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Jan 11, 2014

Can't pass on a prompt like that. In.


Jan 11, 2014

your knight has sworn to never strike a person they deem their lesser.

Two Equals
(1130 words)

The dungeon could hardly even be called that. In fact, it was a wine cellar that the master of this domain, Sir George, in his disdain for worldly frivolities had repurposed as a small gaol for prisoners he deemed worthy of his personal attention.

‘My understanding, Jeremy, is that you were inciting a revolt among peasants’, said Sir George to his prisoner. ‘Is that correct?’

His prisoner stood freely, without chains or any signs of torture, in the centre of his spacious cell, mere two steps from Sir George.

‘I was asking questions, milord, and nothing more. Maybe you can answer me in your wisdom’, gibbered Jeremy not giving Sir George a chance to interject. ‘You see, I have friends in the neighbouring fiefdom, and what do you talk about with a good pint of ale if not rents and tithes? So the funny thing is, milord, I am told that Sir John’s peasants pay one third less than we do. First, they pay rent in coin and prices for their produce are measured according to the lowest of what merchants ask at their local markets, whereas prices for our crops are fixed from the time immemorial, and no one gives two full shillings for a quarter of oats anymore, milord. That’s already something like one fifth, but then you look at how assessments go there and here for the head tax, and again, we don’t have coal swamps nearby, and it adds up one with the other into two and equals to what they pay and over one half of that, and I don’t see how it’s possible when one King rules over us all, God bless his soul, do you?’

Bewildered, Sir George made sure there was finally a moment of silence, and said, ‘Two equals what? You must understand, Jeremy, I am not a man of numbers, but a man of honour, of justice, and the like. Have you been wronged by your guards, did you have enough to eat here?’

‘That I haven’t, milord, and that I did. Your guards are sons of my in-laws. Good lads them, brought me a nice bowl of porridge this morn, nought to complain over here.’

‘Then seeing as I have not wronged you and you see the wrongfulness of your ways, you may beg my pardon, which I shall gladly grant, provided you confess your sin against me come Sunday.’

‘That I can’t, milord, as there is no crime or sin.’ Jeremy closed his eyes and slowly recited his previous speech nodding now and them to keep the rhythm. ‘I was asking questions, nothing more, maybe you can in your wisdom…’

‘Enough of that, you wretched fool’, interrupted him Sir George, ‘I do not want another word from you about sums and fractions!’

It was a first for Sir George, a prisoner not taking an easy way out. Agitated, Sir George paced the cell, his indignation growing.

‘Are you going to strike me, milord?’

‘You would want that, would you not? Unlike many other knights, your lovely Sir John included, I see more in my knightly status than just privilege. I have a strict code to live by, and raising my hand at the likes of you is simply not what I do. You are a peasant, my subject. You are supposed to ask for my protection and mercy - and I must provide it unconditionally. That is all. No answering questions on my part, no beating either. Do you understand that?’

‘I’d rather you struck me, milord, because what I really don’t understand is that, you see, I have friends in the neighbouring fiefdom…’ Before Jeremy could go into mathematics again, Sir George stormed out of the dungeon cussing under his breath and asking God for forgiveness after every crude word. He always saw himself as a just and merciful ruler, but how can one be merciful when no one asks for mercy?

With that in mind he summoned Father Thomas, the only man he pretended to listen to. Sir George told Father Thomas of some minor knightly misdeeds, like not dedicating his latest tournament victory to the Blessed Mother, and then he reluctantly asked for advice about his prisoner. ‘Saint Augustine rightfully taught, my son, that there is no sin without pride. Furthermore, the Scripture says, “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble”. Do according to these words’, was the advice.

That night while drifting off to sleep Sir George pondered on what Father Thomas had told him. ‘Of course, that beastly boor is full of pride’, he thought, ‘and he declines my mercy just like that what’s-his-name declined God’s mercy in the Bible. All I need is to remind him of the divine order of things, and his place in it.’

The first thing in the morning Sir George went into the dungeon to confront Jeremy.

‘As it fits a good Christian knight, I sought advice in the Holy Bible and it occurred to me that as God opposes the proud, you oppose me. I do not expect you to fully fathom the meaning here, but it is in the Bible, so even you must see its truth. Therefore, I must call to your mind the natural order of which we all are part. If you doubt me as your superior, so you doubt the King and God himself as your masters. Do you see the error now?’ It was as if Sir George was shining with divine light, like that other what’s-his-name from the Bible who did the good deed.

‘So I think, milord. I reckon you wanted to say “I oppose you” instead of “you oppose me”’, said Jeremy.

And just like that the divine light went out, and in the darkness of his soul Sir George felt his fist against Jeremy’s jaw. ‘I was tempted and I failed’, he said, ‘all because of your pride!’

‘Milord, if you want to strike me again, I’ll turn the other cheek. Yet, it is my cheek you’re striking, while the questions I was asking are that of everyone in this fiefdom’, said Jeremy.

It took Sir George a moment to realise he had heard something about cheeks before. When he did, he sighed with relief.

‘Years ago, Jeremy, as a young knight without any land to my name yet, I have sworn I would never hit those lesser than me. I see now, that I have not broken this vow. I shall order my treasurers and lawyers to adjust the rent as you say. You are free to go’, said Sir George.

‘You haven’t broken your vow, milord, but you might have broken my jaw’, said Jeremy rubbing his chin.

‘Terribly sorry about that, also.’

With that George and Jeremy left the dungeon.

Jan 11, 2014


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Interprompt: the worst soup

Arbeit macht frei Suppe

It's dinner time at Dachau.

No compliments to the chef.

Jan 11, 2014

'You know, some people say my dialogues suck the least', he half-said half-screamed in a shrill voice with all possible speech impediments.

Jan 11, 2014

Double Take
(421 words)

‘What on earth is going on here?’

Two men were standing in a dark room only lit by a computer monitor, and its light reflected in lab glassware and metallic surfaces of a machine that wouldn’t be out of place in a cheesy sci-fi B movie.

‘Just lower the bat, man, and I’ll tell you all I know. It’s not like I wanted to be here.’

The man in a lab coat lowered his weapon. He dashed to what had to be the control panel, and flipped some switches.

‘Right, glad we’re on the same wavelength here’, said the naked man. The last thing I remember is I was adjusting the input tray and then, puff, I’m here, absolutely naked, so my guess is you’ve left the machine running. You should really install some type of an analogue indicator. Maybe an LED panel on the pod, anything, really. I’m surprised I’m the first accidental experiment you had. At least I hope I am the first.’

Both men went silent for a bit too long to their liking.

‘Now would be a good time to say something. Like “I’m not going to kill you”, for example’, said the naked man.

‘Do you really think I would kill you to cover it all up?’

‘Kind of crossed my mind, I have to confess. Plus, you’ve got the bat, so…’

‘Who knows, maybe I overestimate how well I can handle the bat, and maybe you can throw one of those flasks with acid at me, take the bat when I drop it while squealing like a pig, and chase me all the way to the bedroom upstairs where we would fight to the death.’

‘That’s a possibility, too, I suppose.’

‘That’s absolutely a distinct possibility.’

The man in a lab coat went behind the monitor to read output data, and the naked man could finally get a better look at him, his ruined lab coat, and his cricket bat covered in something dark and sticky.

‘Say, you look a tad roughed-up. Had a wrestling match with a handsome naked man in your bedroom by any chance? Sorry if it’s a personal question’, said the naked man.

‘Alright, you got me there, Sherlock. You are not the first accidental experiment. That actually would be me. And let’s just say I’ve made sure the carefree guy got the importance of checking all the switches before leaving into his stupid head. Now let’s get you something from the closet and order a pack LEDs on Amazon, brother.’

Jan 11, 2014

I'm in, because I'm addicted to losertars. Now flash me like I'm on a late evening stroll through an empty park.

Jan 11, 2014

Yes, anime, my nemesis. Can I get an anime flash rule if I already have one?

E: anime is bad.

Jan 11, 2014

Thursday prompt: Man agonises over potatoes.
Flash rule: your story is set in the mesospher
Anime genre: yokai (demons)

Four Holy Spuds
(916 words)

‘O Bulba, the First Ascended, from embers and fire you’ve brought humans to live in the clouds. You’ve nourished your faithful with the last gift of a dying world, with but Four Spuds you fed them. You guided Saint Wosip, our Order’s funding father, through his life of piety and hard work. With your help we persevere in ascending to higher and higher plains, and even now we’re flying leagues above our cities. Bulba, hear your humble servant’s prayer. Allow this sky vessel to travel safely on our mission to bring Four Holy Spuds to your Great Temple for annual celebrations, and grant me vigilance to guard this divine relic. Lift us forever.’

According to hagiographies, the exposition prayer was invented by Saint Wosip himself. It is said to help put things into perspective and find your own place in the grand scheme of things. That’s exactly what Brother Radim needed now, as he, no more than a year ago a mere acolyte, had been assigned to guard the holiest relic of the St. Wosip’s Order. There wasn’t really any danger, as only the Order had ships that could fly so high, but it was an honourable and stressful duty for Radim nonetheless. He was alone in a room lined with opulent carpets and decorated with statues of Bulba. He could only bring himself to pray in front of an altar with a golden reliquary containing Four Holy Spuds that everything would go well. Consumed by meditation, Radim almost failed to notice a sulphuric smell in the room.

Brother Radim opened his eyes to find a small creature, about two feet tall, struggling to unlock the reliquary. The creature had yellow and black stripes on its arched back and a pair of mandibles on its head. On old paintings at the monastery there were creatures just like that. It was definitely a demon. From demonology tracts Radim knew that demons were supposed to explode in the presence of holy relics, so how could this lesser demon had got here?

‘Praech ad Bulby, patshwara!’ Radim chanted an incantation meant to banish evil. It seemed to have no effect on the demon, but it drew the creature’s attention.

‘What have you just called me, mate?’ said the demon in a crackly voice.

‘Depart, foul creature! I’m here to protect Four Holy Spuds and you shall not have them.’

‘Look, I think you’re a tad confused. These are not “Holy Spuds” or whatever, they are regular cloudy potatoes, and I would really like to eat them, if you don’t cloudy mind.’

The demon cracked the reliquary open with its mandibles and dumped four potatoes on the altar. It then breathed a stream of fire, and potatoes turned from brown to black.

‘See? No lightning or booming voices from the Highest Heaven. There’s nothing cloudy holy about those potatoes. Whoever told you they were holy is probably laughing their head off right now. Just let me have a snack and I’ll leave, alright?’ The demon had almost clenched its mandibles on one of the potatoes, but Radim, dumbfounded and with tears in his eyes, kicked it right off the altar.

The demon landed on its back. Panicking and flailing its six legs, it clicked and hissed desperately trying to turn over, as Radim cried over scorched potatoes. What if Holy Spuds weren’t real? What if millions of pilgrims and parishioners who’d brought wealth and power to the Order were lied to?

The demon went silent for a moment, and as if splitting its back in two, it let out its reddish membranous wings. With a low buzz it took to the air and started violently thrashing about the room. It knocked over statues and spat fire on carpets with depictions of saints and Bulba, all with no repercussions.

‘This cloudy ship is going down, you bastard,’ screamed the demon.

What at first appeared to be random flouncing, Radim realised was an octogram that the demon was tracing in the air. There was no time to call for help or perform the ritual of exorcism (Radim was no longer even sure that it’d work), soon a portal would open and demons would flood the ship. Radim hid the potatoes in his robe, tied himself to the altar with his belt cord, and threw the reliquary at one of the portholes with all his strength.


Radim woke up in his cell at the monastery with Father Ulas at his bed. Radim could barely open his eyes, but he would always recognise Father Ulas’s solemn figure.

‘Father, are Four Holy Spuds real? Were they ever real?’ Radim’s voice was hoarse and weak.

Father Ulas hesitated with the answer. ‘You need rest, Brother Radim,’ he said after a long silence.

‘I see how it is then. I want you to let Master Iacant, that old liar, know that I’m leaving the Order,’ wheezed Radim as loud as he could and exhausted fell back into unconsciousness.

When Radim woke up again, it was night. He was still wearing the Order’s habit. Brothers had put bandages over Radim’s frostbitten skin and left a bowl of potato soup on his table. Next to it were four charred potatoes with flowers sprouting from them. It no longer mattered to Radim whether they were real Four Spuds on the ship – through a divine mystery and through his own act of bravery they were made into Four Holy Spuds. Like those potato flowers, Radim’s dedication to Bulba bloomed again.

Jan 11, 2014


curlingiron posted:

INTERPROMPT: Potatomen versus the Yam People. 150 words

War Cryams

'Is it true that under your supervision a weapon that uses dead soldiers as ammunition was created and widely used in military operations?'


'I have no more questions, Your Honour.'

Jan 11, 2014

Thanks for the crit, flerp!

Can I get my losertar now?

Jan 11, 2014

^^^ lol

flerp posted:

i think ur safe buddy

Well, gently caress.

I'm in for this week then. Give me the image, господинъ QuoProQuid.

Jan 11, 2014


Funding Cuts
(405 words)

‘The ship costs millions if not billions, and we don’t have simple tools on board. Thanks, Mr. President, I guess.’

‘Oh don’t start another politics row, Ben. The plan is we find locals, get help, and get the hell out of this planet. You may notice that there are no debates and discussions there.’ It was the third time Roy had to shut up Ben in the last hour. The rest of the squad preferred not to get involved.

‘Alright, you two, shush now. Look there.’ Sam pointed towards a group of locals. ‘I’d say animals, but could be sentients. Who knows with planet.’

Judging by the distant shouting and energetic gesticulation, the locals were having a quarrel.

‘drat, those are some ugly bastards. Huge, too.’ said Ben. ‘One of them has definitely spotted us, but they probably don’t see us as a threat. Still, I hope they can’t fly at least.’

‘My translating biorig isn’t picking up anything meaningful from that far,’ said Jim. ‘We’ll need to get closer so we can confirm if they are sentients.’

In the wedge formation the squad got into earshot from the locals. Now it was clear they were starting a fight. Three locals surrounded one and shoved them around. Nanoorganisms translated snippets of the conversation, something about paying for protection and shoddy smithery. Sentients, after all.

‘I think that sentient they’re harassing is a blacksmith. I suggest we get on his good side and help him out with those thugs,’ said Tom.

The squad glided down upon attackers with a high-pitched battle cry. Even though he was shocked that six giant bats had just descended from the sky and were now clawing into his foes’ faces, the blacksmith picked up something from the ground and hit one of the attackers with it.

The fight was bloody, but short. The racketeers fled in terror shouting something incoherent about witchcraft.

The blacksmith didn’t know how to react. The bats were circling above him, and they were definitely trying to communicate. Unfortunately, he couldn’t understand much because of their shrill voices.

‘Do you want this?’ he asked showing his pincers. The bats reacted with enthusiasm and one of them snatched the tool. With a squeak that sounded almost like ‘thanks’ the bats took off.

The blacksmith decided not to tell anyone about this encounter, but later that night some villagers saw a glowing orb disappearing into a cloudy night sky.

Jan 11, 2014



Jan 11, 2014

The Eighth Deadly Sin
(some words)

'This can wait', Paladinus thought, 'after all, I have those other things that I also want to do. Some might even say they are more important.'

With that he fell asleep like a loving baby and never submitted his story.

He was dead now. Burning in hell for his sin of not submitting a story. Also, for an assortment of other, real sins, but mostly for the one about not submitting a story.

'God, if only I could right my one wrong, I would definitely write a lovely story some time and enter with a toxx!'

'You'd better do that, lol.'

A beam of light shone through Lucifer's domain passing important historical figures, zig-zagging all over the place, as if looking for someone in particular. Finally, like in a popular TV show Star Trek, Paladinus was 'beamed up' back to his miserable life on Earth.

'I've learned my lesson, God. I am a better person now,' he said.

Jan 11, 2014

Just wanted to say thank you to some poor saps who not only read my lousy words, but read them out loud for some reason. In return, here are some words (mentioned by the very same saps) read out loud by me while sitting on the toilet.


Jan 11, 2014

In with a :toxx:, as promised.



Jan 11, 2014

Pornogrind / Pitcairn Islands

885 words

It all started because of Suezan’s husband, Alek. He was Jewish, so often they would spent a weekend in Haaretz. An ancient land, so different from their modern Australian town. After one of those trips, Suezan felt like she had to make the ancestry DNA test to get in touch with her own heritage. To no one’s surprise most of her long-dead relatives were from British countries. For some time Suezan was very enthusiastic about her newfound roots, she’d even learned some Millennial English, and Suezan and Alek went on a journey across both Britains on that account. But compared to ancient streets of Haaretz, it was too mundane: same money to buy the same street food, and same nu-Anglo to talk to people. They never visited Britains again.

There was, however, one genetic marker in Suezan’s DNA that gave her hope. For more than three hundred years, as it turned out, her ancestors lived on a small island closer to America than to Australia. Three hundred years until, along with some neighbouring islands, Pitcairn sunk underwater in a dim blaze of a volcanic eruption.

After one year of unsuccessful search for fellow Pitcairnese, and after learning all there was left to learn about the island’s history from open sources, anyone would have given up on the whole idea, but Suezan decided that she was responsible for preserving Pitcairn culture. To read academic papers from literal centuries ago, she had to learn even more Millennial English, but this only got her a dozen of words in Pitcairnese and fairly boring trivia about the fishing industry on the island.

In the end, it was all worth it, though. She was at Virgin auction house waiting to bid on what was in her mind the final piece to her identity. Virgin was one of the few remaining old-fashioned action houses that required bidders’ personal presence. On top of that, all communicators, internal or otherwise, had to be turned off during the auction. Antique cutlery, toys, metal pre-digital money from all over the world, all that was of no interest to Suezan, but she had to watch people throwing years worth of her not at all meagre managing director salary for hours, and she couldn’t even text to Alek or read her mails.

Finally, once a deformed can full of most certainly rotten meat and carrots had gone to the svelte gentleman with a monocle, it was time for Suezan’s lot.

‘An audio recording on a compact disc storage drive, twenty-first century, pristine condition, encased in protective plastic, never opened. Believed to be the only surviving recording of Pitcairnese language’, announced the auctioneer program and displayed a holo image of the item. A yellow piece of paper was stuck between two layers of plastic. ‘Canal Inspectors – We Sing ina Pi’kern’ it read in blue letters in a peculiar font. ‘The house’s suggested opening bid is five hundred thousand dollars.’

For a moment Suezan was lost in her thoughts full of disembodied tenors singing about the oceans and the warmth of the hearth at home accompanied by archaic string instruments. This was definitely a low price for such a grand piece of history. Her history.

Nevertheless, there was not a single bid for solid twenty seconds, and Suezan felt a sting of offence by this blatant disregard of her culture. Trying to convey as much anger and shock as possible, Suezan raised her hand so that the auctioneer could detect her bracelet.

‘Five hundred and fifty from the lady in a green dress. Going once, going twice, sold’, said the program without a pause between counts and played the gavel soundbite. ‘Sold for five hundred and fifty thousand to the lady in a green dress.’

Suezan transferred the money, collected the item, caught the fastest cab, and three time zones later she was back in Australia, the exact same time she left the auction house. Alek wasn’t in the main room, so Suezan hurried to her study on the second floor. Family matters could wait.

With care and respect, Suezan cut through a layer of plastic with scissors. With shaking hands she opened the case and put her half million dollar compact disc into her quarter million dollar antique player. Suezan took a deep breath and pushed the button with a triangle on it.

Discord of distorted noise filled the room. Was something wrong with the recording? Suezan bought the player specifically for this and she made sure it was fully functional. ‘01’ on the player’s primitive display changed to ‘02’, and it still was the same noise. This time Suezan could pick up an assortment of ‘cunts’ and ‘fucks’ among the growling vocals. Those words, thankfully, survived in nu-Anglo without any changes.

Suezan inspected the compact disc case again. On the other side of the yellow sticky note was track listing. The second track was called ‘Nobbing and Gobbing’. Then it clicked in Suezan’s head that an island wouldn’t probably have any canals. What she thought was a ‘c’ was actually a stylised left buttock in the band’s logo complementing the a-shaped right one.

The study’s door slid open, and Alek found Suezan laughing louder than Anal Inspectors’ rediscovered hits.

‘You know, Alek’, said Suezan through tears, ‘I think I’m fine with being the old boring Aussie now.’

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