interesting but doesn’t deliver, coupled with a protagonist who is more of a witness than an agent in the story he’s narrating.

30. Customer Service

- “The chalk sketch showed a collar of woven gold and amber so exquisite that Genevieve forgot Voidmart entirely for a moment, caressing the paper, imagining the reality. The soldier brought her back to herself with a rap on the glass.” Minor gripe, but the way you wrote this suggests that mentally she left Voidmart but not necessarily herself, so when you say ‘back to herself’ it sticks out.

- It is a cool little detail of the setting that the basement jewels are organized in descending order of value.

- Ah, it was a joy to realize the Norse connection at Fenrir and then retrospectively grasp the significance of the one-eyed veteran and the necklace singing with the echo of dwarven hammers.

- This was lively and fun. The imagery was good; I could picture the gems glittering in fine detail.

31. Lost and Found

- I like the idea of someone’s life negatively being impacted by living next to Voidmart.

- The prose is way too purple. Please dial it back, at times it feels almost desperately florid.

- “She was resigning herself to the idea that the only way to know for sure was to wait.” It seems like the perfect tense would have fit better here than the imperfect.

- “The natural assumption was that he’d left her.” At this point in the story I concluded that he probably hadn’t left her, so I impatiently began to wait for the plot to move forward enough for Marta to find him again. It took a while.

- The story first starts to get interesting when Marta tells the customer service assistant that he is disgusting.

- “…the sagging beer gut that she had grown old with would have quite literally stuck out.” You ruin what would have been an amusing pun by inserting the unnecessary phrase “quite literally.” Trust your audience to catch the joke without needing it explained to them that “stuck out” is both literal and figurative.

- “She sniffed, and knew immediately that it was the same smell she’d missed during her night alone.” Wait what? I don’t see any prior setup for having missed a smell.

- The pacing slows far too much in the second half when you focus on setting descriptions.

- At last the realization that the queue is a farm for surplus feelings makes the story interesting once again.

- I’m not detecting the same level of poignancy that the other judges seem to have found in your piece.

- The ending works.

- Yours is a story that could be good with major revision. Dial back the prose, tighten the pacing, double down on the poignancy, put more effort into setting up “the same smell she’d missed,” and you’ll have a solid work of fiction here. In its current form, it would have made more sense for this piece to HM than win.

32. Secrets of a Small Family


- The language is sterile, emotionally distant. Consider: “While I love my wife and all, sometimes her methods are questionable. However, I am inclined to agree that maybe our son needs a hobby besides work.”

- This should be an emotionally resonant story given the subject matter, but the writing style has the feel of a textbook, specifically in the first half of the story.

- Guy is worried about son, gets magic knife, twist: it reveals surprise affairs among the spouses. This story is a good example of how just having a twist isn’t good enough. Readers need to care about the characters and/or plot for a twist to be worth anything. Your piece is light on giving reasons to care about the characters and the plot hardly exists apart from the twist itself.

33. Special Promotions

- This piece suffers from too much laundry listing of Voidmart oddities. Some of the humor lands but much of it is overwrought in piling on the wackiness.

-Your story is a by-the-book character decides to follow a trail of bread crumbs beetles. Along the way she stops being by-the-book and lies her way from department to quirky department. At last she finds a skeleton instead of the evidence she was looking for, so rather than risk termination from her current job in the face of that failure, she decides to join Voidmart. The good news is that you do set certain parts up well, including the ending (we know she needs a new job because she was already on thin ice with the old one). But the placing was too slow to hold the reader’s interest well.

Armack fucked around with this message at Nov 6, 2016 around 07:14

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Week 222 Submission - Deliver Us From Bad Prompting (Surrealism)

Sky’s Reprise
696 Words


Undertale OST: 071 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBhFHJMVfiI


Harvest the skin. It will be my skin. Harvest the meat. It will be my meat. Harvest the bone, the sinew, the horns. They will be our tomorrow. Fire dances across the glass; and in that instant, my spine stutters under the eaves of my skull. But the ram’s eye only reflects life. I have extinguished the internal. Tranquility in the light of outside design, for the animal is still; but I will these bones to move.

Dragged to purpose by the bull, horns rut under the earth, guided by my hand behind the bleached-bone plow. The colorless petals on the wilted stems crumble to dust. The motes spread across the loam. Every moment sacrifices a sliver of the known to create the unknown, unsculpting the stone. I drop the pebbles into the furrow and bury them, planting new futures.

The hills bake. Through the rippling air, I walk my fathers’ path towards myself. My skin is a palimpsest scraped until my blood is illegible. I refuse to read the parchment before me. I fear seeing the fire inside and reflecting nothing. But the voice is a whirling dervish and the words spin until they shred.

“When the crab skitters on the beach, its options are boundless. The crab doesn’t choose. It conducts its business, then returns to the water. What would you do with more legs? They are a distraction. You know this is not a footpath but a riverbed. Feel the water around your ankles and set your feet forward until you are swept along.”

The heat of breath is on my neck as the roar gathers. The fury is the rending of the mantle. The lie of the stream reveals its truth in molten rivulets that build upon themselves until I can’t hold the fiery mane on my shoulders and am borne down into the mouth.

Light becomes dark as fire cools to stone and I am the unblemished block. I hear the steady heartbeat of hammer on chisel until I am shaped. The sculptor wears the face of my mother before time carved its own lines. I am refractions in her diamond facets, split into bands of color.

Her whisper rides the austers. “You remember my eyes twice. One is false, but which can you release to lighten your burden? Does green weigh more than blue? I was and am only what you make of me. Allow yourself to choose.”

Choice expands as bituminous miasma leached from the scorpion’s sting. Bubbles snap in slow motion, engulfing the prismatic me. Green and blue sink and vanish. I struggle, scattered and incomplete, to reassemble. Pieces I once thought essential are drowned as reds and oranges, pinks and yellows, recombine into my vital spectrum.

Infra swirls into ultra and the poison burns away under the penetrating arrow of light. I am alone, but reforged whole. My skin is cool and pliant, but the glow of keen fire hearths within my eyes. My ears are restored and words no longer a whirlwind. I am a quiver for the arrow. My mouth is the bow. “Home.”

The bedrock bleats in harmonics as I hurl ever upwards through the foundations of sweeping mountains. Cliffside goats echo the call as I meet them, scaling the impossible ledges as we race to the chiming of the crystalline summit. Rock feels as air and I pass through the peak. I remain complete.

Frost twinkles starlight in my hair as it builds and melts away. The droplets linger in my wake, summoning each other into wisps. More and more, until the clouds are a billowing family. I swoop down and gather the old dust of the path to meet the stratus in tearful reunion.

I recede to my harrowed acre as joyous tears form dorsal fins and caudals. They swim to meet the earth. The old ram sidles up; shakes his matted fur, and laps at the first puddle. I feel the tilled soil on my face as I lay in the field. I watch the blue raindrops splash and green sprouts break through. I’ve forgotten how many times I shall do this, but I always remember the white blossoms.

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Pickle Me This Doopliss Battle - Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
741 Words

Nick was in a pickle.
The pickle in question was not as salty as the average pickle, but more sweet and savory, and would work well with some paté on a soft piece of bread. That did not change the fact that he was stuck inside a pickle. He'd been in there for a few days now, and it wasn't that bad, except there was a disturbing lack of soft bread and paté. He actually felt quite at home in this sweet-smelling, moist, 'Bahia'-colored space.

There normally weren't many sounds generated by a giant pickle, and Nick had spent his time in there mostly just hearing his own chewing, and the squishing of his boots on the moist floor. He liked the tranquility, so the tink-tink-tinking sound that he'd been hearing for the last few hours were getting on his nerves. Not only was it disturbing the pickled peace he was enjoying, but it was growing larger as he ate himself forward. He hoped that whatever was making the racket would stop soon.

As Nick got lost in thoughts about how lovely this place was, he did not notice the 'Bahia' turn 'Christi', then 'Vida Loca'. It was the difference in, then sudden lack of, texture that brought him out of his reverie, and into the 'Mako'.

The ghost did not seem surprised when Nick fell through the 'Green Leaf' skin of the pickle. In fact, Nick thought as he viewed the creature from his position sprawled on the hard cave floor, the lack of sheets it was wearing made it less of a ghost, and more of a ghoul. He couldn't be sure though; it could be what a ghost looked like under the sheets. What he could be sure of was that the ghost-ghoul, with it's oversized pickaxe, was the source of the tinking that had so vexed him up until now.

Nick stood up and regarded the scene around him. He was in a giant cave, and along every wall, standing, or hanging from ropes high up, were countless ghost-or-ghouls swinging away on pickaxes, mining the different veins of carrot, nougat, pancake, fish, and all the things abovegrounders enjoy. Outside the pickle the tink-tink-tink was very much more pronounced.

The ghoul-ghost next to Nick put down the pickaxe next to its harvest of cheese, and rang a square that it produced from one of its rotten boots. Soon, more creatures approached, and they quickly huddled together and talked in hushed voices.

They crowded together for a long minute, and eventually the discussion seemed to reach a conclusion. One was un-ceremoniously expelled from the throng, and sidled up to Nick on cautious toes. It stood, poised to run away at the slightest twitch, and bent sideways to give Nick a long sniff. A trembling hand slowly closed the gap between the two and pinched Nick, not really pleasantly, on his thigh. Seemingly satisfied with what it had sniffed and felt, the dank creature swept its finger across Nicks belly before putting it in its mouth. With a small nod, it then proceeded to dash back to the rest of the pack, where the chatter soon comenced.

Nick felt that the sniff and the pinch was a bit rude, but since he didn't want to be prejudice in case it was just their form of greeting, he thought it best to let it go. He had also decided that these creatures were, indeed, ghouls, since ghosts are incorporeal, and cannot really touch things.
Looking at the ghouls also made him remember that they were the ones who had placed him in the pickle to begin with, and he also realized that they had a tendency to eat human flesh.
Now, human flesh does not, like popular belief state, taste like chicken. It is actually much more nuanced, and some would even argue, though soon ridiculed, that it taste almost like soft bread with paté. This may or may not have influenced the ghouls' decision to put Nick in the pickle, but he decided not to stay and ask.

One thing people know about ghouls is, that due to being mostly rotten flesh, and bones, they can't run very fast. Another thing people know is, that their decomposed brain make them very stupid.

Nick knew both of these things, so he walked up to the nearest ghoul, asked for the directions to the surface, and then high-tailed it out of there.

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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Bradycardia
739 words
Flash rule: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J4rwPoRITlI


Cecily and I were shoe-ins for the Best Bomb contest because I was a great visionary and she was a great engineer. “I thought we could do the biggest, most powerful bomb,” I told her, “but it’ll only detonate if we fall out of love.”

“I can do that,” she said.

“Poignant, right?”

“Consider it done.”

Over the next few days she ransacked our house for equipment. She braided the chains of necklaces, beer tabs, and coat hangers into coils, gathered earrings, thumbtacks, and Tylenol for shrapnel, and as I was sleeping, scooped out my heart and set it at the center of the bomb. I invited all our friends over, and we sat on the basement steps, sipping cocktails and watching Cecily join flesh to trash with wires and veins. It was the kind of junkyard chic the judges couldn’t resist.

“We’re in it to win it,” I said to her, wrapping my arms around her. She tolerated the distraction, but resumed fiddling with the screws.

I’m in it to win it,” she said, not looking up from her work. “Just don’t blow it.”

---

I’d thought Cecily would be finished after that night, but instead she moved into the basement, obsessed with her creation. I spied on her from the upstairs landing, watching her stroke the smooth chrome sides of the bomb, serenity blooming on her face. At night she’d refuse to come to bed. Instead she laid out a hammock under the stairs, where she’d sleep, cradling the bomb.

I missed her. I ventured down into her lair, and upon the noise of my footsteps she startled. She’d been anointing the bomb with a pitcher full of oil, humming a ballad that had dominated the radio the year Cecily and I met. “It’s just me,” I said. “Why don’t you come to bed?”

“Oh, honey,” she said, “I’ve still got work to do.”

“You can’t take one night off? You know, sometimes it helps me to take some time away--”

“Right, you’d know, with all the work you do.”

The bomb shook once, vibrating on the work table. Cecily tensed. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s a little volatile right now. It just needs some adjustments, a little care, some--”

“Love?”

Another shake.

“Let’s put a pin in this,” she said. “We’ll talk tomorrow, okay?”

I took a deep breath, preparing some rebuttal, but at the sight of her nervous regard of the bomb, I relented. “Okay,” I said. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she said. I couldn’t be sure who she meant: me or the bomb.

---

The next morning she’d posted a sign on the basement door: NO ENTRY.

I tugged at the doorknob, but she’d jammed the door shut tight. “C’mon, Cecily. What’s going on?”

No response, save for indistinct murmuring. I pounded at the door.

“I need to focus,” she said, and resumed the murmuring.

I went to the kitchen, grabbed a glass, and put it to the basement door. With its help, I could make out an arrhythmic, shuddering vibration, and snatches of Cecily’s voice, oh-so-quiet:

“...the weekend the power went out, and we lit candles, shared a sleeping bag, and…”

“...the hotel in Paraguay, when I got sick, and he held me all night…”

“...he was so beautiful back then.”

---

I brought out the old sleeping bag and laid it in front of the door, lying there, taking swigs from a bottle of Scotch. It must have knocked me out a little too well, because when I woke up in the morning, the door was ajar, and both Cecily and the bomb were gone.

For the rest of the day I lay on our living room couch in a hungover stupor, watching daytime TV when the phone rang, and the sheriff told me there’d been an explosion at the bomb festival. It had levelled the convention center, so the sheriff said she couldn’t be sure which bomb had gone off -- that it’d be months, maybe years, before she could.

“My condolences,” she said, and I thanked her politely.

I didn’t need her condolences. I knew Cecily hadn’t attended the show. The only possibility was that she’d eloped, jetting off somewhere distant with the bomb, attuned to its weird throbbing and errant moods, keeping it together thanks to the part of me inside. The lynchpin was the abandonment -- leaving me hoping, longing, and still in love.

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