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Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.



Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

The Rosebery Club Detective

995 words

Penderton rifled through the plush armchair once more.


He checked the end table to the side. It was just as empty as the first three times he checked.

He looked back at the bar where the new bartender Greggs was pouring a sherry for Lord Connors. He noticed Penderton and gave him a smile as per Rosebery Club policy. Penderton knew he had already asked two times but something might have changed in the last minute. He didn’t have any better ideas and he had to find the pocket-watch before-

He felt a hand on his shoulder.

“Lose something?”


The voice belonged to the seventh Earl of Fleming, the first head of the Rosebery Club detective agency, and the last person Penderton wanted to see: Charles Byck. Penderton turned to greet him.

“Hello Byck. It’s really nothing. I-”

Byck raised a hand dismissively. “Nonsense, Penderton. Nothing can be hidden from the deductive mind. You only need to look at the fact that you’re still here to know there’s something wrong. It’s 2:15 and you always leave at 1:45 to telegraph your business interests in Argentina. You’re absolutely frenetic and you keep digging your hand into your left pocket, subconciously hoping it will magically come out with-”, he paused for dramatic effect, “your pocket watch.”

Penderton sighed. It was his own fault really. He was the one who showed Byck those damned Sherlock Holmes stories in the first place. He thought it would do him good to read something current and popular that he could discuss with the other club members for a change, and he really did think Byck would enjoy them. He just didn’t think he would enjoy them this much.

The man was always so staid and conservative. He was one of the club’s founders. He had served in the House of Lords. And then a policeman returned him to the Rosebery one night, apparently he told the cops he lived here, holding the tiny sixty-two year old man by the collar and warning the confused doorman that if his grandfather was caught trespassing in a closed murder scene again he would be arrested, and Penderton realized he had made a huge mistake.

“I expect you’re wondering how I could deduce it was your pocket watch with so little to go on.”

“Well, go ahead, Byck. How?”

“To a man of reason, Penderton, all of life is but a jigsaw puzzle…”

Penderton listened with half-attention. The puzzle speech was one of his better ones but it did not get better the more you heard it. Still, as irritating as all of this was, he didn’t have any better ideas on how to find his pocket watch.

“And through logic’s guiding light, nothing can stop us from reaching the picture on the box!” Byck finished in dramatic triumph.

“Byck, you’ve convinced me. What would it take for you to consider taking on this case?’

“Please. I’m not greedy. True, a missing item case is a bit below my abilities but you are a friend. When did you last have the watch?”

"The last time I know I had it was when I came in at noon. I went to my chair, ordered a Gin and Tonic from Henderson when he came by with the sandwich cart, and worked on some Chess puzzles. Henderson took too long with my drink so I went to the bar to get Greggs to mix me one directly. I went back to my chair and when I went to check my watch to see if it was time to leave, I realized it was gone.”

“And you forgot to attach the chain?”

“The chain’s broken. Last Tuesday. I’ve been meaning to have it fixed but I haven’t had the time. I can’t figure out where it fell out of my pocket. Unless I went somewhere else and forgot.”

“Or”, said Byck pointedly “it didn’t fall out but was stolen.”

Penderton stared at Byck. Oh. That was what happened.

“You see, Penderton. It’s not a matter of the locations in your story. But the people. Henderson and Greggs. The first Henderson, a beloved butler of 20 years who would never- where is Henderson. Henderson!”

Byck stomped over to the bar and rang a bell. Henderson rolled his cart in from the kitchen.

“Yes, sir”

“I’m having a crime reveal and you’re missing it.”

“Oh.” Henderson sat in a chair sheepishly. He’d already been reprimanded for this once.

“Henderson”, Byck started again, “who would never risk his position with such criminal behavior, or Greggs.” Byck stalked towards the bar like a wolf towards sheep. “The new . bartender of two weeks. Unknown and incapable of making a proper Tom Collins.” Byck grabbed a piece of paper from behind the bar and held it up for his audience, “And with the May racetrack schedule hidden behind his bar.”

Byck thrust a hand suddenly into Gregg’s vest pocket and pulled out, holding aloft a glittering gold pocket-watch.

“Gambling is a nasty habit, but robbery is far worse. Henderson, eject this man from the Rosebery. Penderton, I believe this is yours.”

Penderton retrieved his watch, thanked Byck and left for the telegraph office. Half a block down the street, he saw Greggs who gave him a smile and a wave, which Penderton returned. No doubt he would see him behind the bar again in a few days, with a new name and Byck insisting he never saw him before. That is, if he wasn’t a ketchup-covered corpse this time, or a man who had just inherited a treasure map that only the famed “Rosebery Brain” could crack. He thought he knew Byck, but this was the first time he had used someone else’s property for a case.

I really need to find a new club, Penderton thought.

He reached the end of the block and turned left.

Especially since he’s such a hog about who gets to play detective, he added.

Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Mashed Karma

If Jerrod had known it was possible to be reincarnated as a potato he would have lived a much better life. He would have given to orphans, said please and thank you, done just about anything to avoid his current life of sitting in a dark cabinet underneath the sink, eternally eavesdropping on the most uninteresting man in the goddamn world trying to put the moves on the woman of the night.

“I mean how do you know” said the man “that the red I see is the same as the red you see?”

A drop of water landed on Jerrod. The idiot had bought him in a 5 pound bag of Idahos two weeks ago, and as far as Jerrod could tell he had only ever ordered out since. He obviously wasn’t much of a cook since he didn’t know that you shouldn’t keep potatoes beneath leaky pipes. He had felt sick for 3 days.

“Have you ever gone skiing? Let me show you some pictures.”

“I’m actually getting kind of hungry” said the female voice, “Do you have anything to eat?”

Jerrod hoped against hope. Maybe this was his chance, he could finally die and try again.

He heard the male voice again:

“I actually know a great Thai place. Have you had Thai before? It’s delicious.”

Inside Jerrod screamed.

Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.


Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Came under the word limit by half but short is sweet baby, let's do this.

Prompt: Story must include Christmas, Trucks, Trains, Mama, Drunkeness, and Prison

Brock Claus
You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. You probably recall the most famous reindeer of all, but you’ve never heard about Brock Claus, Santa’s forgotten son.

Me? I first heard about Brock when I was doing a stint for Grand Theft Auto at Luther Luckett in La Grange. I woke up the day after Christmas with a carton of Pall Malls, a handle of Old Forester, and some ramen noodles hidden under my pillow. I asked my cellmate if he had gotten me any of it from the Canteen or had it smuggled in. He smiled, shook his head then said:

“I wish, but if I got you any of that stuff then who gave me this?”

He lifted up his pillow to show me a six-pack of Miller-lite and a Porno mag.

“I forgot it was your first Christmas here.” he chuckled. “You don’t know about Brock.”


“Yeah. Were you a good kid growing up? Stayed out of trouble?”

I told him no.

“Me neither” he said. “But you never got coal right? Santa’s supposed to give coal to all the bad kids but nobody I know here ever got coal. Not even the guys from West Virginia. Why do you think that is?”

I told him that I thought it was because Santa wasn’t actually real. My cellmate laughed and said, “No, No. Santa’s real. Real as you and me. It’s because of Brock.”

Brock, at least according to the story passed down to me, is Santa’s son. I never knew Santa had a son and I bet you didn’t either but he’s got three: Edward, Beaumont, and Brock. The first two you never heard of because they’re real behind-the-scenes type guys. Edward supervises toy production and Beaumont’s a tax accountant. But Brock? You don’t know about Brock because he got thrown out of the family.

There was a time when Brock was the apple of his old man’s eye. He was always smarter than his brothers, stronger, harder-working. Anyone who looked at him saw a blazing-bright future. His dad started grooming him for the family business, showing him the naughty list, how to fit in a chimney, and the best route for delivering presents to two billion kids in a single night. That’s when poo poo started to go downhill. Half the guys I talk to say it was just too much for Brock, the stress and expectations were too much for any kid to handle. The other half say Brock just had a time-bomb brain, he turned a certain age and he just snapped.

I don’t know what went wrong with Brock exactly but I know what happened next. He started drinking. He got into fights, gambling, but never to work on time. It all broke open when the Railroad Police caught him sleeping in a boxcar littered with beer cans a passed-out hooker by his side. When they started investigating, they found that he’d paid for his partying with money he’d been stealing from his dad.

Santa was furious, he refused to protect Brock, didn’t send him a penny for his defense, and Brock got stuck with a public defender and a 6-year sentence. 2191 days and six Christmases each and everyone the same. When he got out, no-one came to pick him. Santa had told everyone that Brock was dead to him, and forbade them all: Eddy, Beaumont, and even his own Mama, Mrs Claus from speaking to him ever again. Brock had nowhere to go, so he went everywhere. He drifted across the world, doing odd-jobs or a quick scam anytime he ran out of cash, until he got picked up again in Red Deer, Alberta for kiting checks. He was booked and thrown back to the system. Seven years and seven Christmases.

When he was in prison, Brock never knew what day it was, the days all blended together in the cold concrete of his cell. But he always knew when Christmas arrived, because Christmas was the day his mama called. His old man was busy the entire day delivering presents to the good boys and girls all over the world. And Mrs. Claus who missed Brock dearly would call him on the prison phone. It was the only time he got to talk to his mama the entire year and he treasured every second. He would listen to how his brothers were doing and how finicky the hot toy of the season was to make. The first twelve Christmases Brock spent in prison, he did this but the thirteenth one was different: Brock asked for the naughty list. And Mama Claus God bless her, she got it for him.

Now every Christmas, Brock gets into his flying pick-up truck and visits all the world’s ne’er-do-wells, delinquents and slimeballs and swaps out the coal his old man put in their stocking for cigarettes, booze, BB guns and whatever else he can find that fell off the back of a sleigh. Brock might be a good-for-nothing loser but he’s a good-for-nothing loser who thinks that Christmas belongs to everybody, and that the people who deserve Christmas cheer the least are the ones who need it most.

Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Word count's 871 words by the way. I don't know if its required or just etiquette but I'm not going to break the rules by editing it in.

Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

in hell rule


Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Black Griffon posted:

35, the end took away people's ability to speak

760 words

Orbach was sure he could fix the problem if he could find his way back home and figure out how to type with hooves. He was having enough trouble right now just trying to hurry down the sidewalk with four legs. The simple left, right, left, right motion that was perfectly adequate when he was a human just didn’t hold up for a pig. He tried and failed to jump over a businessman flopping around on the sidewalk, hitting his snout on the pavement instead.

“Poor guy” thought Orbach as he picked himself up. “Swapped with a fish. I just hope he doesn’t have as much trouble figuring out how to breathe with gills.”

The machine wasn’t supposed to work like this. It was supposed to just better acclimate migratory birds to the effects of climate change. Mind-swapping all humans and animals was a pretty big glitch. But anything the machine could do one way it could do the other direction. Orbach just had to figure out how. It had only been 35 minutes so if he hurried he could change everyone back and if not put everything back to normal, at least prevent a raccoon from accidentally launching some nukes. He turned right at the intersection, past some crashed cars and a construction worker vigorously chewing on a two-by-four.

He trudged down the street to his house where the former boy genius confronted the greatest obstacle yet to saving the world and cleaning up his own mess: a doorknob. The door was a heavy imposing brown oak with a button knob that lay a monstrous 11 inches above the top of his head. Orbach stared at in horror. He remembered a friend of his had once mentioned off-hand that lever door handles were better for the handicapped and elderly since they were easier on the wrists. Orbach had never considered his failure to adopt a more ergonomic technology might endanger the future of the world. He couldn’t give up though. Any man smart enough to invent a brain-swapping device has to be smart enough to open a door.


Orbach followed the sound and saw his salvation: the mayor had gotten into the trash. Orbach charged the mayor, grunting wildly. He didn’t need to gore the guy, he wasn’t sure he could without tusks, but he did need to scare the little racoon-brain off. Unfortunately, this little guy had courage. The mayor hissed at Orbach and launched himself at the pig, teeth bared. Orbach was not the kind of burly pig that ends up as sports mascots but the kind that ends up painted on nursery room walls, but his light-pink hide was still tough enough to absorb the mayors teeth. Unfortunately Orbach’s forty minutes of pig experience was still not enough to master his new body’s coordination, and his attempts to writhe away from the mayor’s attempt at clawing only succeeded in him tripping over his own hooves. Orbach thudded snout-first into the trash pile. The mayor growled and stalked towards him.

“I’m in his food.” Orbach thought, “He wants me to run away, but I can’t. I need this trash can.”

A lightbulb went off.

“But he doesn’t. The trash is all out.”

Orbach got to his hooves as fast as he could and charged straight into the trash can with all of his weight. The can provided shelter from the mayor and more importantly a way to get it to his door. Orbach headbutted the can repeatedly as hard as he could, feeling the can thump beneath him with each charge. He peeked out. With Orbach out of his territory the mayor had lost interest and gone back to chomping on an old banana peel. He was safe. Orbach got out, but the can by the wheel and dragged it the rest of the way to his stoop.

Perched on top of the can, Orbach carefully placed his mouth on the doorknob and bit down, turning his head as much as his stiff pig neck allowed while pushing with all of his might. The door opened. This was it. He trotted into his lab. Even robbed of his opposable thumbs Orbach could probably buy some time through reconfiguring the thermal recompressor which had big enough parts he could still handle them which would- Orbach stopped. In his lab within the wreckage of sparking circuits and disconnected wires was Orbach’s old body pulling out his CPU’s circuit board in search of truffles.

This was going to take a while. Orbach just hoped the world could hold on.

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