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Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011

In as a customer. Also, :toxx:


Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011

Ethical Cannibalism - 620 words

“Does Voidmart carry free-range human flesh?” Mark asked.

“Yes, sir”

As the butcher replied, he gestured to a Dutch door to Mark’s left with a sweeping motion of his arm and then pushed the top half open. When Mark looked through the door he pretended to be surprised to see a park, the sun shining in the sky, and a cottage in the distance. This wasn’t the first time Mark had seen the human ranch, but it was the first time this particular butcher had shown it to him. He liked to give each new Voidmart butcher the thrill of sharing a secret, even one as famous as Voidmart’s glass-roofed human ranch. Mark considered this a last gift to his victims.

“So what are you looking for today, sir?” the butcher asked.

Mark smiled at the butcher while secretly caressing the gun that was in his jacket pocket, and replied, “Juvenile Fingers.”

“Excellent choice, sir. Fried juvenile fingers are a personal favorite of mine.”

The butcher pressed a button on the phone behind the display counter, and through the door Mark saw an armed guard escorting a lanky teenager out of the cottage. The boy was shirtless, with multiple scars on his abdomen and bandages over both of his arms, probably where chunks had been removed to make sausage. A large portion of his left shoulder was missing. Around his neck was a strange collar that Mark knew marked the boy as Voidmart property. When the teenager passed through, Mark gave the boy a meaningful look and a nod. The boy looked confused for a second and then nodded back.

When the guard shackled the boy’s hands to the countertop, Mark was surprised to see that the boy still had all his fingers. To Mark this was a confirmation that he was missing organs. Nobody could grow up in the human ranch without losing something valuable.
When the butcher went to retrieve his cleaver, Mark pulled the gun out of his jacket. The boy gasped. The butcher looked at the boy, confused. That was when Mark shot him. The gunshot could not be mistaken for any other sound, but the Human Meats department was empty. Human Meats was almost always empty, and due to a miscalculation by Voidmart Corporate Offices, it was much larger than it needed to be.

Instead of pulling out his gun, the armed guard unshackled the boy and removed his collar. He was being well-compensated for his role in the breakout and would tell nobody what had happened. Due to the legal ambiguity of Voidmart’s Human Meats department, there were no cameras to record worker activities. For Inventory purposes, the guard would say that one of the residents of the ranch had attempted to escape Human Meats and had to be put down. After he used the butcher’s id badge to clock out, Voidmart would wait three days for him to come back to work before considering his post ‘abandoned’ and would temporarily close Human Meats until the position was filled.

After giving the boy a new shirt, they left Voidmart and returned to Mark’s apartment without incident. Human Meats was a department that Loss Prevention didn’t seem to care about. Would one juvenile even be considered felony shoplifting? Mark decided that it would depend on how much of it was left.

The boy had been quiet, probably because Mark had been quiet. A boy like that would know not to speak unless spoken to, but Mark didn’t have anything to say to him. After all, he was planning to kill the boy that night. Mark made it his mission to kill Voidmart’s human butchers, but that didn’t mean the meat had to go to waste.

Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011


Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011

Cuckoo - 249 words

Carl knew that the fat, stupid, crybaby that lived in his house was not his son. At age eight, the boy resembled a globe and had no redeeming qualities. Carl had tried to turn the boy into a healthy, assertive young man, but at every turn he was sabotaged by his wife. She loved the boy as he was, and didn’t see the danger in this unconditional love. Carl didn’t know how to fix these dreadful circumstances, until his wife died suddenly.

Her tragic death allowed Carl to take steps that would have shattered their marriage. He could finally get a paternity test, proving the boy wasn’t his son. It would take two weeks to get the results, and Carl thought he could handle the boy until they came. He was wrong. The boy had become unbearable to be around, constantly crying and blubbering. To Carl, this was more proof the boy was not his son.

By chance, Carl saw a reporter bemoaning a loophole in Nebraska that allowed a child of any age left at a hospital to become a ward of the state. Realizing this was his chance to be rid of the boy, Carl took him to Omaha. Now the state of Nebraska could decide what to do with him.

When Carl returned home, he found an envelope from the DNA testing company. The probability of paternity was 98%, or ‘inconclusive’. Carl was vindicated: the boy was not his son, and so he could be forgotten.

Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011

I have some short crits for everybody who got a DM or a loss in week 220. If anybody else who posted in week 220 wants a crit, feel free to ask.

llamaguccii - The Plunge
- Connor doesn't seem to make any decisions throughout the entire piece, stuff just happens to him. I wish you told the story from Iza's perspective instead.
- At one point you use the sentence "I was nervous." You already showed us Connor was nervous through his dialogue and fidgeting.
- The last paragraph is weird. It felt like you intended Connor's name to be a secret shared between him and Iza, and forgot that you gave it to us in the second section. The last sentence seems incomplete. Where are they plunging? The first section ends with Connor and Iza plunging down a drain(?) and now they're plunging again? Is there a drain in the garden section that they're hopping in and out of? Did you mean the horticulture definition of plunging (a plant into the soil)? Are you trying to say they had sex? I googled the word "plunging" just in case you were using an obscure definition of the word I didn't know, and I still don't know what you were trying to say.
- It's clear you didn't proofread before submitting, here were the things I found most distracting: the triple ellipses in the first paragraph, intertwined themselves into, possitive, place holder instead of placeholder.

The biggest problem is definitely the protagonist not making any decisions. If you're only going to fix one thing, fix that.

Chairchucker - Yeah, the Girls
- It feels like you could cut out the whole second section without losing anything
- Why is Margaret building a tower of mannequin parts? I wanted to know where that was going, and was a little disappointed the answer was "nowhere".
- I wanted to know more about the tower of mannequin parts because it felt like nothing else was happening. If I had to summarize your story in one sentence I would say "A crazy girl meets Lucy Lawless." Is that the story you were trying to tell?

Beige - Retail Therapy
- Why is Alex even a witch? It adds nothing to your story. It changes nothing about how the plot unfolds, how we view your characters, or how they interact with each other. If Alex being a witch is important, why is it revealed by a passing stranger instead of during the supernatural employee evaluation?
- It felt like you were trying to tell three different stories: A customer is trying to figure out which department of voidmart would address their abstract want; An ordinary voidmart shopping trip is interrupted by a lovecraftian nightmare; A voidmart employee is leading a customer on a pilgrimage to an obscure department. If you had spent 1000 words on one of these ideas, I think it would have turned out better than spending ~1700 on all three.
- Your character actually had a goal they were trying to achieve, and they overcame obstacles to achieve it. Congrats. Of the stories I decided to crit, this was my favorite.

contagionist - Aisle Null
- It's weird to read a story that's both written in the third person and told in the present tense. I don't know if you actually screwed up, from a grammar standpoint, but it felt weird to read.
- There were a lot of minute details that didn't need to be included. Is it really important for the reader to know that Miles is holding a Pepsi bottle while he's pointing at Jim? Or that Jim is holding his mop as if it were a microphone stand? No, it isn't.
- When Jim mouths "motherfucker" is he calling Dusty a motherfucker, or is he frustrated that he has to actually start working after previously goofing off on the clock? If there is a definitive answer to this question, it's not included in the text.
- You can cut the first 130-190 words in your story without losing anything important.
- The encounter with the bug drags on way too long. You have ~500 words between Jim seeing the bug and the woman-man apprehending it. That's too many words to describe an encounter where nobody is in mortal danger.

Guiness13 - All Paths Lead to the End
- It's unclear what transmissions are being interrupted. Is Fitzsimmons trying to transmit his entire log? The entry for the day? Is there other data we can't see because the transmission failed? It feels like these weren't meant to be questions the reader should have when they finish your piece.
- You can cut the first 176 words (everything up to and including "Day 6, contd.") without losing anything important or interesting.
- I don't really care about anything that's happening. There's definitely stuff going on in your story, and maybe it could be interesting but I don't care. I think it's because I don't really know anything about your protagonist or what they're trying to accomplish.
- Is this supposed to be an official log or a journal? Because it feels like both.

Third Emperor - Distractions
- I couldn't make it through the entire story.
- "The spokes of the rusting bingo carousel creaked with each turn, white and red and black balls surfing up and vanishing down into the churning masses, until finally one clicked into place and slipped through the chute, a garish pink answer the fish-faced young man silently proffered." Ok I guess this isn't too hard to parse, but you could easily replace a couple of those commas with periods.
- "The wheel started to turn again before he'd finished speaking, the clerk's face a desert of meaning, and Ken broke." Wtf is a "desert of meaning" supposed to be? And what did Ken break? These are rhetorical questions, I don't want an answer, I just want you to think about them.
- "He broke into the main throughway as a horn blared, a roar of light turning his glasses blank, and a red blur whipped by, the exhaust-choked tailwind pulling at his hair. The madness only resolved into a golf cart as the brakes screeched into a turn, and then it was gone again, vanishing between the shelves." This is where I stopped reading. I think the breaking point was "the madness only resolved into a golf cart".
- Hopefully other people were able to give you more helpful crits.

Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011

In with a :toxx:



Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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