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Aug 2, 2003

In, Employee.

My first Thunderdome. I enter of my own free will and unafraid!

Moxie fucked around with this message at 13:27 on Oct 17, 2016


Aug 2, 2003

Sitting Here posted:

We love voluntary compliance :) Looks like you'd be a great fit for our blades and cutlery department. No running ;)

Thus anointed, I embark on this contest of words. Onward to victory!

Aug 2, 2003

The Secret Edge
Employee, Blades and Cutlery, 1300 words

Hi, my name is Jeff. I have all my fingers and toes. It's quite a feat! My boss lost an arm a few years back when a new employee improperly handled an item in the One-of-a-Kind Aisle. It is a rare anniversary when we celebrate the service of a coworker with 100% of each ear lobe. Blades and Cutlery isn't the most dangerous place in Voidmart, I assume. Nevertheless, it pays to be alert.

"Jeff!" My supervisor's voice startled me a bit as I was in the midst of admiring a particularly shiny item. "Get out of the Throwing Aisle. You're assigned to the wedding registry today." By far our biggest seller: sets of 8-67 stainless steel blades accompanied by blocks of wood to store them, blades hidden. Unfortunately, this was a situation where popularity didn't equate to prestige. Mr. Smith really had it out for me despite my alertness; I found myself assigned to selling knife sets nearly every day.

"You got it Mr. Smith!" I said cheerfully. "Seeya later, Gaspar!"

"Who the... Don't name the merchandise and get to your station!" I smiled and nodded as I walked six aisles further away from Katanas.

"Howdy, Magnus," I whispered. "What's up, Sinbad?" Naturally, Sinbad said nothing; blades can’t talk. I loved the weapons, but they weren't people. Just unique and beautiful pieces of merchandise. I dodged into the Gladius and Dirk Aisle as a customer's handicapable cart rolled by at top speed. Julius sparkled as he reflected the light from her silver hair. "Good one Julius," I giggled. He was good for one of those a shift. No time for him now though.

A few more steps brought me to my destination. Home, sweet home I suppose. This mass produced merchandise honestly bored me half to tears, though a few pieces had potential. The aisles here shrank to waist high, affording me a view all the way from Golden Bean to The Back. This along with my relative lack of mutilation made me the de facto customer service guy for B&C.

"Excuse me, can you point me to the saw blades?" Wonderful things, to be sure, but for whatever reason they are secreted in the Tools quadrant. Sorry, sir.

"Hey guy! Jeff? Yeah where are your axes?" Blades do not chop in my opinion. They part matter like curtains and divide one into many as politely as possible. I kept my opinion to myself and offered a crooked finger pointed toward the Wood Accessories.

"Hey Jeff," said a shy voice. Martha from lingerie stood just outside my department in one of Voidmart's main arteries. As always she was as clean as Sinbad and twice as curvy. Not a single edge on the poor girl, unfortunately..

"What's up?" As I turned around she took a step back, glancing nervously at the large knife I was sharpening. The pretty thing had looked like a king next to the smaller copies in its wooden block, though I'd seen better edges on the axes.

"Uh, you want anything to eat? I'm headed over to Prepared Foods for some takeout."

I held out the knife at an arm's length to inspect it. When I looked up she was another pace further away. "No thanks! My lunch isn't til 3."

"It's past three."

"Oh... I guess i'll have whatever you're having."

"I'll get you something you'd like," she called over her shoulder. My attention had already turned to testing the knife with a few air slices.

"Jeff stop waving that goddamned butcher knife! Do you want to hurt someone!?"

Mr. Smith, stressed out as usual. "I'm careful, sir." His eyes bulged. As was his habit he preceded his next statement with a prolonged exhale. "How many couples have you signed up today?"

"None so far, sir. A few people wanted these blocks but they didn't want to get married."

"I don't care about that, you have to reach the monthly quota. Matrimony is breathing down my neck, and you're my ace for registries."

"Yes sir."

"One more thing. We have some new merchandise." We got new items nearly every day, and I always hoped for a new addition to the One-of-a-Kind Aisle. I might be banned from that aisle, but there was nothing more interesting in the Voidmart. I usually got to sneak a peek when Mr. Smith was showing a trainee how to sign people up for weddings. This time, he pulled out a new cutlery set display.

"This is the new Carvington Elite Collection Atomic Edition." Instead of a plain wood block with a crowd of desperately jutting handles, he presented a humming black cube with only three beckoning new friends. "It has three carbon nanoblades kept suspended in a magnetic field." He pulled out the largest of the set. It was so dark, except for the edge. When it caught the flourescents, it drew a thin crescent of light across my retina. I felt like it was telling me a secret. "You must never touch it!" My jaw dropped. When Mr. Smith resheathed the atomic edge, I finally was able to turn my gaping expression towards him. "Do you have any idea how dangerous this is?"

"Um, well surely it needs to be sharpened-"

"None of these knives need to be sharpened, Jeff. They're just display models."

"But a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one!" My words fell on deaf ears. Apparently the CECAE was crafted from a single chain of covalent bonded carbon atoms, and could cut anything with an atomic number higher than 14. It was the first thing I had ever encountered more beautiful than a hundred fold blade that thirsted for the blood of good men. Sorry, Musashi.

I paced around cutlery, neck hurting from keeping my gaze pointed directly at the atomic set. I could still see the brilliant afterimage of its secret. He had sliced my ocular nerve from three yards away! I hoped it was permanent. I jumped again as a tiny voice said my name from the artery.

It was Martha. She presented me a sandwich of thinly sliced meats, which I accepted graciously. That would be for later. Who could think of food at a time like this?

"Thanks Marth. When do you get off?"

"Ah, I was off at three. I'm just going head over to Sleep... are you okay?"

The secret of the atomic edge finally became clear. I knew Martha liked me as a man likes a blade; I could never put my finger on why until now, not that I would put a finger on that atomic edge. The afterimage gave Martha an edge of her own, and I fear my gaze may have lingered a bit hungrily. She was beautiful too!

I stepped forward and dropped to one knee. "Martha. Will you marry me?"

I looked her in the eye. The secret looked like a tear of joy gleaming down her cheek. Her mouth was agape, just like mine when Mr. Smith told me I couldn't touch the new Carvingtons.

Mr. Smith ran up, huffing and puffing. "You're not on break, Jeff! What the hell is this?"

"I asked Martha to marry me."

"What?" He looked her over. "You're not holding a blade named Martha are you?"

She looked at him wide eyed and shook her head.

"You want to legally marry a human woman?"

After clearing up the initial confusion and both Mr. Smith and Martha's supervisor speaking up on my behalf, she said yes! I rushed over to the wedding registry to add the Carvington Elite Collection Atomic Edition to our list. Martha herself insisted on adding twenty items of her choice.

"Congratulations, Jeff," Mr. Smith said later. "You've reached your quota."

"And I get the knives!"

"Not a chance in hell."

Aug 2, 2003

Interprompt critique

Lost and Found by newtestleper

Lost and Found

Paragraph 1: this is a good enough intro, though I'd prefer a less passive-voice phrasing in the last sentence.

Paragraph 2: calculated repetition here, I think you are establishing despair; there are also artifacts of self editing. happens to everyone!

Paragraph 3: specificity is brought up, let's see if it's relevant later

Paragraph 4: There's a lot of focus on salty tears here, and we're outright told she has emotional detachment because of Voidmart.

I decided to just read though the rest after that.

Yoghurt with an H? Well to each their own.

The employee is described pretty interestingly. I think he's the highlight of the story.

She finds a clue here, in the form of a smell that she missed earlier but I don't think was mentioned earlier.

Specificity doesn't seem to be important except as a general Voidmart joke.

I think that the overall plot of the emotion-sucking scheme and its perverted recycling justification is good. I don't like the wrap up where she solves the problem by screaming and jumping into the drain. This section might have benefited from expansion. They're being conveyed in liquified human emotions and that emotion doesn't make it into the action (except terror).

I ended my story with a stinger too, cool.

Overall I think that this was well written but it could have used a lot of tightening and polish. Lots of missed opportunities I feel outside the broad strokes of the plot and the lone employee in the story.

I feel like I may have been overcritical because we're in a competition. Good luck this week!

Aug 2, 2003

Kaishai posted:

Customer Service
(1,047 words)
Employee; Department: Jewelry

No one at Voidmart ever saw Genevieve wearing fewer than ten pounds of the store's finest jewelry, and no one ever saw her displaying the same piece twice. By four in the morning every morning, she glittered amidst her forest of showcases and carousels, her black velvet turtleneck an ideal backdrop for Ethiopian opal and silver-set jade. Her suede trousers flattered the fire of anklets and watch chains. alliteration seems forced A customer had once mortgaged her house to buy padparadscha sapphire combs out of Genevieve's hair, leading to Genevieve's immediate promotion to head of Jewels and Accessories.

An old soldier rang the bell for service at her register one afternoon. He was considerably more grizzled than the standard military customer and short an eye besides, but he wore his camo well. "What do you need, sir?" Genevieve asked him. look I know this conversation just started but it's already boring. she could have said something more customer service-y or something that added to the characterization you already established.

"Something a friend of mine lost. It's here somewhere," he said. "Maybe in your Lost and Found. Maybe in the basement."

"We--" The steady stare of his pale eye cut short Genevieve's denial of the basement. "I can try to find it for you. What does it look like?"

"This." He slid a page across her glass counter. The chalk sketch showed a collar of woven gold and amber so exquisite that Genevieve forgot Voidmart entirely for a moment, caressing the paper, imagining the reality. The soldier brought her back to herself with a rap on the glass. not getting why this is so special, but i guess it must be for chalk to be gold and amber

"Yes," she said slowly. "We might have found something like that. It will take me some time to retrieve it."

He said, "I can wait."

and so ends a the conversation between a grizzled vet and an extreme jewelry fetishist that could have also been between anyone and anyone

The stairs to the basement were hidden deep within a maze of nine-dollar prom tiaras. that's pretty cool Genevieve stopped beside a table of rings and twisted certain bands on their display mounts, taking care with the order. Part of a wall swung inward. She hurried through the gap and grabbed the flashlight she kept just inside; once the basement entrance had closed again, she turned on the beam and descended.

All around her, jewels threw the light back into her eyes. Rhinestones crusted the most shallow layer of stairway walls. A bit deeper and semiprecious stones glimmered with hope, falling dark again when she passed them over. The stairway trembled while she was in the corundum layer, and the faint whine of brakes told her the employee subway had pulled in nearby. She moved down through diamonds and out, finally, into caverns measureless to man: the Voidmart storage vaults.

Genevieve flipped the light switch, and hundred torches caught fire. Crystal skulls grinned from a high shelf. Carved panels of amber shone. A jeweled book, water-warped, demanded to be admired. She picked up a Fabergé egg instead and kissed the golden head of its cherub for luck, because the caverns were warmer than any basement ought to be, and not every sound she heard had to do with the subway system. Somethings breathed in the shadowy niches beyond the fire's reach.

She came to a metal door and pressed her palm against it. Needles stabbed her fingers. Her blood matched company records: the door let her into a cubby the size of an ordinary, reasonable closet, lined with lead coffers. The air in there hummed anyway. Genevieve chose a box, opened it.

i think the rapid shift from genre to genre during this journey works pretty well

Oh! Gold spilled over her hand, fluid as water; amber nodules glowed, each the sun's essence bent into the gently curved form of a bean; and the necklace sang with the echo of dwarven hammers ages old. "Brísingamen," Genevieve murmured, holding it up. It seemed to chime its name in answer.

Back out in the vaults, an enormous wolf stood waiting.

Did it belong to the old soldier? Genevieve hesitated. She opened the box again and held up Brísingamen. The wolf growled, showing black teeth. Genevieve met its glare and slid the necklace into her pocket.

The beast sprang at her then. Too fast--she brought the box down on a head already snapping at her middle, going for her belly but closing its teeth on her Alaska-shaped, ruby-studded belt buckle instead; a crack sent two fangs and fourteen Aleutian Islands flying. With strength built over years of loading her arms with chunky bracelets, Genevieve beat the wolf away and backpedaled to the wall.action sequence out of nowhere! good so far though. i suppose the voidmart touches slow it down a bit

She yanked a long pin tipped with tanzanite from her hair. Her coiffure was ruined, but she pierced the wolf's left eye when it lunged for her again. Screaming, it sprang away. She pulled an opera-length chain from her neck and jumped for the beast, landing astride it and wrapping platinum links around its throat.

It rolled, it clawed, it scraped her against the shelves. The Florentine Diamond tumbled from its place and bounced out of sight, but Genevieve held on. "Waiting for the chain to break?" The wolf's contortions brought her mouth close to its face. She hissed into its ear, "I don't wear the cheap poo poo." story is more fun than i expected

The corpse remained behind when Genevieve returned to the sales floor.

The soldier still stood at her counter. "Not too quick," he said. His eye fixed on the pin skewering her bun, as though he saw the blood she'd wiped away. "But Fenrir's get will make trouble when they can."

Genevieve held out Brísingamen. "Please tell Freyja that Voidmart is happy to restore this to her, sir." oh now i get it :downs:

"She'll appreciate that."

"You might also mention that we accept cash."

"She'll appreciate that more," said Odin. "You have our thanks for your service."

He walked away, toward Literature and Poetry, with a pair of wolves suddenly tagging his heels. They turned their heads in unison to look back at Genevieve, their eyes yellow and knowing.

Her sense of satisfaction with her work lasted the whole two minutes until a bicycle courier braked in front of her counter. "Management wants a meeting!" he said.

Genevieve shivered so hard her bracelets rattled.


At four in the morning the following morning, Genevieve glittered behind the register for Jewels and Accessories. She smiled at all who saw her. At empty space, too. "Making customers happy makes the Managers happy," she told everyone and no one, again and again, while stroking the diamond-tipped wolf claws strung on her necklace. She wore that item every day afterward; a few customers remarked on how it complemented the new silver in her hair.

Hey this story is pretty good. Not a lot to complain about, but I'll try. The main character turns out to be a badass but besides her fashion sense and action heroine turn I couldn't tell you much about her. Even an adventure story could benefit from characterization; there's a lot of stuff you can point to here where she demonstrates prowess/knowledge/one liners but overall I think she's pretty flat. I don't root for her, you know? Furthermore maybe the story or Genevieve herself could do with more Norseness. Still a fun read.

Aug 2, 2003

I'll take a crit. My title is bad tho

Aug 2, 2003

I'm in. I feel like I was lucky to escape a DM last week and I only have myself to blame. Prepare yourselves to witness my true talent!

...Birds? gently caress

Aug 2, 2003

Kill the Messenger

242 words

Starvation comes in many forms. Our starvation was a steady diet of fish. The community’s goals had scaled back to mere subsistence. The secrets of agriculture were either far more arcane than any of us could guess, or rendered irrelevant by corrupted soil.

We could fish, though; that wasn’t getting any harder. Just more and more pointless.

"Dad! What's that?" Junior pointed at the sky.

"It's a bird."

"It's swimming way up there?"

"Flying." I looked at the circling gull and thought of chicken.

Junior started reeling in his line. "Can we catch it?"

Maybe. "Sure we can, son, but not with that."


I squinted. "We need bait and a net, I think." Junior went running for a net. Every tool we had was for fish. It would work.

I scattered fish meat and backed off a few paces. Junior came running back.

"We have to be patient, now." Patience came easy with fish, but something about prey you can see inspires anticipation. My boy was bouncing on his toes.

The bird landed and hopped among the chum, twitchy and curious. It hopped a pace closer.

Now, son.

Junior leapt with net extended. The bird cooed and fluttered backwards, well out of reach.

“Guts!” Junior picked up a rock and threw it. “Take that!”

The bird exploded in feathers. What a shot! He ran over to inspect the bird.

“Dad, what’s that?” The bird had a roll of paper tied around its leg.

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Aug 2, 2003


Aug 2, 2003

Oh, Piolet!
Persona 4 -Reincarnation- SMILE
734 words

"I don't think I fit in with my family. They're just a bit off, you know? I might just be a teenage girl and so it's normal for me to feel out of place, but they don't even seem human to me."

"So why are you telling your cat?" asked Jack.

"Well, you are a good listener."

"I'm just looking at you alertly because you're bigger than me and I'm in danger of getting crushed."

"See? I can relate to that," I told him. I was sitting on the couch with a pile of homework, trying to get some privacy. It seemed that no matter where in the house I tried to settle, someone would barge in with some zany antics.

Case in point: the front door burst open, and a mostly round man in a police uniform walked through it. After a beatific deep breath, he shouted through the house: "I'm home!"

"I'm right here, Dad," I told him.

He laughed at me. "Oh, Violet!"

A pretty redhead bustled in from the kitchen. "What did our daughter do now?"

"Long story, Buttercup. What's for dinner?"

“Wilmer!” Mom scolded, pronouncing his first name with a wince-inducing imitation of Dad’s Trinidadian mother. “Why is it that the first thing you have to say to me when you walk through that door is another task for me!”

I sighed. "Jack, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm sitting here doing homework and all of the sudden I'm in the middle of a conversation two adults are shouting at each other from opposite ends of the room."

"Oh, Violet!" Mom admonished. Dad jiggled with suppressed laughter and shook his head, then went over to kiss his beautiful wife hello. "Sorry dear, I forgot that being a nurse wears you out."

Donny's voice preceded him from upstairs. "Will you all keep it down?" He descended the steps located behind the couch, eyes hidden under shampoo commercial hair. "I'm infinitesimally close to hacking my test scores to get into MIT."

Everyone stared at him, reacting in mime for about three seconds.

"Um, hello?" said Dad, still in uniform. "I don't pound the pavement in the mean streets of Chicago just to have my son become some kind of delinquent Mr. Robot!"

"It's cool, Dad. They actually accept hacked applications now."

"Why is everyone so expository all the time?" I asked.

"Why do you lack an inner monologue?" retorted Jack.

"Oh Violet!" said Mom again.

"Holy crap I just need to do some homework!" I grabbed the nearest book and dashed past Donny upstairs.

In my bedroom, I brooded alone in the dim light of a single 60 watt lamp. "What is going on here? Why is everyone asking questions that they should already know the answer to? Why do they always get helpfully sarcastic answers?"

Jack had apparently crept in behind me. "You're talking to yourself."

"I was talking to you."

"That's a lie," he said. I bluffed him with a hard look. Nonplussed, Jack added: "I'm hungry."

"Violet dear?" Mom knocked on the cracked door to my room as her red mane intruded through it. "I couldn't help but notice you seemed upset downstairs. Is something the matter?"

I huffed and puffed. "Everyone's acting like... characters or something! I'm tired of having so much going on. I just want to be normal!"

She flicked the wall switch to turn on the real lights and sat on the bed, placing her hand on my shoulder. "We're a family, Violet. And you know what else? We love you."

"But I feel so different!"

"Of course you are sweetie. But if you weren't around, we would be like a recipe missing an ingredient.”

“Salt,” said Jack.

Mom continued: “We'd go completely off the rails if there weren't someone to keep things in check!"

"You're the straight man," Jack added helpfully.

"You mean... I fit in because I'm different?"

"Absolutely, dear!"

"You're basically the emotional center," said Jack.

"Wow, so even though I'm boring I can still be myself and hold my own?" I thought aloud.

"Why don't you go downstairs and give it a try," Mom smiled at me.

I dashed out of the room. "Thanks Mom!" I said. Thinking better of it, I returned to give her a hug, then dashed out of the room again.

"Oh, Violet," said Jack, as he curled up for a nap.

Aug 2, 2003



Aug 2, 2003


I'll take a flash rule as well

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