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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Congrats on the win, sebmojo.

I'm in. Is it permissible to see what my emotions and image are before deciding whether I would like a flash rule?

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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


MockingQuantum posted:

I can judge, though it means dealing with the time difference

By which I mean me having to debase myself by consorting with kiwis

"Consorting with Kiwis" is my favorite book in the enchanted forest chronicles.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


diffident, envious
Starlight
921 words



“I guess it could be worse,” Lagi said as he peered at his sous chef’s phone, his head peeking over his line cook’s shoulder.

The deadline loomed for Michelin inspectors to submit their lists. Auckland wasn’t exactly a top priority, but there had been rumblings of “Bring a Plate” being on the chopping board.

If Lagi had been asked a year ago about his restaurant’s chances, he would’ve been considerably more optimistic. A lot had changed since then.

The phone displayed a cartoon about the uncomfortably public rivalry between him and Jack, his former partner before their, as Jack put it “falling out.” Lagi had had other words for it, none of them publishable.

Jack stood portrayed magnificently as Bib himself, a crown adorned with a star upon his bald head. There was no question as to his identity. It bore his signature sleeve tattoos with knives and cans of Spam in something close to a Polynesian style, since no one legit would mark the haole with them, no matter how deep his obsession.

Lagi, recognizable by his trademark browline glasses stood crying at his feet in miniature, a tiny Bib, rattle in his hand and tears streaming down his doughy shoulders.

Talia shrugged and closed the tab. “I don’t see how, but you’re the boss.” She was a good sous, but she could be a pain in the rear end.

Rather than argue, Lagi quietly busied himself slicing Spam, imagining the pink meat as his rival’s neck. If only things could’ve stayed the way they were.

He cracked eggs into a pan and scrambled them with creme fraiche.

Jack and Lagi used to complement one another. Jack would handle the press and all the bullshit with his winning smile and Lagi could spend his time in the kitchen, where he was home. If he’d wanted to shake hands, he would’ve run for governor-general.

Lagi plated the eggs on a piece of crusty sourdough and dusted them with Maldon salt.

He’d picked up awards here and there, and Jack’d been the face of the place, but it hadn’t been enough for him. He wanted a prize to call his own.

In retrospect, letting Jack handled the finances was a bad decision. Chalk it up as a life lesson.

One plate blended into the next. They’d been in lunch service for an hour already. Talia walked by, cell in hand.

He was debating whether to tell her to put it away when she made the choice for him.

“I know what you’re about to say, but you’ll never believe this,” she said. He had to listen.

“It’s one of the inspectors. He’s been outed.” Talia put her cell on an empty plate before Lagi could portion out a scoop of white rice.

“Clark Campbell. Apparently, he’s going through an ugly divorce,” Talia said.

The garish letterhead of one of those gossip sites screamed at him from the screen.

“I don’t know,” Lagi began.

“No, it’s a reliable source; it’s the wife. She posted it an hour ago. He’s coming here,” Talia finished.

Lagi swallowed. “When?”

“Tonight,” Talia said. “The site pulled the article, this is a screenshot from before.”

“What’ll I do?” Lagi asked.

Talia shrugged. For once, she didn’t have an opinion. “I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

She did the cruelest thing and left him alone with his thoughts.

Lagi’s mind turned at once to his signature. It had soured his stomach ever since Jack’s betrayal. As far as the outside world was concerned, it ws the special of his restaurant, “gutz” and was served, as many of their dishes were, deconstructed, each component on a separate piece of custom-cut shale in the shape of the smaller islands of New Zealand.

Lagi had dismissed one of the cooks and given his hands something to do with prep. An hour had passed. Wasn’t much time left now. He couldn’t wait for this to be over.

His head waiter gave him the news: Campbell was here and didn’t much care what he was served.

Lagi gently warmed a spinach tortilla and set to shredding the Spam with a mandolin. Into the skillet it went, followed by cabbage, carrots, and onion.

He warmed a sauce of soy and lemon in a bain-marie, careful not to let it boil. Once the slaw was acquainted with the meat’s flavor, he wrapped it gingerly in the tortilla and drizzled the sauce, now thickened to a glaze over its surface. Tucked inside its blanket of green on a plate unadorned, it was a far cry from Jack’s presentation, complete with a metal flower, fashioned from the Spam’s can. He knew the comparison was inevitable, so it was futile to compete. Jack always was the one with the eye for the dramatic.

The waiter buzzed around him until he named the dish and brought it to life.

“Mu shu Spam, ready to go. Get it out of my sight, would you?” Blessedly, the waiter complied.

If the inspector had an opinion on his meal, Lagi didn’t hear it. He couldn’t bring himself to peer through the porthole on the door to the dining room.

He labeled containers and cleaned knives until it was time to clear down. His staff knew to leave him alone.

The phone in his office rang, to his surprise. He went to answer it. Though he’d taken great pains to avoid hearing the voice on the other for months, he had no trouble recognizing it.

“Congrats on the star, mate.” Lagi could smell his insincerity over the floor wax.

“But he hasn’t even written his review yet. He couldn’t have,” Lagi argued to the one person whose opinion he no longer valued.

“You’re not the only one with spies, bro. Anyway, what’d you serve him? Maybe I’ll come by and give it a try sometime,” he threatened.

Lagi swallowed and Jack’s laughter let him know he’d heard.

“Chill, man, just funnin’ with you. You take care.” He hung up without saying goodbye. Lagi poured himself a glass of wine savored Jack’s jealousy.

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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Sounds like fun. I'm in this week like a shoujo geek.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Old Guard
1034 words

Kotomi parked in the lot outside the assisted care facility (never nursing home, she reminded herself) and made sure she was on time.

She took her purse inside and greeted the young lady at the front desk.

“Good afternoon, Miss Shiga,” she said.

“Good afternoon. How is she?” Kotomi asked. She edged the zipper on her purse to the side and stroked the synthetic fur on the cat toy inside.

“The same. She’ll sneak out of her room at night now and again, but she doesn’t leave the facility. It’s mostly to get things for the cat,” she said.

It was surprising Ayame was still alive. She’d been around as long as Kotomi remembered. By all accounts, she should’ve died years ago. The staff probably replaced her every once in a while when her grandmother was asleep.

Kotomi signed in and made her way to her grandmother’s room.

“Are you ready?” she asked as she observed her grandmother’s silhouette from behind a changing screen.

“Just about,” Chisato said. “I just need to make sure I’m wearing my amulet in case we run into any trouble.”

It was the one indulgence she allowed herself as far as her appearance went, which otherwise was what one would expect from a woman who soon be a hundred. The amulet was golden, yes, but not gaudy. A subtle relief framed a storm cloud with a lapis lazuli bolt of lightning piercing through the bottom. It didn’t look much like an heirloom, and every time Kotomi or anyone else asked where it came from, the story changed: a lucky charm, a relic passed on from her own grandmother, something she’d picked up in a gashapon. Kotomi was happy to let the old woman have her secrets.

Chisato moved the screen aside and lowered herself into her wheelchair, her cane collapsed and clutched in her lap. Ayame gingerly lowered herself down onto the blanket across her knees from the table.

“All right. I’m ready,” she said.

Kotomi rebuffed the nurse and took her to the car on her own and was careful not to offer to help her inside until asked. She didn’t want a repeat of last time.

“Are you excited about the carnival?” Kotomi asked at a red light.

“Of course. I haven’t missed one yet,” Chisato said.

They were there soon enough, surrounded by the twinkling lights and cheerful music of the carnival. Chisato insisted on trying a shooting gallery first. Kotomi resigned herself to buying a bushel of corks.

Chisato spun the toy rifle around like a soldier and knocked the targets down in her first round.

“Wow! Where’d you learn to shoot like that?” Kotomi asked as the carnival worker wept and handed Chisato the largest plush toy, a languid penguin with a sun hat just like hers.

Chisato laughed. “The war, of course. Didn’t have much choice.”

As far as Kotomi knew, women hadn’t been in the infantry back then, but she knew better than to argue. “Of course. How foolish of me.”

Chisato asked her to go pick up some dango, which she was happy to do. As soon as Kotomi got in line, however, an air raid siren went off from overhead. She scanned the sky for planes and looked around for the nearest thing to shelter under, trying to look through the crowd for her grandmother.

As soon as a gap in the scurrying crowd appeared, she saw her wheelchair was empty.

Something screamed across the sky, but it didn’t look like any plane or bomb she’d ever seen. It looked more like an egg, though the bird who laid it would be the size of a skyscraper if that were the case.

It crashed into the ferris wheel—mercifully closed for repairs—and left a smoldering crater. The air reeked of ozone. From nowhere, storm clouds gathered overhead in the skies that were blue a mere moment earlier.

An unearthly shriek pierced the haze of black smoke that emanated from the crater. Something like a bird only in the loosest sense emerged from it, pieces of wet shell clinging to its beak, its egg tooth still visible and the size of a basketball. It took a step with an armored, webbed foot and the earth shook.

“Stop right there! You can’t get on the ride unless you have a ticket!” cried a voice from the heavens.

Lightning pierced the dark skies, and what looked like a woman riding on the back of an enormous black cat glided along its surface until it touched the ground, at which point the pair gracefully dismounted.

“As long as my body draws breath, the people of this planet are under my protection!” the woman said. She was dressed in a simple black robe with a collar of stars around the mantle. She had a necklace that looked strangely familiar, though Kotomi was too far away to see it in much detail.

She spun a cane in her hand like a soldier doing a drill and it transformed at once into a filigreed rifle.

“It may have been a while since you’ve seen me, but the people of Earth will never surrender!” She fired once into the creature’s face with a sound of thunder and a thousand tiny stars, blindingly white, pierced its armored skin, popped its eyes, and skewered its exposed throat through its open mouth. The beast collapsed and turned into a silver light, boiling away almost immediately like water on hot concrete.

The woman blew smoke off her rifle’s barrel. “And don’t come back!” she yelled over the cheering of the crowd. “Well, it looks like my work here is done. Enjoy the carnival, everyone!”

With that, lightning struck, and she and her beast were spirited away, along with the storm.

Kotomi and the others slowly emerged from the places they’d taken shelter. She made her way to her grandmother’s wheelchair, afraid of what she’d see.

The penguin lounged there, dressed in Chisato’s coat and hat. Chisato nudged her from behind with her cane and handed her a stick of dango.

“Sorry about that. Long line. Did I miss anything?” she said with a wink.

Kotomi accepted the sweet and took a bite.

“No.”

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Fascinating idea for a prompt. I'm in.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


I'm having trouble deciding, so I think a random story sounds like a good idea, thanks. Throw me a random found object as well, and I'll see if I can find a good flash rule tonight

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Very helpful, thank you.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Kayfabe 771 words
Original story: Historia de un fracaso
https://thunderdome.cc/?story=1710&title=Historia+de+un+fracaso
Original prompt: incorporate this image:
Flash rule: incorporate this image:


A line already snaked outside the airplane hangar that was nice enough to host the match. Gabriel’s cousin owed him one, and this was how he’d chosen to make it square. Anything for a chance to wrestle.

Gabriel had made the banner himself. It looked pretty good for the amount of time he’d had to spend on it between shifts in the food truck.

“El Mono v. El Tigre” stood out in resplendent letters, fluttering in the wind like the flag for some faraway country no one could find on a map.

Gabriel’s costume laid, sleeping, in his duffel bag. There was still time to get in.

Rolando was there mingling with the crowd. Gabriel would’ve nodded hello with his chin, but kayfabe was sacrosanct.

He got into the back room. It was where the foreman had once worked back when this place still had planes in it. He drew the blinds and put on his monkey suit, the tufts of fur on the chest standing out in the humid air of the office. He checked his reflection in the remaining piece of a mirror against the wall and adjusted his trunks so his tail could swing freely through the back.

Gabriel trilled and warmed up his voice. He went over the choreography in his head and practiced the footwork, leaving pawprints in the dust on the concrete floor. From the buzz outside, the crowd was starting to thicken. He could smell elotes from his abuela’s handcart. Always got butts in seats.

Gabriel had been left in the office. El Mono kicked the door to the office open and loped into the audience on all fours. He dragged his knuckles across the floor despite the oil stains and tapped his head with palm when the kids laughed.

“Is he gonna kill you? Tigers eat monkeys, I saw it on tv,” said a boy from the front row.

“Don’t worry, mijito. Just have fun. I’ll be all right,” El Mono said.

His opponent still hadn’t showed up. Heels must always be late. El Mono peeled and ate a banana with exaggerated slowness and checked an enormous watch he’d hidden in his pocket for just this purpose. The crowd gamely laughed.

From behind the door to the only other office, a roar shook the glass. El Mono still remembered when they’d bought that tape of animal sounds together and come up with their gimmicks.

He threw the peel in his opponent’s path and shushed the audience. He rapped on a drum hanging around his neck to herald El Tigre’s arrival.

El Tigre loped toward the ring, snarling at the audience and slipped like they’d rehearsed. He somersaulted and landed, “knocking” his head on the corner of the mat and rolled his neck, theatrically dizzy.

“Hey, these people are here for a show, don’t let me beat you that easy,” El Mono teased. He hopped to the edge of the ring and scampered up the ropes to perch on a post.

“I’ll bite your head off, you chattering ape!” El Tigre slid onto the mat and pounced.

El Mono leapt over him, vaulting off his opponent’s shoulder and smashed his head into the post.

El Tigre groaned in pain and stood on the end of El Mono’s tail like in rehearsal.

“Ay!” El Mono cried.

“You’re not going anywhere! I’m hungry!” El Tigre roared.

The audience booed and when they began standing in twos and threes, El Tigre let his prey go after El Mono stamped his paw.

“You’ll have to sing for your supper tonight.” El Mono beat his chest and showboated for the audience.

“Sing? That’s not a bad idea. Let’s have some music!” El Tigre reached into his trunks and threw huge fake bills into the audience toward their plant. He stood and disgorged a barrel organ from the bag he’d had next to him and began to grind it.

El Mono, helpless to resist the beat, began to dance. El Tigre laughed and pounced upon him while he was stuck in place. He sunk his fangs into El Mono’s neck and set off the blood pack.

“Ay! Remember the way I was, my friends!” El Mono shrieked and collapsed.

The boy he’d spoken to was crying in the audience. He hated this part, but there were rules in place. He could not break them.

El Tigre roared in triumph. El Mono heard his breath catch. He must’ve seen the boy. While doing his victory lap, he pretended to trip on El Mono’s dangling tail and even in “death” cursed his enemy and his tricks. El Mono cracked one eye and saw the boy laughing. It was like he’d said. Everything would be all right.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Cool prompt. Consider me in

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Friendly reminder that the brawl between phamnuwen and thirdemperor is due at 9pm (central time) on the 2nd. The theme is sabotage and they have 1500 words

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Stone to Flesh 499 words

Once, it was merely a lump of stone. It sat in contemplative silence as part of a mountain. Wind and water kissed its surface and sheared its skin. Much later, men came and took great, rectangular bites out of the mountain with their chisels and hammers, the blocks dragged out on sledges made from felled trees to spread the stone’s weight. Otherwise it would sink into the earth when the rain made it soft.

The lump of stone was moved in this fashion. It found itself in a great structure formed from the bodies of its kind, bent and pruned into elaborate shapes they never would’ve found their ways into on their own, one stacked upon another with such precision, the seams between them barely showed.

Men milled around it like ants, whispering in their quiet, wind-like language and scraped the stone’s skin with chalk, soft and smooth and then chipped at it with their iron chisels, breaking off pieces that littered the floor until its shape was new.

It had a long, stout trunk like a tree with a bowl atop it. Above that, its top had been shaped into birds holding sprigs of plants in their beaks. The men made a hole inside its center and put a smooth, shiny stone that normally lay deep within the bowels of the earth inside. They shut the hole up with stone and beveled the surface. The men adorned the stone birdbath with enamel to make its interior smooth and hide the treasure within, and help the water avoid corroding its surface. They made up its face with brightly colored paints and once their alterations were complete, placed it in a position of pride within their home.

They met in front of the birdbath when the sun shone and sang their own kind of birdsong before it. Together, they met with shorn heads and brown robes and purified themselves with water from its font. Despite the birds on its top, no bird had yet entered its bath.

The sun shone on it many times, and the men stopped coming. The water inside it evaporated and spiders gilt its edges with their webs, the men whose duty it had been to remove them long since gone.

Men came in to observe the birdbath one day, by the sun’s light. They inspected its every edge and went over it with their hands and their eyes, and tools made of materials not from the rock or soil of the earth. The men fluttered with excitement, their song different from the ones who had come before, but its jubilance the same. They packed the birdbath within a box of wood lined with straw and for a time it was in darkness.

Afterwards, its box was opened and the sun touched its surface once more. It stood proud with its base on grass once more. Its new masters ensured it was filled always, and at last, the first birds came to clean themselves its waters.

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Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

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

Malachi 2:3


Gimmick account or not, that’s a funny prompt. I’m in.

So long as I’m here, I’m home from work, so time for brawl judgement

ThirdEmperor

On the micro level, I really like your story. You have a good ear for cant, like in “Fury Road.” Without a lot of exposition, I can by and large understand what your cyberpunk urchins are talking about.

Overall, the dialogue and narration together remind me of M.T. Anderson’s “Feed,” or Alfred Bester’s “The Computer Connection. The first is a compliment, the second is not.

You bit off more than you could chew with the amount of worldbuilding you did here. I’m sure you’ve got a bible stashed away with all the castes and powers and stuff but that eclipsed plot or character here. By the end, I’m interested in the setting, but I’m unclear why exactly I should be invested in some guy who was bred as cattle getting processed, albeit unsuccessfully.

I’m not sure whether the main’s recreational drug use spoiling the batch of clones counts as sabotage, since he did it primarily to dull the pain of being alive or whatever instead of to stop the clones from being made, but whatever, I’ll give that to you.

Pham Nuwen

-10 for naming your love-interest shaped lump “Sarah” again. Just put in the tiniest bit of effort and come up with a name rather than putting in the placeholder for “woman.”

That out of the way, I love your premise. Unlike your competition, Soylent Green, I haven’t seen it a thousand times. I like how your reflections of your proletarian everyman aren’t there to compliment him or force him to develop his character, but are just an annoying thing that happens.

Definitely fits the theme of sabotage, and is seamlessly integrated with no exposition. Really cool story, I like it a lot.

At no time was I unclear on anything happening in your story.

Winner is comfortably Pham Nuwen Good job.

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