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Aug 2, 2002

my goal is to enter at least 20 weeks this year.

and win at least once.


Aug 2, 2002

don't let me down SH, i loving hate this anime

Aug 2, 2002

in :toxx: bonus fact plz

Aug 2, 2002

sebmojo posted:

I am disappointed that no-one is willing to chance a hellrule, but I suppose there's no particular shame in being worthless.

give it to me you coward

Aug 2, 2002

Staggy posted:

Your beast is the Lynx.
A lynx has no organs; inside it is as of the earth.

sebmojo posted:

Your protagonist is convinced they do not exist

Elephant Stone
997 words

A storm rages inside me as we hack our way through the veil of twisted vines. With each swing of my arm lightning beats at the dunes in my guts, leaving glass scars that shatter into a thousand jagged pieces with the slightest movement. Each step flays my nerves and I let out a scream like thunder. I scream as I clutch my side and whack another vine out of my in my conquest for the Lost City and its coffers full of precious gems.

“Shh,” whispers Anjay, my superstitious guide. “We don’t know what might be listening out there.”

The lead of our party motions for a break, and we set down our packs. Even in the humid oven of the jungle, my forehead feels hot to the touch.

The doctor walks through the group giving his worn talk about the importance of staying hydrated when he stops—mid-sentence—in front of me. “Jesus, Edwin, let me have a look at you.”

He grasps my face between his oversized hands and mushes it around like a child playing with unappetizing porridge. I’m too weak to protest besides a few whimpers. “You’re jaundiced. Have you been drinking water?”

I hold up my nearly empty canteen. “I sweat it out before I finish swallowing.”

“When was the last time you urinated?”

I squint and grimace. I’m in no mood for math problems. “Yesterday?”

He jabs my back under my ribs and I almost black out. I hold onto the tree to keep from falling over and I feel the sudden urge to vomit.

The doctor shakes his head though I can tell he’s mentally patting himself on the back. “You have a kidney stone. Rather large one I’d guess.”

“Impossible,” I say. “I don’t have kidneys, or blood. Only sand. An unending sea of shifting dunes.” I wince as the glass in my sides tries to cut its way out.

But the doctor has already started barking orders at our guides to set up a tent by the time I mumble the words.

It’s hard to sleep through the heat and pain, and I exist somewhere between the plane of our world and hallucination. I dream I am a giant cat, prowling the perimeter of the camp, watching the flames lick the green fronds that hang too close to it. I circle, flitting in the penumbra like a bad thought, waiting to sink my teeth into somebody that ventures too far from the safety of the light.

I thrash and scream in my tent as the glass grinds to an erosive dust, penetrating every nook and cranny, slashing its way through my nerves in its quest to turn into yet more sand.

Anjay glares at me as he nibbles on his cold jolpaan.

I glare back. “What?”

“Your screams last night. They attracted the lynx.”

“Oh yeah,” I say, rolling my eyes, “and what is a lynx?”

He furls his brow and leans in close. “It’s a beast of the jungle, a soulless monster looking for a body to possess. It got Bodhi last night, entered his body and now he’s gone.”

The doctor overhears us and turns from stirring his pot of tea and scoffs. “I highly doubt that, given the amount of blood we found at the edge of camp. Poor sap was likely exsanguinated, I doubt any soul is living in his body. No, he was probably eat—” he stops himself from finishing his thought, as if it voids the preceding words. “Well anyway, I doubt it was a fantastical beast.”

I shift and wince as pangs shoot down my leg, ricochet off my toes and hit me in the balls. “Sorry about the screaming,” I say, but like the doctor, my words ring hollow.

“Edwin,” interrupts the doctor, “you should try to urinate. Even just a few drops if possible. You’ll build up too many toxins if you don’t.”

There’s no use arguing with the doc, he lacks the capacity to consider anything that didn’t come out of his mouth first, so I huff and drag myself out to the edge of the camp, past the men cautiously searching the brush with their bayonetts. I lean up against a tree with my chest and unzip my pants. I survey the ground: there’s a pool of blood mixed with dirt, a macabre mud.

Just a few drops the doc said. I push, and I can feel the tingle stirring inside as the sands shift, as a small pathway opens up and gravity takes hold, like I’m an unseemly hourglass. Sweat pours off my brow and I keep pushing. I clench my teeth so hard I can feel my fillings loosen. I push like I’m the doctor trying to cram all of his medical gear into the giant trunk he brought with him. I grunt and swear, angry that I’m holding back from yelling out because of the overactive imagination of some boy. Through the pain I feel sand forcing its way down my urethra, tearing and splitting me from the inside, but there’s no blood, just pressure and more cursing.

I white knuckle the tree and its bark digs beneath my fingernails as the relief of a single drop of piss washes over me, until I hear a thud between my boots, and half-buried in the mud is a yellow gem. I stand over it, hobbled with short, shallow breaths. It’s just a kidney stone, I mutter.

A beautiful, precious kidney stone. I hear the doctor coming up behind me and I stamp on the stone so that it pushes through the bloody mud and disappears. More than I want to pick it up and admire it, I want to hide it from him. I’d rather leave in buried in a patch of nondescript jungle for eternity than have another man lay eyes on it. Just the thought starts my heart racing and I clench my fist. I feel a new storm brewing inside me.

Aug 2, 2002

in with :

"Hugo kissed Rachel like no man had ever kissed a woman; he put his nose deep in her mouth and exhaled."

and :toxx:in'

Aug 2, 2002

if it's google docs can you just look at the revision history and get it back?

Aug 2, 2002

crabrock posted:

"Hugo kissed Rachel like no man had ever kissed a woman; he put his nose deep in her mouth and exhaled."

and :toxx:in'

Antivehicular posted:

Submissions are closed.

Per judge discussion on IRC: crabrock, we're extending toxx clemency until judging. Post before then if you value your :10bux:.

This is dumb
875 words

Hugo kissed Rachel like no man had ever kissed a woman; he put his nose deep in her mouth and exhaled. The seal was tight, and his lungs full. He kept blowing out his nose as she filled up with air.

Her eyes widened as her clothes tightened. She grew bigger and rounder, lighter and buoyant until she floated into the air. She desperately wiggled her toes as if they could somehow stick to the ground and pull her back down. Even then Hugo had not stopped blowing, and soon Rachel was upside down, floating in the air, tethered only to the ground by her strange kiss.

Hugo stopped, and as if he suddenly bored, shrugged and walked away.

Rachel, now wholly unanchored, floated up to the two-story ceiling of the mall and lazily bounced between the rafters. People walked under her, unaware or uncaring, until she floated over the mall’s indoor playground.

A little girl lying on the ground pointed up at Rachel and squirmed. “Look, Mommy! A balloon!”

“That’s nice, Ali,” said her mother without looking up from her book. “Just leave it be, it’s not yours.”

The little girl stood and jumped in the air with her arms outstretched, but the few inches she gained were not enough to cover the twenty-foot gap between her and Rachel. Ali raced to the slide and climbed up the ladder. She stood at the very top and reached up toward the balloon lady, but still she was not close enough.

“I can’t reach you,” said Ali.

Rachel laughed as she spun over the little girl, hopelessly out of reach. “That’s ok, somebody will be along soon with a broom or something to knock me down.”

“Are you an astronaut?” asked Ali.

“I don’t think this counts.”

“How did you get up there then?”

Rachel shrugged and smeared across a skylight. “This is why I don’t like blind dates.”

“Cause you turn into a balloon?”

“Well, no, this is the first time this has happened, though after one date every time I talked my voice sounded like a train whistle.”

Ali giggled. “That sounds silly.”

“You’ll understand when you’re older. What’s your name?”

“Ali. I’m six. What does it feel like to be a balloon?”

“Quite embarrassing to be honest.”

Ali beamed up at her. “I think you look neat! But I am afraid what if you go outside and fly into the sky and then a bird eats you? My teacher said we shouldn’t let balloons go because birds can eat them and die.”

“Hm, I hadn’t thought of that,” said Rachel, who silently updated her list of anxieties to include airplanes and large birds. “Say, do you think you could find a rope or something? Maybe you could toss it up and I could catch it.”

Ali looked around the playground, which to comply with reasonable liability concerns, was woefully bereft of rope. She slid down the slide and scooped up an armful of balls from the ball pit and followed Rachel, throwing balls at her. “I can’t throw them high enough.”

“That’s ok, I don’t think it would work anyhow.” Rachel unclipped one side of her purse’s straps and dangled it down, but she had neglected to buy a 16-foot purse strap on account of not knowing she would turn into a balloon. “Shucks.”

Ali followed Rachel around as they brainstormed ideas, but after half an hour they still had not come up with anything.

Ali’s mom called for her. “Time to go pick up your brother!”

“But mom, I want to help the balloon get down!”

“We don’t have time for you to collect somebody elses trash. I’ll buy you a new one.”

“But I like this balloon, she’s special.”

But Ali’s mom picked up up and carried her away, even as she cried and insisted she needed the balloon from the ceiling.

Rachel frowned. “Typical,” she said. She floated on the ceiling trying to get somebody’s attention, but everybody looked down, not up, and she bobbed through the cobwebs.

When she’d all but given up any hope of ever being rescued, she saw Hugo down below.

“Uh, hey,” he said.

“Oh. Hi Hugo.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“Well you did leave me floating around up here.”

Hugo blushed. “Oh yes, sorry about that. I went to go get something. I didn’t know you’d be mad.”

“You can’t just leave women floating on the ceiling Hugo.”

“Sorry, I am not very good with women.”

“I can see that.”

“Can I have a second chance?”

Rachel looked down at him with pity. It’s not like the date had been unpleasant before. She had voluntarily kissed him after the movie, and he had come back, unlike the train whistle guy. “Depends,” she said. “What did you bring?”

Hugo fished a telescoping straw out of his pocket. He stuck one end in his mouth and started elongating it, hand over hand, until it swayed in the air like a drunken sailor.

Rachel reach out and caught it. “How does it work?”

“Put the straw in your mouth.”

Then Hugo took Rachel’s breath away like no man had before; he puckered up at the other end of the 20-foot straw and inhaled.

Aug 2, 2002

In give me a nut

Aug 2, 2002

i've been gone for a while, but it's because i've been kicking life in the dick.

in, toxx me flash me

Aug 2, 2002

Anomalous Blowout posted:

Kicking life in the dick, eh.

You get SurreptitiousMuffin’s “Obvious Phallic Symbol.”

Welcome back buddy!

A Prince on Any Other Day: A Hero’s Tale
1099 words

My mother was the first to notice my inadequacies, and she was the first to tell me so. Pointing out my pervasive shortcomings was a favorite hobby of just about everybody: people at church, my community college guidance counselor, and even random strangers. Nobody did it to be mean. Just a nonchalant comment like “how’s the weather,” only it was “you don’t quite stack up, do you?” They just assumed my emotional wherewithal was as lacking as my aptitude for… well, anything.

And I might have gone on believing that until I died—probably of my own negligence—until one day I decided to marry a princess.

I didn’t know any princesses, or if I did I wasn’t aware of it. There are lots of things you can be exposed to and not know it, like subliminal advertising or the measles. Then a few days later, when you’re not thinking about it, you want a Pepsi out of nowhere, or you have a rash.

It wouldn’t be hard to find a princess. They live in big castles and were the ones with the flowing dresses and ribbons in their hair. There weren’t any castles left in the suburbs, so I packed myself a ham and cheese and walked to the bus stop. That’s where I bumped into Stancio.

Stancio was a middle schooler I’d met before, but he didn’t throw bottles at me like the other ones. He said he “felt sorry for me,” which I don’t really understand how he could feel bad for me when he was the one that had to go to school with them.

“Hey Donald,” said Stancio. “Off to visit your mom at work again?”

I scoffed. “No, today I’m getting married.”

“Oh poo poo, for real?”

“Yes, I am going to marry a princess. I’m going to her castle to propose.”

“Can I tag along?”

Stancio had followed me on adventures before. We threw a watermelon off the top of the dam once, and another time we pulled a shopping card out of the lake, and we thought there was a skeleton in it, but it was just driftwood.

“If you’re not busy.”

“Busy? On your wedding day? What kind of friend would I be?”

I don’t count Stancio as a friend, on account of him being a child, but I did not want to upset him, so I said nothing. It was more of a mentoring relationship, where I showed him the best place to throw things off of and he taught me nothing.

“Ok then.”

We talked about school until the 77 bus arrived, and I let him have the window seat. I pointed out the best pizza places, like a true mentor. He hadn’t the foresight to pack his lunch like I had.

The bus snaked its way out of the suburb and merged onto the freeway that fed into the city, and we drove for half an hour until it let us off a block from the castle. Men in suits and ladies in suits walked very quickly on the sidewalk.

The castle itself was set back in a large, open plaza. We followed the path through rolling green hills filled with picnickers.

“We’re here,” I said.

“The courthouse?” asked Stancio.

The becolumned behemoth loomed over us, little marble gargoyles ready to turn into real life gargoyles and protect the royal family, if the princess rejected my offer and sicked the gargoyles on us. I needed to be extra sexy, for our safety. I straightened up, puffed out my chest, and ascended the many steps to the entrance.

“Stancio, it is very important that you do not have any metal on you,” I said, pointing to the metal detectors patrolled by sallow-faced guards.

“None. Just some homework.”

“You’re one hundred percent sure? Let me see your bag.”

I opened his bag and peered inside, then handed it back to him.

“Let’s go.”

I stepped through the detector as the guards scowled at me. They were undoubtedly suspicious of a mysterious ruffian like me, but I kept a straight face and the machine didn’t beep.

Stancio sauntered through the detector with an ignorant bravado, and the alarm blared. Three guards stepped up to him and I used the distraction (manufactured when I dropped my house key into his bag) to slip through the side door labeled “authorized personnel only.”

The halls behind the forbidden door were empty and quiet. Every step I took made my shoes squeak, so I stopped walking and stood still. I looked over my shoulder through the security window at the guards ready to pounce on Stancio. If he fell, I would name an island after him, I decided with only the tiniest pang of guilt.

And then I saw the princess: a long black gown with little white frills. Not as pink as I’d imagined, but she was beautiful and intimidating and hurrying to the bathroom.

I took one squeaky step forward and stopped. I watched as the men rummaged through Stancio’s bag, and knew he would soon learn of my betrayal.

Was it worth it? Love? At the price of ruining what was probably the greatest mentorship of all time? Could I truly be happy in my castle, ruling over the land when I knew Stancio was rotting away in a dungeon somewhere?

Stancio was calm and unassuming, which was a great set up for my sneak attack. I lunged at the lead guard and buried my shoulder between his ribs. We skidded across the floor into a heap against the wall.

“Run, Stancio! Save yourself!” I yelled, and he turned his wide-eyed scrawny body around and bolted.

I was accustomed to falls, being of poor balance and observational skills, and was back on my feet before the guards could react. I caught up to Stancio easily as he made his way down the stairs.

We ran together, me a little bit faster, all the way back to the bus stop.

Stancio and I sat on the bus, out of breath, but happy to have escaped and certain torture.

“I saw her.”

“The princess?”

“Yeah. I was about to ask her to marry me.”

“What did she look like?”

“Much older than I expected.” I dug the ham sandwich from my pocket, half smushed by guard ribs. I handed Stancio half.

He accepted it and took a bite. “You didn’t need to tackle that guy,” he said with his mouth full of ham.

I smiled at him. “You’re welcome though.”

He shrugged. “Maybe next time.”

I nodded, and we rode in silence, chewing our sandwiches.

Aug 2, 2002

in, flash, and :toxx:

for my toxx i'm giving somebody this loving terrible toy, which is something grandmas give you because they think it's a gameboy but the gameplay sucks and it hurts your fingers and gently caress i hated these things:

I'm giving it to IronicTwist because he and these games have a lot in common, namely being the worst.

Aug 2, 2002

Antivehicular posted:

THUNDERDOME CCCXL: Beyond the Murder of the Dolls

Word Count: 1200

Antivehicular posted:

As the final signup, you get the image I somehow didn't give out before now:

Water In, Water Out, Water In and Shaken All About
1193 words
Redemption Entry

Brandy was always thirsty.

“Ya got too much salt in ya bones!” screamed her pirate doctor, who was at the top of the Royal Navy’s most wanted list and had been first in his class at Oxford Medical School. “I prescribe one month of extra-strength land lubbin’. No salty seas for you.”

Brandy walked down a cobblestone alleyway and kicked at a coconut husk and wished it was the doctor’s head. When she got to her tiny island apartment that she kept for emergencies and smashin’ she didn’t even bother to take off her clothes, she just flopped into the bathtub, her legs hanging over the sides, and turned on the faucet. She gulped down water like a fish, as if she were some sort of amnesic mermaid.

The thought caused her to sit up so quickly she bonked her head on the faucet. “Maybe I don’t have too much salt, maybe I don’t have enough! Also, ow.”

This logic seeming sound, she ran back to the beach and gave the “repurposed” HMS Bloodletter the ol’ two-finger salute before stripping down to her skimpies. She dived into the ocean and took a deep breath.

Back aboard the Bloodletter, Cpt. Dr. Blacklung sat in a chair, thoughtfully stroking his stethoscope. Brandy smacked her dry lips as she awoke, then sat up slowly. “Not a mermaid I guess.”

Blacklung shook his head. “And now yer salt levels are off the charts!” He pointed to a sepia-toned chart of normal blood sodium levels, above which he’d attached a torn piece of a treasure map to the wall with a dagger and written the words “You” on it. “You hafsta stay away from the sea, or you’ll explode like a cannon shell!”

Brandy wanted to protest, to convince the doctor she belonged to the briny expanse, but the words stuck in her dry throat. She nodded in defeat.

She rushed home and threw herself in the bathtub, gulping water like rum.

The next few weeks were some of the worst of her life. Brandy sat in her apartment gazing out the window at the ocean. Its blue waters twinkled in the sunlight. Birds dove in and emerged with fish, turtles swam up on shore and returned as they pleased. Every animal on Earth who wished it was free to explore the cool, salty waters, but not her. She held her oversized cup with two hands and tipped it back to swallow a gallon of water in a single gulp.

Tired of her self-confinement, she headed out into the city to look for something to do. She passed by shops selling peg appendages, patches for a variety of gouged-out orifices, and a pet shops selling an array of colorful, rude-talking birds that said what the owner was thinking but unwilling to say. “That seems very inconvenient, what a dumb idea,” squawked the bird nearest her. The shop owner glared at her.

“loving parrots.”

She continued on until she reached the Adventure Hut, which had posted several advertisements for island adventures. She was drawn to the crude drawing of a stick figure jumping off a waterfall. The doc had said avoid the ocean, but he’d said nothing about lakes.

Brandy dug a gold coin out of her pocket and paid the tour guide. He escorted her to a large elephant, where five other people sat waiting.

A young couple in flowing, patterned shirts greeted her as she climbed up on top of the elephant.

“Hi I’m Henry and this is Helen.”

The woman giggled. “We’re on our honeymoon.”

A faint squawking was heard from the town commercial district: “Nobody loving cares!”

They didn’t seem to hear it.

“I’m… Brandy,” said Brandy. She was going to make up a different name, but she hadn’t. Life was like that sometimes. She often failed to lie to strangers for no reason, it was just one of her quirks.

The guide, whose name nobody knew and everybody felt too much time had passed to ask, whispered into the elephant’s ear and it started lumbering toward what Brandy assumed was the lake.

“So, uh, married?”

Henry beamed. “Yup. Our parents didn’t want us to, but we did it anyway, becasue we’re in looOOoooOooove!”

“And we’re financially ruined!”

“We didn’t make any plans whatsoever!”

Brandy laughed. Heading to the island without any plans was how she herself ended up pirating. “I heard the HMS Bloodletter has an opening for a pirate,” she said. “But only one,” she quickly added.

“Dibs!” blurted Helen.

Henry looked at her with betrayal in his tearful eyes. “Wha… what?”

“My daddy was right,” she said, “I deserve better than a boring CPA. I deserve adventure and danger and little to no retirement options. You’re just too stable, Henry!” She grabbed a vine and swung off the elephant’s back and scurried toward the beckoning pirate ship.

Henry slumped in his elephant seat. “This sucks.”

Brandy realized that she was like Helen, and the sea was like Henry. Wait no, the other way around, she was Henry. No, she was pretty sure she was the Helen. Was the land Henry? She was all mixed up and confused in her metaphor. She shook her head and started over with a flashback.

Her daddy had told her not to go near the ocean. “You know how your mother died,” he warned.

“Yeah, cancer,” replied Brandy.

“That’s not the whole story,” he sighed. He sat down and stared out over the porch railing. “She died… in the tropic of cancer, chasing adventure. She was thirsty, Brandy. Always thirsty for something other than where she was. Like something out there could fix her, make her feel different. She could never learn to just accept who she really was, and that’s how she lost everything.”

Brandy, then 17, heard what he said, but hadn’t listened. Her head was already filled with imagined adventures her mother must have gone on. Brandy yearned to follow in her footsteps. “Maybe she didn’t know,” replied Brandy after a few silent moments. “Maybe she had to leave to find out.”

“Brandy was stirred from her memory by Henry’s sobs.

She slapped him on the back. “There there, nothing wrong with a little cry.” She was glad that bird wasn’t around though.

Brandy smiled at the thought of how easily she ruined that marriage. It was so easy to take somebody away, and in that moment, she realized that she didn’t need the sea, but the sea had been inside her all along. She didn’t need to be on a pirate ship, she would sink them. Her head lulled back and she cackled as it started raining. She let the rain melt onto her and wash her away.

Aug 2, 2002

sebmojo posted:

Gene would have wanted you to have this as your own flash rule crabrock

In the Tube
1396 words

I walk along the stretch of highway toward my job at the warehouse, my thumb outstretched hoping for a pickup. Cars and trucks rattle, clank, and whir past me, and each time I have to hold my bandana closer to my face so I don’t breathe in more of the aerosolized plastics they stir up. The scent of charred death still leaks through, no matter how tightly I press the cloth to my face. After the cars ignore me and disappear into the haze I wipe my goggles clean and continue my trek on foot.

Getting to work is the best part of my day. I can’t afford to filter the air in my apartment often, but the office air is cool and clean. Even standing next to the ovens the stench isn’t as bad; the hot air of burning bodies is sucked out the chimneys so we don’t have to smell it.

There are two truths. Everybody dies. Everybody burns.

Then Oscar unveiled the tube.

They banned the video, but once something’s on the net, it never goes away, not if you know where to look. Julio and I crouched near the watercooler hunched over his phone.

“I had to pay $35 to get this, man,” said Julio. “They’ve driven it fuckin’ deep.”

I nodded. “They don’t want anybody to know about it. It’s too big.”

We’d watched the video when it was on the public servers, but it felt distant and hard to grasp. Trying to remember what Oscar had said was like trying to impute dialog in a dream.

We watched the video again, soaking in the words of its raconteur as he regaled us with his invention. He called it the tube, and it sought to upset the two truths. Instead of burning, you entered the tube. Instead of vanishing, you persisted. Forever. We watched the video three more times, trying to discover hidden clues in his short speech.

Julio spoke without stopping to breathe: “I’m going to put all my money in a bank account, and then get a tube and get out in like, a thousand years when I’ll be rich.”

“You’ll probably have to already be rich to even get a tube.”

“drat, you’re right.”

We could feel the nostrum slip from our grasp before we’d even had time to finish our fantasies. We both walked to the breakroom table and slumped into the chairs.

I wracked my brain for anything to hold onto that feeling, but it proved ephemeral. “They’ll never let people like us near a tube.”

“But then why did Oscar give the video to the net,” said Julio. His eyes jumped to life. “And why are they trying to hard to keep us from seeing it?”

He had a point. The clock beeped its three minute warning, and we giddily donned our respirators and face masks before heading back to the incinerators. Oscar had promised more details before the end of the work day and with everybody watching there was no way they’d be able to scrub the net fast enough.

I remember the first time I saw a tube. It’s one of those things that once you see it, you can suddenly never remember a time when you didn’t know what one was. It perfuses your brain and seeps into every memory, every fleeting thought you’d ever had. You remember wanting a tube for your fifth birthday even though that was impossible.

It was the weakest of us who were granted the first tubes. Oscar subverted the oligarchs, the titans, the magnates of every industry and rejected them. And we loved him for it. His name was spray painted on the sides of buildings, praied in college revolutionaries’ op eds, and muttered by every downtrodden soul in the world. They couldn’t stem the tide of interest, and Oscar grew bolder. He revealed himself to the world when he was untouchable. There wasn’t a single soldier who would fire on him if ordered.

I remember the first time I saw a tube. It was on the stage next to him in the square, illuminated by the giant signs that hung above it, ineffectively informing us that the tube was treason. The police had even barricaded the streets so that the throngs of people could filter into the square through its odd angles.

The tube was made out of wood, polished so that it shined back a warbled reflection. It sported six metal handles, and could easily fit a full-grown man. If not for the phalanx of police protecting him, each one of us would have trampled the other to crawl into the tube.

The priority was to get the oldest people into the tubes first. They had less time remaining, and the young waited patiently for their opportunity. But the world kept making old people, it seemed that for every old person to get a tube, another took their place in the queue.

I woke up every morning to check my position. It started at 8,504,567,112.

We all agreed though, in the social contract that had grown untended and organically between the people of the world, that this was fair. Oscar promised to get everybody into a tube. The more tubes he sold, the more he could make, and the faster our numbers would plummet to 0.

There was new truths. Nobody burned. Everybody would get a tube.

Murder took on a new, more sinister facet. Those who murdered deprived the body of the tube. Anybody who died before was burned, as it always had been. Oscar didn’t believe in retribution, though. He would not exclude anybody their chance to get in the tube. He said it was a matter of human rights. He moved them to the end of the queue. Some of them killed themselves at the news.

We came up with a new set of laws and punishments. Imprisonment, monetary fines, public shaming, all were obsolete in our new system. Simply move them down further in the queue. People picked up litter in the streets, gave to charity. Stories trickled back to Oscar, and he rewarded them by moving them up in the queue.

I changed. We all changed. I went to mass on Sundays, though I no longer feared death. I donated to missions to spread the word of the tube, though I had little money. It was Oscar I feared, and his omnipotent control of the queue. He was righteous and just, and I loved him unconditionally.

If Oscar had told me to march into battle, I would have.


Q. Can my dog go into a tube?

A. Unfortunately, pets are not able to join us in the tube. Love your furry companion while you can, because he/she deserves it all, but sadly tubes are incompatible with tube technology.

Q. Will it be boring?

A. The powerful's most basic strategy is to make us believe that death brings fulfillment. However, in reality, death robs us of fulfillment. It’s death’s emptiness that leads us to boredom. To be in the tube will be the very opposite of boredom.

Q. Does it hurt?

A. No.

I woke up and my shaking hand reached over to my phone. I turned on the screen. #96. I was to report to the tube facility at my leisure. I summoned my nurse.

She buttoned my shirt and brought over the box I’d kept at the top of my closet for this day. She opened it and pulled out the bowtie I’d been saving. My late wife had given it to me when we’d first started dating, after we learned our queue numbers were only a few hundred thousand apart. I had missed her in these last few months, and seeing the gift brought tears to my eyes. I smiled at myself in the mirror, and tucked the picture of her into my pocket.

The crane gently lowered me into the tube’s white, padded interior. My body tingled with excitement and I felt I might be sick from joy. My grandchildren waved to me from the viewing room, and I waved back and then laid my head on the soft pillow. The technicians asked if I was ready, and after I nodded they closed the lid. I closed my eyes, ready for my forever in the tube.

Aug 2, 2002


crabrock fucked around with this message at 06:31 on Apr 24, 2019

Aug 2, 2002

In plz give

Aug 2, 2002

You didn’t see this coming
1108 words

Reginald Podvodník was the first to expose the world to the truth about helicopters: “They simply can’t fly, given our current knowledge of physics. They’re a scam.”

At first he was mocked and ridiculed. Thousands of bots posted fake videos of flying machines that couldn’t possibly exist, apocryphal anecdotes of rides in the make-believe machines, and countless diagrams and math equations that didn’t make any sense if you understood mathematics like Reggie did.

Reggie had a counter to each one of these propaganda attempts, and the more people researched, the more his words made sense. Still, his followers were a minority, and it was hard to convince the most ignorant of people.

Edgar was one of his first converts. His childhood friend Morgan insisted he serviced helicopters in Afghanistan.

Edgar took a sip of his beer and set it back on the bar. “That’s cool if you can’t tell me what you’ll really be doing, man, but just say so. Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes. They’re not real.”

“I’m serious,” said Morgan, the corners of his mouth slightly downturned. “They’re made of nuts and bolts like everything else.”

The conspiracy of the military’s research into aerial holography was well known to chopper-heads. Edgar could easily dismiss any sightings as mere mirages. “Can you take me up in one, then?”

Morgan rolled his eyes. “You know I can’t, man, but poo poo you can just go get a private helicopter ride any time. It costs like $100.”

“I don’t think so. Ever wonder why so many people die in ‘helicopter accidents?’ It’s cause they start digging around. I’d trust you, but you won’t take me up, because you can’t, because you’re covering for something.”

Morgan laughed, then his laugh faded to a frown. “You’re not really serious about all this are you? It makes you sound sort of crazy.”

Edgar shrugged. “To the people I respect, you’re crazy to just blindly believe what other people tell you.”

Morgan held his hands in the air like he was choking an invisible person and yelled through his clenched teeth: “That’s exactly what you’re doing! I’ve literally been in a helicopter. I studied aviation in the Marines, you’ve been to an airport once.”

Edgar laughed at how his opponents always got like this. Angry and bent out of shape while he leaned back and sipped on his beer. “Airports are for planes. I believe in planes. If helicopters were real, we wouldn’t need airports, because everybody would be using them to get around. Nobody would need cars either. The fact that we sit in traffic all day when supposedly there are machines that can take off vertically from any spot in the world is proof that they do not, in fact, exist.”

Morgan didn’t have any hair, but if he had he would have looked like he was about to pull it out.

Edgar pushed an envelope of papers toward him. “Look, I asked you to meet me because I care about you. Just promise me to look at Reggie’s research and keep an open mind.”

“No! There’s nothing in the world that will make me rethink something I know 100% to be the truth.”

Edgar shook my head. “Well, that’s a shame. I’d hoped you’d be more reasonable.”

The expression on Morgan’s face changed from angry to bemused, and he laughed. “Reasonable, right, like you were when I tried to tell you that snakes don’t exist.”

“They do though. I had a pet snake as a kid.”

Morgan shook his head. “Nope. Maybe a skink or a salamander, but not a snake. It’d be impossible for them to move on land. That’s why eels are in the water. Snakes are just another proof of mass hysteria, another Mandela effect. I’ve read papers by leading experts in the field, and they confirm snakes are not real.”

Edgar and Morgan sat across from each other, silently seething, each in their own realities.

As a helicopter snake, I knew they were both wrong. I slithered through the air with the aid of four rotary turbines. I swooped over their pub and barred my fangs, which pulsed with explosive venom. I unleashed a cleansing wave over the town. Everything burned and melted like a marshmallow Peep in hot acid. The missiles tucked under my scales rocketed out and chased down every fleeing soul that had been missed by my venom, and they exploded into bloody clouds one by one until the only sound was the crackling of the fires.

I come from the realm of disbelief. If there was a spectrum of ideas, Tinkerbell was on one end, and I on the other. My pilot and friend, Buzz Aldrin, flipped a few switches in my cockpit and my rocket boosters engaged. We flew to the moon where my armaments could be restocked. After I was reloaded, I went home and surreptitiously crawled into bed, trying not to wake my sleeping partner.

They thought the world would be forever.

Reginald Podvodník sat up suddenly in his bed, covered in sweat. He shook his wife’s shoulder. “Honey, I just had a crazy dream,” he said.

But instead of the human woman he expected, again it was I, the helicopter snake. I had married Reggie in the summer of 1982, overcome by his animal magnetism. On our honeymoon he suffered a tragic brain injury, and each morning he woke up forgetting who I was. I had set up a VCR player by his bedside that explained the situation to him, like in 50 first dates, but he had never woken up in the middle of the night before. He screamed at my visage.

Buzz Aldrin ran in from the guest room and punched Reggie in the face. He fell back against his pillow, out cold.

“You idiot!” I roared. “You hurt him!”

I took off Buzz Aldrin’s head with a single bite and curled up against my unconscious husband.

Down on Earth, Morgan and Edgar crawled out of the wreckage of the collapsed bar, their metal skeletons shining through the patchwork of their remaining skin. Their eyes glowed with furyluminescent eyes. The helicopter snake did not believe in cyborg zombies, and that would be his undoing.

All this flashes before your eyes as you, a 42 year old reincarnation of jesus with prostate cancer, plunge toward the icy river below.

“gently caress,” you say. “I thought my life was supposed to flash before my eyes, not this weird poo poo.”

You and your cancerous balls splatter against the rocks because it is summer, and the river is low.

Your mom cries, and your ex-wife is glad.

Aug 2, 2002

Thranguy posted:

Addendum: we all did agree that Crabrock earned both an HM and a DM for his...thing, which cancelled out.

what is this milquetoast poo poo? gently caress u, brawl me :toxx:

Aug 2, 2002

in with Do Dream Dongducheon

Aug 2, 2002

Kaishai posted:

This sounds a lot like something that belongs in the Fiction Farm!

Maybe another collaborative team will step up to challenge you so it will belong in a competitive arena? Say, Yoru and somebody else who just effing loves some griffins?


Aug 2, 2002


Aug 2, 2002

sebmojo posted:

Thranrock brawlhalla, 1200 words, "a window opens both ways", 10 may 2019 1200 pst

A Thunderdome Brawl Entry
by crabrock
999 words

In the day-to-day it’s difficult to detect the edges. A child grows without any appreciable difference until a dad’s sweet baby is screaming and slamming doors. A newlywed’s love fades imperceptibly until she’s suddenly staying at her mother’s to “figure things out.” David held his morning newspaper closer to his face everyday until one day it touched his nose, startling him.

He rubbed his eyes until they squeaked. He tried to blink away the blur like it was possible to blink away age. It will be better after coffee, he rationalized, but it wasn’t. He looked down at his fuzzy eggs, then out the window at the swingset that seemed to have twice as many wooden beams as it once did. He made a mental note to get them checked out, but he was a busy.

Even after you’ve gone over the edge, it’s easy to ignore the bottom. A child stops answering calls on their birthday. Divorce papers get delivered by some kid on a motorcycle. David woke up blind in his empty apartment.

The surgeon’s consultation room smelled unsettlingly like burlap. A nurse guided David to a cushioned chair with buttons that poked him in the back. He reached up and adjusted his sunglasses, though they didn’t need adjusting. He was utterly aware of his useless eyes every time he blinked; the surgeon prattled on in medical jargon he was too distracted to understand.

“There’s no getting them back,” said the surgeon. She paused. “Have you heard of sudden onset macular degeneration?”

David blinked back the tears behind his dark glasses. “Oh, my eyes. No.”

“We like to say it’s like your retina got a cease and desist from your heart,” the surgeon chuckled at her own joke. “Frequent small spikes in blood pressure, on their own harmless but in stressful situations they can build up. Those tiny vessels in your eyes can’t handle that.”

“So pop?”

“More of a fizzle. Good news is we can replace them. Pretty routine stuff, limited by donors, of course. We have a potential match ready, but the genetic opsin profile does isn’t a great match.”


“Their eyes spent a lifetime analyzing wavelengths differently than your eyes had. Things will look discordant for the first few months, like you’re wearing novelty glasses. You’ll see things you hadn’t seen before, the world will seem strange and hostile. Your loved ones won’t look like you remember them, but like strangers. You can wait for a better match, but it may take a while.”

David took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “No, I don’t think it’ll be much of a problem.”

With his new eyes, David realized his life lacked a dog. The shelter had too many white dogs, he discovered. His donor had a higher percentage of red cone cells, giving everything an apparition of a reddish tint. All the white dogs looked pink. The doctor said it’d fade over time, as his brain got used to the different signals, but until then he didn’t think he wanted a pink dog.

So he got Ernst. Ernst had a black coat that looked black even with the new eyes. David liked black things because they were the only objects that didn’t seem like they were lying to him. Ernst scratched at the door for their nightly walk.

The magenta sky with its rolling pink clouds looked like rain, so David steered Ernst to the closest dog park. It was disquieting there, with all the pink and orange dogs making a mockery of a dog’s platonic ideal. He’d rather walk through the park where the dogs were fewer and more normally colored.

He unclipped Ernst’s leash and sank onto the bench next to the only other person there. The woman looked up at David and smiled, looking like she’d just run a marathon. Everybody looked constantly flushed, but David swore he could see the individual blood cells pumping through the capillaries in her cheek.

“That’s a beautiful dog,” she said. “How long you had him?”

He had to think for a few seconds. “A few months. And yours?”

“Oh, it isn’t mine. I just walk dogs for the money. They’re kind of gross, to be honest.”

David nodded, but didn’t speak.

The woman twirled her hair absentmindedly. “I hope this isn’t out of line, but you have beautiful eyes.”

He shrugged. “Thanks, they’re not mine.”

Her yellow eyes with their large pupils darted back and forth, examining his face for answers or a hint of a joke, but he didn’t crack a smile.

David explained his ordeal in too many details, and he wasn’t quite sure when her smile had morphed into a frown, only that it was one when he was finished. “That’s about all of it, I guess.”

“Oh,” she said, and they both went back to sitting silently on the bench.

The redness had faded from her face, the cheeriness gone. When she finally gave him a half-hearted smile and looked into his eyes, it was with pity, like one would have for an animal that had walked into a tar pit and was incapable of rescue. He wondered if he should try again, strike up a different conversation. He thought back to his first conversations with his ex wife, and how hard he’d worked to convince her he was worthy of her. About how she “totally thought he was annoying but eventually he’d won her over.” They used to laugh about it when telling people how they’d met, but he longer found it as funny. She’d told him on their first date how much she hated dogs.

David clipped Ernst back into his leash, waved goodbye to the woman, and walked back to his apartment as the first rain drops started to fall. The sky had turned dark gray, and David sighed with relief at the return to normalcy, even if it was only for a moment.

Aug 2, 2002

my crits

Aug 2, 2002


Aug 2, 2002

Book It! then cheese it
997 words

The girl at the Pizza Hut counter looks down at the coupon that says "good for one free pizza" and then back up at me. “This for real?”

I rub the gray hair on my face. “Yes, it’s real. Go ahead, run it through your little machine.” I look at the name on her shirt and add a pointed “...Charlene,” to the end.

Charlene takes the paper and holds it up to a dancing red light. It makes a soft beep and she sighs. Now we both know the truth, and I can not, will not be kept from that which is mine.

She looks back up at me and shakes her head. “But you’re like… 50 years old.”

I laugh. “I’m 36.”

“The reading plan is for school children.”

I shrug. “Then why did they send me this when I sent them the reading form? I read 15 books this summer.”

“But you’re old, so like, you’re just supposed to read for fun.”

The corners of my lips drop down. “Reading is fun, but so are lots of other things. I might choose to go for a drive or play a computer game if I am just doing something for fun. I read for pizza.”

She looks at the form that says the names of all the books I'd read. “It says you read Anna Karenina though."

“Yeah, it was really long and sad."

She's speaking faster and louder and waving her arms around in the air. "I don't get you! You're not even trying to pull one over on the system. That book is 1000 pages and nobody would read that if they didn't have to!"

"But I did read it, and getting the pizza makes me happy. I look forward to it all summer."

Charlene's eyes are sticking out like a funny drawing she's getting so mad.

I point to the top of the paper. "Look, you don’t even have to read the small words, it’s in the big words. It’s the whole main idea: read books, get pizza.”

“It just doesn't feel right. I think the Pizza Hut people would have some sort of law against this.”

“They don’t. I’m a law teacher at the college.” I pull on my tie to make sure it is straight.

“Can’t you just buy a little pizza then? It’s like $6.”

“But I read the books, so I don’t have to pay. The paper says so. I’ve turned one in every year for the last 25 years, and I always get my pizza.”

“Is this a joke? Like for a radio show? Is some mean sound going to play? Like I hand you the pizza and then there’s a big fart noise and you yell 'got you!', and then all my friends will laugh at me?”

I shake my head. “It’s not a joke, it’s a promise that you have to keep because I can read very well for my age, and every year I read harder and longer books. Isn't that the whole point of this thing?"

“I have to ask if this is ok.”

I can hear the man behind me in line does not like this, but I don't feel bad because I'm not the one holding things up. The other girl that was here for many years never said anything when I gave her the paper.

Charlene calls out “Hey Becky!” in no direction really, and a woman who is older than Charlene but still seems way too young to be the leader of anybody comes out from the back.

Becky is holding a to-go drink and stops by the drink station to top off with pink lemonade before she makes her way over to us. “Yeah, what?”

“This old guy got one of them free pizza papers that kids get for reading books.”

Becky makes terrible noises with her mouth as she drinks from her cup and looks me up and down. “Did he read the books?”

Charlene shrugs. “He said he did.”

Becky pulls out a stick of gum and pushes it into her mouth. She makes more bad noises smacking her lips and rubs her head like it’s giving her really good thinking powers. I rock on my dress shoes while I wait for her to make a choice, then she shrugs. “If he read the books then I guess he gets the pizza.”

Charlene makes mean faces at me as she gets a pizza from the warming lights and pushes it across the counter to me. She balls up the paper and throws it straight down into the refuse can without ever taking her eyes off of me. I smile back at her and give a small nod to let her know I had no bad feelings for her, she just lost this war of minds.

I take my pizza to the closest table and throw my suit jacket over the chair. I set my tiny pizza down like it is a chest of gold. I open the box that has spots of wet where the cheese has come through and take out a piece of the special eats and lift it as high as my arm will go. The cheese stretches from the table to my hand, and I fish it into my mouth with my tongue. The lower half falls against my face and sticks. I push it in with a bite of pizza and immediately realize I made a bad choice. I open my mouth and breathe in air as fast as I can to cool down the hot cheese sticking to the roof of my mouth. Each bite causes pain, and it hurts to push it down my throat. As soon as it is done, I immediately take another bite, repeating the whole thing again and again.

The kid next to me stares at me with wide eyes. I smile at him and hold up my last bite of pizza. “Never stop reading, kid.”

Aug 2, 2002

in. plz rank me on my current skill level (bad) and not my past skill level (slightly less bad)

Aug 2, 2002

Anomalous Blowout posted:

Also while I have internet access: I am working in a foreign country presently and spent the first two days of this trip in hospital, so in the interest of not dying from pure stress, would the LWARB participants be amenable to an extension? Something like 20th June? I am exquisitely ill and traveling at the same time and I'm happy to eat the ban if everyone else is good to go but since this is a collab story between GIANTS OF THE DOME I'd like to try to take time to actually make it good.

since we would like to beat you in a fair fight, we agree to this

Aug 2, 2002

Magic Use Resistance Education
999 words

Howie stood in front of the dark alleyway his parents warned him never to go down, but he was late for school. If he wasn't on time he would get a demerit, then detention, then he’d probably fail sixth grade and never get into wizarding college. Four generations of his family had applied and been rejected. He wanted to be the first wizard in his line, and he knew he needed to be the model student. He swallowed the lump in his throat and stepped in.

He’d gotten about half-way through when a sound echoed off a dumpster. “Pst!”

Howie stopped and clenched his backpack. “Is somebody there?” he asked, his voice wavering.

Instead, a large boy stepped out from behind a stack of wooden pallets, followed shortly by his friends: a kid with a crew cut and rolled up sleeves, and the other with messy hair and tattered clothes who looked like they may have just found him back there. He'd seen the other two at school before at the eighth grade lunch table.

“Hey kid, wanna try some magic?” said the big kid.

“Uh…” Howie struggled to remember the assembly they’d had in school last year. “No thank you, ‘Magic is Tragic’".

The other kids looked at each other and burst out laughing. The sloppy kid whipped out a wand and waved it in the air. A flame arced above his head and wrote out: “The Tragicians” and the boys laughed as it fizzled away.

“Nah man, but for real, don’t just feed us those BS lines you learned in school, just try some magic with us,” said the big boy. “My name’s Chez, and this here is Kid Tougho and Mops.”

Howie wiped away a drop of sweat from his brow. “I’m Howard … Howie, and I already think life is magical enough without spells!” he recited from memory.

Kid Tougho pointed at Howie’s backpack. “Then how come you got the Hat Master on your bag?”

The Hat Master was the most powerful transmutation wizard and Howie’s idol. “I don’t hate magic,” said Howie, “I just want to wait until I’m old enough, until it’s legal. My brain is still growing.”

“Yeah exactly,” said Mops. “And you need to learn early if you’re gonna be any good.” Mops stepped forward and shoved his wand into Howie’s hand. “Just try it!”

The wand buzzed like electricity in Howie’s fingers and he felt like that time he’d mistaken his dad’s coffee for hot chocolate and drank the entire mug. His heart skipped a few beats and he felt like running around the block. “Ah!” he screamed, and threw the wand on the ground.

Before it could land, Kid Tougho caught it midair with a spell and levitated it back to Mops.

Chez held his hands up like Howie was a rabid dog. “Whoa careful, you know what happens when you break a wand?”

“,” stammered Howie.

“They fuckin explode!” screamed Chez. He summoned a nuclear phantasm behind Howie and Howie startled. The boys laughed. “Nah, you just gotta buy a new one, and they ain’t cheap," said Chez.

“Oh. Neat. Well, I gotta get to school though, thank you anyway.”

Kid Tough stepped in front of Howie, blocking his way. “Are we sure we can't persuade you to reconsider? You do want to go to wizard college, right?”

Howie’s eyes grew larger liked they’d been transformed by the Hat Master himself. His bottom lip started quivering. “No thank you?”

“Stop, you're scaring him,” said Chez. He beckoned Kid Tougho to stand aside with a flick of his eyes, and Kid Tougho stepped back.

“Look, we’re sick and tired of all these adults telling us not to do magic,” said Chez. “My parents told me the same thing, meanwhile my dad’s just conjuring up beer and got the lawn out mowing itself, and says I won’t use it responsibly? So we’ve been learning in secret before school. Nothing bad has happened, and Mops is even getting pretty good.”

Kid Tougho nodded. “Who do you think gets into wizarding school?" Then without waiting for an answer continued: "The cheating, spoiled jerks.”

“Yup,” said Mops. “All the kids I know do magic and their parents even know. All that stuff about waiting is just to keep you from learning, they don’t want you to be a wizard.”

Chez put his arm around Howie and started walking with him to the end of the alley. “Look man, you. remind me of myself when I was a sixth grader who took a shortcut down this same alley. We want to help you with your dream, but you gotta trust us. So just think about it, ok?”

“Okay, I’ll think about it. I really do want to be a wizard.”

"Awesome," said Chez.

The four boys walked to the end of the alley, and Mops stopped.

“See ya guys tomorrow?”

“Yeah man, bye.”

Howie frowned. “Is he… actually homeless?”

The three boys laughed. Mops hit himself with the wand and was suddenly in a suit and tie, with combed hair and a pile of books in his arm.

“He goes to the private academy,” said Kid Tougho.

Mops shrugged. “I told you, all the kids I know are already doing magic, and who do you think gets into the top schools? I’ll bring an extra wand tomorrow, for Howie.”

A black car pulled up and Mops waved goodbye and got in.

How looked at his watch and saw he was going to be late. “Oh no!” he said, and the boys ran the rest of the way to the school.

Howie flopped into seat as the teacher wrote the day’s schedule up on the board.

“You’re late, Howard,” she said. Howie was about to make up an excuse when he saw the minute hand slip backwards past the 12. Chad waved through the small window in the classroom door then vanished.”

Howie relaxed. Maybe he had a shot at wizarding school after all.

Aug 2, 2002


Aug 2, 2002

chemistry is the most boring science. in.

Simply Simon posted:

Did any of you fucks even publish something?

sure here's my most recent, plz crit

crabrock fucked around with this message at 01:16 on Dec 17, 2019

Aug 2, 2002

Simply Simon posted:

As an aside, I find it interesting that your field considers it necessary to state how you found the articles cited. In all Chemistry reviews I've read so far, it's just assumed that the author(s) are experts on the field and obviously know and have read every paper they cite, and that those are the relevant ones, full stop.

yeah, the journal asked for that after peer review/acceptance and I thought it was weird but also Couldn't. Be. Bothered. so I just threw in some boilerplate poo poo.

Simply Simon posted:

And generally, I'm happy to have read about the fabled Sonic Hedgehog protein in a scientific journal now.

gotta go fast.

Aug 2, 2002

Exmond posted:

While I didn't go to the authorities

hello the police? somebody on the internet told me they were gonna hit me.


Aug 2, 2002

i'm almost caught up with the archive backlog besides last week and this week. If anything is amiss, please reach out to me, sh, or sebmojo to fix it.

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