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Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

take the moon posted:

open xhallenge

What is this? Do you want a fight? I'll fight you, come at me


take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

yea lol

lets go

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Hey, I'll judge this thing.

Take up to 2,000 words to write me a solid coming-of-age tale.

If you want a song flash, request one and I'll give you a list of four to choose from. Take until May 20th sometime during that day, to finish.

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Yeah go on then, song me up.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Clapping Larry

I'm in

Yoruichi posted:

Bret from organizational organization NO. Just, no. I suppose you think this is funny but what is actually does is declare to me that this is a story that is going to make fun of tedious bureaucractic bs and this is such a soft and obvious target that I am already mad at this story oh boy here we go swept onto the airy comunal coworking floor with an edict. “Medial. Product. Tivity,” he said, smacking his fist on his open palm with every syllable. “First quarter has been very lateral, productivity-wise. Exceptionally lateral. Thanks to your hard work, the lateral bar has been raised.” Thank you Mr Nonsense man for this nonsense opening.

He held up a finger, shushing the already silent room, a showman’s smirk on his face. Lorelai was overly conscious of the hum of the air conditioner, the dry chill in her nostrils.

“Productivity is like a staircase,” Bret continued. “Lateral periods—that’s where you put your feet. You have to have something to set your feet on before you can climb.” He made a wide, flat gesture, as though he were sweeping paperwork off a desk.

It was impossible to look away from Bret when he got like this. Some days Lorelai found herself hoping that he would descend into the coworking space with one of his logistical action plans, just so she could shudder with the unbearable fremdscham, that delicious just-dislodged-a-big-booger feeling of watching someone make an rear end of themselves.

“Medial! Productivity!” he boomed, making a few team members jump. “Periods of medial productivity are like the uppy-go bits of the staircase.”

The rest of the team nodded their heads and muttered affirmatively amongst themselves.

”The uppy-go bits. That makes sense to me.”

“This is exactly what I’ve been saying. We’ve been on the steppy-foot bit for too long. What we need is an uppy-go strategy.
Ok so "uppy-go" and "steppy-foot" are funny sounding words but all this oh no Lorelai's colleagues are all just boring drones is just trite. I mean, what a cow.

The contempt Lorelai felt for everyone and everything in that office was orgasmic. And yet she heard herself say, as if compelled by some hypnotist’s trick: “Our team is primed for an uppy-go approach to productivity.”

She felt her face making a poo poo-eating grin and forced it into a frown. It was a slow, uncomfortable process, like unsticking a cramped foot at bedtime. She hated what the office made her into—a begrudging fecal microbe in the guts of corporate megafauna. First world problems, Lorelai.

“Since we’re all very excited about this strategy pivot,” Bret said, “I thought we could allocate today for a little competitive teamwork exercise.” Yay Bret, what a nice thing to do for your team. Bret probably lies awake at night worrying about how to make his team feel good about their jobs, because he cares.

He swept off the coworking floor as imperiously as he’d come in, and the team all fell into his wake. Lorelai went last, silently fuming at her reflexive compliance.


The office was three blocks from the Santa Cruz Beach; Lorelai and the others followed Bret there, a long line of cautiously optimistic ducklings.

Once the whole team was arrayed on the sand, the nature of the exercise was revealed: groups of five team members would each receive a bucket of long, thick, multicolored straws and one roll of Scotch tape. Using these materials, the teams of team members would attempt to craft the tallest, sturdiest, most uppy-goest staircase possible in the two remaining hours of the workday. So this job that Lorelai hates so much involves 2 hour trips to the beach to play with straws? I agree, yes that sounds awful, just awful.

“Remember, this is a teamwork exercise!” Bret called over the wind, which gleefully whipped his tie up and over his shoulder. “And everyone here is competing to be the hardest teamworker!” He flattened the tie against his chest, held it there with one hand. “Performance reviews to follow!”

As soon as Lorelai’s team got to work, it became clear that Estelle from streamlining and optimization styled herself a contender for hardest teamworker.

“I think we should go as vertical as possible,” Estelle said. “Let’s think medially. Picture this: an infinitely tall staircase, with only one step.” Good on you for trying to make the best of a daft situation, Estelle.

Just as Lorelai opened her mouth to point out the finite number of straws at their disposal, the wind made off with several of those straws, twirling and dancing them up the beach. She knew an out when she saw one and trotted off after them, slow enough that the wind kept them just a little out of reach.

“That’s great,” Estelle called after her. “You can be our straw-getter. Straw-getting is a key role!”

Of course, with Lorelai mostly out of the way, Estelle only had to compete with three other people for the title of hardest teamworker, but Lorelai didn’t mind. Estelle was terrible at being a teammate, but very good at doing things that looked like good teamwork, and the other three were shades of the same.

The straws came to rest against a leg of driftwood, neon pink and green plastic contrasting with bone-white wood. Lorelai halted, a portentous knot in her stomach. The straws looked clumsy and inelegant compared to the diverse texture of the sand, the gouges and knots in the weathered wood. A seagull preened itself nearby, oblivious and indifferent to the qualities of uppy-go and teamworkmanship.

This was the real world, Lorelai decided. Chaotic and scattered about, irregular and unintentional. And there she was, a big neon-pink plastic straw jutting out of the beach. A teammate. A straw-getter. A lateral-moving, medial-minded uppy-go strategist. She felt all the hyper-specific descriptors enclosing her like layers of rigid keratin, thick and hard as an overgrown toenail.

“Hey teamarooni,” Bret said from behind her. “You working on a top secret strategy over here?”

She turned to face him, wobbling a little in the sand. “No, Bret, I’m not.”

He made a face like a perplexed golden retriever. “I’ll bet your team sure wishes you were over there helping out.” Honestly Bret sounds like he's trying really hard to be a good manager, why can't Lorelai cut the dude some slack?

Lorelai glanced back at the activity area. Estelle, it seemed, had annexed all the other teams, and appeared to be overseeing the construction of one enormous mono-stair. A few beachgoers had stopped to video the process with their phones. Viewed from afar, the whole tableau looked like a scene from an extraterrestrial theater production—something inscrutable and nonsensical. OH NO WHAT A TERRIBLE DAY IN THE OFFICE YOU WENT TO THE BEACH AND MADE A SCULPTURE OH NO OH DEAR HOW YOU MUST HAVE SUFFERED

“I don’t think I’m going to help them out, actually,” Lorelai said. “I think I’m going to walk to the bottom of the bay and become a tube worm instead. WHY? Why does she suddenly want to be a tube worm? What even is a tube worm? This behaviour puts Lorelai one rank below horses in the hierarchy of stupid creatures. At least it wasn't Freckles' fault that he thought of ants and died. Poor Lorelai, thought about doing a little bit of easy work and became a tube worm. What the actual gently caress. I’ll live in the dark and never think about anything again.”

Bret’s eyes went wide. “I don’t think that’s allowed,” He said, then frowned. “Is it allowed?”

“It should be,” Lorelai said. “Maybe if I do it, they’ll have to ease up restrictions.”

“But—” Bret gestured back at the mono-stair tableau. “Wouldn’t that be a little self-oriented of you? You’re a major team resource.”

“I’ll be a tube worm. I won’t have a self.” This is rude to tube worms.

Lorelai let Bret grapple with that one and turned to face the bay, where the wind teased little white caps out of the waves. The keratin layers of labels she wore on her soul had become too heavy to carry, so now she was going to shed them. She took a step toward the water, then another, then another, already feeling a lightness, a spaciousness between her molecules.

“Wait,” Bret called after her. “I want to be a tube worm, too.” WHY?

Lorelai faltered mid-step, covered it up by pivoting around to face Bret again.

He shuffled toward her, kicking up sand with his loafers as he went. “Yeah,” he said defiantly, reading the surprise on her face. “Do you know what it’s like to have a whole room of people agree with you just because they think it’ll help them get ahead? Even when you know you’re saying nothing at all? I’ll bet tube worms don’t have that problem.” See? Have a little bit more sympathy for loving middle managers, they're just as much cogs as everyone else.

Lorelai knew; she’d been one of those people right up until the wind had carried the plastic straws up the beach. She chewed her lip, supposing that if she were a tube worm, it wouldn’t much matter whether Bret was one, too.

“Alright,” she said. “We can go together.

Everyone on the beach was so enamored by Estelle’s mono-stair project that Bret and Lorelai slipped unnoticed into the waves, shedding their skin in curling whisps as they went, leaving toenails of ego bobbing on the surface as they vanished.

A little while later, a whale carcass bloomed with strings like living boogers: bone-eating worms doing the blue collar work of eating the ocean’s refuse, untroubled by the absurdities beyond the shoreline. Great, yes, well done Lorelai, you've solved everything. You have successfully shed the complexities of adulthood for the simplicity of being a living booger killing a whale. Good for you.

This story makes no sense, has nothing to do with a circus or a train wreck, except that it is itself a train wreck I guess idk.

ty for the crit

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004



song me

Apr 11, 2012


Jul 17, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Jan 12, 2012

in because I failed last time I entered.

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

QuoProQuid posted:

in because I failed last time I entered.

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

I will judge this week. I am Judge Bread.

I am the loaf.

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

Yoruichi posted:

I will judge this week. I am Judge Bread.

I am the loaf.

Hell yeah

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

sure, in

Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Yoruichi posted:

Yeah go on then, song me up.

The slick pick:
The powerful pick:
The folkey pick:
The cheery pick:

Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!


Something Else, you should join the discord (or get pms).

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Something Else, you should join the discord (or get pms).

I tried to get PMs but the store wouldn’t let me, how do I join the discoed

Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!


Something Else posted:

I tried to get PMs but the store wouldn’t let me, how do I join the discoed

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

Chili posted:

Hey, I'll judge this thing.

Take up to 2,000 words to write me a solid coming-of-age tale.

If you want a song flash, request one and I'll give you a list of four to choose from. Take until May 20th sometime during that day, to finish.

flash me,

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004


Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

OK, because you both braved the flashtracks, I'm going to provide a list of 8 songs total to choose from. The four I already gave to Yoruichi and four others now. Pick 'em and when you do, post to claim. See you all in a couple of weeks, don't let me down!

The slick pick:
The powerful pick:
The folkey pick:
The cheery pick:
The groove pick:
The favorite of chili's kid pick
The oldie pick
The I hope more people get turned on to this artist pick

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

going w/ honeybody

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

I'm in to write about the best bread in the world, German bread

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish


Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

Signups are closed.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Clapping Larry

bread week

Mrs. and Mr. Andino are doing fine.
1500 words

The four poster bed was steeped in afternoon sunlight and crusted in black blood. Morghan oiled her bone saw, checked Guillermo’s morphine drip, and got to work on the old man’s leg.

The teeth of the saw glided through the meat of Guillermo’s thigh with buttery ease. Morghan sang while she worked, sang to soothe Guillermo and to cover up the gasps and whimpers he made as the saw chewed through his femur. How could any wife listen to her husband make those sounds?

Guillermo once suggested she get headphones for when she worked on him, but Morghan had never got the hang of portable, pre-recorded music, and didn’t have any intention of picking up the habit. Besides, she liked singing the old songs; the music of the present day peacocked around on the airwaves, all noise and no power. Morghan’s songs stank of charnel places and tasted of milk. They made dogs bay and cats go into heat. They—

Bing-bong! said the doorbell.

Morghan stopped sawing and gave Guillermo a pensive look.

Guillermo—drenched in sweat, swathed in brown-crusted bandages—spat the strip of leather from between his teeth and said, “It’s that fool from the state again. Don’t answer.”

“He could bring the police, love,” Morghan said, setting her bone saw on the metal tray beside the four poster bed. “I’ve got to tell him something.”


Guillermo made a dismissive old man noise and waved her off, then collapsed against his pillows, panting and groaning. Morghan sighed and divested herself of her bloodied apron, wishing that just once she could hook herself up to the morphine drip and let Guillermo take care of everything. It was an unkind thought—Guillermo sacrificed much to keep them in their preferred lifestyle—but that didn’t stop her from thinking it.

She made her way down the steep staircase to the front door, pleased at how her knees no longer ached as she went. That was something, at least.

The man from the state was smiling congenially when she opened the door, but frowned when he laid eyes on Morghan.

“Erm, hello,” he said. “I’m Zane with Adult Protective Services. I’m looking for...Morghan and Guillermo Andino?”

“I'm Morghan. We spoke when you visited last month,” Morghan said kindly. “And the month before.”

Zane looked down at the clipboard in his hands, then back at Morghan. “I have it here that Mrs. Andino is—I’m not trying to be rude—but it says on the documents that she’s ninety-four years old? The woman I spoke to last month was of, ah, advanced years.”

“Born on the twenty-first of June in 1926, yes that’s me,” Morghan said. “You came by to discuss Guillermo’s welfare. You were wearing a burgundy shirt. I made olive-focaccia tea sandwiches, of which you enjoyed a generous helping. Mo was in satisfactory condition, so you left. The situation hasn’t changed since then, except today your shirt is blue.”

“Right. Well,” Zane began, but it appeared that he couldn’t quite get his footing in any particular thought. “There are concerns that Mr. Andino is—but I’ll need to go back and verify a few things at the office. Sorry to have bothered you.”

He beat a hasty retreat back to his car, casting a few uneasy glances back at Morghan as he went. Morghan smiled at his retreating tail lights, then went back upstairs to finish off Guillermo’s femur.


Morghan was a fine surgeon, but she was a better baker. Her kitchen was busy with colorful jars, each containing samples of yeast, flour, and salt from all the world over. Her larder was stocked with a bounty of nuts, spices, honeys, and dried fruit, much of which had been gathered by Morghan herself on her many sojourns to the liminal gardens of her mothers.

She stripped the meat from Guillermo’s leg, cleaned the bone, and cleaved it into smaller segments which she then fed into the ancient cast iron meat grinder. She sang as she ground bone into powder, this time for joy. Kitchen songs, unlike the songs of the cutting room, were confectionary and bright, evocative of rising bread and swelling wombs. She tapped her foot in time with the rotations of the crank, lost for a while in song and the rhythm of her task.

When the bone was the velvety consistency of dust, she combined it with bread flour. With this mixture she formed a dough, to which she added honey, walnuts, and raisins; Guillermo preferred a rough, salty bread, but today her heart craved sweetness, and what Morghan’s heart craved, her hands kneaded into being.

She set the femur dough aside to rise, then went to retrieve the half-loaf of tibia sourdough from the larder, along with a wedge of strong, acidic sheep’s cheese. These she carried on a tray to where Guillermo lay on the blood-caked bed, little more than a head and torso swaddled in soiled bandages.

Guillermo turned his cloudy eyes toward Morghan as she entered, took a great sniff through his bulbous old man nose. “Ah,” he murmured, his voice thick with opiates. “Vlach cheese. You’ve been to market. Tell me—what flags flew over the port? I’ve been waiting for a missive from—” he lapsed into incoherent mumbling, his chin drooping toward his chest.

Morghan tutted as she placed the tray of food beside the bed. “It’s been a long time since Constantinople, love. This cheese came from the grocer up the road, remember?”

Guillermo lifted his head a fraction, giving her a look of pained incomprehension. “But I hear the gulls over the Propontis.”

Morghan found she had no longer had an appetite for the cheese. She broke a segment of tibia bread into pieces small enough for a pigeon's beak and set them one by one on Guillermo’s dry tongue, making sure he’d swallowed each morsel before feeding him the next.

After finishing her own portion of the bone bread, Morghan went about checking on Guillermo’s growths. She gingerly peeled away the bandages from his ribs, shoulders, and hip sockets, singing the old songs over Guillermo’s agonized wails as she exposed his newborn flesh to the air.

“There now,” she said with false levity. “You’re coming along nicely!”

Guillermo looked down at his body—the nest of exposed, child-sized ribs around his lungs, the nubs of clammy meat and bone jutting from his shoulders, the one tiny femur sprouting from the right side of his pelvis—and let out a guttural sob. Morghan worked quickly to apply fresh bandages, ignoring the tears that streamed down her own cheeks, the churning of the tibia bread in her stomach.

“Just another week, love,” she told the shuddering old man.


Five days later, Zane from Adult Protective Services was at the front door.

“I need to see Mr. or Mrs. Andino,” Zane said in what Morghan supposed was meant to be an authoritative tone.

“I’m Mrs. Andino, as we previously established,” she said wearily. “But I suppose you won’t leave until you’ve seen my husband. Come in.”

Zane followed her up the stairs, saying, “There are serious concerns about Mr. Andino’s safety, miss. Are you the Andinos’ daughter? If so, I don’t have you on my list of—”

They reached the door to the blood-spattered bedroom, which was open; Guillermo was propped up against the pillows, muscular legs stretched out on the blankets, his tan, hairy arms resting at his sides. On top of his shoulders was a small hillock of bandages concealing a growth the size of a grapefruit.

“Here is the ever-popular Mr. Andino,” Morghan said, striding over to the bed to undo Guillermo’s bandages.

Zane swayed in the doorway. “He’s—He—you—his head is—”

Morghan finished unwinding the bandages, revealing the tiny, glistening head jutting up from the man-sized shoulders. A meaty face regarded Zane with infantile wonder, its mouth suckling reflexively at nothing.

“He won’t be verbal for two more days,” Morghan said, “but you can see he’s quite happy and healthy.”

Zane’s face was the color of ash and he couldn’t seem to stop swallowing. He opened his mouth as if to speak, but was seized instead by a series of dry heaves; he doubled over, hands on his thighs, gasping and gagging while Guillermo’s tiny head grinned and giggled.

“I’m sorry you had to see this,” Morghan said ruefully. She reached into her apron pocket and withdrew a small wrapped parcel, which she held out to Zane. “I suspected you might come by, so I made a Lethe cake. It’ll let you forget what you’ve witnessed here today.”

Zane looked at the wrapped cake with watery eyes.

Morghan took his hand and placed the parcel in his upturned palm. “You can thank me by noting on your clipboard there that Mr. and Mrs. Andino are doing just fine, thank you very much.”

After Zane fled the house with the cake, Morghan returned to Guillermo and gently swaddled his head in bandages once more, thinking on what names they might choose in their next life.

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Chili posted:

OK, because you both braved the flashtracks, I'm going to provide a list of 8 songs total to choose from. The four I already gave to Yoruichi and four others now. Pick 'em and when you do, post to claim. See you all in a couple of weeks, don't let me down!

take the moon posted:

going w/ honeybody

I am picking the powerful pick.

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

1384/1500 words

The butter had broken the dough. A wrecking ball ripping through paper walls. A sandwich in shreds, built on inferior foundation. Bread like stretched concrete, but too much sugar instead of sand.

Bodo takes a cloying bite. It clashes with the ham. His teeth seek purchase, but find none; his fingers leave deep dents and ridges in the spongy stuff. Lunch disintegrates in his hands.

He leans back in his office chair and sighs. A perfect vision rises like good dough in front of him: an honest German Schwarzbrot, 30/70 rye and wheat flour, baked in a stone oven until the crust breaks up in ridged canyons, preserving through its hardness the moisture deep within. A center firm but airy, just enough risen to allow its pores to breathe while keeping structural integrity. And what a breath, like air escaping from the gates of heaven, the doors of a bakery swinging open, the smell of the best bread on earth.

“Getting somewhere with the chamber pressure?”

The honeyed voice, inflected southern, makes Bodo’s dream loaf collapse into the American abomination on his plate.

“No, Heather, the yeast still works too well.” He tries his best to mask his accent, but knows he got the w sound wrong again. Almost a year in Kansas, and still “ze German” to the other engineers.

“That’s your efficiency rubbing off!” Her teasing erupts from her portly frame like an avalanche of molasses. Heather’s eyes, well-trained on food, spot Bodo’s discarded lunch.

“Our product not up to your standards?”

He scoffs. “It reminds me that the bread machine is still not optimized. Starts to annoy me.”

A smile like a bread roll cracking open. “You’ll get there, sweetie. Maybe your brain needs food?”

“Maybe it does need actual food, yes.” Bodo picks his sandwich up like a dead bug. “I’ll be eating then.”

His co-worker seems to get the hint and rolls out of his office.


Bodo slams the grocery bags down on the table in his Bachelor’s apartment. Aisles and aisles filled with functionally identical, brick-shaped loaves wrapped in plastic that will probably degrade first. At least the package had finally arrived.

Ein Souvenir aus der Heimat. Deine dich liebende Mutter.

Mutter had understood perfectly when he complained about the quality of American bread, and had prepared a life-saving care package. This had been the topic of their last three anxious phone calls. Delayed for days, its precious contents time sensitive: but it should still be good, well-wrapped in layers and layers of plastic and paper.

One loaf of German bread. To remind him of how good the marriage of flour and yeast could be if made by people without the sugar cravings of a toddler. To tide him over until Christmas, far away.

He tears through the paper and the wrappings, fearing the state of the result – no mold, please no mold! – but working with the determination of a famished madman.

To find: no mold.

No bread.

A note by the customs people, the hateful border Nazis. Confiscated due to undeclared, food product, safety regula-
The words swim before Bodo’s eyes and he kneads the paper like dough that would never rise.


Bodo pores over diagrams and calculations. He clicks uncooperative numbers with one hand while holding an American specialty with the other. Peanut butter, half palm fat, half weirdly dry legume paste. Jelly, a sugar tornado carrying hints of grape flavor like fragments of a shattered house. Go together like the oil and water in his pathetic attempts at salad dressing. Everything to avoid the Ranch.

Another anguished bite, the bread like fabric steeped in simple syrup. Heather paradoxically saves him, a barge entering the waters of his office.

After a short discussion about her latest models, she spots the cursed lunch. “Just bread again?”

“That is no bread! It’s cake!” Bodo notices his accent showing, but he embraces it for once. “We shouldn’t supply bakeries, but Konditoreien!”

“Pastry shops?”

“At least those sell what they claim. This poo poo is only tolerable when toasted.”

Her jowls flush. “Wow, that is very rude. This bread is fine. It’s our livelihood!”

“We make money with it. So much it made me move here. But you can’t have a good life on diabetes sponges.”

Heather sniffs. “Well, money can’t buy you happiness. But it could buy you bread? Just look for a bespoke bakery. Good luck and bless your heart.”

As soon as she has left, Bodo closes his work programs and checks on Google Maps. The factory and the small town it keeps alive are the only thing out here, but surely…

Two hours later, Bodo dejectedly finishes the sandwich that makes his teeth hurt. A three-hour drive to the nearest proper bakery. And his license still not validated.


“Bodo dearest, have you considered adding another valve…oh my Gosh what is that?”

Bodo pokes at a lump not unlike a meteorite in color and density with a knife that’s getting duller by the second. “It’s bread. Supposedly. But actually, it’s Scheiße.”

“Oh Bodo. I’m so sorry! What went wrong?”

He throws his hands up in frustration. “Well, Heather dearest, if I knew, it would have turned out better, no?”

She purses lips like cream-filled donuts. “No need to be so rude. Did you add enough sugar?”

His hands curl up until his nails dig into skin. “Why do you Americans insist on making everything a dessert?”

“I’m not saying add a whole cup, darling. But if you don’t put in even a little, your yeast has nothing to eat!”

The yeast…the sugar…

The revelation hits him like a shooting star.

Bodo tosses his meteoric loaf to the ground, to free the way to his keyboard. He opens up the spreadsheets and quickly shuffles some values.

“The process for our bread adds sugar twice. The first amount is small and the yeast makes the dough rise just a little. That’s why it’s so dense!”

He adds another column on the spreadsheet.

“But it’s baked soon after adding the second, much larger batch. So the yeast doesn’t produce much more carbon dioxide. The second value matters way less than I calculated for!”

Bodo doesn’t notice that his mutterings slip into German. Heather sticks to an encouraging smile. Her colleague’s spindly fingers dance like a happy spider as he fills out the new column.

“Der eigentliche Druck ist viel geringer…”

He hits the enter button with more force than his bread-nugget had on impact.

Sensible values start appearing.

“Und das ist…” Bodo notices Heather’s cocked eyebrow and reverts to English. “And that is the model I’ve been looking for all this time!”

She points at his screen. “A little crude here and there, but a good start.”

She leans in conspirationally. “Did you really not get why the sugar batches are separate?”

“I’m an engineer, not a baker.”

Heather pats him on the back with a soft warm hand, like fresh dough ready for the oven. “Well, I am both. And while you can be very rude, your scrawny frame just hurts my heart.”

She reaches behind her and shows Bodo a box. He looks up at her pleasantly round face. A smile like butter croissant. “Come on, open it!”

Bodo hesitantly tugs on the bow she wrapped around it. He grabs the box feeling like Pandora. But the smell escaping is just the sweet aroma of hope herself. Could it be? He rips the lid off like a starving man would open a food can.

A perfect, wonderful loaf of bread. A craggy crust, dark but not burned, with a fine coat of flour like a bridal veil. He picks it up, it’s lighter than it seems, the ideal density. He knocks on it reverently and listens to the hollow sound of a well-risen still-moist center.

“This up to your standards?” Heather’s teasing is like honey smeared around his mouth, a German idiom Bodo realizes makes no sense in English. He gazes with adoration at this wonderful, beautiful woman.

“It very much is. However!”

The vibrant healthy goddess’ smile slips, but he wags his finger with a smile of his own.

“I can’t finish this alone before it gets stale. Do you want to meet for lunch tomorrow? I’ll show you why we call a good work meal a Brotzeit.”

a friendly penguin
Feb 1, 2007

trolling for fish

Allow to Rest
Word Count: 1320

It was six a.m. and Christine was staring at bread recipes. Her girlfriend, Gail, always got up to go for a run before work and there was no use staying in the bed pretending that she was going to get any sleep. Instead she pored over books and websites and added notations to a spreadsheet of all her past test breads.

She decided her next bake should be something time-consuming and maybe that might be the answer. That bread appeared to be sourdough. She would need to make her own starter which was simple enough, just flour and water, but it would take a week and required twice daily feeding. She could bake other breads during the downtime but simultaneous experiments could cause cross-contamination and also she didn’t want to.

Choosing the recipe from the fanciest looking book she had, Christine mixed the ingredients as instructed and placed the covered bowl in the room temperature oven, turning the viewing light on to add those few extra, crucial degrees. After updating her spreadsheets and setting an alarm for six p.m. she closed her laptop and then saw the whole day of nothingness stretch out before her.

Christine grabbed a two-day old hunk of rye and curled up on the chesterfield sofa, faced the back and nibbled. The taste sat on her tongue and she felt her taste buds rise to meet the dry but pungent flavor. She imagined that her mood might also be lifting just that slight amount.

“The dust buster’s on the floor behind you for when you’re done.” Gail’s voice made Christine jump. Of course she’d been caught eating bread on Gail’s perfect sofa, but Gail was too nice to scold her. Instead she had done something worse, placed expectations on Christine. The weight of that burden crushed the lift she had thought she was experiencing.

“What’s today’s project?” Now Gail was moving around the apartment, collecting things for work and arranging other things so that they could be efficiently accessed upon her arrival home. Christine didn’t even have to turn around to know that Gail was doing it.

“It’s more of a week-long project. Sourdough takes a while to get started and needs to be refreshed every 12 hours.”

“Ooh, perfect timing with your new medication schedule.”

Christine cringed. Today was the first day of her new medicine mixture after having tapered off the last failed combination. Mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics. All of which made her depression sound like it should have been more interesting than it was.

“Will you bring them to me?” Christine held out her hand and Gail deposited the correct amounts.

“My coworkers won’t know what to do for a week without your bread.”

“Isn’t it a little weird that the health department eats so many carbs? Seems…unhealthy.” Gail took the bread to work in order to “spread the joy” but more importantly to Christine, she brought back data for the spreadsheets. While Christine may not have found the perfect mood enhancing bread for herself, surely all of this was getting her closer to finding that perfect comfort food to benefit the rest of humanity.

After Gail left for work, Christine did nothing. She continued to lie on the couch, sometimes nodding off, sometimes staring at her phone, always letting her thoughts pin her down. No job, no motivation, a girlfriend whose patience had to be waning, and the only thing she could manage to do was bake bread and take notes. While the colorful graphs that all of those numbers created reminded Christine that she hadn’t always been worthless, they didn’t indicate any future change in her outlook.

It wasn’t until her alarm went off at six that she managed to move. That move however was tripping over the handheld vacuum Gail had left for her. The sudden spike in anger did produce enough energy for her to actually vacuum up the crumbs just as Gail was walking through the door.

“Perfect! Just in time for dinner and a movie.” Gail dropped Thai food on the coffee table and went to change.

Christine fed the sourdough and grabbed two plates and her meds.

“Are you ready to open that bakery yet?” said Gail as she scrolled through streaming options.

“I’m a scientist not a baker.”

“You can be both. It could be lucrative to be both.”

Christine said nothing. Gail started the movie and set to her curry. Christine choked down a couple bites of her noodles just to have something for the meds to bind to. The rest sat on the table and would join the other leftovers in the fridge.

While Gail cuddled into her side, Christine watched the images flicker by with little more notice than she had for passing cars. Eventually she pretended to be asleep so that Gail wouldn’t ask about her day and she didn’t have bear the burden of asking about Gail’s.

Every day passed generally the same: feed the dough, feed the depression. Christine watched the starter bubble up with the natural acids and gain in size. The numbers in her spreadsheets reflecting proper progress. She focused on her own insides trying to find something bubbling up from the refresh she was giving herself. But it seemed like the only thing increasing according to a schedule was the dough.

Gail kept giving her looks and dropping hints that they should go out sometime soon, see some friends. This flattened Christine completely but she knew she needed to try. Gail seemed to love her despite having very little evidence that the Christine she had fallen in love with in college was ever coming back. Maybe that Christine was sitting dormant somewhere underneath the film of depression just in need of the right care.

At the end of the seventh day of the prescribed regimen, Christine didn’t see any difference from the second day, but according to the recipe it was time to make the bread.

“You coming to bed?” asked Gail.

“No. I’ll just bake these loaves now. We both know I’m not going to sleep.”

Gail said nothing and gave her a sad look before wandering back into their bedroom. Christine tried not to imagine what that look could mean. If this was going to be her last bake, she wanted to focus on it and nothing else.

Christine commenced the mixing, the kneading and the waiting. Folding, then more waiting. A few more folds, a lot more waiting. And through it all adding notes.

Her whole existence seemed to just be waiting. Waiting for something outside of her to happen and only then acting. She had long given up on something happening inside. Finally it was time to steam and bake.

Just as the clock ticked over to six a.m., Christine pulled two gloriously crusty and golden loaves from the oven. Gail emerged from their bedroom.

“Mmm, I could get used to this smell.”

Christine said nothing but managed a smile. The bread looked just like the pictures in the cookbook.

“Now shower and get dressed,” said Gail.


“You’re coming with me to work. We’re going to show off your beautiful buns!”

“But I haven’t slept.”

“Are you going to?” Gail punctuated the question with a pointed stare.

Christine sighed. It was hardly the nights out that they used to have, but she could do this for Gail.

At eight o’clock they arrived at the health department building and Gail began setting up a conference room with chairs, screen, and projector. Christine attached the projector to her laptop which Gail had insisted she bring. On a table Gail plated the freshly sliced sourdough. Several people filed in, immediately grabbing bread and taking front row seats.

When the room was full Gail gave a short introduction and, just as if Christine was presenting at a conference, it was now her turn to speak. She took a breath and felt something bubble inside her.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

All the Ways You Can Ruin a Sandwich
997 words

Make it with grape jelly, make it with strawberry jelly, make it with apricot jam, make it with raspberry compote, make it with mango chutney, make it with chili pepper relish, make it with Haitian pikliz, make it with Thai peanut vinaigrette, make it with unshelled walnuts, make it with peanut brittle, make it with pecan pie filling, make it with Ferrero Rocher truffles brined in pickle juice. Cut the sandwich into triangles. Cut the sandwich into squares. Cut the corners off of the sandwich and serve it picture-frame style. Brunoise the sandwich. Julienne the sandwich. Cut the entire middle out of the sandwich and serve the crusts. Carve your initials into the sandwich. Sign the sandwich with a silver Sharpie marker. Toast the sandwich until the Virgin Mary appears and then draw a mustache on the Virgin Mary with the aforementioned silver Sharpie marker. Flambé the sandwich in Cointreau and cooking sherry and serve Sandwich Foster. Stuff the sandwich inside one slot of a functional bread toaster and hold down the lever until flames shoot out. Make the sandwich with two different Pop-Tarts as the bread. Make the sandwich with Ritz crackers sewn together with al dente angel hair pasta as the bread. Make the sandwich with Hawaiian pizza mulched in a food processor and shaped into pizza pancakes. Make the sandwich with anything but All-American white bread as the bread, fortified with the All-American bleaching agents benzoyl peroxide and azodicarbonamide.

Your children, Joy, Dawn, and Mania, are all waiting at the kitchen counter, looking up at you with expectant eyes. Remember: Joy likes her crusts cut off and pushed to the side, Dawn likes only the longitudinal crusts removed, especially the one on top with the weird hump, and Mania likes to take the crusts that Dawn gave up and squeeze them in both palms until they absorb into her skin, sink into the gelatinous milky surface like a log into a snow-filled crevasse.

You prepare their sandwiches correctly, with dish soap, drain cleaner blended into whipped margarine, borax and vinegar solution, engine coolant cut with sucralose, tenpenny nails soaked in rainwater until the rust cakes over the thin heads and turns the water the color of your ex-husband’s hair. It all forms a sauce in a cast-iron pan, the only vessel in the house strong enough to hold it. Your eyes water when you paint the white bread with a thick layer of the sweltering soup, and there is love in your heart, and there are thick gloves on your hands.

The three of them devour the sandwiches as soon as you set them down. They eat like they never needed to breathe. Mania engulfs the sandwich in one bite and then gums at the edge of the Formica countertop, pale grey saliva pooling out from her upper lip. Joy tears her sandwich in half and sticks both phalanges down her throat and all the way into her stomach, swirling around the chemical mash with vigor. She slithers her appendages from her maw and waves them in your direction. Dawn stops chewing, coolant dripping down her chin, and waves as well, pale limbs wriggling back and forth like half a tapeworm wriggling out of a corpse’s mouth.

You taught them to do that. It was your way of getting them to say “thank you”.

The kitchen windows are open, and the gaseous after-effects of their afternoon meal seep outside, directly over the terracotta window box where peonies used to grow. Your three daughters squelch in their chairs and make a sound that seems like laughter if you squint your ears hard enough.

It was the same sound you made when you looked at the pregnancy test, bloodless knuckles aching and eyes that kept blinking in the hopes that the world would shift one degree to the right, and the plus would turn to a minus and your husband would walk in through the bathroom door and touch you, not anywhere special, just brush his hand against the back of your neck where the seams were and keep everything from unraveling, would show any affection at all, would keep you from opening the medicine cabinet and then the liquor cabinet and then the under-the-sink cabinet.

It was the same sound they made when they were born.

Mania came out last, so she saw the back of her father as he ran screaming from the delivery room, trailing blood in thick gouts. She’s the one who has the most trouble with waving, so her sisters let her use his arms, let her stick them out from the sides of her lumpen body and flail them around, hand bloodless and flopping at the wrist, until she gets the idea.

Of course you’re afraid. Every day, you’re afraid.

You recently looked up recipes on how to make edible Play-Doh out of white bread, mash it all up and add enough food coloring until it’s unrecognizable.

It’s a similar process, taking the love you feel and the fear you feel and mashing them both together until you don’t know where one starts or the other begins.

They push their chairs back, inch away from the kitchen countertop and sink into the floor until they’re gone.

You will take the rest of their weaponized sandwich filling and leave it on the front porch, let the curious birds die and garnish it. You will use a two-ply paper towel to wipe up any leftover mess, throw the paper towel away, peel the gloves off your hands and throw those away as well, then take an ice-cold can of Pepsi out of the fridge, and when you close the refrigerator door, you will see Joy or Dawn or Mania’s pale, round face bulging from the white enamel, and you will throw your hands up and mock-scream in a cartoonish exaggeration of your terror and affection, and any day where you have to exaggerate less than the day before is a good day.

Apr 21, 2010

Look to the Yeast

935 words

I hope that I died quickly. Instantly, even, doing something of value, like my father, or else like your grandmother, in my sleep. Calm. Gentle. I don't know if this hope was fulfilled. So many other possibilities: begging at the barrel of a gun or the edge of a blade, slowly poisoned from inside on a hospital bed. I do not know, but I hope. I do know that you will read this only after I am dead.

This is not a will, not a legal document at all. Such things are for matters of far less import. A few items of sentiment for your fathers and uncles, your mothers and aunts. No great fortune is left behind to divide. Let the banks bicker and dicker over the house.

But only after you finish here, after you have been to the basement.

I will admit I do not know which of you is reading this, which of my favorite grandchildren has come to pick up my burden. Bryce? Or Genna? Or possibly you both together? I am given to see some things, to know that at least one of you will be here, but not everything.

So. I was raised in the church, Presbyterian. Your parents, less so, and you hardly at all. So it goes. Only the core of the message matters, the promise of Grace and the Golden Rule. The rest, well, the Apostolic Succession was broken with the Borgias. The true gospels and sayings were buried by Constantine's courtiers and his mother's.

But the starter in my basement fridge comes from an unbroken line all the way back to the bread and wine consumed at the Last Supper.

Mine isn''t the only one. As best as I can tell, there are sixty-three cultures of the True Yeast left in the world. Forty in the San Francisco Bay area, another six elsewhere in the United States, the rest spread across the globe.

And mine is yours now.

What should you do with it? That's entirely your choice now. You could expose it to the wild air, contaminate it and be done with caretaking it forever. There were times when I came close to doing just that. You could take it to a lab, sequence the genes that make this strain of Saccharomyces cerevisae different from any other, although there is a very good reason not to. Or you could do as I do. And make bread.

It makes a very good loaf of bread. Nourishing. Satisfying.

I've tried to make beer with it, with less success. Maybe it was just my poor skill as a home brewer, but it just had a light buzz, and an aftertaste of unpleasant truth. I never had the patience to attempt wine. I mostly stuck to bread.

There's one rule, one I learned by hard experience. I'll spare you those lessons. The rule is that you shouldn't sell the bread, not for a dime or in trade for a dozen eggs or a favor.

It's a hell of a thing. My neighbor Conner, back in the day, when his wife passed on I used to come by once a week with a nice round loaf. We all brought food and comfort, casseroles and company. And that was fine. You eat it yourself or you share it freely, no problem.

Anyhow, about six months on Connor was back on his feet, and when we came by it was for a game of checkers and a beer or two. He'd taught himself to cook well enough for a single guy. But he missed the bread. And before I could offer to just bring a round around he pulled out a five dollar bill, and without thinking I took it.

And that's when things started going wrong. I'd gotten along fine up to then. Living on my own, no job or worries, but right after that the whispers started. Everyone wondering what I was getting up to, talking about black magic.

Which was silly. My magic was the brightest kind, Godly baking theurgy.

And no, I didn't leave you any grimoires. My recipe books contain no codes or hidden meanings. Should you tread that path, you'll have to learn it some other way.

So, nonsense, but dangerously close to the truth. I had to leave, eventually, ahead of someone coming around fixing to set fires like in the old days. And I still didn't get it.

So in Germany, once I was settled in there, like a damned fool I traded away a clone of the starter to an academic wizardling for, well, never you mind what for. Nothing important. And not twelve hours later I was set on in an alleyway. Took a knife to the kidney from behind. They rolled me and left me for dead, which I nearly was. A little magic and a lot of modern medicine helped me pull through.

Okay. A little bread magic. Penicillin mold raised on the bread of the True Yeast. Good for a whole lot of ills. Not just infections, it will close wounds. Same rule goes for that as the bread, do not sell or charge for the use of it, and it only keeps a day or so.

So I got out of Germany quick. I'd figured it out, and done research to confirm. To sell or trade makes for a Judasbrot, and betrayal will find you.

So, the starter is yours now, to do with what you will. May you learn from my experience, may it fill your soul and belly, and may you rise forever together.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


We Must
711 words

Burt was out in the garden, hacking at the weeds around the turnips, when the strange message appeared. He came into the kitchen to find the scrawl written on an old receipt.

There was something odd about it. It was written in a strange ink, not quite black but something off, the color of coffee left in a pot on the burner overnight. And it wasn't indented into the paper, but raised up slightly above the surface. Burt picked at it, and a piece broke off under his fingernail, and—did it just move?

He ran a gnarled had through the wisp of hair on his head. He wasn't losing it. Too young for that.

“Hello,” the letters read, with long and lazy loops. “We visit.”

Burt crumpled up the old receipt and threw it in the trash.

The next day at lunch, Burt was at the kitchen counter, a cup of coffee steaming in his hand, nibbling at a buttered lunch meat sandwich he held in the other, looking out over the fields of grain waving in the breeze. Then, a flash of movement, blue, out by the path.

He picked up a shovel and edged the door open and stepped out onto the porch. “Is somebody out there?” he yelled. Then his wife stepped out from behind the hedge.

Of course, it wasn't his wife. Her hair was still black. She had been dead fifteen years. That dress had gotten lost in the last move, misplaced in the excited rush after they bought the farmhouse. He had sat beside her in the hospital everyday for five weeks, waiting, hoping, pleading with his eyes to every nurse and doctor that walked through the door, but from every one found the same unspoken response. It wasn't his wife. She wasn't here. She couldn't be.

She was.

She took a step forward. “Burt.”

“No.” He clutched at the door beside him. The shovel wobbled in his hands, wavering out in front of him like a talisman, as if he was going to launch it like a spear.

The shovel clattered on the porch boards as he pushed back inside. He slammed the door shut. Then he sat down hard, pushing against the door as if he didn't trust the deadbolt.

Burt didn't know how long he sat there, head down in his arms, trying to forgot, trying to ignore. At some point he fell asleep. Had there been a knocking? A voice—her voice—calling his name?

He ached, from the small of his back on down. His legs were numb and they roared in disapproval as he started moving again. Stupid. He shouldn't have sat like that so long. He climbed, slowly, wincing, to his feet, cursed, grabbed the rim of the sink in a death grip.

He looked up.

She was still standing out by the garden, hair blowing softly in the breeze, ringed by the light from the setting sun.

He stared. Was there something moving back there, by the hedge, under her feet?

Burt clenched his fist, closed his eyes, reached for the door.

He looked down at his feet as he walked, dust kicking up from dry grass. Then the grass gave way to bare dirt, and a pair of shoes he hadn't seen in years.

He looked up into dark pitted eyes.

“I know it's not you, Claire,” he said, but his voice broke into a rasp.

There was an earthy smell, with a tinge of something else. Must. A metallic taste in the back of his throat.

His wife opened her mouth and her lips moved and something like words came out.

“We have been watching,” she said. The voice was wrong. It didn't come from her, but somewhere behind.

“You're not her,” he whispered. “You're not her.”

“We came,” she said. “We can be—we—” She reached a hand out stiffly. “We must bloom.”

He took her hand and felt a jolt of energy. Warmth suffused his mind, all sensation fell away, and his perception shrank to nothing. There was only her.

Burt Arnold, 88, was found dead in a field outside his home, one hand covered in a previously unknown species of fungus, and with a wide smile on his face.

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

With this pic of my freshly baked cornbread, I hereby close submissions

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004


I ordered bread-inspired stories and most of the bakers delivered, although it seems some of you kneaded your mommies and didn't rise to the challenge. Yoruichi and I didn't think any of these stories were thoroughly moldy or stale, but somebody has to lose in Thunderdome and this week it's Fuschia tude for having the least story and most stock phrases of the bunch. The two stories of the upper crust were evenly matched, but ultimately the HM goes to Sitting Here, which means...

The winner of Bread Week is Ironic Twist!

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

Mostly stream of consciousness crits for my sweet bakers.

Sitting Here - Mrs. and Mr. Andino are doing fine.

Laughing at this opening.
I like how Morghan's POV comes through.
I don't really get why Morghan's legs don't ache anymore. It doesn't seem like she finished what she was going to do with Guillermo's leg so why is she already feeling strange benefits?
Zane's weakness feels like it lets down the tension a bit too much.
Woah, the growths on Guillermo's body! Nasty!
Seriously chuckling over Guillermo's baby head.
Very neat concept with some great visuals overall. Feels like there's potential tension that got left on the table though. I find myself asking hole-poking questions rather than where-else-can-it-go questions.

Simply Simon - Breadtime

It's an ode to bread, and better yet, Bodo has the correct opinions.
Not sure if the "hateful border Nazis" are real Nazis or if that's Bodo being colorful.
All of the bread words could get a little cloying - it definitely happens around "kneads the paper like dough that would never rise" which doesn't really make sense as an action. Although the emotion of that line comes through fine.
I'm grossed out by talking about PB&J in the same graf as salad.
Oh, Google exists, so it's now-times; not real Nazis.
Feels like I'm lacking a bit of reality/plot around Bodo's real life - I don't know what he's doing aside from thinking about good German bread which feels unmoored after so much time.
So in the last section it clicks that he's trying to fix the bread, it would've been nice to create some tension over that earlier, like from his boss or whatever.
Heather's whole presentation in this story makes me feel kinda icky.

A friendly penguin - Allow to Rest

Pretty dry material here, in the story and the text.
"Self-appointed bread scientist" is a type of character I'm interested in.
I guess as far as depression/ennui goes this is a pretty good representation of it. "Every day passed generally the same: feed the dough, feed the depression." is a really great line and it would've been awesome to read that earlier. It's like the perfect thesis statement.
Gail is a little absent - one might imagine a severely depressed person to be able to conjure a more wicked narrative about her sad lover than "slightly sad".
Feels like we're cutting out before a more interesting (and difficult) part of the story.

Ironic Twist - All the Ways You Can Ruin a Sandwich

Spent the whole time reading this doing baffled chuckles. I don't super-duper know what's going on here but I like it. I even like the big list which I didn't expect to like.
The third paragraph, which seems like it could be You satirizing her life, into the fourth's reveal imagery is a really fun moment.
"a sound that seems like laughter if you squint your ears hard enough" is a line I like a lot.
A wee bit of a grab-bag of creepy imagery & events. A wee bit more concrete explanation might have been nice. That said I'm not asking myself questions that pick apart what's presented, but more what else is possible in this world, which is a good feeling.

Thranguy - Look to the Yeast

Really good text here, I like the words and the sentences. The story feels like a bit of a one-trick pony.
I like the idea of the True Yeast but the story makes it feel less powerful/important than I want it to be.
We learn a bit of the consequences of treating it wrongly (Judasbrot is cute) but we don't really learn what can specifically be gained if you treat it right. That said I'm not complaining about much here, it's short and sweet, what I really want is more.

Fuschia tude - We Must

The weird crap on the receipt is cool.
Woah! Scary moment when the wife appears. It might be scary if anything stepped out from behind a hedge but Wrong-Looking Dead Wife is a good one.
I don't really know what the mind-reading(?) alien(?) fungus' plan was in this story but it's not exactly gripping. Feels like there could have been more of a debate before the end.
Textually, there are more clumsy lines and cliches than I would like.
"The shovel wobbled in his hands, wavering out in front of him like a talisman, as if he was going to launch it like a spear." stands out as particularly bad - like a talisman and like a spear are pretty different ways to hold a shovel, so I'm losing clarity and it doesn't feel specific.

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Bread Week Crits

Mrs. and Mr. Andino are doing fine. by Sitting Here

Ok, wow, that was weird. Weird in a good way, but ultimately not very satisfying.

This is very well-written - the way you flick from gruesome to mundane and back again is nicely done, and the imagery is strong and clear - but Morghan’s character didn’t quite land for me. At some points she seems to be completely blasé about chopping her husbands bits off to make bread, but at other points she seems quite upset about what she’s doing to him, so I didn’t get a clear sense of whether she cared about Guillermo or whether she was just using him for her own ends.

I would have liked just a little bit more clarity about what was going on. I assumed as I was reading that she was using Guillermo’s body to stop herself from aging, but the final line threw me. You say she’s wondering about what names “they might chose in their next life” - is Morghan somehow making them both immortal?


Breadtime by Simply Simon

What we have here is a 300 word love story, about Bodo and Heather, buried under 1,000 words of tedious waffle about how American food sucks and German bread is amazing (which it is btw).

This story is so boring. Just look at your opening sentence. Does it contain anything about the main characters? No. The setting? No. Does it hook me into the story? No. Is it even a sentence? Barely. You needed to focus on the characters and their relationship, using their (shared?) obsession with good bread as the backdrop, rather than the other way around.


Allow to Rest by a friendly penguin

So this is a story about a woman struggling with depression. She has a supportive girlfriend and an intense interest in baking bread. Then her girlfriend takes her to work and makes her give a spontaneous presentation?

I think the pacing of this story was way off. For 90% of the story the protag is doing basically nothing, and then there’s this sudden burst of activity and hope in the final 100 words, and then the ending comes out of nowhere. I think you needed to up the emotional stakes - for example, show more of the impact of Christine’s depression on her relationship with Gail - to make the hopeful note at the end more satisfying.


All the Ways You Can Ruin a Sandwich by Ironic Twist

Twist! What the hell is this? It’s great and I love it but also wtf! What are the children? What’s going on? Why anything? This makes no sense but somehow I really enjoyed it and I don’t understand why.


Look to the Yeast by Thranguy

Pun title: nice start.

Oh god and it ends with a pun as well. Amazing.

Anyway, this isn’t bad but it didn’t really grab me. I thought it was going somewhere and then it just kind of peters out. I think this would have been a more interesting read if you’d shown the letter’s author struggling against the fact that you can’t sell or trade the bread, rather than just learning this by accident.


We Must by Fuschia tude

There’s something not quite right about the opening line. How did Burt know the message had appeared, in order to go inside and read it?

This isn’t terrible but it’s really just the opening section of a longer story about invading fungus. I wish you’d written about the fungus invasion instead of this sad piffle about some guy called Burt.


Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Thunderdome CDVI: Golem & Gaultier Week

So because I won and it’s my show for the week, we’re going to mash two things together and see if they work.


If you sign up, I will google “avant-garde fashion” and assign you a picture. Your story must be inspired by that picture.

Your story must also include a humanoid fantasy creature. The further you veer away from the cliché, the better chance you have of me not wanting to die.

That’s it. That’s the prompt.

No erotica, fanfic, political satire, poetry, or GoogleDocs.

Wordcount is 1200 words.

Signups close Friday, May 15, 2359 PST.
Subs close Sunday, May 17, 2359 PST.


Model Monstrosities:
Uranium Phoenix
Something Else

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 18:51 on May 12, 2020

Oct 24, 2018



Sep 30, 2006


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