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Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


In.

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Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


Gimme a flashrule as well sebmojo. Its not like its going to make my first entry any worse.

Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


Bad Seafood, please flash me like one of your animes.

Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


Thursday Group Prompt: A man agonizes over potatoes.

Sebmojo Flashrule: Three characters, two secrets, one crime

Bad Seafood KING OF ANIME Flashrule: Two of your characters are engaged in an protracted, ongoing philosophical discussion. They must still feel like people and not just mouthpieces for the views they espouse.

_____________________________________________________

Stay Warm.

Length: 1298

Andy flipped through the thick stack of papers in front of him, most having ACCOUNT IN ARREARS or AMOUNT DUE NOW printed on them in large, intimidatingly red letters. Each bill that Andy scanned through seemed to cause his broad shoulders to droop further and further until he was practically collapsed on the table.

He sat back in his seat and reached for his pint, looking up at the brown and white speckled ceiling through the cigarette and pipe smoke laden air of the King William Ale House. He’d hoped this familiar place would relax him and help him think, but so far nothing but a growing bar tab and deepening sense of desperation seemed to come of it.

“Andy! ‘Aven’t seen you in a while mate!” Said a familiar voice from the door, drawing Andy’s gaze toward a pair of men pulling off gloves and overcoats as they came in out of the cold.

“Been a couple of weeks at least. What’s all this then, Andy?” Said the larger of the two, a portly but strongly built man. Both of the men ambled towards the booth where Andy sat.

“Oh, Jim, Dave, er,” Andy almost spluttered out, franticly grabbing the papers and hiding them under the table. “Its noth-, uh, nothing. Just some mail that piled up a bit.”

“Andy, you need anythin’?” Dave asked while pointing towards the bar. Andy, momentarily too stunned to speak, awkwardly motioned at his beer.

“Two pints of bitter, love!” Dave called to the barmaid, then cursing her under his breath for not hearing him and walking up to it. Jim seated himself with a thump and began to rub his hands together to excise the cold.

Andy’s mind began to race. Surely they had seen the bills or heard the gossip from the other farmers. It wasn’t his fault that 3 of his fields had flooded, or that bloke from the GMO companies had turned out to be fraudster and sold him 4th rate seed potato’s that not even a starving Irishman would buy. Would they laugh and jeer, or just quietly say “there there” and then pretend his life wasn’t unravelling in front of his eyes, or-

“You ok, Andy? You seem a bit distant.” Jim asked, his broad mouth creased into a concerned frown as he searched for a lighter in his front pocket while already having a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth

“Huh? Oh, just a lot on my mind, Jim.” Andy said, blinking a few time to try and get rid of the cobwebs behind his eyes.

“Ah, say no more. With harvest season round the corner we all got a lot on our plates. ‘Ere, Dave, where are those beers at?” Jim replied knowingly before raising his voice at Dave who was having a small problem trying to carry two mugs of beer while pocketing his change, inevitably spilling a little on the already slightly damp floor.

“You can go get yer own pint next time if yer that impatient.” Dave said coarsely as he set the drinks down with a thump, spilling even more. Jim shot Dave a look, who rolled his eyes and got back up to fetch some napkins to clean up the mess on the table before settling down himself.

“Now that we’re all settled in,” Dave said, wiping some errant foam away from his mouth “Shall we continue where we left off last week?”

“Oh, not this rot again.” Jim scoffed, waving his cigarette encumbered hand dismissively. Andy just stared into his own half-finished beer.

“A well rounded man is a learned man, or so my Beth says. Its important that a man has considered these phiso-, philolig-, piscatorial...”

“Philosophical.” Andy said flatly.

“Thank ye Andy, philosophical issues.” Dave finished triumphantly, his inability to say the word already forgotten.

“Only thing rounded about you is your waist. All this life and death, good and evil, seems a bit heavy and grim for something to talk about at a pub with your mates…” Jim trailed off, his face showing his discomfort with the subject matter.

“Ah, but that’s it, life’s a grim thing. Yer strugglin’ from the day yer born till the day they lay yer in the ground. Nothin’ comes easy, even to successful men such as ourselves.” Dave said punctuating his point with a swing of his beer mug and making an even greater mess. Andy grunted in resentment at being called successful, though Dave mistook it for agreeance and smiled slightly through his thick beard.

“Ah, but a worthwhile struggle surely. I mean, you grow up, make friends, meet the women to be your wife, have children you love. All of that’s got to be worth hardships you’ll face.”

“Theres the rub, Jim. Talkin’ hippo- hypopo-“Jim struggled, looking more annoyed the more confused he got.

“Hypothetically.” Andy muttered

“Hypothetically, those friends will never really know what yer’ problems are, or care even if they did.”

Andy’s despair seized on this point, growing like a fire blazing out of control. Jim and Dave would never really be able to understand Andy’s problems, especially about those damned potatoes. One of them, probably Jim, would make a joke like “Well, yer just stick ‘em in the ground and wait, right?” then laugh and go back to talking about something insipid.

“Or a wife that takes everythin’ out of context and blames ye for all the worlds ills?” Jim continued, blind to the turmoil he was causing Andy.

Andy’s heart skipped a beat. His wife. He hadn’t told her about the problems, always sure he’d find a way out. What would she say? What would she do? Would she leave him and take the kids, or would she stay and just hate him forever? He wanted the earth to swallow him up.

“And kids always have it the hardest, never bien’ the cause of the problem but sufferin’ the most.” Jim finished shaking his head, his melancholy words beginning to get to even himself.

The kids. Oh god, the kids. It took all Andy had not to scream and curse how unfair everything was.

“That’s laying it on a bit thick, Dave.” Jim replied dourly, face pressed into his mug and spirit momentarily depressed.

“A man has ta’ face this sort of thing, Jim. Ask most people at the end of it all and they’ll say it wasn’t worth the sufferin’.” Dave said while shrugging to emphasis his point, leaving the three in silence as they contemplated the discussion.

Andy stood up suddenly, mind set and eyes glazed over. Jim nearly dropped his mug in surprise.

“Got somewhere to be andy?” Dave asked as Andy paid his tab at the counter before quickly turning to leave the pub.

“Yeah, have to take care of something. Oh, borrow your lighter? I’ll have need of it." Andy answered as he gathered up his papers.

“Sure Andy, stay warm out there, chilly tonight.”

“I intend to.”


***


“Bloody terrible thing.” The pub barkeep says to no one in particular, pushing aside his paper.

“Mhhm.” The barmaid hums in response, too busy to pay him any actual attention.

“Man sets locks himself and his family into their house, sets it alight with them all inside.” The barkeep continues.

“How awful.” The barmaid replies, too busy trying to juggle the current flood of orders to care.

“You know, I think I saw him in here the other night, sat alone over there trying to drink his sorrows away. I could see something was wrong, but god almighty, what would a man have to be agonizing over to drive him that far.” He said mostly to himself as he shook his head in disgust before taking his paper back up and reading the sport section.
__________________________________________________________

Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


In.

Wringing a happy ending out of those pictures, though...

edit: to claim the picture.

Carcer fucked around with this message at 14:03 on Jun 7, 2016

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Carcer
Aug 7, 2010


QuoProQuid posted:

A line-by-line for Carcer. Hope this helps.

Thank you for the crit, it does help. I've never had any real critical assessment of my writing so this should go a long way to (eventually) improving my work.

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