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Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

In. First time Thunderdome, so I fully expect to crash and burn.

And just to make my demise assured, I'd like to also request a conflict to write about.

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Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

A Typical Denny's Lunch Hour - 1093 words

High noon at Denny’s, two men were seated at a table; the first young, tall and lanky, the second middle-aged, stocky and shorter. Some oldies rock song was playing, only to be drowned out by a screeching toddler in the booth next to them. It didn’t really matter. Neither of them was paying attention anyway.

“I’ll have the iced tea, please. No lemon,” the tall man ordered. By all accounts, he was overdressed for the venue, just a necktie short of business professional, his short brown hair impeccably combed. This was only natural, since he was on break from an accounting firm just downtown.

The accountant stared over at his counterpart, still engrossed in the menu. He seemed a bit more sensibly dressed for a family diner, wearing a green polo shirt and tan khakis. His head reminded the accountant of a fuzzy cantaloupe, and he wondered if this guy was military or police. Maybe he was just a bodybuilder.

“And for you, sir?” the waiter asked, not impolitely, but with the air of someone who really had to be somewhere else. Seconds passed, and then the waiter sighed and said “I’ll come back later.”

Silence reigned over the table. The toddler went up an octave.

“I hate it when they try to rush you,” the thick-set man finally spoke. “I suppose introductions are in order,” he said, leaning back in his seat, insofar as these wooden blocks would actually bend, that is. His harsh blue eyes pierced through the accountant’s forehead. “You start.”

“Me?” The scrawny young man slapped his hand down. “You’re the one who called me here! How’d you even get my number anyway?”

“That’s a great question.” The stocky man began counting on his numbers. “Truth be told, I already know your name, where you work, even why you don’t like lemon in your tea. Yeah, I know a lot about you, Nathan.”

If there was color in his face to begin with, Nathan, or Nate as he preferred to be called, would have gone pale at that point. He almost rose to his feet, but the other man’s gaze drove him downward. “Who are you?” Nathan demanded, wondering if he should start begging for his life.

“Call me Archie. Here’s my card.” Archie pulled out a brown leather wallet, remarkably mundane-looking, and slid a business card across the table to the accountant. Nate read it, looked at Archie, read it again, and groaned.

Archie finally betrayed a smile. “My daughter tells me that you don’t want to talk to me.”

“I-I have to use the bathroom.”

“Sit.” Nathan stayed seated. “Mind telling me why?”

“Why…why what?”

“Why not talk to me? Afraid I’ll say no?”

“N-No. I just…“

“Are we ready to order?” the waiter cut in, placing the iced tea.

“I’ll have a coffee. Bold.”

“Alright. How about the entrees?” The waiter turned to Nathan who was gripping the table like he might fall through the floor. Pursing his lips, he said “In a bit, then?”

“Y-yeah,” Nathan stammered and waited for the waiter to amble off. “When…when a guy looks like…you know…”

“Deep breaths, son. Relax.”

“Alright,” he sighed, running his hands down his face. “Fine, yes. I thought you were going to say no. I mean, she’s told me stories. You know, about you. I don’t hunt, I don’t fish. I figured you’d call me a wuss, tell me I was no good for your daughter, that she needed a ‘real man’ and are you even listening?”

The whole time Nathan was talking, Archie was reading the menu again. Once the stream of words had stopped, he gave a sideways glance at his prospective son-in-law. “Well, you’re right about one thing,” he grumbled, looking at the prices on burgers. “But it’s not just because you look like you’re a hundred pounds in the rain.”

“Huh?”

Archie slapped the menu down and leveled a finger in Nate’s face. “Let me tell you something. If you think that you know better than my daughter how to handle your relationship, you’ve got another thing coming.”

“What are you talking about?” Staring sideways, Nathan noticed that the parents of the crying child had left their own problems behind and were watching this conversation with rapt interest.

“My daughter would have been proud to bring you home, you bastard! Steady job, nice car, okay kid. We’d have been glad to have you as a son. But you had to go and say it.” He put on a squeaky, mincing voice. “’We don’t have to tell your parents. It can just be the two of us.’ Bullshit!” Nathan recoiled back at the sudden exclamation. “You just didn’t want to face the possibility that we wouldn’t let you have her; that you couldn’t have a beautiful, talented girl who, for god knows what reason, thought you were actually worth something!”

From out of nowhere, something stirred within this accountant’s scrawny frame. Before he knew it, he’d sprung to his feet and was shouting, “Oh yeah? Well maybe your daughter doesn’t need someone telling her who she can and can’t marry! She doesn’t even live with you anymore, so why is this any of your business?”

“She made it my business! Who do you think I heard it from?” Archie had risen as well, only to hear that all-too-familiar voice from behind.

“Your coffee, sir?”

“Oh right. Thanks.” Slowly falling into his chair, coffee cup in hand, Archie let the waiter bolt for safety before continuing. “You hurt her feelings, you know that?” Archie sighed. “Hurt her bad.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Nate muttered, pouring sweetener into his tea. “It wasn’t like I was saying we’d elope or anything.”

Archie poured some sugar packets into his coffee, took a sip, and put some more in, “So, you’re gonna apologize to her, right?”

“I mean, I guess I have to.”

“Wrong answer. You gonna do it or not?”

“Uh, yeah, I mean sure. Of course I will.”

“And then?”

“I don’t know. I guess that-“

Archie shot another piercing look.

“I mean, I’m GOING TO talk with her. See what she wants to do.”

“Good plan. Always good to listen.” Another sip of coffee. Another sip of tea.

“So…” Nathan volunteered, “Does this mean we’re cool?”

Archie smirked and swirled his cup around. “Well, you’re still a wimp, but there’s some hope for you. We’re doing separate checks, right?”

Nathan opened his mouth in protest, and shrugged. “Yeah, sure. I’ll handle the tip.”

“Better not be a big one. This coffee tastes like poo poo.”

Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

Thanks for the crits! Next time, I'm getting started earlier so I don't have to cobble something together at the last minute.

Speaking of which, I'm in.

Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

Kumaton posted:

I'll guess I'll join in with Flash #1. Midwest/St. Louis Gothic. Woo!

Well, crap. I didn't anticipate having to go head to head on making St. Louis creepy.

Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

I'm actually gonna need to drop out of this prompt. Got extra shifts at work and a grad school assignment to hand in. If you need someone to help judge, I'll be free post-Sunday, but otherwise, sorry. Can't do it.

Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

In as an Employee. I already work retail, so how hard can it be?

Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

Chariots of the Wage Slave - 1282 words

Of all the possible positions at Voidmart, Shipping and Receiving had been nearer to the bottom on Geoff Thurman’s list. Not even the returns desk would have been above him. At least then he’d be able to talk to someone. But this department…well, he had a tablet computer, and all it did was chirp out work orders.

If Voidmart seemed dauntingly huge on the consumer end, the storage side was somehow even more so, sprawling out in a complex that, at first glance, could be mistaken for a metropolitan skyline. The ceiling was lit by thousands of fluorescent tubes, many of which were flickering close to death, if they hadn’t burnt out already. Someone would be out to replace them soon, management had said to complaining staff, but in the meantime, there they stood, like a sparkling constellation of cheapness.

As one might expect, no simple forklifts would satisfy the demands of this storeroom, not when the shelves were hundreds of feet in the air. Instead, the skies were abuzz with the rotors of hovercrafts, weaving through the dimly-lit steel corridors at the whims of their tablets.

“Dock GLC!” it chimed one day, in a mechanical approximation of cheeriness that grinds on the nerves after the fiftieth time hearing it. As per usual, a map of the complex lit up on his screen, showing the location of the shipment in question, but something was different this time.

“Floor 3?” he muttered to himself, rubbing his two-day fuzz. He’d never really questioned where the shipments came from. They just sort of appeared on one of many docks scattered throughout. But he’d heard that the lower floors were strictly off-limits after some sort of incident. Nobody really wanted to talk about it, but the short version his supervisor had told him was that somebody dropped a crate they shouldn’t have and the ground floor was full of zombies.

It was probably a joke though. Jerry was well-known for his tall tales.

He hoped it was a joke.

“Well, no point standing around,” he said, once again to nobody in particular, and began his descent. Whatever reservations he had about the walking dead paled in comparison to the threat of losing his job.

The hovercrafts weren’t really designed for speed so much as heavy loading, so Geoff had plenty of time to see his doom come into view. Suddenly everything made sense, inasmuch as a crate two stories high could make sense, that is. No way that something that big would fit in one of the docks above.

A portly man in shorts was standing by the crate, holding a clipboard and smirking like a man who’d just brought in something guaranteed to ruin some poor employee’s day.

“Hey!” Geoff protested as he brought his vehicle in to land, “You do realize this thing’s only rated for ten tons, right?”

“Relax,” the man replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. “It’s mostly hollow.” He banged the side of the wooden box to emphasize the point, and the instant he did so, a loud bellow sounded from within. “Oops!” he exclaimed disingenuously. “Must have made it upset.”

“What’s ‘it?’” Geoff asked, taking the clipboard. The shipping manifest only had one item on it, written in a manner far too formal for the subject matter. Geoff gave an incredulous smirk, and blankly said, “A T-Rex. Really.”

“Feel free to take a look. Poked some air holes in the side.” With a confident swagger, Geoff walked around and noticed a few holes about the size of a hand’s breadth. He was going to put the truth to the lie right here, right now.

A few seconds later, white as a sheet, he checked off the box on the manifest, signed the line at the bottom with a shaky hand, and handed one copy back to the pudgy delivery man. “Good luck, buddy!” the supplier chuckled, and walked to the end of the dock, disappearing in a flash of light and leaving Mr. Thurman with a crate that was shaking back and forth with the complaints of the creature within.

For his part, Geoff took the matter with a surprising degree of professionalism, digging through the employee manual for instructions. As one would expect with a department this huge, the manual in question would be stiff competition with War and Peace. You could quite literally kill someone with a book this size.

“Let’s see…exotic animals, exotic animals…Okay, Floor 28. Immediate delivery.” Depositing the weighty tome back in its compartment right above the pilot’s seat, he fired up the loading clamps. As long as he just stayed in the hovercraft and never, ever left, the big bad dinosaur couldn’t get him.

Right?

The crate was an unwieldy fit, to say the least. Normally he’d have had to slowly close the clamps on the article as he hovered overhead, but judging by the whine of the motor, he was pushing his luck at the maximum breadth. Guess he’d just have to take it slow.

The liftoff was sluggish, but still steady. So far so good. Just had to get around a few shelves…

Suddenly, the container shook again as the creature took another monster-sized tantrum. The hovercraft drifted to the side. A metal column came into view, and it took a hard jerk to the right on the flight stick to avoid crumbling the flying machine around it.

Almost there. He was on Floor 17 now…Just had to keep rising…

A burning rubber smell started to fill his nostrils. Something was straining on this machine. It didn’t matter. He just had to make it, and then he could go back to the employee area and get a new one. He’d probably get a dock in pay, but if one of the rotors suddenly blew out and he started plummeting to his doom, that would be far worse.

Especially if that had just happened.

As in, right just now.

Geoff might have been screaming at that point. He couldn’t rightly recall, as his mind was instead flashing through all the different ways he could save his skin. His mind flashed back to what he’d been told about the hovercrafts during orientation, that even if a rotor failed, the other one would be sufficient to keep it aloft. So why was he falling?

Oh, right, because he was dragging a giant crate underneath.

Desperately, he scanned his finger across the myriad buttons on the dash. The clamps were designed to stay locked while the hovercraft was in motion, but there had to be a…

There! The emergency release!

The sudden deceleration back upwards slammed Geoff into his seat as the crate went crashing down into the abyss. Guess the zombies would be eating well tonight, he thought to himself, relieved at his quick thinking.

But no sooner did Geoff realize that he was no longer falling than a new problem suddenly surfaced. He’d been flying straight upwards since dodging the shelving unit, so he was right alongside it, and with one of the rotors out, his craft was listing to one side…

Before he even understood what was happening, he’d knocked the broken rotor off entirely and was now grinding the shattered remains against boxes and boxes of assorted toys and trinkets before finally coming to one last sickening halt against a large crate of washing machines.

A minute or two later, Geoff flopped out of the open window of his wrecked vehicle. Something was broken, that much was certain, and he’d have to crawl all the way back to the lift leading off of this shelf, but he was alive. Almost definitely fired, but alive. Maybe he could apply for disability pay.

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Blastinus
Feb 28, 2010

Time to try my luck
:rolldice:
Crap.

Thanks for the crit there, Flerp. And yeah, I agree. The story could have used a clearer focus and a stronger ending.

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