A Garden in her Mind (149 words)
My mother grew beautiful things for years. Her mimosas would tickle my face and her jasmines brought a wonderful scent to our backyard. When I was twelve she branched into roses. Our patio was alive with color and the buzzing of bees and my mother, ever-present. She'd coo to her plants and I could tell it hurt her when she cut them back for the winter.
Things have been getting worse for a few years. When her mind started to go, her garden reflected it. At first, her beloved babies grew wild, ran rampant over a crumbling porch. Then, her babies died.
When I see her these days, she's tending to weeds. Se has the same love in her heart for them. They're spiky, unfriendly, and scentless, but she loves them. I don't have it in me to tell her, but why would I? I think in her heart she still sees roses and posies and and colorful, wonderful things.
|# ¿ Jul 25, 2016 18:41|
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2021 23:53|
*nods slowly* it looks im the one thats been owned
In, In, In, In
Next Step: Please let me know if this grotesque pile of waste is coming from me
|# ¿ Jul 26, 2016 04:02|
And now, for the next meeting of the THUNDERTOME BOOK CLUB, something a bit less dense, but no less good.
Ok I'm in for real this time. The Westing Game is one of my favorite books. Might be working, though.
|# ¿ Jul 26, 2016 04:10|
Ok I'm in for real this time. The Westing Game is one of my favorite books. Might be working, though.
Oh good, a whodunit spooky mystery from CKM. I wonder where your influences came from, you loving hack.
I'll be cashing in those 140 words, Muffin
|# ¿ Jul 29, 2016 01:17|
Attacking yourself eh? And here I thought it was just your stories that lacked a spine.
Just like the structure of your stories, these two sentences have nothing to do with one other. All you need is to insert another completely horrible protagonist into one for another DM.
Can I suggest an unlikeable Dutch womanizer since who the gently caress says 'eh' anymore and that seems to be your speed.
|# ¿ Jul 30, 2016 02:05|
Twitterbot Nightmare (1053 WORDS from 1000 + 140 WORDS)
Baby, we're Not Defined by Old Times.
"Is this grotesque pile of waste coming from me?!" Harold Pennington, in character, gestured to his pant leg. It was leaking stage feces.
Martha, his onscreen wife, gave him a confused chuckle. It was sharp and condescending. "Well? Sweetheart, did you forget your-?". She glanced at Harold's groin.
"You forgot your Dominance!"
Harold turned to the camera. He was beaming but his eyes weren't crinkling. He felt filthy. But, there was Blondie in his mind. After a pause, Harold picked up his lines. He grinned, dead-eyed. "Dominance! The only adult control garment for me!"
Cooper Darling, the director, cut the scene.
Harold played a pleated-khaki buffoon who climbed a ladder to reach a spice jar in his kitchen after forgetting to wear adult undergarments. Once, Harold Pennington had shown a thousand people what Shakespeare meant in Pericles.
The actor wiped the slurry of pea soup and canned beans from his shoes. He was squeezing it from a sock as the director approached.
Cooper Darling spoke calmly. "Look, Harold. I know this is different for you." Cooper came in closer and continued. "This isn't the theatre. We're filming, canning, and moving on."
Pennington began squeezing his other sock.
The director softened.
"How about we take the rest of the day off, okay?" Cooper shuffled and continued.
"It's a stupid commercial, you know? We're being cute about literal poo poo to get millenials to buy mom and dads' diapers." Pennington looked to be very concerned about his boots.
Darling continued, one last shot.
"Niche, right? For the internet? Look, people remember you from their parents' old days. You make an ironic commercial, we wrap in a couple of days."
Cooper walked a few steps, then turned back and put his hands in his pockets. "My Uncle Les loved you. I told him you were here. 'Best Laertes,' he said. I'll see you tomorrow."
Pennington hadn't said a word. He drove in recollection. The old life. Whiskey. The Barbaro. That old groove. Their corner table. New York Strips. Alicja.
He met Alicja when they were twenty-five. She told him she hated her own name. They took his corner table and she said, without a hint of irony, "Too Polish."
He called her Blondie. Four hours later, he touched the little traces of red lipstick she'd left on his earlobe. After a week, they were inseperable. After forty years, he'd slave for her.
Harold pulled into his carport.
He stepped cautiously into their foyer. Didn't want to wake Blondie. Pennington balanced himself on the walls. The shades were drawn. He used the walls to guide himself. His hands passed over little photos and framed correspondences and artifacts of their lives in shadowboxes.
When Blondie woke up, Harold was three tumblers into scotch and daydreaming. Years ago, they'd danced for hours, hopeless in love, her Swiss yellow hair whipping from side to side and kissing his face.
Blondie touched Harold in his half doze. Her hair was stringy and it brushed its little willow leaves across Harold's cheeks. He jerked awake and smiled. A real smile, with creases on his forehead and cheeks and nose.
Blondie settled into his lap. He spoke soft. "How's my sweetheart?" She was so light.
In her mind, Blondie was ready to bound into him, straddle him, match him. But today, she coughed hard and long and spat in a cup she kept. She studied Harold's face and wiped her mouth. Her nose was six inches from his.
"You hate what you're doing, Harold."
Harold spoke, perturbed. "I don't want to talk about this again, sweetheart." He leaned kiss her cheek, but Blondie pulled away.
She knew when Harold was hurting. She still wore lipstick for him. It left a sweet, cardinal red on his ear as she spoke:
"You're doing it for me, Harold. You hate what you're playing." Harold was silent.
She stroked his hair. "Do you remember the first week we met? We drank at that cheap place and you told me you were just an actor. You gave me a ticket." She let out a weak giggle. "Just one ticket. You decided to call me Blondie? Then, on opening day, you were Hamlet. Hamlet." She took a breath, she was sick.
"I had roses to give you after the show and you? You." She paused. Her mouth was getting dry. "You had a rose for me, too."
Harold put his head on Blondie's lap and she looked down.
"You can't be that poo poo coated caricature."
Harold's spoke softly. "How else will we pay? My days buy you days. My worst days can't compare to yours." He'd sat up. His arms were around Blondie's limp shoulders, now.
Blondie looked at their walls, the decorations, the prizes. Their Golden Age. She made up her mind and spoke to her husband.
"We need to leave the old things behind." Harold remained buried in her shoulder, his face in her skin's fine vellum. Harold frowned and she continued.
"Do you believe that, Harold? Do you believe we can leave it behind?" She pulled back a little and gave a smile through red-grey lips. They locked eyes. Soon, Harold was asleep. Blondie stayed up a little while longer, her fingers in his hair.
Harold Pennington finished the production the next day. Darling Cooper gave Pennington his check, a personal agency card, and thanked him for his professionalism.
He drove home in silence.
Harold walked in to a barer home with its shades open. The museum on their wall was gone. Blondie was awake and rosy on the sofa. She extended her hand.
She was wearing deep red with a hibicus in her hair. Like she had. She was, to Harold, radiant before the sun touched her. Blondie beamed as her husband sat down.
"Baby, I sold them. I sold them all."
Harold looked around. His friends were gone, the signatures and the silver record and every picture from a lifetime.
Blondie was here. She'd sold their fossils for money. Money for months. Blondie for months.
She leaned in close, her bones and joints creaking with the cancer that was eating her. She whispered close and left lipstick on Harold's ear.
"I'll always love you."
Harold laid his head deeper into her neck. Blondie whispered again.
"When I'm gone, baby, I need you to love yourself."
|# ¿ Jul 30, 2016 22:42|
A LIAR wants to LOSE WEIGHT
Thx for the invite Cannibal girls.
|# ¿ Aug 3, 2016 00:05|
Last week's crits, part one:
The rules I'm going by are SH's:
-Deviation from your prompt should be proportional to how good your story is.
-When it gets boring, I'll stop reading.
I'll read every story through and try and judge somewhat based on that.
Schneider Heim-Prisoners of Speed
Some of your dialogue reads like overdubs a foreign movie, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're consistent, but here you're not. You focused almost entirely on the rival part when the cheesemonger in your prompt is what I wanted to read about. I don't get it. They're a racing club that also likes cheese? Who doesn't like cheese?
All of the racer, none of the speed.
-A metal heart with pleasure fills/and dances with the daffodils
I thought the relationship between Anna and Huey was ok, but I didn't understand what made her turn around and flip Huey's voice back on. Was it because he was more annoying with the preprogrammed voice? And the idea of having A.I. in a vehicle is so bad it's almost criminal. I didn't feel any consequence in this story, either. Anna wanting to deprogram Huey was so casual that it took away your ending's impact.
For what it's worth, a couple of your jokes landed softly and the intro segment had a few genuinely charming moments.
I was genuinely intrigued by the idea of a resort compound housing a rock band, but your story didn't stay there. I kept hoping you'd go back to that plot point instead of hearing Chad wax poetic about beauty. Not covering it also gives your ending a lot less impact. I don't really know why the guards want to stop him from playing, or keep him inside, or if it's all just your protagonist being drunk. I thought it had the potential to be a lot more interesting. I couldn't find myself enjoying Chad at all. He sounded like a dab lounge comedian.
Needs a hard proofreading run and I never, ever catch that poo poo.
War is Hell
Well, I'm glad I stuck with this one. For a larger-than-life protagonist the story got dull enough to make me want to stop a few times. It looks like you were really excited to write about this protagonist but he was really, really long-winded. it got tiring to read after a while and I found myself skipping over his dialogue. Pyramids this, imps that. That said, the ending was the oldest gag ever but you got me in the right mood.
It's probably unconscious, but you use the word 'literally' too much. There are also a few spelling mistakes and lots of punctuation mistakes.
The Curse of Want
I stopped reading this just after the break. You had a really golden premise, one of the more straightforward prompts in the whole pool. There's so much unnecessary worldbuilding in the first section. You give the premise of the story at the end of the first paragraph then take absolutely forever getting to it.
it's really unfortuante that the first section was so dull because the second has a few interesting ideas as well as some confusing but interesting imagery.
Blessed is the wolf which the man eats, and the wolf becomes man
The problem with your story is basically right in the title. I kept reading a couple sentences, then looking up at that 1400 wordcount, then back down, then up again. I couldn't get through this story. But for you, I did.
There's too much worldbuilding and character building. In 615 words, a werewolf almost eats a rabbit. It doesn't advance the story or really inform me of the character, either. I had no sense of payoff at the end. There's so much extraneous detail about the world and the weather that this piece that should be about a character leaves me with a character I barely know at all.
You did some very good things with this story. When I heard about ghosts needing to use a dog or cat to get tangible items I was thinking 'here we fuckin go again' with a derail in a story about a birthday. You beat my expectations. It definitely wasn't perfect, but it seems like everyone had a problem with restraint this week and you did one of the better jobs.
I didn't like some of the vernacular you used for the story. The slang you chose doesn't add up and that had a surprisingly big impact on how much I could relate to Samuel. Bart was one-dimensional and I didn't enjoy the gimmick of him being so full of rage as to forget how to speak. Had some serious character problems, but the setting was used inventively.
I can't tell you how happy I was to see someone pull a short story with the 'no wordcount' rule.
I didn't like this story. All of your jokes fell flat. It's partially because making fun of Donald Trump is so overdone, but it's also your writing. "ten years from now it's all gonna be halal" is a very lazy and bad joke.
The hinge of the story being a bee in love with the queen seems like a vehicle for wanting to write a story about Donald Trump. I don't think this would have worked six months ago, either, when your source material wasn't so burned out. My mom makes fun of Donald Trump. Thing is, I still laughed at a Donald Trump joke yesterday.
Still, I applaud you for writing a loving comedy story in the thunderdome. After story after story of scifi and medieval settings and zzzzzz you went for a risky genre. It has to land just right and I respect that.
ABSOLUTE LOSER/ABSOLUTE LOSER
Thranguy- Missing it for the World
This was a very hard story to judge. On the one hand, your wordcount is begging for an 'I got bored' judgment but on the other you have a talent for dialogue that keeps things moving.
I like the idea of vignettes but you introduce way too many ideas too fast. I'm thinking of Theban Astrolabes and General Vasel and talking dogs and interdiction fleets.
You gave us a story of a length that I have trouble comparing to other entries this week, so I'll have to compare it to what it reminded me of: YA fiction.
Good fantastical elements, ok character development, huge build-up, iffy climax, saccharine ending. Checks all the boxes. Average in a below average genre.
flerp- Thoughts in the Forest
I got bored. I don't remember the exact moment, but this is the 'bad' magical realism. One action a paragraph with lots and lots of padding. It's pretty but it doesn't make for good reading. I picked up and put down this story ten times trying to get through it. I desperately wanted something to happen.
Prose is good, but you have such a mismatch here. You have an action-driven story but spend the bulk of your words on description. I'm not saying that prosaic stories need to be actionless, the good ones pick and choose. Apart from two-word line breaks, you pack in as much detail as you can, everywhere.
This concept is good. With more restraint your writing would really shine. You have some standout prose and if you let it land like little punches in your story it could really be effective.
Screaming Idiot- We swim into the future.
You made some pretty fun characters here. Rachneim is pretty fun overall. Ishi is an archetype but you used it well and I appreciated you not explicitly spelling out how he gets shot in the head eight times and blood and gore goes everywhere and the rebel sports a smug grin.
The story's pacing was good right through the end, which made absolutely no sense at all. In these crits I've harped on overdoing it on worldbuilding but I think your ending and the details you supplied before it don't match well.
If this story had some more clarity I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
'Cleanse this continent of your taint'
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2016 00:26|
I'm in, I think I'm square on crits besides the second half of crits from judge week.
|# ¿ Aug 11, 2016 00:33|
Come Live With Me
I go through record bins at Goodwill once a week. I don't normally buy anything. I have no one to share the thrill of discovery with and solitary excitement burns up fast. Today, though, I bought an album. It was by a moonfaced and pockmarked country music star from a bygone era.
"It was when country was still country," a fan would have said. Dented corners but a clean vinyl, fresh from 1953:
'Jack Sparks Plays His Hit Single: 'Come Live With Me'
That night, I set a needle down on it. I lived alone, had been alone for a long time. After a second of hisses and pops, Jack Sparks flooded my living room with his dulcet tones.
"Come live with me, and be my love," Sparks crooned.
I sank back into my chair and closed my eyes.
"Share my bread and wine"
I felt a chill and trembled, melted down a little.
"I'll laugh with you, I'll cry with you"
My ears began to ring, harmonizing with Jack Sparks' baritone.
"My whole life through."
The last syllable dragged itself through the honey-thick air in my living room. The needle skipped and the song ended.
I sat there for another few minutes in resonance. Jack Sparks wasn't what I thought he would be.
I heard glass shatter in my kitchen.
I snapped out of Sparks' reverie. My dinner leftovers were sprayed over the linoleum with chunks of glass dish mixed in. In the living room, the needle bobbed on nothing. I swept up the shatter and headed for bed. Sparks' croon had tapped me out. I didn't know how my plate fell and I didn't have anyone who would have seen.
I woke just after midnight to a scraping and a chewing. Out of the darkness came a voice, a rich and husky one in an intimate whisper.
"Come Live With Me," Jack said.
I didn't sleep but I didn't leave my bed. I heard skittering, clattering, and cracking, but no more words from the darkness. No baritone, no Opry.
When the sun rose, I walked back to the kitchen. Something had been crushing cans of my banquet beer in the night. Someone had come live with me.
In the living room I heard another whisper. I looked to it, to my needle still dipping. I'd turned it off, hadn't I?
I saw him. He was lurking in the closet, hiding behind clothes, scattering my shoes. I looked into the oval face of Jack Sparks, tainted all pale by hiding from the sunlight. Jack stared back, spat, and scrambled up the wall like a roach in a spotlight. I flinched as his spit hit me and looked down. An aluminum tab from a banquet beer. When I looked back at the closet, he was gone. He was inside the wall, inside the coats. His chorus echoed, a voice hewn from bones in Memphis soil.
"Come Live With Me," Jack said through the walls.
That afternoon, I read about the life of Jack Sparks. Country when the country was about Vietnam, an old time crooner in a Western shirt. Dusted in opium with a rosewood fretboard and sugar in his heart. He'd loved hard, made friends, and died loved. Broken by thirty, dead by thirty-five. And here, with me, now. I'd prayed to not be so alone and Jack had answered.
That evening, I went to the convenience store around the block for Jack. I picked up another sixer and, at impulse, bought a tin of chewing tobacco and a shooter of Jack at the counter. Before crawling into bed, I laid the cans out on my bedroom floor. I pocketed the Skoal and the shot and laid there. I'd been alone too long, my needle bobbing without a groove. Late in the night, I heard cracking.
I came up slowly out of bed with my phone in hand. I turned the screen's light to Jack Sparks. He was sprawled on all fours, a beautiful demon of my mind, eating cans of banquet and spitting them. At my light, he reared up.
"Come Live With Me," Jack moaned. His pained tones snaked into my ears and saturated me.
As he tentatively chewed another can and stared, I opened the tobacco. His eyes grew wide and consumed half of his half-moon face. I cracked the little bottle of whiskey and slowly, deliberately poured it into the nicotine tin. Jack Sparks began to slaver, and I understood. I reminded him of what he was and he reflected what I wanted. An answer to solitude and a sink into a sofa. Loneliness warped by time answering loneliness immediate and glaring.
I placed the can on the floor and Jack scrambled to it. He was a shade, a whisper, a brutality, and he looked to me while still on all fours.
"Come Live With Me," Jack said.
"Come Live With Me," I whispered.
|# ¿ Aug 14, 2016 18:45|
Literally noone cares, just enter again and write better words this time.
There's that classic, not-at-all-tired TD charm.
|# ¿ Aug 16, 2016 05:33|
Nature Abhors A Vacuum.
When I lost Lori, something new came in. If I'd had time to accommodate, time to learn, maybe I'd have filled that void with health. I never had the chance. The world ripped her from me so suddenly that the gaping hole begged for something insidious and toxic.
A demon came to me in the wake of her burnt form, gorgeous Lori twisted in belts and upturned in a ditch at the side of the road. Our lives had made a routine and a future. When that kind of living is shattered, the pieces are too numerous to gather.
He did not have arms and his hands were in my neck and in my muscles. He had no form, but I felt his weight on my back. He had no voice, but his whisper saturated my thoughts. I'd acquired a horrible replacement to fill the empty space she left behind. I woke up the day after she was in the ground with a spine full of silt.
Anatomy carries a principle of potential spaces. When the body feels a hollow, a fluid where there should be flesh, it's ripe for infection. A bladder that can't empty, an ear full of serum, or plasma welling from a broken vessel, they are all begging for fever. I became sick.
I didn't go to work and everyone understood. I sat at the edge of my bed, trying to plan a hollow day. Then, I felt him. He crawled to the prominence of my spine at the neck, then down, crablike. He made my feet move and I walked to the kitchen. I made coffee every day for Lori and tried to do the same today, but he stopped me. He tapped into my brachial plexus, swung my shoulder away from the grounds and to the scotch we kept on top of the fridge. He raised the bottle to my lips and we took a long pull. We nodded in agreement as my throat was saturated in peat and fire came from my nares. My pet was born from the grave; he's eating his way back home.
I finished my pulls and shattered some months of sobriety. I'd done it for Lori. I fell into the wall on my way to the door and my pet smiled. Outside, I hurled the empty scotch bottle into the street. It broke and her revenant's grin cracked into laughter. I was stumbling on the sidewalk and spinning into the street. My mind had lost and my pet loved it. I walked aimless and drunk. We'd thought the block would be a good place to raise children and I spun.
I tried to catch myself at the corner with my right foot while my pet tapped my heart to the left. It beat hard and I missed. I tried to catch myself on the sidewalk with an arm, but the weight was too much. I cracked, a greenstick fracture pulsing to my fingers. My falling forearm was disjointed, wasted, broken. I walked to urgent care and cradled my bones as my pet wallowed in all the pain.
I was casted and drugged, but the illness I had was too deep, too cerebral for opiates. I sat in a backless gown, feeling my new pet tap into my every neuron. He bathed in potassium and soaked in sodium while I mourned for the future that was taken from me. Doctors and nurses passed me by, seeing only a man in a hophead daze and not the monster of illness eating me alive. I asked for more morphine. My head was underwater as a nurse pushed two milligrams into my vein. The blur, the disconnection from reality gave me a clarity that I didn't have that morning. In my haze, I snapped. I decided.
I can't blame a beast with no form for an emptiness I can't fill. I can only blame myself. I created this monster and I gave birth to my languid response. My introspection, my crushing loss made a horror and only my will can stop his feast. With insight, I tried to banish the thing sipping on my fluids.
The next morning, when my legs swung to touch the ground, I swung my legs. When I cracked the blinds, I breathed in the solar flares and exhaled natural glow. I made coffee. I felt the beast recede. I controlled my arms. My choices are my own.
|# ¿ Aug 22, 2016 02:14|
I MASQUERADED AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BURGER BAR BOYS
If you pick anything other than the first headline you are given, get out
IN IN IN
|# ¿ Aug 24, 2016 01:12|
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2021 23:53|
Back in this week.
|# ¿ Sep 20, 2016 00:56|