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steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016







Flip yes. I'm fuckin' in, chief.

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apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


In, :toxx:

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

In!

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Brawl Entry

In the Belly of the Whale
1186 words


My cheek burns where his knuckles broke my skin and my mouth tastes of blood. Fat raindrops sizzle off my hot skin as I sprint down the road towards the beach, asphalt biting my bare feet, trailing steam and furious tears.

Salt wind hits my face as I run onto the beach. The approaching typhoon has turned the sky over the ocean a menacing yellow grey. Clouds bloated with rain sink low, skimming the frothing waves.

Fists balled at my sides I stand at the edge of the sea and scream into the wind. Growing up in this lovely, vicious little town I used to always do this, come running down to the beach to hurl my anger and frustration into the sea, as if it would take them away and bring me back something better.

I feel nauseous with shame as I picture the smug looks my friends will give each other when they find out the bastard actually hit me. Secrets don’t last long here. I’ve known most of them my whole life but I know they hate me, really. A loser who can’t give up on the only man who’s ever paid her attention.

I pull off my thin t-shirt and shorts and step into the shallows. The sea feels electric as it swirls around my knees, foam glowing white in the eerie light. I crouch down and slide into the shallow, churning water, arms outstretched, letting the salt and sand scrub the tears from my face. I wonder if he will come looking for me.

The current pulls at me as I drift just under the surface; much, much stronger than usual. I go to stand up, but instead of finding the sandy bottom right beneath my feet my legs straighten into empty ocean. Fear runs up my spine as I realise how far I am from the shore. My clothing lying crumpled on the sand is already just a dot, receding fast. A wave breaks over my head and suddenly I’m thrashing and gasping for breath. Bitter satisfaction twists in my gut as I picture him finding my t-shirt on the beach tomorrow morning and realising it was his fault.

The current is swirling around my legs, tugging me down, the sea rushing inwards as if draining into the earth. Huge white teeth set in black skin are rising out of the waves around me. I open my mouth to scream but instead inhale saltwater as monstrous jaws close above me, swallowing the ocean and taking me with it.

I tumble down and down, bubbles streaming from my nose and mouth. With a sudden rush of water I am washed up onto solid ground in pitch black darkness. I lie gasping for air, shivering with shock.

A small sob escapes with my ragged breathing, followed by another, louder, and suddenly I’m bawling like a child. Where am I? Bastard, I think, it’s your fault. Why didn’t you come after me?

“Shh, you’re safe now,” says a voice from the dark. A matchhead flares into life, illuminating the thin face of a young woman. She’s wearing only worn cotton panties and an ill-fitting bra too big for her skinny body. There are old bruises on her pale skin, like someone dug their fingers far too hard into the soft flesh on her arms.

Carefully she lights the greasy candle she’s carrying, sits next to me and places it on the ground in front of us. In the dim light I can see we’re in a huge cavern. The walls glimmer wet and red in the flickering candlelight.

“Why are you crying?” she asks.

“Everyone hates me,” I say. “I hate this loving town.”

She leans over, gently strokes my wet hair. Her eyes are green like mine.

“It’s his fault you know,” she says. “All of it. He’s the only reason you’ve stayed here. And look how he repays you!” She touches the cut on my cheek, pressing painfully with her fingernails.

I open my mouth to argue, to automatically insist that he loves me, but no words come out. Instead I hug my knees to my chest, try to stop shivering.

“You should kill him,” she whispers. Her words reverberate around the cavern, a low susurrus coming at me from all directions.

I jerk away from her. She leans forward, following me. She crawls over me, her body pushing me down onto my back on the slick ground, hips grinding against mine, wet hair hanging down around my face.

“Kill him! It’s the only way to escape!” she hisses, sharp teeth glinting in the candlelight.

“I can’t!” I yell, shoving her in the chest to push her off me.

“You’re weak! You’ll never get out of here!” Her eyes flash with anger and the candle flickers and goes out.

The ground jolts beneath me. In the darkness I hear the wet slapping of her running feet. I’m struggling to stand on the shaking ground. A grey light appears above me, like dawn breaking through thick fog. I see her running towards it, up a tunnel out of the cavern.

I stagger to my feet and run after her. The mouth of the tunnel is yawning open. Pointed teeth are silhouetted against the sky.

“Wait!” I scream, but the sea is rushing in now, turning the tunnel floor into a rising river. I lunge forward and grab her wrist, but she twists away, laughing, swimming up the waterfall. The sea surges over me, saltwater fills my nose and mouth. It’s your fault, I think, as my breath escapes in a stream of bubbles.

***

The house is dark when I get back, the storm has knocked the power out. He’s not there. I dig a candle out from under the kitchen sink, light it. There’s a note on the table. I read the first line, “I’m so sorry…” before scrunching the paper in my fist and tossing it into the bin. I look with disgust at the dirty dishes in the sink, open a drawer and run my fingers over the handles of our kitchen knives. My wet hair drips saltwater onto the floor as I sit down at the table to wait for him.

The rain pounds on the roof. The candle is guttering by the time I hear the door open and his footsteps in the hall. I touch my raw cheek and tighten my grip on the handle of the knife that lies in my lap. It’s just like she said, I think.

The candlelight spreads up his broad chest as he walks through the kitchen doorway. I lunge forward, plunging the knife in deep, right under the solar plexus. Blood gushes out over my hands. The pain must be awful. But the look of pure anguish on his face is perfect.

“Shh,” I whisper as his knees crumple and we sink to the floor. I cradle his head in my lap as his hands paw at me, eyes staring longingly into mine. I knew he loved me, I think, as the candle gives one last flicker and goes out.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P



In

Aesclepia
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

Hit me with that poo poo, I'm in.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

In

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

One final bump. Do it. Do it and you're cool.

:siren: I'm gonna lock signups on 11/22 at 11:59 EST. :siren:

We've got a good number of folks in both circles, this is gonna be a lot of fun. What the hell are you waiting for?

Chili posted:



As far as I know, there hasn't been a secret santa thing ever in TD. We should do something about that.

Now, not everyone feels comfortable giving their address to strangers, or wants to spend money buying and shipping things. So here's how this is going to work:

I will play Santa and compile a list of all of you naughty TD folks. If you'd like to join in the fun, you need to have submitted five stories to TD so that way your Santa can effectively gather dirt on you.

There are two ways you can sign up!

:words:Story Exchange: :words:


To join this way, all you have to do is send me a PM or find me in IRC and tell me you want in. On Black Friday 11/24 you will receive your Santee assignment. You're then charged with writing a story just for them! You won't post it in the thread, you'll e-mail them. And make it classy for gently caress's sake. Don't just link them a gdoc. Make it a PDF or something fancy and official. Maybe even doodle a festive cover for it. And get your story to your Santee by Christmas, you scrooge. They are free to share it with whomever they like, it's theirs to do with as they please.

:greencube: BONUS PRESENT EXCHANGE: :greencube:


In addition to exchanging stories, if you'd like to be included in the smaller circle of present exchangers, include in your message to me your address. On 11/24, you'll get your assignment. If you give me your address you are agreeing to both send and receive a present, and hey you can include a fancy-pants hard copy version of the story you wrote for them!

The only people who will see your address are me, the person sending you a gift, and the person you send a gift to if you include a return address. After the holiday season is over, I'll delete everything address wise. I ask that everyone else do the same. Also, keep in mind that we're all over the globe. International shipping is an expensive thing. When possible, I'll do my best to group people in such a way that shipping costs won't be brutal. Unless, of course, you want to ship/receive internationally, in which case, let me know!

We'll keep this simple as far as money goes, keep it under 10-20 bucks or something. I don't know, you can go hog wild if you like but just don't expect much and you'll be happy with what you get. And get your present to your Santee by Christmas, you scrooge.


So tl;dr , we get a big ol' circle of stories exchanging going, which you can sign up for by messaging me with an "I'm in!" and if, IN ADDITION to a story, you want to exchange tangible, physical presents by mail, include in your message your address. Regardless, you're only gonna get one Santa, and one Santee.

Don't post about this itt, we bog it down enough with our horrible words.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







oh, god, I shouldn't. but I'm in.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Chili posted:

One final bump. Do it. Do it and you're cool.

:siren: I'm gonna lock signups on 11/22 at 11:59 EST. :siren:

We've got a good number of folks in both circles, this is gonna be a lot of fun. What the hell are you waiting for?

Also, sign up for this you grinches.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


People love a sign-up week.

steeltoedsneakers posted:

Flip yes. I'm fuckin' in, chief.

Stay Strong by Starter Wiggin
The Job by Twiggymouse


A Fool's Errand by kurona_bright
The More Things Change by Jitzu_the_Monk


A Man Alone With Himself by Hocus Pocus
Delivery Man by Mercedes


For Every Moment of Truth, There's Confusion in Life by Blade_of_tyshalle
Sunday by unwantedplatypus


The Willow and the Ribbon by Benny the Snake
Protect the Future by BeefSupreme

Aesclepia posted:

Hit me with that poo poo, I'm in.

Future Not Included by ThirdEmperor
Severance Pay by leekster


Monster killers and child stealers by Exmond
Nausea by RunningIntoWalls

Sitting Here posted:

oh, god, I shouldn't. but I'm in.

Get off my magical lawn by Pham Nuwen
Clothes Make The Man by Kharmakazy

crabrock fucked around with this message at 01:35 on Nov 22, 2017

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


exmond story updated to remove duplicate

crabrock fucked around with this message at 01:37 on Nov 22, 2017

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


since i prolly wont get out of bed in time tomorrow

vs. sparksbloom
Gather Like Leaves in the Gutter
693 words

I try to smile for the man working the subway till though the world is ending. My teeth freeze together. He doesn’t smile either. Just waves me through, slow, like his arms are heavy.

Or like the air is murk, only broken through with effort, like he’s undersea.

The tiled ground is grimed with thousands of traces. It’s raining outside. My hair plasters my face like the clouds blotting out the sun.

There’s a homeless man standing just inside the turnstile. His coat is heavy but ragged, patches of skin showing through the fabric. “The end is here,” he says in a half-shout, his voice rising above the clatter of footsteps. Today, he’s right. I try to remember if I’ve seen him before, if he’s said the same thing on other days.

I don’t have a smile for him either. I try to force it, and it feels like my head is splitting open along with my lips.

The platform is crowded. Either people want to be with their loved ones, or they’re thinking the same way I am. The news ticker flashes messages about the only news that matters. The screen glares with the reflection of the oncoming train. I blink, my eyelids heavy with the futility of everything now. The news message unspools itself behind my eyes. The bombs are falling today.

They’ll land midtown. If I want to die fast, that’s where I’ll be. Gone in an instant, vapourized in a wave that thins as it spreads, until at the edges brain cells cling to feeling like a drowning man clings to driftwood.

I takes three trains for me to board one. When I manage to squeeze on, the car is so crowded that anxiety radiates through my body, starting at my bones, piggybacking on my blood to reach my skin. I hug myself, clutching my elbow, my legs stacked against each other.

The people push and pull each other, push and pull me. I try to calm myself down, using what I’ve learned in therapy sessions. Micro-movements, my fingers pulsing. It doesn’t work. They brush against strangers, against legs, arms, backs. People turn to look at me, blood vessels thick in their eyes. Fear pushing at the corners as they turn away.

I can hear the sounds of a fight, drifting through the train. A man is yelling at another for touching him. “I didn’t mean to,” I hear, notes barely audible when they reach me.

The subway spills me out at the midtown stop. The people that flow me are a rising tide, up stairs and and the escalator like a waterfall in reverse. Before I know it, I’m outside, midtown square, looking up at the cloudbroken sky.

The square is full. People did share my thoughts. I turn to see who’s standing next to me. Heavy coat, hooded to shield the rain. I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl. It doesn’t matter.

It feels like my bones are breaking as I lift up a hand. The moments feel like centuries.

They take it, squeezing it tight. I can feel through the pulse that we’re breathing the same breath.

It’s enough. I stare up at the sky. The falling bombs look like meteors, sparking through the clouds. “See you on the other side,” I tell my new friend. Micro-movements with my fingers, tracing their palm.

They just nod, their hood whipping over their head and stretching back, back so maybe I could see their face, if there was time, just a few moments more.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


.

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at 03:39 on Nov 27, 2017

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Bar Brawl



Managed
898 Words

My happy cast and crew raise their glasses. They hold their beer, wine, and spirits on high as they turn to face me, their dear director, and fearless leader.

“To The Westside Story, a stronger run I cannot recall in my memory. You are among the most talented, gifted, and hardworking cast and crew I have ever had God’s blessing to work with.”

“Brava!” They all cheer in unison, clink their glasses together, and down their drinks.

A cartoonish groan roars from the corner of the dank establishment, and as we finish our drinks, a lowly ruffian dressed in a football jersey rises to his feet: “If I had known Netta’s was gonna be filled up with faggots tonight, I would have gone somewhere else.”

They turn to me. I shrug my shoulders and call out, “The next round of Moscow Mules is on me!” They cheer and I turn to the bartender. “And for our friend in the corner, make his a double!”

He stands and shambles over to me. He belches a cloud of whiskey right into my personal space.

“I wouldn’t drink this girly poo poo even with her lips wrapped around my cock.” He points to Anita Foley, our Maria.

Scott Logan-Davis, our Riff, rises to his feet. “You gotta problem, fella?”

He’s quickly backed up by his supporting Jets.

“Chung chung!”

“Cracko jacko!”

“Riga diga dum!”

“Pam pam!”

His crew stands in a tight semi-circle behind him. I recognize the strained looks of masculine anger on their faces that we’ve rehearsed for weeks to get right. They look convincing. Convincing enough to get into some real trouble.

“What the gently caress is this now?” The ruffian takes a step back.

Louis Wiley-Daniels, our Action, starts to snap in rhythm, the rest of the semi-circle joins him. The ruffian cocks his head to the left and stares, his jaw slowly drops. He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a bowie knife.

“Rumble!” Shouts Riff.

The snapping continues as the remainder of the cast make their way over to the scene. They brandish finger guns and grimaces at the ruffian who just shakes his head and points his knife at me.

“Tell them to stop this poo poo. Y’hear me?” He asks.

“Sir,” I stand from my high bar chair. “I have a vision. I have a vision of a world where good-hearted men like yourself and passionate thespians like my comrades and I can one day share the stage of life and show the world that we are better than our baser instincts. Can you see my vision?”

He spits on my Allen Edmonds and slashes at my face. I pull back, but I’m not fast enough. He catches my cheek, and pain as I’ve never felt before screams out of me as blood trickles down my face. I lift my head up to the man and face him with shock and horror.

“Why?” I ask.

Suddenly, a small woman dressed in all black pushes me to the side. She’s moving quickly, and I don’t recognize her. She throws her balled-up-fist into the man’s solar plexus, and as he doubles over, she launches her knee into his nose. He drops the knife. She grabs it. And only as she straightens up do I recognize her, it’s Emily Collette, our stage manager.

She turns to face us. “You’re all loving idiots.”

The ruffian tilts his head up from the blood that's pooling around his face. She looks down and swiftly kicks him in the side of the head.

“I am so done with this poo poo.” She says as she slips the knife into her back pocket. She reaches out to an adjacent table, grabs a shot glass filled with a brown liquid, and quickly downs it.

“You are the most self-indulgent, delusional bunch of idiots I’ve ever gotten stuck with.”

She walks over to her table, the whole of the bar watches in silences as she pulls on her coat and makes her way to the exit.

“And by the way, that may have been the worst production of quite possibly the easiest show to pull off I’ve ever seen.”

I gasp and pull my hand to my chest.

“Why do you even direct plays?” She says to me. “You do know that the whole point of putting on a show is to have an idea, and execute it. Right?”

“My dear, Emily-”

“No.” She interrupts. “I’ve had to listen to your inane prattling for three months. You listen to me now.”

I sit back in my chair, shocked at her mutinous behavior.

“You don’t put on a show because you’re a bored accountant, looking for something to do on the weekends. You don’t put on a show because you’re so desperate to play make believe that you can't recognize a real threat when it’s standing right in front of your face.”

The cast turns to me, but I don’t know what to do to comfort them.

She continues. “You put on a show because there's a truth inside you that burns so badly you must speak it. Because you’re so grounded in reality that you must rattle your chains and force people to see things as you do.”

And with that, she leaves Netta’s. She emerged as our savior and became the worst thing imaginable, a critic. And for that, I shall never forgive her.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


still need a third judge. i'll be traveling, so might be a little slow assigning stories.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Brawl entry
A Meeting in Moscow
1137 words

I didn't bother to get my umbrella. Maybe I should have. The evening October rain was like a curtain of whips when I stepped out, and the shock of cold, the growing weight of my hair and clothes, caught me off-guard outside the apartment door. Was I ready for this? It was too late. I had already started.

The metro wasn't far, but I would have walked straight across the city if I had to. The street's incandescence gave way to underground fluorescence, grass to concrete to metal, but the rain stayed with me beneath the streets and buildings. It was a longer ride than I'd expected; more stops, though not as many people. I had plenty of time on the way to think about my brother. What would he be like now, in the Federation? We were young Soviets when he had run away.

The scrap of paper burned in my hand as I looked down at it, sitting and dripping in the clattery yellow marshrutka as it grumbled down the street. 109 Lenintsev, #312, in ink that bled in my clammy touch. I heard the rain's roar overtake the quieting engine, felt the forward shift of gravity, took a second or two to realize why. I paid the fare and got out.

Up the stairs, then up some more. Television babble behind one door, the merry beeping of a Dendy a few later. #312.

My knock got no answer, so I tried again. The light was on in there.

"It's me. Lena!" It was hard to be audible, polite, and familiar at the same time. I don't think I managed it. I heard talking on the other side, and the door eventually opened.

She was a little over my height, her face a mask of forced composure. And leaning back against the wall, on a ragged mattress...

I despised Andrey when he had left me alone with our broken, hateful parents. It was only a few more years of false love and real scars before I ran too, but I couldn't make myself forgive him. Now, seeing him as a man for the first time, I felt it all race into the past like the ocean after a breaking wave. There was nothing left to hate in this husk of a man.

"Yelena," he breathed, and he held out his his thin, white right hand to me. His left was at the end of a dead green mess slumped beside him.

I somehow forced myself from the doorway and dripped a trail across the apartment, past the other woman, past the pile of needles in the corner, past the pitiful clutch of first aid supplies on the table near the dark window. I began to realize just how rotten the air was as I came closer to Andrey. I bent down over him, trying to smell anything but his flesh, and took his hand. I knew he was twenty-nine, but that hand felt fifty years older. We didn't move.

He broke the silence. "It's been a long time, hasn't it?" His mouth bent into something like a smile or a wince. "I was afraid that you'd find me first."

I didn't know how to answer that. "I guess I did," I answered lamely. "Wish I'd remembered my umbrella."

Andrey gave a wisp of a laugh. "So that settles it." He looked up, over my shoulder. "Nika. Come over."

She came down to the mattress, at the worse side of my brother, who turned hesitantly back to me.

"We weren't supposed to meet like this," he said to me with a tunnel's gaze. "I was going to get my foot in the door somewhere, get things ready, come back for you when I could take care of you. That was... that was how it was supposed to go, Lena! It was, was-"

He broke down, sobbing silently and without tears. Just an awful shudder that wracked him again and again. My eyes were brimming, but I managed to hold the worst back for him. If Nika was there, I didn't see or hear her.

At last, he managed to continue. "...But I guess a girl ended up taking care of me instead. So fuckin' much for Andrey Sergeyich! That's how it all works out!" The sudden spiteful life in my brother gave me equal joy and revulsion. I probably looked the way Nika had when she answered the door. Andrey turned to her.

"Thank you, Nika. Thanks for everything, and I'm sorry for making it all a waste."

"It's not a waste!" Nika immediately shouted back, hardly a seam between her words and his. "I don't know if I'll ever get you back up and about – hell, I probably won't! – but you're still Andrey. You were Andrey when we met and you always will be Andrey. And that's what's important! I have you. You finally have your sister. We have each other, and that's impossible to change. It's, it's..." She trailed off, grasping for a finish that she couldn't reach.

"Come on, Andrey," I said. "Maybe it didn't happen the best way, but we're back together. I have some money, I'll get you to a hospital and we can-"

"And what'll they do? They'll chop off my arm and send me to a clinic, where they'll tie me to a bed until withdrawal finishes me off. Look at me! I'm fuckin' dead anyway!"

We had nothing to say.

"Until you came here, Yelena, I was able to leave it all behind. Did I come back for you? No, but as long as that loose end was hanging, there was always a hair of a chance that I could eventually tie it up. Some small hope that I'd keep my promise in the end. But now it's final. I failed. I left you behind," he continued while I fought to get a word in, "just to let you down. And it took me fuckin' long enough! We have a whole new country now, just as lovely as the last one! And a whole lovely century to look forward to! Everything's horseshit! And it's not like I've been doing anything to make it better!"

The moment passed before it could register. With a surge of his withered body, Andrey had lurched off the mattress and was stiffly striding toward the tiny kitchen. His arm flopped as he walked; the skin was splitting, and something yellow swelled through. We watched him grab a pan from the stovetop as we stood up, realizing too late what he was doing.

With every cell he had left, he smashed the window. We scrambled for him as he climbed out and fell through the flooded air.

I was frozen. Nika began to cry, the first honest crying from any of us that night.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



https://thunderdome.cc/brawls.php?story=529

Djeser fucked around with this message at 20:36 on Dec 28, 2017

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



Yoru-Bamina Brawl:

Congrats, neither of these stories were terrible! Unfortunately, because none of you poo poo the bed, the matter of who wins is now up to my subjectivity. Maybe by the time I finish writing these crits I'll have decided.

Yoruichi:

What I'm getting from this story is that your protagonist's in an abusive relationship, runs off, has an experience with some weird lady in the belly of a whale that may or may not be metaphorical, and then kills her abusive boyfriend, who loves her. I thought your description here was decently detailed, though you did describe the rain as sizzling and steaming off of her a couple of times in a way that made me wonder if she was, like, a demon, or made of lava, or something. There was a sentence structure you ended up using a lot, which was two clauses either joined with "and", "as", or just a comma. It's something I end up doing too in rough drafts, but it's a good thing to watch out for in the edit, because a repetitive structure like that doesn't sound as interesting and it can make people glaze over bits of description.

I'm not sure why she finds a lady who's way into murder in the belly of a whale. In general, I'm not sure what's up with whale lady, if she's supposed to have more meaning or if it's supposed to represent her mental state as she's deciding whether to give in or to fight back, or what. She's just kind of someone who shows up, goes "U SHOULD KILL UR BOYFRAN" and then vanishes into a whale's mouth. I'm also not entirely sure what the ending is meant to convey. The boyfriend actually loved her? That she regrets killing him? It feels like there should be something there at the end, some mark of growth or change or transformation in the protagonist, something to tie the story together, but if it's there, I might have missed it. The surreal stuff going on was interesting to read about for sure, but I'm not sure what it was trying to convey.

Sham bam bamina!:

The opening to this story has a lot of good moments--you do a pretty good job of capturing the dreariness of the setting and the mix of emotions your protagonist is feeling. The little details do a good job of conveying the broader idea you're getting at. The weaker part of the story is Arkady and Nika, not that they're poorly written but there's just not much to them, and not a whole lot to Arkady's relationship with Lena. It would have been nice to maybe see what she thinks of her brother, what she's expecting, or some event she remembers with him that's relevant to what he's like now. Nika's got a similar problem: okay, she's his girlfriend (I assume at least) and she's possibly been trying to help him out though apparently not doing a great job. But like, what does she see in him? There's that bit where she says she'll stick with him but I don't know why.

I don't want to be a backseat writer here, but I think the idea of this extra person intruding on a moment between you and someone else is an interesting one to elaborate on. Like, these two strangers are here because of their relationships with this person, which were at two entirely different times in his life--and it's meaningful to both of them in different ways. You got into that a bit, how Nika's trying to support him and loves him while Lena's almost happy to see that he's had so much trouble, but I think if you're looking for a theme to draw out here, that'd be a good one. (The thing you had going with Arkady saying that now that she's found him, he doesn't have that resolution to look forward to, would also work well as a theme if you seeded hints of it earlier on.) As a final aside, this felt similar in tone (in a good way) to the story you did for ice cream week.

Results:

Okay so you both got a little weird with the rule, and neither story was perfect, but these were some pretty decent showings from both of you. Yoruichi wrote something kind of weird and surreal with an ending that didn't quite match up, while Sham bam bamina wrote prose that felt real and lived-in, but might have stretched the characters a bit thin. In the end, though you both put up a good fight, it's Sham bam bamina! whose prose let him squeak by with the win.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



I gave you both a deadline of high noon but I guess you couldn’t wait to start shooting. He comes judgement.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

:siren: sparks of autism brawl :siren:

Alright. I'll judge. Brawl is due Wednesday the 22nd at high noon eastern standard. I want 600 sleek words about finding love in a hopeless place. Make sure you :toxx: up so I know you're serious.

Both pieces were fairly bloated and neither, despite a remarkably short prompt, managed to get to the point before the last 200-ish words. But both stories were interesting at a conceptual level and I’ll forgive a lot of stupid writing for a smart idea. Ultimately, though, I wanted some stories about finding love, falling in love, and/or being in love in a hopeless place. I’m a sucker for a good love story. You both gave me hopelessness which was good. You both gave me the seed of a love that might one day be which was... alright. No one gave me an actually story with a character finding love. Sparksbloom had tighter, cleaner descriptions while Spectres needed to legit go back through and clean up some grammatical/spelling errors and trim the fat of his sentences. Sparksbloom had better one liners-- “I suspect, though I don’t have evidence, that she might have self-committed.” Spectres gave me a better and more interesting “seed” and I think, in a way, better fulfilled the prompt. In the last moments of death and doom, there was a small spark of something special as opposed to this mixture of shared, violent experience connecting two strangers who have suffered from physical torture and their own torturous self-doubts (which is still an interesting read).

Spectres of Autism wins despite putting the wrong word count down for his story and almost eating a DQ until I double-checked and with an equally interesting, slightly worse written piece that hit the prompt slightly more. Take from this victory/loss what you will. Here is a video that inspired the prompt

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Thanks Djeser, good fight Sham Bam!

Regarding being insufferably smug, erm, as you were : )

Yoruichi fucked around with this message at 19:46 on Nov 22, 2017

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

:siren: SECRET SANTA ASSIGNMENTS WILL POST TONIGHT AT 11:59 EST :siren:

If you're in IRC you can find out who you got. I'll put together full things later that give you all the info you'll need to ambush your santee with presents and stories but if you want to find out who you drew, be in IRC tonight!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Chili posted:

Bar Brawl



Managed
898 Words

My happy cast and crew raise their glasses. They hold their beer, wine, and spirits on high as they turn to face me, their dear director, and fearless leader. this is sort of parody bad writing by way of being the internal monologue of a plonker which is always risky as while flying your word spaceship through the badword nebula to planet comedy there's a risk you'll run aground

“To The Westside Story it's called West Side Story, poss deliberate but still, a stronger run I cannot recall in my memory. You are among the most talented, gifted, and hardworking cast and crew I have ever had God’s blessing to work with.”

“Brava!” They all cheer in unison, clink their glasses together, and down their drinks. I mean yes make me hate your dumb protagonist, but don't make me hate u is what I'm saying

A cartoonish groan roars from the corner of the dank establishment, and as we finish our drinks, a lowly ruffian dressed in a football jersey rises to his feet: “If I had known Netta’s was gonna be filled up with faggots tonight, I would have gone somewhere else.” see above - this isn't the sort of thing you want to pull against a competent brawl opponent

They turn to me. I shrug my shoulders and call out, “The i don't think you capitalise after a comma, even in dialogue next round of Moscow Mules is on me!” They cheer and I turn to the bartender. “And for our friend in the corner, make his a double!”

He stands and shambles over to me. He belches a cloud of whiskey right into my personal space.

“I wouldn’t drink this girly poo poo even with her lips wrapped around my cock.” He points to Anita Foley, our Maria.

Scott Logan-Davis, our Riff, rises to his feet. “You gotta problem, fella?”

He’s quickly backed up by his supporting Jets.

“Chung chung!”

“Cracko jacko!”

“Riga diga dum!”

“Pam pam!”

His crew stands in a tight semi-circle behind him. I recognize the strained looks of masculine anger on their faces that we’ve rehearsed for weeks to get right. They look convincing. this is a genuinely funny image, so yay Convincing enough to get into some real trouble. I'm not convinced by this line though, it's not really in line with the blazingly un self-aware nature of your protag, sounds more like authorial commentary if it's not linked to some change of mood of the character

“What the gently caress is this now?” The ruffian takes a step back.

Louis Wiley-Daniels, our Action, starts to snap in rhythm, the rest of the semi-circle joins him. The ruffian cocks his head to the left and stares, his jaw slowly drops. cliche He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a bowie knife.

“Rumble!” Shouts ARRGGH Riff.

The snapping continues bland verb as the remainder of the cast make their way bland verb over to the scene. They brandish finger guns and grimaces at the ruffian who just shakes his head and points his knife at me. bland blocking, I could do with an indication of how your dickhead protag feels about this - I know that's kind of the point, but see above re risky plays

“Tell them to stop this poo poo. Y’hear me?” He asks. bland verb

“Sir,” I stand from my high bar chair. “I have a vision. I have a vision of a world where good-hearted men like yourself and passionate thespians like my comrades and I can one day share the stage of life and show the world that we are better than our baser instincts. Can you see my vision?”

He spits on my Allen Edmonds and slashes at my face. I think this would have worked better if the thug was more believable - a bowie knife is comical I pull back, but I’m not fast enough. He catches my cheek, and pain as I’ve never felt before screams out oh jesus what is this terrrible verb of me as blood trickles down my face. I lift my head up to the man and face him with shock and horror. yeah, the oblivious shtick doesn't really carry its weight comedy wise

“Why?” I ask.

Suddenly, a small woman dressed in all black pushes me to the side. She’s moving quickly, and I don’t recognize her. She throws her balled-up-fist into the man’s solar plexus, and as he doubles over, she launches her knee into his nose. He drops the knife. She grabs it. And only as she straightens up do I recognize her, it’s Emily Collette, our stage manager.

She turns to face us. “You’re all loving idiots.” this is a pretty sweet turnaround

The ruffian tilts his head up from the blood that's pooling around his face. She looks down and swiftly kicks him in the side of the head. right, so it's a bait and switch - and I genuinely like the fakeout here, and the way your language changes.

“I am so done with this poo poo.” She says as she slips the knife into her back pocket. She reaches out to an adjacent table, grabs a shot glass filled with a brown liquid, and quickly downs it. but I'd be more interested if her no bullshit thing was still being filtered through his perceptions. as it is you've jumped jarringly from first person to third

“You are the most self-indulgent, delusional bunch of idiots I’ve ever gotten stuck with.” lol this is the payload of the piece and I like it, but you could have crafted a sweeter burn imo

She walks over to her table, the whole of the bar watches in silences tsk as she pulls on her coat and makes her way DAMMIT to the exit.

“And by the way, that may have been the worst production of quite possibly the easiest show to pull off I’ve ever seen.” TRY SAYING THIS OUT LOUD goddammit chili that was a slow ball over home plate to use the 'baseball' lingo you may be familiar with as an american

I gasp and pull my hand to my chest.

“Why do you even direct plays?” She says to me. “You do know that the whole point of putting on a show is to have an idea, and execute it. Right?”

“My dear, Emily-” what was he going to say? why not convey that, and cut that off?

“No.” She interrupts. “I’ve had to listen to your inane prattling for three months. You listen to me now.”

I sit back in my chair, shocked at her mutinous behaviour.

“You don’t put on a show because you’re a bored accountant, looking for something to do on the weekends. You don’t put on a show because you’re so desperate to play make believe that you can't recognize a real threat when it’s standing right in front of your face.”

The cast turns to me, but I don’t know what to do to comfort them. convey this through an action imo, don't have him not do something

She continues. “You put on a show because there's a truth inside you that burns so badly you must speak it. Because you’re so grounded in reality that you must rattle your chains and force people to see things as you do.” OR because you want to get really drunk at the after party and sleep with drama hotties just chucking that out there

And with that, she leaves Netta’s. bland verb She emerged as our savior and became the worst thing imaginable, a critic. And for that, I shall never forgive her.

ehhhhh. "she became a critic" is a cheap airline food level throwaway gag, though a propos enough I guess. The main problem with this is that it's a fairly strong idea executed fairly poorly - you wrote a deliberately bad character and had a good character come in 2/3 of the way through and basically critique (lol) the story you were writing which is an audacious move but requires exactly the sort of pitch perfect execution you didn't display to really land.



Djeser posted:

Moist Lads and Milky Dicks <= sweet title
895 words

It's like, a nice night. I'm finishing up a glass of one percent, thinking maybe I'll finish 2x finish is v awkward, esp in first para up with a mug of warm spiced and get a cab home. That's when I'm less bumped in the shoulder than forcibly evacuated from the leftern half of my seat by a wayward elbow. The last bit of my milk gets on the bar, and everyone knows you've got to drink that last gulp or your throat'll go phlegmatic. this is, weirdly, a similarly arch tone to chili's but is witty rather than annoying because the language pops rather than flops

"Hey," I say. The man sitting in the once-empty seat next to mine does not look like a thumb. He looks like if a thumb had hands and those hands had thumbs. That is the magnitude of thumb-ness this man possesses. Thumbs notably lack manners. well-elaborated ott metaphor "Hey, pisshead." pisshead means 'a drunk' in NZ, which sits weirdly Much better.

The thumb cocks his thumb at me, wrinkles his thumb, and asks, "What?"

"Was loving sitting there, mate."

He shrugs a thumb at me. "Now you ain't." His eyes drop to my chest, then back to my face. "Your sweater's poo poo," he says.

The sweater he's just adjudged is Per fess indented vert and gules with three reindeer passant. It's Merino wool. It is the Christmas sweater that your mum calls "daddy". He's wearing a cardigan Argent semy-de-motherfucking-pompoms. It makes him look, and I recognize the increasing anatomical complexity of my description, like a dick in a condom covered in hundreds and thousands. see this guy is every bit as insufferable as chili's director, but it's funny because the words zing so he's fun to spend time with

I express the irony of his judgement succinctly. "Your sweater's poo poo."

"Nah. Yours's probly synthetic blend," he says with a snort. His thumb slaps against the bar."loving glassa whole, warm, ay?" he shouts. you conjure this world of milk bars and violent sweater hipsters with considerable assurance

Well. At least he doesn't just look like a dick. I decide to cut the metaphor, since this is about to get physical, and take a swing not at his thumb but at his still-very-thumblike head. I realize, mid-swing, that perhaps this man with half a foot on me in height and a couple X's before his sweater size, is both a knob, and able to beat the piss out of me.

He demonstrates the latter by grabbing me cross the back and running me chest-first into the bar. I wheeze. I cough. A glass shatters. Now's the time to stagger away and nurse a carton nice detail in the corner for a while.

But oh, look. There's a jug right by my hands. Two liter, even. Ah, sorry mate, I seem to have taken hold of it and swung around to bash the corner of it right into your dickhead temple. You really should see the milk flying, like a great wing of white soaring over your idiot head. Splash. Nice swathe of milk, cutting right across that excuse for a sweater. this is really good action

There's a few swings after that. One clips the side of my head and stings enough to make me angry. I try to return the favor, but most of what I've got access to is his chest and belly, covered by inches each of muscle and lard, and then one final, appalling half-inch of coarse wool.

So I don't punch him. Instead, I grab for the colorful plastic novelty buttons. With a roar, he grabs me and hurls me. Into the air, off my feet. At the dickhead Olympics last year, this man took home the silver in Pub Shotput. the opening ceremonies were impressive, if a little nsfw

Everything sort of whirls around—me, the bar, my limbs—until with a crash, I hit the back of the bar. Bottles of milk shatter. Strawberry milk splashes across my arm. Almond milk runs down my pants. All right, now my head's ringing, I'm dripping wet, and I smell like a hens' night. My night's already gone to poo poo, so no point trying to end this pleasant.

I come screaming back across the bar. the ebb and flow of this fight is effective Mr Thumb's rearing back with a glass as I come, but I knock him right in his pom-pom chest and send him flat on the ground. And then I fall down on top of him, but when you're on the floor with another man and both of you are covered in milk, it's who's on top that counts.

Probably thirty seconds tops before I'm pulled up, kicked out, and have to limp home stinking like I just went on a dairy bender. I lunge for the man's chest; his hands snap up to hold back my arms. Not strong enough to fight fair, so I headbutt him. In the neck, yeah, but it's just enough of an opening. I grab the pom-poms and start ripping. Blue and pink and green and yellow, big handfuls, flying up like dandelions as I tear them off. legit funny image

I'm screaming? Ah well, guess I am. Some of the buttons come up, pop off, making the middle of the cardigan bow open. I claw into the threads just as he gets his weight beneath him. He punches me square and the world goes sideways, then I feel the ground part ways with me.

My hand balls into a fist, fingers woven into the wool. I feel the strings stretch around my fingers, pulling taut, snapping, unravelling tsk. A milky grin spreads across my face, and it's about then that I crash through a window. of course he does

At some point between the window and the ground horse trough, I lose consciousness, but by all accounts, don't like this much, since it's so focused on the two fighters, introducing implicit additional characters is clumsy and unnecessary tightly the fight has quite ended at that point.

But when I wake up a couple hours later in hospital, I've still got a fistful of wool. solid dismount and sticks the landing

This works because it creates its lol monkeycheese world (milk bars! violent sweater nerds!) and puts lively well-described characters in it that care and bangs them up against each other. The fight is good because it's a story in itself, rather than just a thing that happens. Also overall execution is significantly better, more lively words, and few dumb errors.

Overall, this is the sort of brawl where the loser limps off with a bloody nose to yell insults from a safe distance while the victor sips his fresh pint of Zabriskie Point Sour Pale.


:siren:Djeser wins:siren:


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:56 on Nov 22, 2017

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


thanks for the crit and judging, tyrannosaurus

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



good brawling and good judgements, the blood court would be proud

Amoeba Bot
Nov 3, 2017

by FactsAreUseless


In :toxx:

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

Like most things, I am nothing


In.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



Just popped in from my temporary home away from home at this place with free wifi to say good job on all those crits T-Rex

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk








is only short for it is

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

:siren: Thunderdome Recap! :siren:



What does fate hold in store for you, Thunderdome? If the Tarot is to be believed, a recap of Week 20: Face Your Destiny and Week 273: A Wicked Pack of Cards lies ahead, and your journey through it will confront you with certain challenges: sociopathic scientists. Eager female anatomy. Max Storm busting a succubus ring. You know, the usual. Survive, and you'll join Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and myself in our heartfelt and prolonged enjoyment of BabyRyoga's "A Transgression."

"SCRAWWWWWWK."


Episodes past can be found here!

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002



Home Office by Metrofreak
Builds Character by kurona_bright


Discretion by Jagermonster
A Constant Itching Behind the Eyelids by lambeth

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Deltamojo Brawl

At the River Volkhov (719 words)

I remember Father Claes’ words when I considered joining the Flemish Legion. “Good Christians, falling to their knees and thanking you for delivering their souls from the Soviets,” he promised. He reassured me that the nazis were the lesser of two evils. At least they were believers.

And so I volunteered, to the Eastern Front.

Our tank was a converted Czech hand-me-down, prone to breaking down if you pushed it too hard, with metal plating thin enough that a well-placed rifle shot could pierce it. But it was all our division had. It used to scare me, but now I saw the T-34 tanks rolling down the hills, I almost felt at peace. When death is certain, panic seems undignified and petty.

Captain Reimond’s orders were barely audible over the engine’s bellowing. Artillery barrages crept along the Volkhov riverbanks. In the distance, a munitions depot exploded, colouring the winter mist orange. Projectiles from the Soviet tanks missed us by mere meters, but I zig-zagged us between the trees and snowy hills to close the distance for our underpowered gun.

I heard Marcel load a round. “I gotta piss,” he added.

“Wait, what?” I said.

Reimond chuckled, “Don’t make me laugh. Makes it hard to aim.”

“Seriously, Marcel?”

“I am completely ser--”

A muzzle flash to our right. I slammed the brake on the right tracks, angling our armor just in time. The tank emitted a metallic groan.

“Ricochet!” Reimond yelled.

“drat, drat, Goddamn! Nevermind about me needing to piss!”

“Oh, lovely,” I laughed, “the smell will complement the sweat and diesel nicely.”

I circled the enemy tank with a sharp turn while Reimond cranked the turret handle. When we were squarely behind them, he fired. The hull erupted in a pillar of fire, flinging the turret into the snow.

Our celebrations were cut short by a shot from our left, hitting the tracks. Our tank spun out of control, rolling down the hillside, into a ditch between two rows of poplars.

I pulled myself back into the driver’s seat. “Well, then. Not the glorious last stand I was expecting,” I said.

“We’re not done yet,” Reimond said. Beads of sweat rolled down his cheeks until caught in his six-day beard. Marcel loaded a second round with trembling hands, puffing through his red-flushed cheeks. His raspy, nasal breathing irritated me all the more now I had my hands free.

“Anything I can do, captain?”

“Just keep your eyes open. Whoever fired that shot will want to confirm his kill.”

A T-34 rounded the hill, and Reimond fired. The shell bounced off the front armor.

The Russians returned fire, their shot glancing off our side armor. Deafening reverberations echoed through the tank until the riveting gave up, scattering a buckshot of nuts and bolts through the interior. Behind me, Reimond slumped from his chair and Marcel screamed, clutching his bleeding forehead.

I crawled over them to reach for a jerrycan of diesel. With my free hand, I opened the hot exhaust valve, cursing the scorching heat on my fingertips, then dumped as much fuel into the exhaust as I could. The tank belched forth thick, black clouds which carpeted the land. Helped by Marcel, I dragged Reimond out of the tank through the back hatch, and we ran through the obsidian smog until I slipped down an unseen incline.

Pain seared through my ankle and we tumbled into some shrubs next to the riverbank. Pistol in hand, I lay in wait, ready to fire on the first Soviet to stumble upon us. But they never did. On both sides of the river, tanks and infantry pressed on, pushing our comrades further and further towards Leningrad, until dawn broke the cold air. We were alone.

“Now what, captain?” I said.

When no answer came, I turned, only to see Reimond and Marcel face-down in the snow. Their skin was cold to the touch, and I stopped myself from turning them on their backs. Better this way.

I tried standing up, but collapsed in misery when I put weight on my left foot. On hands and knees this time, I crawled up the riverbank’s incline, towards the smoldering wreck of our tank.

Propping myself up against a poplar tree, I watched the flames dance across the tank’s remains.

“There are no good Christians here, Father.”

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I was entertained by that reading and analysis/crit just a smudge less so than you guys were, thanks for that Kaishai, Sitting Here, and Ironic Twist.

I had to kick a nasty cold over the weekend, so I didn't get a chance to work on last week's prompt. I feel better, let's do the right thing and

In, :toxx: for this one.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Secret santa assignments are all out!

THIS IS NOT A SWAP. YOUR SANTA AND SANTEE ARE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. DO NOT CONTACT THE PERSON YOU ARE ASSIGNED

Get writing, buying, doxxing and have fun out there everyone!

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


BabyRyoga posted:

I was entertained by that reading and analysis/crit just a smudge less so than you guys were, thanks for that Kaishai, Sitting Here, and Ironic Twist.

I had to kick a nasty cold over the weekend, so I didn't get a chance to work on last week's prompt. I feel better, let's do the right thing and

In, :toxx: for this one.

Thank you, dude. If you want to take me up on it, I will do a line-by-line crit of your entry this week, straight-up constructive, no jokes.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

TheGreekOwl asked for some Post DM-Crits!



Allright lets get started, first off a reminder that I, Exmond, Master of the cardboard character is a worse writer than you! So take this all worth a grain of salt.

I'll go over the story and since I'm ever the optimist, tell you what you did well and then tell you why I think you got a DM.



Things you did well:

There are some good prose here trying to escape the shackles that the bad grammar ​put around it in this story. "A sickly patience demanded his focus." "What wings had brought them here"


Hey I think I get what you are trying to do with Camilo. Kind of like an outcast who is always sick, finds the one thing in his life that is good and it's in his way. Neat character! LOVE ON THE BATTLEFIELD!


DM reason:

Grammar around verbs

A similar event was happening in dark lit chambers all around the floor, where the men of the Valencia Military region.
where doing what? Also its were doing, not where doing.


Grammar around dialogue

​You forgot periods and commas in your dialouge. You seem to have a good head for dialogue tags, so just remember your actual dialogue needs grammar. (I still gently caress this up to this day)

“Remember Galaxia,” the commander Antonio said near him, addressing them, “Counter-attack if you need to. Just don’ smell any saboteurs.he continued.


​Clarity

Whenever "the action" starts your sentences get a bit clunky and hard to follow. If you fix the top two I still think this will be an issue. When Camilo finds Andre, it almost sounds like Camilo is pushing the gun against Camilo's ribs.


Andre exclaimed, Camilo grabbing him by the arms and dragging him by the shoulder, pistol aimed at his sides, an onrush of force directing him back to where the hostages are.



They reached the floor above, the few arms that could detect them were really weird because arms don't detect poo poo. Eyes do. Oh you meant other security personnel


The Ending
​AND THEN SUDDENLY I HAD TO END IT. The gently caress is that ending? If your story is about Camilo and Andrew, have it end with those guys. You almost (kind of) had it, Camilo closed the door forever on Andrew and THEN SUDDENLY ALL CAPS ENDINGS, DEMOCRACY IS GREAT GUYS .

I get what the ending was supposed to do, but it's too sudden, to clunky to not make me angry.




Suggested Fix:


I feel like a jerk but, umm, maybe get someone to do a pre-review, ask in the IRC! There was a lot of bad english (Grammar, verbs,periods) that could of been fixed.

Re-read your stuff , do it outloud and do it with the ending sentence first and go up from there. Doing it that way will slow you down, giving you a chance to really examine the sentence.



Things you could improve upon, but are not DM worthy in my opinion (Which is useless, my opinion that is)



Some weird sentences like


​"He stood there, not knowing who he was. Protagonist immediately knew who he was.


This might be your style, where you say X didnt know Y, Z knew Y! So take the above with a grain of salt. It popped up a few times where you contradict yourself in a few sentences. I think if you fix your grammar and clarity we will be able to provide more insight onto this.


"... or i could start a sentence with elipses, because that's really weird"


Your start. Just , get the whole rara we have guns done in one, two paragraphs. The more interesting thing here is the Camilo and Andrew relationship, and I get it, lets set that relationship up against a tense scene. Maybe cut the whole running through parliment and get to the meat of the story.

Exmond fucked around with this message at 17:48 on Nov 25, 2017

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002




Strike Duty by epoch.
Squawk at Night. by widespread

BabyRyoga posted:

In, :toxx: for this one.


Purgatory by Killer-of-Lawyers
The Fire and the Slave by Jonked

SUBMISSIONS CLOSED

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Wild Yeast
800 words

The sky over Bruges was the color of cornflowers, and the sun was a blinding 20 franc coin someone had tossed up there and gotten it stuck.

It was brewing day so Maxime was pouring brown beer bottles full of water straight down the drain, one in each hand, gloop bloop.

"Just like Friday night, eh?" said his father. Maxine smiled because it sounded like a joke, then handed him the two empty bottles to rack up next to the others. The bleach smell made his nostrils sting.

"Brewing is all about cleanliness", said his father. "No contamination." He sucked in a big gust of air, straining it through his moustache like a whale extracting krill, and plunged two more bottles into the hot sterilising liquid, down, up.

Maxime took the two full bottles, covered in bubbly bleach. The sun in the little stone courtyard was hot, and he raised his arm to wipe the sweat off his forehead. The slippery wet bottle slithered out of his hand. He flung out his foot to stop it from hitting the cobblestones. Instead his foot clipped the bottle in the middle and sent it spinning away to smash against the wall in a thousand spinning shards.

"Klootzak!" yelled his father, face instantly purple. In a moment he was on his feet and towering over Maxime, fist cocked for the first blow.

To be fair, Maxime's father was full of so many hot words that it was only reasonable he had to let them out sometimes. Maxime knew to tiptoe when he'd been sitting at the kitchen table for an evening, the stack of brown bottles beside him growing. Sometimes that helped. But since Mama died the words had become angrier and the blows harder.

Brewing is all about heat, thought Maxime later that evening. He was touching the lump on his head, gently, like stroking a mouse. Barley is malted with hot air, then soaked in hot water, then boiled with hops. The hot stone of the courtyard wall had met his head like a hammer after his father punched him.

Then, without having made anything he'd call a decision, he saw himself reaching under the bed for his suitcase, and filling it with things. Underpants, shirts, a wallet with some money, a picture of Mama. He tiptoed past his father, who didn't look up, and pushed the door closed behind him gently, like stroking a mouse for the last time.

Twelve years later Maxime was in a pub in London. It was late, and the air was hot. He held up his pint to illustrate a point he was making, something about beer - there was a girl with eyes the colour of cornflowers, they reminded him of someone. Someone was shouting at the other end of the bar, so he raised his voice.

"Brewing," he said, "it's all about the yeast. Got to be the right one. Very careful, very vigilant. Wild yeast. Floating. It's all around us," he said, gesturing. "But if you let it in, then, pfff." He spread his fingers wide, feeling a hot flush of delight at how her eyes drank him in. "Sour beer!"

She smiled at him and started to say something but whatever it would have been was cut off by a flying pint glass that clipped her beautiful forehead in a spray of hot red and shattered into a thousand spinning shards. She dropped to the ground, heavy as a sack of grain.

Maxime was instantly suffused with a rage so pure and perfect it made his ears ring. Maxime saw the man who'd thrown the glass, saw his stupid mouth fall open. Without having made anything he'd call a decision, Maxime saw himself running towards the man, fist cocked for the first blow. The man put up arms to shield himself from the blow, and the pint glass Maxime was holding in his hands shattered on them, the sharp edges cutting a deep gash. The beer splattered over the man and over the floor. Maxime took another step and slipped on the wet floor, crashing down on the slick wood.

The broken glass was still in his hands, and the floor rammed it into his throat as he fell. The broken glass made a slick, meaty sound as it entered.

He gasped at the heat of his bubbling, frothing blood.

Brewing is all about patience, all about waiting to see what time, and heat, and yeast have made. It's not always what you want.

Still; what you get when the bottlecap finally pops off is always, and only, the sum of all the things that you put in.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:45 on Dec 1, 2017

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