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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I'm in! I'll take a glitch.

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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


A Fellow of Means
Now all giants, no matter how awkward, count for something.
1147 words

When Adelle told me the giant was coming to dinner again, I must admit I was concerned with the propriety of the thing. While we’d enjoyed hearing about his childhood in the foothills, his delightful encounters with local villagers, and where one might find housing for one of his stature, the truth was his table manners were nothing short of dreadful. Even Adelle, woozy and overserved after our first occasion, admitted to me that she could scarcely manage the embarassment when the fellow had allowed the meat’s juices to drizzle down his chin, diffusing into his beard, which continued to drip long past dessert. And that was to say nothing of his breeding! We would both be thought, she feared, awfully lax at keeping the appropriate kind of company.

But alas, word had spread beyond our small party, and widowed Fanny Boxworth had sent to Adelle that she absolutely must meet this tall handsome new stranger. And despite Adelle’s protests over our guest’s presence forcing us outdoors – for although we possessed an ample estate, even our high ceilings had forced poor Mr. Gulfright to bow at an angle most unnatural – we invited him to dine with us once again.

---

“You’ve outdone yourself again, Adelle,” said Fanny, as we sat around our patio table. Our guest, three times my size and much too large for any of the traditional seating, sat in a clumsy crosslegged posture, a tableau of nine napkins arranged on his lap. “What do you think of the pheasant, Mr. Gulfright?” she asked, as the giant took a mammoth bite.

“Um, good food,” he said through his mouthful.. Again he picked up the pheasant with his thumb and forefinger, crunching straight through the bones. “But,” he added, “not as good as the food from home. The Scottish, they’re the best.” He wiped his mouth with his forearm and unleashed a booming belch.

“I could never hope to compete with the food of a man’s mother,” Adelle said.

“Oh, the Americans are good too,” he said, licking his lips while his eyes drifted over to Fanny.

“Are you married, Mr. Gulfright?” Fanny asked.

“Never did,” the giant said. “Hard to meet someone who meets my lifestyle demands. Travel, you know. Long hours.” When I caught Fanny still looking avidly at the stranger, I met Adelle’s gaze. The impropriety of this match would reflect badly upon us.

“Why Mr. Gulfright, I thought you were a man of independent means!” I said, hoping to bring Fanny to her senses. “A working man! Why don’t you tell us about your position?”

The giant grunted and looked forlornly at his plate. “I’ve got means,” he said. “But I can’t quit the family trade. Lumber surveying. It’s in our genes.”

“How fascinating!” Fanny replied. “Why, I’m absolutely parched. How about you fix us some more drinks, Adelle?”

“I’ll take seconds,” added the giant. Adelle nodded, folded her napkin on the table and stood up.

“I’ll accompany you,” I said to Adelle, and followed her inside. Once the door had clicked closed behind us, I reached out and touched her shoulder. “This is a disaster.”

“You’re not wrong,” she said, while mixing up a vodka gimlet for the gentleman. “No, I don’t relish the prospect of poor Fanny courting this uncouth lumber surveyor? And asking for seconds! It’s as if this man has no experience with society whatsoever.”

“I certainly hope you’re not planning to invite him again.”

“Absolutely not. We must find some way to separate them. Have him talk about his dirty work in trees with bugs and rabid beasts. Goodness, I knew Fanny was desperate, but I didn’t think she’d go this low.” Adelle poured half a glass of wine and filled the rest with water. “She doesn’t need to have her senses impaired any more than they already are.” Adelle trailed behind me with the drinks as I carried a second bowl of soup for the guest back outside. As I opened the door, I witnessed a sight that appalled my senses: Mr. Gulfright, again with no regard for silverware, helping himself to a second course. Viscera and reddened, discarded clothing draped our table as our guest gorged himself on raw flank of Fanny.

Adelle dropped both of the glasses at the spectacle, and the resulting clatter drew the gaze of Mr. Gulfright. “Sorry,” he said. “You took a while. I couldn’t wait.”

“Mr. Gulfright,” I said, “I thought you were a respectable man!”

“My heavens,” said Adelle. “That’s what we get for inviting someone like you to dinner. Twice.”

“That’s rude. Giants have been living perfectly respectable lives for years. Ever heard of Paul Bunyan?”

“Paul Bunyan didn’t eat the dinner guests,” Adelle said.

“Sure. That’s the story people like. We have to eat, though.”

“Well, I’m sure he had better manners,” I interjected. “Can you at least wipe your face?”

At this Mr. Gulfright had the decency to shrug , wad up a couple of napkins, and rub them across his mouth. “Never was too good at that sort of thing.” He continued to dab at his beard.

“Now listen here,” I said. “You’ve put us in a very difficult situation, sir. How do you think we’re going to explain the gruesome passing of Fanny to our neighbors? Why, one of them could have watched you helping yourself to your second dinner.”

“And after our staff worked so hard to prepare your first dinner, too,” Adelle said. “Don’t you have any respect?”

“Sorry for the trouble,” our guest said. “I can talk to them, if you like.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” Adelle said. “You will stay here with us, and we will discuss your prospects from here.”

---

Mr. Gulfright’s lack of status and abominable compulsions may have, under lesser guidance, lead him to certain downfall. But with his fate entwined with mine and Adelle’s, he became an honored dinner guest at all of our associates. And the social atmosphere had never been better. Why, it wasn’t long after Mr. Gulfright arrived in town that the more disagreeable connections began to make sudden departures and seek their fortune in other locations.

Adelle struggled to teach him the finer points of propriety. Try as we might, we failed to convince him to trim his food-trap of a beard. “Makes me masculine,” he said. And perhaps he was right. Adelle and I had the greatest of heartaches keeping the single women of the town away from Mr. Gulfright; when it was unavoidable, we kept our staff on hand watching him at all times.
We did invite our neighbors to meet Mr. Gulfright at another dinner party.

Adelle and I took ill early, though, and we asked Mr. Gulfright if it wouldn’t be too much trouble for him to take hosting duties. The good dear obliged. He told us the portions were fresh and plentiful.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In! I'll take a Bowie song, Sitting Here.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Smitten
Word count: 1,435
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v--IqqusnNQ (David Bowie - Life on Mars?)

I never thought myself an especially trusting person, but it was only when Eli had plied the boards off the abandoned factory door that I realized how absurd of a first date this was. I guess I couldn’t imagine someone as twinky as Eli, he of the puffy hair, spectacled blue eyes, and impeccable taste in flannels as someone who’d have malicious intentions. He’d posed for his OKCupid profile with his fancy rat, for goodness’s sake. When he said he’d like to take me urban exploring, all I’d thought at the time was that it sounded a lot more interesting than bowling.

Even at lunch, I’d been disarmed by his slow smile and chatty, self-conscious conversation. Boys this cute and put-together didn’t usually look twice at me, but here he was, listening with what appeared to be genuine interest to my dumb stories about the bands I’d been in, laughing at all the right places. And he told his own stories with verve and candor, self-deprecating tales of high school embarrassments and thrilling yarns of exploring abandoned asylums and condemned schools. By the time we paid our checks, I was smitten, not only by him but also by the romance of exploring a place lost to time. I knew it wasn’t a smart move, following a stranger into a boarded-up building. But in the moment, I felt I’d be a fool to do anything else.

The inside of the factory, a picked-over warehouse floor, seemed pretty barren at first glance. Eli removed a pair of surgical masks and an electric lantern from his backpack. He strapped my mask on first, his fingers brushing my neck, before attending to his. Then he switched the lantern on, illuminating the cracked concrete floor and splintering walls. “I know it doesn’t look like much,” he said, “but the good stuff’s downstairs.”

“It always is,” I said, and met his gaze in the low light. The mask muffled his giggle, and we crossed the floor to a narrow, descending wooden staircase.

I peered into the pitch blackness of the basement. “Um,” I said.

“I know it looks scary. But I’ve been reading up online. Lots of people have been here and they say it’s totally safe. Just creepy as hell.”

I hesitated, but then I noticed his eyes again, and I was helpless. We were going basement exploring, I guess.

Eli went first, catching the cobwebs. Below, our lantern illuminated a long hallway, stretching in both directions beyond our light, with corridors branching off every few yards. He whistled and stared down the passage. “drat, this place is huge. Okay, you’re the urbex virgin,” he said. “You decide: left or right?”

“Um,” I said again. “Left.” I led the way. “Do you know what this place is?”

“So people online think it’s some sort of research lab, but no one knows what they studied. Some electronic poo poo, I think – people from a few years ago said they found wires, microchips. But I guess they’re all gone now. Let’s go left here.”

We turned into a side corridor, which led us down another set of stairs. “What’s that?” I asked, pointing ahead of us. A faint glow came from somewhere down the hall.

“Huh,” Eli said. “Let’s check it out.”

On the way, we passed a few office doors. From my passing glance, they too looked like someone had picked them over thoroughly. On the left, a room with nothing but a broken wooden desk; on the right, an empty classroom, save for a pegboard studded with Polaroids. Then we reached a third room.

In the midst of this derelict basement, an old, family-sized CRT television sat plugged into a fraying extension cord and coaxial cable. The screen broadcasted some fuzzy black-and-white film without sound. A naked man, lying belly-down on a bed, stared desperately at the camera, and at first I couldn’t see why the man seemed so afraid, until a woman came up behind him and sliced his throat open.

“Jesus,” I said.

“What the hell,” Eli said, but when I turned to him, his eyes were wide not in horror but in a fascinated rapture.

The video changed. Now it showed a low-res cell phone capture of a dank alleyway. A young man in a Red Sox cap cowered with his back to a brick wall before a boot came up hard under his chin. A police officer entered the frame and kicked the man hard again in the temple. I winced and inhaled sharply.

“Can we get out of here? Look, I don’t want to watch snuff films.” I said.

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Eli said. He took his cell phone out of his pocket and snapped a photo of the TV. “Yeah, we can get going. Out of this room, or—“

A rat darted around the TV and brushed Eli’s pantleg. He screamed, and his high yelp echoed down the hall. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “Yeah, let’s get out of here.”

“I thought you liked rats,” I said, smirking, as we reversed our path.

“Yeah. Pet rats. Not vermin.” He shuddered. “How do you think that setup got there? Kids playing tricks? Criminal enterprise? A spooky ghost?”

“I don’t know. Ancient aliens? I don’t want to think about it too hard. It just made me the wrong kind of uncomfortable, I guess. Sorry.”

“Oh, it’s fine,” he said, touching my arm. “But you know, the doors—“

I squinted down the hallway and stopped walking. “Hold on. Are those stairs going down? I think we went the wrong way.” But as we turned around, I saw the same empty offices I did before – the one with the broken desk followed by the one with the Polaroids. “What the gently caress?”

Eli pulled out his cell phone again and took a picture of the staircase. Then he cleared his throat. “The people online said it’d be easy to get lost in here. I’ll see if there’s something we missed, okay?” He looked over the phone. “Don’t worry, I’ll figure this out. Just… let’s walk a little further and see if I can find some reception.” We walked a little further up the hallway, and just as we approached the doorway to the TV room again Eli said “Wait! Here’s a bar. Give me a second.” I tried not to look at the room next to me, concentrating only on the screen of Eli’s phone. “Yeah,” he said. “Here we go! This guy says he got really turned around, felt he was lost and would never get out… oh.”

“What?”

“I guess he followed the rats.”

“Okay. That’s doable. I mean, not ideal, but—“

Eli grabbed my hand and tugged me toward the TV.

Eli himself was on the screen, sitting on what I was sure was my living room couch. He looked uncomfortable – not terrified, but uneasy, anxious. I saw myself walk slowly into the frame, a thermos in each hand. I held my breath, waiting for some senseless act of violence. But the version of me on the video handed one of the thermoses to Eli, who took it and drank, hands shaking. Then the video cut again, and our images were replaced with those of cows hanging by their ankles at a slaughterhouse.

“You didn’t kill me,” Eli murmured, looking down. “I think.”

“What the hell,” I said. I should have been fearful, either for my life or at least my sanity. But what ate at me then wasn’t how in the world someone had recorded events that’d never happened. No, I was worrying that Eli wouldn’t like me anymore. Surely now he’d never agree to see me again, now that we’d just starred on the Murder Channel. But what if we were exceptions? What if the powers that be just thought we’d be a cute couple, and wanted to treat us to a domestic scene of what that might be like. “What do you think—“

“You were right,” Eli said. “It’s probably better not to think about it too hard.” Another rodent squealed and darted behind us, back down the hall.

We tracked the rats back through the hall again, and on this return journey the stairs were going up again. Neither Eli nor I said much of anything, even when we’d gotten back to the fresh air. He said that his head hurt and he wanted to go home, but he’d text me.

I watched him retreat to his car, his hair and eyes vanishing from view. It took all my restraint not to text him and invite him over for coffee.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Sidelines
1,182 words

Alyssa caught the creep in a headlock with one arm and peeled the camera phone out of his hand with the other. Just like she’d thought, he’d been taking picture after picture of the gymnasts as they left the hotel lobby. When she’d shown the evidence to the police and they cuffed the shithead, it was the happiest she’d been ever since the test had ruined everything. Ever since Dr. Dyer had said the words “complete androgen insensitivity syndrome.” Just like that, she’d been ruled ineligible for her weightlifting event, and been given a hell of a situation to explain to Derrick back home.

She imagined the conversation over and over in her head. “Honey, don’t freak out,” she’d say, “but I’m genetically male. That doesn’t make me a man, I’m still the same person I always was. The doctor says I’d have never known if the Olympic committee didn’t test everyone. No, this doesn’t make you gay.”

No, she wasn’t ready for that sort of conversation. And it’d be even worse if he understood. She could just imagine him full of empty affirmations. “You’re the toughest girl I know,” he’d say. “You choked down nothing but protein shakes and yogurt for years. You could do anything!” And then he’d almost certainly tell her “You’ve got the balls.”

She couldn’t bear the thought of any reaction from him. And so she’d told Derrick that her agent had miscommunicated her eligibility, that he’d screwed things up with the Olympic committee. She’d kept her conversations brief ever since then, telling him she was just so busy that she didn’t have time to talk.

At least her agent was gracious enough to offer her a job in Olympic Village security. “You’ll have an Olympic experience, even if you can’t compete,” he’d said. And what an experience it was. Twelve hours a day, she’d stand in the lobby of this posh hotel, filled with athletes whose genetic makeup didn’t disqualify them from their dreams. They all annoyed her, in one way or another – the too-loud chatter of jetlagged Australians, the way the runners would slice through crowds of elderly officials, the impotence and irrelevance of anyone carrying a badminton racket.

But the divers were the worst. The loving divers.. Dumb as stumps, they all were, and rowdy stumps at that. Alyssa had only been on this security detail for three days, and she’d lost count of all the heavy-drinking divers she’d had to walk home. They hadn’t even competed yet. You’d think they’d wait until their fleeting moment of glory had passed.

Her radio sputtered. “Got a situation in the northwest building, fifth floor. Guy called in, said his guest won’t leave.”

“I got it,” Alyssa said. Another goddamned diver getting too liquored up, she was sure. She went up to the hotel’s fifth floor. Before the elevator doors opened, she could hear the slurring monologue:

“…really just looking for love, you know? But not inflatuation, that’s no good. My last boy? He was all into that. Saturation. You know what I mean? You’ve got a very understanding face.”

Alyssa rapped on the door. “Security!” she called.

“Oh, Christ, thank goodness.” A tall, disheveled man in a bathrobe and tighty-whities yanked open the door. “He just won’t leave. For the love of God, please, just make him leave.” Alyssa glanced behind him and caught sight of the shirtless, babbling, and yes, chlorine-bleached guest. Knew it.

She crossed the dingy room, stepping over a pile of blankets tossed to the floor. “C’mon. Let’s go home. Out we go,” she said, putting a hand on his shoulder. The kid with the bleached hair moaned, but complied, giving a last moony glance at the room’s resident before Alyssa closed the door behind him.

“Just the two of us,” he said. He wiggled his eyebrows and laughed like a hiccupping lemur. He reached out and grasped Alyssa’s bicep, gave it a good squeeze. “Oh drat. You’re ripped. You’re not one of those fatass rent-a-cops! You’re a swole rent-a-cop.” Again he cackled. Alyssa pulled the wallet out of his back pocket. Thom Starkey, his ID read. Oh no.

“Tell me you live here, Thom,” she said. She knew the name and the reputation, if not the face. Thom Starkey was as close to celebrity as a diver could get, although it was less for his diving skills and more for his bland good looks. A drunk Starkey caught out in public by the paparazzi? That’d be another Michael Phelps situation.

“Nope! I’m from Canada.” His rictus grin shrunk at Alyssa’s glare. “I knew what you meant. Twelveteenth floor, that’s me.”

Alyssa took Starkey by the arm, steadying him, and marched one tiny step at a time back to the elevators. She felt revolted by him, and it wasn’t just the fear that he might turn and vomit one of those high-calorie Olympic Village meals all over her uniform. It was the lack of self-control. Self-respect. Like the goddamned Olympic Games were some meaningless frat party. Her unexpressed genes barred her from competing, but Starkey’s conscious weakness meant nothing. They reached the elevator, but she pivoted to the stairs. “Come on,” she said, “up the stairs. Can’t have anyone seeing you like this.” She savored the way his face fell.

Starkey whimpered but obliged, taking the steps slow. Alyssa followed behind him, praying he wouldn’t trip or empty his stomach. “Don’t know why you’re so afraid of people seeing me,” he said. “I like to let it all hang out.”

“Sure you do,” she said. “But in the morning, you’ll be glad you didn’t. You don’t want people saying horrible things about you.” They had reached the twelfth floor landing.

“Only if they’re not true. Like, if they said ‘Starkey’s ugly and a terrible diver,’ that’d be hurtful. But if they said ‘Starkey gets drunk and sleeps with men,’ well, I got to own that, don’t I?”

“You have to have some dignity,” Alyssa said quietly.

“This is dignity. It’s the... integregal thing to do. Can’t keep secrets,” he said, wagging a finger too close to Alyssa’s face and striding into the hall. He stood in front of a door - hopefully his door - and Alyssa handed him back his wallet. He unlocked the door with his card key. “You’re a really nice lady,” he said. “You should watch me dive tomorrow.”

“Maybe,” Alyssa said, and shut the door between them. She walked back to the stairs and lingered on the landing. That was dignity, was it? Acting with no regard to the consequences? She imagined herself acting on all the impulses that might struck her - devouring a half gallon of ice cream, breaking into the Olympic pool and swimming a few laps, punching the rudest guests in the face.

Or coming clean to Derrick.

She put her hand in her pocket and considered calling him, right then and there. “Listen. Don’t freak out,” she’d say. “But I’ve had a hard time dealing with this thing.”

She pulled out the phone and, in a surge of nerves, made the call.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I'm in.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I'll take some drama, SH.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Gosh guys, you gotta get more mature, because the school has a major problem with dick graffiti

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Dicking Around
1,327 words
Flash drama: So like what if you let a friend borrow a textbook, and the next day you find it vandalized and left in a toilet????

It starts slow.

Merrick draws one dick, imperceptibly small – much like his own – on your textbook. But it doesn’t stop. You’ve got to show him your balls are bigger and brassier, so you draw a bigger one. Now a competition’s started. There’s another dick. And another. Hairy dicks, smooth dicks, broad dicks, and pencil dicks. A pornucopia of dicks. You stifle your giggles all through Mrs. Wortmann’s lecture on completing the square. Marco, the greasy student council dork, glares at the two of you, but you’re not going to let him interrupt your artistic process. You’re lost in the thrill of putting dicks where no dicks should be. Before long, your algebra book has more penises than quadratic equations.

But as the bell rings, the euphoria fades. Look at what you’ve done to McGraw-Hill’s excellent Algebra I text. It’s full of dick, and it’s not even relevant to any mathematical principles. You’ve got to return that book at the end of the year. Your debauchery’s going to get caught.

And of course you used pen. It’s all you had – that pizza-faced Marco invoked eminent domain and confiscated your pencil. But what are you going to do now, now that you’ve defiled school property? They send people to jail for that. On the bus ride home, Merrick tells you he heard about this kid in Vermont who drew a dick on his desk, and he got labeled a sex offender. Had to wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of his life, all because of one little indiscretion.

Merrick will still be friends with you, though. That’s nice of him. The sex offender in Vermont lost all his friends. Stabbed himself in the eyes with a pen, apparently. Merrick draws you a picture in his notebook. He’s an artist, Merrick. You’re lucky to have such a good friend. Merrick even takes your book home with him. Says he’ll take care of it. He’s got Wite-Out. It’s better than nothing, right?

You text him later. You ask him how the progress with the book is going, if it’s good as new yet. He doesn’t respond. Probably hard at work. Probably literally jerking off at the sight of all those dicks. You text him your theory. He tells you to gently caress off. Classic Merrick.

He’s not on the bus the next day, though. And at school you can’t find him. You’re looking for him in the bathroom, which is empty, save for Marco at the urinals, when you notice something strange in one of the toilets.

Oh, poo poo.

You flush the poo poo and do your own business. As you’re washing your hands, you notice Merrick coming up next to you. Finally. You ask him if he took care of your book. Yeah, he says, he’s got it all figured out. He takes the offending book out of his backpack, and to your distress, you notice that the cover is still sporting a big, hairy dick. That’s when Merrick chucks it into the stall. Spash!

Oh poo poo.

You look at him like what the gently caress and you’re just about to tear him a new one when Merrick points at Marco, who’s zipping up his fly, and yells loud enough for people outside the bathroom to hear that Marco just tossed your math book in the toilet. Marco protests, but before long Mr. Wood, the shop teacher, escorts all three of you to the office. He’s carrying the waterlogged, dripping, dick-filled textbook with him. You admire his dedication, sticking his hand in the toilet, just so he can review all the evidence thoroughly.

At the office they have you, Merrick, and Marco sit in the copier room while the powers that be examine the textbook. Marco runs his fingers through his hair and a shower of dandruff falls into his lap. He glowers at Merrick, then you. You have never wanted an innocent person to take the fall as badly as you do right now. Suddenly the door swings open and standing there is a Dick Drawing Analyst, brought to Domegrassi on special assignment. She hands each of you a piece of paper and a pen and asks you each to sketch a penis.

You squint at her. Seems like entrapment. Now, if Merrick was smart and watched Law & Order reruns like you, he’d invoke his fifth amendment rights and refuse to draw even a single ball. But nope, Merrick’s sketching away. drat. Guess you’ve got to do this, then.

First you consider drawing a dick that’s totally unlike anything you sketched yesterday. Or maybe you could pretend you don’t know what a dick looks like. Maybe you could draw an eggplant emoji. But no – don’t want to risk being too cute, that could look suspicious. You decide to draw the most Platonic dick anyone’s ever seen. No frills. Your standard, minimalist pair of balls and a shaft. And you’ve got to draw it with your left hand. That’ll throw them off.

While you’re scheming, Marco’s protesting that dick drawing is against his religious beliefs. The Dick Drawing Analyst tells him to draw the Washington Monument instead. Marco considers this and gets to sketching. You catch a glimpse of Merrick’s dick. His dick sketch. He’s picked the opposite route and included an almost clinical level of detail. You admire his dedication to his craft.

The Dick Drawing Analyst snaps up your sketches, squinting at each in turn: your squiggle, Marco’s monument, Merrick’s Gray’s Anatomy poo poo. Then she consults the soaking textbook, examining the blurred ink with a magnifying glass. You hold your breath.

It’s inconclusive, she says. She drums her fingers while you exhale. Then she points to your backpacks and demands they be searched. The other two push them forward right away. Again, you wish Merrick had watched more Law & Order. You’d protest this gross violation of your fourth amendment rights, but you don’t want to draw any undue attention to yourself. You sigh and hand over yours, too.

You make a mental note to show Merrick some enlightening YouTube videos later.

She starts with Merrick’s bag, rifling through it, confiscating a cigarette lighter but finding nothing of dick-related interest. Then she moves onto your bag. Oh no, you think. You’ve definitely doodled some dicks on your social studies notes.

First she checks your other textbooks, and those are clean. Except for your life sciences textbook, but that dick was supposed to be there. But then she sees your history notes, and she looks into your eyes for what feels like ages. Your stomach starts to clench up as she moves on to Marco, who’s looking at ease. But the Dick Drawing Analyst crows in triumph. She’s holding up Marco’s very own Algebra I text, and as she flips through the pages, you see a veritable catalog of dicks.

The Dick Drawing Analyst apologizes to the two of you and sends you both to class. As you’re leaving, you hear her use the words “compulsive fetishist.” You’re glad they’re not directed at you.

---

On the bus ride home, Merrick tells you how he texted Marco’s older brother last night, who was in total agreement that Marco was a dweeb who needed to be taught a lesson. So the brother covered the book with dicks while Marco was playing video games and stashed it in Marco’s backpack. All Merrick had to do was follow him into the bathroom and sound the alarm. After all, anyone who’d cover a whole textbook in dicks obviously couldn’t be stopped there. Merrick illustrates by drawing a new dick on the back of the bus seat. He’s back to tiny and cartoonish. Fits the medium, he says.

You think of Marco, trying to explain himself to that cold, cold Dick Drawing Analyst. That little freak. But you can’t help feeling a little bit guilty.

We’re kind of dicks, aren’t we?” you ask him.

“Bro,” he says, “dicks for life.” You fistbump.

Dicks for life.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:32

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I'm in with

quote:

45) I Palindrome I (TMBG)
.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


For my second, I'll take

41) House of Cards by Zinaida Serebriakova

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:33

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Crits for TD Week 185

The South Sea Shuffle

I guess this piece is going for over-the-top violent silliness, but without even token efforts at characterization or plot, it just comes off as adults-only monkeycheese poo poo. Mister Mistakolophese and the egg-cooking scene feel especially gratuitous here. I feel like the creation of this was something like “gently caress it, I have no good ideas for this song and I can’t be bothered to edit, so here’s a stream-of-consciousness spray of the grossest stuff that comes to mind.” I’ll give the piece credit for making me kind of queasy and I thought the #needahand joke was amusing, but this just feels really slapdash and bad.

Lingering Things

A bunch of mechanical errors here -- Miranda is “Mirada” once, for example. I’m not sure what you’re going for with this one. The creature horror feels grafted onto this story about a lady who robs a bank to pay for a baby, but neither element really works for me. I like the voice you’re telling the story with, but I’m really frustrated by the lack of payoff. I was hoping for more insight into how Miranda feels about her husband’s career or having a baby with him, or at least some thematic connection with the horror elements, but I’m not sure how it fits together. Your first half of the story is all rumination and setup that just doesn’t get any payoff. I was especially hoping for more about the mysterious radio station that shouldn’t exist, but that just gets shrugged off. The tension with Miranda trying to get into the bank to safety works, but I got lost in the blocking when Miranda was being attacked by the chocolate arthropod. And while it’s very possible I’m missing something more profound, the ending feels like it’s reaching for some catharsis or some epiphany that hasn’t been set up at all.

A Stop Along Briarwood Way

I like the use of a desolate, snowy road as the setting for a horror story, but your pacing doesn’t need to be as glacial as the environment. The dialogue is pretty flat, and Toby considers some things that characters tend to consider in meeting-strangers stories. Then the monster attacks and I don’t really care, because I don’t really have a reason to care about the characters. I don’t know anything about Jenna because all she does is beg Toby to help her. And all Toby has as characterization is vague grumpiness and anxiety. At first I thought Toby was mentally ill and he’d end up attacking the lady, or that they’d be attacked by ghost deer, but none of these things happen: instead a monster appears and Toby runs away. But the lady gets eaten, and Toby just watches this and has no discernible reaction. There’s just not a lot here -- there’s no surprises except for the fact that there are no surprises, and there’s no character arcs to give this any substance.

Analogues

I like this, for the most part. I have a good sense of what Gail wants, and I think the piece does a good job channeling the emotions involved here -- longing for a friend that’s slipping away, need for stability, that sort of thing. I even think you pull off the dual perspective, although in a few sections it’s confusing who “he” is referring to. There’s a lot of ambiguity here, and while I feel some of it works to good effect, like us not knowing exactly what happened to Gail, I’m still fuzzy on the effects of the drug. Theron’s music is more musical than before and he’s losing his self and ability to care about things, but he’s still able to desire to not be on the drug. But Gail is basically lobtomized at the end. The worldbuilding detail verges on too much, but I think you spend enough time on the emotions and the characters that it’s never that tedious. Is it horror, though?

Tuesday Night Lock-In

I really like the pacing and tension in this story. There’s hints of something creepy at the beginning, then there’s the incident with the girl on the dance floor, and only then does stuff fall into total chaos. The prose and sentence structure works well to convey the escalating tension, although I think the run-on at the end is overreaching a little bit. I also wish there’d been a little more characterization of the main character other than making him want to find Stacy and be marginally more empathetic than everyone else.

I’ll Never Be

I like the idea here of celebrity body snatching, and I like that it preys on a human desire to be admired and loved. But there’s a couple of things that bother me. First, our protagonist really has no family or friends? She doesn’t seem very broken up about that. And what’s Alice been doing before the protagonist comes in? She’s had to have made public appearances… was she inhabiting another body or something? Did she just get stricken by the creepy-broke-downs? The prose here is clear and readable, and there’s a clear arc, but I feel like a lot of stuff is glossed over here.

The Fate of the Animals

You don’t need a comma between “then” and the rest of the sentence. Howl howl howl howl sky sky sky sky star star star star claws claws claws claws. Maybe you’re using these words so often (at times several times in the same sentence) for effect, but it’s pretty distracting. I’m not sure what’s happening in this story, but it seems like some cosmic being has just stolen the sun, and one poor wolf pup has lost his mom. There’s real pathos to this, and the prose is often good, especially on the paragraph level. But I’m not sure what’s going on with the colors, and I’m also not sure I’d classify this as horror.

I Have To Take Care of Everything

The voice and dialogue is really enjoyable in this piece. The ending doesn’t work for me; the protagonist finds out about these pseudo-Dads and comes to terms with it awfully quick, I think, from when we last leave them hanging with their Dads. I think this is a fun idea and I enjoy the way you describe all the subtle variations on the fathers, and for the most part I feel this is a pretty good way to blend comedy and horror. I do think that the sub sandwiches (and it’s sub sandwiches, not sub-sandwiches) are a pretty weak framing device, and the protagonist’s snarky comment about the anti-drug stuff made me think this story would be far worse than it actually ended up being.

The Mob of Darts: An Oral History

Worldbuilding: the story! This reads like someone explaining their idea for their cool novel that’s coming out soon. The idea’s viable but so much of this story is just characters telling about what it’s like to live in a world with thought police paper planes and not a lot of people actually doing things in reaction to it. I got especially bored and annoyed with the story during the ethicist’s part, when it was clear we were more than halfway through the story and there’s still a huge block of text telling me more about this world.

Turn Forever Hand in Hand

In this story, John does such thrilling things as: eat breakfast, fall asleep on his couch, and look out his window. And get taken over by the happiness police. The townspeople are tired caricatures, as soon as the first guy talks about Dr. McGillicuddy I knew exactly where this story was going and I’m mad I had to read so many more words about John moping and the town being cheery. I guess it’s kind of a striking image to have the wasting kids beaming and kicking around a deflated ball, and I think you’re effective at building an atmosphere. It's just that the overall effect here is so beige and bland that I can't help but be bored by this story.

Deliver Me From Fireflies

What’s scary in this story, and for a moment you hit this pretty well, is the feeling of insomnia, of feeling like you'll never fall asleep again. What doesn't work is the constant raising of plot elements and dismissing them with "oh, that's just a hallucination." I laughed out loud when you suddenly introduce the weatherman saying the world is going to stop spinning... oh, but it's just a hallucination. Trying to make fireflies scary also doesn't work. Most of the story is just this character who doesn’t have much of a personality wanting to sleep and wanting the fireflies to stop burning him. It’s not interesting, and the story isn’t proofread. Please proofread your stories.

A Moment of Your Time

This was really great, actually. At first I thought this would be an over-obvious corporate satire, but the weirdness of the piece keeps intensifying. The specificity of detail about the oppressive corporate environment, and more importantly the narrator's legitimate negative reaction to this, helps sell the alienation that you end up making literal at the end of the story. There’s a couple of mechanical mistakes but overall this is a really creative, interesting, and refreshing piece.

Night Drive

“He meets my gaze, any my chest is full of writing fire as my heart tries to flee its cage.” There’s not a lot of other mechanical errors in this story but COME ON. I think this is a sort of effective tone piece but it suffers from a lack of specificity. It reads like a prose poem or a vignette and not a complete story. I'm also a little alienated from this story by the zonked-out reaction the narrator has to some pretty horrifying events. I think it’s kind of pretty, but it’s not much more than that.

Whispers

Congratulations, you’ve written the only story that actually scared me this week. Genuinely creepy, a truly horrifying premise, and a tense, rewarding climax. I wonder if the second person is a little cheap here -- I don't think we have to be cajoled to relate to this character -- but I don’t find it distracting. The pacing is excellent, the prose is crisp and clear, and the banality of the villainy makes the horror all the more immediate.

Sensorium

I like some of the ideas you’re approaching here but the story sags under the weight of its worldbuilding. You’re trying to respond to a song, develop some characters, develop a world different from our own, and sell the horror at the same time, and the characters and the horror suffer for it. There’s not enough here to make me care about Max breaking his own fingers at the end, and I’m not sure why he’s so horrified that he can’t feel pain. I’m left at the end just thinking “okay… so?”

Excerpts From the Journals of Dr. Lorraine Felt and Subject One

Frankenstein fanfic. I don’t have much to say about this piece, because each part of it is competently told -- it’s just never surprising, emotionally trenchant, or genuinely horrifying. The stiff scientist prose and the misspelled Jack prose are both chores to read, and I’m left wishing that this story had been told in some other way than the letter format.

Candy Shop

I think the editing of the boy’s memories is a cool concept, and I like the juxtaposition of the boy's innocence with the cosmic horror that's inside him. I just wish we’d gotten more room to explore that a little more. I really hated the flashback here -- it tells us nothing that hasn’t already been communicated through subtext. As it is, the space it eats up keeps the scope of this story limited to that one candy shop when your premise suggests something bigger and grander.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Chomper
935 words

Not for the first time that night, Seth woke up in a cold sweat, hyperventilating.

“Nightmares again?” a sympathetic voice called. Seth peered over at the cage where Chomper, his pet timber rattlesnake, lay in a coil. “If you want to talk, I’m here,” Chomper said.

Seth rolled over, burrowing his face in his pillow.

#

Seth was varnishing an end table when his brother DJ arrived, wearing a beat-up backpack and carrying a box under one arm. 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.

“How you doin’, man?” Seth asked, channelling an energy he didn’t feel.

DJ threw his backpack down on the couch. “I’m okay. This was on your doorstep,” he said, handing over the package.

Seth ripped off the tape. Inside the box were the supplements he’d ordered – the melatonin, Valerian root, and chamomile. They smelled like perfumed feet.

“Got a pharmacy going?” DJ asked.

“I haven’t been sleeping well,” Seth said. He yawned, and his vision blurred.

“You okay?”

Seth stared at table he’d been working on. He’d sell that, and he’d pay bills for another month, but then there’d be another month full of sleepless nights, uncertainty, and a snake that wouldn’t stop talking.

“Seth?”

“I’m fine.”

#

Even chemically aided, the dreams still came. The dreams where half of a head came zooming under the tent flap like some hellish catering service. The dreams where the ground shook and the screaming and the moaning blended together in an unearthly chord.

He snapped awake again.

“Tell me about your mother,” Chomper said. “I’ve heard it helps.”

“I’m not talking to you,” Seth said, grabbing his sheet and hoisting it over his head.

“Oh, but you should talk to someone. Join a list at the VA. Or talk to DJ. He seems nice. I like him.”

Seth squeezed his eyes shut tight.

“Maybe talking isn’t for you. I get it. But you know, there’s lots of other things out there. Drugs. Not internet drugs – did you really think those would work? – no, you know, the industrial stuff.”

Seth watched the smoke alarm’s light through his sheet’s fabric, a red blotch fading in and out of view.

#

The next morning Seth stumbled downstairs and flopped on the couch. DJ was at work making breakfast, whistling, opening and closing cabinets, while Seth lay staring at the ceiling. “Good morning,” DJ said. “Why are there mice in the freezer?”

“They’re for my rattlesnake.”

“Why do you have a pet rattlesnake?” DJ asked, as he cracked a couple of eggs. “I didn’t think they made good pets.”

“He was my buddy’s. Didn’t make it back. Figured I owed it to him to take care of his pet.” Seth yawned, and craned his neck to catch DJ with a bag of frozen peas. “You’re not putting any rabbit food in my breakfast, are you?”

“Fine, no peas in your omelet. How about snake food?”

“I’m good.”

#

Seth retrieved the dripping baggie from the lukewarm water and cut it open, then lowered the soggy mouse into the cage with the feeding tongs. Chomper shook his rattler.

“Did you know my venom isn’t like regular rattlesnake venom?”

Seth rubbed his eyes with his sleeve. “What?”

“It’s true. Regular antivenin doesn’t work. Kills you even quicker, actually. You’ve got to shock it out. Fry your whole bloodstream.”

Chomper got in position to strike at the dead mouse.

“But actually,” Chomper said, “that might help you with your other problem. Fry the bad stuff out. I’ll bite you if you want.”

“No thanks,” Seth said. “Eat your dinner.”

“I’m just saying,” Chomper said, “nobody has to know the real reason you’re shocking yourself.”

He struck.

#

L I V U U U O

Seth frowned at his Scrabble letters. He scanned the board for an open E -- to play “OLIVE,” or at least “LOVE” -- but the only one available would give DJ an easy triple word score. DJ smirked. “Any day now,” DJ said.

There was a time where he’d be able to find some secret seven-letter play, even with this kind of bad draw, but with his lack of sleep he couldn’t think of anything better than “OILY.” He started laying the letters down -- without even a double-letter bonus! -- but as he was putting down the “L,” he felt a sharp pain in his ankle.

He looked down and met Chomper’s mean eyes. DJ followed Seth’s gaze, yelped, and stood up on his chair.

“Go to your car, attach a spark plug, and get your brother to shock you,” Chomper said. “Or you’ll die.”

“I won’t,” Seth said, “that doesn’t even make sense.”

DJ took a sharp intake of breath. “What doesn’t make sense? Oh wow, you’re bleeding. Um, okay. I’m going to call an ambulance.” Chomper crawled up the chair leg, and seeing this, DJ leapt off and ran across the living room into the kitchen.

“It’s the only way to really purify yourself. The doctors might make you think you’re better. But really, you’ll still be sick. You’ll still have my venom inside you. Lying in wait,” Chomper said.

DJ came running back, a cleaver in his right hand. Chomper, seeing him coming, made to move under the living room sofa, but Seth, having had enough, stepped on Chomper’s rattler with his good ankle. DJ brought down the cleaver on his head.

"Let's get you some help," DJ said.

"Yeah," Seth said, "I think it's time. Start the car. I'll get the spark plugs."

quote:

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.]

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In with "tsundoku."

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Thanks for the crits!

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:33

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:34

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but a huge issue this week was the creation of these fascinating worlds or settings and then not doing much of interest in them. There were very, very few interesting characters this week; instead I read a lot of shells with all of the nuances of their personalities apparently displaced by long descriptions of settings and environments.

Concrete Graveyard

Literally the first word of this story is a typo. That’s not a good sign. Decrepit isn’t really a word I’d use to describe a person. There’s a couple of other typos in this story and I think a proofreading would have really helped here, but my primary issue with this story is that you seem more interested in the setting than the characters, plot, or greater context. The ending’s pretty abrupt, you build up this sense of menace, but it’s just a kid. Why is the kid there? What was the point of the relationship between the KGB agent and the bodyguard? I think there’s definitely interesting things you could have done with the setting, but you’ve described it in such minute detail at the expense of the things in the story I would have cared more about.

The Finest Wine

This was better than I’d thought it would be. You’ve got a clear arc, although I think the early fable about wasting food goes on a little too long, and for the most part I think you’re successful with the style you’re going for. I do take an issue with the lack of meter in a lot of this poem – especially early on, it reminded me of the translations I’d do in my high school Latin class, where the weighty phrasings were a consequence of whatever was in the dictionary. I do think you’ve resolved this in the third quarter of the story, and for the most part it works.

Having a Mare

Here’s a story that’s taken hostage by the flash rule. What you’re clearly more interested in than this shoeless knight is the relationship between the knight and King Alfred, but the story veers away from that. It’s possible I’m missing the subtext here – something about how King Alfred is growing up or whatever – but the sojourn into shoelessness feels like a narrative dead end. Your knight comes off as pretty stupid, and maybe that’s what you’re going for, but there’s no real closure to the relationship between the two characters and that makes me a little upset.

One More Night

This was amusing, although a lot of this is the same joke repeated over and over again. For the most part, though, there’s a good level of narrative propulsion here. The fight scene is surprisingly well-blocked for a TD story, and your ending actually works as an ending. The erotic-dance off definitely tipped into “too silly” territory for me, but I liked that I actually thought you were going to kill one of your characters for a while before that. The voice definitely helps keep this fun and interesting even when not that much is going on.

Two Equals

A Thunderdome story isn’t the place for meandering ruminations on Medieval Catholic philosophy. I’m sorry to say that this was boring from start to finish. You’ve put theme over compelling characters or interesting events, and it makes this story a real slog, because I don’t really care if the knight upholds his code. The story is didactic and dry. You need to give the reader a reason to care about either the prisoner or Sir George, otherwise it’s just a morality tale.

’Word at the Gate’

“Mr. Cullen’s profile read that he had not only did he carry no communicable diseases” – please proofread your stories. I liked the twists and turns you included here, and I actually felt something when Jacobzi turns down the woman after the new orders are in place. I think it was a good decision that you took the word penalty to make that work. I’m not totally in love with this story: I think that the scene-setting early on is a little excessive and makes the beginning drag, but once the letter arrives telling Jacobzi to let everyone through, I got really invested in where the story would go.

Mauka no Makai

I'm not getting a lot of knightliness from this. But even not considering the prompt, I still wasn’t a fan of this story. The dialect feels borderline racist, especially since these characters aren’t very smart. And this is the second story this week that suffers from wallowing in spiritual philosophy at the expense of plot. I don’t know why these characters are making these decisions, why they’ve decided to return to the gangster lifestyle, though I guess it has something to do with the cure for cancer. There’s a lot of effort put into the setting and atmosphere here, but that doesn’t really redeem this story.

Sea Change

I really appreciate how all the elements in this story service the main character’s emotional arc. The theme, the melancholy voice, the imagery all play into this character who watches everyone else get disappointed in the things that they want. And you make this character a real person, with complex reactions, clear though processes. If there’s anything I don’t like about this, it’s the ending, which seems plucked out of a “poignant ways to end a literary fiction story.” The specificity of most of the story elevates it, and the generic beat you end things on punctures that a little bit. But I still think on the whole this is an impressive story, and I certainly felt things.

Lancelot

So I’m not going to focus on the “fanfic” issue (I’m not that interested in Arthurian legend and never could get through any telling of the story) – my bigger problem is that this story is pretty misogynistic. Lancelot comes to town and is like “I saw the grail” and then Guinevere, who you portray only as sexually manipulative, tries to seduce him, and then there’s a murder-suicide and it feels really gratuitous and easy. I don’t know why you’d choose to lose 200 words to end your story in the most obvious way possible.

Sooner or Later He Brings Up the Templars

The banter between Coyote and the protagonist is fun. So’s the part where the protagonist’s forced to take his vegan oath. The lightness of these parts buoys the story overall, I think, and it helps me overlook the over-the-top silliness of death-by-chicken-nugget. It’s a cool spin on the modern knight thing, and overall the zaniness feels OK, though a lot of the fighting feels like padding to a pretty loose premise. You’re a little over word count with two deaths, and I wonder if it’s really necessary to cut the rando’s head off.

A Lying Prayer

I like the core of this, the relationship between Karen and Joey that deepens through these painful prayers. But the story suffers from vagueness, and it feels like the story’s spinning in circles. The stalling around “why did you stay” doesn’t feel organic, it feels like the idea wasn’t big enough. This is also the second story I’ve read from you that is flooded with references to color in ways that feel like it’s supposed to have a significance that I don’t get. I still think the ending here is sweet, but overall this story feels pretty skeletal and I wish it had more substance.

Dishonorable Mention

Oh boy. This is boring and ends on a bad, cheap joke. There’s no good reason to tell this story through narration, which means you’re only able to do a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. The story’s dry, I don’t care about the character’s predicament, and even though I just read the story, I’m having trouble remembering many details of it. I’m not a fan of your self-deprecating title, either. The high, elevated diction just makes me sleepy, and the dumb joke at the end makes me feel like you just didn’t give a poo poo about this story so I’m upset you made me read this.

give a little

Yet another story that’s more enthralled with setting and worldbuilding than plot or characters. The main character is an enigma, reacting to everything with grizzled gruff wonder, and Fello is just not that interesting as a foil. The prose is interesting, I guess, and it’s not like the setting of a run-down Providence in a post apocalyptic world is bad, but you just never do anything interesting with it.

Knight Trip

Not good. There’s some arc to it, I guess, but this is the worst way to do dreams, to just throw weird poo poo at the reader for most of this story. It makes the story muddled and confusing for the most part and this thin character spends most of the story ruminating in blank space. And the conflict’s resolved by philosophical insight on the nature of dreams, which makes your main character superpowered in a way that’s both dull and confusing.

The Feudal Struggles of Boyhood

So there’s a certain charm to this that makes the story hard to hate, but yet again this is another story that’s privileging setting over plot or characters. The grandiosity of these kids is a cool way to frame the story, but I think it hurts things that they never break character, that they’re always mad and warlike, which means there’s no real nuance here. It also means I don’t really care for the ending, where the violence that threatens to break out does, and these loosely sketched non-characters get what they want.

Sir Runcel the Rat

I really appreciated the voice here, which I thought added character to what amounted to a pretty unremarkable story. I think you really nailed the child’s voice, and there’s some real pathos to the story beats here, especially the exchange the kid has with Sir Runcel in the church (although it’s a pretty contrived coincidence that the person he speaks to is Sir Runcel.) But then the story ends in a pretty bland act of vigilante justice and you don’t milk any of the complicated notes you set up earlier, any of the sadness that you implied in his character. I didn’t hate this, and unlike the other bad stories this week I appreciate the attempt at an arc, but there’s just so much more you could have done.

Little Lion

There’s a sense of creepy menace in this story. It’s another one where the work with voice and tone helps overcome my other issues with the story – mainly confusion about the context. I know you were talking about how you’d had to do some serious surgery to this story in IRC, and I think it shows in how little we learn about the narrator’s old boss, the nature of the relationship between Halga and her father, or why they’re so attached to these animals. It’s fun to imagine the greater contours of this world, but I really was hoping for some more detail here. But I think the strength of the tone and the confidence you have working in this world elevates this story from the worse offerings this week.

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Mar 22, 2016 around 00:12

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:34

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:34

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Week CXCII: Really Entertaining Minific

This week, I’m looking for a story about an outsider who makes an attempt to become an insider. Loose interpretations are fine, but I need the outsider (who should be an interesting character, with motivations and agency) and the attempt. No stories about a character brooding and feeling sorry for themselves without doing anything, please.

But what better to inspire your stories of outsider-dom but sad lonely childhoods the music of R.E.M.? I'd write to R.E.M. all the time growing up because they'd have a song for whatever mood I was in, and I didn't have to pay attention to the lyrics, and when I did I could bend my understanding of them any way I wanted. And now that I've won, you can do the same thing! Pick your own R.E.M. song (as long as it's not on the blacklist below), or just ask and I'll flash you something good. Standard philosophy for song weeks applies here: don't rewrite the song, I'm just looking to see some sort of influence on your story.

Don't do these:

Losing My Religion
Shiny Happy People
It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Everybody Hurts
The One I Love
fanfic/poetry/erotica

Word Limit: 1,200
Signup deadline:: Friday, April 8, 11:59pm EST
Post deadline:: Sunday, April 10, 11:59pm EST

Judges:
sparksbloom
newtestleper
Kaishai

Entrants:
Sitting Here - "Shaking Through"
Thranguy - "Saturn Return"
flerp - "World Leader Pretend"
3.141592653 - "Hyena"
Jonked - "Life and How to Live It"
anime was right - "The Wrong Child"
skwidmonster - "Half a World Away"
super mario batali - "Good Advices"
Wangsbig - "Crush With Eyeliner"
docbeard - "E-Bow the Letter"
Tyrannosaurus - "Country Feedback"
Grizzled Patriarch - "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
Ironic Twist - "Texarkana"
hotsoupdinner - "New Test Leper"
Kharmakazy - "Hope"
Carl Killer Miller - "King of Birds"
Bompacho - "Diminished"
DurianGray - "Disturbance at the Heron House"
Ceighk - "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter"
SteveHarveyOswald - "Daysleeper"
Jopoho - "Orange Crush"
Maugrim - "The Flowers of Guatemala"
ExtraNoise - "I Took Your Name"
spectres of autism - "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite"
crabrock - "Sitting Still"
Schneider Heim - "Sad Professor"

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Apr 10, 2016 around 23:20

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Sitting Here posted:

in, flash me

Shaking Through

Thranguy posted:

in with a flash song

Saturn Return

flerp posted:

r.e.m more like r.e.dm (which is what im gonna get because im in and would like a song)

World Leader Pretend

Jonked posted:

In, please flash me.

Life and How to Live It

anime was right posted:

in with a flash

The Wrong Child

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


super mario batali posted:

In, flash please.

Good Advices

Wangsbig posted:

in, gimme da flash

Crush With Eyeliner

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


3.141592653 posted:

Excuse me, flash, please.

Hyena

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


docbeard posted:

In with a .

Hit me with a flash song.

E-Bow the Letter

Tyrannosaurus posted:

In. Hit me with a song.

Country Feedback

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


hotsoupdinner posted:

In. Flash me a song.

New Test Leper

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


If you're not in yet, I'll give you an extra 150 words if you pick "Hope." (I can't find it freely streamable online, so I'm not going to flash anyone with it.)

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Carl Killer Miller posted:

In, flash rule plz

King of Birds

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Bompacho posted:

In with a flash please.

Diminished

DurianGray posted:

In (for my first time). Flash song, please.

Disturbance at the Heron House

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Ceighk posted:

in with a flash and a

Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Maugrim posted:

Also, in, please flash me a song because it's been so drat long since I was into REM and Emphysema doesn't have lyrics.

e: Looks like I failed on my last entry back in August so here's my .

The Flowers of Guatemala

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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006



The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

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