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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

wordcount: 620

Chaos Fishermen

Well past the other side of Yonder
In a land beyond our ken
Fishing from the tides of chaos
Live the Chaos Fishermen

The morning moon shines in their eyestalk
From a periwinkle sky
That flaps a little as they walk
Beneath the Chaos Butterfly

They sail out in all contraptions
Coracles and script adaptions
Singing subtitles and captions
Joyous Chaos Fishermen

One fisherman sings quite the clearest
From his floating ship of brick
Songs of the chaos sea careerist
He has no name, let's call him Rick

He sails beyond the harbour's safety
Feels the sea breeze in each hair
The chaos roils about him chastely
As he bobs in his deckchair

Out he sails on his adventures
A fisherman down to his dentures
His valiant efforts no man censures
Noble Chaos Fisherman

Beneath the sky-god's dappled verges
He anxiously casts tenterhooks
Then settles to see what emerges
While playing chess with only rooks

But signals slip across the seas
In semaphore and pinafore
A rising squall has reached their knees
A Chaos Storm is at the door

Did no one see the insect's wing flap?
Did they sail blind into a deathtrap?
Did any think to bring a rain cap?
Foolish Chaos Fishermen!

Waves of chaos crash down on Rick
Like waves of chaos crashing down
And sitting upright on his brick
Rick thinks the thought that he might drown

The churning discord has no pattern
He cannot see his sailing friends
Short of a hatch down which to batten
He surfs tumultuous dips and bends

Murderous disaster beckons
Eons lived in nanoseconds
An insecty god now reckons
Fates of Chaos Fishermen

Rick sails by teeth skin by the jaw full
Through crushing waves and winds unruly
Wondering, did he something awful
That he does deserve this, truly?

And now, on this precise occasion
His tenterhooks begin to ring
Saying by sonic explanation
That at their end there is... something

His mind awhirr with likely catches
His clothes soaked through, in shreds and patches
Reeling in his lines in batches
Hopeful Chaos Fisherman

Attached, from swirling vasty deep
A giant shape of myths and tales
Leviathan and Behemoth weep
As THE HERRING's form unveils

"WAAARGH" Its terror voice out-boomed
THE HERRING red in tooth and scale
Surely Rick must now be doomed!
How can he at all prevail?

Though chaos drives the mind to bending
Sure as patents come a'pending
There will have to come an ending
Mortal Chaos Fishermen

The churning sea with fever pitches
And also yaws with every breath
"Yet if I must," our hero twitches
"I am quite prepared for death."

He turns his gaze up to the gods
That periwinkle expanse of sky
The flawless roll of odd shaped dice
That is the Chaos Butterfly

Some say that life it is not fair
That proper sense lies in despair
But they ignore the power of prayer
Of Holy Chaos Fishermen

"Oh, Save me, Chaos Butterfly,
From the things that plague me thus.
Please don't refuse or I must try
This yet unmentioned blunderbuss."

Seeing Rick on brick with mortar
The sky god flapped a fearful wing
And soon chaotic waves grew shorter
Whilst submerging THE HERRING

Men of every creed and race
Admit that there may lack some grace
In shooting sky gods in the face
Cheeky Chaos Fishermen

And when the fleet limped home again
Exhausted by their days
They were diminished one in ten
And changed in many ways

But on their lines and tenterhooks
Were treasures rich and striking
Shoelaces and children's books
And quinoa to their liking

For that is the chaotic life
They mine the wettest seams of strife
With songs and guns and perils rife
Brave Chaos Fishermen

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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






prompt: Your story takes place in one of those TV/VCR repair stores, the kind that has seemingly been open for decades but has no apparent customers.


Video Catacomb Restorer
900 words

I enter the VCR repair shop to the tinkling fanfare of little bells and immediately the air feels different. Vintage. Like inhaling the fibers of a thirty year-old carpet—which, judging by the grubby grey floor under my feet, is probably the case.

The cash register—assuming there is one—seems to be tucked away behind several crowded rows of shelves, which are crowded both in the sense that they are uncomfortably close together and in the disordered heaps of home entertainment viscera that spew from every surface.

I tuck grandma’s videotape protectively under my arm and edge sideways down a likely-looking aisle, feeling unaccountably wary of dusty power cord tentacles and anemone plumes of tangled videotape. The heirloom quality of the air thickens as I go deeper into the shop, and for a few long moments there’s only the sound of my sideways shuffling and the listless sigh of the air conditioning unit.

A prim woman in her sixties stands behind an ancient yellowing cash register. Her name tag reads Edna. I’m instantly put at ease by the sight of her; she could pass for a librarian or a notary—something sensible. The shelves above and behind the register, in contrast to the rest of the store, seem to be meticulously organized, without a speck of dust to be seen on the ancient VCRs, all of which seem to be powered on and running though none are connected to any sort of display.

She beams at me—or, more precisely, at grandma’s videotape—as I emerge from the narrow aisle, then brings her finger to her lips, gesturing that I should follow her into the office behind the register.

Once I’ve closed the door behind me and taken a seat, Edna says, “What do we have here, hmm?”

I set grandma’s videotape on the desk between us. “Grandma said I’m supposed to ask you to ‘check on him and make sure he wasn’t damaged.’ There was a spill incident, I guess. Prune juice all over the thing.”

Edna’s beatific grin melts into a look of professional concern. “There’s someone inside? Right now? After a spill incident?”

“There’s tape inside, yeah,” I say, not sure if we’re talking about the same thing.

“But is someone on the tape?”

“It’s just a bunch of recordings of some campy old talk show that grandpa used to watch. Grandma says she’s afraid to rewind it.”

Edna nods, brows furrowed. “We’re going to have to do an extraction, then respool the tape. How bad was the spill incident?”

“I, uh—I think grandma called it a ‘level two’ spill incident.”

Edna relaxes a little. “Okay. I think your grandpa is going to be alright.”

I feel a flush of grief-tinged annoyance. “My grandfather is dead.”

“Of course, of course,” Edna says, waving me off. “I don’t do transfers for the living. But his videoscape should still be stable.”

While I grapple with that statement, she rises from her chair and retrieves a variety of objects from a tall cabinet behind the desk: a videotape shell, scissors, several screwdrivers, and a small crank or wench of some sort.

She sets to work with surgical precision, opening up grandma’s video with a series of specialized screwdrivers, then uses the little crank to unspool grandma’s tape from its sticky housing and into the hollow innards of the surrogate shell.

After the new tape shell is screwed shut, Edna looks up at me from beneath a sweat-slick brow. “Right. We’re going to have to check the quality now. This part…” she falters, eyes moving back and forth as though she’s searching for words on her cluttered desk. “This part usually goes right, but if it goes wrong, it can be a bit upsetting. Are you ready?”

I don’t know if I’m ready. “You’re telling me,” I say, “that somehow, some version of my grandpa is on this tape? A tape of a show he wasn’t ever on?”

“Some people prefer to inhabit their own home videos, but yes, in this instance, your grandfather chose to inhabit mass media,” Edna says wearily. “Assuming the tape wasn’t warped at all, we should see him quite happily rubbing elbows with Lawrence Welk or David Letterman, or whoever.”

“And if it is warped?” I ask.

“Then the kindest thing is to burn the tape,” Edna says briskly. Then: “Are you ready?”

I watch as Edna slides the tape into a VCR, the old tube TV flickering from blackness to static to—yes! A moving picture. After a brief title card, the talk show fades into view to the clatter of applause, and there, seated in a plush chair by the host’s desk is grandpa, beaming at the audience as though he’s right at home playing the smarmy celebrity.

“You think I’m something,” he’s telling the host, “wait ‘til you meet my wife!”

I feel something like a chill down my spine and a swelling in my heart. There’s an empty chair next to grandpa, a spot for another guest on this ever-repeating talk show.

As I exit the office—videotape safely ensconced in a carrying case given to me by Edna—and pass by the quietly humming VCRs above the register, I’m finally able to name the peculiar atmosphere of the VCR repair shop: it’s like a mausoleum or a burial catacomb.

Holding grandpa tight, I make my way to the exit, careful not to disturb the mylar remains.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Suspended in History and Water

899 words

The University of Indiana at Indianapolis bears the family crest of one of its founders, Bernard Phyllis III. This crest bears the motto 'Burn Like Powder' beneath the silhouette in grey against yellow of a monoceros, horn raised as to strike.

A monoceros, and not, as the ignorant blithely suppose, a unicorn.

The first duel fought on UII grounds was over this very dispute, and I am happy to say the correct party won.

The last duel fought at UII was precipitated when a visiting professor prepared a roast duck in aspic for a dinner party among Classical Greek History professors. All five local professors took offense, but it was Lewis Lochner who was first to issue challenge. The year was 1972.

Dueling was never legal in Indiana, but the police and medical community were usually inclined to look the other way in reporting minor bullet wounds from 'sporting accidents'.

This was easier when what was at issue was a minor flesh wound to the shoulder than in the case of Lochner and McRoe, where the former nearly blew the latter's head clean off. For that one there was a trial, and an acquittal that can only be attributed to jury nullification.

In 1928, the major business concern in downtown Indianapolis was the Hog Rendering Plant.

It was named after its owner, Gerald Hog. All manner of agricultural animals were reduced to chemical components at the site.

Including the last known monoceruses, after they died in captivity. Sources that claim the Indianapolis Zoo had unicorns on display are misled, and those that suggest the animals were rhinoceroses are laughably so.

At any rate, the Hog Plant employed hundreds of shift workers, including many women. The day shift was almost all women in fact. One of those women was Clara Gail, and she wanted a union.

This was the height of prohibition, and so the height of gangland power in Indiana. The gangsters owned the police, and Gerald Hog owned the gangsters. There were considerable obstacles to unionization.

Things came to a head at the end of the day shift on April 3 1928, as a gang of hardened criminals replaced the night shift workers and began to menace the day shift in general and Clara in particular.

It has never been proven which party was responsible for setting the fire.

The response to the fire was Gerald Hog's responsibility, although he was never held accountable. In event of a fire the factory waterworks all shut down, while at the pumping station water was diverted to that block.

The plans and permits called for the installation of a series of fireplugs surrounding the area. What was actually connected to those lines was a basement distillery that was not equipped to handle more than a trickle of illicit water.

Normally the rendering plant's end products were shipped off-site each afternoon, but Clara had the support of the teamsters, and an unofficial sick-out meant that the loading dock was overloaded with powdered collagen.

Clara did not anticipate all that was about to happen, but she had the presence of mind to escape, with the day shift women, and the large proportion of the gangsters in pursuit.

The distillery operators were never identified, and the number dead is only an estimate based on counting bones.

The explosion flooded a five block radius two feet deep in boiling water mixed with gin and chemicals just as a mass of cold air moved down from Lake Michigan, leading to what was known as the Great Gelatin Flood.

There are pictures of animals trapped in gelatin; mostly mice and squirrels. Contrary to popular impression, they did not suffocate in the setting aspic but were killed instantly by immersion in the superhot water.

One famous photograph shows an infant in the gelatin, but it was recently found to be fake, or at least deceptive. It was not an actual baby but a Bella Baby, a strikingly realistic child's toy of the day.

Bella Babies were briefly very popular in the American Midwest, but their verisimilitude was their undoing. Mainly because when not actively being played with they so closely resembled an unmoving, unliving infant, but also by being associated with a series of hospital baby-snatchings.

By series I mean two incidents, one of which was likely a copycat event. In those days there were very few babies to snatch at hospitals: the sensible used midwives and delivered at home, while those who did not were sent home almost immediately in the cases where neither mother nor child had contracted a dangerous fever. But those incidents were enough to sink the product so deep that it wasn't until 2008 that a hobbyist collector recognized the suspended infant in that photograph.

Clara went on to great success, campaigning with Norman Thomas. In her later years she was frequently seen in the company of the widow Francis Elanor Hessen. They are only ever described as friends in contemporary sources, but the newspaper employee who captioned a shot of the two of them engaged in a clearly open-mouthed kiss 'The two famous friends share a warm embrace' almost had to have known the score.

The concept of the shooter was known to the UII students and faculty, and kept as a treasured secret as soon as prohibition ended and vodka could be sourced to replace the foul-tasting gin of the original recipe.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




Mercedes posted:

In your world, growing old is punishable by death


In, bitches. Flash me.

Worth
673 Words

Muriel pondered the cost and practicality of taking a wall off of her home, to give Theodore a little room to breathe.

She walked the house perimeter, peering in the windows at the east side. Theodore was inside hunched over, dreaming tiny poetry with massive eyes. Even sitting, his head was nearly brushing the ceiling. She wondered how long it would be until turning sideways and balling himself up wouldn't be enough to leave his bedroom. A year? Six months? Less? She sighed and went back inside.

"Theodore? You want some lunch?"

The door opened and Theodore leaned through it, occupying the entire frame with his torso. His skin was wrinkled and baggy, transparent to all the venules and bruises underneath. Age, age, and more age. He smiled. His voice was thin, tinny.

"I've a powerful hunger, Mew-mew. Leave it at the door, if you'd be so kind?"

Muriel sighed and began working on a twenty-egg omelette. This was becoming untenable. She was almost a hundred herself and the house was already feeling small. She couldn't imagine how it was for Theodore.

There was a rapid knock at the door.

Muriel turned off the burner and answered. A man stood in a suit and tie, about three feet tall. Muriel thought he couldn't be more than thirty years old. He spoke unprompted, a chittering buzz through clacking mandibles.

"Ms. Gladheim? My name is Chapman, from Recycling and Longevity. I believe we've called before?"

Muriel sighed. "You're here about my great-great-grandfather, I presume? I've already told you, we're not-"

Chapman cut her off. "Have you been to the turbine fields, Muriel?"

Muriel looked away nervously. She could hear them spinning at night, hear the pervasive hum, hum, hum of new power in the lines.

"I...I don't like that place, Mr. Chapman."

Chapman continued.

"Unfortunate, but expected. Theodore needs to do his civic duty, Ms. Gladheim. Trains must run, lights must shine, and Theodore must turn." He paused and gave her a sarcastic smile, his mouth separating in four then four again. "It's only fair."

Muriel spread her arms across the doorframe. "Theodore is a poet, not a turning cog."

Chapman frowned. "Poetry doesn't turn the lights on anymore, Muriel."

Muriel gestured inside. Theodore peeked his head from the bedroom, then ducked back. "That's not his fault, Mr. Chapman!"

"Heard it before, Ms. Gladheim. Frankly, our patience is worn thin. I'll be back." With that, he flitted away.

Muriel shut the door. Theodore was trying to squeeze from his room into the kitchen and doing poorly.

"Mew-mew? A little help?"

Muriel tugged him through the doorway. He stumbled in, crashing into the stove and upsetting a pan of thoroughly burnt eggs. He looked down at them and smiled sheepishly. "Little eggs. Must have been some very young chickens."

Muriel smiled gave him an affectionate pat on the arm.

"Don't worry about them, Theo. The eggs, or the turbines."

Theo attempted to scoop up the eggs and only succeeded in yolking the kitchen. he turned to Muriel.

"Maybe it's time, Mew-mew? I'm tired."

Tears began to well in her eyes. "No one comes back from there, Theo. Not Mama, not Charlie, not Big Red."

Theodore smiled wistfully. "As well they shouldn't, child." He sighed. "I haven't put a useful word on paper in ages."

Muriel shook her head. "It doesn't matter! You don't have to be useful, not to anyone!"

Theodore gave her a sad smile. "The power's not in prose anymore, dear."

He turned, eggs forgotten, and lumber-squeezed into his bedroom.

"Muriel, the door?"

---

Muriel awoke in the night to a tremendous crashing, a booming that shook the foundation. In an instant, she knew. Had they come? She tumbled to Theodore's bedroom and threw the door open. He'd shattered a wall, busted it ragged. A cool breeze drifted through her ears and ruffled the papers on his desk. She walked to them and read.

Worth

There, sublime
Grown tall
Now anodyne
Without recall

Temblor gone
I'm succumbing
So at dawn
My worth, in humming

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



Valerie and Vacuums
893 words
Flash rule: your story will revolve around a something-ception, a thing inside of the same thing that the first thing is.

There had to be a word by now, Valerie thought, for the intense shame of explaining your technical problem badly to a professional. The man behind the counter at the vacuum-cleaner (and sewing-machine, for some reason?) store wore a patient smile, the kind that suggested he heard a lot of very stupid technical explanations and was perhaps at peace with them, but that didn't make it any easier for Valerie to formulate a statement. "It's... not working well?" she said at last, gesturing towards the large vacuum cleaner she'd wheeled in. "And it's making an odd noise."

The man nodded, cocking his head in the matter of a forlorn but intrigued hound. "What kind of noise?"

"Kind of a vwiiir-VWOOOOO-putt-putt-putt-putt? The putts get slower as it goes, sort of a... God, I'm sorry. This doesn't make any sense at all."

"Oh, no! Ma'am, I think that's the best rendition of the sound of a failing subsystem I've heard all week. Let's get you to the back room and we can fix this right up." The man grabbed the vacuum cleaner and hauled it over the counter, carrying it towards a back room in a sort of clumsy embrace; for lack of any better idea, Valerie hopped the counter and followed.

The back room of the vacuum store was shockingly dusty, given the givens. Vacuum-cleaner models of all sizes, shapes, and paint jobs littered every surface, save for one workbench covered with a gingham tablecloth -- maybe that was for the sewing machines? (That bench was much cleaner, too. Valerie supposed dusting wasn't as much of a busman's holiday for the sewing-machine techs as it must have been for the vacuum techs.) Valerie was considering whether to ask about the sewing machines when the sound of her vacuum broke her reverie. The man was right, she decided; she'd replicated it pretty well.

"Definitely a vwiiir-VWOOOOO-putt," the man said. "Let's crack you open." A few twists of a disarmingly tiny screwdriver later, he took off the outer hull of the vacuum, revealing a smaller but otherwise identical vacuum within. The repairman flipped its On switch, and it made a squealing, pitch-shifted replica of the vwiiir-VWOOOOO-putt sound. "Okay, deeper than that. Might be easiest to just get you a new subsystem with fresh micros."

"Um. Sorry to ask, but... shouldn't there be a motor in there? Or a bag? Or... something?"

"On the older models, yes, but the subsystems are much more efficient. And bagless! Even I don't like changing vacuum bags."

"Well, sure, nobody does."

"And subsystems solve it! They're brilliant. Anyway, let's see here. For a Vortex Home Turbo 750-E..." The repairman grabbed the 'subsystem' from the inside of Valerie's vacuum, opened its case with a flick of the wrist, and shook out its contents into a trash can. A dozen tiny vacuum cleaners, spotlessly clean, fell into the metal can with a clink. The repairman headed to a plastic drawer, where he scooped up a handful of gunmetal-grey, unbranded micro-vacuums. "You mind the generics? They're OEM, certified freshly filled, just don't have the paint job."

"That's fine. I'm not going to be looking at them. ... Filled with what?"

"With fresh nano-vacs, just recharged in the back. We have the cleanest raw vacuum in the Northern Hemisphere, ma'am." The repairman gestured at a door behind him, labeled, rather unhelpfully, "VACUUM."

"What?" said Valerie. "Like, the absence of matter? The darkness of space? ... Can I see it?"

"Sorry, it's employees only. We are hiring, though! You seem like you've got a good attitude for the job."

"I do?"

"Ma'am, you clearly vacuum frequently, and you brought your unit in for repairs instead of throwing it off a bridge downtown. This puts you in perhaps the ninety-seventh percentile of vacuum-cleaner owners, which is qualification enough for me. I'll warn you, it's full-time and live-in, but we get a 401k!"

"Live-in? This store's in a mall."

"We have dorms upstairs. Single rooms, though. It's nice."

"Yes, but why can't you leave?"

The repairman's smile turned sheepish. He gestured around him. "I thought you would have figured it out? From the dust and all? This store's a vacuum cleaner too. Not a good one -- we let most everyone out again -- but it's the value of recursion. Fantastic efficiency. We can leave for groceries and whatnot, though, if you're worried about that."

"Oh," said Valerie, and she thought for a long and dreadful moment about her life. She thought about her job at a help desk, so far down on Tier 1 support that she was practically Tier 0; she thought about her three roommates, none of whom had ever so much as touched the vacuum cleaner. She thought about how quickly she could pack. "Well," she said. "All right. Although... if this place is that dedicated a vacuum store, why are there sew--"

"We don't talk about those! Don't even say the word." The repairman sidled towards her, lowering his voice. "The store gets upset if it gets reminded."

"But you sell them?"

"We let people take them," the repairman whispered. "There's a difference. Anyway, can you start on Monday?"

Packing was going to take about twenty minutes. Everything Valerie cared about, minus the vacuum cleaner, could fit in the back of her hatchback. "Yes," she said, "I think I can start on Monday."

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Age of Incandescence
465 words

At the sui generis dawn of Genesis hour twelte
Sprot forth the ore-chard of Theo Treeo
Mineral flesh, liberal jewels plump and svelte
Naught enjoyed, as maws th’were yet zero

Thought Theo Treeo:
‘Silly m’we, there manifests no mouth
to savour these citric treasures
Create m’we shall a receptacle most couth
enpleasured to metalculture leisure

From trithy froth Theo formed the Delightee
her telos to everjoyfully feed
on extravagance from the bountiful seed
and wile her time most merrily

Masticating metallic sweets
Reciprocating praise to Theo’s feats
Liberty to pluck all she beheld
‘save the Veiled Tree’s fruit, alone withheld
not from tasting, but from sight
Received through faith by blindfold
Yet its iridescence tantalizing bright
Through cloth-sneaked light hues manifold

Delightee irked at this restriction
and surmised a proto-inquisition
Atuned to the catalyst of her vexation
Theo gave her explanation:

Your chemosenses are as yet callow
to enjoy in full the Spectruesaloë
Malleable I designed your mind
To enjoy by phase both flesh and rind
Transcend carnality even? More to follow
Steal not the reveal, lest there be sorrow
My sympathies to your craveknow prurience
But glory awaits through patient prudence

Theo withdrew. A fathomgap gnawed
This etiquette seemed unjustly flawed
the grip of desire grasping at her
her proper nature lapsing from her

As Delightee dithered to continue course
there synchro-croaked some voices coarse
An ambiphian hopped to Delightee’s view
alongside leapt an amphilavant too

The smaller was the former, decked iridescent
The latter dwarfed the first, colour-reticent
Cousins and enemies relationally
But biology had détente’d full enmity

Gloated the runty one: Praise Theo!
Though my stature should otherwise make me prey
To the voracity of your loathsome appetite
My venomous technicolor keeps your mouth at bay
Your girth I mock with absent fright

Moaned the obese one: For shame, Theo!
This skin by which you’ve dressed my arch-kin
permits his pestuous speech most malarkan
Reveal his caveat colors feckless
and I will have a vengeful breakfast

Intermit our ribbits, who’s this we intrude upon?
My word, we’ve bespoilt this maiden’s meditation
Excuse the vitrol we’ve exuded on
t'have wrenched you into consternation

Replied Delightee:
Nay, your quarrel is not cause to my unnerve
Another matter aggrieves my ponder:
Might one seize revelation with cognizance unperturbed
shuck mystery but retain wonder?

The question animated quaint debate
of abstract chatter that carried late
Through dusk the discourse tarried on
and stole away the sine qua non
defence of the ambiphian’s iridescence
undissembling his poison essence
‘T’was a façade!’ his adversary mused
rational faculties soured from memories abused
by his damnable cousin, and by gut reaction
he swallowed his adversary as satisfaction

Delightee aghast: What had he done?
Was it not mutually assured destruction?
Certain the amphilavant would croak
She marked time til toxic deathstroke

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006




Grimey Drawer

Edit: Posted the first crit without thinking.

RandomPauI fucked around with this message at 06:54 on Mar 2, 2020

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



Sitting Here posted:

Music is visible as well as audible in your story.


It Isn’t Well

They were late, and there were no places available to park. Mark had the idea to park on the roof of the church, which seemed to work except that getting down afterwards might be tricky. “We’ll just lower it in through the roof afterwards,” said Habakkuk, “like in that bit in that book.”

“The Bible?”

“Is that what it’s called?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

There were also not many seats left. There were exactly two, in fact. Well strictly speaking, all the seats were available, because people were standing to sing, but on previous occasions when they’d sat in a seat that someone was standing in front of, there had been some unpleasantness, and the military had had to be called in, and you can only call the military in three or four times before they get sick of your shenanigans and ask you to seriously knock it off, OK. “Hey,” said Habakkuk, “can I not sit on the end seat?”

“You made us late with your whole armed robbery thing you had going on,” said Mark. “Besides, I wanna sit next to Constance.”

“It wasn’t meant to be an armed robbery,” said Habakkuk, but he allowed Mark to squeeze in first, and took the seat next to him. This meant he was standing right behind Abraham, which was less than ideal during the singing bits.

Abraham’s singing was big and loud and colourful and majestic, but whereas most people sang kind of forward or at a downward angle or maybe, if they felt moved, at a slight angle upwards, Abraham sang with his face tilted either completely vertically, or sometimes even a little bit behind him, and it was hard to see past his notes.

“I don’t know this song well enough to be behind Captain Upsinger,” said Habakkuk.

“Oh, come on, you can see around his notes kinda.”

“I’m gonna say something.”

“Please don’t.”

But Habakkuk tapped Abraham on the face to get his attention. “Excuse me.”

Abraham stopped singing and tilted back so that he was eye to eye with Habakkuk. “Can this wait until after we’re done praising the Lord?”

“Well that’s the thing, see,” said Habakkuk. “Do you think you could maybe sing towards the bow, rather than aloft or aft?”

“I’m not really fluent in nautical,” said Abraham.

“Um,” said Habakkuk. “I can’t really see over your singing when you’re facing that way.”

“I’m just making a joyful noise, friend,” said Abraham.

“Well, could you direct your joy maybe forward or off to the side or even downwards or something?”

“I’ll try,” said Abraham, “but sometimes the spirit just moves me.”

And true to his word, Abraham sung more towards the front of the church. However, the next song was It Is Well, and that is we in the biz describe as a ‘banger’, and before long Abraham was kneeling in a very joyful pose, face pointed towards the heavens, in a state of holy bliss, singing up in a big column, obscuring Habakkuk’s vision. “This is absolute bollocks,” said Habakkuk, and went down the back to grab a beer.

Three hours later the hymns were over and Habakkuk had finished his beer, so he came back and sat down. “Hey,” said Mark, “wanted you to be the first to know. Constance and I just got engaged.”

“What, just then?”

“Yeah,” said Mark.

“Congratulations!” said Habakkuk.

“Shh!” said Abraham, for the sermon had begun.

Faith was giving the sermon on 2 Samuel 17, and was doing a really good job of it, drawing hooting and hollering from some of the more enthusiastic members of the congregation. “Dang,” said Mark, “no one sermons quite like Faith. She’s the best in the biz.”

Habakkuk shrugged. “Is Faith sermoning? I hadn’t noticed.”

Mark rolled his eyes. “Come on. You’re allowed to notice she’s the sermoner.”

“I don’t know if I am,” said Habakkuk, “because the last time I noticed something you were all like ‘Ooooh, Habakkuk wants to tell a foreign ruler that Faith is actually his sister,’ for like three minutes straight.”

“I never did,” said Mark, but Habakkuk fished into his back pocket and produced the video evidence that, in fact, Mark had said that, and many other things besides. “All right,” said Mark, “maybe I did say that, although in my defense, you do totally want to work for seven years to be duped by her father into marrying her older sister.”

“No I don’t,” said Habakkuk, “why would anyone want that?”

“OK look,” said Mark, “it’s hard to make some of these biblical disses work, OK?”

The people around them started standing up. “Oh,” said Constance, “back to singing, are we?”

It wasn’t long into the seventh song of the session before Abraham was singing right back into Habakkuk’s face. “You know what,” said Habakkuk, “this is just not gonna work, I’m going blind here.”

He slipped out of the aisle, walked twelve aisles over and seventeen rows forward to where Faith was, and recommenced singing. “Oh, hi Habakkuk,” said Faith.

“Hi,” said Habakkuk, trying to be totally nonchalant.

“What brings you this far down the front?”

“Can I get a lift home?” asked Habakkuk. “Mark parked on the roof again.”

“Sure,” said Faith, “but I can’t drive you home until tomorrow, since today’s the sabbath and all.”

“Fair enough,” said Habakkuk, “I’m in no rush.”

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



896 words btw

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went submissions are closed.

arbitraryfairy
Feb 13, 2019



Captain/Fairy LakeBrawl
The Lake at the Bottom of the Ocean

792 words


It is the nature of nightmares that I cannot defeat yours for you, as much as I wish I were able. All I can do is show you the way. Listen closely, and I will tell you how to get to the lake at the bottom of the ocean.

Like most successful journeys, this one starts with preparation. You need a gift from someone who hates you, or some other token that reminds you of the real world, but not in a way that is pleasant: in the world of nightmares the pleasant can be all too unreachable. We must bind our shame and anxiety and disdain to use as an anchor, so take this token and hold it tight.

Once you have prepared, you may begin the journey. Prop yourself up with pillows facing a door. Close your eyes and hum a tune you can’t quite remember. Wait for the gap between sleep and wake, where strange images play unbidden against your eyelids but are not yet quite dreams. Stand up. Keep your eyes closed. Open the door you are facing, and launch yourself through it. Only now can you open your eyes.

I can’t tell you exactly where you will find yourself. Sometimes it is a field where everything grows sideways, or a city with ten-way streets, or a birthday party you didn’t know you remembered. It does not matter. You need to find the ocean, before the nightmares know you’re here.

Perhaps you will be lucky and find yourself already at the seaside. If not, you must listen for the trickle of water, and follow it. All water leads to the ocean. Follow the creek, the taps and the pipes, the rain, the trickle from a spilled drink. Follow it with your feet, and in flight, follow it to sizes bigger or smaller than your waking self. Follow it, until you reach the ocean. Follow it to the ocean and throw yourself into the water.

There are many cracks in the ocean, many beasts and old teachers and forgotten poems and unwritten stories. Most of them can’t hurt you. Many of them will try. You must not think too hard on breath, or you will find yourself suffocating. You must not think too hard of how far you have to go, or you will never get to your destination. You must swim.

You must keep swimming to deeper and deeper parts of the ocean. This does not necessarily mean you must swim lower, towards the ocean floor. You need to swim deeper, towards the dark patches and the chill, towards where the ocean wraps itself around you and there are shadows you cannot quite make out cast by light sources that never reveal themselves.

If you keep swimming, and you don’t fall through the cracks or choke yourself awake, you will reach the lake. The lake is full of possibility. Nightmares are born here. But so are the tools to fight them. Grip your token tightly, and be certain of your path. Before the lake, you can escape unscathed, even if the nightmares get you. You cannot leave the lake without being changed in some way.

Plunge into the lake, and sink, and fall, and fly. The nightmares will know you're here now, but they can only traverse the lake as fast as you can. The hunt is on.

You will not know what you're looking for in the lake, but you will know when you find it. Do not fret too much about what you are looking for: in the lake hope is your oxygen, and the more you worry, the faster it burns.

You will be challenged, but you can prevail. I cannot tell you what your challenges may be, but you can prevail. We are not gods. Even in the lake at the bottom of the ocean, we cannot make a rock we cannot lift.

You can succeed. That does not mean you will succeed. The nightmares will hound you, your hope will desert you, and danger lurks at every turn.

When everything is over, you will find yourself back on your pillows, facing the door. Your hand will ache where it clutches your token. You will not remember what happened in the lake. But you will know if you succeeded. You will feel the weapon you found, you will know it intimately, even though you will never be able to describe what it is.

You will know if you failed. There will be a wound in a part of you that doesn’t quite exist. It will ache. But all is not lost forever. In the furrow of your wound a seed may be planted, and as you knit yourself back together, the seed will grow.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



Captain/Fairy LakeBrawl
The Lake at the Bottom of the Ocean

1288 words

There’s a lake at the bottom of the ocean. I know it’s there. I’ve seen it. Not many people ever find themselves on a boat in the middle of the Ross Sea, and of those that do, even fewer will know about the lake. I think that’s probably for the best.

It was a pretty standard oceanography expedition. I was on the bathymetrics team, working to develop a more accurate and detailed map of the depths of the ocean floor. I’d always loved the ocean as a kid. I used to dream about floating deep under water, hovering just off the seabed, submerged in the peaceful blue silence. So nobody was surprised when I got a degree in marine geology and then found a comfortable science job. The Tangaroa had been at sea for almost a month, and we were on our way back to port. The views were pretty spectacular, but at the end of a trip even the most breathtaking sub-antarctic vistas can get a little… samey. So everyone had to find something to break the monotony—my team was running the fathometer and gathering a big slice of data about the seabed that we sailed over as the Tangaroa carried us all home. I know, that probably doesn’t sound all that exciting, but we were a bunch of data geeks, and this kind of thing was our bread and butter.

Around mid-morning, Harrison noticed something weird. He called me over, and told me to check out the readings. The average depth of the Ross Sea is about 500 meters. Sometimes it’s deeper than that, sometimes it’s more shallow, but it’s generally pretty consistent. The fathometer was telling us that the area we were over was more like triple that. We weren’t near any already-recorded basins, so this was an unexpected bonus.

We asked the captain if we could stop and take some more detailed measurements. He grumbled, but we were ahead of schedule, and if this turned out to be something big, he’d be glad we stopped. Together, we reviewed the data from the last couple of kilometres. It was definitely showing a downward trend. Nobody was sure how this basin, or whatever it was, had gone unnoticed—it was an isolated spot, sure, but hardly un-travelled. It was decided that the best thing to do would be to send down a camera first.

The video team didn’t take much convincing. They got one of the cameras ready and launched it into the water. As it descended, we gathered around a screen to watch the camera feed. Movies would have you think that all live video involved in underwater science is grainy and distorted, but in reality it’s just like watching TV. The camera sank lower and lower. 500 metres. 750. 1000. 1500. 2000. The video on the screen started to dim as it got deeper, but it was still easy to make out. There, at the bottom of the ocean, was a lake.

I know that sounds insane, but it’s the only way to describe it - a vast stretch of water, sitting on the seabed. Still, glassy water, reflecting the light that I knew couldn’t penetrate to that depth. At least, it looked like water on the screen. But given that everything down there was water, there’s no way that’s what it actually was. The camera winch had reached its full extent, so we couldn’t get any further down. But even from a bit of a distance, I could tell that this wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen before. Everyone worth their salt knows about those underwater brine pools that’ll kill you if you ever touch them and get named lurid things like the ‘hot tub of despair’, but I’d seen them before and this didn’t look like anything like that.

The rest of the bathymetrics team started getting excited. This was the kind of discovery that you could make a career off the back of. Maybe not particularly interesting to your average person on the street, but it’s the sort of thing that would mean you’d never have to buy your own drink at a conference ever again. We tried to measure the depth of the lake with the tight-beam fathometer but it had started going funny. The readings we got back told us that the lake was simultaneously 500 meters down, 10,000 meters down, or “depth not found”. The general theory was that it had something to do with the properties of whatever liquid the lake consisted of. So we rigged up a bundle of sensors and attached them to the end of the deep ocean winch—good up to 10,000 meters. We figured that’d be enough. Now, I know it’s not the 1800s anymore, but every good ocean research ship has a giant winch. Sometimes analogue is the way to go, after all. The sensor bundle would reach the seabed and then, hopefully, keep descending until it hit the lakebed.

We tossed it over the side, and it started spooling out. We watched on the screen as it sank lazily past the camera. Everyone seemed to let out a collectively-held breath as the camera watched the sensor bundle disappear beneath the lake’s surface. As it passed through, it seemed to be enveloped by the lake. No ripples or splashes—it was just gone. But it was still sending readings, so we kept unwinding the cable, down into that impossible lake.

The cable unwound to its full length with a clang. The deepest point of the ocean, that we know of, is the Mariana Trench. At its deepest, it’s 10,984 meters deep. At that sort of depth, no known multicellular organism can survive. The pressure is phenomenal and I had begun to worry that our sensor bundle wouldn’t be able to take it. I wondered if, had there been another 985 meters of cable, it would have reached the seabed. I suspected it wouldn’t. I wasn’t sure if I wanted myself to be right or not.

Then the cable started jerking rhythmically. Tug. Tug. Tug. At first I wasn’t sure what was happening, but then it struck me. Before I could voice my concerns, the camera cut out. I stared, eyes darting between the static-filled screen and the cable for a moment, before I realised what I had to do. There was a toolbox nearby. I grabbed some wire-cutters and a heavy wrench. Before anyone could stop me, I had sliced through both cables and had started to bash up the winch mechanisms while screaming that we had to go, we had to go right now, or everyone on board was going to die. I think they thought I was threatening them. It didn’t matter. As my colleagues tackled me to the ground and wrestled the tools out of my hands, I felt the ship shudder as her engines roared to life. I spent most of the rest of the trip sedated, dreaming about floating deep under water, hovering just off the seabed, submerged in the oppressive blue silence, as a pair of pale, long fingered hands climbed a cable that wasn’t quite long enough.

Once we made it ashore, I lost my job. Apparently the organisation doesn’t look too kindly on the destruction of official equipment, or on threatening the captain with violence. They said I was lucky that they weren’t prosecuting me. Can’t say I blame them really. I don’t mind, though. Once I’ve sold my flat I’m moving to America—one of the landlocked states. I just don’t feel safe in New Zealand anymore. The furthest inland point is only 120 kilometres from the beach. And that’s not nearly far enough.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




:sparkles: Nonsense Week Results :sparkles:

I said in discord that I could feel it in my bones that I was going to love every single story this week; and I do. I really do. I love all of them, like ugly babies that only a mother could love. I am delighted by their existence, especially the ones that rhyme and even the ones that don’t make any sense, not even a little bit, or are just plain boring.

I don’t think I realised when I chose this prompt what a difficult and interesting writing challenge nonsense stories would be, so hats off to Fumblemouse for thinking of it in the first place. Several of you failed to engage with the essence of a nonsense story, and wrote magical realism instead, and a few went so far the other way that their nonsense became incomprehensible. Others got distracted by thinking up wacky details, and forgot that they needed to write interesting stories and characters as well.

At the bottom of the heap this week and earning the loss is Azza Bamboo’s “He Wears Me Out”. While we admired the fact that you’d gone all out with this one, none of us could follow what this story was about, and all of us found the rhyming distracting.

Saucy_Rodent gets a DM for writing the most boring story of the week.

HMs go to Carl Killer Miller and flerp, for stories that weren’t quite nonsense but were drat good anyway, and Antivehicular, for some delightful nonsense that still delivered a satisfying story.

And your winner by unanimous decision is FUMBLEMOUSE. Your nonsense poem was a delight, and succeeded where most others this week failed in that it hit the prompt spot on while also delivering a coherent story with a great setting and interesting characters.

Dramatic readings of the winning and losing stories will be forthcoming in the next few days.

Arise, Sir Mouse, and ascend the throne.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Nonsense week crits


I Did It Because I'm Richer Than You by Mercedes

Lol what. I liked the progression of lead engineers, the sudden segue into her reality-bending machine, and somehow the diarrhea joke works.

What I didn’t like is that Kelly Miller isn’t a terribly interesting character to spend time with. She’s just rich, and then she lets off fireworks in space, but this feels a little bit, so what?

Is this nonsense? I think it might just be a bit silly.

6/10


He Wears Me Out by Azza Bamboo

What.

Ok, we’ve got a sea of meat, molecules, someone going to church but their hands are guns and the preacher wants to cut them off, and there’s butter everywhere, and the person is a ginger cat, and/or meat, or god’s a ginger cat, I can’t quite tell, but maybe the person is actually a shirt?

I’m afraid I think this tipped over from being nonsense into nonsensical, and while it was quite a ride, it was more confusing than enjoyable. The rhyming didn’t help, as it kept throwing me off rather than giving the prose rhythm.

5/10


The Marine’s Wager by Saucy_Rodent

Someone swapping crazy adventure stories with a galaxy is a great premise, as is getting shot out of a submarine torpedo tube, but this story is more chit chat than nonsense. This dialogue makes both speakers sound bored, like they’re just killing time, and I am, accordingly, also bored. The ending, where they’re talking about currency, is particularly bland.

5/10


How the Pope is Chosen by flerp

Ah man this is an intense mixture of silly and dark. The cardinals are weirdly scary and the baby laughing the whole way through is hella creepy. The bit I found a bit lacking was the parent’s reaction - their emotional state (frightened, grief-stricken?) didn’t come through clearly for me. At the end, for example, they just seem to be worried about the Pope/baby being connected with them.

7/10


Chaos Fishermen by Fumblemouse

I love this. It’s nonsense yet it makes sense. The rhymes all work. THE HERRING for some reason. And then he threatens to shoot god and saves the day, hoorah. The imagery is great and of all the stories this week, this is the one that stuck most in my mind.

I would absolutely read more about the chaos sea, its capricious butterfly god and the chaos fishermen that sail its waters on bricks and deckchairs.

8.5/10


Video Catacomb Restorer by Sitting Here

This a story about someone whose grief for their late grandfather is eased by the discovery that he is inhabiting a recording of an old talk show. The ending is sweet, and the story is competently written.

Is it nonsense? No. It’s just run of the mill magical realism. You succeeded in writing a good story, but failed the challenge set by the prompt.

6/10


Suspended in History and Water by Thranguy

This is definitely nonsense. We end up somewhere completely different to where we start, meandering through a series of unrelated subplots, including a delightful gelatin incident, and we get to say the word “monoceros” a lot, which I am very happy about.

Unfortunately, while this was entertaining, I think it falls a little flat. I think it would have worked better if the nonsense had escalated, rather than being evenly paced, so that, as the reader, you start off expecting one thing, feel your expectations get confounded, then you get abandoned at wtf station, with no idea of how you got there but delighted nonetheless. This story was more like a train ride through several wtf stations, so it lacked a sense of final payoff.

7/10


Worth by Carl Killer Miller

This is very good and bittersweet. Is it nonsense? It certainly has nonsensical elements, like the fact that Theodore is growing too big for the house as he gets older, but the story itself is more magical realism than nonsense, I think. But dang it’s good. The poem at the end was a lovely touch.

8/10


Valerie and Vacuums by Antivehicular

This is nonsense and delightful. Someone goes to get their vacuum cleaner fixed, but inside it is just an infinite recursion of vacuum cleaners, and the shop’s a vacuum cleaner, with an actual vacuum, and all the employees get sucked in, including her, and now she works there, but that’s much better than her old life, so hooray, and don’t mention the sewing machines!

The only bit I didn’t like about this was the descriptions of Valerie’s life. Her job and flatmates are very ordinary; I think it would have balanced the story better if they’d been bad in a more bonkers way.

8/10


Age of Incandescence by M. Propagandalf

Ok wow yes this is definitely nonsense. Let’s see, so, erm, there’s Theo Treeo, and he’s a god made of metal (?), but he doesn’t have a mouth (?), so he creates Delightee, but she’s not allowed to eat the fruit of the Veiled Tree, or, she’s allowed to eat it, but is not allowed to look at its iridescence? Anyway, she’s unhappy about this, but then an ambiphian (small, shiny) and an amphilavant (large, dull) come along. The ambiphian is happy because he looks toxic and can’t be eaten. The amphilavant thinks the ambiphian’s appearance is just a facade and wants to eat him anyway. They hang out chatting with Delightee until it gets dark, at which point the ambiphian’s iridescence can no longer be seen, so the amphilavant eats him. Then Delightee waits for the amphilavant to die.

I admire the gusto with which you approached this prompt. But, this was too hard to follow, and some of the rhyming sounds pretty forced. Ending with one of the characters waiting to die kinda messed up the tone.

5.5/10


It Isn’t Well by Chairchucker

This is a pretty bizarre outing to church, but unfortunately not a very interesting one. We’ve got lots of weird details, like parking on the roof and someone twisting their face around backwards, and the visible music is well done, but none of it really leads to anything. Someone gets engaged, and then someone else asks for a ride home, but they can’t leave until tomorrow, but that’s ok, the end.

Is it nonsense? Not really. It’s just a bit strange.

5.5/10

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Tough but fair judgery. Thank you for the crits.

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


well, you've done your worst, I have the loving avatar now. I have no reason to worry any more.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Azza Bamboo posted:

well, you've done your worst, I have the loving avatar now. I have no reason to worry any more.

When you win a week, someone will buy you a new one.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Doctor Rope

Azza Bamboo posted:

well, you've done your worst, I have the loving avatar now. I have no reason to worry any more.

You can only grow more powerful from here.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




What is this a loving cuddle-fest?

:siren: Interprompt: I didn't do my worst, you did your worst :siren:

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

PROMPT - WEEK 396 - TIME IS BROKEN

Hello Thunderdome. How we doing? Check out this throne! Such velvety plushness. And a cupholder, now? Nice!

It's been a crazy week, yeah? Crazy year, really! Which is about how long its been since I entered. And now I've won, by literally writing a load of nonsense. Well, blinkety bloo!

To celebrate my much and greatly anticipated return, this week we will...

What?

Fumblemouse.

Fumble. Mouse.

F. U. M. B-

Oh forget it. To celebrate my quite long time away, this week you will be writing a story with a noticeable time break in it. It could be nanoseconds, it could be millennia. There could be a lot of them, but there must be at least one. Chronological order is not required.

If you want a flash rule, sing out, but I'll probably just give you a period of time, so if you want to risk "Three Onions Later", be my guest.

Word Limit: 1000
Signup By: 9:59pm PST Friday
Enter By: 9:59 PST Sunday


Judges
Fumblemouse
TBA
TBA

Chrononauts
Sitting Here (The gestation period of an elephant)
Thranguy (One 'tick' of a dandelion clock)
Anomalous Amalgam (Recorded human history thus far)
Saucy_Rodent (One. Million. Years.)
Azza Bamboo :toxx:
Carl Killer Miller (The time between the opening and the finishing of two bottles of wine. )
Crimea (Nine lifetimes OR one cat lifetime. )
Schneider Heim
Arbitrary Fairy (The time it takes to read a really good novel. )
Black Griffon (31 years, 1 hour, 46 minutes and 40 seconds = 1 billion seconds)
SlipUp
QuoProQuid
A friendly penguin

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at 04:09 on Mar 9, 2020

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


In flash

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






in flash

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018


In

also :toxx: just because I'm going to write this drat story.

Azza Bamboo fucked around with this message at 22:34 on Mar 2, 2020

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Doctor Rope

In flash :toxx: for two back to back fails.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




In hopes that he'll stop his incredibly insufferable bullshit griping and just write, here are crits on Azza's last 4 stories.

He Wears Me Out

Oh, I've definitely read this before. It's what happens when an otherwise decent progressive/math rock band adds a vocalist because he owns the van. For more information, please see late-period Mars Volta (although even that is compelling in its own way).

You start what could be an attractive narrative arc here. The device of a person's prayers differing from their confessions is interesting. I read this story a few times and I think I understand the story, which isn't necessarily a good thing. The winning story this week had a solid arc AND worked in a bunch of nonsense. Your story had what I think is a decent arc BUT worked in a bunch of nonsense. It reads like every now and then you have an idea for a cool-sounding phrase and jam is sideways into your story.

It sucks, but sometimes no matter how cool something sounds or how well it reads in isolation, if it doesn't add to the narrative you have to kill your darling.

The rhyming here is doing you no favors at all. I'm a little baffled by it. You have the bones of a nonsense story without it and a muddled mess with it. I'm guessing that it's either

A: You wanted to try something fun and botched the execution in a major way (Cute and worthy of some appreciation)

or

B: You saw that the judge mentioned that they liked a poem story and wanted to do a poem story too (insane and a little scary)

Have you ever heard of the idea that you should write with authenticity? Write with emotions you feel, not emotions you think your characters feel. You know what sadness feels like, now write about your sadness.

Untitled (why?) Interprompt (the one about a giant robot spider)

I love learning new words. I've never heard of 'heras fencing' and from what I can tell it turns out that you just botched the capitalization and grammar. Thanks a lot, geez.

I'm noticing a pattern in your stories. You use your descriptive words wantonly (not the dumplings) and they stick out like a sore thumb.

Example: 'Solid oak garden furniture'

If you see detail and it doesn't contribute to setting-building (I thought 'immaculate beach' and 'sparkling mist' are fine) GET RID OF IT.

You end the story on a really terrible punchline about this being the internet. I have seen joke-endings work prescisely zero times as they usually deflate your narrative and turn it into a balloon farting around the room until it shrinks away.

Last thing, here. This one's the most important, I think. Your grammar and sentence structure are inexcusably loose here. If that's because this is an interprompt and 'counts for nothing', I urge you to remember that none of this counts for anything. If you're writing solely to win TD, be prepared to lose, lose often, and be widely mocked for your weird sense of priorities.

Pressure On Our Pals

I'm going to start by telling you that I mean this first criticism in the most tender way possible, because it hurt the poo poo out of me the first time I heard it about one of my pieces:

This is painfully, terribly unfunny.

I know humor is subjective, but I feel like there's still a certain bar to laughter. An example:

Objectively funny: a guy running to get to the bathroom in time pulls down his pants while still a good few feet from the toilet. He does not make it and begins spraying diarrhea. he slips in his own diarrhea and falls, knocking himself out. As he lies there unconscious, he begins urinating on himself.

Objectively unfunny: Overly wordy story about a man buying a cake shaped as a cross, the entire purpose of which is to describe the cake in the last line as 'sacredelicious'. First, it's a stolen Simpsons joke. Second, the entire story is in the service of the punchline instead of carrying comedic beats throughout.

The poo poo puns are tired, the dialogue is insufferable. The story is told in a conversational style which is not particularly consistent, nor is it charming.

You already know how I feel about punchline endings.

And Then I Got Sticky

Oh boy. 2000 words. Here we go.

Ok, ok, creating some decent setting here. I mean, I watch the movie Sphere every time it's on network TV.

A bunch of my crits for the above stories hold true here, so let's try and break some new ground.

It's fun being descriptive and writing prose. The danger here is beating your audience over the head with detail. For example:

"The crowd turn to each other, beginning a multitude of clashing conversations. Their cacophony roars, reverberating from the rock walls."

That second sentence is completely unnecessary. I know what a multitude of clashing conversations sound like and hey, it turns out that it's something like a roaring cacophony. If you want to double up on descriptive words like this, make sure that there's a payoff coming, that your repetition means something. Let's see what we have:

"“I have a plan,” I say, silencing most of the crowd."

Nope. Now, if that roar had led to the walls coming down, that would be something, because your details have assisted in your execution. See what I mean?

Descriptive stuff I didn't enjoy:

"as my face scowls"
"His eyes are squinting through his dirtied sweat."
"with the calm of a friend talking in the dying moments of the night of a sleepover." (what? I mean seriously, what? This has nothing to do with the imagery you've created so far)
"Waves of shock bounce up and down my chest."

I don't think you addressed the prompt well. The romance in here is absolutely jammed in at the end and has nothing to do with the rest of the narrative. You had a sort of setup for a horror story, but it was lost.

Last note, your characters should have a purpose. Why were there three separate characters (Bill, Darren, and Terrence) who all spoke with the same voice and said essentially the same things? You could save yourself some words and earn some coherence by trimming that fat way down.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




In flash

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

(Added Word limit and entries time to prompt post)


Flashes:

Sitting Here: The gestation period of an elephant
Thranguy: One 'tick' of a dandelion clock
Anomalous Amalgam: Recorded human history thus far
Saucy_Rodent: One. Million. Years.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




In, flash please

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006




Grimey Drawer

Mercedes posted:

I Did It Because I'm Richer Than You
Word Count: 898
Prompt: Someone's drawing crop circles... on the Moon?!

This comes close to being a nonsense story. The story establishes that Kelly is a woman who is capricious and wealthy, that she follows her own internal logic for what is and isn't appropriate. But it could be improved if Kelly's motivation was established in the first scene instead of the second. This could be done by turning the second scene with Doug into the first scene.

The scene with Pablo could come next. It shows that Kelly does what she wants, spending her money on exotic Robotech instead of saving humanity. She doesn't care about her employees or their titles. She just wants to impress people with just how much wealth she has at her disposal. It would also imply that Doug from the first scene might not have been an engineer in the first place.

The third scene would be the one with Horst, who would obviously be tired of this poo poo. He has a proper title and a proper name. He demands respect, tries to talk sense into Kelly, and when that fails he quits.

You could even combine the scenes with Horst and Cameron at the end. Horst is done with Kelly. He just wants to enjoy his vacation/weekend/whatever. Then the night sky is lit up with Kelly's monstrous display of wealth.

One neat thing to do might be using dollar amounts as scene breaks instead of just $$$. That would show the passage of time in a way that doesn't actually indicate how much time had passed. Or even if the reader was reading an earlier scene or a later scene!

Azza Bamboo posted:

He Wears Me Out
Word Count: 900

There's a lot of small details that could work for a nonsense story. A tiny church that people seem to have to lube themselves to get into. Or people being born with inanimate objects embedded in them. A person sliding into a river full of waste food products. But this reads like an unreliable narrator’s internal stream of conscious thinking. To the point that I kept reading the story as a series of metaphors instead of a literal description of events.

I think one problem is with a lack of a shared reality to the piece. This might be improved by changing the story from the first person to the third person.

Changing the opening lines could help too. You could open with a description of the Neon Cross. And maybe give the first two lines to the priest as he leads the service. It would still read like one unstable person talking to another unstable person, but at least they would seem to share the same perception of reality.

By the end, the story feels a bit like word salad. The narrator found salvation with what could be described as a quantum cat, and then he blasts away at it? Or he becomes it's disciple, spreading the word with bullets from his handguns?

I'm sorry I just have a hard time following it.

Saucy_Rodent posted:

The Marine’s Wager
Word Count: 706

This is a solid start for a nonsense story, but right now this reads more like a dark comedy or a satire.

Having the Milky Way share its story first could help. Right now the story gets colored by the horrors of war near the start. Milky's response is certainly grander, but it also feels less personally meaningful compared to human suffering. And there are already good odds that Milky was just using this as a pretext to share that it was going to make millions of new stars for people just on a whim.

The Vietnam part will still be a jolt, but going from upbeat to downbeat feels less jarring than going from downbeat to upbeat. At the same time, I think it will make the contrast feel starker.

I would have appreciated more details about the scene itself too. Is the marine talking to the cosmos in his head, or laying down outside and talking to the stars, or talking to the personification of the Milky Way?

The 5 bucks joke could be improved by Milky asking if the marine wanted bucks dollars or bucks skins. People don't know what the planet Zilgaflax looks like. But people can imagine buckskins. And they can come up with their own mental pictures of just how Milky would be carrying the skins in the first place.

flerp posted:

How the Pope is Chosen
Word Count: 782 words
Prompt: An actual baby needs to have an appointment of great significance like a president, monarch, religious icon, etc.

This is a solid premise. But the first-person narrative makes this read like a horrifying story.

Adding more humor to the piece would take the edge off of "my child is being taken away from me forever" vibes. And shifting to a third person narrative would let a reader read it in a way that's a bit more detached.

There's also ambiguity about if the child actually is changing or if the mother imagines the child changing. Having the child explicitly change in form to look more like a pope would clarify things.

The behavior of the cardinals also doesn't match the gravity of the situation: this could be played up more. Like the Catholic Church recruiting for the St. Louis Cardinals. Playing it straight might work better too, like the portrayal of the clergy in Monty Python. Having different kinds of cardinals could play well too.

The ending line is painful and tragic and a solid warning. It doesn't work for the theme, but it works for the story.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Carl Killer Miller posted:

In, flash please

The time between the opening and the finishing of two bottles of wine.

crimea
Nov 16, 2012


In flash.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

crimea posted:

In flash.

Nine lifetimes OR one cat lifetime.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




CKM vs sneaksbrawl
Judge: Sebmojo
Prompt: A story on "kicking against the pricks"


Blown Veined
680 words

Matt tried to accept the shirtless, trembling man sweating through his sofa and the man's girlfriend holding a boxcutter. Holly nudged the blade. She was yelling.

"Where's the poo poo, Matt?"

He was careful not to enunciate too much, for fear that the edge might jostle the wrong way.

"Look, I think it's in the bedroom. I can go look for it-"

Holly cut him off.

"You're not looking for poo poo! I want it, now!"

Junkie logic. Neither of them moved. On the sofa, Arin groaned and rolled over, flopping hard on the floor. Holly reached to him with her free hand, then focused back on Matt.

"What was in that poo poo you sold him?"

Matt looked down. Arin was kicking bad, drenched and writhing. He'd seen plenty of fiends kick before, their brains desperately trying to fix links long since snapped. What was going on here, though, that was-

Arin burst into a frenzied cough, spattering the carpet with long yellow strands that bubbled and hissed before leaving the thick shag rug with streaks of char. He began to stagger to his feet and collapsed back to the ground.

Holly backed off from the smoking spittle. She turned her boxcutter to Arin and looked to Matt. There was a different fear in her eyes. Arin spoke to both. His voice was even, almost normal but for a ragged edge.

"Holly, give me a hand here. It hurts."

Arin clutched his chest. His skin rippled and dimpled as if pricked by a million dull needles, tenting him all over but not breaking through.

Matt thought fast. He could get to the bathroom, shut himself up inside and wait it out, leave Holly to Arin and the pricks. It'd be safe. It'd be easy. But this wasn't her fault.

He turned to Holly and whispered.

"Follow me. The bathroom."

Holly looked back at Arin for a half-second. Her man was on his feet now, his skin microcratered and xanthous. She fled with Matt into the bathroom. They slammed the door and locked it just as Arin threw his body against it, baying like a wounded wolf. The particle board shuddered but held.

They backed to opposite walls. Holly held the boxcutter aloft, drawing an invisible line to Matt's throat. Her breaths grew deeper and slowed. The bathroom was silent, punctuated by Arin thrashing outside. Matt looked at the ceiling.

"I'm sorry."

Holly maintained her noiseless trance. The tip of the boxcutter made tiny circles in the air.

"You gave Arin the pricks? Why, Matt?"

They heard a wail from the living room. The mirror trembled. Matt put his hand on the porcelain tub. It was getting hot.

"Look, Holly. He owed me money. A lot of money. He told me I could let it go or get let go. I...I was scared."

Holly sighed. Her hands were still.

"He told me you owed him, Matt. We were coming over here to collect when he started kicking." She sniffed. "I'm such a loving idiot. He even said 'honestly' before he told me."

Matt ruminated. No more honest junk anymore. Rolling the dice on the pricks changed all that.

"I shouldn't have done it. I wanted out."

Holly forced a weak smile. "Easier when it was boring old dope, huh?"

They heard a dissonant fizzing as Arin's veins ruptured, all cordlike and sclerosed. Matt knew what came next.

"Holly, you've got to do something for me."

She didn't move, didn't speak.

"We're going through the door. I want you to run."

She shook her head. Not through some Stockholm syndrome loyalty, Matt realized. Just fear. Paralytic. He swallowed hard. If she wouldn't, he'd have to take the choice away.

Matt took the syringe from an inside pocket. The last of his poison stash, last melt of the pricks.

He took a deep breath and jammed the needle into his neck. Hot shot. Quick down. The pricks would come for him.

Holly recoiled, then sank back in as she understood. She passed the boxcutter over.

Matt brandished it and shouldered through the door. Holly ran.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016







CKM vs sneaks brawl
Direct Intervention
700 words

Rhys sat in the bus stop, bathed in the late afternoon glow of the petrol station fire. He reeked of Unleaded ‘91 and had a wild look in his eyes.

Rhys had often sat opposite that petrol station. Some days he registered its existence, others it was lost in the swirling morass of mortgage payments, nutritionists, and child care.

When they moved into the neighbourhood, it had been a garden centre. Not a bustling one that people would know by name, but one he took the children to to buy birdseed for the feeder. One you could reliably pop into for some local gossip and planting tips.

It pissed Rhys off, that in 2020 a locally-owned-and-operated gardening shop — complete with rows and rows of lush trees and bushes looking for a home — would become a self-serve, cut-price, fossil fuel distribution site. It pissed Rhys off enough that a smothered, muzzled voice deep within had started to rumble.

It was a voice from before parent-teacher interviews, before matching brown shoes to brown belts. It screamed blunt poetry of anti-establishment West Coast punk rock, lungs crushed against a stage rail. It clawed its way free through long-buried images of Rhys yelling spittle-flecked truth to power across a police line, arm-in-arm with safety pins, patches and bleach-green hair.

Month by month, Rhys’s studded leather passenger punched his way forward through the walls of the cerebral chokepoints that Rhys had built in the interceding years, kicking down whole sections so that narrow thought funnels spewed wide.

That day, in front of the petrol station, the passenger had become his co-pilot. It wasn’t a voice at the back of his head, it roared. It spat hot idealism, raging at the world and fueled by two decades of inaction.

It’s loving bullshit, the planet’s in a nosedive and they pull this poo poo?

“Yeah, I’ve got no idea how the Council let that consent thr -”

The wha.. No, listen, gently caress the Council, man. They’re not the problem. The problem is these loving fossil fuel capitalists pushing us to pump more of the poo poo that’s killing the planet. The problem is loving you, Rhys - you and all the other loving sheep who -

“Dude, I’ve got kids, I’ve got bills. I’ll protest but I’m not.. I can’t fight this stuff.

I didn’t say anything about protesting, I’m talking about direct loving intervention.

Rhys, alone on the footpath, had started pacing. He vibrated with a nervous energy that felt familiar - but pushed it down to where it needed to sit beneath his ironed business shirt and -

“Mate, can you move?”

He looked up, distracted suddenly from his metaphorical wrestling match with a younger, angrier version of himself. In that moment, younger Rhys got his kicks in.

“gently caress no, buddy!” Rhys yelled, and hawked up a wad of phlegm, letting it loose at the buttoned down man in the Landcruiser. Rhys saw shock ripple across the tubby man’s face and gave the bumper a solid kick.

“Station’s closed! WOOOOO!”

Rhys ripped his shirt off and wrapped it around the end of a windscreen cleaner, pawing in his pocket for the lighter he kept for the one clove cigarette he allowed himself a week. He put it tow his shirt and orange flame caressed and then devoured the delicate, evenly spaced fabric flowers.

And then he saw it, shining red like a beacon amidst the fleeing crowd of customers. There, next to a 1995 Toyota Caldina with a busted tail light was a beautiful, just dropped, red plastic petrol can, wobbling gently as its contents resettled.

Sitting there at the bus stop,he couldn’t remember how he’d set the fire. He remembered seeing the can, and he remembered the shockwave and the bassy boom that hit him in the back as he ran clear of the chaos he’d bodged together.

He stood up from the bench as the sirens came, and strode back across the road. He was smiling now, the gentle, confident smile of a man in love. A man at peace. He planted his feet, heat rippling the air around him, ready to greet the cops with two middle fingers.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Carl Killer Miller posted:

CKM vs sneaksbrawl
Judge: Sebmojo
Prompt: A story on "kicking against the pricks"


Blown Veined
680 words

Matt tried to accept the shirtless, trembling man sweating through his sofa and the man's girlfriend holding a boxcutter. Holly nudged the blade. She was yelling. this is a really confusing first sentence, for a number of reasons - 'tried to accept' is a weak verb, the positioning is weird to visualise (is the the trembling man lying on the sofa?) is holly the gf? nudged is a weird way of describing whatever she's doing (jiggling it? waving it? brandishing it?)

"Where's the poo poo, Matt?"

He was careful not to enunciate too much, for fear that the edge might jostle the wrong way.

"Look, I think it's in the bedroom. I can go look for it-"

Holly cut him off.

"You're not looking for poo poo! I want it, now!"

Junkie logic. Neither of them moved. On the sofa, Arin groaned and rolled over, flopping hard on the floor. neither of them moved until one of them moved Holly reached to him with her free hand, then focused weak verb back on Matt.

"What was in that poo poo you sold him?" so she wants the poo poo but it was bad poo poo so why does she want more poo poo work with me here

Matt looked down. Arin was kicking bad, drenched and writhing. I like this phrase He'd seen plenty of fiends “KNOW YOUR DOPE FIEND. YOUR LIFE MAY DEPEND ON IT! You will not be able to see his eyes because of the Tea-Shades, but his knuckles will be white from inner tension and his pants will be crusted with semen from constantly jacking off when he can't find a rape victim. He will stagger and babble when questioned. He will not respect your badge. The Dope Fiend fears nothing. He will attack, for no reason, with every weapon at his command-including yours. BEWARE. kick before, their brains desperately trying to fix links long since snapped. this one too What was going on here, though, that was-

Arin burst into a frenzied cough, spattering the carpet with long yellow strands that bubbled and hissed before leaving the thick shag rug with streaks of char. He began to stagger to his feet and collapsed back to the ground. clumsy blocking he's lying on the ground, there are a lot of specific actions that would be more interesting than 'began to stagger to his feet'

Holly backed off from the smoking spittle. She turned her boxcutter to Arin and looked to Matt. There was a different fear in her eyes. Arin spoke to both. His voice was even, almost normal but for a ragged edge.

"Holly, give me a hand here. It hurts."

Arin clutched his chest. His skin rippled and dimpled as if pricked by a million dull needles, tenting him all over but not breaking through. this is good and creepy

Matt thought fast. He could get to the bathroom, shut himself up inside and wait it out, leave Holly to Arin and the pricks. It'd be safe. It'd be easy. But this wasn't her fault.

He turned to Holly and whispered.

"Follow me. The bathroom."

Holly looked back at Arin for a half-second. Her man was on his feet now, his skin microcratered and xanthous. i have declined to google this word, sir, and have determined that it probably means 'icky' She fled with Matt into the bathroom. They slammed the door and locked it just as Arin threw his body against it, baying like a wounded wolf. The particle board shuddered but held.

They backed to opposite walls. Holly held the boxcutter aloft, drawing an invisible line to Matt's throat. Her breaths grew deeper and slowed. The bathroom was silent, punctuated by Arin thrashing outside. Matt looked at the ceiling.

"I'm sorry."

Holly maintained her noiseless trance. The tip of the boxcutter made tiny circles in the air.

"You gave Arin the pricks? Why, Matt?"

They heard a wail from the living room. The mirror trembled. Matt put his hand on the porcelain tub. It was getting hot.

"Look, Holly. He owed me money. A lot of money. He told me I could let it go or get let go. I...I was scared."

Holly sighed. Her hands were still.

"He told me you owed him, Matt. We were coming over here to collect i thought she wanted the poo poo not the bread when he started kicking." She sniffed. "I'm such a loving idiot. He even said 'honestly' before he told me."

Matt ruminated. No more honest junk anymore. Rolling the dice on the pricks changed all that.

"I shouldn't have done it. I wanted out."

Holly forced a weak smile. "Easier when it was boring old dope, huh?"

They heard a dissonant fizzing as Arin's veins ruptured, all cordlike and sclerosed. Matt knew what came next.

"Holly, you've got to do something for me."

She didn't move, didn't speak.

"We're going through the door. I want you to run."

She shook her head. Not through some Stockholm syndrome loyalty, Matt realized. Just fear. Paralytic. He swallowed hard. If she wouldn't, he'd have to take the choice away.

Matt took the syringe from an inside pocket. The last of his poison stash, last melt of the pricks.

He took a deep breath and jammed the needle into his neck. Hot shot. Quick down. The pricks would come for him. i'm baffled by this decision - why is he killing himself to save the life maybe of some rando junkie's gf, like it's very kind of him but it doesn't seem justified in the story

Holly recoiled, then sank back in as she understood. She passed the boxcutter over. what

Matt brandished it and shouldered through the door. Holly ran. um ok

So this is, idk, a drug warriors fever dream about explicitly murderous (and not even regular murder, horror murder) junk being sold for vague druggy reasons to and by poorly characterised randos, that ends with nearly everyone dying, because, well. Not a fan of the premise or the execution (sic). Coudl have improved it by having some more coherent relationships in there, and maybe some motivation for the protag? idk. Couple of nice phrases.



steeltoedsneakers posted:

CKM vs sneaks brawl
Direct Intervention
700 words

Rhys sat in the bus stop, bathed in the late afternoon glow of the petrol station fire. He reeked of Unleaded ‘91 and had a wild look in his eyes. so you took the rewrite opportunity to put the end at the beginning (iirc), and I'm not sure how I' feel about it, let's see.

Rhys had often sat opposite that petrol station. Some days he registered its existence, others it was lost in the swirling morass of mortgage payments, nutritionists, and child care. eh, you make this point better later, cut

When they moved into the neighbourhood, it had been a garden centre. Not a bustling one that people would know by name, but one he took the children to to buy birdseed for the feeder. One you could reliably adverb check fail pop into for some local gossip and planting tips.

It pissed Rhys off past tense, that in 2020 present a locally-owned-and-operated gardening shop — complete with rows and rows of lush trees and bushes looking for a home — would become subjunctive future a self-serve, cut-price, fossil fuel distribution site. your tenses are bunged up here - when is the pissing off taking place? you haven't placed the change from garden centre to petrol station in time It pissed Rhys off enough that a smothered, muzzled voice deep within had started to rumble. see here we go from past to perfect past, when is this happening?

It was a voice from before parent-teacher interviews, before matching brown shoes to brown belts. It screamed blunt poetry i don't like blunt poetry here, it's sort of twee of anti-establishment West Coast punk rock, lungs crushed against a stage rail. It clawed its way free through long-buried images of Rhys yelling spittle-flecked truth to power across a police line, arm-in-arm with safety pins, patches and bleach-green hair.

Month by month, Rhys’s studded leather passenger punched his way forward through the walls of the cerebral chokepoints that Rhys had built in the interceding years, kicking down whole sections so that narrow thought funnels spewed wide.

That day, in front of the petrol station, the passenger had become his co-pilot. It wasn’t a voice at the back of his head, it roared. It spat hot idealism, raging at the world and fueled by two decades of inaction.

It’s loving bullshit, the planet’s in a nosedive and they pull this poo poo?

“Yeah, I’ve got no idea how the Council let that consent thr -”

The wha.. No, listen, gently caress the Council, man. They’re not the problem. The problem is these loving fossil fuel capitalists pushing us to pump more of the poo poo that’s killing the planet. The problem is loving you, Rhys - you and all the other loving sheep who -

“Dude, I’ve got kids, I’ve got bills. I’ll protest but I’m not.. I can’t fight this stuff.

I didn’t say anything about protesting, I’m talking about direct loving intervention.

Rhys, alone on the footpath, had started pacing. He vibrated with a nervous energy that felt familiar - but pushed it down to where it needed to sit beneath his ironed business shirt and -

“Mate, can you move?”

He looked up, distracted suddenly from his metaphorical wrestling match with a younger, angrier version of himself can just let the reader make this connection wrt the thing you've just described happening in detail. In that moment, younger Rhys got his kicks in.

“gently caress no, buddy!” Rhys yelled, and hawked up a wad of phlegm, letting it loose at the buttoned down man in the Landcruiser. Rhys saw shock ripple across the tubby man’s face and gave the bumper a solid kick.

“Station’s closed! WOOOOO!”

Rhys ripped his shirt off and wrapped it around the end of a windscreen cleaner, pawing in his pocket for the lighter he kept for the one clove cigarette he allowed himself a week. He put it tow tsk his shirt and orange flame caressed and then devoured the delicate, evenly spaced fabric flowers.

And then he saw it, shining red like a beacon amidst the fleeing crowd of customers. vague There, next to a 1995 Toyota Caldina judge pandering, like it, i prefer the 2007 though with a busted tail light was a beautiful, just dropped, red plastic petrol can, wobbling gently as its contents resettled. good observationals

Sitting there at the bus stop,he couldn’t remember this is literally the center of the story why would you handwave it how he’d set the fire. He remembered seeing the can, and he remembered the shockwave and the bassy boom that hit him in the back as he ran clear of the chaos he’d bodged together.

He stood up from the bench as the sirens came, and strode back across the road. He was smiling now, the gentle, confident smile of a man in love. this is a nice image, but i'm not sure you justify it A man at peace. He planted his feet, heat rippling the air around him, ready to greet the cops with two middle fingers. this is a good ending

Yeah, so this is ok if not great, it's a fun image but you clot it up terrible with flashbacks and flash forwards and subjunctive would-have beens, when you could have got better mileage out of playing it straight and maybe personifying the petrol station more through a character or even describing how terrible it was.

Neither of these were good, though they both had a certain energy. As CKM subbed late, sneaks gets to win a tie, but I think that isn't needed - his felt more like a story where a decision is made as a result of character, for all the execution was flawed. Steeltoedsneakers wins

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:30 on Mar 4, 2020

arbitraryfairy
Feb 13, 2019



In, flash please

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006




Grimey Drawer

Fumblemouse posted:

Chaos Fishermen
Wordcount: 620

I wanted the poem to be a bit more surreal, but I can't think of any way to accomplish that other than a few minor word changes (e.g., from "tides of chaos" to "tides of Bedlam") and creative illustrations or a dramatic reading. Maybe a watercolor version and an adult coloring book version?

Edit: I loved the poem. I forgot to copy/paste that part but I'm too lazy to try to remember exactly what I wrote.

Sitting Here posted:

Video Catacomb Restorer
Wordcount: 900
Prompt: Your story takes place in one of those TV/VCR repair stores, the kind that has seemingly been open for decades but has no apparent customers.

This story had a nice, "Amazing Stories" vibe to it. It wasn't really a nonsense story, and I can't think of any way that it could become one without a major rewrite.

The grandson's surprise at his grandfather being on the tape fits, but his exclamation feels off. Why would he know that his grandfather was never on the TV show? This could be an opportunity to add a few more details though. Maybe grandpa's tape was of the Johnny Carson show, and the donor shell comes from a show that didn't air until after his Grandpa died. The Tonight Show with Colbert, or Jimmy Fallon, or someone else. That detail might work best with a screenplay, though.

I really think it would sell if it were turned into a spec script.

Thranguy posted:

Suspended in History and Water
Wordcount: 899

There are some good ideas in this, it could work well as a digression attached to a nonsense story. But I felt less like I was reading a story and more like I was being taken on a tour of a campus while blindfolded.

First off, the beginning, middle, and end only had threadbare ties. And it went too over the top too quickly.

This could still work if it were done as a mockumentary short with still images. Or if the dialogue was preceded by one actual scene putting things into context (Guide leading a tour group, a student at a bar explaining the history of booze in the area, etc.). Another option would be to expand on the labor strife in the middle, cutting out the dueling part and the parts about the college.

Either way, I think you should revisit this as a part of a longer piece. There's the framework for a very good digression here.

RandomPauI fucked around with this message at 06:35 on Mar 5, 2020

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


In.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




sebmojo posted:

Neither of these were good, though they both had a certain energy. As CKM subbed late, sneaks gets to win a tie, but I think that isn't needed - his felt more like a story where a decision is made as a result of character, for all the execution was flawed. Steeltoedsneakers wins

Thanks for the crit Seb!

Grats on the win, STS

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Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Doctor Rope

Carl Killer Miller posted:

Thanks for the crit Seb!

Grats on the win, STS

Spotting your bruised and battered corpse, I thought to come pick your bones clean. Yet, you still breath... care to dance?

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