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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


in

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


can the planet be earth?

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



Whispers
1388 words

help

help

help

“You look good today,” says your mom.

help

Your eyes keep focusing on your adaptive communication device, called the Whisper. You wish it would sense your eye movements as you look at each letter in turn, but your eyes don’t move, like the rest of your body. You try to focus on each letter. h.e.l.p.

help

Your nurse, Damian, rubs you on the shoulder. “We picked out a new outfit for our special news,” he says.

You didn’t pick out anything. He bought you the dress. It has polka dots and a stupid bow on the front, and it doesn’t cover enough skin. Your bare leg rests against the cold metal of your wheelchair. You wish you could shiver.

help

--------

You would have protested over hiring a guy as your full-time, live-in nurse if the Whisper had lived up to its promises. Your parents left it mounted to your wheelchair in hopes you’d be able to use it someday to speak.

“He’s a professional,” they told you. “He comes highly recommended.”

Damian was professional. At first. You didn’t like him bathing and dressing you, but you tolerated it. His eyes didn’t linger and he was strong enough to lift you easily. Besides the essentials, he mostly left you to yourself. He’d play audio books and leave you to listen to them on the porch when the weather was nice, and near the fireplace when it was not. You almost admitted that your parents were right.

Until he saw the statement from your settlement account. You still remember the whistle from his lips. He disappeared into his room, and when he came back he was different. He spaced out while microwaving your soup, and poured it down your throat while it was still boiling hot. It dribbled back out of your mouth onto your pajamas, and he didn’t even stop to clean it up. He just stared out the window.

The next morning he skipped your morning bath and set you in front of your Whisper. Instead of his usual gentle strength, he was rough, jerking your hands and smashing your fingers into the keys. At first just gibberish came out, but as he practiced he got better at guiding your fingers to individual keys.

“It’s called ‘facilitated communication,’” he’d told your parents. “I can feel the tiny micro movements in her arms when she wants to type.” He showed them how you would finally be able to speak--always through him, of course.

“I love you, mom and dad,” he typed out with your fingers, and your parents clapped.

help, you said, but your whispers went nowhere.

--------

“Oh, and what special news is that?” says your mom.

“Do you want to tell them, or should I?”

You try to will your eyes to dart back and forth. You want your mom to see. Back and forth: universal sign for no. no. no no no no.n.o no no. non. nonno no

Damian grabs your hand and smashes it adroitly into your Whisper.

“We’re getting married,” he says through your fingers.

no no nono help no hlp

He lets your hand flop into your lab and rests his hand on your knee. All the signals of the kick reflex trigger in your brain, but your legs remain motionless. You feel incomplete without the kick, like a lost sneeze, or a forgotten name to match with a face.

Your mom lets out a shrill shriek and runs over to hug you. She’d always pressured you to settle down and have kids. You were were her only baby, and she wanted grandkids. She stopped mentioning it after you got sick. After the doctor’s botched your surgery. After you woke up from the coma but your body didn’t. The twinkle in her eyes is back now.

You can’t even cry. Not on the outside. Your body produces tears, but they never get squeezed out of your tear ducts. They run down the back of your throat, tickling all the way down. You want to wretch and sob, but you just sit there while your mom hugs Damian, drowning on uncried tears.

help

“Have you two set a date?”

no no no nono nono non

“We don’t want to wait,” Damian says with his voice, and “next month,” he says with yours.

Your mom goes into the kitchen and calls everybody she knows. Damian doesn’t even look at you when you are alone with him. Not in a mean way, but how one doesn’t address a potted plant but to water it.

Your mom finishes her phone calls and gives you and Damian another round of hugs before leaving.

He gives you your bath. His eyes still don’t linger. You want them to. He is detached, impersonal. It’s still a job, you’re still a plant. You almost wish he would take advantage of you, rob you of everything, be fully evil. But he’s not. He’s not trying to steal from you more than raising a sunken ship is depriving the ocean of riches. Your settlement is just treasure he stumbled upon. There is no malice.

His girlfriend comes over, and he wheels you in front of the TV. He explains the situation to her in his bedroom while the the Teletubbies VHS automatically flips over and rewinds itself. The 30 seconds it takes will be the only respite you will get until Damian wants to watch, and stores you in your room.

Side B of the tape starts up, and Damian convinces his girlfriend that nothing is going to change. “She’s a potato, Jess,” he says. “We’ll have everything we want.”

You are treated to the groans of humping mixed with the dulcet tones of weird alien babies for the next hour. Your Whisper is still mounted in front of you, blinking, waiting for input.

help

Damian kisses Jess goodnight and carries you to your bedroom. He turns off the lights and closes the door. In the dark, your Whisper’s power button is the only light. It illuminates the room in red for a microsecond. Blink. Blink. Blink. You aren’t tired.

You used to lay in bed texting your friends.

Blink.

They don’t visit anymore.

Blink.

You lay in bed, trying to move your finger. All it needs to do is twitch. Just some sign that it will be better, that you can defy the doctors’ expectations and move, that you can recover, that you can speak again. You lay in the darkness, cursing your body, the apologizing, then cursing it again. Your finger doesn’t move, likes all the nights before.

You wake up and wait for Damian to get you out of bed. The room is dark, but there is a strip of light under the door. You watch the shadow crawl across the carpet.

He eventually stumbles into your room, reeking of beer, and drops you into your chair. You have to pee, but he sets you in front of the TV and goes back into his room.

Your urine soaks through your chair, and drips on the floor in an unsettling concert with Damian’s snores.

help

Blink.

help.

Blink.

“Help,” says your Whisper.

Your eyes twitch.

“Help,” it says again. The voice is robotic, synthetic, the same as it has always been, but it sounds more beautiful than anything you have ever heard.

Damian’s snores stop. You close your eyes, praying he falls back asleep.

You feel his hand on your back. “Did you say something?” he asks. You open your eyes and look at the screen. In big, bold letters, it says “help” twice. Damian leans over and presses delete, and the words vanish.

“help” you type with your eyes. “Help,” says the Whisper.

Damian paces in the living room.

“I went to the bathroom,” you say. Finally, a voice. You can tell your parents the wedding is off. That you want a new nurse. You can text your friends. You can browse the internet. You can go to college.

Damian stops next to your chair. He reaches over to your echo, goes into the settings, and turns off the eye tracker.

help

He looks at you, and for the first time, you stare back at him.

help

He turns, retreats back into his room, and closes the door.

help

Blink. Blink. Blink.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


I whip out my duck and put it in my dresser drawer. "gently caress you," I say, and slam the drawer closed on my duck. Feathers fly, blood spurts, but my duck can take a beating. It's a bad duck, a dirty duck, and it must be punished. I cry as I smash my duck, realizing I'm only half-assing it. I wish I could really get into punishing my duck, but it just feels like I'm phoning it in. How many times have I been in this exact same spot, doing this exact same thing? It feels like hundreds. I let go of my duck, and it falls limp over the stained walnut. "You're free to go, duck," I say. But it doesn't leave. It will never leave. I'm stuck with my duck forever.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Thunderdome CLXXXVI: Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things



When I am not writing about mutilating genitals, I practice the long-lost art of science. A lot of scientists hope to discover something grand, earning themselves fame, fortune, and prestige by winning the Nobel prize. I have... less dignified goals.

The Ignobel Prizes are awarded to the year's weirdest loving science papers to come out. These aren't stupid claims from cranks and charlatans, but real science answering real questions... even if they seem a little obvious. And stupid. Or just downright impossible.

Sign up this week to be assigned your paper. You don't actually need to READ the paper, just base your story on the title/blurb. That's usually enough.

do NOT write about scientists discovering a thing. If that's the first thing that pops into your head, do what a scientist would do and beat it with a hammer until it stops moving. Then dissect it. Maybe there is an interesting story tumor inside.

Signups close: Friday Feb 26, 23:59:59 EST
Submissions close: Sunday Feb 28, 23:59:59 EST
Word limit: 1000
No: poetry, erotica, google docs, weird formatting, images, detectives, ghosts

Judges: crabrock, flerp, tbd

Scientists:
01. sparksbloom
02. Thranguy
03. QuoProQuid
04. Grizzled Patriarch
05. ghost crow - FAILURE
06. CANNIBAL GIRLS
07. Benny Profane
08. Tyrannosaurus
09. Guiness13
10. Titus82
11. sebmojo - FAILURE
12. anime was right
13. D.O.G.O.G.B.Y.N. - FAILURE
14. Blue Wher - FAILURE
15. After the War
16. Meis
17. Schneider Heim
18. Pete Zah
19. Killer-of-Lawyers
20. Bird Tyrant - FAILURE
21. skwidmonster - FAILURE
22. Noah
23. newtestleper

crabrock fucked around with this message at 05:40 on Feb 29, 2016

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



MEDICINE: This prize is awarded in two parts. First, to Patient X, formerly of the US Marine Corps, valiant victim of a venomous bite from his pet rattlesnake, for his determined use of electroshock therapy -- at his own insistence, automobile sparkplug wires were attached to his lip, and the car engine revved to 3000 rpm for five minutes. Second, to Dr. Richard C. Dart of the Rocky Mountain Poison Center and Dr. Richard A. Gustafson of The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, for their well-grounded medical report: "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation." [Published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 20, no. 6, June 1991, pp. 659-61.]

Thranguy posted:

In, for Science!

BIOLOGY: W. Brian Sweeney, Brian Krafte-Jacobs, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Wayne Hansen, for their breakthrough study, "The Constipated Serviceman: Prevalence Among Deployed US Troops," and especially for their numerical analysis of bowel movement frequency. [Published in "Military Medicine," vol. 158, August, 1993, pp. 346-348.]


ENTOMOLOGY: Robert A. Lopez of Westport, NY, valiant veterinarian and friend of all creatures great and small, for his series of experiments in obtaining ear mites from cats, inserting them into his own ear, and carefully observing and analyzing the results. [Published as "Of Mites and Man," The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, vol. 203, no. 5, Sept. 1, 1993, pp. 606-7.]


PHYSICS: Louis Kervran of France, ardent admirer of alchemy, for his conclusion that the calcium in chickens' eggshells is created by a process of cold fusion. REFERENCE: "Biological Transmutations and their applications in: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Ecology, Medicine, Nutrition, Agronomy, Geology"]


MEDICINE: F. Kanda, E. Yagi, M. Fukuda, K. Nakajima, T. Ohta and O. Nakata of the Shisedo Research Center in Yokohama, for their pioneering research study "Elucidation of Chemical Compounds Responsible for Foot Malodour," especially for their conclusion that people who think they have foot odor do, and those who don't, don't. [Published in British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 122, no. 6,
June 1990, pp. 771-6.]

CANNIBAL GIRLS posted:

Low wc means I have time for this.

MATHEMATICS: The Southern Baptist Church of Alabama, mathematical measurers of morality, for their county-by-county estimate of how many Alabama citizens will go to Hell if they don't repent.
[Click here for additional details.]


PHYSICS: D.M.R. Georget, R. Parker, and A.C. Smith, of the Institute of Food Research, Norwich, England, for their rigorous analysis of soggy breakfast cereal, published in the report entitled "A Study of the Effects of Water Content on the Compaction Behaviour of Breakfast Cereal Flakes."


BIOLOGY: Anders Barheim and Hogne Sandvik of the University of Bergen, Norway, for their tasty and tasteful report, "Effect of Ale, Garlic, and Soured Cream on the Appetite of Leeches."


MEDICINE: Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan, Jr. of Wilkes University, and James F. Harrison of Muzak Ltd. in Seattle, Washington, for their discovery that listening to elevator Muzak stimulates immunoblobulin A (IgA) production, and thus may help prevent the common cold.

Titus82 posted:

This is a horrible week for me to do this... but gently caress it, I'm in.

ENTOMOLOGY: Mark Hostetler of the University of Florida, for his scholarly book, "That Gunk on Your Car," which identifies the insect splats that appear on automobile windows. [The book is
published by Ten Speed Press.]

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


sebmojo posted:

prompt me up beardo

MEDICINE: James F. Nolan, Thomas J. Stillwell, and John P. Sands, Jr., medical men of mercy, for their painstaking research report, "Acute Management of the Zipper-Entrapped Penis." [Published in Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 8, no. 3, May/June 1990, pp. 305-7.]


MEDICINE: Dr. Arvid Vatle of Stord, Norway, for carefully collecting, classifying, and contemplating which kinds of containers his patients chose when submitting urine samples. (REFERENCE: "Unyttig om urinprøver," Arvid Vatle, Tidsskift for Den norske laegeforening [The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association], no. 8, March 20, 1999, p. 1178.)


SAFETY ENGINEERING: Troy Hurtubise, of North Bay, Ontario, for developing, and personally testing a suit of armor that is impervious to grizzly bears. [REFERENCE: "Project Grizzly", produced by the "National Film Board of Canada. ALSO: Bear Man: The Troy Hurtubise Saga, by Troy Hurtubise, Raven House Publishing, Westbrook, ME, USA, 2011.]

Blue Wher posted:

gently caress me, in

PEACE: The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!"

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Killer-of-Lawyers posted:

Alright. I'm game, toss me a paper.

BIOLOGY: Richard Wassersug of Dalhousie University, for his first-hand report, "On the Comparative Palatability of Some Dry-Season Tadpoles from Costa Rica." [Published in The American Midland Naturalist, vol. 86, no. 1, July 1971, pp. 101-9.]


CHEMISTRY: Yukio Hirose of Kanazawa University, for his chemical investigation of a bronze statue, in the city of Kanazawa, that fails to attract pigeons.


BIOLOGY: N. Bubier, Charles G.M. Paxton, Phil Bowers, and D. Charles Deeming of the United Kingdom, for their report "Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain."
[REFERENCE: "Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches (Struthio camelus) Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain," Norma E. Bubier, Charles G.M. Paxton, P. Bowers, D.C. Deeming, British Poultry Science, vol. 39, no. 4, September 1998, pp. 477-481.]


CHEMISTRY: Donatella Marazziti, Alessandra Rossi, and Giovanni B. Cassano of the University of Pisa, and Hagop S. Akiskal of the University of California (San Diego), for their discovery that, biochemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.
[REFERENCE: "Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter in romantic love," Marazziti D, Akiskal HS, Rossi A, Cassano GB, Psychological Medicine, 1999 May;29(3):741-5.]


PHYSICS: Jack Harvey, John Culvenor, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, and Robyn Williams of Australia, for their irresistible report "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."
PUBLISHED IN: Applied Ergonomics, vol. 33, no. 6, November 2002, pp. 523-31.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


btw if you're on the fence, i'm not being super strict this week about THE LITERAL PROMPT, just something inspired by it that uses some elements and what not. you don't literally have to write about a man with his dick stuck in his zipper (tho you're welcome to)

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


no dont

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


After The War posted:

Let's see, playing a show on Saturday, so no practice after work at weekend job on Sunday... sure, give me an Ignobel that's as good an idea as me taking part this week.

NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.
REFERENCE: "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, poster, 15th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, San Francisco, CA, June 2009.

Meis posted:

It's been a long time since I last thunderdomed, but I've been feeling the urge recently. So I'm in.

ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE. Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino of Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for measuring how the course of history, or at least the contents of an archaeological dig site, can be scrambled by the actions of a live armadillo.
REFERENCE: "The Role of Armadillos in the Movement of Archaeological Materials: An Experimental Approach," Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino, Geoarchaeology, vol. 18, no. 4, April 2003, pp. 433-60.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Schneider Heim posted:

Let me in, please.

PHYSIOLOGY PRIZE: Anna Wilkinson (of the UK), Natalie Sebanz (of THE NETHERLANDS, HUNGARY, and AUSTRIA), Isabella Mandl (of AUSTRIA) and Ludwig Huber (of AUSTRIA) for their study "No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise."
REFERENCE: 'No Evidence Of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise Geochelone carbonaria," Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl, Ludwig Huber, Current Zoology, vol. 57, no. 4, 2011. pp. 477-84.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Pete Zah posted:

I've been dissatisfied for 38 weeks. In .

PEACE PRIZE: Arturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, LITHUANIA, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank.
REFERENCE: VIDEO and OFFICIAL CITY INFO

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


i'm off for the weekend, i'll be back sunday night to read stories. I still need a third cojudge, but until i get back, Flerp has been instructed to go mad with power.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


You get disqualified from winning, but may still lose.

So dont do it.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


welp it done be that time. Submissions are closed.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Entenzahn posted:

ill be judge #3 but only if i get to be judge #2 and flerp is judge #3 instead

deal.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


results week 186: let me tell you about my more interesting friend

lol. why do i even try.

anyway, here are some results. sorry they are late. but not really. I HAD TO VOTE.

a lot of stories this week were bad. almost all were boring. But these ones were worse than bad: Meis and his laughable scifi worldbuilding adventure about a lesbian queen who kills some chick's kid/pet. After the War, who broke the rules about including scientists in an amazing and terrible way! Everybody else, well, I had to hold back Entenzahn (judge #2) from just DMing every single one of you. He was like a rabid dog and I could barely keep hold of that leash.

but one story was even worse than worse than bad. It was a story where we all got a lecture about how breakfast cereal is important to character, or something. Honestly, i have no idea. Benny Profane maybe you got sick or something? Maybe your loss will scare your fever away...

some stories were good. not really. but compared to the rest, they seemed not so bad. There was one about some soldiers in the jungle and one of them had to poop real bad and that made people die. If you entered this week, just let it sink in that THAT story was better than yours. Thranguy takes away the week's only HM.

After some contentious, hot, erotic judge fighting, we settled on this week's winner: Titus82. He made some judges feel things, and though not a perfect story by any means, it does leave you with the feeling that maybe things might get better, and sometimes, that's a feeling you just need to feel. especially after a week like this.

Titus, prompt us.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


well while titus comes up with a prompt, have some crits for week 186

The main sin this week was telling the less interesting character’s story. Like seriousy. If another character is doing all the actions, and making all the progress, consider switching your POV to them. SEVERAL of you wrote an appealing story, but your character was just kind of this boring lump watching somebody else do stuff better. The second biggest sin was NOT FINISHING YOUR GOD drat STORY. gently caress i don’t even know why this is still a think with some of you. I know it was 1000 words, but cut out all the bullshit in the middle. An ending can just be a few lines, but ending right before the climax is a god drat coward thing to do. grow a pair.

Tyrannosaurus

“are-- covered” there shouldn’t be a space after your em dash. Your story does something TDers are fond of, and that’s to have a character take a position, and then just straight up lecture another character on their position. I’m talking here about the big pharma wants people to be sick thing. Like, that’s not really a new or interesting position to hold, so hearing a character drone on about it is really boring. Also you lose an opportunity to actually do real characterization, because you’re just parroting some youtube comments. You devote a whole paragraph to this. Anyway, I think I’m supposed to sympathize with your main char because of my personal beliefs, but as a character I found her to be kind of repugnant. Sure she’s doing what SHE thinks is best, but she’s tricking somebody into giving them unsanctioned medication. Overall she’s pretty flat. I’m supposed to assume she does this because she’s a doctor, but this goes against doctorly trainings. Based on the title I think I’m supposed to conclude that she’s the good guy--the knight--slaying monsters, but i think she comes off as a presumptuous jerk. I don’t really think what she’s doing is courageous, and I don’t really know anything about her other than “doctor, sister.” I guessed the ending before it came (I feel like I’ve read a similar story somewhere). Overall I was a bit disappointed, because I usually like your characters.

prompt use: incorporates leeches as alternative medicine.

Guiness13

“‘Mark Rigle,’ he said.” I dunno if he’s introducing himself or greeting your protag. “Two men sat across” across from whom? each other? the protag? “something in his grin.” details create a richer story. It’s impossible to visualize “something” that I don’t know about, and pulls me from your story. Ugh. I thought these guys were jeff and jeffrey but now you’re saying they might be mark? the guy that you were just in the elevator with? I have no idea what is happening right now. Are you going back in time? OH, the main character’s name is jeffrey. wow, i’m either dense or you suck at dialogue. A little of both. The thing is, you introduce two characters and tell me NOTHING about them. You have them having a really banal conversation that consists of one character introducing himself, and then asking the other character what he prefers to go by. what part of your brain told you that made an interesting scene? You know why characters never go to the bathroom in most shows? because it’s routine and boring. There’s no point to showing it unless something interesting happens. Having people greet each other and ask what they like to be called is a really boring routine thing that you shouldn’t have shown. Furthermore, it actually created confusion because you didn’t actually bother to flesh it out or provide me any transition to the next scene. now you’re going on and on about “things” that don’t feel right, but I have no idea what they are so I am not really with your character on this. you haven’t described at all what is making him feel uneasy, and so instead of being along for the ride I’m thinking “just hurry up and poop out your dumb plot point so I can be finished with this.” Like you’re setting up some reveal and I can 100% guarantee you it’s not going to interest me, because right now who cares? You’re trying to create this sense of mystery by TELLING me that he is confused and losing memory.

Wow, what a complete and utter horse poo poo story. Some guy uses some other guy to make a sleep assassin, who can get away from things. This story lacks detail in every single way that matters. The characters aren’t well defined, the motivations are non-existent (i mean, who WOULDN’T want to kill some random governor, right?!). There’s no real setting or theme, it’s just people acting out this really contrived plot in a vacuum. Your story is so chock-full of non-committal vagaries that I think you didn’t have any idea what you were doing.

prompt use: elevator music as conditioning for ~reasons~
DM or Loss candidate

Meis

“"Well, they weren't really expecting us for another hour or so were they, my love?"” compare that to “They weren’t expecting us for an hour, my love.” Say more with less. Drop interjections. Drop useless adverbs. “so slow” if you’re going to be a writer, learn some interesting words. “she started to mutter” no, she muttered, there was no start. “that put her aback slightly.” this is a mess. “Lucette's heart sank. She had no idea what was going on.” head jumping.

lol this story is real bad. this definitely reads like babby’s first scifi story. It’s filled with terrible new people mistakes. There are so many here that it’s hard to summarize. But the worst mistake is your main character is some queen lady that doesn’t really...matter much. This story is more of the unity captain’s. It’s her son that dies, it’s her that comes to the strange ship. She takes all the risks and makes all the decisions, but you told the story though the eyes of this grithaador, or whatever her dumb scifi name was.

A lot of the action happens off screen. The hunt, the duel. These would normally be climaxes, but instead you just show two women talking. Neither of the women are that interesting, and the dialogue is not engaging enough to make it work. They mostly just say canned lines or cliches to move the plot along. Keep thunderdoming to fix this stuff.

prompt use: there is an armadillo randomly, but really it could have been anything and the story wouldn’t have changed.

DM Candidate

sparksbloom

“DJ had taken a job as a sous chef at some fancy steakhouse in Atlanta, and Seth had offered him a place to stay until he found something more permanent.” I feel like this could be shown through their interaction rather than this boring exposition. ““How you doin’, man?” “I’m okay.” zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. “some hellish catering service” lol what? that is a terrible simile. “He scanned the board for an open E -- to play “OLIVE,” or at least “LOVE”” i don’t like this. In fact, I don’t really like the in-depth scrabble thoughts. It’s not really necessary, and doesn’t do anything for the character. It more reeks of a self-insert--i’m guessing you like scrabble.

Anyway, I liked the middle of this story, but the edges are really rough. In the end, there wasn’t much point to this. A guy takes care of a snake, can’t sleep, and gets bit. In the end, so what? Passive, boring character.

prompt use: almost literal.

anime was right

“I punch in my passcode, the battery icon is red.” stop comma splicing so much. All of your sentences are short, simple, staccato. It’s grating on me. “everyone is quietly thanking me for doing the opposite of manspreading.” not as funny as you wanted it to be. “thick train” huh? “turn their cheeks” this is an odd synecdoche.

I don’t even mind that this is a story about a guy needing to pee, but that’s ALL it is. There’s nothing else to this guy. There’s nothing more than needing to pee. Then his problem is magically solved at the end? Like this is just a story of “guy needs a thing” and then he gets the thing. You could have written this story as “guy wants to find D batteries” and then he goes to the store and buys D batteries, because that would have been the same level of interesting.

prompt use: pee

CANNIBAL GIRLS

Eh, interesting plot device, but failure to make the characters seem like anything more than stereotypes. In the end, the guy learns that God is cool with killing an abusive dad? Wtf is with the weird prologue? What did your protag learn from this? what does he feel? I never really to learn the conclusion/aftermath of this probably life-changing experience he has. He just kinda goes through it. Not entirely passive, as he decides to choke this dude, but the girl does the real heavy lifting. In the end, what was the point?

prompt use: god/hell

Thranguy

You have the makings of an interesting story, but the first 2/3rds is just recounting all the times that the dude had to poop and somebody died. Like, I understood it the first time you told me, I don’t really know why you retold the same thing time and time again. Then in the end, he’s killing dudes? I didn’t really understand how it all played out. This also suffers from being in past tense, and I never get to experience any action or be part of the story. It all feels far removed from anything, and thus loses most of its ability to draw me in.

prompt use: constipated soldiers

Benny Profane

So you’re going with this one-sided dialogue thing… this never works out well, just fyi. “I don’t even think they sell Lucky Charms at Costco.” They do. They don’t sell cornflakes though. MY IMMERSION. lol wtf is this. I, like, want to give you props for trying something new, but this did NOT work in the slightest. This long rear end dumb speech in the middle is awkward and dumb, and makes me feel sorry for this kid I don’t even know. Did Ayn Rand write this? Meep.

prompt use: soggy cereal

QuoProQuid

“Mr. Lopez, my name is Agent Laswell and this is my partner, Agent Simon.”” what’s with stories and having boring rear end parts where people introduce themselves? You could write that much more interestingly.

anyway I have no idea what’s really going on in this story. It reads like a bad rip off of the departed or something. feels very pointless.

prompt use: ears?

Noah

“he had watched his own mother fail miserably.” show. I liked this story a lot up until he is in the vasectomy place. Then it kind of falls apart. It REALLY falls apart with the butt stuff line. “butt stuff” is a common, easy joke that doesn’t deserve a spot in an original story. While I get why you used it, it doesn’t work. I would scrap everything past that and really explore the relationship with his mother, his probably unearned sense that he’d be a good dad, and what he needs to do to overcome his problem.

Killer of Lawyers

“Shure?” don’t like “warren” use here. Stop loving qualifying things. look at this para:

He was a stocky business major, who followed Sita around for the most part. He wasn't offensive, or anything. He just sort of drifted her way. Part of the course was mingling with people outside of your degree field, after all.

when you write this way it makes you sound unsure of what you’re doing. These are bits of language we use for bullshitting and talking off the cuff. Don’t write like that, because it makes your story sound like a rough draft. It’s too casual.

He was a stocky business major who followed Sita around. He wasn't offensive, he just drifted her way, and part of the course was mingling with people outside of your degree field.

“brought her cell phone to bare” it’s “bring to bear” and it means to focus your attention on, so it doesn’t really work here. Don’t try to sound fancier just because you’re writing. “She gazed at its display.” she was reading an email, so “gaze” isn’t really the right word, as you make it sound like she’s appreciating the actual display, not the content on it. “on pseudopods” no, those are cellular. I don’t like that your char saw an email and is laughing and now you’re withholding it from me. I’m assuming that you’re going to be like “this is what she was laughing at the whole time” and it’s going to be stupid and not worth the wait. “up to the point that she kept getting” you can’t go up to a point of something that “keeps” happening. They’re mutually exclusive. She either laughed to the point where she got a dirty look, and stopped, or she kept laughing past the point where she got dirty looks.

Ok, so you made her looking at the email a pretty big part of the plot… wtf was the email? did somebody else email her telling that he was eating plant sperm? why was she the only one laughing? who sent the message?

In the end, who cares about this story? The main character here is not this chick, but the fat kid who eats plant splooge and makes millions. your protag is just some dumb harpy. If you wrote it from his perspective, perhaps this would have been entertaining.

Schneider Helms

Ending your first two sentences with the same word is awkward. “moved them into.” preposition ending. Judy’s dialogue is a bit over the top and hard to take seriously. I feel like you’re going just throwing in random facts about how the kid’s life sucks in ways that don’t help the story. His mom died. K. His dad can’t cook. K. What does that really have to do with the relationship between these two? Everything is basically just them talking and then Marty thinking about how his life is a total gently caress up. Constantly describing the kids’ faces is one step up from not just telling me they’re emoting. It’s really grating after a while. Think of some new ways to show emotion. Likewise, your characters just kind say exactly what they’re feeling. There’s no subtlety. “Everyone hates Judy.” there are a billion better ways to show this. “jeepney” oh hey look I learned something. Also I had no idea this was in the philippines. you could have used that setting more effectively. I don’t really get what you were going for with the whole dads theme.

prompt use: uh… yawning, sleep….narcolepsy? a bit of a stretch.

Grizzled Patriarch

What a surprise, you set something up (actually two things) and then your story ends right before a climax. The kicker is you had me reading and enjoying the story, then HELLO I’M GRIZZLED PATRIARCH I’M SCARED TO END A STORY. Writing a compelling setup is easy, it’s the most fun part. Resolving everything in a fun, interesting, hopefully creative and new way is the hard part. I was genuinely interested to know how the egg thing and the girl crush were going to intertwine to bring about a satisfying resolution. I should have known better.

prompt use: eggs

newtestleper

a ballerina hair cutter, crashing the world of sheep shearing? you have my attention.

jesus, gently caress you. you and GP both. you both wrote interesting setups that had me being like “oh boy, maybe I’m reading a winner, finally,” only to have the story cut off right before the action starts. I know I only gave you 1000 words, so you needed to cut all the bullshit and get straight to the story.

prompt use: sheep

Pete Zah

“He bolted out of bed as if it were weaved with snakes” Your similes are a little overwrought.

eh, this story is pretty boring. I dunno why it exists. It uses the literal prompt, but while stuff is happening I’m like “ok….” and i’m more distracted by your purple prose.

After the War

Your first few sentences are engaging, then the story really never progresses past that. You got a dead fish and you gotta deliver it. So then you sit around talking about this dead fish and how you gotta deliver it. Finally you deliver it, but whoops, wrong person! Paired with all the secret agent cliches, this wasn’t worth reading, and you should feel bad for writing it.

Titus82

“The curl her tiny fingers.” I feel like you’re missing a word here. “He tries the door, but it's locked, so he does what he does best:” stick to 3rd limited. Oh hey, look at that, you wrote something good. gently caress you. Your writing still needs some work, and there are a few too many cliches in this, but it’s heartwarming and easy to read. Also it is a story with an ending.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Meis posted:

Thanks for the crits (please don't misgender me next time though)! Especially the bits about saying more with less words. That's something I really need to work on, so I appreciate the help!

This experience has taught me one very valuable lesson, which is that if I come up with something that is almost twice as long as the word limit allows, then I should just start over and properly come up with a story that is short, instead of hacking a longer story in half and totally murdering it. I would be proud of myself for not losing, but frankly I just got lucky that someone wrote an even worse story than mine.

I will keep thunderdoming until I become, well, somewhat decent?? Less terrible, at any rate. I think that is an achieveable goal.
So I'm in with Won

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


in with Mamihlapinatapei

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


hotsoupdinner posted:

In with Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan)

i got my eye on u

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Meis posted:

Do not crit my posting. I'll post as verbosely as i want to!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


The Unlikeliness of Two Identical Snowflakes
914 words

I used to cross out each day on my wall calendar with a fat, red marker. Back when each day still felt unique, when it felt like was biding my time. Now it isn’t even turned to the right month. If I was waiting for something to change, I forgot what it was.

“Yes ma’am, it is very cold out today,” I say to the lady on the other end of the line. I roll my eyes. The older ones always want to talk to you like you’re their friend. Outside my window is a blur of white as the blizzard rages. It doesn’t matter. What’s another foot of snow when you can’t see over the embankments anyway? “What issue can I help you with today?”

She prattles off her problem: something about her son who bought her the computer got her the wrong kind of mouse, because she wanted one with a ball and hers only had a laser.

It’s going to go on for a while like this. I stand up and grab my watering can, continuing to listen to her through my wireless headset. Everybody’s desk is the same: gray but for the white notes tacked up to the carpeted cubicle. Nobody sticks around long enough to make it their own. Nobody except me.

“...and it had three buttons, even though I told him I wanted the mouse with one button…”

“uh uh…” I have a habit of nodding even though I know she can’t see me.

My daffodil is just starting to sprout. It doesn’t know it’s still winter, because they have the heat up so high in this building. I envy its ignorance. It feels like it’s been snowing forever. I look out my window into the blizzard.

My eyes wander, and I see a woman standing in the building across from ours. I don’t think much about it, but then our eyes met through the snow storm. I freeze. Her dark hair stands out through white flurry, and she smiles at me.

The line goes dead, and the office, normally loud with ringing phones and chattering techs is suddenly quiet. Outside my window the snow slows to a stop. It hangs there, riding a current upwards at the same rate as gravity pulls it down.

She holds up her own watering can and waves. I can see a tiny sprig of green next to her in the otherwise empty office windows.

I look down at my own can, now empty. I’ve drowned my poor daffodil, and water drips from the window sill onto the floor.

I hurriedly set my watering can down and sit back at my computer. Normally the auto-redial would have kicked in. I mash the manual redial button on my screen, but our computer system is ironically frozen. I peek above my window sill and the girl through the glass is still watching me through suspended snowflakes.

A better man would take an early lunch, take the elevator down to the lobby, march through the blizzard to the next building, take the elevator up to her office, and introduce himself. I sink into my chair. People don’t do that. They don’t introduce themselves to strangers. Every day I see a dozen women through glass with who I’d like to converse. Through my windshield: a gorgeous redhead on the sidewalk walking her dog as I drive past. Through a storefront window: a sad college student eating alone at a table for two. But people don’t don’t say hi to random women. Not people like me.

I sneak another look through my window, and she’s also back at her desk tapping on her computer monitor. The blizzard must have knocked out everybody’s systems. She swivels in her chair and looks back at me, and again our eyes lock.

It’d be easier if she would come over here. Our office is laid out very intuitively, and it’d be easy for her to find my desk. I have no idea what byzantine setup they have over there. Chances are I wouldn’t be able to find her anyway.

I want to tear myself away, and go track down somebody that can tell me when we’ll be back online, but her smile is addictive. I even find the corners of my own lips drifting up. I stand up to get a better look at her. She does the same, and even though we are separated by glass, snow, and distance, it feels like we are in the same room.

I wish I was the kind of guy who could burst through her office door, sweep her into my arms, and kiss her. In my fantastical reverie, my own lips part slightly. Water from my window sill drips on my shoe, but I can’t tear myself away from her eyes.

She leans against her desk and twirls her hair.

I press my hands up against the glass.

We smile at each other. It feels like forever, and it feels like we just met. The butterflies in my stomach have baby caterpillars of their own, who grow into their own butterflies, and still my heart races.

She looks down at her plant, and I look at mine, swimming in its pot-contained puddle. I decide that when it grows and blooms, I will pluck it and bring it over to her. Until then, I am content just to see her through the floating snowflakes and wait for Spring.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


When I got bored crits is good crits

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Congratulations sh on her 100th TD submission.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


I came in to help sort some of the top ranked stories, and these were all I read, so don't add me to your murder list if you did poorly and are salty about it.

judgemode on

Ivory Ornament
too many adjectives imo. "something feels wrong" too vague. "The grass collapses beneath my feet" unneeded. "With stillness it hangs." roll eyes. Interesting concept, but at the end I'm not really sure I see the thematic connection between him plucking the moon from the sky, and him being kinder to his mother. This story is a little rough around the edges with some awkward writing and lightly purpled text. Could do with a few more rounds of editing. Because of high concept but roughness, guessing this is Thranguy. [the link between the moon and the mom summoning light was pointed out to me during judging. It's a better thematic connection than nothing, but I think it could have been a little more convincing. It's too on the nose, that she happens to prattle on about exactly what he had been doing. It seems contrived, and could be more organic.]
Grade: B+

Reroll
The writing in this is ok, but while most scifi/fantasy does too much world building, this one isn't enough. I don't really know what's going on. I could do with a few lines of exposition here. At the end, I'm not really sure what the point of all this is. Why can the baby fight so well? What is the meaning? Not very satisfying conclusion. In the showdown between this and the moon one, this loses out because there needs to be just a tiny bit more explaning of what something is. Ground me a little bit first next time, as it's very exhausting to be totally in the unknown and trying to guess what things are.
Guess: Broenheim, because canine ex machina.
Grade: B-

Sirens
I have no idea wtf this one is about. I don't like it. Too focused on describing things that I don't have any reason to care about. this piece is basically just ~emotions~ and ~descriptions~ which is a type of fiction I don't really like. I save that stuff for poetry, not prose. anyway this is basically just a story about taking drugs, but instead of drugs they drink sugar water, which surprisingly doesn't make it more interesting.
Guess: ???
Grade: C-

Louder than moonlight
It doesn't look like much. [...] “Doesn't look like much,” was this repititon purposeful? "a drummer build like a snowman." tsk. no real conclusion here, is there. You may think that the whole discovery of mandrake giving up his life to save the girl was the big reveal/conclusion, and it may have been, but then you set up a new conflict and leave it unresolved, which I don't like in a story so much unless it gets my imagination flowing with all the possibilities there could be. this doesn't do that. guessing GP from the ending, though the writing is subpar for it to be him.
Grade: C+

judgemode off

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


SlipUp posted:

Come Hell or High Water
1495 words
story

you asked for a crit in IRC so i started doing one but then you left. so here it is. i ended up doing sort of a line crit because your writing is pretty bad and i wanted to help you not be so bad. enjoy

CRIT DOWN HERE \/

Give your opening dialogue speaker some characterization from the start. Don't rely on just his words to do it.

You're leaning too heavily on dialogue. Like you've established that there is a flood coming, a sheriffs got a guy locked up and is planning on leaving him, which is good, because it dives straight into the conflict, but you really could slow it down to tell me more about these two chars.

"old dry", "lost mangy" put a comma between adjectives. Or better yet, only use one adjective. A meaningful adjective. Something that really gives it that "umph" rather than "this is what you expect."

"wouldn't be cursing god," 'god' should be capitialized in this context, as it is a proper noun.

"it's full face trapped in horrified expression." this is dumb. At this point your story is servicable, as you've got a plot and it's moving forward, but it's pretty boring/forgetable, because you haven't characterized anything. most plots have been done before, and this feels very familiar. How you make it your own is to make the people feel unique. Like, I've seen plot A a hundred times, but I've never seen plot A with Characters XYY and XYZ interacting. The tension you're hoping to create here doesn't matter, because right now I have no feelings either way if this guy drowns or lives.

"Something tempted him" 'something' is code for "i, as the author, don't know or don't know how to articulate, and i'm hoping you don't notice."

"He looked down at the water lapping [...] The water began lapping" don't be lazy.

"old dry" you used this exact same pairing again. how dull.

"it's old bones" 'it's' always means 'it is'

"began splashing" it didn't begin splashing, it splashed. You've done this a few times. Don't kneecap your verbs by adding these stupid adverbs. "started, began, just, all" are all useless. "just stopped" lol you did it in the next sentence. "all he needed" lol. "all day." lolol. stop it.

"Turning the gun over in his hands, maybe there was a way to open the lock with it." this sentence is sloppy and is a tense shift (you're in past tense for this story).

"knee high water" knee-high

"his gun" it's not really his, per se. you also do this with "his window" which I found jarring. "the" works much better imo.

"burst like a drat" wrong dam.

"pouring in furiously" lots of lovely adverb use, but this one sticks out even among the others. There are lots of verbs, especially for rushing water, don't use a weaker one and then adverb it. "The water rushed in," is better, cleaner.

"revealed a torrent." awkward.

"cold reptile eyes" sticking with your habit of describing things with 2 boring adjectives. don't just plop down the most boring, stereotypical thing to come to your mind when describing something. try to make the effort to make it entertaining. "What he'd assumed was driftwood stared back at him with hungry eyes," is better.

"He was running out of time." you should be showing this, not telling. and you are, with the rising water. no reason to state it.

"swallowed by a pale pallor." this is dumb.

"He eyed the crocodile's toothy grin with contempt." really? cause it sounds like he's paying lots of attention to it to me.

"at the gator" you call it both a croc and a gator, which makes me think you didn't pass 3rd grade biology

"toothy grin, crooked smile," I get it, the alligator has teeth.

"The gator lunged" awkward, considering he's swimming, and has tiny little arms.

"the arm" oh, NOW you drop the "his" and go wtih "the."

"jaws snapped shut like a bear trap" yeah, that's unnecessary as gently caress

"He could feel the tip of the handle in the lizard's gullet [...] The demon recoiled in pain as the pistol slid back into his hand." lol wait, the gun was in the croc's throat and then he spit it back into the dude's hand? Also crocs/alligators are not lizards. since you're telling this story in third person, that means that YOU the narrator doesn't know that, and it's jarring.

"as did the gator. It rolled " you're ascribing a lot of action to a dead animal.

"it's blood" you did that thing again

"his breathe" you are bad at proofreading.

"Just as he was beginning to catch his breathe, the rafters began" here you go again with the just/beginning poo poo. You see how much of an issue it is when you do it 3 times in once sentence? "Jericho gasped lungfuls of air as the burning rafters cracked."

"The current was massive" like a butt

"dear life" cliche

"He could feel the entire building" really? "begin to shift" gently caress you

"He had come so far." show don't tell. what does he DO that shows me he is resolute to survive despite it looking like he's about to drown cause his arm's all hosed up?

"pulled himself out of the cell and along the wall against the current." how exactly? do you know how much force that much water would have? and he's doing it with one hand? I just physically can't even picture how a one-handed man does something even a power lifter wouldn't be able to do.

"The walls started" u better start stopping this

"a final breathe" oh no you did the dumb thing again how embarrassing for you

"mercilessly pummelled" unnecessary

"ending his vision spiralling" I feel like your descriptions of vision are weird. you don't send vision anywhere. earlier you said he lost it in the water. like, it's not some object, which is what you're treating it as. "His vision began to darken." jesus h christ let up off the vision poo poo already

"the last thing he could see," is dumb in a past tense story. "The last thing he saw..."

-----------

Ok so the first part of this story is ok. You set up a conflict, and have two chars. you don't do anything with the chars, so as the plot goes along I stop really caring what happens.

So exit sheriff because he has to save "his own," i guess, and leaves a dude locked up. the dude does some stuff, which is good, cause at least he's an active character still, but nothing works. Then some sort of reptile, be it lizards or gator or croc, comes to make things worse?

Then the guy just kinda shakes the bars and they magically open up, ending his first conflict in a sort of boring way, but this second conflict comes in and bites him. so the guy goes "ow," then shoots the croc. Like, he doesn't overcome anything in his defeat of the croc, it just seems like a logical thing to do. There's no real character development or anything interesting going on, it's just "well of course he shoots the croc in the throat because he's holding the gun." Nothing he did set this up or prepared him for this. Your conclusion should pretty much always depend on what your character did/learned during the story. Like, think to yourself: if this same thing happened to my char at the beginning of the story, would the outcome have been the same? If the answer is "yes," congratulations: you have just written a boring story. It's just a series of events that lead from point A to point A.5.

All the stuff with the girl and her dad is unresolved. It's a reason WHY he's in jail, but it's all useless info, because it contributes little to the story other than him saying "i'm innocent" which by itself isn't terribly exciting. it woulda been better if the croc was actually just the dad in a croc suit and then he killed that dude to get free. unrealistic and stupid, but better than chekov's rapist.

anyway, gave you some stuff to work on for next time. happy doming.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


SlipUp posted:

Thanks! Future judges will appreciate having to read less bad stories.

fewer

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Sitting Here posted:

Team Ock sucks

Even with a forfiet we got within 1 vote of winning, and we didn't even have to tap into our latent nazi genes, so team mermans is the best team with the best stories. They will make an underdog sports story about us some day. I love u guys. RUDY

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


i am gonna judge this brawl.

Fools' Brawl - Ironic Twist v. Sitting Here

April fools'! That's what you're writing about. A prank. A story in which one person pranks another person. Is it an innocent prank, and everybody laughs at the end? Or is it one of those mean pranks where people cry? I don't like those pranks. I think pranks should be silly.

Twist - Your challenge is to write a story that doesn't crawl up its own butthole in terms of ~style~ and can actually convey a straightforward narrative.

Sitting Here - Your challenge is to write an active character that has his or her poo poo put together.

In a way, this is a brawl against yourself, because both of you are strong writers, and it's really about not loving yourself over by settling for your comfort zone.

Let the pranks begin!

Word count: 1500
Due date: April 1, 22:00 EST. THAT'S 10PM/7PM. don't loving ask me for extensions.

crabrock fucked around with this message at 03:10 on Mar 21, 2016

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Carl Killer Miller posted:

It is a story in words that is more boring than the same number of characters in morse code.

thanks for my next blurb

serious answer tho: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...0#post457782623

crabrock fucked around with this message at 14:42 on Mar 23, 2016

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



emptyquote

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


In is the condition in which I am.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Loaded Up and Trucked Away
492 words

Kyle and Andrea had snuck out of dinner on the last day of camp and hidden in the same ravine where Tanner Shelby had gotten stung by bees.

“We’ll be safe here,” said Kyle.

Andrea scanned the shaded sky for yellow flurries, but saw none. “What if the bees come back?”

“They won’t. They had a truck with smoke and a vacuum and everything.”

“There are a lot of dead ones on the ground,” she said.

Thousands of carasases littered the forest floor, as if a massive battle had taken place in the canopy. Whole bees, half bees, bits of legs and wings scattered among the ferns and needles.

“It’s ok,” said Kyle. “They got the queen, and they’ll take her somewhere nice, and she’ll start a whole new hive.”

“Maybe I should sting somebody,” said Andrea. She buried her face into Kyle’s Camp Siskiyou sweatshirt.

They sat like that for a while. Past dinner. Past the time where the counselors walked outside and yelled their names. Past the screaming of the fire whistle to assemble all the campers. Past the arrival of fire trucks and police cars. Past sunset.

They fell asleep there, nestled into the large divot left behind by a fallen giant.

“I found them!” called a voice behind the blinding light. Kyle squinted and held his hand up to his face.

He shooked Andrea awake. “Run!” he urged.

She didn’t make it more than a few steps in her stupor before a man overtook her and snatched her up in his big arms. She screamed and kicked, clawed at the man’s fingers and even tried to bite him, but he was too strong.

“You can’t let her alone with him!” Kyle told the counselor.

“It’s ok, that’s her dad.”

“That’s why,” said Kyle. He shook free of the counselor and ran to his cabin.

His bunkmates tried to give him high fives; they made pelvic thrusting motions and whistled. Sam smacked him on the back with a force belied by his meager age. “Smart move Belinsky: goin’ after the broken ones.”

“We didn’t do anything!”

“Then where’d you get that big ol’ hicky? From the janitor?”

The cabin laughed in chorus, and Kyle looked out the window, across the field where he’d first seen Andrea standing across from him during the morning flag salute.

“Kyle the janitor fucker!” Sam said, and everybody laughed harder.

Andrea’s father brought her out to the station wagon, tossed her in the back, and drove away.

The boys of cabin 5 forgot about Kyle when a large rat tried to sneak a cookie from Fat Barry’s duffle.

Kyle laid in his bunk, looking at a piece of paper Andrea had given him in the forest. It was her address, crudely written, but legible. As soon as he got home, he would write her a letter. He would write to her everyday. Then, when he was old enough, he’d go find her, and take her some place nice.

The Skeletal Postmaster
492 words

Though Lester Hould had been dead for 32 years, Claire never stopped hoping to find him. Sometimes she’d go months without thinking about the cold case, when she was inundated with claims of stolen packages or stamp fraud.

But a missing postal worker was a real challenge. The type of thing she’d joined the United States Postal Investigators to do. Crack a case like that, and you’d get your own task force. There was a whole world of mail-related malfeasance out there. Drug rings, jewel smuggling, one task force had even caught a guy shipping alligators from Florida up to a purse factory in Canada.

Though technically the motto about “nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” didn’t pertain to somebody of her rank, Claire couldn’t wait for it to dry up before chasing down her latest lead on Lester Hould’s whereabouts. She kicked the tires of her mud-stuck jeep and wished she had.

Still, she wasn’t an idiot. She only traveled along official USPS routes, and she could catch a ride from a courier in the morning.

Already soak through her suit, and no hope of rescue til the morning, she set out to find the rusted out mail truck some kids had told their parents about. It was only a few miles up the road. Claire walked along the muddy trail. The rain was warm, and besides getting in her eyes a few times, wasn’t much of a nuscience.

After a few hours of hiking, she reached the old covered bridge described in her report. She looked over the edge, into the ravine. Water gushed through the narrow gap under the bridge, the creek swollen with rain. She climbed down to the waters edge. Once down, she immediately regretted her decision. She pictured the trees giving out, and them finding her body washed up on some farm. Corpses never look good when that happens. She shuddered, but the trees’ roots held fast, and she made her way upstream to where the trees thickened.

Tucked just away from the view of the road was an old mail carrier. One of those that looked like they were the retarded cousin of the space shuttle. Sliding doors, and the steering wheel on the wrong side for American cars. How Lester had made it that far upstream was another mystery unto itself, but sure enough, there he was, a skeleton holding on to the steering wheel like he could still finish his route.

Claire climbed into the back and found one bag of mail, still in its NorRain® USPS sack.

She spent the night in her own jeep, the one without skeletons, and hitched a ride back to the office the next morning. After cataloguing all the mail, she had the honor of finally delivering it to its destination: the USPS guarantee. She picked up the first item: a blank postcard save the address and name: Andrea Wexler.

Claire would get it home.

Life is Moldy Lemons
417 words

Andrea sat on her porch and watched the bees flitter from flower to flower. The trailer was quiet since her mom had gone. Well, that wasn’t fair, she thought. Her mom had died, but Andrea was almost jealous. She thought of it as leaving. As escape. She wanted to leave too, but had nowhere to go.

She squinted at the trail of dust making its way to her. It reminded her of the old cartoons she used to watch, where the roadrunner zipped along the road, leaving trails of dust. She assumed that made her the coyote. She sighed.

A white car emblazoned with the eagle logo of the USPS pulled up, and a smart-looking lady got out. The lady looked down at a piece of paper in her hands, then up at Andrea’s trailer.

“This 3924 Honey road?” she asked.

Andrea nodded. “Yup, but I still bet you got the wrong address. Nobody important has any business out here.”

The lady shrugged and walked up to the porch. “You don’t happen to know an Andrea Wexler, do you?”

“Wish I didn’t.”

The two women locked eyes.

“Well, I have a postcard here for here.”

Andrea reached out for the postcard with a small lump in her throat. It could be a thousand things: a rich uncle leaving her an inheritance, an old high school enemy looking to settle things with a fight, or even just a wrong address. It’d still be the most exciting thing she’d experienced in years.

Her hands shook as she took it. Then she turned it over. She flipped it back and forth several times. “Well, I didn’t expect that,” she said.

Claire apologized, got back into her car, and drove off.

Andrea sat with the blank postcard for a while, thinking how appropriate it was. Who would do a thing like that anyway? She’d never given anybody her address as far as she could remember. Not since that summer when she’d given that boy--

She stopped rocking. She remembered the boy she’d met at camp, the one she’d wanted to kiss, but was too afraid to. The one who had made her feel special. The boy she’d sat across from in their science lesson on making invisible ink.

Andrea stood up and ran into her house. A mushy lemon sat in the egg drawer of her refrigerator. It was good enough. She squeezed it on the dirty postcard, and teared up as the words started to appear in sloppy, childish handwriting.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


TD CXCI: We Talk Good



OK CHUNDERDUDS, LISTEN UP. Your assignment this week is to write some dialogue that doesn't loving suck a giant turd out of a literary butthole.

We are focusing on DIALOG this week. Like, the stuff in between still needs to matter, but the person who wins this week will give me the most engaging coversation. There are some contraints your entry must fall in:

1. The entire story must be one conversation between two characters. Your chars can change locations, etc, but it must be one unbroken convo.
2. At least half of your story must be dialog between these two chars. I will loving count, so don't try to scam me.
3. If you have more than two characters, THEY CAN'T loving TALK.
4. You may not use a dialog sentence shorter than 5 words. No "Yeah"s, etc.
5. No cussing. Use personal discretion here.

I do not expect you to wrap up a story this week, so vignettes are cool. This is literally just you writing a loving good conversation between two characters. So that you can laser focus on the dialog, you have a small limit of 500 words. I want this poo poo edited. I want it sharp. I want Moonlighting meets Gilmore Girls meets Pulp Fiction.

Wordcount: 500
Signup Deadline: Friday, April 1, 23:59 EST
Submission Deadline:Sunday, April 3, 23:59 EST

A few tips: Don't have characters say their emotions, and don't use words to advance the plot. For example "I can't believe you cheated on me, you jerk!" or "we must get to the movie theater!" are both loving stupid sentences to write. "I'm surprised you could find a floozy without a sense of smell," or "'Ghost' is playing at 10, and if we miss it I'll impale myself on a pottery wheel" are both better, because they tell you the same information but aren't just stating the obvious. These sentences further characterization while imparting information. Also, don't drone on and on and on back and forth. Break it up with actions.

Write your story. Hit your story beats, then go back through and start thinking how you can tweak each sentence to say something interesting rather than something obvious. A good sentence will do both. Good luck!

Judges: crabrock, ???, ???

Smooth talkers:
00. Jonked who is stupid and signed up early
01. flerp
02. Sitting Here
03. anime was right
04. newtestleper
05. 3.141592653
06. Grizzled Patriarch
07. curlingiron bad suggestions
08. ChairChucker bird story
09. A Classy Ghost
10. Paladinus
11. Lazy Beggar
12. hotsoupdinner
13. Spectres of Autism
14. Carl Killer Miller
15. SteveHarveyOswald
16. Jocoserious
17. sparksbloom
18. Kharmakazy
19. Titus82 no drugs
20. Mercedes far away
21. Thranguy new experience
22. Killer-of-Lawyers
23. Tyrannosaurus
24. Ironic Twist bad news
25. Kaishai

crabrock fucked around with this message at 02:35 on Apr 4, 2016

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Chairchucker posted:

In and a flash rule please.

your story has a bird in it, but it's not one of the speaking characters. however it can violate the normal restrictions and say some words if you want.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


curlingiron posted:

I'd like a flash rule.

[at least] one of your characters must give bad suggestions

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


newtestleper posted:

terrible judging! I can only find one adverb in my whole story!

I just woke up so i probably missed a few

newtestleper posted:

was like
was only
was just
she'd ever
finally speaking
carefully folded
been so
leaped clear
back-flipped away
smashed through

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crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


i wasn't passing any judgement on whether or not they were appropriate, just fact checking that he "only used 1."

PANTS ON FIRE

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