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Feb 21, 2010



Feb 21, 2010

Why Try Harder

773 words

Why try harder is my motto but certainly not a good plan to live by.

I learned this the hard way when trying to scam a free ride on a robotic cruise ship and I was kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of California.

Here I am, 35 year old grad student from the Colorado School of Mines and Aeronautics, taking my sabbatical and thinking I'll be clever and save weed money by taking a slow boat to Japan, an autonomously piloted container ship retrofitted with a robotic brain and (some) security features. Some cheap security features...

So I slink into the docks late at night, empty except for a security drone recharging its batteries. Leaving a trail of suction cups, clipped wires, and shorted limits switches in my wake I sneak on board into the former container ships crew section. While the electricity was easy to switch on (one set of boltcutters and a breaker flip) the plumbing was not required on a robotic ship so I resigned to the bucket approach for both wash water and bodily refuse (my poo poo). Whatever!

Anyway, I made it to the bridge and hey what do you know, someone left the password override TAPED-TO-THE-CONSOLE. Yes you can't make this stuff up I swear....anyway I login as admin, check our current course and sniff around the controls. There's maps and I find the one for the ship. I shut off any further proximity sensors with the auxilary passwords (yes those too) and head to the galley for a snack. I arrive at the galley.

At this very moment, unbeknownst to me (because I was chowing down on a six pack of Cheerwine and a case of Moonpies some maintenance worker left in the galley fridge), a group of what can only be described as pirates began boarding the vessel from the side.

I found this out later from the pirate captain, he had spotted the vessel rounding the cape of the Gulf of California and tracked us for miles until his sensors detected the security shutting off. Taking the initiative as any pirate captain in any age on the planet would, he sent three black rubber Zodiacs full of rusty AK74s and grappling drones to board the robotics vessel, now unprotected by security and surely unmanned.

Except for me of course. Who the pirates found, face deep in my fourth Moonpie and halfway through the case of soda.

The pirates politely helped themselves to several Pies at gunpoint and politely kidnapped me.

Black bagged the whole deal. Nothing like traditions I guess.

The pirates spoke in English but with a slang I didn't really get, sort of like jive and white trash gibberish mixed together in a sing songy voice. The pirate captain's voice was obvious, he spent the most time talking and everyone else just said yah or nah as needed. Not a talkative bunch.

I was dragged off the boat, passing by the sounds of plasma torches and mover drones tearing into the containers and looting the good stuff: fruit, Air Jordans, insulin, pretty much everything worth shipping the pirates deem worth taking. I could hear the low rumble of the pirate's own shipping liner's deep electric motors, huge and imposing capacitors humming bass notes of power.

They dragged me over an honest to goodness gangplank and into the heart of the pirate liner. The sounds of casting off.

The pirate captain talks to me, explaining pretty clearly that I'm not to be harmed but they'll be selling me to the Yakuza in Tokyo as a body slave. Which sounds like a not fun experience overall but the pirate warlord is nice about it and even takes the bag off to look me in the eye to tell me I'm going to get a neural implant and become somebodies sex slave.

Easier ways to get to where you're going. Anyway, for being such efficient looters, the pirates aren't the most thorough chaps when it comes to security.

The brig has a window and the drat thing is automatic. One paperclip from the garbage can and I've jimmied it open. Seeing as how I was probably never going to drink any ever again, the pirates were kind enough to leave me the Cheerwine and the Moon Pies for the duration.So this probably explains for you dear reader, why you read this on the back of a MoonPie box rolled up and stuffed into a Cheerwine bottle. Hopefully you're a maintenance worker who sorted through the trash for valuable recyclables the drones brought in. Please send help, preferably fast submarine cruiser. Last course, straight for Tokyo.

Feb 21, 2010

sebmojo posted:


The Penguin (62 words)

Never eat anything larger than your head. I watched my friend Will eat three 1/3rd lb patties one beef one chicken one lamb. And what had to be four persons full of of chili fries.

It was certainly bigger than his head and he certainly vomited it all over the glass front of the Penguin diner. He got the shirt though.

Feb 21, 2010

Okay self shame. Spellcheck failed.

Feb 21, 2010

Praise be the crit gods for identifying my Mary Sue garbage for what it is. I shall struggle to do better holy ones.

In for romance week with a flash rule please.

Feb 21, 2010

Prompt: Laura and Shadow from American Gods

Untitled / Better Late Than Never

432 Words

Deep in the black and gray of a full moon with only the periodic street light to illuminate his walk. Shadow lumbered in an angry stupor, visions of his friend's and wifes twin betrayals burning into his heart, awakening a demigod's rage.

She had loved him had she not? She had sent letters and called almost every day when he was inside. He had avoided all the dark paths an inmate can take to get back to her. And how had she been repaying him the whole time?

With secret rendezvous with his best man, someone he treated as a blood brother.

But now this the ultimate betrayal of brotherhood.

Shadow was in silent grief, he did not see the next three steps his eyes watery with emotion.

How could he have been so blind. But of course this is the critical point, those who feel the deepest are the ones capable of the deepest pain of betrayal from the one they love.

The duality of wo/manity! He raged at the thought, he had been so stricken with emotion on the plane ride he hadn't thought twice of the mystical Mr Wednesday's motives in offering him a vague-and-certainly-more-than-he-had-bargained-for "job". But that wasn't on his mind.

His left foot sunk into the ditch he was striding near and he stumbled. Turning an ankle almost, he caught himself clumsily.

The faint twinge of high pitch digital noise caught his attention momentarily. He paused, but then a faint wind blew, and his mind shook back to

Laura. Laura, Laura, Laura. Why Laura.

Was I not enough. Was my dick not big enough? I saw his on your phone, I shouldn't have looked.

Oh why.

As if the sheer emotional act wasn't enough, the emasculation too!

Oh how I loved you and thought you loved me but I guess I should have seen it coming.

I left you alone, the handcuffs on my wrists the last thing you saw of me. Our talks on the phone, I know you still loved me, you must have been lonely. How else. How else. Don't think about it. Don't think about it. Don't think Shadow.

The little voice in Shadows head spoke and spoke, his rational self comforting his emotional self. He strode onward, mindlessly down the dark path.

He barely noticed as the digital spider lept at his face and latched on, blasting his consciousness to another dimension.

He fell to his knees, kneeling upright in a prayer fit for the machine age as he trembled and finally fell.

The device had swallowed his head and mind.

Feb 21, 2010

In with Mastodon's Crystal Skull.

:toxx: for last week's shameful effort. No fan fic this time my bad.

Feb 21, 2010

The Crystal Skull (inspired by Mastodon’s Crystal Skull from Blood Mountain (2006)

1177 words

The young woman walked along the edge of the ridge as the Arizona sunlight beat down on her dusty baseball cap, streaked with the dust of a hundred hikes.

Her eyes spotted a glinting of blazing sun reflecting like earthbound starlight, a hard point of reflection in a diffuse sea of brown.

She scrambled down the decline to take a closer look.

A skeleton grin in quartz stone, nestled in the pit of a ravine, a deep crack in the mesa, covered in scree and rock dust, it's toothy smile shining and shimmering in the golden hour, as if waiting, just waiting to be found.

The marks where its teeth were engraved with care by seemingly alien or human hands spoke of happiness and sadness all in one toothy grin. If Picasso had designed a crystal skull he would have been happy with this one. Both human like and not in the same uncanny shape. Eerie. Its empty socketed stare was too much to lock eyes with.

The young woman felt drawn to it.

Into the backpack it went.


The young hiker knew she had seen something like it before.

On her drive back into town she decided to stop at a pawn shop she knew was favored by Phoenician alternative types. “Somebody should know if this thing is jank or worth it.” she muttered to herself.

Through the smudged door and past the dreamcatchers, voodoo dolls, Chinese medicinal herbs, and piles of energy crystals, the right place certainly.

She took the heavy chunk of mineral out of her bag and placed it on the counter. The ancient hippy standing behind it smiled in recognition.

“Ah yes, a crystal skull. Well you see, various generations of humans had been obsessed with the power of the mystical, and the crystal skull played on the love of mysticism. Supposedly created by Central American peoples for use in their religious ceremonies, supposedly it could transmit the ancient energies of the gods to the holder and allow them to see into the future.”

“Supposedly” she said. “Yeah” he grinned.
“But it was all a farce; manufactured by a side show con artist to sell in his traveling shop of trinkets and new age baubles.” he continued.

“So it’s just a scam” the young woman said?

“Well you know, who knows about anything.” the gray long hair chuckled. “Thank you”, the young woman said to the colorful gentleman and she went on her way with the crystal and a copy of "Arizona's Guide to the Supernatural and Mystical (Vortex GPS Coordinates Inside)”.

“Oh you’re interested in Vortexes? Lots of real energy in those places, people say it’s where the barrier between us and the higher dimensions is the thinnest. Spooky stuff” he said with a kooky smile. “If you say so” the woman said as she rolled her eyes and pushed out the door, the heavy chunk of crystal banging her in the spine.


A long gravel road; a cliffside retreat. A walkway, a large tan modernist structure built on the edge of a ravine in Arizona.

She had thought about what the old man at the shop had said and she checked her guide and found a Vortex not far from the highway she was travelling on. The “Cold Heart Vortex” whatever that meant. It was on the property of this weird building so she was taking the tour...

A young unpaid intern guided the group through a whimsical jumble of buildings made out of silt and recycled windows and erected by architectural students on summer vacation. It was a commune, old people and young people living in the desert trying to grow vegetables.

The young hiker walked down the hill; the tour guide had mentioned that a Vortex of Mystical Power Grade VII was only 500m from the campsite across the canyon. She hiked the rough wooden stairs, imagining the crystal skull full of energy, jostling in her day pack against her scratched plastic water bottle.


500m later. The young woman had crested the hill. Some helpful previous guests of the mystical forces had arranged a ring of rocks and a poured concrete bench.

She sat on the bench and pulled the heavy rock out of her bag. This is stupid; she thought to herself. This is just a gag. Trying to feel what the ancestors felt; either the old ones who really meant it or the less old ones who were just gullible idiots.

It's nothing, right?

The crystal skull was slick with her palm sweat.

She held it between her palms and stared at it like Macbeth.

She set it down.



The woman had gathered some wood and laid out her bedroll.

It was a full moon that night and she figured she'd better give the mystical forces somewhat of a shot. With skeptical thoughts in the forefront of her mind, she prepared fruit and fried an egg on her travel pan over the small brush fire.

The skull soaked up the flames and the darkness and became a fluttering phoenix of fire and coals and orange and red; the flames licking the orbitals and staring fiery pupils into her soul.

She hadn't had anything stronger than coffee and she could swear on the edges of her hearing she could hear....something.

Like static from a TV but so quiet it was almost the wind's higher notes.

Was she imagining?


The skull had no answers in its mineral silence.


3am. She woke from her bedroll to the sound of baying coyotes in the distance. The moon shone through a patch in the clouds; somehow shining right on the skull. The young woman sneezed and rolled away. The skull stared with glassy eye sockets but said nothing.


3:31am. She stared at the skull. The skull stared at her. She knew it was staring.

She knew. “I KNOW” she screamed involuntarily.

“ZUUUUUUUUUUUUU” the skull screamed back at her in ancient Sumerian.

She leaped five feet into the air, screaming like a harpy.

She lurched over in a panic, picked the skull up and hurled it into the darkness.

The skull screamed loud epithets and curses in ancient unintelligible dialect as it flew into the night, eyes glowing with unholy fire.

It bounced several times and rolled into a ditch.

“What the gently caress what the gently caress what the gently caress what the gently caress what the gently caress.”

She frantically rolled up in her sleeping bag and shivered in terror, overcome by tension and fear and fatigue.

Eventually, she slept.



The skull was of course, still there, where it had been before she hurled it into the bushes.

A chill ran up her spine and she was unable to shake the feeling. Not as she packed up her campsite, not even when she turned back towards the trail to her trusty Bronco parked on the road.

As she walked away, she sneezed and immediately her head throbbed.

A faint whisper of wind that sounded almost like? Like what? But no. She walked on.

The skull she left where it sat.

Feb 21, 2010

apophenium posted:

Nice crits, thanks.


Feb 21, 2010



I hope you like puzzle stories.

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