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HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


In, spin the glitch wheel for me.

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HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


The Universal Translator
"Listening to a sermon caused colonists’ bodies to explode"
1211 words

Andy was not having a particularly fantastic day. The morning traffic on the way to the station was absurd, mainly due to the idiocy of some jerk in a banana-colored Corvette. Andy felt no pity for him as he passed the abomination’s smoldering wreckage that was blocking two lanes.

What was supposed to be the highlight of the day, the Joyce Meyer interview, went pretty poorly. Something was very wrong with the sound level and Andy must have messed up the mic placement because Joyce sounded like she was talking through a paper bag throughout the whole thing. The debacle earned Andy quite an ear chewing from the station management - this was supposed to be the young intern’s shot at a permanent position after graduation, but, so far, he was not doing himself any favors.

The afternoon was Andy’s time to relax as the daily broadcasts would chew through the station’s limitless supply of pre-recorded sermons, but this, too, has been denied to Andy today as the shrill noise of the phone by the barely used clipboard fills his ears once more. Fully knowing what to expect, Andy picked up the receiver.

“106.7 FM Emergency broadcast line” Andy’s attempt at a monotoning through the State-mandated lines did not work as annoyance was easily detectable in his voice. As numerous times before, a slight pause followed by a strange static hiss preceded the voice.

“Yes, greetings! Are we still talking to Mr. Andy?” The voice sounded like it belonged to a very gregarious gentleman in his late fifties, but it sounded very stilted. Andy didn't pay attention to these idiosyncrasies since, to him, this was the most infuriating voice he could have heard at the time.

“Mr. Andy? Really? What is wrong with you?! How did you even get this number? Don’t you have anything better to do at your retirement home?”

“I will choose to ignore this impropriety as well as your previous refusal to treat this matter seriously. You will find me someone who will be willing to take responsibility for this incident! We are talking about a development on an intergalactic scale!”

“Intergalactic? Are you high?” This was not the first time that Andy had to fight the urge to rip the damned phone off of the wall. He understood that such a move would be looked down upon by the management, but it was rapidly becoming a very enticing option.

“How dare you! This is a diplomatic communique! We are speaking of a matter involving a two hundred and twenty t-trillion d-dollar loss in agricultural developments! Three hundred and seventy six fatalities, fifty four of them c-children! You may not care about profits, but have a h-heart and think about little M-Mary and the fact that she will never go to s-school, work on a plantation or f-fall in l-love!”

“Look, I don’t understand what you want from me or why do you continue wasting my time! Your prank isn't even funny!” Andy was way too baffled to notice the strange stuttering that occurred at various points in the man’s speech.

“Mr. Andy. Let me level with you here, d-diplomat-to-diplomat. I have a billion other things on my itinerary today, at least one of which involves a migration of space s-squid, and I will admit that LT-361 was of marginal importance to us, at best. A b-bureaucrat’s pet project, nothing more. What does matter, however, is that you can’t just allow other c-countries’ private citizens destroy our colonies, no matter their intentions! We’ve had vagrants preach salvation before and that giant crater on LT-085’s moon is precisely the reason why we've instituted proselytization l-licenses - something that this “Jerry Falwell” of yours did not at all bother to get, as our records indicate! If he would have, then the insurance would cover the damages and we wouldn't be having this conversation!”

“Jerry Falwell has been dead for a couple of years and, last time I checked, zombies don’t blow things up.”

“That is of no concern to us - clearly that g-gentleman has been your superior at some point and we must have accountability. I wish to speak to your l-leader.”

“How about you just leave me the hell alone and forget this number instead?” Everybody else was out for the day at this point and his replacement wasn't coming for another two hours, but it’s not like Andy was going to be making any excuses for this insane man-child with too much time on his hands.

“Look, Mr. Andy - it’s clear that you are the m-man in charge! I just need your v-verbal signature and then both of us will be able to go on with our lives and forget that this giant mess happened in the first place!”

“Does that mean that you will stop calling this number?” Andy's exasperation has almost gotten the best of him.

“Of course, Mr. Andy - as I said, all we need is accountability!”

“Fine, okay! Yes! You can hold me accountable for whatever the hell it is you want me to be accountable for. I don’t even care - just leave me the gently caress alone!”

Andy opted to hang up the phone without waiting for the reply. Of course, there was still the matter of logging the ridiculous conversation on the clipboard, as per regulation. A year ago, Andy would consider this to be his dream job, but the internship turned out to be a real eye opener. Perhaps, it was time to rethink his career choices.

These musings were interrupted when Andy heard a loud crash coming from the studio and turned his head to see a strange figure covered in glass wool and asbestos. It looked vaguely like a humanoid raptor in a scuba diver suit and a fishbowl on its head. Slightly above its waist hung what looked like a portable speaker with a bunch of knobs on it. The cartoonish appearance of this thing would have made it less menacing were it not for the manner of its entry into the building. It addressed Andy before he had a chance to bolt for the exit.

“Would you happen to be Mr. Andy?” The thing’s strange chirping quickly became normal, albeit monotonous speech, but Andy noted that the slight pause and static were present once again.

“I am, yes.” Andy didn’t feel any aggression in the air, but he was still instinctively inching towards the fire exit door.

“Good. I’m Mr. Spice, Accountability Enforcement Agency. Thank you for being a-available. We will be done shortly. I do hope I'm s-speaking clearly Mr. Andy. My t-translator is optimized for maximum semiotic corollaries and tangible equivalent effects.”

Before Andy could inquire further, the thing above the fishbowl raptor’s waist began emitting ear-destroying noises before breaking out into a Jerry Falwell’s sermon, one that Andy has heard many times before. It was never something he put stock into, but Andy was quite alright putting up with this nonsense as part of his job. Although the sound coming from the odd-looking speaker was no different from the station’s regular broadcasts, Andy managed to note, in his last moments, that it made him feel extremely gassy and bloated.

HellishWhiskers fucked around with this message at 00:14 on Jan 11, 2016

HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


IN, songify me, curlingiron.

HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


Closed Circle
Word count: 1307
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7EWtbSMVQQ

"To be honest, I was surprised when I received the call, Mrs. Fields."

"Please, call me Veronica!" Mrs. Fields was not an unattractive woman, but that did not help the fact that the best epithet that could be used to describe her appearance was the word "Lurid". “I’ve received a recommendation from a very good friend and she speaks rather highly of you, Mark! If this soirée goes well then we would be quite happy to offer you a more... permanent position in our household.”

The pause was accompanied by a wink that had an uncanny sort inhumanity to it, and Mark had to do his best to force a smile that did not look forced. Having just graduated from the culinary academy, he was not in the best of shapes, financially speaking. The internships have all fallen through without much payoff and becoming a line cook was something he wanted to try and avoid. The sudden call that he received on a Wednesday afternoon was a godsend, almost quite literally.

"I understand, Veronica, but surely there are more qualified candidates that could have filled this position?"

"I was looking for something a little more... unorthodox for this particular get-together and let's just say that our mutual friend told me that you are precisely what I am looking for, Mark."

Ascending the steps of the mansion was a time-consuming task and left a great deal of opportunity for small talk that Mark could absolutely do without.

"If that is the case, then I am very grateful to Ms. Mayfield for the recommendation and to you for the opportunity, Veronica. Please - let me get the door for you!" The door was quite heavy and Mark had to strain for a bit to push it open, looking silly in the process, but it seemed that Mrs. Fields positively enamored with everything that he did. She strutted through the doorway and into the vestibule with a walk that seemed like it had been rehearsed a thousand times before.

"Anthony, dear - I'm home! Do come meet the man who will help us put together our best party yet!"

"Yes, honey - just a second!" The stairs were quite large and winding and it took the man of the house a good second to descend them. Compared to his piranha of a wife, Anthony Fields looked like a very charming and unassuming man.

"Ah, I was told about you. Anthony Fields, my pleasure."

"Mark Raeder, at your service." Mark found Mr. Fields' smile warm and his handshake friendly but resolute.

"Did something happen to Andrew, Veronica dear?"

"Oh, no, Anthony - not at all. I just thought that a change of style was due and I've been told great things about this young man." The dynamic between the two struck Mark as very easy-going - something unusual, considering the setting.

"Please don't take this the wrong way, Mark - it's just that your predecessor had a killer bruschetta recipe and I would be lying if I said that I'm not going to miss those!" Even at this, Mr. Fields' manners were friendly and his smile jovial.

"Unfortunately, Italian cuisine is not quite my specialty but I'll definitely do my best to fill my predecessor's shoes."

"Oh please, honey - look at him! You're making him all nervous for nothing. I'm sure you'll be a fantastic addition to our staff, Mark! Come with me - I'll show you the kitchen and introduce you to the other staff members."

#####

The kitchen staff were gone for the evening, though some of them were going to come back with more ingredients for tomorrow's event. Mark was keeping busy with preparations and with a soufflé that the lady of the house requested to be delivered to her room at 9 PM, on the dot. It was not Mark's forte and it was driving him up the wall for the past hour. It didn't help that there was some sort of commotion coming from down the hallway. There was definitely some shouting involved, but it was until it was almost over that Mark could start making out the words.

"...And don't come back until you learn how to act like a proper gentleman your age!" The words belonged to a very harsh voice that sounded like it belonged to Mr. Fields. Mark heard the door slam shut and, following it, a very quiet but rhythmic sound of steps. They grew a little bit louder before Mark saw a little boy, age between six or seven, in what looked like a prep-school uniform, methodically walking down the hall, his eyes held forward. There was a fairly pronounced imprint of a palm on his left cheek.

Mark stepped out into the hallways and got the boy's attention with a quiet "psst" before motioning him to approach.

"Yes, Mister?" The boy wasn't looking at him and that made Mark a bit uncomfortable. He squatted down to be on the same level as the boy's eyes.

"Hey! You... uh... you want some ice cream?" The boy shrugged and followed Mark into the kitchen.

"What kind of flavor do you like?"

"I usually get chocolate, but I like strawberry. It's... It's in that cupboard right there." Mark grabbed a bowl and a scoop and walked over to the cupboard that the boy pointed to.

"Is this good?"

"Yes. Thank you." Mark tried to avoid holding his gaze on the palm print on the boy's cheek while handing him the bowl but the boy noticed.

"I... I ran. Into a fence in the backyard. It was dark..."

"I see..." This time around, Mark's smile was very visibly forced. The boy didn't seem inclined to talk, but he felt the need to coax the conversation out of him. "I heard your dad shouting - do you know what that was about?"

"Oh... It's nothing. He usually gets mad before the parties for some reason. Or when the old cooks leave and new ones come. Don't know why, but I wish he wouldn't. He gets very loud. It's a little bit scary."

"Do the parties happen often?" The little boy was methodically plugging away at the ice cream and answering between every other spoonful.

"Uh-huh. Lots of people. Very loud. Don't like them and they don't allow me to see them anyway."

"Are there usually a lot of new cooks?"

"Not really. Two or three times a year. Maybe more. I'm supposed to stay out of the kitchen." The boy seemed to know his way around Mark's workspace, nonetheless. "You seem nice. Nicer than Andrew. Or Dave. Dave was the worst..."

Mark smiled in response, but his expression was much more apologetic than cheerful.

"Do you know how long you'll be here?"

"We'll see. As long as I can, maybe." The boy defeated the ice-cream, opened the dishwasher rather deftly for a boy his age, and placed the bowl inside.

"What's your name, mister?"

"Ma... Hmm... Mr. Raeder." Mark did not ask for the boy's name.

"Well - thanks for the ice-cream." The boy held his gaze on Mark's face, looking past his eyes for several seconds before turning around and dutifully shuffling out of the room in the same rhythmic fashion that he entered it.

Mark followed and looked on as the boy marched down the hallway, his eyes still held forward. The cook was troubled, but it didn't seem at all impossible that the boy did hit a fence in the dark, after all. When the boy turned the corner, he retreated back into the kitchen, remembering that the soufflé was not ready and that he still had a ton of work left to do before the evening was over to prepare for tomorrow's event. Everything had to be absolutely perfect if he wanted to keep this position that he was very lucky to end up in, in the first place.

HellishWhiskers fucked around with this message at 01:44 on Jan 18, 2016

HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


In, flash rule me Bro.

HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Crits for Strange Log Week, Part 1

Very much appreciated, thank you.

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HellishWhiskers
Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl


curlingiron posted:

Awesome crits

Thank you!

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