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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


In

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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


I Really Gotta Pee! (996 words)

I am standing here like an idiot with my dick out. My bodyweight rests on my hand as I lean in front of the urinal. Nothing comes out. The leaky faucet drips for the three hundredth time.

Despite trying thousands of times, I cannot piss anywhere but in my own bathroom.

I walk out into the office. Coworkers cheer as cake is brought out, the lights are low and the candles are bright. Like an idiot, I drink beer after beer after beer. I sing loud and show my best smile. Everything drunkenly blurs, it is dark out, and I need to get home. I try the bathroom one more time. My bladder aches. It is full and supple and filled with liquid like a ripe melon. Another sixty drips of the sink and I still cannot piss.

Everyone is gone and I pull out my phone to call an Uber. I punch in my passcode, the battery icon is red. The phone goes black. I want to scream into the air. I caught a glimpse of my last text. My roommate has a date tonight.

I waddle towards the train station like a fat duck.

There is a man in front of me buying a ticket. He opens his wallet quickly and closes it just as fast. He walks away like he is lost, he mumbles something about the wrong train station as he nervously laughs.

I buy my ticket and board the train moments later. It is fifty-nine seconds late.

At this point I wonder if it is possible to die from not peeing. I stand, thinking it will make me want to pee less. The pressure is too intense, so I sit, maybe that will help. I tighten my knees inward and clutch my fingernails into my palms. I am sure everyone is quietly thanking me for doing the opposite of manspreading.

The train stops and power shuts off. Neon city colors barely peek through the thick train. Passengers turn their cheeks in odd directions, looking for the source of inconvenience. My eyes adjust to the darkness. Many passengers sigh, others roll their eyes, they whisper and text and call.

I am currently in piss-hell and this train has no bathroom.

We are suspended several stories into the air above moving cars. People look up at us from the streets below. I can hear honking, yelling, and idle noises of a living city. No one is helping.

There’s an old man impatiently clutching his cane looking especially nervous. I think I hear sirens in the distance, maybe we shall soon be saved.

But the pain is too much, and I am three blocks away from home.

I walk towards the back of the train and I trip over the man’s cane. His sunglasses fall down his face and he glares at me. His money drops from the upturned hat in his lap as I race away and apologize. He drops to his knees and begins to gather the loose pile of money. I exit through the back.

Adrenaline rushes through me so powerfully that when I open the door I expect chilling winds to whip through my hair. Instead I am met with a calm and boring night. People watch me from below. I look at the tracks and where the train lays on them. I feel it. No matter how much the pangs hit me, I must get home to complete the deed.

There is a maintenance ladder that leads down to the streets. I jump towards it and shimmy along the side of the tracks, avoiding contacting anything that looks dangerous. People point their cameras and fingers at me. As I am halfway down the climb. I see people looking out of the train as well.

“What are you, crazy?!” a man yells.

“No, I just really have to pee!” I respond.

I jump from the last rung onto the sidewalk. People tell me where the closest restroom is, but I shove and I push and I elbow and I shoulder until they are behind me. Almost home.

When I see my apartment building, the pressure grows immense inside me like there’s a bowling ball sitting within my crotch. The fact that I have not pissed my pants by now is both miracle and curse. My kidneys are boiling. My feet are weak rubber.

With my hand between my legs I crabwalk my way inside. I turn the key to the front door and I run upstairs like a tiny, stupid dog. My hands shake as I push my apartment door open.

I hear the shower.

My roommate is getting ready for his date. The bathroom door is locked.

“Let me in, I really have to pee! Seriously, I’m gonna die if you don’t let me in!” I yell.

“Dude, I’m getting ready, just wait 10 goddamn minutes,” responds my roommate.

He is notorious for taking hideously long showers.

I kick the door in but it will not budge. My roommate screams obscenities at me.

It’s too much now.

Closest to the sink is my roommate’s chair, the one he always sits in when he drinks his coffee. I drag it and pull out the three dishes inside. They crash. My roommate yells something inaudible. I stand on the wooden seat and unzip my slacks. My bladder feels as if it is being twisted between heaven and hell. This is the greatest pleasure I have ever felt, and I am also in unmistakable agony. I turn my head and see a woman sitting on the far couch. She watches in horror.

It is two weeks from that night. I am at my job and pissing joyously into the urinal. The fire trucks rescued everyone from the broken train an hour after I had left. I am over my stupid little problem. But now my roommate rarely speaks to me and, when he does, he calls me Sinkpisser.


---

MEDICINE: Dr. Arvid Vatle of Stord, Norway, for carefully collecting, classifying, and contemplating which kinds of containers his patients chose when submitting urine samples. (REFERENCE: "Unyttig om urinprøver," Arvid Vatle, Tidsskift for Den norske laegeforening [The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association], no. 8, March 20, 1999, p. 1178.)

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


in

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


burp

anime was right fucked around with this message at Apr 14, 2016 around 04:50

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


thunderdome CLXXXIX: knight time

write a story about a knight. not a squire. not a lord. a knight. you dont have to abide by sword and sorcery, just keep things tight and knightly.

also, because knights are full of honor, there are three honorable rules in addition to the other usual ones:

1: there will be no middle of the pack stories this week. honorable people live or die by honor. should you not win or lose, you will be guaranteed either a dishonorable mention or an honorable mention. dont shame your ancestors here folks.

2: killing is not honorable (and predictable and boring). for every character that is murdered in any fashion, or dies in a violent manner, subtract 100 words from your word limit.

3: you will be assigned a CODE OF CHIVALRY that your knight must abide by and must be relevant to the story.

word limit: 1300

no erotica, poems, fanfiction etc etc whatever

deadline:
signups 4:20PM EDT friday
submission: 4:20AM EDT monday

the order of judgment is home to three powerful thrones and in them sits: anime was right, sparksbloom and sebmojo

valiant and noble defenders of whatever (23):
sitting here
flerp
killer-of-lawyers
grizzled patriarch
thranguy
tyrannosaurus
rathlord
hotsoupfordinner
newtestleper
slipup
boaz-jachim
surreptitiousmuffin
skwidmonsters
pokeylope
paladinus
julias
lazy beggar
j.a.b.c.
carl killer miller
benny profane
froglight

anime was right fucked around with this message at Mar 16, 2016 around 08:52

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight is sworn to protect all royal house pets.

flerp posted:

im in to get my 9th dm

your knight may not work during the three great praying hours of the day.

Killer-of-Lawyers posted:

Alright, let's have a code to abide by. In.

your knight refuses to sleep until their job is complete


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Alright this is pretty much one of the things I'm worst at so I'm In.

your knight may not draw a weapon until injured in combat


your knight is a strict vegan and faces consequence of death upon animal product consumption.


your knight must slice off a finger or toe for every loved one they fail.


your knight is chaste.


your knight works only for the highest bidder. all money made is given to a local orphanage.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight must abstain from any and all drugs, even ones as minor as caffeine.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight has sworn never to tell the truth.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


Boaz-Jachim posted:

Rise, Sir Jachin

your knight has sworn to follow every order given to him by the king or queen, no matter how ridiculous or impossible it may seem.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Anime is bad. In.

your knight has sworn to obey the laws of an obscure and hated religion

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


skwidmonster posted:

In with a for science paper week. Just couldn't make that poor ostrich gently caress a dude.

your knight has sworn to respect and protect the flag of their country.

Pokeylope posted:

In for the very first time.

your knight has sworn to bring all criminals to court and trial no matter the triviality of the law

Paladinus posted:

Can't pass on a prompt like that. In.

your knight has sworn to never strike a person they deem their lesser.

Julias posted:

I'm In.

However, since a knight's chivalry demands that he honors his promises, I will also submit my entry for Week 188 before I submit my entry for this week.

your knight treats their animal companion as if they are their equal in all aspects of life.


your knight has sworn to never wear shoes again after a certain incident.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


J.A.B.C. posted:

IN, let's see how far I can keep my mediocre streak going.

your knight has taken a vow to never let food go to waste.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight has sworn an actual bureaucratic oath. they are beholden to the complex nuances of a very strict organization.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight is a sworn advocate and protector of an otherwise demonized creature

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight has sworn to always take the most challenging path in front of them.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


to clarify (i pmed this to tyrannoman since he had a question), you're welcome to be a little loose with the prompt:

"just incorporate themes of knightliness. courts, orders, swords, whatever. as long as theres enough things going on that fit the standard trope of a knight, go wild. jedis are knights, batman is a knight. obviously dont write about jedi batman. if you have a biker that wears cool armor and has a pipe instead of a sword and has a guy he calls king or something thats fine!"

i would say to be safe err on like 3 knightly tropes/themes just to be safe. similar to wizard week, I will be grading partially on Knightliness but it's entirely possible to win without scoring high in that department.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich



your knight has sworn to protect someone from the elements of nature

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


Mercedes posted:

I'm so gonna regret this. In.

your knight has sworn to a life of peace and never accepts work involving violence.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


i was trapped in the sandwich dimension longer than anticipated. signups? they're closed.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


this should be obvious but signups are closed.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


nothin fancy just some judgment.

dms:
jocoserious
lazy beggar
carl killer miller
tyrannoman
rathlord
j.a.b.c
julias
killer of lawyers
skwidmonster
pokeylope
thranguy

hms:
benny profane
flerp
sittinghere
surreptitiousmuffin

loser:
paladinus

winner:
grizzled patriarch

gp is the only one who managed to wear boots in this sewer of a week. have fun buddy.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


judgeburps

Concrete Graveyard
There’s conflict, though your characters are currently their occupations about halfway in. Not terribly bored, but not terribly interested. I’m confused about who is wearing the suit. Are both of them? It’s kind of vague (around the gieger counter sentence). Once the dialogue begins, this is starting to fall apart. Why not send the doctor back to the car? Do radiation suits not cover noses? This isn’t bad so far, but so many little things are slipping through the cracks. Okay, you built tension pretty well and the ending kind of deflated. Buzzkills like this need a final moment of coolness. Also, the dr added nothing to the story and that was kind of important to the prompt.

The Finest Wine
Boo to poetry, I’m guessing you were trying to make a fairy tale here, but man it’s obnoxious to read without pretty pictures. Will DM on principle. Even though regicide is a stupid easy plot, I am enjoying the way it works with a guy who refuses to let anything edible go to waste. Good use of a bland trope. The climax was pretty weak, I thought something clever was going to happen, but the way you handled the ending was cute.

Having a Mare
Backstory backstory backstory. I actually like your protagonist though, I hate the king. Also, you opened up saying their relationship is good but it doesn’t feel that way. Passive voice all around (not in a stylistically good way, just bland). Anyway, there was zero conflict? Just a backstory about why a dude didn’t wear shoes, which was infodumped in a paragraph, along with a poorly described relationship with the king. I mean, I actually found your characters to be characters, but that didn’t carry the otherwise absence of a story.

One More Knight
This is good opening, I get the tone of the story and the mindset of the protagonist. Not incredible, but quickly established goal. This Is fun. And it kind of dropped downhill pretty fast. I mean, this is silly AF, but the characters are… not. I zoomed through towards the end and honestly? The tone was great, you kinda ran with cliché dialogue I think to ham it up, but it just didn’t seem like you were going to throw down the gauntlet and go full dumb. Decent opening, weak middle, funny ending.

Two equals
Infodump seems a little unnecessary, you def could have handled that in like 3 sentences? Maybe it’ll pay off. Also, lots of telling and not showing independent of that so far. So far I’m not really getting any sense of conflict, and I didn’t really get a feel for George. You definitely could have cut the infodump and lost little with a bit of rephrasing. Honestly? I had trouble following what was going on here. So the peasant corrected George, full of ego or aggravation, and he hit him out of that? But he didn’t seem like he was holding anything back, or had a reason to talk to the peasant again? I’m just confused. Also boy that ending was soggy bread.

'Word at the Gate'
Woo, that’s… a real bad opening. Your dude is punctual, I don’t care? Obviously with something like this you have to play up the boringness or strictness of a character to entertain in some capacity. Okay, he’s inspecting dudes. What are the stakes for doing bad here? Your dude is cardboard, you gotta make something else work. I’m honestly not following the consequences or results of any action happening here and I’m pretty deep in. Actions should lead to something. Not only that, honestly, other than serving a king this poo poo wasn’t too knightly. All around stinker. No resolution, conflict, character, humor, nothing.

Mauka no Makai
The characters here feel a bit more alive than usual. Things are happening, no real story so far, but things are happening and it’s weird enough to like. Ok, they’re going to a place for a reason, what’s that reason? I think I care a little. This is kinda goofy and totally hammy, but at least it’s entertaining sofar. Okay, the metaphor joke paid off real well. The ending kind of sucked though, and they had motivation. This is fun, and almost solid.

Sea Change
Backstory (at least it’s ok backstory tho, I get a feel for your characters) beginning. Once you get into the meat of this story, it’s good. These feel like people, I’m not keen on the live action roleplaying thing as how you talk about knights, and I felt like this was going in a soldier-y direction. The ending was kind of… sad, but it didn’t feel like it tied things up right, mostly because I don’t really know where your character is and what changed because of the fight with Nate, and it’s kind of superfluous. That said, everything else was loving solid. Also, you had the most natural inclusion of your prompt into the actual text so far.

Lancelot
Ugh. Seriously? At least subvert the cliche, don’t make it your title. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a title before, so that’s new. Anyway, sweet fanfiction. There’s like, poo poo happening, the mechanics of your writing feel solid. But… eugh. Also, bad dialogue. Oh and it’s Romeo and Juliet too. Cool. Thanks. lovely plot/clichés/names, everything else was OK. This isn’t the most offensive thing I’ve read, but at least there’s distinct strengths/weaknesses with the piece. Don’t write fanfiction, double-tragedies suck as endings (usually). Also, the opening started off with a relatively funny idea and then got super romancy then super tragedy. Stay on course man, there were definitely more natural endings to work with, and if you had renamed everyone, you might have even HMed? Oh well.

Sooner or Later He Brings Up the Templars)
Ziptying someone to the rear-view mirror and then waiting in the car blocks really strangely in my head. Also, you should have named Coyote faster I feel, would have made the first paragraph a lot less muddy (had to reread it once for certainty). Your characters are kinda doofy, not whole, but way more solid than average this week, I get the feel of actual people from them, for being total criminal weirdos. The conspiracy was fine… except Donald Trump. Ok, except for chicken-nugget ninjastar, I think you baaaaarely threaded the needle on stupid idiot poo poo and ancient magic talky-sword. This was entertaining and I actually like how the conspiracy theory stuff worked into magic-sword-junk.

A Lying Prayer
“Colors fill in the scars on his face.” Love this sentence, setting is good and we have a character. Solid start.
In a highly conversational piece, this was a decent way of handling attention. I wanted to know why Karen was lying and why she stayed. It was cute and touching and it felt nice. I actually read this to the end without too much interruption, and I think the sword encounter towards the middle was hard to follow, and not too much happened, but overall for what it is, it was good. It made me feel things and had some nice sentences and the characters felt real. I did wish there was a bit more context

Dishonorable Mention
This was weird because… poo poo happened? I really don’t care for how things were phrased, but it had things happen. I don’t understand why this is a story within a story, it doesn’t serve a purpose, at all, and invites tons of telling with zero showing. Overall, I think this isn’t the worst thing I’ve read this week because things actually happened and I understood them, but the choices you made served nothing, and also the ending was just… bad. Like, it resolved things, but I didn’t understand why or how. “We won, happily ever after” pays no service to the words before it.

give a little
“Sarg had lunged forward and grabbed Fello by the shirt collar. He didn’t say anything; the point of his sword did all the talking for him. Fello got the point.” Somehow you made an obvious and old joke funny, so please enjoy me liking it. I did not like the dialogue preceding it though.
This is some pretty dumb post apoc but I am a sucker for lovely and fun post apoc so good job. Hooray, with have a story like halfway through. I don’t like your protagonist too much but oh well. He’s got a clear mission. This is at least clean. I got towards the end, the goony tone was ehh (pigfucker, twigganberries etc). Cartoonishly dumb post apoc though, and the plot/characters worked so this isn’t awful, and you did a real good job handling setting.

Knight Trip
Hey you hit me hard and fast with conflict and motivation? Woah. What craziness is this? This is crazy and dumb and stupid and poo poo’s happening so good job. Anyway, this was goofy and silly but the way the ending worked was really confusing. I’m guessing she trapped the dreameater in her waking trip and then came off the high which killed it? IDK. I was enjoying this until it sort of ended. I don’t think this idea works too well in a short story. Also, a character died? and you broke the word limit? I guess ambiguity gets a pass (since it happened in space bike yazukas too)

The Feudal Struggles of Boyhood
IDK who I am rooting for here so far and I’m pretty deep in. I’m not sure who is talking. With three characters in a scene, be more blatant on who says something. You gotta treat it like a script. Dude, again with the who says what and does what. Just use “said” and then write a separate paragraph for the action with names, especially with new characters. This is frustrating imo. Holy poo poo now I don’t even know what’s going on. How do you open that well and work into this. Who bowed? Randy? Aaaa.
Things got clearer in the middle again, and there’s conflict now, so that’s good.
“ “Sir Randy.”

The silence in the no-man’s land between them almost crackled with electricity.

“You really think you can take on all of the other lords? They elected King Allen for a reason.” “
And this one should be one paragraph so not to break up who is speaking since you dropped names again. Aaaaa.
The ending was surprisingly okay, and you definitely needed to like, sell the consequence of the shoulder pop. Like, show me it hurt, or whatever. It just kinda ended there.
This is like my most hated story because it almost does things and fucks them all up. That said, there was actual plot, even if the characters were paper thin, and your opening was actually solid.

Sir Runcel the Rat
Maybe I’m an idiot but I’m really not seeing your prompt appear anywhere in this story or have any relevance at all. Your grammar is… bad. Lots of tense shifting, sentences aren’t broken up, dialogue isn’t formatted in a really interesting manner. There was a thin plot and conflict, but I really am not seeing how the beginning connects to the end here. Are these two different people? If not, why did he mistake them? If so, why do they seem nothing alike? I’m kinda lost tbh…

Little Lion
Hey cool fast conflict and antagonists with personality. Hooray? Good things. I read this from start to finish, and I think this story wasn’t too.. strong? Like, nothing really powerful happened and I kinda breezed through it, but I liked it, and I think there was a bit too much telling given how not super interesting the dialogue was. I did literally go “aww” at the end though.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


this week is not a good example for anything bc it was exceptionally poor and it had a dumb gimmick rule regarding HMs/DMs. flerps story would not even have come close to an HM in another week and possibly even DMed. he only got that on account of being above median quality in my opinion, but by the narrowest of margins.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


in this like guiness

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


In-Putt (500 words)

“Oh no, you got another promotion, that really sucks dude,” said Cassie, her voice stale. She pulled down at the bottom of her oversized hoodie.

A quick breeze disturbed Jed’s unruly auburn hair. A line formed behind him starting with a surly man and his young boy, the only unhappy one on course at Family Fun Golf.

Jed took a shot. It narrowly missed the windmill blade and landed in the hole.

“Like I said, been due since last quarter,” said Jed.

“And like I said, you got tunnel vision dude,” said Cassie.

“Can you blame me? I’m goal oriented, so sayeth the man with the tie. I can pivot table like a…”

“Chief. Next hole,” Cassie said. She pointed at the antiquated stereotype; feathers, hatchet and all. “Ice cream place is gonna close with your pace.”

“They should make me the executive officer of excel. Excelutive officer? That’s a word, right?”

“Is my last name Mirriam?” Cassie said. She took her shot through a snaking path around the statue. “Just think about who you beat out for the promotion. Maybe they helped you and you didn’t realize it.”

“You think I really want to know though? The best man got the job as far as I’m concerned.”

“What if your coworker’s barely feeding their kids, huh?”

“Look Cass, I don’t f-“ Jed noticed the father growing red in face and clutching his boy’s shoulder. “Farting know. It’s a competition.”

Jed hurried his putt.

The next hole had a lion with a ramp into its open mouth, a chute came out of its butt.

“But you’ve got a swing handicap is what I’m saying. Plus, you’re like the whitest dude on the planet. You could jump into a vat of regular golf balls no one would find you. Like camouflage dude,” said Cassie.

“Oh c’mon, you think that mattered? My department is almost all golf and balls.”

“Hey, it’s your car. Think I can hit it? Might knock off that dumb little Tesla logo,” said Cassie, pointing her club toward the parking lot. “Look, your life is as breezy as tonight, just be a little more cognitive about it is all. That’s an actual word from the actual dictionary.”

“Okay Mirriam. What’s the score now?” asked Jed after his putt.

“23 you, 25 me.”

Last hole, a color-faded castle. Cassie took her game-ending shot.

“But it’s all your handle choke, try not cheating this time you-” asked Cassie. She turned her head to see the father with clenched teeth. His club bent in silent fury. “Meanieface.”

Jed, about to swing, looked at his grip. He lifted his hands off metal and onto the handle. He took four awkward swings.

“You reign supreme in the art of putt, my queen,” said Jed.

As they dropped off their clubs they heard a loud grunt and a loud smack against glass, followed by a child’s sobs.

“Think that’s your bonus out the window?” asked Cassie. “Also, get me a cone, mint chip.”

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


in with a flash

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


Ain’t No Girl Like Me (1127 words) The Wrong Child

I haven’t said a word to her, but everything feels alright when I stand next to Annie. The music is oppressive, the chords jarring, and Zach’s voice stings in the ear. It’s too loud to talk over.

Rat Hole is the sort of venue you can judge entirely by its name. I’m leaning beneath graffiti and we’re arm’s length away between two disparate sofas. My thigh is against the corduroy one with a torn up cushion, it’s orange and out of place even here. Annie’s next to a sleek leather one, brand new, but it smells a little off; I don’t know where they got it, some rich person probably dumped it on the street. The light above me flickers, signaling imminent demise, but I admire its refusal to go out.

When I was a kid, I’d look outside my window and watch Zach and his now bandmates play at the swings. They teased me because of my short hair and they left me bruised and sometimes bloodied, but it was the names they called me that hurt the most. When I told Mom, she said I should be like the other girls. On those days, I’d bury my face into my pillow and cried until it was damp.

Their set ends and Annie walks up to them, converging with my neighbors-turned-bandmates. She’s loud and animated, her hands moving like leaves on a windy day. She’s made posters for them, brought them cold sodas, and almost-danced to their music in my cul-de-sac. She’s naïve to their nature and it makes me want to sing until my lungs deflate.

Annie begins to leave and the band follows. Zach glares at me. The back-turned welcome sign flaps as they slam the door.

I sit on the leather couch, close one eye, and look into my near-empty beer bottle and ride out my buzz. My set is next.

When I sing, I feel as if everyone looks right through me.

***

I’m minding my own business in the chip aisle of the 7-Eleven. There’s a Twix bar, alone and discarded. I pick it up. I didn’t want chips anyway. I cough into my hand and eye the lozenges, but I walk right by them.

Zach walks through the door. Even from behind the aisle I can tell it’s him from his meticulous hair. I walk opposite of him until I get to the counter. I pay for the Twix and just as I turn to leave I feel a tap on my shoulder.

The finger is so heavy I swear my boots sink into the floor. My head whips around instinctively, a natural reflex I despise. I look up into Zach’s eyes and he downwardly returns the favor. I step back and slip out. The night is illuminated only through glass windows. The rest of the band is here, all three of them. They’re skyscrapers and their eyes are exit signs the size of billboards.

“Weirdo,” says Ryan.

“Queer,” says Andre.

“Queerdo,” says Zach from behind. His voice like a knife tickling at my neck.

“Leave me the gently caress alone,” I say. My throat is still sore.

Zach shoves my shoulder as he walks by me, causing me to drop my Twix. They get in the car and hit the high beams into my face and I barely hear them laugh underneath the revving of the engine. They’re gone.

I pick up my dropped Twix and rip the wrapper. One of the bars inside is broken.

***

Mom said I was wrong. Not because I lied, but rather she really wished I had. Our argument ended when I slammed the front door and tossed on my bomber jacket.

It’s that calm sort of autumn night where the trees whisper at the hint of breeze and the leaves crackle at faint suggestions. It’s rudely interrupted by guitar wailing from Zach’s garage. As I walk to 7-Eleven I see Annie hanging out with them again.

I turn. I stop. The band stops.

“Hey loser, where’s your ticket?” says Zach.

“Where’s yours? Noise pollution is a fineable offense”, I say.

“I’d say ‘gently caress you’ to that but I ain’t no girl,” says Zach.

I look at Annie and smile.

“I wouldn’t even if you were,” I say to Zach. “Hey. I got a proposal for you. Lemme try out for your band, backup singer. It’ll be fun.”

I mean really, what’s another trip to the emergency room?

Zach and friends place their aural assault weapons down. Annie leans against a wooden picket fence and her eyes skirt between me and Zach.

I inhale as I walk into familiar chaos. The air is crisp and smells of smoke and cider.

The next few minutes are a blur. A series of photographs ingrained in my head forever. Every time I blink there’s a fist or an elbow. Their faces become one and many, twisted caricatures of teeth and eyes dancing between mocking and madness. There are fingers on my skull and they’re heavier than ever before. Zach’s fingernails pierce my scalp and I squirm.

But it stops when Annie screams profanity from her gut and through the filter of her soul. Her finger is a dagger-like, she points it accusatorily at Zach and the band.

I’ve got a bloodied nose and a twisted ankle and my heart is on fire and I cry and I cry and I cry not because my face hurts but because I’m in goddamn love.

A soft hand wraps around my wrist. She lifts me up. I wrap my arm around her shoulder as I beam bloody. I can’t wait for mom to argue with the insurance company about this one.

***

Annie brings out two cans of Sprite from her kitchen and sits next to me on her comfortable beige sofa. She presses blotched up paper towels against my face and asks me how long they’ve been like that. I tell her all but the words they call me, and why my mom wishes I wasn’t an only child. We talk about music, coffee, and life. She laughs and promises never to hang out with Zach again. I’m so happy that I sing her a song with my rattled voice, and when I do, I feel as if she looks right through me. I think she knows something. I have to say it.

For a minute it’s like we’re alone in the universe until the crickets decide to wake up.

The words spill out of me wet and weepy. She puts her palm on my knuckles and takes in a deep breath.

It doesn’t hurt when Annie says, in that one way, she doesn’t like me.

But what really matters is she still does.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


ty 4 tha crit

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


JUDGEBURPS
Preface: I was pretty tired (read, 3 hours of sleep and after 7 hours of work) when I judged and these are a lot grumpier than I usually am for what wasn’t that awful of a week. I think all but the winning entry had some sort of pretty core problem. You got an idiot who can’t handle subtlety on his worst day. That said, many of these issues were brought up by the other judges so this preface is probably worthless. BTW these were mostly written during reading unless I breezed through your story so pretty much any comment is around a point where I got frustrated, bored, or snapped out of your story.

YOU MADE ME DO THIS
First part: Really not really getting any sort of spark with these characters even if there’s some clear motivation. They just sort of feel like disassociated lumps. Finally got interested after getting 1/3 in with the petting zoo hook.
Should have ended the convo at “That turkey is twerking”. That’s the joke. Adding commentary to the funny part is bad. Much like youtube celebrities. Turking was not the punchline.
Anyway this made me laugh and it was stupid. So so so incredibly stupid (and so Eurovision). I was pretty distant from it all, dialogue needs work, seemed like a bit too much telling and not showing going on at the beginning.

Realism
I like these words but so far they’re going nowhere and I’m pretty far in! Also, WTF is with that cutoff? “he main cafeteria” was that an interruption or was “he main cafeteria” a real phrase because that makes no sense in any context so I’m guessing it was a cutoff in which case just write the whole word I’m just assuming this is a typo tho. Okay further down again you do the ellipses interruption DON’T DO THAT USE A DASH. If you use the ellipses it feels like the sentence is fading in already so you don’t need to cut off the beginning of the word unless it’s a harsh cut anyway this made me angry because its stupid don’t do it. Anyway I liked the little blurbs but holy poo poo nothing happened and I don’t understand why she’s fading in and out and basically I hate everything about this besides the blurby nice things which were fun and cute to read. This is mostly nice writing devoid of much context or plot, though the character sort of works, barely. Just like, work on structure or something because you can clearly write a sentence (despite my one lengthy nitpick which wasn’t that influential on my decision to put this low). Again, the biggest sin here was a complete and utter lack of resolution or story to speak of, no real point A to point B.

The Final Logs of Doctor Omega
This person is a character with a motivation, not amazing but I’m surprised I worked through your technobabble coherently so good job there since I’m easily confused and angered. I don’t get why The Moment is a person and I hate this name for a person because I’m a goon. Why are the moment and Fafnir fighting? Because of the orb? Or is there another reason? IDK. This is weird. This guy is just watching stuff now and it’s kinda boring. “The monster”? Again, the nebulous nature of sci-fi is you have to overexplain everything just a little bit. Not a lot. Just enough. This is too foreign to understand imo. The ending uhhhhhh, I mean, okay, sure, but I thought the orb destroying thing was way less emotionally impactful and the protag didn’t feel upset about being tiny really? Was that the goal? I thought the motivation was fix being tiny I guess but that didn’t’ seem to be the case towards the end. Not really digging this and there wasn’t enough ham to grab me. I expected this to work in a totally different direction from the otherwise decent opening. A shame.

Looking for Paradise
Lots of setting not a lot happening but I have good pictures in my brain thank you and there is a mystery hung above my head with the ritual (I wanna know what it is) but other than that ehh? Could be better. Character pretty bland.
Would would would would don’t say would. They did or they didn’t unless something happened more than once or there’s a condition which wasn’t presented.
More passive language aaa quit it. No reason to use it here. This story already lacks bite.
Names help sell interpersonal relationships btw. Again, there’s a lot of things here I think are fine choices when done for a reason but none of this feels like it was done for a reason. Passive language can be used to disarm a sentence or give it length to build. Would is best served for conditional reasons (“whenever we stopped john would say he had to pee”) but can often be omitted. Masking names can create mystery or because a character doesn’t know them. Use these things intelligently.
Anyway, I’m not following the ending and I read this twice? Like, okay, the lieutenant wanted to end the rituals? Was there a reason? What was the sin here that made the weird god angry? Why did she wait until the murder ritual started? If she hated the god or whatever, was it because she saved the lady? That really didn’t feel like it was sold well. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Things happened without a justification for them as far as I can tell. Really liked this story otherwise which is a shame… I think like, maybe a sentence or two got cut somewhere, or you were being WAAAAAAAAAY too subtle because this was ALMOST something.

It’s Not The Dark That Kills You
Opening two paragraphs. Orange through the treelines: this is very confusing. I have no idea if they’re inside or outside, since they’re in a cellar? Maybe? I’m guessing inside, how does a treeline affect something here. Are the trees in the cellar? Is it through a window? (I’ve never seen a cellar staircase with a window before ever…) Bleh.
Soil, so, outside? IM MORE CONFUSED.
I legit cannot block this. Making poo poo up in my head now.
Good way of naturally introducing twins.
Okay, once this gets going, it’s actually a good little thing. Something insightful about two characters and what makes them different, I guess one is “evil” but not really, when the other one is paranoid he’ll actually be evil. That’s cute. I liked it. Holy poo poo that beginning was rough though. Less ambiguity there and this would have been a winner IMO?

The Dance, the Dress, their Dream, and the Sun
This is starting okay, I think, but now I’m confused on who I’m following. Best to stick to one POV even in 3rd person. Practice what from a book? How do you take images of a growing woman and turn them into a wave? 3rd paragraph is wonky AF.
Oh, ballet. Make that more clear earlier, sillyface.
And you totally took an interesting sounding concept and just like.. what? Practicing dance and making a dress for a competition, draining the power of the sun to… hope the sun rises again? What did they do with it. Ughhhhhhhh this was legit great too and it deflated into nothing. They payoff should be something tangible??? They worked hard and felt more together because of it but like…… they worked hard towards a completely different goal? Sigh.

Atlanta, 1959
This was cute and there was like, a conflict which was pretty dialogue driven, and then… wow. That ending was out of nowhere. Was the riddle supposed to foreshadow this because seriously I am not solving a riddle to get a story sorry. Anyway uh, this should have ended completely differently but was good until then. If you really wanted to make that part of the story you really should have alluded to it. Actually, this is like if you took the core elements of a Benny the Snake story and polished them and made them more subtle. Buncha stupid punks spouting dumb dialogue (that I liked in this case) and ends in death.
I liked this more than the other judges because I’m a weirdo, but basically to me this is the best example of setting up two core elements of a story and having a very good ending (solving the riddle later and getting a different perspective on the bully after besting them) and instead the riddle was the song lyrics and the ending was just like… came outta nowhere.
GJ, Thunderdome. Never change.

Medusa or the Lotus Eaters
Not sure which perspective im supposed to be in here. Johns? Guessing John. That was kinda hard to figure out, but eh, not the worst sin this week. Okay, this was really confusing until I made it halfway through. I thought Melissa was dead, then wasn’t (but not in a hey this is unnatural sort of way) until the dreaming part. Once I hit that mark it became a lot less confusing, but you really could have made this a lot more flashy if you made that difference clearer, I think? Like, don’t get me wrong, this is probably the first attempt at subtlety that may have worked so far this week.
“The car rolled through town. It was an uneventful Sunday until it wasn’t.”
Don’t do this.
Okay, this was probably the best suicide ending I’ve read in a while. I’m PRETTY SURE I’ve like, seen a story like this hit for hit somewhere, that or it’s just an amalgamation of really uncreative things, but poo poo, you pulled it off. A coherent story with actual characters and a laugh out loud moment. GOOD JOB.
This had tonal issues and fixing them, along with the clarity problems at the beginning and maybe alluding a little more to the afterlife and spending a couple more sentences on the ending probably would have made it the clear winner here because it had a lot more to work with than the actual winner at the foundations.

Brood
This was a good little thing but it really wasn’t a story, but jesus at least there was nothing stupidly wrong with it. Good job.

Peculiar
So wait, is the bruised girl the little one from before? Why was she called lady then? Or is it a different character if so where did the girl come from? Who’s knocking? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. There’s like two or three missing connections here that would otherwise make this story great. So was it the little girls mom or something? WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR HER AND WHY ARE THEY WEREWOLVES JGIDuea90yjgafgjlskdafdsa. This is otherwise fantastic but YALL REALLY NEED TO WORK ON CLARITY THIS WEEK JFC WHEN I READ STORIES TWICE AND CANT FIGURE poo poo OUT YOU ALL GOT PROBLEMS FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.

Silence
This was solid. The middle was a little bit of a drag (barely tho) and the robots were robots in name only (though I’m going to guess this was to buy a fast us vs them sort of situation to spend more time with the characters which is a fine gambit). This hits every beat on rhythm and it’s very well paced, IMO. That said, it’s a bit tonally flat and I felt way more distant and cold on it than other pieces this week. Given that there was nothing outright stupid and I understood everything clearly though and how broken several other stories were you basically won a marathon by not tripping and falling on your face. Congratulations!

anime was right fucked around with this message at Apr 26, 2016 around 13:12

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


Kaishai posted:

Crits for Week CXCII: The Voices Talking Somewhere in the House

In R.E.M. Week, the Thunderdome hive mind decided it loved the previous round's prompt too much to let it go. Six stories out of seventeen leaned hard on dialogue and came up wanting in other areas. The one-conversation-story thing was an exercise, guys! Not a long-term pattern to follow! The other recurring theme was Weird Stuff Happening, which wouldn't have been so bad if the Weird Stuff had been less random, better grounded, more interesting, or ideally all three.


ExtraNoise, "If That's What It Takes"
Song: "I Took Your Name"

Kai's Song Notes: The words are almost lost in metallic reverberations. Focus is required to make out more than a suggestion of sense. The chorus leads me to wonder whether this is intentional; the song and I are both to blame for my confusion. Identity theft is the theme, but what's interesting is that although the singer says he'll be an albatross--a burden--other lines suggest he's accomplished things the person he's singing to couldn't do for himself.

The connection: Specific lines from it appear in the entry; thankfully, the quoted phrases are short and only stick out in one instance ("Is there some confusion?"). I didn't imagine the song to be about marriage, but the interpretation works well. The best part is that the protagonist does accomplish something Alex had found impossible. This is also the worst part.

The outsider: Neither the narrator nor Alex fits the bill. The idea may be that the narrator was an outsider in her marriage, but that's a thin branch on which to stand.

To your credit, the unusual second-person style mostly works when it doesn't snag on early giveaways that look like technical errors ("You were not the same man I met in college twenty years ago"--I'm inclined to say I should be I'd in that sentence besides, given how precise this lady is in her speech). The voice is fairly good, though not convincing as something spoken rather than written. The connection to the song is almost too clear, but you handle the direct use of lyrics well enough. Then the ending comes along and slaughters it.

One can guess as early as the sixth paragraph that Alex is dead. It lends the piece some suspense: how did he die? What will happen next? But interest wanes as the retelling of past events goes on and on, events centered on writing to boot; that sort of thing often has a self-referential tang, and so it has here. Then, wham, it turns out the narrator has murdered Alex to... further his career? Plot twist! If she's serious about that motivation, it's stupid, and if she isn't, to have her claim it is a poor move. I strongly suspect she's making a morbid joke, but the tone shift--especially coming right at the end--is like a whoopee cushion in a hearse, neither funny nor appropriate.

I wonder how much Alex was right about her. The more often I read this, the less sympathetic and the more toxic she gets, and the more I lean toward a different answer to her question.

***********

DurianGray, "Pre-dawn"
Song: "Disturbance at the Heron House"

Kai's Song Notes: I don't know whether this song is about the army at all, but that's what I get from the mentions of liberty, honor, grunts, and cogs. I imagine young, green soldiers and older vets assembling after Reveille, with war as the chaos they follow. Valid interpretation? Loony? Probably loony. Summons, crowds, zoos, chaos, loss of interest, and retreat all register as themes either way.

The connection: Crowds, chaos, and retreat, check! The riots capture the song's mood.

The outsider: Sam, who's left his home world to work on one of its moons during a time of political tension. His accent ensures he stands out. The trouble is that he does very little to become an insider; he does very little, period. His initiation to life on the moon, survival of a riot, involves no action on his part. He doesn't even hide himself. Someone else pushes him down.

Sam's lack of agency weakens a story that's already none too strong. The opening has grown on me since my first reading, and now I sort of like it, but the middle stretch between the first exposition block about Pallas and Medusa and the start of the riot is still largely dull. I blame the excess of political details. Why is the Duke's marriage worth mentioning? I'm not clear either on what the riot is meant to accomplish. It would make more sense if a Medusan had been assassinated; rioting because trade agreements will be delayed because someone was murdered doesn't compute. Are the people so angry that they'll take any excuse to be violent? If so, you underplay the discontent. "Palladians were starting to complain" doesn't suggest that level of rage.

Technical errors aside--your dialogue mechanics need work, and you should read up on hyphens--you wrote competent sentences and decent conversation. I could see a few revisions and more polish turning this into an okay story. Maybe a good one if Sam faced conflict and did something to overcome it.

***********

Maugrim, "Foreign Flower"
Song: "The Flowers of Guatemala"

Kai's Song Notes: Amanita is the name of some very toxic things. If the "flowers" are poisonous mushrooms, that's grim on a few levels. Mushrooms covering everything suggests rot, or I could read that line as bright colors (that conceal poison) covering up the truth. That verse about looking into the sun supports that, maybe. Go blind. Don't look under the bright, deadly blanket. Themes: Concealment, illusion, denial, blindness, death.

The connection: The people who attract Sophia appear accepting but are not, and there's your illusion and concealment. The most straightforward link is to the lyrics "There's something here I find hard to ignore / There's something that I've never seen before" as they describe Sophia's feeling about the signers.

The outsider: Sophia can't be part of the hearing world. She tries to integrate into the Deaf world. She's still locked out of both at the end, but she finds a moment of peace with that and has someone to hold her hand.

The trouble is that Sophia's outsider status stands on unsteady ground. Why can't she sign? Given her fascination with the language, why hasn't she learned before this? I reckon you went this route in order to set up the conflict between her outlook on the hearing world and the outlook adopted by your subset of Deaf culture, namely that she doesn't view people who aren't deaf as dumb or share their distaste for social interaction with anyone who isn't Deaf. The contrast is fine, but the situation is forced, a problem that could be resolved by rewriting Sophia as a woman who lost her hearing as an adult. Her alienation from each world would make perfect sense in those circumstances.

Jonathan's return to Sophia muddles the ending, because as far as I know he still thinks hearing people are inferior and wouldn't want anything to do with Sophia if she weren't deaf. And what about this K figure? The conclusion would be stronger, if bittersweet, if the final sentence weren't there. Alternatively, Jonathan could shift away from his group, toward her, while she was trying to shift toward him, making it feel right for them to meet in the middle.

***********

anime was right, "Ain't No Girl Like Me"
Song: "The Wrong Child"

Kai's Song Notes: The droning music doesn't match the lyrics about laughing, playing children. It's wrong. Probably on purpose. The singer is a sick child, I figure, with cancer or something that leaves him housebound, and this song hits the prompt so square on the nose that it's a total softball assignment.

The connection: The nameless protagonist (when did that become the fashion in Thunderdome and whom do I have to set on fire to make it stop?) is a child who may not think, herself, that she's "not supposed to be like this," but Zach certainly does. He and his flunkies look and laugh. My favorite link is between Nameless's struggle to know what to say to Annie and the five questions in the bridge.

The outsider: Nameless, a gay teenager surrounded by kids who beat her up, is an outsider, but you'd have a hard time convincing me she wants to become an insider with Zach & Co. Her suggestion that she sing in their band doesn't sound remotely sincere. She wants to bond with Annie, but can you be an insider with one other person?

Some clumsy mechanics, but nothing that bad until "I’d bury my face into my pillow and cried until it was damp." Then "'Where’s yours? Noise pollution is a fineable offense', I say." Oof. Why would Annie being kind to Zach make the narrator want to sing? If the idea is that sing really means scream in this instance, it would be better to use the right word.

Stories about gay kids being harassed for being gay are a Thunderdome staple, and I'm tired of the one-dimensional villains who don't show more motivation for what they do. For even a stereotypical bigot of a teenager to beat up a girl, a neighbor girl, demands more explanation than "she's gay." I'd buy it a little more readily if Nameless were a guy, but it would still be a better story if Zach weren't made out of cardboard. Bigots are humans with reasoning of their own. They feel more real and more awful when they're written that way.

That said, I like the ending very much. I like that Annie's friendship still matters to Nameless even though Annie doesn't share her other feelings. I like that it isn't perfect and sugar-sweet. Acceptance turns out to be more important, or at least as important, as romance, and that's really cool. I put this on my high tier largely for those last two sentences.

***********

flerp, "The Beat That's In Every Blast"
Song: "World Leader Pretend"

Kai's Song Notes: A man works to change himself. His walls could be social, emotional, or mental, but it doesn't matter which. The important thing is that he wants to be different, and the themes of the song are that desire and the difficulty of the task.

The connection: It doesn't look likely that the nameless protagonist raised the mental, emotional, and social walls that separate him from other people himself, but there they are. He lets his machines talk to him in even the least appropriate moment.

The outsider: Nameless comes across as downright alien. Everything is song and rhythm for him, including bombs falling and people's pleas to God and a child's admission of guilt. He spends the story trying to understand people as though he weren't one of them; he doesn't seem interested in being one of them, so that part of the prompt isn't fulfilled, but trying to comprehend insiders comes close.

I would cut "That's" from the title to make it clunk less. I would replace "rift" with "riff" to make the last sentence of the fourth paragraph less nonsensical.

The main character starts weird and stays weird in a manner that's more off-putting than interesting, so I have to consider why I react poorly to him. That he sees the world differently than I do shouldn't be a crime. That his reaction to chaos and grief is to try and find a rhythm underneath it--that's it. He's distant, detached, and low on compassion during his tedious quest for the beat of life. The kid with the hand turkey tries valiantly to save the show by being human and comparatively eloquent, but he can't: the alien in the headphones weighs it down until the end.

That ending tries for depth, and there's something to the idea that sobs are the rhythm of human existence, but the main character continues to be an albatross around the story's neck and weakens the notion's poignancy with his narrative voice. You could increase his empathy if you revised this piece for use elsewhere, pull his obsession with rhythm back a notch, and still make your point. The kid's story as an outsider in his family might also be worth telling if you want to play with the different kinds of noise we make.

***********

Carl Killer Miller, "Ash Knowledge"
Song: "King of Birds"

Kai's Song Notes: The singer wants to make his own mark, do his own work, without leaning on the efforts of his forebears. At the same time, he encourages an old man to keep moving--to stay alive, maybe, depending on what's implied by "so still"--and teach. Themes: independence, frustration, dependence, ancestry, lessons, sky vs. ground.

The connection: An elderly man tells his grandson a story intended to teach him something, though it sounds more confusing than instructive. His allegory involves birds. Sky vs. ground is a large part of it. This is one thing the entry does right; good show.

The outsider: Jerry's no outsider despite the odd reference to bringing him "into the fold," and Pappa/Murphy is, if anything, an insider drifting out.

My reading: Gerald Murphy tells his grandson, Jerry, a story about the Dresden bombing, hidden in an allegory about birds to make it appropriate for a small child. On the day of the bombing the elder Gerald realized that rather than destroying factories, he and his men were killing the civilians that kept the town going. He followed his orders that day but lost his certainty of the righteousness of the Allies' actions. His moral for Jerry is that life can be destroyed by uncontrolled fire--probably meaning hate or anger.

Boiled down like that it sounds all right, but the execution is bungled so badly that I had this as my loss choice. On the nuts-and-bolts level, the sentence mechanics aren't great. The sentence "The boy showed a preternatural compassion and the captain wouldn't be around forever" should have a comma after compassion, since what follows is an independent clause. Pap/Pappa's nickname isn't consistent. You misspell choked. At one point you don't capitalize the first word of a dialogue sentence; elsewhere you put a comma outside a closing quotation mark. Multiple people speak in the first paragraph of the third section. Frieda becomes "the Frieda" in Section Seven.

More aggravating is the device of Pap's allegory. The story skims over it and counts on Jerry's questions to draw an outline. This feels like a way for you to avoid having to come up with an allegory that makes sense, because the bits we see do not. There are two bird kingdoms. They fight. Then one bird kingdom attacks a place where the birds of the other kingdom learn to fly. They see baby birds on the ground and... eat them? Is that what Pap went with? I understand Jerry's confusion. The line about an uncontrolled blaze doesn't go with birds at all.

Worse yet, arguably, is all the back-and-forth between 1945 and the present. The present-day scenes interrupt the Dresden scenes; there's at least one too many, probably two. Imagine the story if you cut Section Three and Section Five. You might want to work the point that "someone telling you to do something isn't always a good reason to do it" in somewhere else, but the rest is chaff. If you lost those sections' details about Pap's bird story, you might get away with the allegory schtick. Vagueness would be an improvement in this case.

I would suggest losing the entire frame and setting the whole story in Gerald Murphy's viewpoint during the war, except the thump of his dogtags on his old chest is a startlingly perfect finish. It echoes the thumps during the bombing, and more than that, it tells me that either he's still a soldier for all his soul-searching, he wears them to remind himself of what he did, or both.

***********

docbeard, "Men Over Mission"
Song: "E-Bow the Letter"

Kai's Song Notes: If I'm anywhere close to right, this song is one celebrity talking to another. An experienced star warning a new one? Maybe. He's jaded about the drugs, a little frightened by the fans, familiar with that fear and probably plenty more. Stars, sorrow, fear, adrenaline, marks of success, and aversion all put in appearances.

The connection: Fear, adrenaline, and sorrow are present, and I can see Jason as an experienced star/gang member talking to newbie Mike if I squint, but the link isn't terribly strong.

The outsider: Mike isn't yet a member of Cassie's crew. Whatever he's done to get that money in his backseat is his initiation trial.

Are you sure you didn't mean to submit this in the previous week? I was fine with it on my first read until Jason started coughing out exposition and I realized I was trapped in a bog of chatter. It has the classic problems of an 85%-dialogue story: the exposition isn't smooth. Not much other than talking happens. The situation is ill defined; I haven't a clue what Cassie and her crew do, what Reyes wants, why Jason is dying, or how a couple of vets ended up working for a gang. I like Jason and I regret his solution to Mike's problem, but since I don't have a firm grasp on that problem--or on Mike, for that matter; he's all but blank--his death doesn't cut very deep.

***********

hotsoupdinner, "Miracle"
Song: "New Test Leper"

Kai's Song Notes: I read this as a performer reflecting on the judgmental nature of an audience. To his critics, he's deformed and contemptible. The cameras don't respect him. The other celebrities he encounters have become jaded and scarred. I'm not inclined to call him a leper for that, but the song does paint a sort of picture of being shunned and outcast, making this another easy draw.

The connection: Ezra's radiation poisoning parallels leprosy. The guardians of the Walled City judge him to be unsafe and unworthy.

The outcast: Nehemiah and his companions are determined to keep Ezra outside of their home--for good reason, but he doesn't see it that way.

The worldbuilding errs on the side of too vague. That the specifics regarding how the world turned to nuclear slag are missing doesn't hurt the story; all one needs to know is that it's a wasteland now, but I wonder how Ezra survived on his farm as long as he did if things are this bad everywhere. If they aren't, I wonder why he walked toward the battlefield rather than away, Walled City or no. I don't get any sense of the time scale. Has he been walking for years? Has he been mutated into immortality?

Knowing that would be vastly helpful in appreciating the last few paragraphs, because I can't imagine a man half dead of radiation sickness managing to kill three healthy men in protective suits without a struggle. Or at all. Even if Ezra is immortal and strong beyond the strength of humankind, it's lame that Nehemiah stands around slack-jawed until it's his turn to die. The shift into Nehemiah's viewpoint is a mistake. My first time through, I had to read that paragraph and the next over again to work out what had happened.

The weak, unbelievable handwaving of physical and biological reality in the climax kicks the legs out from under the ending and so the whole thing. More's the pity: "Swirls of blood marble his sputum" is an evocative phrase, and the prose is generally competent at worst. The was in "If there ever was a such thing as a miracle, Ezra has never seen it" should probably be has been, though.

***********

Entenzahn, "The Free Radical"
Song: "Electrolite"

Kai's Song Notes: The lyrics have the distaste for the world that I'm coming to expect from R.E.M., but something--the piano music? The guitar strumming?--makes this a more mellow, nearly cheerful song than most of the ones I've heard today, despite that. It ends up sounding like this guy sees the time he lives in as plastic and fake, but he can't bring himself to mind too much.

The connection: Other than electricity, I don't see one. Dominic eclipses the Captain in his moment of sacrifice, I guess?

The outsider: Dominic runs around on the fringes of a superhero group so they can keep an eye on him. He finds a way to become a hero before the story is done.

Dominic's powers vs. LECTRO's could stand to be more clear. My impression at first is that the computer is oddly pointless, displaying readings I assume relate to electromagnetic fields when those are something Dominic senses internally, but then he shapes its charge into a protective bubble. Is it a portable power supply? It should be presented as such from the start, if so. If Dominic can't sense fields until he looks at some computer graphics, that's strange and calls for some explanation.

The story tries, I think, to deliver the magical amount of worldbuilding that is Just Enough to let us understand the setting without being drowned in exposition. A noble goal, but it doesn't work out. The characterization is too weak; the Captain, the Guardians, and the NWO are blank white mannequins, and there's not that much to Dominic beyond his power set. Without engaging characters, I look for setting details to care about and come up short.

Dominic's sacrifice gives the piece a little emotional payoff. You keep that sequence interesting enough that I can ignore how obvious it also is. Like in docbeard's entry, though, the bare-bones characters rob a lot of power from the moment.

***********

Grizzled Patriarch, "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
Song: "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"

Kai's Song Notes: Expectations and understanding. Irony as a restraint. I'd think this were a song about a man figuring out that there was sincere value in things he'd dismissed as false or uncool, or if not value, then a depth he hadn't previously realized; maybe it is, but the final "don't gently caress with me" makes me wonder whether he's figured out anything at all.

The connection: Radio and frequencies play key roles in this entry. Phil's dismissal of the idea that his son could hear his dead wife in the bands between stations turns into, not acceptance, but hope. He can't believe but can't not believe. It's arguably the week's strongest use of a song.

The outcast: This is more shaky. Kevin is established as a social outcast in an early throwaway reference that doesn't preface any attempt by him to be anything else. Phil tries to bridge the gap between him and his son, but I'm still not convinced getting close to one person is the same as becoming an insider.

More present tense. There's been a lot of that this week. The first paragraph is a doozy; the son needs a name earlier to forestall that mess of pronouns. Pronouns continue to be an issue as the third paragraph reads like Kevin had meant to throw the radio out, years ago. Such fuzziness from you surprises me.

Phil feels too much. This may be an intentional motif, but it sticks out. He feels heaviness, he feels a mounting presence, he feels something in his chest, he feels like he's standing on a whale, his home feels alien to him, a feeling saps away everything, a feeling comes over him. Is this story nothing more than feelings? (Sorry.) Surely more variety is possible. The repetition is too much like lazy writing, even if that probably isn't the problem.

I wasn't keen on an HM for this at the time, but I've warmed to it since. The relationship between Phil and Kevin, Kevin's adolescent obsession, the grief that father and son share, and Phil's hope that the impossible is possible balance the stumble on half the prompt and the unusually clumsy--but still more graceful than 90% of the rest--prose. Find some alternatives to feels and you'll cooking with petrol.

***********

Thranguy, "Titanomachy"
Song: "Saturn Return"

Kai's Song Notes: I'm not sure, but I think I like the way the vaguely unpleasant prelude to this song breaks into some of the sweeter singing I've heard from R.E.M. so far. The lyrics meld tones similarly. On the one hand, the singer breaks away from his work shift to gaze up at Saturn, and the song emphasizes that the planet is on its own, calling for no one and needing no one. That seems hopeful. The singer could take off and go his own way similarly, except that ladder in the wrist suggests another sort of departure. "Easy to poke yourself, easy as pie / Easy to take off, harder to fly" took on dark connotations once I started seeing this as a suicide song.

The connection: Evidently I'm not alone in that. The mood, the roof, and the ladder are all present and accounted for.

The outcast: You don't emphasize that people shun Peter for being a murderer's son; you don't have to. That's very well done. Turning "attempts to become an insider" into "attempts to get into a prison" borders on getting cute. I would almost rather that part had been left out, particularly since your otherwise strong entry is done in by the exposition-laden ending.

That first paragraph does its job of catching my attention. Minor mechanical flaws afterward distract me more than I would like. Missing punctuation, mispunctuated dialogue, lowercase pronouns, run-on sentences, "dyeing" confused with "dying," and enough dashes to skewer an entire plate of cocktail weenies? You know better. I know you do.

I appreciate what this is attempting, but it could use less dialogue--you appear to be trapped back in Dialogue Week with docbeard--and more separation between the dialogue and the exposition. Even when the two aren't one and the same, they're lodged in the same paragraphs in awkward ways, with the tenth paragraph serving as an example. The exposition within dialogue actually reads better, for the most part. The line "I didn't give a drat about what happened to her- no, I was glad she died" rings false (it's that "no" that does it), but otherwise I can believe two teens would talk like this.

The last-minute revelation of Peter's plan reminds me of ExtraNoise's entry. The lump of motivation clogs the conclusion, and I wish it were better threaded through the story. Especially since I guessed Peter would either kill her or commit suicide alongside her early on. With that no mystery (and I hope it isn't intended to be one), there isn't much reason to spring his reasons for doing so on us in the eleventh hour. The whole judging team disliked the final three paragraphs to a degree that cost you an HM, so if you decide to revise this one, I suggest you start there.

***********

spectres of autism, "Arc"
Song: "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"

Kai's Song Notes: I wonder who the singer is singing to. My best guess is that he's broken up with his girlfriend or wife and has left their home for--a cheap hotel? A friend's place? A park bench? Somewhere that only a pay phone can reach. So who's going to wake that woman up? Could be a friend of hers; could be a sister. I want to know the singer's relationship to this person. The connections between these three people are the most interesting thing.

The connection: A falling star. A creature on its back. Sleep and dreams. Only sleep of those is a significant part of the song, and sleep matters only briefly in the story. The serpents in the dark could be a callback to sidewinders?

The outcast: One of the main characters is crushed under the weight of love. The other is explicitly one with its mother and father. If the "outsider becoming an insider" is the whatever-it-is of the second section falling to a planet, that... hrm. It misses the spirit of the prompt, but it's almost clever enough I don't mind. Almost.

Interpretation time. A furred alien is born in its world's winter. It knows what armies and spears and shrouds are, so my impression is of a humanoid. It's obsessed with the falling star it saw at the moment of its birth. Over an indistinct amount of time, it thinks about the idea that has come to it in a dream that the falling star is alive. It wants to find whatever fell, for some reason. That whatever is another kind of alien, its earliest memory of fire on a spaceship or space station or somewhere else with metal walls. Although it's an infant, its reflected eyes pierce it with self-knowledge. It's pushed out... an airlock? Into open space? I swear that's what the words are saying. Maybe it's in an escape capsule. It falls, presumably, to the planet, and that's where the first protagonist finds it. The first protagonist hugs it, and it steals his/her body heat and turns the heat into fireworks. It's death; it's birth; it's the end.



None of this makes sense, not how the furry alien knows the falling star is alive, not how it can find whatever fell after a lifetime, not what happens when it touches the thing, nothing. Nothing seems to happen for a reason. I'm convinced you're trying to say something, but the message is garbled past sure comprehension. The made-up words are obnoxious (and in two cases misspelled!); the alien perspectives are so busy being alien that they don't convey much. The entry reads like a dream, with all of the weaknesses that implies.

***********

Sitting Here, "Messiah en Route"
Song: "Shaking Through"

Kai's Song Notes: The tune is cheerful, as the R.E.M. songs I've heard go. And that's about all I get. Maybe this has something to do with Japan, and maybe the "three" are the Axis powers, but I doubt it. All that makes much sense is the first line: "Could it be that one small voice doesn't count in the room?" It's a good thing that's decent story fodder.

The connection: The nameless protagonist--I can't decide whether to complain about this one. A name would humanize him, but would that go against the point? Anyway, he's the one small voice. The question of whether he'll count in the room is up for debate.

The outcast: While no one on the bus shuns or recoils from him, I figure Nameless Jesus doesn't fit in too well with his fellow men.

On the bright side, I immediately get a feeling of R.E.M. from this entry. On the dark side, I'm verging on sick of R.E.M. at this point.

Thoughtful work, if light, and a fun vignette, if an insubstantial one. You do a great job with the magical thinking. Nameless Jesus believes so wholeheartedly in his role in life that I half believe it too; you help me to wonder with the car miracle that may be real or may be his kooky imagination. He's sympathetic and understandable for all the toys that may or may not be in his attic. To make a man who thinks he's the Savior relatable is a heartwarming trick.

The major downside is that little changes or is resolved, and you might as well finish with To be continued! It's a more charming scrap of story than most and less flawed than all the rest, but it's about as satisfying as a single Hostess Donette.

***********

Tyrannosaurus, "The Cicada, Grief"
Song: "Country Feedback"

Kai's Song Notes: Another musical break-up. The maddening loop and ill-fitting clothes are evocative of a struggling relationship. Not sure about the bone--could it be a wishbone? I think of a garage sale when I read the line "the lovers have been tagged" (thank you for all these R.E.M. lyrics, Internet), and the psychics, plastics, etc. take on a rural/suburban flavor that might or might not be intentional. At the core, it's about a man who needs to get away and blames his lady for their failure to make it through.

The connection: The country twang of the song colors the setting of the story. Dale needs for Cooper to be his brother. It's possible the "bone in your hand" inspired the undeath and/or that the wedding ring is Cooper's or Cindy's.

The outcast: I have to wonder again whether just one other person can make you an outcast or an insider, because I think Cooper is meant to be the outsider, trying to reclaim his bond with his brother. Or whatever the thing is that looks like Cooper is trying to become Cooper. Either way it's a little sketchy, but it passes.

The title makes me think right away of That Dragon, Cancer. It feels derivative, but that could be a coincidence.

Like a corpse at the bottom of a lake, this falls apart. The opening is strong with a great Southern Gothic flavor. I'm instantly hooked by the mysteries of why Cooper came back and how he got in the water. I never get an answer to those questions. Instead you try to introduce doubt as to whether Cooper is Cooper, while I still want to know other things--and I say try for a reason. The text pushes that doubt hard, but I don't see why Dale doesn't accept that Cooper's memory might be vague after he's been dead two years. His zombie brother comes out of the lake and Dale immediately offers him a beer, but his zombie brother can't remember his wedding day and that's what makes Dale look at him askance? Weird. The story tries to ride the uncertainty about who Cooper is all the way to the end without convincing me I should care. How'd he get in the lake, dangit?

My final impression is that Weird Stuff Happens without whys or wherefores. That does not a story make.

***********

Ironic Twist, "Sightless Eyes"
Song: "Texarkana"

Kai's Song Notes: I've been through Texarkana twice. I remember the water tower joining the outlines of both states, mostly, and the Texas shapes on the overpasses before the border that became Arkansas shapes after. What this music or these lyrics have to do with that city, I do not know. They have more to do with a lifelong quest for something unknown. Some honest-to-God appreciation of life and an implication of trust make this the warmest song yet.

The connection: The song's first stanza sums up Mariani, doesn't it? The stars falling from the sky may be connected to your framing myth as well, I'm not sure, but you're fine either way.

The outsider: Mariani is on the outs with criminals. The effort to become an insider isn't there, as he tries to survive their anger more than to regain their good graces. The Sky attempts to cuddle up to Earth in the frame, but at that point the Sky isn't an outsider yet.

Twist. Listen. I've run out of fresh ways to tell you to cut out the damnable frames. Or at least reconsider them five times before you run with one, in hope of avoiding disasters like this. Whatever tone you're going in the Sky and Earth saga slips and lands on "trying too hard." Eyes don't have wombs! That metaphor is terrible! The second half of the frame interrupts a scene that's far more compelling. This frustrates me all the more this time because I had you on my high list for the strength of the central story, but the other judges shot down the idea of an HM right quick for good reason: as one of them said, this lives and dies by its structure. A pity, since Mariani's instant of death is one of the best conclusions I've seen in a while.

I believe I get what you're aiming to do. The rain is Sky grieving for what Rosales will do to Mariani on one level. On another I think Sky may be a stand-in for Ailin, and Earth is Mariani, and the frame is meant to fill in details about their relationship. Maybe a more folksy voice in the frame would make it less incongrous (and less irritating) than the trying-for-poetic one you use. Maybe then it would work, though I'd rather see the frame chopped altogether and Mariani, Rosales, and Ailin allowed to carry the story on their own. They're up to it; I get enough idea of how Ailin and Mariani were together without the allegorical help.

***********

crabrock, "but not me in"
Song: "Sitting Still"

Kai's Song Notes: I'm shrugging in bemusement again. "Don't waste your time sitting still" is clear enough, and "I can hear you" implies connection, maybe sympathy, but the rest? Who knows. Individual lines have potential, but any overall theme has run right through my mental fingers.

The connection: Akona is deaf to mundane sounds, but she can hear Drumphy, unfortunately. She achieves a big kill. I want to throw a fit after reading this.

The outsider: Insecure, lonely Akona kills and skins a girl to wear her as a suit. It would be a good twist on the prompt if the tone worked as was probably intended.

Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate wackydumbrandom invisible friends with stupid names and stupider tics since I began to live.

You're trapped back in Dialogue Week too. Maybe our efforts left psychic scars, and the only way you can purge yourself is by retching Drumphy out and forcing us to suffer through line after line after line of his inane existence. How I detest this character! He ruins the entire story both by being around at all and by yammering through an ending that should shock and horrify. It doesn't. Because that effing elephant is there! Is he meant to be connected to the Dreamtime somehow? You know what, I don't care. He's so grating that nothing he could bring to the story would balance out how much he sucks.

Okay, but I should be fair to him and to you. He serves a purpose as the devil on Akona's shoulder, a manifestation of her insecurities, and Akona's sanity suffers from having nothing but him to which to listen. The idea's maybe to make Akona sympathetic and all the more creepy given what her inner voice looks like. But Drumphy is a persistent, over-loud circus clown who never ever lets up on the horn. Not scary. Not creepy. Did you read Muffin's recent entry with the random flatulent ghost? Drumphy's sort of like that.

Don't tell me how a person pees someone's skin with precision and skill. I'm confident I don't want to know.

***********

Jonked, "Temptations"
Song: "Life and How to Live It"

Kai's Song Notes: I'm getting a house as a loose metaphor for life, the mind, or both, with those flaw-hiding walls probably social (and emotional, and mental) as well as tangible. Hiding things is definitely a theme. The impossibility of keeping things hidden seems to be one, too.

The connection: Joshua tries to hide his discomfort with the movies from Rebecca, unsuccessfully; he tries to hide his love of them from his father, and one imagines that in the long term that will prove impossible too.

The outsider: I assume that Joshua's home life creates difficulty for him in connecting to other people this age. This aspect is reasonably well done.

Hmm, there hasn't been a story bashing religion yet in this round. Surely we can't have a week without--oh, here we go, right on time. I exaggerate to make the point that this theme is tired, particularly when the religious figure--often a parent--is a crude caricature. Sadly, there isn't much here beyond the equation of religion with silly taboos and unreasonable guilt.

What happens: Joshua defies his father to go see a movie with a girl. The movie makes him cry. He joins the Cinema Club. That's it, though the final action represents a decision to hold on to something he enjoys despite his father's disapproval and move out of the guilt's shadow, so a character arc exists. Yours is one more entry heavy on the dialogue and too light on the other things that make a story.

Your strangest maneuver is leaving the title of the film Joshua sees out of the text. I don't know Scorsese's filmography off hand. Wikipedia suggests that Joshua is probably viewing The Last Temptation of Christ, given the line about blasphemy and the story's title; why not say so? What does omitting that detail accomplish?

Ultimately all the judges were bored, and that's what did you in.

***********

Jopoho, "A Mechanic"
Song: "Orange Crush"

Kai's Song Note: Is it the tune or my fondness for orange soda that has me liking this one? It's energetic and dryly peppy for a song about going off to war. The words don't whine or rage but still make their point, the soldier of the song serving a conscience that explicitly isn't his. Is "orange crush" a euphemism? Wiki confirms that it is. The catchy music and the bleak lyrics draw a portrait of the singer as a sardonic man, and I want to read about him.

The connection: Henry appears to be in some sort of concentration camp, which suggests war. As a prisoner, he's collared, but as a valuable commodity, he's less collared than most.

The outsider: Henry sets himself apart from the rest of the prisoners with his lie. He's apart from the other assembly-line workers as a false mechanic. I don't get the sense he wants to be on the inside socially, but he has to look like a real mechanic if he's to survive his gambit. That counts.

The pacing's off; the story rambles too long while Henry's standing in his line and then hits a wall at the finish. The Max character is mentioned too late. Nothing is resolved. Overall it reads like the first section of a much longer story that should describe how Henry either escaped from or died in that camp. The parts that aren't dialogue--Henry's conversation with the other prisoner is flat and dull--are just interesting enough that I'd keep reading, so you would likely have ended up in the middle of the pack if the DQ hadn't made it moot.

***********

3.141592653, "War"
Song: "Hyena"

Kai's Song Notes: The role of the hyena could be to bring fear; if the only thing to fear is fearlessness, then the town is most safe when s/he's done his/her job, and one surmises the singer fears most hurting the woman he loves. That interpretation is sketchy. The fear theme is the only thing of which I'm sure.

The connection: "Meager pay, but recognition" is all but quoted. Eric fears the fearlessness of both sides of a war, because it means one or both will have to shatter against the other for the conflict to end.

The outsider: Eric's preachy pacifism doesn't make friends of the other soldiers. I figure his enlistment is his attempt to become an insider, a slight fumble of the prompt since that takes place before the story starts.

We return to Dialogue Week one last time to see one soldier proselytize about war to another. David's half of the conversation tries to carry the weight of exposition and drops it with unsubtle clunks, while Eric rails to the reader whenever he's not railing to David--all of it Message and all of it familiar. When he talks about his daughter I get a glimpse of a more interesting, conflicted character. I wouldn't bother revising this, but the story of Eric's decision to join up and his good-bye his daughter could be worth telling.

You escaped DM contention despite your work having problems in common with Jonked's, and your relative brevity may be to credit.

ty

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


can i enter on the premise of an anime flash rule only thanks

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


Bad Seafood posted:

Your story takes place within the context of the dreaded tournament arc.

man this woulda been my favorite prompt ever if i got this oh well

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich






anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


in because i like this prompt and for no other reason

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


Entenzahn posted:

anime was right – I Really Gotta Pee!
For what it’s worth you wrote a very solid story about a guy having to pee and you can quote me on that on your resume if that makes you feel any better.

considering my prompt, this is really all i could ask for in a crit, thanks for the crit.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


interprompt: weeds (not weed)

419 words

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


how many of your hosed up animals are going to die at the end?

also in

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


IV – (1181 words)

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

He names it Swiss.

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

***

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

Without the IV in him, everything feels smaller.

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

Tory takes the Q13 bus sign, torn free.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


fjgj dot gif

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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


flerp posted:

im gonna edit this post'

e: i did it

you loving monster

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