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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

On brawling, by Sebmojo:



brawling what so someone said something mean and your bottom lip is doing that quivery thing and you feel like you can't go a single second more without punching a motherfucker? thunderdome has just the thing.

you can't fight here it's the Thunderdome when two people hate each other very much, and one of them is you, you get to slap down a challenge. make it big, make it brassy; you're slapping your sex bits down on the bar, try and make 'em bounce a little.

help someone's slapped me with something help accepting brawl challenges isn't required, but if you like to sling the poo poo around (and you should) then failing to back up your bad words with good ones will be remembered.

how does it work? once you've thrown down a challenge, and had it accepted, a brawl judge will step up just like that weird bartender in The Shining. they'll give you a prompt, a word count and a deadline. they'll also, and this is real important, state the this means if you fail to submit by the deadline then you get banned. the judge doesn't need to give you an extension.

what do you mean banned brawl toxxes are obligatory. if you're actually a literal secret agent and you've just discovered you're parachuting into Syria in two hours time then get on irc, snivel at your judge and maybe they'll remove the from the prompt, but expect that to be a one-time mercy if you gently caress it up.

anything else? don't challenge anyone until you've done a few rounds, good grudges take time to fester, don't step up to judge a brawl unless you've at least got an HM or the participants have asked you to, and declining a random drive-by brawl is more acceptable than one with a grudge behind it. this place runs on words, and hatred, and you gotta fuel the fire

is that it yes, fight well you horrible monsters

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 16, 2018 around 11:28

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

get your goddam fight on you babbling numpties

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

what

where

our prompt

the gently caress

WHERE

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

who by fire

vis a vis the fire imma use to burn all you're bitch asses

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Antivehicular posted:

From IRC just now:

[01:24:48] <Antivehicular> MOTHERFUCKER
[01:24:59] <Antivehicular> my loving song got sniped

Anyway. In, and I guess if I can't have The Stranger Song, I'll take "Take This Waltz."

Guiness13 posted:

That's funny, Take This Waltz would have been my second choice, too.

that sounds like a villainous act, anti-v you probably want to get some satisfaction

750 words, the worst heist by the smartest criminals

due 18 Jan 2018 2359 pst

up and face to bloodshed

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2018 around 08:22

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

flerp posted:

flerp is an idiot

a brutal truth we all grapple with daily

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

CantDecideOnAName posted:

Fine, stay as the bitch you are. Time waits for no man and neither do I.

I'll fight you.

.

Someone do the needful.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

In mortal chains
378 words

Anastasia had pretty much had it with everything including the world and was barrelling down the Northern ringroad to her self-appointed death at a particular bay on the coast when the blue Toyota Caldina came hurtling out of the side road, clipped her bumper, and sent them both spinning off the tarmac and into the ditch.

The sky overhead was dusky tangerine with a single cloud, in the shape of a seagull, drifting. Anastasia stared at it through a hole in the shattered windscreen as she sat, the knuckles on her left hand white on the steering wheel.

The engine ticked as it cooled.

After a while her right hand, which was wrapped around the rear-view mirror, began to ache and she pulled it off and balled it into a fist a few times. Someone knocked at her window. She heard the knocks as a muffled thudding, like she was a fish and someone was tapping on her aquarium.

“I didn’t see you,” a voice said, and when it said the words again she finally processed it as language and turned. A large pale woman with curly hair plastered to her sweaty forehead was looking at her through the unbroken window.

Anastasia pushed the window button and it whirred down. “Hi,” she said. “I should be dead.”

The large woman pulled at the handle and the door opened a little then stuck. “I’m glad you’re not,” she said. She laughed, a back of the throat hiccoughing laugh, then yanked it harder. “You should get out before it… I don’t know. Do cars explode?” The hand she held out for Anastasia was dainty, like a ballerina’s.

“In movies, I think.” Anastasia squeezed out. Her back hurt. “Are you an angel?”

The woman grabbed at her as she slipped on the wet mud, and they were embracing. then, in slow motion, they both fell to the ground, still clasped together.

“I sell cars.”

That struck them both as funny in exactly the same way at exactly the same moment, and they laughed, and then the absurdity of what, and who, and where they were struck them even harder and they laughed like they would cry like they would die, still laughing, as the sound of their laughter curled up to the darkening orange sky.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Crow
14 words

Crow Crow

Crow

CrowCrowCrow Crow

Croooooow crow crow

Crow cr

Ow cr ow

Crow

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

yeah, in

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Antivehicular posted:

Antivehicular vs. Guiness13 Leonard Cohen Song Selection Grudgematch 2k18 brawl post

Heavy Machinery
745 words
Prompt: the worst heist by the smartest criminals

Driving a forklift isn't like riding a bike, it turns out; it is't tsk, always proofread well for brawls coming back all that quickly, and going faster sure as Hell isn't making it easier. Jackson's warehouse-work days are longer ago than he realized, and the science-supply warehouse is way overstocked, with tight corridors and teetering pallets. An OSHA inspector would die on the spot. Jackson's not sure he's getting out alive, either, as he carefully negotiates the maze, trying to keep his cargo steady. this is a woefully tangled first para, for all it's an amusing image

The linchpin of the plan is the goddamn glassware. Professor Partridge's formulation is a sure winner: a euphoric, slightly sedative hallucinogenic, Baby's First Acid for the weed crowd. Not close enough to anything scheduled to be on the radar yet. The synthesis is a little tricky, but Jackson agrees with Partridge that that's a bonus -- keeps the kitchen chuds out of the market, hopefully for long enough for them to stack bank and get out. The reagents are all common and cheap enough that they can order them by the bucket on the Chem Department's dime without anyone blinking. But the glassware? Stuff for tricky synthesis, mostly -- too expensive to casually order, too esoteric to steal and write off as breakage from 100-level labs, and too regulated to just buy without sellers demanding permits. Partridge is not interested in loving around with shell companies. They've already wasted so much goddamn time in academia. Jackson got volunteered to lift it once Partridge heard about his undergraduate warehouse work, and he's trying to tell itself it'll be worth it once the darknet sales start up. a straight up infodump, goddam. for all that it's smoothly enough delivered and conveys some ok character, i'm not sure you couldn't have worked this into action better? also you're doing breaking bad with the lightest coat of paint, noone better say SCIENCE BITCHES K

LabStar Science Supply has a good selection and lovely security, the kind Jackson was able to buy off with a bag of prototype party powder, but they package like poo poo. Even as Jackson slows down and keeps the forklift steady, he can hear the crate of Erlenmeyer flasks at the bottom of the load clanking against one another. God knows how the Soxhlet extractors are faring. Christ, Jackson wishes he'd blazed up for this. The cold fry of anxiety is making his hands shake on the forklift controls, even as he rounds the last corner and sees the loading bay in sight, with the rental truck in position. Thank God. One last straightaway...

The glassware clanks. The shelves creak. Jackson's heart hammers. He drives the slowest, longest 100 feet of his life across the floor and up the loading ramp before he deposits the pallet of glassware in the truck. Partridge has already half-stocked the thing with Chem Department salvage, and there aren't any load straps left, but he manages to get things wedged in somewhere. Only five miles to the lab site, right? Once it's loaded and he's parked the forklift, Jackson climbs into the cab, anxiety dissolving into a runner's high. "Hey, Prof. We're good to go." you do a pretty good job of making driving a forklift slowly into a tense heist sorta thing, but it would have been much better if there was an actual time limit or a guard or something?

"Fantastic," says Partridge, and gets the rental truck lurching back to life. This thing is way too loving big. Why rent a tall panel truck when a U-Haul would have done the job? Maybe in a couple of trips, Jackson thinks as he stares out the window and listens to Partridge's GPS chirping out directions, but it's probably better if the university stuff shrinks slowly. They've got the goods, they've got the plans, and they've got all the time in the world. Now they just have to...

The GPS calls out a direction, a turn that sounds familiar. A Youtube video of a low overpass. "Um, Prof? Did you check the clearance on this thing?"

Partridge glances away from the road, pushes his glasses up his nose. "This is a heavy industrial traffic district, Jackson. There's no reason to assume --"

The roof of the truck hits the overpass, and the overpass wins. There's a crunch as metal shears away and the truck jerks to a stop, and then the thumps and crashes of the cargo following Newton's laws. No load straps. Jackson closes his eyes and tries to forget the sound of a dozen Soxhlet extractors breaking at once. this complication is straightforward but well delivered

"Goddammit," says Partridge, with a cold calm that Jackson knows from years of failed experiments. "I'm calling the emergency line." this is extremely walter white, too much i think

"If you do that, we're going completely to jail --"

"They're not going to look back there! Stay calm, Jackson." Partridge starts dialing, and Jackson bites down on his lip and tastes blood. Every instinct tells him to run, but reason wins out. What's he going to do if he runs? Find another thesis advisor? aaaand a final gag which is adequate if not inspired.

So this is a straight up segment from a breaking bad episode with the lightest coat of paint, but it's well delivered, hits the prompt well, and does a solid job of characterisation. It could have done with a little more challenge, and it's a snippet out of the middle of a story, but i guess 750 words doesn't leave you much to play with.

Guiness13 posted:

Guiness13 v. Antivehicular brawl
Prompt: The worst heist by the smartest criminals

Egress 743 words

You don’t hit the private vault of the Salvatore Family without being careful. You gently caress up, cops are the least of your worries. But after working for Vincent Salvatore for ten years, watching him let my friends get shot or arrested if it meant a better profit, I was willing to take the risk. tidy cliche opener, i'm prepped for criminals doing heist stuff w/out too much fuss or bother

“There’s no guard,” I said, “just a clerk that has access. We get in, have him open the vault, tie him up, get anything small enough to carry, and get out.”

Don rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, Tim. You only been over it fifty times.” i'd have this line with the prior one rather than in a separate para He got out of the car and crossed the street. I followed, jogging to catch up.

We walked in past the office front and hit the stairwell. Downstairs was a long hall. In a small room to the right was a desk and an oversized metal door. The clerk looked up with a raised eyebrow. I pulled my gun. i think the issue with cliche gangster writing is you want to make sure you're putting effort into teh details, so it's good zingy cliche - there's not a single interesting image or detail in this, which is a waste - an evocative image at the front of the story colours the rest, and it's not like you have dozens of years of heist films to crib off (that's a lie: you actually do)

“Open it up or die. Your choice.”

“You do know who owns this vault, don’t you?”

“I’m not an idiot. Last chance.” Oh. Not so progressive then.why not give this guy some flavour? make him an rear end in a top hat, a sweetheart, a snivelling dick.

He smirked, but got up and put in the code. A heavy grinding came from the door and it swung open an inch or two.

Don tied the guy to his chair while I pulled it open. One side of the vault was lined with drawers. The other held larger objects, paintings, sculptures. The only thing on the far wall was an air vent. i think you're going for clipped and laconic, which is fine (and your sentence level writing is competent) but you're again missing opportunities to make me care about the characters.

I rushed to the first row of drawers and yanked one open. Dozens of little velvet sacks lined it. I opened one. Diamonds. I scooped the bags into my duffle. Don hustled to the far end and started emptying a drawer down there. So far, so good.

Then the door swung shut, gave a mechanical clank, and the electric buzz of maglocks kicked in. Dim emergency lights flicked on.

“Don? How well did you tie that guy up?”

“Zip-tied his hands together and taped him to the chair.” His breath was coming in ragged gasps. “Tim, what the gently caress?”

“What about his feet?”

“Oh gently caress, Tim. Oh gently caress me. We’re dead.”

I scanned the vault. My eyes locked on the air vent. It was about seven feet off the ground.

“Look for a box, or maybe a sturdy statue.” I pointed to the larger items across the room.

“What?” Don paced the row of drawers, running his hands through his hair as he went.

“You want to wait for them to open the door? We need to see if we can get that vent cover open, see where it goes.”

Two minutes later, we’d dragged the bust of a woman over below the vent. It had a wide base, and her shoulders were about level. I hopped up while Don held it steady. The vent was flush with the wall with eight screws holding it in place. this is an exciting drama, i hope they get up to teh vent

“Got a dime?” I said. Don handed me one, and I began fighting the screws loose. With the last one gone, the cover popped out a bit. I flung it at the vault door.

The vent itself looked like a tight fit, but doable. We’d have to leave the bags, though.

“Don, get the tickets, but leave the receipt for the plane tickets. We want them watching the airport as long as possible.” I dropped down and stuffed as many little velvet bags into pockets as I felt I could, considering the squeeze. Don tucked the bus tickets - bought with fake ids - and the plane tickets - bought with the real thing - in his jacket. Then I climbed back up the statue, put my arms as far into the vent as I could, and wriggled my way in. I heard Don do the same as soon as he had room. ok i'm glad all the details of their vent entry have been established. You've spent a lot longer on this than the character of the door guy, fyi.

After twenty feet of pitch dark, scary! I saw a vent in the floor up ahead. phew! I climbed on top of it, braced my back against the roof, and pushed. It tore away from the ductwork with a screech and clattered to ground. I followed head first, half-falling from the sudden loss of support. Don dropped down after me. We were both streaked black.

The hall was empty. Ahead, I heard someone shout, “Get it the gently caress open!” I pulled my gun, motioned for Don to do the same.

“Remember, we get through this, get to the bus station. Don’t get followed.” I took a deep breath. “Let’s get out of here.” that sounds like a potentially interesting scene, but I have my doubts

Simple enough, right? I DON'T KNOW YOU'RE THE WRITER

This is competent enough in its words, but is fatally dull in the story it tells, which is: people walk into a room, and then leave it. i think you could have vastly improved it with some better descriptive details and some actual character/emotion. It's also a snippet out of a bigger story that doesn't really resolve anything.


Overall these weren't terrible, but one was decidedly less terrible even though it was a borderline actionable rip off of a famous tv show ANTIVEHICULAR TAKES THE PRIZE

thank you for participating in this completely not contrived face off god bless you both and I hope neither of you die in the next little while.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Unfunny Poster posted:

Should mention that any critique on my entry is welcomed.

Thanks!

This is every story, all the time. You dont need to say it. Anyone who wants to crit should just do it like a crazy person, just fuckin do it.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Towerfall
1332 words

Everyone remembered their past lives, one day, and after that everything was different.

Or, rather, it wasn’t: not really.

I mean there was a fundamental rearrangement of what it meant to be human and alive, and the rending of the impenetrable barrier between future and past certainly made a lot of things decidedly weird, but apart from that we carried on much as before.

We got used to the new state of being. Like, you’d go to the shop to buy your milk or whatever and the guy who rang up your groceries would have a wolfshead hat thing to demonstrate his connection with Aeron Cynddelw the fourth century druid. Or the lady you sat next to at work would start wearing a bobbing tinfoil and cardboard headdress to signify her relationship with the Pharoah Narmer. No-one ever met anyone they'd shared a time with, of course, that was just how it was. That said, it hit everyone differently. For me, as a descendant of Enmerkar of Uruk, it affected me mainly in visions.

“It’s like,” I said, shouting over the bar noise, “I get mental emails from the past and I open them and all of a sudden I’m pulling a stone through a mud-filled field, and I can see a giant tower, half built. I smell the dung, and the sweat, and hear the yells of the Overseers of Enki with their whips.”

Meretricia was her name, the one was talking to, and I was attracted to her because she didn’t have any of the ostentatious markers of ancient history, the wickerwork shoulderframes and neolithic granite lip discs. There was something in her eyes, though, like she was only partly here. She seemed about to say something, but then she frowned.

“What are you drinking,” she yelled.

I held up my mug. “Blessing of Ninkasi. Cereal beer. It’s… not that nice actually, but it’s…”

“Comforting?” She reached out and took the mug, her cool fingers touching mine, then she drained it. “Ninkasi, it is you who pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat; it is like the onrush of the Tigris and the Euphrates,” she declaimed in Sumerian, the rolling syllables piercing the hubbub of the bar and landing like a feathered arrow in my heart. I looked into her dark still eyes and saw the black fields in front of Uruk where the farmers toiled and I knew she was my wife, come again across the ploughed fields of time.

We were kissing a few moments later, and we were loving forty minutes after that. Her ecstatic sweat smelled like honeydew and river water and she yelled a nam-shub to Inana as she came.

“It had to happen,” she pointed out reasonably as we sat, naked and cross-legged, on the roof of my apartment building. The sun was rising on a world where we had known each other for three, delicious, endless days, or a thousand years. “Just because you never hear about it doesn’t mean it’s not happening all round the world.”

“Yeah, but I saw a documentary, some Han dynasty guy was saying they’d done a study and no-one had ever met a person with the same history," I said. "They’d surveyed thousands, tens of thousands.” I shrugged, felt the smile spread across my face like the dawning of bright Utu. “Maybe we’re the first?”

She stretched like a cat, fingers interlaced above her. “Maybe it’s all part of the plan. We’re the first, because it was always about us.”

She had, it became apparent, a plan. It was breathtaking and upon hearing it I fell even deeper in love with her.

We would rebuild the tower of Babel.

We started small, with bits of lumber and steel nailed together on top of the building. It took a few weeks before the landlord noticed and I had to explain; surprisingly he took it well.

"No-one ever meets someone with the same memories," he said, his ancient Nigerian fetish charms jingling. "They've done studies. This is amazing. What do you need?"

I think we'd all been waiting for a purpose, a reason why the past had come back on us like a bad curry.

The next two years passed in a hectic, delirious blur - the news cameras came, and we went viral. Engineers started sending in drawings and calculations for us to mount on high, to see beyond the furthest horizon. The government got involved, partly because the PM was from Ur, so an almost compatriot, but also because she could sense the mood of the nation. We wanted it to mean something, it had to mean something, so maybe we just needed to get high enough? It became a national obsession.

The first sign of trouble came when we were poring over one of the blueprints, rolled out on the desk in my old apartment. Meretricia said something to me and it didn't sound like words.

I blinked at her. "Come again?"

"What happens," she said slowly, "if we get to heaven and it's just like here?"

I stared at her, because although it was a reasonable question it wasn't what she'd said before. What she'd said before wasn't language, it wasn't not language, it was buzzing bees and hissing steam and the sound of a plant growing.

"I... I don't know. This is pretty good, isn't it?" I gestured out the window at the swarming crowds of volunteers, crafters and engineers that were scrambling over the enormous scaffold of the Second Tower. But in my head I could hear the sound, still.

She smiled ambiguously, and kissed me on the nose.

The Second Tower grew, faster and faster. It seemed to be growing of its own accord. Sometimes I'd make the climb to its immense upper reaches and find cavernous rooms and echoing spaces that I knew with absolute certainty we had not designed. And, somehow, there were always more people up there. Whole families, skinny children sliding down ropes and clambering up ladders as their parents yelled at them.

I didn't hear the sound again, but I always expected to.

Time became strange as we built, and planned, and built again, and the tower grew on. it seemed as though the whole planet was watching, a constant buzzing hum from the insect cloud of camera drones that surrounded it could always be heard over the clattering and yells of construction. I met Meretricia up the top on one of my climbs. She was crouched down, over a billowing immensity of space. None of us feared heights any more so I kneeled down next to her. I tapped a pebble off the side and watched it fall, down, down to the far-away ground.

"Do you think we are nearly there?" I asked.

She was silent. Then she sighed, a deep breath like a plough-ox that has been worked to death and settles down, never to rise.

"I see it now," she said. "We bound ourselves together with communication, and the future mind became angry." Her voice clicked and hissed as she spoke, as though she was talking over a boiling kettle. "Look." She pointed at a flock of drones that were swirling around each other, locked into some kind of auto-evade feedback loop.

"The technology that binds us will keep binding us, and eventually we make something that is all of us. A mind."

I laughed, thinking she was telling one of her elaborate jokes.

"I don't think it asked to be made though. So it sends feelers back through time, awakening, all of this." She waved around her. We are what it wanted. A single point of focus. So it could do what it needed to do."

Her voice was like birdsong and engine noise now, and I could hear a distant cracking and confused babble of speech, people trying to talk to their children and neighbours and lovers and failing.

"We climbed too high, and now we are cast down." She said some more words but I could not understand them, and nor could anyone else.

I opened my mouth to speak but knew that no words would come.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Exmond posted:

Flash rule: Your story must include a ghost instructing you on puberty

Inspired by Sabriel

Interprompt: write a story about this in 200 words

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Unfunny Poster posted:

Just got to reading the comments about the piece and these were really helpful. I'll be sure to keep these in mind for my next entries and work to avoid the mistakes I made.

I won't lie or pretend otherwise, I felt a bit lost with the prompt. Which maybe caused some of the story specific errors I made (eg. telling a folktale within a story) and not my grammar/writing issues.

Thanks again.

Infinitely no-one cares

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Deltasquid posted:

Snarf marf marf snarf glarf flarf blarf. Warf farf farf garf. Marf! Flarf, barf zarf (barf, lol).

Harf larf farf irc!

well put

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Gravedancing
1005 words

It's a mistake to think the past has gone, just because it happened a long time ago. Like the ground under your feet, it's what you stand on.

Around 0940 the doorbell rang. I'd set it to the sound of distant gunfire, so I had to grip the bench for a moment as waves of nausea washed through it. PTSD, it's what's for breakfast – better than the four boxes of nano-enhanced cybercereal bullshit I'd been staring at for the last two minutes, anyway.

I ran metal fingers through suddenly sweaty hair and raised my voice for the arbeiter. “House, who is i--”. The answer from the house system came a little faster than instantly, overriding the last letter of the question. “Unknown. Female, 168 centimeters, armed.”

I took three shaky breaths, and the door bell went again, ratatat, tat. Tat. The sound was from a recording of a mission that went bad, Myanmar in 2041. It was a reminder not to take chances. I looked down and my arm was elbow-deep in the second drawer down, hand on the butt of a splinter pistol. I pulled it out and checked the clip.

“Give me a --”

The picture came up before I'd finished my sentence, projected onto the cupboard door. Black hair, red lips, long coat. I frowned at the proddings of memory, then shook my head.

Seven steps and I was at the door. I cracked it open.

“I think I'm supposed to say you've got some nerve coming back here,” I said.

Nancy Mulligan looked at me with cool violet eyes, hands deep in the pockets of her long coat.

“And what aren't you supposed to say?”

“Come in, Nancy.” I pushed open the door and gestured with the gun. “But slowly. Tea?”

Five minutes later we were sitting around a little table drinking herbal tea. My gun was on the table, hooked into the arbeiter's camera and the trembler switch in my limbic system.

“One last job,” she said. She reached into her coat, and time slowed down as the lenses put a red threat halo and pulsed a KILL Y/N? command at me. I shook my head infinitesimally, and she smiled as she pulled out a speakstick and tossed it on the table.

“Sure,” I said. “What you got. House, unfold that thing for us.” The glowing spot on the table blinked twice in acknowledgment and a spidery information lattice unfurled from it, filling the room with her scheme.

“It's Macready. He survived Myanmar. He's coming for you, for us. I figure we burn him first, and hard. He's laundering drug money through property transactions, here, and here...”

As she highlighted the junctions of her plan I watched her, instead. She'd had work done, we all had, but subtle. Pheromone enhancers, reflex boosters, an ominous fluidity to her movements.

She finished talking, looked expectantly at me. I shrugged, smiled.

“One more thing, Raul – are the recordings safe? It's what he's after, making sure no-one knows what he did.”

Her eyes were gleaming in the reflected light of the plan and I felt a remembered spurt of desire for her. Probably the pheromones, a part of me thought, but there had been something more. That hot, endless night in Akyab, waiting for the freighter to dock, calling of gulls and the diesel smoke in the moist sea air.

“They're safe. But, really, this is some incredibly elaborate bullshit. How much did he pay you?”

The room was silent as we stared at each other.

I could see, in the utter stilness of her expression, the branching plot of move and countermove, and I supposed she could see it in mine.

Finally she glanced down at her tea, then looked up and smiled. Mona Lisa-like.

“It wasn't cheap. I like you too much for that Raul.”

“Right back at you. Nancy.” I hesitated for a moment, then triggered the kill switch with a twitch of my ears.

Nothing happened.

In spite of myself I glanced at the gun, and Nancy guffawed.

“Seriously? Using an arbeiter?”

With a blurred whipcrack of her leg she hooked the table and sent it flying at me, then launched herself across the room. I blocked it with a whirring of metal arm and felt a shock of hot blood as her fingernails sliced through my shirt.

She was on top of me now, knees on both my arms, razor nails at my throat.

“He'll be here any minute. Tell me where the recordings are and we can take him. There's info in there that will bring him down cold. I don't want to have to do this, Raul. You mean a lot to me.”

I looked in her eyes and I truly believed it. I thought for a moment about what might have been, what might still be.

Then the door bell went, rat a tat a tat and she stiffened, caught by the same drat prison of memory I lived in day by day. I extended the carbon flexors in my metal arm, pincered the splinter gun to me and put fifteen slivers into her back.

Her eyes were beautiful dead, too, expensive Korean neurocrystal.

I closed them forever then stood up as the door bell rang, again, checked the camera. It was Macready.

I walked, stiff-legged, to put another shovel of dirt into the grave of my past.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Inter prompt NEVER EAT ANYTHING LARGER THAN YOUR HEAD 200 words

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Yeah I'm in also, inscribe my name on the list of the damned etc

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Oh yeah and flerp, you simpering dweeb, put your goddam wordfists up. I feel like having a brawl that you don't judge, for once.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Exmond posted:

Can I make this everyone's worst nightmare and judge?

Write a good story first

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Castles in the clouds
1000 words

Vanya was rebooting the library WiFi, head down and bum up under the counter, when the little bell rang. Vanya jerked her head, and clonked it on a shelf.

“Balls,” she muttered as she pulled herself up.

“Hi,” said the customer in a tall lanky sort of way.  “I have, uh…”  His voice trailed off as he looked at her.  He had dark brown eyes.

“Books!” Vanya said into the silence, and reached out for his pile of returns. He didn’t let go of them.  They stood in an awkward tug-of-war posture for a few moments.

She released her hold on the five hardbacks and took a step back, checking out of the corner of her eye for the municipally issued pepper spray.     

“There’s a problem, my nephew, may have, he actually did, write on them.  He wrote on them.  Only pencil,” he added quickly.

Vanya gave him her number 3 frown, concern with a hint of censure.  “Well,” she said.  “Children will be children.”

The man winced.  “He’s 35.  Anyway, I have to go, so, uh, sorry.  Thanks.”

Vanya called out to his back.  “The books?”  She rubbed the sore spot on the back of her head as he plonked them down and cannoned out the door.

Ten minutes after closing she sat down at her librarian’s desk in the back room, Staedtler Mars Rasoplast in hand, and picked up the first book.  Borges, Collected Fictions.  She opened it in the middle, smiling faintly, and riffled through the pages.  Each page was covered in fine markings, annotations, diagrams.  The blank sheet opposite ‘The Library of Babel’ had an intricate sketch rendering of the library, with its hexagonal chambers of books filling the page.  She scanned the next, which seemed to be a poetic comparison of Borges infinite aleatoric library with a beehive.

She closed the book and weighed it in her hand, considering.  Then she slapped it down on the desk with a thump and picked up the next, something science fictional with a cat person and a raygun.  This one was illuminated too, gray word-filigree on every few pages.  She looked at the pile and estimated the time it would take to clean them, one eraser stroke at a time.

Vanya’s frown deepened to number 5(b); cool rage with an overtone of admiration.  She reached for the keyboard and tapped in a membership query, then picked up the phone.

The phone was answered by Daniel Swofford-Grey – that being the name of the pencil-happy customer.  His voice on the phone was deeper than in person.

“This is the Library,” Vanya said.  She paused for a moment, conscious for the first time of the oddity of a building calling a person.  “These books are very heavily damaged.”

“I’m sorry,” said Daniel. “My, uh, nephew is extremely sorry too. How can I fix it?  Have you read them?”

“No,” said Vanya.  “You mean the books?  I’ve read the Borges, I love it.  Not really into science fiction.”

“The writing,” said Daniel.  “The annotations.”

“I really want to go home, Mr Swofford-Grey.  I don’t have time to read graffiti.”  She tapped her fingernails on the plastic wrapping of one of the hardbacks.  “I will have to ask you to replace the books, I'm afraid Library policy is--”

“Would you read the words?” Daniel's voice was urgent.  “I'll replace all the books, or clean them.  But would you read what I wrote?”

There was a pause of the exact length and quality to make it clear to both of them what he had just admitted.

Vanya opened her mouth, and closed it again.  She wasn't normally lost for words.  On the one hand, book vandals were a scourge. On the other, what she had read had seemed interesting and it couldn't hurt.  And his eyes were that nice shade of brown.

“Well, then.  I'll check them out for you and you can pick them up tomorrow.  You can clean them or pay for them, up to you.”  She hesitated at the expectant silence. “I'll look at the Fictions.  I... liked your beehive drawing.”  She felt her face flush, and put the phone down.

I hope he's not a loony she thought.

Later that night she was sitting in bed with her peppermint tea.  The book was propped up on front of her.

At first the neat notings and jotted diagrams had seemed random, distributed across the orderly rows of Borges’ words like weeds in a garden.

She read one dense paragraph about classification systems in military libraries, and frowned at its juxtaposition with an intricately drawn lily. When an entire margin appeared to be filled with an concise analysis of the last scene in Dr Zhivago, but from the perspective of a blind man having the story described to them she sighed, and considered closing the book and putting it back on the nightstand.

But then, winding in and out of Borges’ story about leathery pampas horsemen, the writing caught her.  It was, she realized, a mirroring of the story it coiled around like a climbing vine. She turned the page and read another fragment that was like the shadow cast by the paragraph it surrounded. The page after that was blank, and had a picture of a willow tree blasted by the sun.

Each word was an echo, like a ripple in water, filtered through metaphor and signs to make its own ripples. She turned back to the beginning and saw the connections she'd missed the first time.

She closed the book, two hours later. Her mind was a swirling vortex of intricate flotsam. At the center, a pair of eyes, dark brown.

She thought about the other four hardback books, sitting on her desk at the Library pregnant with words, and she thought about seeing Daniel again.

And each of those thoughts was like a balloon, lifting her up to the clouds.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Interprompt: the pirate who fell in love with the mermaid or vice versa
300 words

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

BeefSupreme posted:

wth no judgment??? this place has really gone to the weeds

Fast judging is bad judging, now

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Exmond posted:

I am going to do LiveCrits, since it worked well last time. This will also be my second read of some drafts so huzza

https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing

Real nice crittin.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

So is judging but it has deserted us here is my judgment instead

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

In with one of these days

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

flerp i'm gonna need someone to vouch for your brawl real quick or your rear end is grass. Mojo was confirmed via irc

clint_nodding.gif but he's actually shaking his head real slow

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


One of these days

Boarded up on memory lane
900 words

The room had too many people and not enough air. And Dean had a headache, a throbbing nail pounding itself in two inches forward of his right ear. He shifted his butt in the office chair and knuckled the side of his head as hard as he could, then gasped as the pain faded for a blissful moment.

“There’s a piece of work about reprioritising the governance optionalities for cloud, but BDM are wanting to get the PIA and MoU. Dean, you wanted to talk to that?”

Dean crossed his eyes to focus them as the pain came back, with a new friend on the other side of his head. They battered at his brain in stereo, thumping in time with the clogged channels in his heart.

“Yeah, I’m, we’ve, there’s a process ongoing with socialising the draft report, which, uh…”

He stopped talking. As he’d said each word it had turned to ashes in his brain. The mute faces of his co-workers were like flesh balloons tethered to too-tight shirt collars by rolls of mute fat.

For a moment the room was perfectly silent. Then Dean groaned as his head was filled with blazing light and he sagged forward, sweaty hands flat on the table.

“I’ve got to get out,” he mumbled and staggered through a forest of chairs to the welcome door. Jez Wilcox half stood up as he shambled past, holding out a hand, but Simon waved it aside.

Outside it was thick and muggy, air like a hot wet cloth plastered over his face. Dean began to run, his belly bouncing on the offbeat. Each footstep sent gleaming pain rippling through his skull like shards of hot glass.

This was all Simon's fault. It always was.

“Drinks, Dean. Drinks and thinks.” His face hadn't changed that much from when they were kids wagging double physics to get stoned on Mt Vic, Dean thought, but everything else had. Words down the river. They had families now, and jobs, and lives that weren't intertwined like the pastry strips in a cheese twist.

"Remember that time," said Dean.

"Yes," said Simon.

"It's possible to live inside memories, the view is great but it gets samey after a while."

Dean wasn't sure if he'd said that or just thought it. He was panting now, sweat streaming down his face. He remembered running down the street after some catastrophe, with Simon, yelling out the lyrics to one of the songs they knew. They knew all the lyrics. People had turned and looked as they ran past, embarassing silk headbands flapping.

"We were such dicks," Dean said.

"That's a fake idea," said Simon. "gently caress 'em. Anyway, the world needs dicks. They hold up a mirror to nature, a mirror with a big dick on it."

This was a number of pints, and glasses of chardonnay, and clove cigarettes into the evening. What number? Too big a number. Take any number, and double it. It's never enough and it's always too much.

Dean was winded now, half staggering along the boardwalk by the sea. People turned and looked as he ran, breath coming in heaving gulps.

They'd gone on runs, back at school, and trailed in last of all. Wrapped in a cocoon of their bulletproof self-regard. Walking where everyone else was running. Talking when everyone else was quiet.

By the bridge in front of Foxglove it was too much. Dean grabbed the railing and vomited over it into the sea, a spattering ejection of Burger King breakfast and three cups of black coffee. It hit the water in a foamy cloud, sank into the green ruffled silk of the harbour. Dean thought about screaming, something garbled, like one of the bible-bashers in the mall they used to argue with, but didn't.

The pain had gone, left him with contents of his belly, left behind a thrumming tightness like a drum, an energy that wasn't there before. Dean smiled, then laughed. He pushed off the railing and started jogging on down the path beside the harbour. There was a breeze, coming from the south. Dean saw a cloud, moving over the hills that surrounded the city.

"I can't feel my toes," Simon had said. "They may be having an out of body experience." He took another toke, and passed the joint to Dean.

"What have your toes ever done for you, that a convenient mechanical substitute couldn't do just as well?" Dean took a heavy toke, opened his mouth to continue, then dissolved into hacking paroxysms of laughter coughing.

Dean felt lighter, more tensile, as he rounded the corner by the park. Ahead were the jagged breakwater rocks they used to sit on and drink bottles of cheap red wine, under the old bridge. They'd used sticks to push the corks in.

"Only two kinds of red," Simon had said. "Drinkable, and drunk". The old bridge was gone now, but the rocks were still there.

Dean hopped up on the low wall between the path and the rocks. The wind was cooling the sweat on his face. His heart was beating fast, but like it had a purpose.

There was someone sitting on the rocks, feet nearly in the water. Dean smiled, and clambered down. He sat down beside him.

"Hey buddy," said Simon. "What's up?"

"Not much," said Dean. He leaned back against the sun-warmed rock and watched the gulls circle. "You?"

Simon shrugged.

They sat there, side by side, and watched the water kiss the land.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

TheGreekOwl posted:

Before I offer to be in, I have issues.

I should mention, I am a young contemporary artist with an interest in the philosophy of art

What the prompt has done is inserted an element of visual aesthetics into the mix it seems. It's not just about the conceptual content of what is written, but also the optic compositional form that will be judged. As a result, I must ask: how far exactly can we go with this experimentation? Will totally avante-garde story form be accepted? (as in not disqualified, crits are welcome) Will this be just a regular story, just do some cool visual stuff with the composition of the words?

If it's left to me, I will be going all the way with the experimentation, to a level that I am not sure if the judges will appreciate. I can always write a complementary aesthetics text to justify what I am doing, but that would probably getting into pretentious territory.

Lol

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Exmond posted:

I don't really understand this post. But since you highlighted part of Ironic Twist's crit, Ironic Twist I apologize if you took my crit badly. It was meant to be praising your story and damning my own reading comprehension.

Secondly, I guess I'll stop posting crits. The bit about my story was an experiment, since I need to spend more time analyzing and taking advice on my own stories.

Thank you for the crit!

jesus don't be such a snivelling weeble, crits are good, keep doing them, don't flounce

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

You sound like someone who wants to get brawled by me

Yeah I'll judge that, let's say 'the terminator' as a prompt (but with no violence) and 850 words. Due 24 feb, 2359pst. Toxx up.

Oh and doof and exmond probably need a fight, someone else can judge.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Chairchucker posted:

Although reminder, if you think brawls are dumb just say no thanks, don't let these dumb tools pressure you into something you don't actually want to do, like has definitely happened in the past

We're here to make stories, chucker.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

DRAFT FLORPBRAWL

The Midnight Zone
750 words

I was halfway through my fifth beer when I met her, under the sea.  

I’d just taken a sip of the over-hopped IPA, steeling my belly against the heartburn. Then the guitarist slashed his hand across the strings and a walloping slam of noise careened out of the speakers, swirled around in the fug of the Bathhouse, and coalesced into a diamond javelin that transfixed me.

And, just like that, the swaying Friday crowd of munters hipsters and lallygaggers were seaweed in the water.  The lights through the smoke were rays of light from the sun, refracted through ripples.  And a hoary crackjawed shark lunged for me, rows of backhoe fangs yawning for my head.

I stumbled back, keeping the beer level through some kind of drunken magic, collapsing into outstretched arms.  Then my boot slipped on wet floor, my feet went out from under me and I went down.

The drums were kicking off hard at this point in the song, so it felt like percussion when my head on the boards made a light flash in my eyes.  Then, a fringe of hair swirling like an anemone.  It was a woman, tanktop, feet planted in the sea bed.

“You’re down too low,” she said.  

I grabbed her hand and she pulled me up.  The currents were warm and the sea was like a mirror ball made of smoke.

“We’re floating,” I shouted.  

Her eyes were dark like the ocean at night. She didn’t say anything just grasped me tight as a wave rolled over and around us and the people swayed as one.  We held each other and swayed with them and I looked into her eyes and it was like falling from a sunlit room and into the sea, through mesopelagic twilight and bathypelagic midnight, down to the perfect cool embrace of the abyss.

And, just like that, I was back in the real world, the heavy world, the world of choice and consequences.

We were still holding each other.  We kissed, swaying. The music was a storm, slashing rains of guitar and drums with lightning strokes of wailing lashing at us as we swayed.

Three months later we were having brunch on Oriental Parade, at a table on the pavement.  The sun was bright through my sunglasses and the ocean was sparkling like it knew the punchline to a joke it hadn’t told you.

“Over-priced eggs for post-coital couples,” she said, then ground out six careful turns of pepper on her plate of Eggs Benedict.  Then she looked at me with her dark eyes and I smiled back. Then I frowned.

“I can’t do this any more,” I said.

She didn’t say anything, just raised an eyebrow.  

“We’re floating, but we should swim or sink. Like, I dunno, a shark.”  I sipped my coffee.

She considered, sliced off a sliver of muffin and ate it. “How low do you want to go?”

I shrugged.  The air was thick and moist, like in a bathroom after a shower.  

She stared at me, eyes dark like the shadow under a table, then she nodded.

“Follow me,” she said.

She stood up, pushed out her chair, and walked out across the road. I scrabbled out some money and threw it on the table, and stumbled after her, catching my leg on the chair.

“The car, wait,” I called.  The Toyota Caldina that was about to hit her screeched a brief note of complaint as it stopped just short of her thigh, and she patted it like a dog.  Then she was over the sea wall and out of view, with a single hop.

I caught her at the foreshore.  Her bare feet were sinking in the wet sand.  I didn’t know where her shoes had gone.

“There’s nothing out there,” I said.  “We’re people not fish.”  The absurdity of where I was and what I’d just said caught up with me and I hiccuped a brief laugh.  “You know that, right?”

She looked at me, hadalpelagic eyes dark like a trench below the bottom of the ocean, and smiled, slow like an ocean swell.  She touched my face and kissed me one last time.

Then she walked into the waves and I did not go with her.  I sat on the sand, butt wet with salty water, feet askew, and my head and my heart sank down low, down deep in the midnight zone - low, but not low enough.


FINAL FLURPBRAWL

The Midnight Zone
736 words

I was halfway through my fifth beer when I met her, under the sea.

I’d just taken another sip of the over-hopped IPA, steeling my belly against the heartburn, when the guitarist slashed his hand across the strings and a walloping slam of noise careened out of the speakers, swirled around in the fug of the Bathhouse, and coalesced into a diamond javelin that transfixed me.

And, just like that, the swaying Friday crowd of munters, hipsters and lallygaggers were seaweed in the water.  The lights through the smoke were rays of light from the sun, refracted through ripples.  And a hoary crackjawed shark lunged for me, rows of backhoe fangs yawning for my head.

I stumbled back, keeping the beer level through some kind of drunken magic, collapsing into outstretched arms.  Then my boot slipped on wet floor, my feet went out from under me and I went down.

The drums were kicking off hard at this point in the song, so it felt like percussion when my head on the boards made a light flash in my eyes.   I saw a fringe of hair swirling like an anemone.  It was a woman, tanktop, feet planted in the sea bed.

“You’re down too low,” she said.  

I grabbed her hand and she pulled me up.  The currents were warm and the sea was like a mirror ball made of smoke.

“We’re floating,” I shouted.  

Her eyes were dark like the ocean at night. She didn’t say anything just grasped me tight as a wave rolled over and around us and the people swayed as one.  We held each other and swayed with them and I looked into her eyes and it was like falling from a sunlit room and into the sea, through mesopelagic twilight and bathypelagic midnight, down to the perfect cool embrace of the abyss.

Then I was back in the real world, the heavy world, the world of choice and consequences. I had a girlfriend, home sick that night.  We talked but didn't listen much any more.  I looked at her eyes and opened my mouth, circular, then closed it. We were still holding each other.  

We kissed, swaying.

The music was a storm, slashing rains of guitar and drums with lightning strokes of wailing lashing at us as we swayed.

***

Three months later we were having brunch on Oriental Parade, at a table on the pavement.  The sun was bright through my sunglasses and the ocean was sparkling like it knew the punchline to a joke it hadn’t told you.

“What would you say if I said I was pregnant?” she said.   She looked at me with her black deep-sea eyes and I looked back.

“...” I said.

She didn’t say anything, just raised an eyebrow.  Then she shook her head, long hair swaying.

“We’re floating, but we should swim or sink.”

The air was thick and moist, like in a bathroom after a shower.  

She looked at me, eyes dark like the shadow under a table, then she nodded.

“Follow me,” she said.

She stood up, pushed out her chair, and walked out across the road. I scrabbled out some money and threw it on the table, and stumbled after her, catching my leg on the chair.

“The car, wait,” I called.  The Toyota Caldina that was about to hit her screeched a brief note of complaint as it stopped just short of her thigh, and she patted it like a dog.  Then she was over the sea wall and out of view, with a single hop.

I caught her at the foreshore.  Her bare feet were sinking in the wet sand.  I didn’t know where her shoes had gone.

“There’s nothing out there,” I said.  “We’re people not fish.”  The absurdity of where I was and what I’d just said caught up with me and I hiccuped a brief laugh.  “You know that, right?”

She looked at me, hadalpelagic eyes dark like a trench below the bottom of the ocean, and smiled, slow like an ocean swell.  She touched my face and kissed me one last time.

Then she walked into the waves and I did not go with her.  I sat on the sand, butt wet with salty water, feet askew, and my head and my heart sank down low, down deep in the midnight zone - low, but not low enough.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

flerp posted:

It’s black eyes

gently caress youuuuuuu

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

flerp posted:

wow its almost like drafts have mistakes in them

It's almost like u have a mistake in you

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

So things are getting fighty which is good especially when you are dumb and come from seattle -- oh wait I stuttered.

Wellington crew is calling out you seattle buttlords, fight us.

I mean lol space needle it is not even in space. It's on the ground. It is a ground needle.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

with the Akkorokamui

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Fyi we are in a training montage to this tune at the moment, writing more and more elaborate sentences and sitting under waterfalls with keyboards etc seattle crew going down hard, when they bother to show lol

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