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newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


IN :toxx:

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newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


UNSAFE
1300 words

“Of course I remember the warehouse. His Dad owned it. Coop’s Dad. Mr Cooper.

“When we rocked up the first time the red sticker had sort of peeled off the door, but it just hung upside down from one corner, the word ႶИƧ∀ԷE clearly visible through the back of the paper.

“There were just five cars in there, then. One for each of us, each member of the band. Each member of liquefaction. Four were little 80’s Nissans, all beige, all rusted to hell. The last one was a Mazda, missing all its doors. I mean, sure, they were pieces of poo poo, but they were loving Tesla’s compared to what would come later.

“All that really mattered was their tape decks. You know, that they still worked and all.”

***

“He’d recorded these cassettes. They were labelled with co-ordinates, like off a spreadsheet. The wee stickers were made with one of those electronic label makers.

“We pressed the chunky plastic play buttons simultaneously our band burst into life from the tinny speakers, one instrument per car. They were recordings from the recording session we did when we had first started out, and I cringed at each mistake. It was cool, though, walking between the cars, feeling the music ebb and flow. I sat for an hour in a back seat, surrounded by Drums. They drowned everything else out. Eventually I could only feel them, and the other instruments came back, playing around and through the rhythm that had become part of me. When I stepped out my vision blurred - no wonder Oliver’s eyes were always like that.

“And through it all Cooper sat in the middle, watching us take it in.

“-We need more, he said, and I looked around me and felt small and cold in that huge, dark, dry space. That was the start.”

***

“I hung sheets to block off one corner of the warehouse. That was where we slept. The council hadn’t cut the water yet, and we had gas cookers to heat food.

“I’d stay back with Cooper while the others were out, learning the system, how to edit. Jack would come back with recordings on his phone, and we’d map them out onto grids ruled onto huge rolls of brown pattern paper. He’d try to tell me how everything worked, how all the sound fitted together, and sometimes I got it.

“We did this one that was just insects. Jack had worked out some way to record them like they were inside your ear, by catching them in a plastic cup and resting the microphone on top. Each was different. The moths was soft, the cicada as loud and harsh as you’d expect. The footstep of an ant sounded like a snare. They all followed the same pattern though, they’d get louder at first, then dying off until they were silent. The ladybird lasted the longest, 57 minutes.

“We attached their bodies to the cassettes with sellotape, and played them all together, a buzzing diminuendo. I lay down amid the cars, there were dozens by that point, listening to them die. The noise was enormous, and they overlapped in ways that made my ears hurt.

“The day was for sound, playing and listening. At night we’d work. There was no-one for miles, the whole industrial park was red-stickered. Hazel and Oliver got more cars.”

***

“We lost him about a month in, a month after the first performance.

“We’d cashed the factories and warehouses. We’d learned things: That people leave keys in company cars. That very few diggers have stereos, but some do. That very small cars can tow very large cars, given strong enough rope. That Oliver ties better knots than me. That policeman don’t have any better sight than the rest of us. That people genuinely don’t care what happens to their poo poo after it’s been assessed for the insurance claim. That there’s very little damage an earthquake can do to a vehicle.

“A few nights before, Oliver had brought a portable CD player from home. He put it down in front of Cooper.

“-No.

“-But it’s all the same, isn’t it? It’s all, like, noise? It’s too risky. The cars. It’s too risky, to get the cars, Coop.

“-It’s too easy. Easy to make, easy to destroy. Art’s not easy.

“Cooper picked up the stereo and threw it back over his head into the depths of the cavernous space. It arced high in the air before disintegrating on the roof of an old Toyota Hi-Lux.

“So we went further afield. We went to the red-zone suburbs first, where people had left their lives in an afternoon. There were cars up on blocks in back-yards and garages, we’d put scavenged wheels on them and tow them back to the warehouse. That night we had to hide while private security waved lazy torchlight up and down the black rows of overgrown hedge. I could hear croaking. The frogs had come back.

"Then they heard us. I was sure we could outrun them, but Oliver stepped out and walked towards the dark figures.

"-Go, he hissed.

"I just stood there.

"-Go.

"I watched through a tangle of roses while took him and held him down still. He was always moving. I never realised he'd got so thin."

***

"I brought back the final recordings and gave them to Jules. She put them on the computer and listened through a pair of earbuds.

"-I can't believe this is the last of it. I’m sure they’re perfect! Where do you get them?, she said, her eyes sparkling through the darkness.

"I didn't answer her, just climbed into my sleeping bag and screwed my my eyes shut. I was exhausted. I was always exhausted. I’d go into the world, alone most of the time, and take sounds from the world. Tribesmen feared that cameras would take their souls, but they didn’t spare a thought for those that would have to carry them. This was worse than the insects.

“The project, Cooper called them projects now, was to replicate Colombo street at the time the February quake hit. A bus had been crushed by masonry there. Eight had died.

We’d spent a full week on it so far, and Jules was barely speaking to Cooper. They worked together silently, and she’d roll her eyes each time he issued an instruction, but would keep ruling lines or copying files regardless. Pattern paper stretched around the entire wall, a mess of grids and handwriting.

“I heard Cooper talking to Jules.

“-They’ll do. They’ll have to.

“We listened to it the next day. The tapes had to be started in a certain order to ensure they’d sync up, so we’d scurry around carefully calculated tracks, hitting buttons to start the various tapes and CD’s to meet in the middle.

“Then we’d close our eyes and it was like being there. We’d marked out the street in masking tape on the floor, so I stood in the middle, straddling the centre line. The bus was stuck at the lights, and I could just make out two men talking. They were old, and their words were warm but I couldn’t quite understand. The bus started to pull away and I first walked, then broke into a jog to try to stay with them. I needed to hear them, but the sound of the quake, the low rumble that you feel first in your guts started and drowned them out and my shin connected with the tow bar of a white Toyota Estima and as the masonry fell I could feel blood running down my legs and soaking into my socks, pooling in the bottom of my shoes and I lay down on the cold floor, between the cars, inside the tuning fork hum of freshly split rubble.”

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Crit of Before the Lion, he laid Bare by Boaz-Jachim

First line has me thinking you're on my wavelength. Hoping for some Borges style metafiction here.

AHA! knew it! I wrote the above sentence before the Borges reference.

Hey this was pretty decent! It's definitely a strict imitation of Borges - I don't really see that you've added anything or incorporated your own voice in any way, but it's well done for what it is.

I had a little problem with the framing story - it didn't hang together all that well for me, and the "I am nothing" = disappearing author thing was a little on the nose, but it was enjoyable enough.

I think that if a reader didn't get the reference it could appear very stilted - it only works as a story if you're a Borges fan.

Thanks for writing this!

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


If the judges are so disgusted with our collective writings that they just don't bother to judge, is that better or worse than a DM?

And can Kaishai update the archives to reflect it?

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


In :toxx:

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


holy gently caress! I knew it was bad but...

thus the year of toxxes

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Admit that this problem can't be solved with a spreadsheet.
689 words

Drunk? I guess that depends on your definition. I have ingested 420 millilitres of alcohol over a period of six hours and forty-two minutes. Sure that would make some people drunk, but what with differing tolerances, metabolic rates, etcetera, it would be hard to definitively answer yes. If it helps I’m about eighty percent sure I could pass a field sobriety test right now, but there’s no straight lines on the carpet so it’s not really an option.

I know it’s your job but you really needn’t worry. I have a system. Whenever someone in the office does something wrong I take an amount from this bottle of everclear, and put it in my water bottle which I sip throughout the day. Quantities are determined through a calculation which takes into account the likelihood of a certain action getting someone fired, divides it by the number of people in the office, and then undershoots that by a comfortable margin. The spreadsheet’s stored on the company intranet, bring it up and I’ll give you an example.

This morning Komakech, you know Komakech from sales, got Sadie in to do a dictation. I’m not sure you’re if you’re aware, but Komakech can type at over sixty words per minute. That’s fast, professional typing-pool fast. I can do forty, and from what I’ve observed through the glass walls of your office you can do about thirty. You should work on that, by the way. Now Sadie’s a secretary, sure, but she can only do forty as well. I mean, “dication” isn’t even really a thing these days, typing speed is barely worth the space on a resume any more. Point is, you know as well as I that whatever she’s doing might well involve dick, but there’s sure as hell isn’t any tation going on.

Look down column A. It’s a list of all the things that go on here. A3: Fraudulent time-card entries. A7: Excessive sick leave. A17: Smelly food in common areas. Of course you’re HR, I don’t need to tell you all of this, do I? Now, here it is, I know this one off by heart. A237: Fellatio (office hours). Of course we’re being charitable in assuming they stopped there. Now we cross reference that with this column, and… 19 mls. Now today I have Bombay Sapphire, which is 80 proof, which in turn is forty percent alcohol content by volume, so with some basic maths I measure out 47.5 mls with a syringe and add it to my water bottle to sip throughout the day. Now, that’s for a pretty significant offence, as I’m sure you would agree. Normally I use an eye-dropper.

Like today I was doing the expenses, and you wouldn’t believe the stuff that gets through there. Now I know the salesmen need to schmooze the clients from time to time, but the fourth time “Generic Car Parts Limited” showed up on Boyd’s form I googled it. It’s on the corner of Lincoln and Broadway and from what I can see on street view is simply called BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS. You’d think we’d at least spring for one of the classy downtown places. So a couple of dozen dodgy receipts come through, each one is a half a dropper, and by lunchtime I’ve got a slight buzz on, which I can enjoy safe in the mathematically derived knowledge that my conduct is still better than the average employee.

The real masterstroke is that I calibrated the whole thing from when Rodgerson got canned. The man was a souse! It took a full seven hundred and twenty millilitres of alcohol, ingested in the first ninety-four minutes of last year’s work do, for him to be shown the door.
I honestly appreciate your concern, but now that we’ve got all that squared that away, let’s talk about all these other issues I’ve raised. The strip clubs, the receipts - click on the second worksheet and you’ll see everything else I’ve documented. The thing is I’ve been trying to cut back, and for that to happen there’s going to have to be some BIG changes around here.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Thanks for the crit!

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


No Gravitas posted:

I committed words! So sorry!

Prefacing your story is likely to infuriate your judge. If infuriated is the appropriate mental state for reading your stories, feel free to go ahead and continue preface them in the future.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


my cat is norris posted:

I forgot about this and will miss the deadline sorry!!

Thanks for letting me know. By the way I'm working late tomorrow night so I won't be home for dinner. Cya later xoxo.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


IN, :toxx:, critter please

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Landings
878 words

Navigation was by flattened trees, each beech trunk a compass needle straining for the point of impact. With every step their picks and chisels were heavier, the mud thicker. Delia arrived first.

“Hurry,” she called to Muzz, his spindly figure a ways in the distance, picking its way through the blast-zone rubble with high, elastic steps. He was too far behind to hear.

It was, indeed, a landing. Five meteorites embedded in the earth. One shipping container sized lump of rock and metal for each of the shockwaves that had slammed through their little shed, shaking dust from the rafters and leaving Delia puking into the sink.

As she’d rinsed her mouth out with the cloudy water from their well her chest remained tight. Depending on what they were made from, with just a wheelbarrow load of material could buy their way into Greymouth, or maybe even one of the parts of Christchurch that still had running water.

There’d been a landing in the outskirts of Shenzhen a few months ago. They’d huddled close to their wee transistor to hear the news. Tens of thousands had converged on the spot, fighting and crawling through a burning graveyard, clamoring for scraps of precious metal from the space-forged missiles that had levelled half the city. Now there was one on their doorstep, in the middle of nowhere in the shittest backwater on the west coast. And she wasn’t going to miss the opportunity.

Muzz had looked at her, two fingers rubbing each temple to ease his headache. “I don’t want to go. I don’t trust them. Why have they come?”

Delia picked up the radio. “Murray Patrick Johnson, you load the tools into the ute right now or I will shove this thing so far up your rear end you’ll poo poo Kim Hill on Saturdays.”

So they’d parked as close as they could, walked the rest of the way, and there she was, close enough to touch it. There were still choppers at Burnham, she’d heard, but they didn’t need long. Just crack off a few chunks of the flaky cobalt ore, drag it back to the car, and hope for some gold or platinum.

She swung the sledge and surface disintegrated into powder, spraying up in her face and hurting her eyes. She licked her lips - it felt like charcoal but tasted like the tip of a battery. Once she’d spat it out of her mouth and worked it from the corners of her eyes she looked at where she’d struck. It was a smooth, grey mirrored surface, that she thought she could see shimmer slightly under the surface as she shifted her gaze. It didn’t look like any metal Delia had ever seen.

She pressed her fingers to it. It was pleasantly warm, and after a few seconds the shimmer, barely noticeable before, gathered at her fingertips, growing until it was a clearly visible white-green light. She allowed her whole palm to rest against the side, and the glow traced her hand, remaining when she removed it. The whorls of her fingerprints and the lines on her hands remained imprinted in ghostly light for a few seconds before falling away, descending into the depths of the rock.

Whatever it was, it was expensive, so she swung at it again, and despite the vibration that ran down the handle and hurt her hands a crack opened up. She didn’t have to work hard with her chisel to shatter chunks of the brittle material, which fell away, revealing another smooth layer.

Delia gasped. She was looking at a star map. The Southern Cross was unmistakeable, but as she looked up and down she could see every star in the clear sky above picked out in front of her. Then the bottom star of the cross, the brightest one, blinked out. The others followed, one by one, until what was a starscape was an expanse of matte black. She didn’t even have to raise a tool, as the black crumbled to dust.

This time it was symbols. A series of hieroglyphs, a cross, an exclamation mark, fell away one after the other as a fissure quickly burrowed towards the center of the meteorite. Then letters - D, A - moving so quickly she could barely read them - N, G - she could see crystalline forms knitting themselves together, as rock crumbled faster than new letters could form behind them - E, R. She moved her body close to the form, feeling the rock respond through her woolen jersey and sweat pants.

That’s when she heard helicopters, but when she looked for them the sky was threaded with green fire, fingers of Aurora grasping the world like a bauble. The lander had gone still, quiet, dead, whatever you wanted to call it. How many millennia had it lay hidden in the Kuiper belt, and what was it doing ending its life in front of her?

Muzz arrived, panting, sweating, breathing air, pumping hot blood through his veins, and salty water out his pores. At their feet was a pile of varicolored metal shavings and chunks of ore. She gestured and they got to work loading them into their backpacks. As much as she kept one hand tight on Muzz’s skinny shoulder, and one eye on the sky.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


Great crittin' guys. Very much appreciated!

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


in :toxx:

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

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newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


A now-homeless man is compelled to burrow intricate tunnels deep into the earthquake-shattered rock beneath his city. We found his tunnels, mapped them, and tried to understand him.

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