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Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I'll take Door #2.

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Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=4547&title=Turn+Forever+Hand+in+Hand

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:36 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


A Work of Unparalleled Genius

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:37 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


sebmojo posted:

:siren: Bonus words: :siren:say how many you want and you'll get a picture that has to play some part in your story.

I want one extra word.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


One More Knight

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:38 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I'll help judge this pile, if you still need judges.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Benthos

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:39 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In with this uplifting little sparkle of joy:

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


1905

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:39 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


THUNDERDOME CCII: THUNDER-O-S!



Alright Thunderdome, let’s see you write a story about a bowl of cereal! But be warned, only one of you can be a bowl of muesli with greek yogurt, and one unfortunate contestant will be served a bowl of soggy Rice Krispies with room-temperature non-fat milk to go with their losertar.

When you sign up, declare your cereal of choice. This is your cereal, and no-one else may share it with you. Should your feelings on cereal tend towards ambivalence, you may request a cereal as a flash rule.

How many words do I get?
You get as many words as there are calories in a standard serving of your chosen cereal, times ten. If you come from a civilized country where you use kilojoules, times 2.5. Maybe use this helpful converter?

Can I write a poem about my cereal? How about fan-fiction? Or erotica?
Nope, nope, and… tempting, but nope.

Should I be aware of which brands are and are not regularly stocked at Cost-Co?
Probably!

This is just about, like, the spirit of cereal, right? We should feel free to interpret this prompt loosely?
Definitely not. Your cereal of choice should feature prominently!

Fuschia tude posted:

So when is thing due. when is signups
Good point! Signups are due 23:59 EST on Friday, June 17, and submissions are due 23:59 EST on Sunday, June 19. Note: EST.

Side note, unrelated: would you say that you were a bit of a stickler for grammar and punctuation, and that these factor heavily into your judging approach?
I would!

Judges:
Benny Profane
Thranguy
???

Cereal Munchers:
Flerp -- Cocoa Puffs
QuoProQuid -- Lucky Charms
The Saddest Rhino -- Count Chocula
sparksbloom -- Cracklin' Oat Bran
Marshmallow Blue -- Cookie Crisp
magnificent7 -- Frankenberry
spectres of autism -- Frosted Flakes
Blue Wher -- Reese's Puffs
Kaishai -- Honeycomb
Chili -- Farina
Sitting Here -- Product 19
Fuschia Tude -- Weet-Bix
skwidmonster -- Malt-O Meal
Chainmail Onesie -- ProNutro
Pippin -- Krave
Entenzahn -- Cini Minis "Crazily Cinnamon!"
Fuubi -- Kellogg's OKs
artichoke -- Cheerios
Carl Killer Miller -- Corn Flakes
Hugoon Chavez -- the Nesquick Cereal
Djeser -- Bugs 'n' Mud
Screaming Idiot -- Special K

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 15:46 on Jun 16, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


The Saddest Rhino posted:

Cereal is not a staple breakfast of the non-white- homogenised society. First person to quote this gets to choose one for me. In.

Ironic Twist posted:

Count Chocula.

In celebration of your non-breakfast-cereal-oriented morning repast traditions, your story need not feature literal Count Chocula cereal. However, your story should include a main character named Count Chocula.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Chili posted:

In. I want to use Farina, but I can't find a consistent measure of calories. I'm seeing things like 649, 130, 230, 110, 40....

Help.

Or I can just use Raisin Bran (160 calories).

Benny, can you decide which one? If you choose Farina, any of those calorie counts are fine. God help us all if you go with 649 though.

Brevity is the soul of farina. 110 calories is your hard limit, but if you can find sustenance in 40 or fewer you will receive a detailed line by line as a reward.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Chainmail Onesie posted:

In, because every great story starts with a milk-sodden breakfast.

Over here in South Africa, our cereal brands sort of crudely ape the stuff you regularly find on shelves in the USA... maybe someone can suggest a tasty cereal for me?



Big claims, ProNutro, despite all of those various qualifiers, especially for such a visually appealing breakfast food! An exceptionally lazy attempt to find nutritional information on this cereal did not bear fruit so let's say... 100 calories.

Fuubi posted:

I have no idea about cereals so I'm in but flash rule me please!



They-r-r-r-e.... OK! Pretty sure these pre-date concepts like nutrition or information, so help yourself to a 110 calorie serving.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021




You're supposed to include your cereal with your sign-up post, unless you're looking for a cereal flash?

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Does the idea of voluntarily reading, thoughtfully critiquing, and weighing the relative merits of over twenty short stories about breakfast cereal sound like your idea of a good time? Well good news, because there is still :siren:one judging slot available:siren: for a lucky individual! Hit me up via PM or in IRC to take advantage of this very limited offer!

Also, for this week's entrants, a reminder that submissions close at 2359 EST <-- which is in approximately six and a half hours. I apparently can't do time math anymore.

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 20:56 on Jun 19, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Sitting Here posted:

23:59 EST is 8 hours away for me :confused:

Sorry, bad clock math. As you were.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


The cereal box is now empty.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


:siren: CEREAL WEEK JUDGMENT :siren:


After a solid two hours of discussion, in which Thranguy and I came to the table with diametrically opposed opinions on almost every single story, our spoons have risen from our cereal bowls bearing an odd and mushy assortment.

Let's begin on the high notes, those crispy flakes doused with just the right amount of cold, creamy milk:

Carl Killer Miller brought, at least in my opinion (one that was not shared in full by my esteemed co-judge), some well-timed and confidently seasoned comedy chops to the table. Entenzahn gave us a wild-eyed ride through the gnarled underbelly of Cinnamon Toast Crunch addiction and, while I wanted to give this the win, that was the one result my co-judge expressly forbade. My co-judge strongly favored flerp's entry this week, which merited only an echoing brrrr in my own emotionally stunted ears. These three entries have received Honorable Mentions this week.

But not all bowls of cereal can be Corn Flakes steeped in ice cold whole milk. While many dishonorable mentions were proposed, many stories this week were saved by the wildly differing opinions held by Thranguy and I. In the end, we were only able to agree on a single Dishonorable Mention, for a smugly tone-deaf and drawn-out character study by newcomer artichoke. The unsalvageable-even-by-a-technically-disqualifying-edit early submission from repeat offender Fuubi takes the loss.

Which brings us to the winner of this week. While neither Thranguy nor I had picked this piece for the win individually, we both found the lyricism and opaque themes of Indigo Rose by Spectres of Autism gorgeous and compelling, and we are pleased to call you a bowl of muesli with Greek yogurt. Congratulations, Spectres!

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 04:35 on Jun 21, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


CEREAL WEEK CRITS

Fuubi // Grandpa’s Cereals
This was the first example of what turned out to be a common theme this week, which was reminiscing about dead relatives over inexplicably hoarded cereal. And I get it -- you’ve got this dumb cereal you have to put into your story somehow, and so you want to make it more than just cereal, and load it with meaning somehow, and so what better way to do that than to go for a bit of a yank on some heartstrings by talking about a dead relative? If you’re going to go for a move like that, you need a subtle touch, and that subtlety is entirely absent here. Neither of the kids is well established as a character, their relative levels of maturity seem implausibly distant for two kids with only a year separating them in age, the Chekhov mom fails to make an appearance in the third act, and the attempts at humour (e.g. which is what I’m assuming was going on with the gay panic joke and the references to Fallout 4) fall miserably flat. Also, there are a butt-ton of typos in here; I’d say next time hold off on hitting that submit button so early and do a proof-reading run.


Chili // Good Kid

Chili posted:

My grandpa wanted a real meal; it wasn't an unreasonable request.
This is a weak opening line. In any piece of fiction, and especially a short fiction contest where you pretty much have to try and stand out from the field, you really need a tight opening hook to grab the reader’s interest. From the perspective of the reader, it shows respect for the time you’re asking them to spend reading your story. A flabby opening like this (and the lines that follow) feel like a clumsy grope at my interest.

"Please," he asked, "go to the cafeteria and get me a burger."

"You know I can't do that, Grandpa," I replied, "the doctor said solid food could hurt you."
This dialog is flat and perfunctory; you’re using it to establish plot details, but you’re missing an opportunity to establish character details through their speech. The first impressions I’m getting from both the narrator and the grandpa are completely flat. Any time you use dialog is an opportunity to establish character, and especially in short fiction you absolutely need to make it count.

"I'll tell you what's hurting me," he said, "this loving Farina. You're a good boy, right? Don't they teach you to respect your elders in college?"

OK, let’s dig in here. You’re establishing Grandpa as a cranky old geezer, but let’s look at how the tone shifted in this conversation. His first line, while tonally flat, is plaintive, and then his next line of dialog shifts hard to combative. That may have been intentional on your part (Grandpa plays nice until he’s refused, and then his temper flares up), but if you wanted to establish that kind of dynamic you needed to use the narrative details between the dialog to show his mercurial nature, by describing a change in expression, etc.

I laughed; Grandpa still had his fire. I admired him for a moment, but my stomach sunk sank as it occurred to me that this was the first time Grandpa had ever asked anything of me.

This detail rings oddly; the narrator’s Grandpa has never asked anything of him/her before now? And why is his/her stomach sinking? The clichéd use of sinking stomachs generally indicates an unpleasant realization; if the idea here is that the narrator has realized, in these moments following some brief and inconsequential amusement followed by admiration, that the fact that Grandpa has finally asked for something means that poo poo has gotten real, that’s a bit of a stretch.

"Look kiddo," he said, "I think we both know that I don't have many sunrises left. A week, a day, what's the difference?"

So, here, you kind of suck all of the conflict out of the story in one go. Paper-thin as it was, you had established the conflict faced by the narrator as the choice between granting their sick grandpa’s presumably last wish, and the recommendations of the doctors caring for said grandpa. If it does really come down to a week, a day -- what indeed is the difference?

I looked at the bowl of colorless gloop sitting on his lap, and then at my grandpa's pleading expression. The face that marveled over the weekly family dinners was gone. He couldn't chop onions anymore; he couldn't lift a pot of pasta, he couldn't fill a home with a warm aroma that told his family that they were loved. Grandpa needed me.

Seems a little weird that the rest of the family isn’t mentioned at all in this story. Also, you made this story about hamburgers; if you’re going to do a historical flash-back, you probably want to flash back to a time that Grandpa really enjoyed himself some drat hamburgers. Flashing back to marvelous family dinners consisting of boiled pasta and chopped onions doesn’t really help to establish the importance to Grandpa of a hospital cafeteria hamburger.

I rose to my feet and said, "You better leave me something good in your will."

Well that got weirdly transactional.

"There we go kiddo!" Grandpa's face twisted into a smile. He laughed, picked up the Farina, and with a grunt, lobbed it across the room. Okay, plausibility note, generally if you’re days away from dying you’re not really a) holding the bowl in the first place, and b) in any position to be throwing it against a wall. The plastic bowl fell to the floor, but its contents adhered to the wall. The loose porridge gradually oozed downward and left a trail of slime along the eggshell paint. This, right here, is what people talk about when they say “kill your darlings”. You had fun writing these couple sentences here, I can tell, but this is a perfect example of a detail that neither advances the plot nor establishes character. You could get away with this in a novel, but not in a 400 word piece.

A speck had landed on my cheek; I laughed as I wiped it away. "One plain burger from the cafeteria, and you'll eat it slowly. OK?"

See, I don’t really care whether it’s plain or if it’s got half a pig’s worth of bacon on it, and Grandpa can wolf it down as fast as he wants -- as he pointed out, quite convincingly, what’s the difference?

"No," he responded, "two plain burgers, and we'll eat them slowly."

Oh my, such largess!

I nodded and turned towards the door. After a step, Grandpa yelled out, "Hey! What are you, crazy!?"

No, but all of these weird mood swings, combined with a dying wish for a plain cafeteria hamburger, are certainly making me think that maybe Grandpa’s not entirely there.

Oh, great, it was all a bluff. He had gotten my heart racing for nothing. I turned to take my seat; Grandpa was reaching for his wallet.

I’m just going to point out that this is kind of taking forever to get to a very limp twist, and it’s not even much of a twist.

"You don't pay for our food, kiddo," he said, as he handed me a ten dollar bill. "And kiddo," he continued, "in every sense of the phrase, this is on me."

Grandpa sure does like to say “kiddo”. And you spoil any sense of clever meaning by dragging it out. Try this:

He handed me a ten dollar bill. “This is on me.”

That’s it. That’s all you need there. It conveys all of what you were going for, and saves a bunch of words that you could use elsewhere to establish some badly needed character details.

So, you did well here by picking a small, poignant moment to focus on in the short space allotted to you. The classic conflict faced by someone who must choose between acting on the desires of a loved one despite knowing that those desires will ultimately hurt them is a fine one to start with, but that kind of setup succeeds or fails depending on the clarity of the motivations of the two sides as well as the stakes in the conflict. This story could be improved by giving the grandpa and the kid better motivations, and upping the stakes.

For example, if I were going to tweak this, I would change the setup so that Grandpa is at home following a health scare and a trip to the hospital. He’s been told to follow a strict diet, or he’ll end up back in the hospital, possibly with worse consequences. While at home, he seizes an opportunity while the rest of the family is looking the other way and asks the grandkid to sneak out and get him a hamburger. It’s all the same stuff, but now the stakes are higher: Grandpa isn’t necessarily going to die straight away, and there’s a chance that if he does eat his farina, he’ll live longer. But he doesn’t want to live longer if that means he doesn’t get to eat hamburgers. Now the narrator is in an actual lovely situation: s/he is sympathetic to Grandpa’s desires, but if they honor those wishes they’ve now potentially done Grandpa harm.

Carl Killer Miller // Doctor Kellogg’s Prescription
I really liked this piece, and I had it up near the top of my pile for the week. What made it work for me was the comic voicing and dialog; the character details are sparse but sufficient, and they’re mostly established through the cadence of dialogue, which I like. Then there are a few good one-liners sprinkled throughout, e.g. “From his expression, David had clearly been expecting Taco Thursday.” Some of the innuendo is a little unpolished, like when Franklin continues “harder and faster” in the first act -- Franklin’s exudes sexual frustration in his language and actions, and I think you would have been better off choosing innuendo along that vein earlier on rather than going for harder/faster/floodgates/edging/etc. But all that’s minor stuff; one could argue that this piece pretty much just takes one joke and hammers it into the ground, but I like the way you hammer.

Pippin // Soft Centre
This ended up in the middle of my pile for this week. I thought the small details used to establish setting were well chosen, and the piece is blocked out well. That said, it was never clear to me why Neil actually hung out with these wealthier little shits in the first place -- if he’s just stealing boxes of Krave for his little brother, what does he get from associating with these other kids who are stealing poo poo for Bogdan? Then there’s the stakes, which are basically non-existent. The only place things get dicey is when the alarm goes off and everybody scampers, but literally nothing happens as a result of that. And then, finally, this piece left me a little sour at the end when it tried to do a last-act conversion into a “scrappy street kid with a heart o’ gold” parade. It’s such a stale set-up that you’ve really got to put some kind of a twist in there to maintain some interest.

Entenzahn // Cereal Week Presents: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
This was also at the top end of my pile. It’s as simple a plot as you could possibly get away with, but it’s blocked out very well and does a good job of developing the amphetamine-addled lizard brain processes of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch addict. The repetition would probably start to have diminishing returns if the piece were any longer, so I feel like you dragged this out for exactly the right length.

sparksbloom // Top Shelf
This ended up in my middle pile. Much like Pippin’s piece, I felt like you had a solid handle on the details in this piece, and you chose some nicely evocative character details to establish the players here, but ultimately I didn’t feel like you did as much with the pieces you’d assembled as you could have. The central love triangle, which is about as low-hanging as conflict-laden fruit comes, doesn’t resonate with any of the hormonal chaos of teenage relationships and just seems deflated and resigned to defeat. And while I get that that’s almost certainly what you were going for, the danger with the melancholy wistful remembrance of love affairs past story is that it flirts dangerously with being a cop-out: it’s flat-out easier to write that kind of story than one that really rips off some scabs, and, at least for me as a reader, I find it much easier to engage with a story where I feel like the writer is actually taking some risks and pushing themselves.

flerp // Stale
I probably read this story more times than any other story of the week, thanks to it having landed heavily in my middle pile in my initial read through and then being Thranguy’s win pick. I can see why it worked for Thranguy. The out-of-focus parental conflict raging in the background around Jimmy’s quest for Cocoa Puffs is a nice setup, and I liked that Jimmy’s actions, despite being a clear path to a happy family in his head, ultimately aren’t enough to fix the adult problems between Mom and Dad, which hints at a nascent coming-of-age. However, as a reader I had a hard time engaging with the story on account of its borderline-afternoon-special heart-on-its-sleeve nature. I feel like the central conflict between Mom and Dad is too banal to be interesting; they’re an unhappy family that are too alike to other unhappy families to hold any interest. The voicing of Jimmy felt off to me too; I couldn’t quite work out how old he was supposed to be, because in some parts he seems to be a literal small child, and in other parts he seems like an older kid reverting to childish behaviors in the hope that what once worked will work again. The muddled nature of the narrator’s motivations, for me, made all of his prosaic and one-dimensional elements stand out more glaringly. So all in all, this was a mixed bag for me, and what rang as flawed to me was sufficient to at least balance out the good.

artichoke // Cheerios
This is basically a thin veneer of fiction around a soapbox rant. That can work if the rant is saying something interesting, but here what you’re ranting about is that being forced to participate in religious traditions that you don’t believe in feels bad. No argument here, but it’s not like I needed to read a story to work that out. There’s never a chance for any other characters to get a word in edge-wise; presumably they’d have a slightly different perspective on these things, but the story treats them just as disdainfully as the narrator does. When the supporting cast just exists as a breakwater for the narrator’s thought process to crash against, it ultimately all feels meaningless.

Screaming Idiot // Hank Armstrong II: Cereal Killer
This was another contentious one. It was in my middle-high pile, and it was Thranguy’s pick for the loss. And I can see why Thranguy didn’t like it; it relies heavily on visual gags, and has a Kung Fury-style approach to gleefully smashing together piles of plot elements that just shouldn’t work. But gently caress it, I thought Kung Fury was funny and I had a good time reading this story. Much like that movie, it’s something that I experienced once and enjoyed, but it’s basically a pile of delicious empty calories: I don’t feel particularly compelled to revisit the story more than once. But, sometimes when you’re wading through a pile of stories about cereal and you know that this situation is all your own drat fault, it’s refreshing to read a story about a horse getting punched into space. And so thank you for that.

Sitting Here // The Cellar Beneath The Cabin
This was higher in my pile than it was in Thranguy’s. Lovely prose as usual, although the third-act-magical-realism-bus-outta-nowhere thing is starting to seem like a bit of signature move for you. I enjoyed the “cast from bunker Eden as punishment for eating not of the Product 19” kind of vibe, but, at least for me, there was a fair bit of word flab in the first two thirds that could have been used for foreshadowing purposes, or at the very least to provide a bit of insight into Magic Grandpa and how he came to be the caretaker of a never-ending fountain of Orwellian cereal product.

spectres of autism // Indigo Rose
Like Thranguy, I liked this piece for the ethereal visuals and lyrical style, but will freely admit that I’m not entirely sure what’s going on at all points during the piece. You’ve got a turbulent elliptical style that works well here, creating a neon-soaked fever dream that feels like Michel Gondry doing a remake of Brazil. Here’s my fear, though: based on the pieces that are here, I can’t shake the feeling that this is actually a kind of sappy and schmaltzy story about a boy who seems like just any other boy working a boring menial job, but really he’s a sensitive dreamer if only someone could unlock the key to his heart, and a free spirit girl who flutters through life with neon hair streaming, who needs to be protected from the harsh realities of the world as represented by the apocalyptic highway thundering with dark vehicles. And, if that’s accurate, that doesn’t make it a *bad* story, it just kind of makes it into an elaborately and mysteriously wrapped box that ends up containing a Hamilton Beach bread maker.

The Saddest Rhino // Only Cosplayers Left Alive
This ended up in my mid pile mostly because it was making a bunch of pop culture references that floated over my head. Having now done some quick homework to track these references down, I’m generally not finding that it’s adding to my enjoyment of the story at all. And that’s basically the core danger of filling up a short story with throwaway references to characters from established fictional universes: it assumes that I, the reader, am like you also a fan of these other stories, and that I will be delighted to see them show up. I don’t know who Moka Akashiya is, aside from the fact that she shows up once in your story and then disappears, with the establishing detail being that she has pink hair. I can google her name, and find out that yes indeed there is an anime character by that name, who is in fact a vampire with pink hair, but this is like a joke that takes too long to explain. Whatever value was there to begin with evaporates pretty quickly. Aside from that, this is also a story that has precious little in the way of real conflict, and on a personal note it was a little disappointing to see the Count Chocula thing discarded so easily by the wayside.

Fuschia tude // Flaked Wheat and Spilled Milk
Being the second story this week in which a dead relative is improbably remembered through the hoarding of breakfast cereals, this was already coming out of the gates at a disadvantage. I had this in my low pile, but Thranguy felt that my objectivity was being compromised and saved it from a DM. The dust having settled, I’m thinking you got pretty lucky here. The characters here are paper thin, propped up here and there with detail fluff that ultimately looks nice and adds nothing. The motivations on either side of the eating vs hoarding Weet-Bix conflict are strangely unexplored -- why would any kid in their right mind want to eat Weet-Bix? Why would the father get so bent out of shape about about his dead partner’s breakfast cereal? But, on the positive side, this was at least mercifully short, and it has at least prompted me to add a line into my living will that any breakfast foods that I leave behind should be disposed of in a normal fashion and not kept as a remembrance.

Kaishai // The Science of Honey
This piece has some very nice imagery expressed through confident and evocative prose. You know that, you don’t need me to tell you that. Whether or not the robot bees represented an active attempt at pandering, it totally worked (I have some plausibility notes there, but I’m not much of a stickler for that crap). With a little extra work, the various elements you’ve got here could be strung together into an actual plot, but for now this story reads like the literary equivalent of a page out of a gifted artist’s sketchbook. This is good stuff. I’m excited to see what happens when you try and flesh it out a little further.

QuoProQuid // Calvary
Some parts of this piece worked well for me, and others didn’t. The action is well blocked out, and I enjoyed the imagery of an apocalyptic world being attacked by demonic angels, but it felt like the kind of thing that would work better as a comic book than a story, given how visually driven it was. I think you made an interesting choice by keeping your tone consistently grim despite the obviously comedic elements in play; the idea that the Great Destroyer would be appeased by a star shaped marshmallow is a hard one to play with a straight face, but kudos for going for it. From my perspective as a reader, I think I would have enjoyed this a little more if you had played with lightening the tone in places and more whole-heartedly embracing some of the silliness, but that’s just my own opinion.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


in

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Roost

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:40 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


All That’s Left

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:41 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, and I'd like a flash rule from Big Willie B.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


The Entertainment

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:41 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


A Saturnalian Carol

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:42 on Dec 31, 2016

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Get a Tattoo/Get Rid of a Tattoo

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


My Washer is Full of Baby Boomers
1243 words

Resolution: Get a Tattoo / Get Rid of a Tattoo
Cursed Image:



“And behind this door we’ve got an in-unit washer and dryer,” said Karen, opening a slatted door with a flourish, “which, I’ll just mention, you don’t tend to see very often in this price range.”

None of the apartments Skyler had looked at over the weekend so far had had in-unit laundry. So far, this place was winning by a country mile. A new and super-cute little cupcake shop had just opened up a block away. The floors were all original hardwood. There was a lovely little galley-style kitchen. There was even a little entertaining-slash-dining-slash-living-room area. The place was huge. So far there didn’t seem to be a catch.

“Yeah, actually? That was one of the things I was confused about in the ad,” said Skyler. “It says ‘shared’ in-unit laundry?”

“Oh yes, glad you asked, Skyler,” Karen replied. “You’d actually be sharing this space with an older couple: Mike and Tammy. They’ll technically be like roommates, but honestly they keep to themselves and you’ll almost never seem them.”

“Roommates?” asked Skyler. The apartment was big for a one bedroom, but it was emphatically still a one bedroom. “Which room is… theirs?”

“Well, luckily for you, Mike and Tammy are… well, they’re kind of like tiny house enthusiasts, but more so,” said Karen, struggling for words. “Here, let’s let them explain.”

She rapped on the lid of the washer and took a step back, flashing a nervous smile at Skyler. The lid of the washer opened, and Skyler yelped with a mixture of surprise and terror. Two heads popped up out of the washer: an older baby boomer couple, both of them smiling radiantly.

“Hi Mike, hi Tammy,” said Karen, “This is Skyler: she’s here looking at the apartment.”

“Oh, it’s so nice to meet you,” said Tammy. She wore thick pancake makeup, and her dyed blonde hair looked like it spent a lot of its time in curlers. “Isn’t this place just great? Mike and I, we just love living here, don’t we?”

“You betcha,” said Mike, blue eyes sparkling. He had a grey moustache like a policeman, or a firefighter. “And don’t you worry about us, we keep out of the way for the most part. Only time you’ll see us is when you’re doing laundry, I’d say.”

Skyler looked dumbly back and forth between Karen and Mike and Tammy. She couldn’t quite work out how Mike and Tammy had managed to cram themselves into the washer in the first place, let alone how they actually lived in the washer. Maybe it was bigger on the inside than it looked from the outside? Everyone was looking at Skyler, waiting for her to say something.

The rent was awfully low.

“It’s lovely to meet you too!” said Skyler, in her bubbliest voice.

###

After a couple months of living there, Skyler had concluded that -- the whole Mike and Tammy situation notwithstanding -- the apartment was basically perfect. And, true to their word, Skyler only ever saw her roommates when she needed to do laundry. She’d felt bad about the whole thing at first, seeing as how she had to kick Mike and Tammy out of the washer in order to load it with her clothes, but they had assured her that it was no bother to them at all. When Skyler had offered to walk her laundry around the corner to the laundromat instead, Mike and Tammy pish-poshed and would not hear of it.

Which is not to say that it wasn’t still occasionally awkward for Skyler, especially on days after she’d brought a boy home the previous night.

“Haha, washing the sheets again, eh?” said Mike, on one such occasion. “Looks like someone had a good time last night!”

Skyler blushed furiously.

“Oh don’t be crude, Mike. It’s great that Skyler is getting out and… mingling,” said Tammy. Skyler’s stomach flopped like a fish. “Now, is this the same boy from last weekend?”

“Ugh, no, that guy was a creep,” said Skyler. “No, this is one I just met.”

Mike and Tammy exchanged a look. “Well, I hope you’re taking adequate… precautions,” said Tammy.

“Yeah, you are making them wear a rubber, right?” asked Mike.

Skyler had done some thinking about the way in which she wanted to die, and had decided that, among the various options, a brain aneurysm seemed like a good way to go.

“Actually, you guys, I just remembered, I’m supposed to meet my friend Ashley for late brunch,” said Skyler, backing away towards the door. “Would you mind moving my stuff over to the dryer when it’s done?”

“Oh -- sure thing, sweetie,” said Tammy. “You have yourself a nice time.”

###

“Oh my god, gross,” said Ashley.

“I know,” said Skyler, miserably. She had barely touched her cupcake.

“You have to get rid of them.”

“How? It’s not like I can just put the washer out on the curb. It’s attached to the wall, I’ve looked.”

“Well, what if you made them leave? They’re old, right?” Ashley pursed her lips. “You could get a tattoo! Old people get super freaked out about tattoos, they’ll probably think you’re going to turn the place into a punk rock lesbian crack house or something, and then I bet they’ll leave. Easy!”

Skyler wasn’t entirely convinced by Ashley’s line of reasoning, but she had been thinking about getting her first tattoo for a little while.

###

On her next laundry day, Skyler purposely wore a tank top exposing her right shoulder blade.

“Oh, good lord, Skyler, what’s that on your back?” said Tammy, horrified.

“Oh, this?” said Skyler, using her innocent voice. “Just a new tattoo, no big deal. You like it?”

“Uhhhh… what’s it supposed to be?” asked Mike, his moustache twitching as he inspected her scapula.

“It’s not supposed to be anything,” said Skyler. To her disappointment, Mike and Tammy were seeming far more confused than terrified of her new ink. “It’s meant to be just kind of an abstract watercolor sort of thing.”

“That’s retarded,” said Mike.

“You’re not supposed to say---”, started Skyler, but she ground to a halt as soon as Mike opened the buttons on his blue denim work shirt to reveal a giant eagle tattooed across his chest.

“Now this, this is a tattoo,” said Mike. “Tammy’s got some good ones too, don’t you babe?”

“Oh yeah, lots of them -- but not, uh, in, you know, non-bathing-suit-area places. But, I suppose I can show you them if you’d like to see them,” said Tammy, working at the drawstring on her sweatpants.

“I -- no,” said Skyler. “Please. No.”

“Suit yourself,” said Tammy.

“Well, if you want to get that, uh, whatever-that-is fixed up, I know a good cover-up guy over on the East Side,” said Mike.

Skyler looked at Mike’s chest. She had to admit: it was a pretty loving sweet tattoo.

###

Skyler knocked on the lid of the washer. The lid opened, and Mike and Tammy popped their heads out.

“Check it,” said Skyler, turning around and pulling down the back of her shirt.

“Is that…the grim reaper bursting out of a giant cupcake?” asked Tammy.

“Yeah, and underneath it says ‘Frost in Peace’,” said Skyler.

“Not bad,” said Mike. “Not bad at all.”

Skyler beamed with pride.

“Say, the missus and I were just hanging out in our spot smoking a little reefer -- you want to join us?”

“Hell yeah, that sounds rad,” said Skyler. She climbed into the washer and shut the lid after herself.

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Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Djeser posted:

Thunderdome 2017teen: You May Already Be A Loser

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