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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.



Kaishai posted:

:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:


Fun fact: did y'all know that the Thunderdome archive has annotations for when individual stories are mentioned in recaps? I didn't until recently. This is cool because I am a little bit self-centered and like it when people talk about my stories.

At the bottom of every story, there are links for all the recaps that mention it, including an approximate time stamp, and on every recap's page there are a list of all the stories mentioned, plus little annotations along the timeline of the recap's actual sound file that show approximately where they are.

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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.



Also in for this week I guess

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Just under two hours left to sign up and get a flash rule from, in MockingQuantum's words, "a judging trifecta for the annals of history."

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


In.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Keep feeling flash-INation.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Fumblemouse posted:

Keep feeling flash-INation.

Your powerful figure is: really, REALLY good at maths

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Sign-ups are closed.

Now, as your wisdomous and magnificent monarch, I want to see all of you succeed. That is, I do not want you to do the opposite of succeed, which is to fail. I most definitely do not want you to fail. Failure rates have been up recently and I don't want any slacking off on my week.

So, in my infinite royal generosity I am going to offer you an incentive to succeed. If you fail, I will personally buy you a special new failure-tar of my own design. But I'm not going to need to do that, am I my subjects. Because none of you are going to fail.

Erainor
Dec 30, 2017

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Well here's my attempt

“The one who was first” 928 words

Bobby was a rather ordinary man. Not young or old, mixed ethnicity, but nothing was memorable about this man. Bobby was a retail drone for the largest big box retailer in North America. His job was to adjust prices and print new tags.

Now, Bobby wasn't an evil man by any means, but he was a prankster. In High School, he would be in and out of the principal's office on a nearly weekly basis. He spray painted buildings and he put toilet paper on cars. He also loved to post on internet websites and was always the guy who would type “first” on a video even if he wasn't first. Everyone knows someone like that.

Bobby had won the best smile award in high school, but somewhere in his life he got beaten down to the point where his powerful smile was no longer with him. Something changed in Bobby one spring day. He began to remember what it was like when he was in high school, when he had the time of his life.

Bobby grinned a little to himself at work that Wednesday. No one was around him per usual at work but his scowl was beginning to fade.

On his break, he looked at himself in the mirror.

“Didn't I used to be funny? What happened to that guy?” Bobby told his reflection. Then it hit him like a lightning bolt! He had somehow stopped having fun in his life! Maybe all he needed was a way to have fun and that powerful smile would return.

Bobby wanted to have some fun so he simply began moving prices around. A two dollar towel would now ring up as a three dollar towel. A five dollar cooler would ring up for 50 cents. He switched around dozens of prices He felt that his plan of adjusting the prices would cause chaos and allow him to get a little bit of joy from his job.

He finally began to smile again while at work. He could be seen snickering in the background whenever a confused cashier would call for a price check on a 2 dollar bag of chips that was ringing up at 2.99.

His fellow retail drones took notice about his changed attitude. Cheri said, “Who is this guy and what have you done with Bobby?” as she smiled and winked in his direction.

Chip said, “Hey man, do you want to get a beer after work?”

Ashley said, “You know, Bobby, my church is having a cookout on the 14th. You should come!”

Suddenly, Bobby was no longer simply a background character in his own life. Customers no longer avoided him as he no longer walked around the store wearing a scowl and acting like he didn't want to be there. Ironically, he undid all of the silly changes he made to pricing while humming the words “Let it Be, Let it Be.”

As the days and weeks went by, Bobby began having more fun at work. Gone was the depressed sod and in his place was a man who remembered what it was like to be fun at parties. At the church cookout, on the spur of the moment he asked Ashley out on a date.

Bobby said, “Want to get out of here?” Flashing his most charming smile.

Ashley responded with “I'd love to!”


Bobby felt a rush of power and excitement that he hadn't felt since he was a child. Finally life was looking up! It was all thanks to the power of a good attitude. Bobby could always make Ashley laugh. She reminded him that they met in high school where she sat a row behind him in class and he would be posting “FIRST” on the message boards.

“Why didn't you talk to me in high school?,” Bobby asked on their fourth date.

“You had this powerful smile and girls seemed to fall all over you. I was shy and quiet in school but I always giggled when you posted on those videos,” Ashley replied.

Bobby just turned his smile up to 11 and put his arm around Ashley. Life was good when you smiled!

>>>

Many years later a large crowd had gathered to pay tribute to Bobby. Not only his grown children and grand children but a handful of the workers that he had started out with all those years ago. His wife, Ashley, who had never really paid much attention to Bobby until he showed off the winning smile that would always make her heart skip a beat. His best friend Chip, who told great one liners about the times that they would get beers together after work, in their jobs as professional stuntmen. Finally, Cheri, who became Chip's wife got up and made a speech.

“Today, we say goodbye to a dear friend who has left us behind. We used to think he was a grumpy, old stick in the mud, even though when I met him he wasn't even 30. Once he was able to get away from the soul draining life of retail, and found his true passion as a stuntman, he truly became a better man and one of my best friends.”

Then it was Ashley's turn to make a speech about her husband. She slowly walked up to the podium, adjusted the microphone and gave a small smirk knowing that her husband would appreciate what she was about to do. She cleared her throat before saying the immortal line of the internet...

“FIRST!”

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.



What kind of an idiot starts a story at 1:45 am, spoilers it's me and here's that story.

I Want Candy 1400 words

Mike pulled the van up alongside the kid. “Hey kid, your mum asked me to give you a lift home.”

The girl stopped and turned. “My mum asked you? I don’t know you.”

Mike nodded. “You’re Abigail, right?”

“And you’re sure you know my mum?”

“Sure,” said Mike. “Listen, I’ve got some candy for you if you just get in the car.”

Abigail appeared to give the situation some thought. “So, if I get in the car, you’ll give me a lift home and some candy?”

“That’s right,” said Mike.

“What kind of candy?”

“Whatever kind you’d like.”

Abigail considered this. “Jelly beans.”

“Deal,” said Mike. “If you get in the car, I will give you a whole bag of jelly beans.”

“Pinky swear?” She held out her hand, pinky extended.

“Pinky swear,” he said. He held out his own pinky and shook hers, and she opened the back door and got in.

~

After 20 minutes of driving, he was back at the house. He left her in the car and went to speak to the boss. “Got her.”

The boss nodded. “Good. The ‘guest room’ is ready for her. We’ll make contact with her parents as soon as possible.”

“I, uh, kinda promised her I’d get her some jelly beans,” said Mike.

“Sure, whatever you need to say to get the job done.”

“So, I’m just gonna go out and get those.”

The boss frowned. “I’m not paying you to go out and get candy.”

“But I pinky swore!”

“You what?”

“Never mind.” Mike walked out to the garage to go retrieve Abigail, and the boss went back to watching Home and Away.

“Excuse me,” said a small voice beside him.

“Eh?” He turned, and found himself face to face with Abigail. “Where’s Mike? How’d you get out here?”

“I was promised a bag of jelly beans,” she said.

“Yes, yes, you’ll get it in good time. Just wait in the room we’ve prepared for you.”

She frowned. “OK, but don’t take too long.”

Just then Mike returned from the garage, looking flustered. “Oh, there she is. Come on Abigail, I’ll just show you to your room.”

“My room isn’t here,” she said.

“Well, your room for just a little while,” he said. “Until we can sort some things out.”

“Like getting me my jelly beans.”

“Yes,” said Mike. “Like getting you your jelly beans.”

“All right,” she said, and Mike showed her to the guest room, and locked the door after her.

~

“All right,” said the boss. “Now that’s done, it’s time for you to call her father.”

“Me?” asked Mike. “I thought you’d do that.”

“Absolutely not,” said the boss. “That’s definitely henchman work.”

Mike grumbled, but he called her father. “Hello,” said the father.

“Hello,” said Mike. “We have your daughter.”

“Oh, is she staying at a friend’s place?” asked the father. “I do wish she’d ask beforehand.”

“No, I mean we’ve kidnapped her.”

“Well, a bit melodramatic, but I never understand the latest crazes. When will you have her back, then?”

“What? No, I mean we’ve literally abducted her off the side of the street.”

“Oh,” said the father. “Well then. That’s just not on at all, you rotter.”

“Right,” said Mike, “and if you want to see her alive again, you’d do well to submit to our demands.”

“I’m not submitting to anything until I’ve spoken to her,” said her father.

“Hang on,” said Mike. He put his hand over the mouthpiece and said to the boss, “he wants to speak to her.”

“All right,” said the boss. “Give me the phone, and you go get her.” Mike gave him the phone. “All right,” the boss said into the phone, “he’s just gone to get your daughter.”

“Right then,” said the father. “So. How’s the kidnapping business?”

“It’s not just kidnapping,” said the boss. “It’s a very diverse business. Lot of variety, so it never gets boring.”

“Right, right. Busy day?”

The boss shrugged. “I mean, we didn’t do much during the morning because we were kind of waiting for your daughter to get out of school so we could kidnap her. Day time television’s not much fun, either.”

“I hear that, who even watches all those infomercials?”

“Right?” said the boss. “Oh, hang on.” For Abigail had just entered the room. “Abigail sweetie, I’ve got someone on the phone for you.”

“Is it someone to give me my jelly beans?”

“Is it what? No,” said the boss. “They’re not ready yet.”

Abigail looked down at her watch and scrunched up her face. “It’s been…” and she tracked the path of the watch’s hand with her finger. “It’s been a lot of minutes. Maybe even an hour. Don’t you have any shops nearby?”

“We’ve had more important things on,” he said, and handed her the phone. “Say hello to your daddy for me.”

“Hello daddy,” she said.

“Are you OK, Abby?”

“I am a bit starving,” she said. “They promised me candy, and I still don’t have it.”

“But apart from that?”

“Just hungry, that’s it,” she said. “And a bit annoyed.”

“All right, that’s enough,” said the boss, and took the phone back off of her. “Mike?” he called. “You can come take her back to her room now.”

After a few seconds, Mike returned. “Oh,” he said, “there she is.”

“Where else would she be?”

Mike shrugged. “I don’t know, I just didn’t… never mind. Come on Abigail, let’s go back to your room.”

Abigail pouted, but she went with him back to the room. Mike locked the door after her, then grabbed a chair and put it against the door, under the doorknob.

~

“So, are you ready to hear our demands?” asked the boss.

“She said she was promised candy,” said the father.

“Yeah, I know it’s a bit clichéd,” said the boss.

“You should probably get her that candy.”

“You should probably try to realise you’re in no position to tell us what to do,” said the boss. “We’re calling the shots here.”

“Suit yourself.”

“Now, if you want to see your daughter again, you’ll need to pay us a million dollars.”

“Well,” said the father, “that’s going to be a little bit of a problem. I don’t have a million dollars.”

“You’re a man of means,” said the boss. “I’m sure you’ll think of something. I’ll call you back in an hour and tell you how to get the money to us. In the meantime, I suggest you work on collecting the cash.”

~

Half an hour later, Home and Away was over and the boss was watching the tennis.

“Tennis is boring,” said Abigail.

“Hmm?” said the boss. “Why aren’t you in your room?”

“It’s been another half an hour,” she said. “I watched the minute hand and it went halfway around my watch. It’s been literally forever, and I still haven’t had my jelly beans.”

“Oh, forget about your dumb jelly beans,” he said.

Her face crinkled up and tears started forming. “But you promised!”

“I did nothing of the sort.”

“The other man pinky sweared!”

Abigail started cry screaming, then ran into the kitchen and started pulling pans out and throwing them on the floor. “Mike!” yelled the boss. “Mike, can you deal with this, please?”

Mike arrived in the boss’s TV Room. “What’s up?”

“Our guest is having a tantrum in the kitchen.”

“What’s she doing in the kitchen?”

“Exactly what I was going to ask you. Go and sort it out, please.”

So Mike went to the kitchen. Then Mike returned to the TV room. “The kitchen is on fire.”

“What?”

“It’s on fire. Did the kid do this?”

“Shut up and try to put it out.”

And then the sprinkler system turned on.

“I’m wet,” said the boss.

“Good,” said Abigail. “That’s what you get for breaking promises.”

“We’ve gotta put a bell on her,” said the boss.

“All right,” said Mike, “how about I just nip out to the grocery store and grab some jelly beans?”

“You’re not going anywhere,” said the boss.

“Oathbreakers!” roared Abigail, except that now she was seven feet tall, and her eyes blazed with fire. “Give to me what was promised, or face ruination!”

~

Her father picked her up from the charred remains of their building, and looking at it, shook his head. “They really should’ve just gotten the jelly beans.”

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Give It to Your Brother
1195 words



Mom is practically melting behind the glass. It’s August in California, and the prison isn’t air-conditioned. I have a fan behind my chair, as do the other visitors, but I don’t see any for the actual prisoners. A year ago, I would have filed a complaint.

“You look good,” she tells me shyly.

I smile blankly, waiting.

Mom is tense. Last year, before I heard the truth, she was up for parole. A model prisoner, and she also hadn’t killed anyone, not directly. Then she let her secret slip, and I yanked the rug out from underneath us both. She went back down, I lost my job and my wife, and a lot of unforgivable things were said. This is the third time I’ve been back since then, and with every visit, I give her less and less hope. I enjoy this process.

She folded her hands in front of her. “Xavier—”

“I go by Alex now, actually. Alexander White.” She winces. “Yeah, sorry, did I forget to tell you? I had to change my name and move to Petaluma. You know, because of the huge, life-destroying scandal?”

“Okay,” she says wearily, “Alexander. I don’t know how to apologize more than I already have, but—”

“I got the documents from Mr. Gerhardt’s office,” I cut her off. “All of the ones the lawyers needed. They’re in my bank safe.”

She sags in relief. “I knew you would help me,” she said quietly. Her voice is almost blocked by the electronic buzz from the cheap handset.

“I’m on top of everything,” I tell her. In that moment, I don’t mean it as a threat.

Mom was a beautiful hippie chick. In the one picture I still have, she’s smiling and wearing a flower crown, reeling away from the camera as if she were drunk. Her eyes and mouth are wide open, and you can see her big white horse teeth, teeth that she hasn’t had in decades. She looks alive, like I’ve never seen her. By the time I found her again, she was too beaten by prison life to resemble the laughing woman in the photograph.

The story she told me first was that my dad was some random cowboy. We all lived on a huge, half-abandoned ranch, with all kinds of transient laborers coming through. He would order His women to “fish” for scraps of food and pot by sleeping with the men. It wasn’t the happiest origin story, but I was satisfied with the explanation. It wasn’t her idea, after all.

But last year, with her parole hearing looming, Mom got squirrely. I don’t know if the idea of rejoining the world after forty years behind bars was scary, or if she thought it would clean up her karma, or what. All I know is that when she admitted the truth about my father, I rocketed out of my chair and cut her dead. I stopped taking calls from her lawyer. I called the prison and asked to be taken off her approved callers list. I stopped going to work, stopped talking to my wife, and when Mom’s dumbass lawyer went to the media to smoke me out, I lost my loving poo poo. The name changes and new job in Petaluma weren’t even things I could count on. Somehow, eventually, they’d find out, too.

My only succor is that Mom subsequently lost her appeal, and disappeared back under the waves. And that she hadn’t said, for sure, that it was true. Not entirely for sure.

I promised my sister that I would help Mom. She seems to think that the sins of the past would somehow be erased by my cooperation. My parents don’t agree, but they haven’t quite forgiven me for finding her in the first place, let alone this situation. They would be disappointed to see how it’s twisting me, how much delight I’m taking in keeping her at arm’s length like this. I shiver with eerie joy every time I say “maybe” or “we’ll see” or “not right now, but…”

To be honest, I don’t even care that it’s hosed up. I just want to do it.

I made her wait another month without any contact, during which time her lawyer had a screaming breakdown to me over the phone and two new acquaintances stopped returning my calls. One day, drunk and alone- unusual- I called her at the appointed time and said nothing but, “Cheryleen ain’t just stupid, she’s ugly!” and hung up the phone. It devastated her when He said it. I bet this time felt worse. That didn’t feel as good as I thought it might, though.

By the time I make it back to the prison, she’s changed. The air of wounded confusion is gone, and there’s a sinister look in her eye. I slide into my seat and lift the receiver, suddenly cowed.

Mom’s quiet. She’s quiet a long time. Then she sort of straightens up and mesmerizes me with her eyes. Just like He used to. “You wanted to know,” she said simply, “so I told you. To be honest, I can’t believe the thought never crossed your mind”

“I was fine with the original story, I didn’t need to know any more than that.”

“You came looking, knowing what you were gonna find,” she continued, sounding raw. “You knew what happened at the Ranch, how he was to us. The stuff we did, I hope you don’t remember seeing. But I know you do.” Her voice drops almost to a whisper, and I instinctively lean forward. “You had a life, a better one that you would have had with me. I did the right thing back then. So why do you torture me like this? Don’t say I never did something good for you, Xav. I got you away from there.”

I’m still paralyzed. She’s not an old woman anymore. I see His crazy loving green eyes behind her blue ones, I can almost hear His loving voice. She has never stopped being a student of her Master. If I stay here, if I help her, I’ll be letting His crazy back out.

“I’m not coming to court,” I heard myself say. “I’m not testifying. You’re on your own.”

Mom nods, slowly, as if she had expected this. “So, you just proved it,” she says. “You looked just like Him, telling me no to something I need to survive. You’re His son, every piece of you, and I didn’t even have to be the one to say so.” With that, she flashes me a gleeful, almost impish grin.

I don’t even realize that I’m standing and breathing hard until I hear the chair hit the ground. Before I can say anything, the guards are on me. The one near the door has a hand on his gun. I scrabble for the handset, opening my mouth to scream at her. She doesn’t break her stare, and she doesn’t lose the calm, hypnotic tone in her voice when she says, “Don’t come back here.” Then I drop the phone.

If she weeps when I’m forced away, if she laughs, I never find out.

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



Fast Talk
Flash Rule: The only one who doesn't actually care.
1,207 words

Read it at the archive.

Staggy fucked around with this message at 21:33 on Jan 3, 2019

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


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Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




At the White Horse
850 words

(archived)

Pham Nuwen fucked around with this message at 14:01 on Oct 4, 2018

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


Last Rites
Flash: The last holder of a valuable piece of knowledge.
1,335 Words.

Investigator First Class Feren Danil looked over the sketches of the crime scene. Though they were practically carved on the inside of her eyelids, she relished each hatch mark in the drawings, imagining the pain they caused the person sitting opposite her. The killer.

“You must be pretty wet behind the ears to think this would rattle me,” Siil Yreg said. His cold glare dashed any hopes Feren had of gloating. “I’m going to die today, Investigator. Everything else kind of loses its meaning.”

“I would think it would be the opposite.” Feren moved the sketches to the edge of the table between her and Yreg.

“You and everyone else,” Yreg said. “But no, it’s hard to place meaning on any of this.” He gestured to Feren and the sketches.

Feren fixed him with a stare until he met her eyes. She could almost see hope in them. Or was it smugness? She said, “Me and everyone else also think you had an accomplice. The money never turned up and--”

Yreg scoffed before she could finish her thought. He got up from his seat and stood as straight as his chains would allow. “I don’t want to talk about any of that. Why does no one ever want to ask about my essays?”

Feren chewed her lip as she decided her next move. She reached down into her bag and pulled out a sealed envelope. A smirk gave away the obvious pleasure she felt as Yreg noticed the judicial seal. Feren tapped the envelope on the table. “Do you know what this is, Yreg?”

“Judge Cyril overturned my sentence from his deathbed?” Yreg’s feigned excitement was almost amusing.

“If none of this matters, why the games, Yreg? Hmm?” Feren gestured for Yreg to sit. He did, with an exaggerated sigh. “No, you’ll still die today. In about an hour.”

“Here it comes…” Yreg said in a lilting sing-song.

“Unless--” she spoke up over Yreg’s chuckles. “Unless you reveal your accomplice.”

Yreg stared down the investigator. She could feel the weight of his guilt as if it were a physical object just behind his eyes. An upwelling of pity and shame filled her. And then Yreg burst into a madman’s grin.

“You are so predictable, Investigator! Did you just graduate?” He shook his head, rattling his collar. “The same deal has been proposed to me practically every day.”

Feren could only sigh, pack up her things and head to the door of the cell.

“Wait, wait, you’re not giving up are you?” When Feren turned around and saw the pained expression on the condemned’s face she stopped. Yreg continued, “Please, I really want you to figure it out. You really do seem earnest and I’m sorry. For deflecting and whatnot.” He gestured to Feren’s chair.

The squeak of Feren’s chair filled the small cell like a bell’s peal. Feren did not return the sketches to the table.

“I know you want to tell someone before you go, Siil,” Feren said. She smiled at the twitch Yreg betrayed at hearing his name. “Everyone else who might talk to you is dead or given up. And do you hear that?” A faint grinding sound now reverberated through the dungeon. “I think the headsman is sharpening his axe.”

“Yes, I think you’re right, investigator. The perfect accompaniment to my final song.” Yreg dropped his head down and exhaled. “A confession, then. Go with me to the hovel it was planned. A small shack in South Denpol. The floors were muddy and I lived their with my uncle.”

Though brief, the description brought Feren right there. Yreg’s voice droned comfortably and continued, underscored by the grinding of the nearby whetstone.

“A robbery, to alleviate my uncle’s and my squallor. It made sense; find an easy target with excess cash and poor morals. The world would get a little better for having one less rat bastard profiting on the poor. And then better still for the assuredly great things i would be able to do with my new wealth.

“Target chosen, it was a matter of learning his patterns while remaining unknown. I’m sure you’ve read all of my testimony to this. I did it all. The sleepless nights, the listening spells, the divinations. All learned, practiced, and implemented.

Yreg paused, bringing Feren out of her reverie. “Did any of your fellow investigators follow up on those leads? About the witches who taught me? About any of that? No?” He shook his head.

“No,” Feren said. “But I did. It’s just another deflection. There had to have been an accomplice. There’s just no other explanation.”

“Maybe I can persuade you otherwise. So I had almost perfect knowledge of his schedule. This is where I made my mistake. I wanted to see him up close before I went to kill him. To imagine his face contorted in fear, to see if I could hold my resolve. I decided I could. So I killed him a few nights later.

Here Feren picked up, “You killed him in the alley down the street from his villa. But his house was robbed at the same time.”

“Right, right, and surely it would be impossible for me to kill him and rob his house at the same time. Unless there was an accomplice. It’s sound logic, investigator, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. And it’s still not true.”

“And you’re asserting that you used witchcraft to, what, split into two people? Slow down time? What exactly are you saying?”

“No, nothing like that. Though I do admire your imagination. No, the robbery was mostly a distraction. I figured it would throw the investigation off the rails. But you would have known that if you had ever found what I stole.”

That didn’t match with any of Feren’s notes. She said, “Honestly, Yreg, it seems like you’re just messing with me. One last little puzzle before you die?”

“Yes, investigator, and you’re disappointing me quite severely.” Yreg sighed. “Did you notice the grinding has stopped? I’m afraid our time together has run out.”

“I’m stumped, Yreg. You obviously wanted to get away with the murder. And you wanted to prosper from it, which you never did. And you’ve long asserted this about your uncle, who doesn’t exist. You’re either a master manipulator, or not all there in the head. And considering you got caught I’m leaning towards the latter.”

“Trust me, investigator, there’s much more to this. You’ve missed a lot. My uncle did exist, he’s dead now. And you’re right. I didn’t prosper. But he did. Go to the graveyard in South Denpole and look closely at all the headstones.”

An official stepped into the cell and cleared his throat. “Siil Yreg, it’s time.” He unlocked Yreg’s handcuffs and led him to the door.

Before they left, Yreg said, “Investigator, I just gave you the solution. Could you do something for me in return?” At Feren’s terse nod, Yreg continued. “Will you watch? It would mean a lot.”

“Yes, I’ll be there Siil.”

---

After the execution, which was quick and clean, Feren took a carriage to the graveyard. She spent the last light of dusk reading headstones, without learning much. Until she found a stone choked by thorny weeds. Reading the name and date of death, Feren ran to the nearest pub.

“If you have a shovel, won’t ask any questions and want to make some money, come with me now.”

First, Feren had the man from the pub read the headstone aloud. “Siil Yreg. 1109-1124. Yep, that’s what it says. Someone important?”

“More or less. Dig it up, please.” Feren flashed her investigator’s license.

The graveyard was perfectly dark by the time Feren’s conscript had cleared the dirt from the coffin lid. He thudded his shovel on its lid, creating a thick echo. “Sounds empty, ma’am.”

“Open it. Let’s see.”

The man pried the lid off, confirming his suspicions. “Nothin’ here, ma’am.”

“C’mon out, then. And back to the pub. Drinks are on me.”

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


-archived-

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Dec 31, 2018

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




ThirdEmperor posted:

Built On Sand
715 words - The Bureaucrat

[...] I couldn’t even find a word of acknowledge that we were ever there. [...]

I give pre-submission feedback on this story and you have the audacity to accuse me of deliberately sabotaging you by missing this typo?

Brawl me, you gently caress. Acknowledging that you have a quote "busy brawling schedule" I'm fine with a deadline somewhere further out but this will not stand.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Savage Skies of Venus

1084 Words

Flash: The Captain's Mistress

Captain Laverne D’Spiranza had a lover in every port on Venus, people said, and the husband in Justina City besides. But, they would always add, her true love was the Emerald.

Such people are fools. An airship is but wood and cloth and ropes and pitch. Replaceable, rebuildable. What Laverne loved, more than the ones who warmed her bed in the far trading ports or spent her money in the cities, was the idea of the Emerald, her mission and her crew. Some of us more than others. I spend more nights in her embrace than any of those others, during the long journeys out from the ports to our hunting grounds.  It was during one of those intimate moments that we first heard the call, a loud, saurian howl. All hands rushed to the deck.

“Anyone off-shift wearing more than your shoes and smalls is docked two royals for wasting time,” shouted the captain. Most of us were fine, a few even bare-rear end naked but for boots. The heat of the second planet made such an output not unusual, even required on the hottest days.

“But Cap’n,” said Clive, the day weapons master, leader of a small gang in full Venusian pirate dress, short pants and vests. “We weren't even sleeping. The five of us were up gambling.”

Laverne smiled. She always considered any need to disciple sailors who weren't going to wind up going over the siderails eventually a personal failure of leadership. “Well that's all right then.”

The roar came again, loud and angry. “That has got to be the biggest pteranadon on the planet,” remarked Lieutenant Delucio.

“Not a pteranadon,” I muttered.

“What's that, Jane?” said Laverne.

Louder, I repeated. “That's no pteranadon. It's something bigger. A land dweller.”

“Up here?” said Delucio. “You must be drunker than I am.”

“It’s on the Excalibur,” said the captain. Our quarry, a large British air freighter. “Must be close. Eyes wide, watch for gaps in the fog.”

“I know a man in Justina who would pay for the beast,” I said. “No way to transfer it, so we'd have to take the whole ship for a prize.”

“We’re short for crew already,” said Delucio. “Some of the Brits might come over, but might not as well.”

“Flag to port,” shouted Amberlyn from the crow's nest. We turned and saw the Union Jack and soon after, the flags and wings of the Excalibur.

“Guns at ready,” ordered the captain. Clive and his men set to obeying. Then we heard the great beast roar a third time. The sound was not coming from portward, but from above.

I turned my head skyward and saw, just below the cloudline, the hull and bladders of a larger airship. A military airship, the H.M.S. Indomitable. Fire arrows and spears rained down.

“Climb!” shouted Captain D'Spiranza. “To topside guns!” Clive and the crew were already executing. A huge steel-cabled harpoon followed the first barrage from the pirate hunter.

It sank deep into the wood of the hull. Crewmen followed as they were drilled, formed a team of the strongest to attempt to dislodge it. It was to no avail. “Prepare to repel boarders!” yelled Delucio.

“No!” I shouted. “That's more cable than a boarding party needs.” Delucio glared at me. He was always the type to think that outside of the rank structure must mean beneath it, or at least beneath his. But he saw it, a second before I did.

“Back away,” he said. A huge cage screamed down the cable, throwing sparks as the allosaur within roared once more. It landed and the wooden bottom of the cage shattered, the wooden roof breaking away on scored stress lines, and the bars falling outward each direction. The allosaur whipped its tail out in new freedom, knocking sailors and one mast down and over the edge. Sailors fired pistols at it. At nearly nine yards from nose to tail it made an easy target, but the pistol shot did not penetrate its hide. Delucio hit it in the left eye. Enraged and half-blind, it charged him, closed jaws full of razored teeth around his torso, and leaned its head back to swallow the meat torn off the lieutenant's bones.

“Try me, you murderous beast,” said Clive. He had the armory's elephant gun braced to his shoulder. He fired, the recoil tilting the Emerald a fraction of a degree. Heavy shot tore through its plumage and sunk deep into the dinosaur’s flesh.

It charged at Clive, and ran near me, its flailing claw scraping across my chest. It ran past, tumbling over the rail, and scrabbled to stop from falling to the surface. It made contact with the starboard wing and bladder, ruining them in the instant before it lost all grip and disappeared into the fog below.

“All hands!” shouted Laverne. “Abandon ship!” She helped me strap on a parachute as the Emerald began to list. She chose glide wings rather than a chute, and threw me over before following.

I was barely awake, bleeding and near in shock. I knew there was something important I needed to do, eventually realized that my ripcord would need pulling, but my right hand refused to move at all and my left fumbled uselessly at the handle.

Then I saw Laverne, diving at me in glide wings and boots and nothing beside. She reached in and pulled hard on the cord, and the billowing parachute canvas yanked me upward fast as she pulled out of her dive.

I landed roughly, beyond new pain. The Captain gathered the surviving crew she could around me,but with no medic there wasn't much she could do for me. I hadn't strength enough to speak and she hadn’t heart enough, but our eyes spoke volumes.

Mine said 'You must not linger here, you and your crew are near-naked and barely armed, miles of dangerous wilderness from civilization, and night comes soon with tooth and claw.’

Hers replied understanding, and vowed to avenge me a thousandfold, to drive the hated British off Venus forever.

***

Of course, I did not die there. I was found by the marvelous brass doctors of the unknown Venusian ancients, and slowly nursed back to health as I explored their vast and soulless city of automata. It was many years and lovers before our paths crossed again, but those are other stories, for other times.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Pham Nuwen posted:

I give pre-submission feedback on this story and you have the audacity to accuse me of deliberately sabotaging you by missing this typo?

Brawl me, you gently caress. Acknowledging that you have a quote "busy brawling schedule" I'm fine with a deadline somewhere further out but this will not stand.

And now you're drawing attention to said typo while the story is still being judged. Does your cowardly sabotage know no end? Does the shriveled traitorous lump of discount monkey-meat sitting in your chest and masquerading as a heart know no shame, sir?

One month from today. Bad words at ten paces. May the blood gods have pity on the loser's soul. :toxx:

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




ThirdEmperor posted:

And now you're drawing attention to said typo while the story is still being judged. Does your cowardly sabotage know no end? Does the shriveled traitorous lump of discount monkey-meat sitting in your chest and masquerading as a heart know no shame, sir?

One month from today. Bad words at ten paces. May the blood gods have pity on the loser's soul. :toxx:

:toxx: I'm in. My words are gonna be super bad.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Before Sunrise
1355 words

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:31 on Jan 1, 2019

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


Pham Nuwen posted:

I give pre-submission feedback on this story and you have the audacity to accuse me of deliberately sabotaging you by missing this typo?

Brawl me, you gently caress. Acknowledging that you have a quote "busy brawling schedule" I'm fine with a deadline somewhere further out but this will not stand.

ThirdEmperor posted:

And now you're drawing attention to said typo while the story is still being judged. Does your cowardly sabotage know no end? Does the shriveled traitorous lump of discount monkey-meat sitting in your chest and masquerading as a heart know no shame, sir?

One month from today. Bad words at ten paces. May the blood gods have pity on the loser's soul. :toxx:

As much fun as it would be to see you continue tearing strips off each indefinitely, I would be happy to judge this brawl between you two:

Since you have a month, 1500 words is the limit, and since you jokers both apparently both drew it on your word-a-day calendar, your stories must deal with sabotage. Due date is October 2nd, 9pm central time because I have to work early the 3rd, and you have a loving month to work on it.

AllNewJonasSalk
Apr 22, 2017

THUNDERDOME LOSER

He's The President
547 Words

I thought it might be best to start off with a light jog as a way to gauge the President's physical ability. After making sure he was on the treadmill, I set the machine at a low pace and pressed start. As soon as the tread started rolling the president fell off and sent water spilling all over the floor.

I called in one of his assistants and they quickly got the brain back into the vase and on the treadmill. Clearly, the president didn't believe in himself. I was sure of that. I hadn't even seen him attempt to move the vase. A little hop would have sufficed.


“Now, listen, Prez,” I say. “I'm sure you'd like to walk again.”


This gets no response. I haven't worked with many brains in vases before but I'm sure this must be the most sullen vase brain I've met.


All day, I am met with nothing but silence and staring as I try to get the president to come out of his shell. Though, at first, it's hard to tell he's staring until I draw some eyes on his vase. I even go so far as to remove him from the vase and place him directly on the treadmill. This proves to be a bad idea as the president begins to quickly dry out when removed from his domicile.


Eventually, I realize that the problem is that, at the moment, we're entirely within his territory. Often, when trying to make a person ambulatory again, you need to get them somewhere uncomfortable and break them down to their basic self. The president is already just a brain in a jar so all I gotta do is get him out of the White House.


I run the idea by some senior staff and they don't seem to give much of a gently caress either way. They mutter some poo poo about having a world to run and then me and President Brain are off to visit a local neighborhood.


#


Ordinarily I'd be surprised at the low-key way in which the president travels. He doesn't even have a secret service guard to protect his vase. Today this lax security works in my favor as I just load him into my car and off we go.


I'm professionally embarrassed to say that as I drive, I kinda start to unload on him. He's not the most talkative brain in a vase but his listening skills are out of this world. The only people I know that listen this well are corpses.


But we pull up in the neighborhood and I carry him out the car and we make our way towards a playground. The children playing run screaming for their mothers when I put the vase in a swing, push the swing as hard as I can, and watch the president splash his way out of the jar. You'd think these kids had never seen a brain outside of a skull before.


President Brain has terrible survival instincts and makes no attempt at all to brace himself. And that's pretty sad because maybe if he'd tried to save himself the rabid dog waiting around the corner wouldn't have grabbed him and took off.


And that's how I lost the president and learned to love myself.

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


We Can Work It Out
1,367 words
Flash: The one who saw everything.

When Don showed up at my place to marathon kung fu movies, I kept my cool and enjoyed the ride. I didn't even like kung fu movies that much, but he couldn't resist a good marathon. The fact that I ordered a bunch of pizza, chips, soda, and whatever else we can put in our mouths with minimal focus diverted from the movie we watch is just icing on the cake to him. We watched implausible action scenes and have a good time, then Don started to see himself out.

"It's been real, Gene," he said. "Is it just me, or do we not get to spend that much time together? Just the two of us?"

For once, it's not just him. As he reaches for the door, I reach for his shoulder. "Hold on, there's something else I wanted you to see. It'll only take a second," I said.

He rolls his eyes, like I'm asking him to look at some crayon drawing or a picture of bigfoot. Instead, what I bring up on my phone makes his face go slack. It's not great footage of two people loving on my living room couch, especially taken from the second floor banister with blurry white posts visible at either side by someone with a serious flu, but I got their faces well enough. There was Don on top, rearing back, and below him with a red mess of curls lay our friend Phoebe. Not pictured: her boyfriend, Sam and his girlfriend, Leila.

The moment I see his hand twitch, I take the phone away. "Believe me, I didn't want to take that shot."

"How'd you get that?" he asked, looking like his grandma just called him a bitch.

"My house, remember?" I said. The phone's in my pocket, and I've got my hand over it as I glare his way. He's got a head of height on me, and I don't usually stand up this straight. "You agreed to watch it while I was bedridden, on the condition that nothing crazy happened on your watch. No parties, no breaking my stuff or making a mess. Just take care of me and my cat and other stuff."

Don nods along. "Yeah, I did all of that. I even got you food. I just...." He broke eye contact with me. "You know, I thought you were sleeping."

I shook my head. "Like Matt says, you're not always aware of your volume, and the only reason I didn't say not to have a booty call at my place is because I thought you didn't need to be told! gently caress, man!" I threw up my hands. "I've put up with a lot of stuff from you, but this is too much."

"Really?" Don asked. "What did I ever do to you?"

"You don't remember all the favors? Yeah, that's a running theme among our group. Ever since we started hanging out, I keep doing nice things, but whenever I need anything it's always 'maybe later,' or 'I can't make it.' Nobody ever remembers to pay me back, and I just let it happen until I saw you plowing Rachel on my couch."

No look of shame on Don's face, just confusion as he thumbed through his memory, for all the good that would do him. "Okay, what, you feel underappreciated and you're going to blackmail me because of it?"

"It's not like I want to," I said, and that was mostly true. Sometimes Don got on my nerves with his loud laughter at poo poo that wasn't funny, or his habit of talking during movies like the ones we just saw, but he showed me a lot of fun things to do in the city. Everyone in our circle had a lot of plusses to them that I didn't want to lose by making a fuss all these years. Matt and Sam told the good jokes, Leila had good book recommendations, and everybody had fun conversations that were a pleasure to listen to, if not necessarily join in. "I still want to be friends with all of you. Even with everybody taking advantage of me, I'd still be better off with people to hang out with on weekends. Just help me talk everyone else into sharing the load, maybe put our favor system in writing so we're clear on who owes who?"

Don kept frowning. All the cheer he had at seeing Ip Man and Wong Fei Hung kick rear end was long gone. "Alright. I'll tell everyone to go easy on you, since you can't just ask them yourself. Now gimme your phone so I can delete that video."

Instead of giving up my phone to someone who's pissed at me, I show him the screen as I get rid of the evidence myself. "This isn't part of the deal, but I'm gonna recommend you and Rachel stop cheating on people. You two need to decide who you're really in love with, or else things are gonna get awkward between all of us, okay?"

"Yeah, okay," Don mumbled as he reached for the door.

I could feel my anger ebbing away as I said, "Don, I'm sorry about all this. We're still cool, right?"

He hesitated and looked me up and down. "Yeah, we're cool." Then he left.

-----

The next week Sam showed up at my place to talk about his breakup with Phoebe. He tried to keep things cool as he took me to a new action movie, but before the first act ran its course he excused himself and left the theater for the night. I sat in my seat, the sound of gunshots going in one ear and out the other. The first time he ever paid for someone else's movie ticket, and the mood made it impossible to appreciate. When I got back I heard Matt talk about his night propping up Leila after her own breakup.

A few months later, she stopped showing up to our get-togethers. Officially, she'd found a nice job in a new city and had to move away, but after he helped her move, Matt told me she couldn't stand seeing Don sit next to Phoebe every week. Even if she just thought he moved on at record speed, that had to sting. Somehow I didn't think of that.

The awkward silences kept growing, and people kept finding reasons not to speak up in public. After the umpteenth isolated, utilitarian sentence, devoid of color and surrounded by nothing, I took initiative.

"Are you guys having fun?" I asked.

Matt nodded, though he looked unsure. Phoebe and Sam didn't react. Don looked right at me.

Next week we didn't see Don or Phoebe.

-----

"I think I hosed things up," I told Matt, when it was just the two of us sitting on a park bench. Things got better without direct reminder of the time I blackmailed one of my best friends.

After he heard my story, he laughed, but stopped when he saw the hangdog look on my face. "Sorry, man. I'm just having a hard time believing it. Not the part about Don and Phoebe, I mean. I saw that coming a mile away."

"You don't think I could have done any of that?"

"I dunno, you still seem like a pretty nice guy, Gene. If we were bothering you so much, why didn't you say anything?"

I sighed. "I don't know. The words just wouldn't come out. It was easier to just go with the flow. Even when the last straw broke I needed the video for help." My fingers folded together as I watched people who looked more functional going on their way. Another group of friends had a picnic on the other side of an oak tree. "Maybe I should have just let things be."

Matt just shrugged. "We'll never know, man. Best thing we could do is move on." After a moment of looking at the clouds, he looked back at me. "Think my brother could tag along next time?"

"Yeah," I said. "He sounds cool." As we discussed plans, I thought of how I'd make new friends. This time I'd get it right.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




1 hour left. Don’t make me buy you a failure-tar.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


Freefall: 699 words.
Flash: the first to escape


Graham swallowed a whole roll of Tums dry and politely rebuffed Ben’s proffered thermos of coffee.

“Little early for me. Besides, I don’t go for that flavored poo poo,” Graham said into the headset to be heard over the roar of the engines.

Something about the smell set him on edge, though he’d welcome its heat about now. It was cold as hell in the plane. Soon enough, they’d be ready to jump.

Ben gave him one of those little smiles that didn’t touch his eyes. That wounded “oh, I’m sorry to have burdened you with my kindness” look. He’d sort it out later. You learned things about a man when you’d run a company together for this long.

“Suit yourself. Love to see those SEC cocksuckers on this plane, huh? Don’t think they’d make it out of the hangar.” Ben gave him a friendly pat on the back and wedged past him to offer the pilot some coffee.

An investigation was all but guaranteed. Though his Spanish had seen better days, Graham knew the financial papers he’d had gotten from the kiosk in Buenos Aires had been grim. There wasn’t much room for interpretation in “Ben Minchner Implicado en Escándalo de Seguridad.” as a headline. miNos’s stock might as well have been on the plane with them given how fast it was going to plummet.

“You’re quiet.” Ben emerged from the cockpit. “We’ll be on the boat soon. We can unplug, wait for all this poo poo to blow over. It always does. Trust me.”

Graham clutched his duffel bag full of his spearfishing gear and zinc oxide and deck shoes to keep his hands from shaking.

“Yeah. Listen, do you think—“ the plane pitched and he lost his train of thought along with the medialunas he’d eaten on the way to the airfield.

“Sit tight. I’ll go see what’s up,” Ben said with another slap on the back. Graham probably had a callus by now.

He gripped the edge of his seat as the detritus on the plane’s floor began to shift toward the cockpit.

“I can’t believe it. It’s a sign,” Ben said as he emerged from the cockpit. He had his goggles on and was already tightening the straps to his chute.

“What? Is everything all right?” Graham asked, tasting bile.

“Well,” nothing good ever followed that, “no, actually. He’s dead. Heart attack or something. But it’ll all work out. I was gonna tell you on the boat, once you’d calmed down, but we’re screwed, legally.”

“You told me—“ Ben cut him off by extending his index finger, like he was a waiter.

“It doesn’t matter what I told you anymore. Far as anyone’s concerned, we died in this plane crash. Why do you think we’re slumming it in one of these lovely countries? They don’t extradite. We can start over. It’ll be fine. Trust me.” Ben reached across the bench to slap Graham’s back, and for the first time in their relationship, Graham flinched.

“Heh. I’ll see you on the ground.” Ben discarded his headset, opened the door, and jumped.

As the silk of his chute unfurled, Graham saw the logo for their company, as he had a thousand times: two circular labyrinths, overlapping in a Venn Diagram, the letters standing out in the middle through the cross hatching. The first breaking rays of dawn shone on it, and like a moiré pattern, it appeared for a moment to be spun from the purest gold.

Graham didn’t like it, but what choice did he have? Story of his life. He went to the cockpit to grab his chute.

The pilot’s phone sat underneath it. They were low enough to get reception. It wouldn’t be long before they crashed. The homepage was CNN. Even though the thermos rolled, empty, next to it, its display warped through the coffee, Graham could see the headline clearly as the mountains in front of him:

“miNos CEO Takes Plea, Implicates CFO Graham Osborn”

He’d had trouble placing the scent earlier, mistaking it for vanilla. There was no mistaking the telltale bitter almond stench now. Graham checked his chute, and his cords had been cut.

The radio in Graham’s pack crackled.

“What’s keeping you, buddy?” Ben asked, cheerful as ever.

Graham plucked the radio from the pack and unzipped his duffel. He loaded the harpoon gun intended for dorado and lowered his goggles to block out the sun. Ben had turned his back on him.

“How’s the air?” Graham said into the radio.
“Beautiful. I’ll see you at the bottom?” Not a tinge of guilt in his voice.
“Yeah.” Graham took aim. “See you at the bottom.” He pulled the trigger.

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I disqualify myself, as I went pretty far over the word count and several passes later still can't get it down. Didn't want to fail though.

Prompt: The former Alpha male or female

Full Measures, or "All Four Inches"
~1800 words

Charlie let out a frustrated sigh as he pressed the tips of his fingers into his forehead. A flash of pain flared through his temples again and again like a pounding drum.

"They're going to be here any minute," a thuggish-looking subordinate in a dirty wife beater reminded him.

"loving slant-eyed bastards!" a burly thug exclaimed from the corner of the room, slamming his fist into the wall in a fit of rage. Nearby ruffians parted to give him space.

A commotion of chatter erupted amongst the dozen men that had gathered in an unmarked storage warehouse, one of their organization's business holdings.

"You're Crazy Charlie, dawg, you always got a plan!" a low-level thug shouted out from the back of the room, drawing all eyes towards him and leaving a harsh silence as the men all turned back towards their boss.

Charlie dug into his forehead again, the pain swelling up momentarily. "Pablo? Ideas?" he asked, turning to the man at his side.

"Remember what the ol' man used to say? 'know your opponent's move before they play it, and make it first', Char," the man chimed in, taking a puff of a cigarette.

"Yeah, well if we knew they were coming, might have," Charlie responded, clearly frustrated.

"We've got this. You'll think of something," Pablo said in reassurance, putting a hand down on Charlie's shoulder. A loud tinny rapping echoed through the warehouse as a series of knocks came, followed by dead silence.

Charlie signaled another man in the corner with a hesitant nod. With the tug of a rope, the garage-like roll-up shutters slowly lifted off the ground, exposing the night and several well-dressed Japanese men in full suits.

"Remember not to insult them, They value respect and honour." Charlie whispered to his seconds-in-command.

The thugs parted down the middle to make way for the group. The man at the head of the group came to a stop at the head of the room in front of the three, adjusted his tie, and motioned. A smaller man wearing shades and a brimmed leather hat slowly approached. The Japanese men had a decade or more on average over the local thugs, as the years tacked on scars, grey hairs, and overall style. The boss, however, appeared to be ancient by comparison.

"Charlie. How is business?" the small man said, commanding silence from even the crickets lurking in the night as he raised the dark glasses off his eyes. He had a thick Japanese accent, but pronounced every English masterfully, as a true business professional would.

"Tanaka-san. Well, it has been a little slow.." Charlie responded, avoiding eye contact.

A scowl quickly formed on Tanaka's face. He swiftly struck Charlie across the face, open-handed. 「ふざけんな、このやろう、」 he raged, as Charlie's lackeys looked on helplessly. The yakuza men watched coldly, not flinching at all. He continued:

"We had an agreement. We let you go about business, my group takes 50 percent."

"Well, we didn't exactly agree on anything.." Charlie was cut off before he could finish.

"We have eyes. It is time to pay up. JIRO! YOSHI!" Tanaka called out, raising a hand. Two menacing yakuza stepped forward, rolling their jacket sleeves up to reveal elaborately tattooed muscular arms. They came up and each grabbed one of Charlie's shoulders, pinning him to the wall.

"Do you know what we do to those who dishonour us?" Tanaka asked, moving in close enough that his breath rustled the scruffy whiskers of hair that grew scantily under Charlie's nose.

Charlie tried to hold back his disgust and gathered his composure to answer with a straight face. "I heard you make them cut off their finger."

The boss smirked and let out a chuckle. 「おい!、みんなよく聞てくれ。この馬鹿は小指が十分と思ってる、」 he shouted, turning to face his subordinates briefly. A crowd of laughter and random Japanese erupted amongst the yakuza at their boss's proposition.

Charlie's monstrous migraine struck back as he began to realize his mistake.

Tanaka stared Charlie down once again. "Fingers is for our family. YOU, are Vermin. For Vermin, we will cut off your dick," he spoke with a spiteful smirk on his lips. "Vermin cannot reproduce."

The two tattooed men released Charlie, rolling down their sleeves and brushing off their suits as they rejoined the group.

"We will be back in the morning. 6 AM, SHARP," Tanaka grinned as he finished the sentence, chuckling at his own joke and explaining it his subordinates in Japanese as they began to walk away. The sounds of their laughter could be heard through the shutters, which came down with a rusty clang immediately following the exit of the last one.

"That man's breath is rear end," Charlie muttered loudly under his breath, afraid that one of the yakuza might hear him.

"Well, there ya go, 'boss'," the wife beater wearing thug spoke up. "We're hosed, aren't we?"

"That's enough, Juan," Charlie interjected. "I'll fix this. Go home guys, you don't want to be here in the morning."

No one budged. Dissatisfied pleas filled the air. "What if they come for us too," the largest thug in the room exclaimed, visibly shaken.

"GET. THE gently caress. OUT," Charlie yelled at the top of his lungs. "I'm crazy loving Charlie." He nodded to the doorman, who pulled open the shutters.

"Can't argue with that," the man in the wife beater said, giving Charlie a pat on the back. Charlie grabbed his arm. "Juan, Pablo. We're going out back."

As the rest of the thugs filed off into the dark, the three figureheads remained.

---

Dawn reared its unwelcome light on the shutters of the warehouse as the yakuza began to gather around the area. The boss's limo pulled up, and the door was opened by one of the lower-ranking brothers of the group. As Tanaka climbed out, a couple of men began to beat on the door with their fists. 「おいいコッッッッッッッラ、出て行け!」 

From the back room, Pablo and Juan escorted Charlie out, bags under their eyes after countless hours of planning, arguing, and ultimately deciding on a course of action to take. Pablo stayed at Charlie's side, as if holding him up while Juan ran over to open the shutters for their guests.

Charlie was barely alert. However, his eyes reflected a trance of dire stoicity.

Tanaka approached with the two henchmen from last night close behind. He wore an impatient frown.

"Do you hear that?" he looked at each of the three men, no one said a word.

"It's a mockingbird. In Japan, we don't have mockingbirds. In Japan, we don't get up to do business at 6 AM in the loving morning, with the birds. In Japan everyone KNOWS, you do not gently caress with the yakuza."

With a gesture, he signaled the two henchmen to approach. They stood ready at his sides, one of them pulling out a butterfly knife and unfurling it with a flashy display of air-calligraphy.

"Do you have our money?" Takana demanded, leaving mere centimeters distance between his face and Charlie's. Charlie simply looked him dead in the eye without a blink.

The next ten seconds felt like a minute, but Charlie was completely unfazed, unintimidated.

"Hrmph." The mere sound of Tanaka's displeasure with the lack of response was signal enough for Jiro and Yoshi to make their move. Yoshi weaved his knife through the air menacingly as he stood at Tanaka's side directly in front of Charlie, while Jiro had slipped behind and grabbed Charlie under the arms to restrain him. More yakuza henchmen stood nearby the help if necessary, but Charlie was not putting up a fight.

"You think we are joking?" Tanaka shouted loudly, then looking towards Yoshi and nodding sternly. He stood in wait patiently as his subordinate put his hands around Charlie's waistband and began to tug away at his pants.

The pants were tugged forcefully down Charlie's legs, crumpled in a pile at his feet.

A murky cloud of blood obscured the area between Charlie's legs where his member had once been. 「なんだこら。。」 exclaimed Yoshi, dropping his knife and taking a step back. The entire mob of Yakuza stood in silent shock. With a downwards glance, Jiro quickly released Charlie and retreated off to the side.

Tanaka's mouth was agape. "What is the meaning of this?" he demanded, in confusion.

The anger within Charlie began to intensify as his face suddenly twisted into a state of dead seriousness. "Hey, dickface. Looking for this?" He said, with the disposition of a bad-rear end ready to lunge forth and bite the neck of a large game animal. He reached into his coat pocket and in the blink of an eye, slapped Tanaka across the face with his own bloodied, severed dick. The balls that had been attached to Charlie just hours before struck the corner of Tanaka's lips with enough force to send him reeling, and the whole package flew out of Charlie's hand, and splattering against the wall with an oozy, "Sploorp".

Charlie's eyes bugged out as he glared icy daggers straight into Tanaka's skull. "I'm ... crazy ... Ch-Charlie, BIIIIITCH," he managed to push the words out of his lips, overcome with a different kind of disbelief himself.

Tanaka looked over to the severed dick in the corner, then back to Charlie, then around the room in a panic, unable to respond.

「組長がチンチンのよう臭くやがった!」 shouted the closest yakuza, fanning his nose with one hand as if someone had just farted.

"BOSSU IS, DIKKU FEISU!" exclaimed one of the yakuza standing off to the side, pointing at Tanaka, as if accusing him of some horrible crime. Laughter erupted like a volcano as every single member of the yakuza began to point mockingly towards either Tanaka or the dick.

Tears began to well up in Tanaka's eyes just as the group began to chant. "DIKKU FEISU! DIKKU FEISU! DIKKU FEISU!" Disgraced, he turned and stumbled away from the group, struggling to reach a full-sprint's pace.

The mobsters all began to run after him, shouting various taunts in Japanese. 「おい! ちょっと待ってよ、ディックフェイスやろう!呼吸で妊娠しようぜ!」 could be heard in the morning sun, amidst the cries of the mockingbirds and other small fowl.

Charlie calmly pulled his pants up, unbuckling his belt to fit them properly around his waist, then re-buckling it. He limped over to the corner where he scooped up his old friend, and put it back in his coat pocket, fastening the button before collapsing into a nearby chair with a sigh of relief.

"How's it hanging, Char? Doing ok?" asked Pablo, once again placing his hand on Charlie's shoulder to comfort him.

Charlie said nothing but gave a slight nod.

"Ay, Crazy Charlie," exclaimed Juan, walking over to greet the two. "I guess when it came down to it, you put your balls to the wall and did what had to be done," he said, breaking off into laughter. Pablo joined in with the infectious laughter.

Charlie was oblivious to the laughter, still in his trance state. His head no longer throbbed with the stress of being a little fish. Once again, he was the cock of the walk.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




BabyRyoga posted:

I disqualify myself, as I went pretty far over the word count and several passes later still can't get it down. Didn't want to fail though.

I applaud your non-failure. Having written all these words it would have been a great shame not to post them.

Whether you DQ, however, is at the discretion of me, the Queen of Everything.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Wordcount: 1399
Flash: very very good at maths

Powerless

People tell me I'm smart. Maybe. Some things come easily to me. Some things, not so much.

I did a bit of questioning recently concerning Riemann surfaces of inverse functions of meromorphic functions. The faculty seemed surprised by my line in enquiry, but when I showed them how if I answered my questions with a specific set of base assumptions, it shed light on Bernstein's problem in higher dimensions, but if I took other axioms as true, I could finally distinguish real and complex Monge–Ampère equations. This matters because it shows how important those initial axioms are, and how much can change if you vary them.

I also asked a girl out. Linda works in the faculty office, doing copying and admin. She had straight hair, and her clothes were also very straight. I think she irons them. She said no, though, when I asked her. About going out - not about the ironing. I didn't ask again. When you've been given the answer, you don't need to check your working. Maybe if I'd brought flowers, though.

I'm doing my post-doc here at the university. It's a good place, mostly. Very quiet, polite people. I have an office I share with another postgraduate, Tom. He's never around - I don't think he takes his research seriously. Always lurking around Linda. Or trying to get me do something other than work. "Lets go to the pub," he might say at half past one in the afternoon, or "Have you seen this amusing comic about injective factors?" And then he will email it to me.

I have set up a rule on my email program to delete his attachments so I don't have to read his amusing comics about injective factors. This leaves me with more time to consider the nature and impact of fundamental axioms. I am particularly intrigued with how they can be computed using non-binary representations. I think investigating how observation might impact axiomatic representations in qubits could lead to some fruitful areas of study.

***

"Man, Linda" I say, jumping to sit on the copier, "You should check out my officemate's work sometime. It is the weirdest! Charles is beyond mortal comprehension. If Charles ever cracked a smile his face would fall off."

"Get out of the way, Tom, you idiot," she tells me, smiling. "Some of us actually have to work for a living."

She pushes me off and I land crooked - exaggerating it into a pretend stumble by waving my arms. I feign a hurt look. "PostGrad - it's the life of the mind, babe, so it may not look like actual work..."

She gives me the once over and I know she's thinking "looks alright to me!" I wink brazenly at her as she turns to head back to her desk. She shakes her head, long dark hair waving down her back, but she's still smiling.

I hang around the copier a while, doing the copying I invented a need for. Anything to escape room 342.

The machine stops with the gentle hiss of sliding paper. I gather up my pages and make to go bug Linda again - when I see Charles, my officemate, standing there, calm as you please, right beside her desk.

He has flowers. Oh My Freaking God, he's trying to give them to her.

I duck out of sight, but cannot resist immediately peeking to see what's going on. He's wearing the same cheap suit he always wears, his arm outstretched and holding the bouquet.

She's shaking her head, getting up to leave, and he's still standing there with his arm out. Thank Christ there's no one else here, because if I were him I'd be dying right now. He seems to snap out of it when she finally goes. He even glances in my direction and I whip my head back around behind the shelves. I am sorely tempted to whistle innocently.

Poor bastard. That's gotta be rough. I should check on him. I know - I'm a saint.

I idle a bit, to make sure it doesn't look like I'm following him, and then make my way to our home away from home, room 342. But he's not in, for once.

His screen is on, though, and I'm nosey. There's a bunch of qubit circuit diagrams of a complexity that I cannot imagine ever understanding. But I can understand the text at the top. Fundamental Uncollapsed Axioms Attempt V14.0

Briefly, I wonder what happened to the other 13, then shrug off to the pub.

***

"Get out of the way, idiot," you say as you push Tom off the copier. "Some of us have to actually work around here."

He lands smartly, snapping to a salute. "Yes, Ma'am." Then he gives you a mock pout. "Though I am actually hard at work right now. It's called the life of the mind! Very taxing, and that's why I require your photocopying skills."

You laugh out loud, and turn away. Lazy beggar can do his own drat photocopying. You're halfway to your desk when you see the figure in the suit approach from the office door, hands behind his back.

"Um, Hi Linda," says Charles.

You've always liked Charles. The way he wears a suit to work, even though he's still a student. The center parting. The way he takes things seriously. Sure,Tom's a good looking lad, might be fun to mess around with, but Charles…

"Hi Charles." You catch yourself fluttering your eyelashes.

Charles reveals one hand from behind his back, holding the most beautiful bouquet of peonies. "Linda, would you like to go to have lunch me, er, with me" he says, in an adorable, tumbling rush.

You would, and you tell him so. You take his flowers with one hand and his arm with the other and the two of you walk down the isle of empty faculty office desks, like a lonely wedding.

Charles is stealing glances at you, as if he can't believe his luck. He stammers out that he has lunch reservations, but he needs to show you something in his office first. "Oh, Charles," you laugh, "and on the first date?"

He blushes beetroot, but guides you around the floors until you are beside his desk in room 342. There's so many coloured circles and lines on his PC screen that it looks like the London Underground map. You look at him questioningly. "Your maths stuff?"

"Ah , yes - this is what I've been working on, my 23rd variation, apparently. It's quite, erm, cool." As the subject turn familiar, Charles' voice drifts into a confident purr that you like the sound of. "I'm not worried about mathematical building blocks like addition and subtraction. It's tweaking the axioms that underlie formal systems. If you do so in a representation of the axioms on a quantum computer, the representation counts as an observation and the representation coheres - in real life. I've literally been tweaking the underlying foundations of reality."

"Woah," you say. "To do what?"

Charles coughs, and gestures weakly at the flowers in your hand. "Getting you to have lunch with me. You don't mind do you?"

You tell him you don't mind at all and watch the relief pass across his face. "Thank God," he whispers, as much to himself as to you.

Over lunch, you chat about this and that, enjoying Charles coming out of his shell. He's a good talker, and a good listener. At one point, you ask how he can have so many different variations. It's not like he asked you out before.

"Good Question," he says. "It seems not only that you can't step into the same river twice, you can't collapse the same waveform twice either. When I started looking I found 22 other axiom representations, pre-collapsed, their incremental changes triangulating the requirements of this one. Multi-dimensionally speaking, this isn't my first rodeo."

You watch his mouth move, finding his lips increasingly kissable.

"The odd thing was," he continues, "I would stumble over other, unrelated, collapsed waveforms, angling toward me and my research. Like I was being ...

He trails off, and you watch his face wrinkle as it wrestles with an unsolved puzzle. Then, delightfully, he smiles and a light in his eyes shines like you were the only real thing in the universe.

You wonder what chance a girl has against eyes like that.

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

SUPPLICANT
Word count: 1372

“I don’t remember calling you to my chambers.”

“You did not.”

“And yet here you are.”

The boy before the warlock trembled, with his head, fully bound in gauze, bowed. The boy clenched his fists, and through the narrow slits in his wrappings that allowed sight, lifted his head and locked eyes with his master.

“I want my freedom.”

Towards any other servant, Khaziek would have brought his scepter upon their head. But the boy was different. Indentured or free, there was possibly no one like him.

***

He had acquired the boy from the orphanage. Before it burned down, it was an open secret that labour there could be had there for cheap. Though necromancy provided the most cost efficient labour, Khaziek, to his chagrin, could not reanimate corpses to do his bidding. Thus, he paid a visit to the orphanage. No pretense to be a caring guardian was necessary, for the matron was satisfied to have anyone relieve her of the human overflow. Khaziek was certain he could easily find a handful of children of sufficient health and intelligence. What he encountered instead were halls crammed with the sick and the malnourished.

As he perused the orphanage for something of worth, his eye caught three boys as they dragged alongside them a much smaller child. Their hands clamped over his head to muffle his screams, as they threw him into a room. The three boys slunk in, and locked the door behind them. Curious, Khaziek muttered a simple incantation, and peered through the walls.

The room lights were off. The boys had a torch between them. They surrounded the child, who had a sack over his face.

“Gonna to get it now, freak.”

“You scared?”

“Thought you’d get away with stopping us from getting our share of the food, huh?”

Standing as calmly as he could, the child replied through the sack.

“We all need to eat as much as you do. You could all stand to be leaner.”

They shoved the child, his back smacking the wall before sliding to the ground.”

“gently caress you! Half the kids here can barely hold a spoon. Food’s wasted on the lot of them.”

“I can hold mine.”

“Not after today you won’t.”

“Promising,” thought to himself Khaziek’s as he witnessed the proceedings. The three boys seemed capable of the work he had in store. He decided to approach the matron after for their adoption as soon as the violence was done with. But the violence proceeded differently than he imagined.

“When we’re done with you, your body’s going to match that face of yours.”

“Nah. Let’s do it other way around.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’re going to be beat the ugly out of him.”

“Beat him with a handsome stick? Hah!”

“Yeah freak. We’re doing you a favour. Once this is over, you might be able to earn pity shags from the girls.”

“You might even have a shot at Gladia.”

“Yeah like—what the gently caress did you say?”

“To be honest, Gladia’s a bit stiff.”

“You pricks loving touched my sister?!”

A punch shot out. One of the boys dropped to ground.

“Hey, it wasn’t me!”

“Don’t loving lie to me! I know what I heard.”

“And I know what I said! Unlike you, I’m not tafford enough to spill my shag streak.”

“You know what my sister went through before we came here. To even talk like that…”

“Piss off with your sob story. Yer dad shoulda diddled her some more.”

“Who the gently caress wants to gently caress Gladia anyway?”

“Apparently, a daughter only a father would gently caress.”

Another fist went flying. And another. Khaziek stood astonished, barely able to tell which boy was speaking for themselves. For the boy who said that he had not spoken first spoke in truth. Something was mimicking not just their voices, but the very direction from which the voices were heard. As the boys descended to fighting themselves, the child intended for their torment quietly crawled away. The child opened the door, and slid out. Gingerly closing the door behind the bloodshed, he faced Khaziek and gasped.

“Those boys killing themselves. Is that your doing?”

“I… I…”

“Stop stammering boy. Answer me. Did you set those boys upon themselves?”

“Please don’t tell the matron. I have nowhere else to go.”

Khaziek stopped to think. He knew a handful of audiomancers able to perform what this child had done, and it required years of practice. This child could be no older than ten.

“Why do you wear that sack?”

“My face. I was born with my face… missing.”

“Show me.”

“Please don’t ask me to do that.”

“Show me now, or I tell the matron.”

The child responded immediately. As he lifted the sack from his head, Khaziek winced. What confronted him look as if nature had clawed out a fistful of the child’s face. What flesh remained appeared to have been crudely folded over, leaving misaligned eyes, and a cavity which Khaziek assumed served as a mouth.

“Put the sack back on.”

Relieved, the boy did so.

“Tell me boy, are you happy with your life here?”

“N-No.”

“Then let me offer you a way out…”

***

Eight years had passed since the day he took the boy from the orphanage. He proved himself a most auspicious asset. In Khaziek’s mind, it was a blessing that nature had made him irredeemably ugly, for the boy remained fearful of being seen by the world. What could have prompted him now to seek his way out from his grasp? Khaziek sought to crush his aspiration.

“Why should you ask for your freedom?”

“The law states that having done five years of service, an indenturee may demand their emancipation.”

“I know what the laws state. I’m asking you why are you asking for your freedom. Are you not grateful for what you have here? From what I rescued you from?”

“I will never forget that you took me away from that misery. But I remember that you had asked me if I was happy.”

“I give you food, clothes, and shelter. More than you would have ever had if the orphanage had not burned.”

“My misery is lessened. But I have never been happy here. I have served you faithfully. But I want out. Now.”

Khaziek gave a sigh and stood out of his chair.

“Boy, what could you possibly want outside my confines? I am doing you a favour, keeping you here.”

“You keep me hidden. You siphon credit for all my works and pass it off as your own.”

“Is that so?”

“I too can see through walls. Even better than you.”

In a flash, Khaziek was immediately beside the boy, who yelped as he was kicked to his knees.

“You forget your place, boy! You presume to think that you are ready to face the world now? Perhaps a simple reminder should dispel that foolishness.”

“What are you doing?”

“Tell me, when was the last time you looked yourself in the mirror?”

It was indeed some time since the boy had seen his reflection, for the gauze that Khaziek had enchanted was self-cleaning to prevent infection. There was no need to take it off, except to see the face beneath. In one hand, Khaziek gripped the boy’s head, while in another, he held a mirror.

“No, please! Don’t take it off.”

“You need a reminder boy! See yourself!”

The gauze was torn away. The mirror was held in his face. With malformed eyelids he could not control, the boy could not even close his eyes from the sight before him.

It was worse than he remembered, even in the span of just a few years, the ugliness had metastasized far beyond what he thought possible. He stared at the self-monstrosity and wept.

Khaziek let go of the boy.

“You think you are ready to face the world. But tell me, do you think the world is ready to face you? Forget about leaving. It’s safe here.”

Khaziek walked back to his chair.

“Take your rags and go. If you cannot bind them yourself, I will weave new gauze for you tomorrow. Now leave.”

His head bowed once more, the boy left the chambers.

[Edited to remove some grammatical issues. Disqualify me if necessary]

M. Propagandalf fucked around with this message at 05:02 on Sep 3, 2018

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Time’s up: Submissions are closed.

I believe we have two stories missing. You have until judgement is posted (which is at least 24 hours away) to post a story, regain the respect of your peers, and avoid the very special Yoruichi-dono failure-tar.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Interprompt! 400 words, 'the deadliest pudding'

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Bring It Right Here

"Actually," said the tall man in the trilby, "Figs aren't technically vegan, because the male wasp-"

And that when I shot him, your honor.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



With Apologies to Thranguy 2: Okay, Lunchbox, Let's Try This Again

Jigglety wigglety,
Dorothy Worthington's
Flans for the bake sale left
Seventeen dead.

New "car'mel" flavoring,
Mycotoxiferous --
Why the experiment?
"Vegan," she said.

AllNewJonasSalk
Apr 22, 2017

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Too Many Teeth

There's a very bad pudding. I taste it with the tongues between each of my toes. Mother pours the pudding out for me to walk through every morning. It's the only thing I eat. Every day. Once every 24 hours.

Mother says that the pudding will make me big and strong, but mostly it just makes the teeth between my toes smell like poo poo. I spend many hours in the bathroom brushing my teeth. I use the same toothbrush for the set in my mouth that I do for the ones below. My toothbrush tastes of fungus.

A boy in my class told me that my breath smelled terrible. I cried and mother paddled him. I cried more after the paddling as I am the only boy in my class. Mother says that she's never had a student like me. I believe her as I'm the only student she's ever had.

My mother loves me very much. She doesn't allow me to leave the house because the people outside won't love me at all. She says they just won't understand a handsome boy with tongues between his toes and a finger where his nose should be.

The very bad pudding is filled with very bad things. It's a deadly pudding. Things made from the refuse of the neighborhood children are often deadly and very bad indeed.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Unlike certain people who will not be named, I'm a good person. Therefor, crits for all!


The One Who Was First by Erainor

It’s an improvement. It’s not good. ‘Guy changes prices, laughs so hard his entire life changes’ isn’t a story so much as it’s… One thing that happens and then we cut to the end to find it solved all the protagonist’s problems. There’s a real problem with just telling us things, instead of showing them, typified by the ending where they just rave about how good the protagonist’s life was after that. It doesn’t help that, well, he made all his coworker’s lives worse, made their lovely jobs that much more crushing to aleviate the weight on his own being, he was A Bad Guy and, if you had to go for such a simple story, it should have at least ended with a satisfying amount of consequence for him.

And in the end, is changing the price of sundries interesting? It’s not. It’s just not.

Low. I’m not sure how this is supposed to match the prompt you were given.

I Want Candy by Chairchucker

S’okay. It made me smile. I never quite laughed, but there were faint snorting sounds as the rapid clip and the goofy interactions kept me zooming along. I’ll say it didn’t feel at all like 1,400 words, and that’s probably a good thing, it was light, crisp, moderately delightful. If there’s one fault in the execution it was that the punchline, while didn’t go far enough to be satisfying. I’d already caught on that she was some kind of supernatural thing, and I think you meant for that to be fairly obvious, so that end beat really needed to go farther than I was expecting for it to add anything to the humor.

Overall, middling. Good execution until the end, slightly unambitious.

Give It to Your Brother by Fleta McGurn

My head is spinning. This was an ugly, brutal knife-fight of a story that hurt to read. Good. That’s how a bad family is. The bad here, and it is a hell of a mark against a story with some strong bones underlying, is I don’t know what the gently caress is going on.

As best as I can figure out, the protagonist’s dad was the leader of a cult, and mom killed some people for money on his behalf. Maybe. Possibly. There were lots of good little snippets of description floating atop a big sea of implications I barely understood. What was given to the brother? What did the mom admit? How truly complicit was she, and is the son totally justified in loving her over or not? How is it so bad that people ghost him for being associated?

These are non-rhetorical questions please answer them. Low middle, the good bits are too good for me to hate this.

Fast Talk by Staggy

Snappy. The pacing here is strong enough to notice, with good crisp sentences and longer breathless ones stretched out by buzzwords and Corporate Capitalization. S’good. There’s a grim humor to how pointless and small the protagonist’s want for a glass of water really is. There’s an excitement when he stands. The emotions aren’t deep but they’re there, and expressed with crisp clarity.

High.

At the White Horse by A Literal Dog Turd

If this story is about people coming together to cope with the apocalypse, I think I needed to walk away understanding much more about these people. There are two characters, and they’re both as shallow as a shotglass. I think you lean to hard on music here to evoke sentimentality, to me, it came off as mawkish. A little more banter and a little more depth could have gone a long way.

Low middle. Brisk pacing and a short word count does some work to cover up the faults.

Last Rites by apophenium

You have a rough start to this story, and I come out the gates confused until it clicks. Is this a victorian fantasy story? It certainly fails to feel like one. The dialect is wrong, the voice feels like a modern thriller and the cliches are borrowed directly from our modern-day concept of the mastermind murderer toying with the diligent investigator. You really needed a better start, that set the tone properly.

You also need a better ending, because no, I don’t know what happened here. Gave it second read through. Asked someone else. Still no. And as it’s a mystery, and the clever solution is the whole point, that lack of clarity is all it takes to condemn this story.

Low. Having some stakes to the conflict might have helped, maybe.

Savage Skies of Venus by Thranguy

This is a pulp story about sky-sailing dinosaur hunters and yet, it never really explodes off the page like I think it should. I think, if anything, you mimic too well the competent but slightly stale prose of the average pulp, the strange pacing more concerned with banter and juggling too many characters to leave room for pulse-quicking action. In the best version of this, you’d find a way to condense the pulpy vibe you’re going for rather than carry over its faults.

I did love the implication that the protagonist is some shadowy agent, and the ending. The dialogue was snappy. But I wish it had reached it’s full potential.

High Middle.

Before Sunrise by Sebmojo

Of all the stories to make me say What this week, this is the one where it feels good and intentional and even if I don’t quite understand it I get enough to put some bones beneath this romp, this montage of scenes, and I like it. I always enjoy this kind of writing, full of small details. Going through a tour of wildly different, interesting bits of scenery as I try to piece things together, that’s a fun trip. The mystery adds a little shape to the journey and the journey justifies itself with solid prose. This piece felt very science-fiction despite the wizards, with it’s experimental spirit.

High.

He’s the President by AllNewJonasSalk

It’s hard to explain why this one falls flat. I suppose the narrator’s refusal to accept the limitations of being a brain in a vase is funny, once, and there are places where I can see you meant to be funny but -- well it’s just not funny to me.

If I had to reach for a reason why, it’s the fact that there’s no grounding in reality, not even a moment of playing it straight to build expectations in the audience, me, that you can then break and surprise me by doing so. It’s sort of predictable after that first beat of the brain falling off the treadmill.

Low.

We Can Work It Out by Solitair

There are so many characters in this that it took me quite a bit to realize that Rachel and Phoebe were the same character and, presumably, you’d just changed her name at some point and not caught all the times you’d used it.

Of these many characters, I dislike the ones I know anything about at all. The protagonist grudgingly counts everything he does for anyone and insists nobody ever repays him even as they discuss Don taking care of him while he was bedridden. Don is an inconsiderate prick. Everybody else is flat. These characters and their relationships comprise the whole story, so, there’s really nothing I can say I like here, no reason for me to invest myself at all.

Low.

Freefall by Invisible_Clergy

There’s a strong dynamic between the two characters, although I can’t say either one is terribly strong on their own. It’s a dynamic spelled out through a kind of mundane banter I usually don’t go in for but works well enough here. I just wish there was more momentum building from the opening, more reasons to care about these two seedy characters, something to really throw fuel on the fireworks show of an ending.

And really, I can see how the ending got all the love and care. The beat of the parachute unfurling, the strongest by far of any description we get, adds a nice note of importance, a chance for the audience to sink into the knowledge that, yes, this is where things go wrong. It’s a viciously nasty, satisfying finish.

High-Middle.

Powerless by Fumblemouse

This story is delightful. The deft switch in voice is the most obvious part of that, it works to keep the tempo up, but there are so many small touches that bind it together. The fact that Tom, for all his confidence, is the only one who’s segment isn’t funny. The little mystery of why the dialogue around the copier has changed. I understand just enough of how this math-magic works to really wonder who’s watching Charles and his fiddling with reality.

It’s unfortunate it’s all leading up to something as ugly as altering reality until a girl likes him. Puts a damper on the otherwise light mood. I’m not sure whether he’s changing her or finding a version of her that genuinely wants him, and that questions changes whether the ending is happy or horrifying.

High Middle.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


^^^ thank you for all the crits, and so fast!

I probably should have linked it in the title, but this was the inspiration if you are really curious.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







stop introducing your goddam stories we can tell how dreadful they are you don't need to explain it

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


sebmojo posted:

stop introducing your goddam stories we can tell how dreadful they are you don't need to explain it

Sorry, was asked directly so I thought it was cool. :smith: and wanted to thank for the crits, anyways.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Disclaimer

“Ooh pudding, yum, did you make this?”

“Yes, but don’t eat it, it’s probably terrible because I am terrible and bad.”

“What are you talking about, I’m sure it’s delicious.”

“No I’m serious, here let me show you the recipe I used and then explain to you all the ways in which I failed to follow it.”

“Look you need to stop being so down on yourself, you don’t need to put disclaimers on everything you do. Now, I’m going to eat this pudding and enjoy it.”

“No, stop! I told you, it’s terrible pudding!”

“Ungh, oh god, I’m having heart palpitations! I think I’m going to throw up. Now my vision is blurring! What’s wrong with this pudding? I think I’m dying!”

“I tried to warn you! It’s the deadliest pudding!”

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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

The deadliest pudding slouched in a bowl
In the deadliest part of the The Watering Hole
A saloon where the deadliest lose all control
And murder is found on the menu

Along came The Welcher, the worst man you've met
Who grew fat and rich from welching on bets
Then slaughtering fools who came to collect
And who wanted dessert at this venue

Old Welch' eyed the pudding, the pudding eyed back
They both licked their lips at the site of a snack
Till the Welch grabbed a spoon and went on the attack
Seizing the bowl without thinking

But the pudding rose up like gelatinous goo
And covered the Welcher like human fondue
Then extruded the waste like just so much poo
While the customers kept right on drinking

You might say that the pudding was richly deserved
You might even say that justice was served
But please don't crack wise about 'Just Desserts'
As the deadliest pudding
The dreadliest pudding
Eat-your-headliest pudding
Will gently caress your poo poo up because it hates puns. So seriously, dude, just don't.

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