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Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Busy weekend, early entry


995 words

A wasp walks into a nectar chamber. The other wasps gathering around the pool of nectar turn their heads as she walks in; she’s dragging a larva beneath her.

“Can I have some?” she asks in an outlander’s accent.

“You ain’t from Plum-Tree, are ya?” growls the biggest of the five native wasps.

“Please, I am passing through for food and a night’s shelter. I mean no trouble here.”

The native wasps start to walk toward her.

“Is that a Garden-Shed accent? I thought Garden-Shed was destroyed by the humans’ poison bombs.”

“It was,” says the traveler. “And maybe if one of you Plum-Tree fools hadn’t stung a human, they wouldn’t be waging war on every nest in Lawn.”

“We ain’t in Lawn, are we?” says the biggest Plum-Tree wasp. “The humans ain’t gonna venture out so far as Meadow to hunt wasps.” She eyes the larva tucked beneath the newcomer. “Say, what kind of responsible wasp brings a kid into a nectar chamber?”

“Just let ‘er drink,” says the littlest native wasp. The biggest wasp steps aside and let’s the traveler in.

“You know, I’m surprised that Garden-Shed fell so easily,” says the littlest. You always heard stories of Bzzzt, Lawn’s greatest warrior, guardian of Garden-Shed. But not even she could hold back the humans. Did you know her, stranger?”

The traveler swallows a mouthful of nectar. “Yeah, I knew her.”

“Say, what kind of larva is that?” barks the biggest.

“Just a drone,” says the traveler. “Last drone of Garden-Shed.”

“Beetleshit,” says the biggest. “No drone is still a larva this close to winter. There’s only one kind of wasp that is.”

Every Plum-Tree wasp is looking attentively at the newcomer.

“You know, Queen Rzzzd would give a whole caterpillar to whoever brought her the last Garden-Shed queen larva.”

There’s a moment of stillness, then the Plum-Tree wasps pounce at the newcomer. She pushes the larva to the corner of the chamber and—





Four Plum-Tree wasps lie dead in the nectar. Only the biggest survived, for she had not attacked the newcomer. Instead, she had flown for the larva during the fight.

“So the stories are true, then, Bzzzt. You really are the fastest stinger in Lawn,” says the Plum-Tree survivor, holding the squirming larva in her legs. “Too bad not even you can keep me from handing your precious princess over to the queen!”

“That’s not my princess,” says Bzzzt. “That’s my queen. Let her go and you might live long enough to die by frost.”

The survivor smiles cruelly as dozens of wasps from the adjacent chambers swarm into the nectar room.


“All hail Rzzzd, Queen of the Almighty Plum-Tree Nest!” proclaims the Royal Herald. The queen sprawls luxuriously on the Plum-Paper Throne with the screaming, wriggling larva in her lap. Her most elite soldiers line the walls and ceiling of her royal chamber. Two soldiers drag Bzzzt into the throne room.

“Aah, so this is the great Bzzzt, hero of Garden-Shed,” says Rzzzd dryly. “Been here all of a sunset and you’ve murdered four good wasps.”

Bzzzt stays silent.

“Let me let you in on a secret,” says Rzzzd. “When Plum-Tree joined the Ten-Nest Alliance, we didn’t realize that meant the other nine nests would feel entitled to eat of our plums, to delight in our treasures. So I ordered that human stung so that they would turn their rage on Stone-Wall and Sandbox and Ground-is-Wood and Garden-Shed. I knew Meadow would be safe, but that the scum-wasps of Lawn would be purged.

“Come Spring, my larvae will have nests of their own. There will be no Plum-Tree Nest, only a Plum-Tree Empire, ruling over both Meadow and Lawn, and there will be no Lawn-Wasps left to stop me.”

The queen looks down at the poor larva.

“I could raise this one as my own. Make her a Plum-Tree Vassal Queen. But she would grow resentful, maybe rebellious. Do you have any last words for your queen, Bzzzt?”

Bzzzt continues to look at the floor. “You’ve never seen a thousand larvae drowning in a sea of poison. Your friends and comrades try to flee, but their wings are too heavy with toxin. Horrors beyond any wasp’s imagination. If you had seen what happened at Garden-Shed, maybe even you wouldn’t be so heartless as to gloat about it.

“Give the child back to me, and I will let my revenge go unsatisfied. Then you can found your great empire. But bring your stinger any closer to my queen, and your people will pray they had suffered the humans’ poison in the stead of the doom I will bring upon them.”

The queen starts to laugh, but before the first chortle has left her thorax, the two guards restraining Bzzzt are already dead by her legendary stinger.

“Kill her!” Queen Rzzzd commands, and a hundred elite Plum-Tree soldiers swarm at Bzzzt. Seconds later, Bzzzt is climbing out of the pile of their corpses.

“Drop...the...child,” Bzzzt snarls at Rzzzd. Rzzzd is alone now, no more a queen than any other sniveling bug. She lets the larva go, and it wriggles across the floor to its guardian.

“Please, I’m sorry, you can go, you can go, just spare Plum-Tree,” Rzzzd stammers.

Bzzzt pins Rzzzd against her flimsy paper chair. “You don’t have long to live, Plum-Queen, so listen close. Your children, the founders of your empire, will know what happened when a Garden-Shed wasp came to Plum-Tree. Come Spring, your people will have your empire across all of Lawn and Meadow, and my queen will have but a single nest. But it will be your people, as many as the stars, who will live in fear.”

Bzzzt embeds her stinger in Rzzzd’s abdomen. Rzzzd emits a pathetic final buzz and perishes.

Bzzzt collects her charge, the Queen and final hope of Garden-Shed, and flies from the nest.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

1449 words

This planet, the first of what we’ve come to call the Deadstar system, is colder and darker than the abyss of space. I know this from experience. The cold here bleeds into our heavy spacesuits as we leave the Frobisher to collect bathwater with the fire-drill.

Kane says he’s seeing things moving under the ice. By now, half the crew sees weird poo poo moving around the constant darkness. It’s more fun to imagine we’re being stalked by monsters than to face the truth; that we’ve been marooned on the coldest, darkest planet in the galaxy for over a year now with dwindling food, desperately hoping some passing freighter will pick up our S.O.S, like any other crew would be foolish enough to route through Deadstar.

“This sun’s been out for a million years, kid,” I tell Kane. “If there ever was anything living in this ocean, it’s as dead as everything else in this God-forsaken system.”

“I’m not crazy,” says Kane. “I saw what I saw.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy,” I say. “Just bored.”

My breath is fogging up the inside of my helmet. I huddle closer to the fire-drill for warmth.

“You think we’re going to starve here?” says Kane.

I laugh. “I would’ve starved on Earth sooner without this gig. I tended bar by Lake Michigan. Obviously, nobody wanted to come to Chicago after AGGGHHH!”

Something as cold as the air tugs at my foot. I look down at what looks like a black claw, both gooey and spiky.

“What are you waiting for?” I shout. “Get it off me!”

Kane rushes toward the drill and redirects its beam at the creature’s wrist. There’s a cavernous scream from beneath the ice and the thing releases me. I fall forward and start crawling away from the drill.

“Don’t you dare tell me you told me so,” I growl as I find my footing.

“What was that thing?” says Kane, and he is answered when the beast leaps out from the ice. In the thin light of the fire-drill, I don’t get a very long look, and what I do see doesn’t make much sense. We’re running back toward the ship by the time it’s fully emerged.

Kane hits the switch to open the airlock. The gate slowly begins to open.

“gently caress gently caress gently caress hurry up!” I say. The creature’s slobbering gets closer. We slip in as soon as the opening to wide enough to take us. I slam the Close Door button as soon as we’re inside, but it shuts even slower than it opens. Before it can close, five tentacle-claws are prying it open. Kane reaches towards the switch to open the inner door but I swat his hands away.

“You open that door before the airlock is closed, there’s no more heat anywhere inside, and every crewman becomes a statue.”

“What are we supposed to do?” Kane yells. “Wait for that thing to get inside?”

I pick up the airlock’s transmitter. “Hey, do we have any guns that didn’t get taken by the pirates?”

“Just my pistol, why?” comes the voice of the Frobisher’s captain, Fraser.

“Bring that pistol down to the airlock, stat!” I bark and drop the transmitter. The thing’s in the airlock by now, and the outer door is closing again. I can’t tell how many limbs or mouths it has, just that they’re reaching and pulling and drooling and gnashing. I try to push back against them, but new mouths keep opening everywhere I think of resisting. One of its appendages is wrapped around my waist and it’s dragging me towards one of the mouths in what you could call a torso. The fleshy chasm opens wider than you’d ever think possible, and the inside of its mouth is bigger than the beast itself and filled with teeth.

Then the inner door snaps open very quickly and there’s shooting. The monster screams its deep scream and drops me. I flee into the ship, Kane right behind me. Fraser shuts the door. We see the creature writhe in the airlock. For a moment, it looks like it has a shell, like some ancient decapod. The next, I’m not so sure.

Kane is shaken, as I am, but it looks like he has all his limbs. Most of the crew is in the entry with Fraser. Somewhere, there’s a TV playing some fifty-year old Flintakkian sitcom whose transmission managed to find its way to Deadstar.

“Why is that thing alive?” Fraser growls.

“I suppose it didn’t die when the sun did,” I respond. “It just froze, and being hit with our fire-drill for a year was enough to start it back up again.”

“And it’s hungry after sitting around for how many million years,” says Fraser. “Well, I’m out of bullets, so let’s hope it stays in the airlock.”

It does not stay in the airlock. The monster bursts through the inner door. It evidently is less interested in Kane and I in our heavy spacesuits than it is in our crewmates with their exposed flesh. I watch the mess of elbowed tentacles and wriggly claws and morphing mouths. There are human feet flying around the room, piles of clean-licked bones lining the walls of the chamber, Captain Fraser’s eyeless head breaking the screen playing the alien sitcom.

Kane grabs my arm. “What are you waiting for?” His spacesuit is covered in blood. Maybe mine is, too. He drags me away, and I’m running with him, at least my feet are.

“Where are we?” I say when I can see clearly again.

“Food stores,” says Kane. “Heaviest door on the ship. Thicker than the outer lining, probably.”

“It can’t break through the gate?” I say.

“I can’t say for sure, but I’d be surprised,” says Kane.

“We can stay here for years,” I say, looking around at the piles of canned food all around and water jugs all around. If the whole crew were around, they’d be good for just a few months, but there’s plenty for just two.

“You think we’re gonna stay here?” Kane scoffs. “We can live the rest of our lives in this room, scared but mostly bored, waiting for a rescue that will never come, or we can go out fighting. We die either way, but only one option has any dignity.”

“How can we possibly fight that thing?” I say. “Look what it did to the crew.”

“We freeze it again,” says Kane. “We open the outer airlock door.”

“You do that, and it becomes so cold throughout the ship that our life support systems malfunction.”

“Yeah, we die, but we die fighting a monster. Real space adventure poo poo.”

The thoughts of Earth I’ve been burying flood my mind. Pretty people on the Chicago beaches. The family recipe for fried chicken and collared greens. Summer under a big yellow sun.

“gently caress it,” I say. “Let’s slay a loving dragon.”

“Hell yeah, Singh!” yells Kane as he hits the switch for the door. We run out into the entry, where the creature seems to be playing with our crewmates’ bones. An eye appears where there was no eyelid and it darts around and roars with every gaping mouth it has.

“I’ll distract it!” yells Kane. “Just get to the door!”

I charge toward the broken airlock. As I reach toward the switch to open the outer door, I feel the beast’s arm grab me again. It pulls itself towards me. I know if I turn around, I’ll see those constellations of teeth.

Whatever, I tell myself. It’s just another way to die.

I reach out and hit the switch.

The warm air from the Frobisher blasts out the gate like a hurricane. I manage to grab onto the side of the gate as the mighty wind is expelled from the ship. Kane gets thrown so far there’s no telling what happens to him, and the dragon is vomited from the ship’s belly, releasing me. I turn my head and see it hit the beam of the fire-drill head-on. I can’t make out a whole lot through the darkness except a lot of black blood. It’s dead.

I scream in joy as I walk back into the ship. My spacesuit’s warmth will give me another hour of life, tops, but I did it. I slayed a dragon.

The transmitter from Captain Fraser’s headless body starts beeping. Looks like someone finally got our S.O.S. I suppress any panic that had we waited in the food stores, we would have been rescued. No, it was all worth it. I just wish I could smoke a cigarette with this helmet on.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Interprompt: summer themed period drama


Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Fash in

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

836 words

He’s running in a way that you gotta know something’s up. Night is too near for him to be running late to anything anyone would be upset about him being late to, and he’s not dressed for such an occasion anyways. It’s obvious he’s not a nighttime jogger. No, he’s clearly running for a weird reason, and the correct thing to do in any polite society is to quote a certain line from the 1994 Robert Zemeckis film Forrest Gump so that he can feel bad about his weird running and so that you can feel good about your own perfectly normal methods of locomotion.

A tall thing grabs him by the back of his shirt. It’s wearing a long hooded cloak of bright yellow plastic, a wide-brimmed yellow hat, hardy yellow garden gloves, and matching yellow boots. It is dressed in a perfectly ordinary outfit for such a thing to be dressed in. It hands the weird runner a post-it note that says in big letters “RUNNING ALL WEIRD.”

Now, if you are handed a Citation by a Raincoated Thing, you are supposed to post it to your forehead for the rest of the day for the benefit of your fellow citizens, then file it away in your records until you receive ten, in which case you must attend Resocialization Camp. But this young, awkward running man pushes the Raincoated Thing aside, says “gently caress off,” then continues running as weird as he was before. All the other folk on the sidewalk have never seen such a bizarre sight, and the only thing they can think to do is say, “Run Forrest, run!” at him, though the sound of a dozen people yelling that quote simultaneously is arguably weirder than the man’s running.

The Raincoated Thing calmly pulls a yellow plastic whistle from one of its many pockets. He blows it, and many more Raincoated Things emerge from the stores and restaurants and fortune-tellers.

The weird man runs into a dance club. He pushes his way through the people dancing in flashing lights. The Raincoated Things file in behind him, and the people keep dancing. There is very little a Raincoated Thing hates more than people not having fun at a place that they’re supposed to be having fun.

The weird man looks around frantically and apparently sees what he’s been looking for, because he darts off towards a staircase. When he’s at the top, he continues to make his way through the crowd until he comes to a young woman.

“Athena!” he shouts. “I’m such an idiot. Breaking up with you was the dumbest thing I ever did.”

She sees the bright yellow cloaks of the Raincoated Things flicker in the strobelights.

“Dear God, Blake, what did you do?” she says. She takes his hand and they flee further into the crowd.

She pulls him into the women’s bathroom, where girls are doing all the normal things they’re expected to do in such a place, like using the toilets, reapplying makeup, and doing cocaine. Athena pulls Blake into a stall.

“Maybe they won’t find you here. What are they chasing you for?” she says.

“Running all weird. Look, I thought we were falling out of love, but we were just...” he starts.

“Falling into the boring routine that comes with intense familiarity?”

“Yes!” says Blake. “And it’s better that we learn how to deal with that than to throw it all away and repeat that cycle over and over.”

“Yes, I agree, I miss you too, but how are we going to escape these Raincoats?”

The stall door is broken open. The Raincoated Thing takes out its whistle and brings it to its hood.

Athena charges the Raincoated Thing and tackles it to the floor. She grabs its whistle and tosses it to Blake. The other women in the bathroom really, really want to look, but fear Citations.

The Raincoated Thing starts unbuttoning its big yellow cloak. It tosses it away, revealing its many, many hidden legs, each ending in another bright yellow rubber boot. It’s arms, each carrying a pair of long scissors, bulge from its fleshy thorax.

“We have been watching you a long time, Blake Halverson,” it snarls. “Always standing against the wall at parties, picking the labels off your beer bottles, wearing a RenFest costume out to just like, a regular bar. You have no place in this world.”

“His place is by me,” says Athena. She grabs the Thing’s wrist and pushes its arm back against its torso. The spiders wriggle out of the hole she punctures, and soon, it’s just a bit of fleshy skin lying in its own raincoat.

Blake and Athena collapse into each other. They’re tired of each other, bored with each other, frustrated with each other, and very much in love. If they manage to get out of this club, they’ll have to hide their love from the Raincoated Things, because love is supposed to look a certain way. They won’t be the only ones.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
I get people being busy, but two weeks have come and gone without crits for animals/roomba week.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
The Legend of Cheaty Steve

After a long night of porkin’ broads who weren’t his girlfriend Tina, Cheaty Steve met with his bros for some brewskies at the local breakfast bar.

“What’s wrong, Cheaty Steve?” asked Bret, seeing his bro’s glum expression. “I thought having sex with many women without your girlfriend’s knowledge or permission was your favorite thing in the whole world.”

“Oh, it is,” said Cheaty Steve. “Cheating on my girlfriend is great, but I’m still hunting that white whale: cheating on my wife.”

“I know,” said Chet. “But I know you’ll find a wife to cheat on one day.”

“Why don’t you just propose to Tina and then cheat on her?” asked Brad, taking a swig of his brewsky.

“I would, but I don’t have a perfect way to reveal I’ve been cheating on her this entire time, thus hurting her feelings to my own amusement,” said Cheaty Steve.

The bros mulled over Cheaty Steve’s predicament, pausing only to give their waitress unsolicited compliments about her tits.

Suddenly, Chad’s face lit up. “I’ve got it!” he exclaimed. “Hear me out. What if you didn’t cheat on your wife?”

Cheaty Steve was so shocked that he sprayed brewsky all over his I <3 INFIDELITY T-shirt. After he regained his composure, he said, “Look, Chad, you are known to be the wisest among us bros, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but you know I’ve wanted to cheat on my wife since I was three.”

“What if instead of having sexual intercourse with other women after your marriage, what if you revealed yourself to be a cheater on the night of your wedding?” said Chad. “She’ll be so humiliated!”

“Hmmm...I like it,” said Cheaty Steve. “But how will I make my infidelious nature known to maximum hilarity?”

“Hey, I’m your best bro, out of all the bros,” said Brent. “I can tell everyone about your cheating ways during my best man speech!”

“Good idea!” said Chent. “And since I’ve been recording this conversation this entire time, as I do with all of our conversations, you can use the recording as proof of your misdeeds!”

“I love it!” said Cheaty Steve. “Then I can reveal that my real name is Cheaty Steve, and not the name I’ve been using with Tina, ‘Mark.’”

With the ultimate plan finally planned, the bros clinked their brewskies and high-fived repeatedly until their palms bled.

Tina lowered her sunglasses from the other end of the breakfast bar. She smiled so hard her fake moustache almost fell off. Her lifelong fetish was finally being sated. She just hoped that Mark would never know.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
That’s 439 words btw

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Hey, AstronautCharlie, brawl me.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In with “ 34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?”

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
14560 Shannon Parkway, Rosemount, MN 55068

668 words

You can smell them now, the -acitates and -iliums, the things with names they made with too many Xs and Ys on purpose so you’d never confuse them for anything real, the things they put in the gym shorts and couch cushions to make them a little shinier, a little stiffer, a little human-er, torn from their colors and textures, hauled by heavy smoke everywhere around, and you’re breathing all of it in. Maybe fifteen minutes ago this was your apartment but now you’re trapped in the bowel of some colossal machine waiting to be ground up and spit out the smokestack, only there is no smokestack, no escape, no light, you’re trapped here with the smoke, and the smoke is trapped here with you. I can grab it, you had told yourself outside. I’ll be safe, you said, but there is no safely entering hell.

Isn’t fire supposed to be bright, a red glow cast by sunny yellow? Isn’t there supposed to crackling, that friendly campfire noise? Where are the sort of kind housefires from Simpsons episodes, toasty as a too-hot shower? Now you know the opposite of light isn’t darkness, but smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, but you can’t see the fire through the smoke. Maybe there is crackling somewhere, but it’s drowned out by the screaming that the wood and drywall make as they perish in the heat, the bursting of glass from lightbulbs and picture frames, the fire alarm’s shrill yell, and the roar of the fire itself, loud but muffled, the call of some terrible subterranean monster. It’s so so loud here, louder than it is hot, hotter than it is dark, darker than it is loud.

You feel your way to the closet, and each pat of the wall is like touching a hot stove. It’s still there, the unadorned box with the zip-lock bag that your mother made you keep because she couldn’t bear the thought of scattering his body and truly losing him forever. Your brother was in a fire too, but only after he’d won the game of rock-paper-scissors at some rural Minnesota dive bar which meant he didn’t have to drive and the bartender let his drunk friend take him out of the bar swinging keys around his finger and you heard a bang outside the house you grew up in and the driver went screaming down the culdesac I killed my best friend! That must have been a nice fire at the crematorium, cleansing the scars from the metal and glass away to nothing, until he was all a spirit, and you imagine even his smoke was lighter than this, more like the dust from a long-lonely attic.

There is so much ash all around, and it probably looks and feels the same as your brother but it isn’t him. He won’t be free if he is scattered here, and all he ever wanted was to be free. Sometimes you had to make yourself believe in the spiritual stuff because thinking of him as cosmically dead was not an option, but there’s no forcing it here, no question that you have to get him out of here. You grab the box and it stings in your hands as you turn around. The apartment is flat, but it feels like you’re climbing, like you’re at the bottom of some well as you make your way out.

How must you look as you’re screaming for help on the sidewalk, entirely black with soot? You won’t remember for long, it’ll be lost when the fentanyl and ketamine kick in. In the coming months, you will ask over and over again what happened, who found out when, how many days it was until they took the respirator out, who dealt with salvaging what remained.

People will ask why you would risk death for someone who had already died. The people who love you will know already know.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Fro question 34

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Losers brawl

through the world

820 words

Chamra hears her own requiem sung by the birds hiding in the dark wood, and the drops of rain are their drum-beat. She had felt cold on her skin before but only now does she feel it in her bones, not as just a thing her mother says but as something real. There is dark everywhere, around her and upon her and within her. Her body, until now, has been hers, but now it belongs to the cold and dark as much as the forest around her. Her quiet sobbing joins the night-bird’s chorus.

Two months ago, she was hiding behind her mother’s bookshelf from a caravan of nuns collecting girls to train to become the Women Who See Through the World. The nuns ignored all the girls lining the streets begging to be chosen and went straight to Chamra. They shoved her mother aside and dragged her, screaming, to their caravan. They left the village just a minute after they arrived, their task completed.

Chamra is darkness. The distinction between her body and the night is less than meaningless, it’s fake. Her skin is no wall or boundary, and she forgets that it’s there. She wanders the wood, feeling the cold everywhere. She looks down at the little girl lying against a tree and watches the rain slide through and off her earthy rags. She follows the water as it seeps into the dirt.

The nuns brought her to the base of the Before Peoples’ tower of metal and crystal and glass where the Women Who See Through the World explore the sacred secrets. In the city of makeshift tents, the nuns told the dozens of collected girls that only one among them would prove worthy of joining the prophetesses above the tower. The rest would be banished, driven into the Hungry Wood.

Chamra is water. She swims into the crevices in the dirt, going down down down. The roots of the grass and the trees are trying to swallow her, but as water, Chamra does not fear being devoured. Water does not die in monsters’ mouths. Chamra wants to do the hungry trees the kindness of giving herself to them, but she knows what she seeks is down, so she continues to seep until she can reach no further.

The girls who immediately said they were having visions were thrown out first, chased by the nuns’ dogs into the wood. After the first few, no one dared to have a vision, so the nuns started casting girls out for not seeing through the world. There were no classes or instruction; the girls were expected to find the visions themselves. They would wander between the tents trading meager rations while the nuns weren’t looking. At night, they would beg for meaningful dreams, and find none. Chamra tried not to be noticed for anything, and always made sure to be the most usual of everyone.

Chamra is air. She had thought of air as the sky above, rising, but air falls too. She falls through the tiniest tunnels, too small for the littlest worms and water-droplets. She stretches her endless body through every crack until she is like the empty roots of the world’s greatest tree, but even now she needs to stretch further.

Two nuns grabbed Chamra as she was trading a handful of foraged maroonberries for a scrap of stolen chocolate. They brought her to the head tent. There, she was told that her usual-ness had been noticed, that not a single girl in the whole camp seemed so unnoticeable, that her ordinariness was extraordinarily. Thus, she would be banished from the camp. Chamra did not beg, as she had seen so many other girls so fruitlessly attempt.

Chamra is earth. She had thought of earth as firm, still, unmoving, but now she is trembling, shaking, dancing. She feels down through herself, and she is released from all pain, for the stones and soil deep beneath the Earth do not ache. She feels a small, faint warmth and follows it deeper.

So Chamra ran, like so many girls before her, away from the dogs and into the wood. It was the end she had feared since she was a little girl, when the dreams started.

Chamra is fire! There is fire beneath the darkness, beneath the air, beneath the water, beneath the earth, always there, always burning, consuming almost nothing. The heart of the world is this golden shining warmth.

Chamra is Chamra. She pulls the fire up through the earth, through the air, through the water, through the darkness, into her body, and her bones stop shaking.

Should she return to the nuns, tell them she has seen through the world, join the mystic priestesshood atop the ancient spire?

She stands and walks, hoping she will have decided by the time she rediscovers the path.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In flash

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
AA, all of your characters are astronauts and one of them is Hitler

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Anti, your story will revolve around a something-ception, a thing inside of the same thing that the first thing is.

Saucy_Rodent fucked around with this message at 00:53 on Feb 29, 2020

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
The Marine’s Wager

706 words

Let’s make a wager. You tell me the craziest, most interesting thing you’ve ever done. I’ll tell you mine. Whoever has the crazier story wins.

You know, I’ll take that bet. Five bucks?

Sounds good to me. You go first.

Well, back in ‘68 I had a job putting Coke bottles into boxes. Then my number came up, they made me take a test, and then they decided I had to be a marine. So they shipped me off to Vietnam…

Hold up. Vietnam is a country on Earth, right?

How often do I have to remind you that most humans keep to Earth?

Oh yeah, right. Sorry. So this whole story takes place on Earth? The whole thing.

I’ve never left Earth, actually. Not once in my life. Anyways, there was a war going on in Vietnam, and they sent me over to fight.

Why was there a war?

Preserving the American way. It would take me all day to explain.

Sorry. Keep going, I’ll shut up.

One time, they put me on a submarine. They gave me a knife and some light gear then put me in the torpedo tube. The tube filled up with water and then--whoop--there I went. I was going through the water at a hundred miles an hour toward the coast. All told, I had to hold my breath for about four minutes.

Why did you have to hold your breath?

Humans can’t breath underwater. We breathe oxygen.

I mean, obviously I know you breathe oxygen, like duh, but water has like, a ton of oxygen. More oxygen than your atmosphere, actually.

I don’t know what to tell you, Milky. I one hundred percent cannot breathe underwater.

I mean, have you tried?

If I could breathe underwater, I would have done it while rocketing through the South China Sea for four minutes.

Okay, whatever, I believe you, I guess, you seem pretty insistent. So what happened when you got to the coast?

I snuck out of the water in the dead of night and knifed seven Viet Cong bastards before any of them knew I was there. Let our boats land without any scouts reporting their command we had arrived. That’s what I got. Now it’s your turn.

So my friend Annie and I you know Annie?

Andromeda? I mean, I’ve heard of her, it’s not like we’ve talked.

Okay, cool. So Annie and I noticed that everyone else was getting further and further away. If it kept going, we were gonna be in a super lonely universe.

Weird. So what’d you do?

Annie and I turned toward each other and decided to just run into each other. If everyone else is going to walk away, we’re just gonna smack into each head-first. Fight the power!

What power?

Dark energy.

Ah. So what happened when you hit each other?

Hasn’t happened yet. That’ll take a hot second.

Honestly I think I win.

Seriously? You won some little war on one planet, I’m doubling the stars in the sky for the people of a million worlds.

We actually lost that war.

Oh. What happened to the American way?

It stayed exactly the same.

So you killed those guys for nothing?

Well, the guys in the boats I allowed to land ended up doing the My Lai Massacre, if that counts for anything.

Still think I win. Give me five bucks.

We didn’t say we were judging by cosmic significance, did we? We said craziest. And if getting launched out of a submarine to end the lives of seven strangers for absolutely nothing isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.

I suppose. I’ll give it to you, but I want you to know it’s a pity win. Do you want US dollars or the money from Planet Zilgaflax, whose also happen to call their money “bucks.” It’s worth more on Zilgaflax.

I don’t think they’ll take that here, just give me a Lincoln.


Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In flash

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
:toxx: to post my story for this week by sunday

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Saucy_Rodent posted:

:toxx: to post my story for this week by sunday

Didn’t finish but I’ll post what I have anyways so I don’t eat the toxx

A Friends of Crows

He arrived at Webster’s Hall, briefcase in hand, seldom-used suit worn and poorly tied tie tied. He came through the Neo-Gothic hall to the conference room, where the Council met.

“So,” said the old man at the head of the table, Hieronymous Webster XIX, wearing the goldest of gold bow ties. “You’re Landon Lyndon London, linguist. You are here to suggest a new word for Webster’s Dictionary, the Dictionary that says what the words are. After a new word is added to our great Dictionary, it becomes part of the vocabulary of humanity. Because that’s how it works.”

“Hmm,” said the man to his left.

“Most indubitably,” said the man to his right.

“Please, Mr. London, begin your demonstration,” said Mr. Webster. “Though there is not much reason for hope. It will take a great of linguistic dexterity to convince us that there is reason for us to add a new to our fine Webster’s Dictionary.”

“Well, I, um…” said Landon, dropping his briefcase on the ground, where it popped open to reveal a great deal of cramped papers. The bowtied men around the room chortled. Landon gathered his papers in humiliation.

“So, you guys know what crows are,” said Landon.

“Yes,” said one of the men in the back of the room, chewing on his unlit cigar. “What hideous, unrefined creatures.”

“Yes,” said another man in the hall while overlooking his game of correspondence chess. “I do hope you’re here to suggest a grosser word for those ugly animals. Perhaps ‘bluh-pukes’ or ‘negroid-birds.’”

“Actually, ‘crow’ is not the word I hope to replace,” said Landon timidly. “I hope to replace the word for a group of crows.”

“Bah, no!” said another man. “‘Murder’ is the perfect word for such an awful gathering, as sure as my name is Professor Brentleyton Chesterpool!”

“I must agree with my colleague, the esteemed Professor Brentleyton Chesterpool,” said Mr. Webster. “Crows, in the parlance of the youngest of the youth, suck. An entire community of them, by Thirstron’s Fourth Law of Enmultiplicification must thereby suck even harder. Such a community deserves no more dignified a categorization than ‘murder.’”

“Hmm,” said the man to his left.

“That can certainly not be dubited,” said the man to his right.

“We shall hear your case,” said Mr. Webster. “Though only because we are all bound by the strict ethical rules for the Dictionarial Hearings of Webster Hall. Please continue your fruitless endeavor.”

Landon looked at his shoes as he talked. “The scientific evidence suggests that crows are highly social animals. We shouldn’t look at a group of them and call them a murder, we should call them...a friends.”

Landon opened his suitcase, which is a thing he had this whole time, and set his “A Friends of Crows” display sign on the oaken table. There was a murmur of satisfaction about the Council.

“I think I speak for all of us when I say that after seeing this cartoon’d image of two crows embracing in what the common-folk would call a ‘hug’ that our opinion of the avian animal of the family corvus has been irrevocably changed,” said Mr. Webster. “That does not mean we don’t have any concerns. If we reclassify a ‘murder’ as a ‘friends,’ how are we to be sure that the commoners will think of ‘friends’ as those united by bonds of affection and not as the nineties-slash-thousands sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and starring an ensemble cast that includes but is not limited to Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt LeBlanc?”

“Indeed, that is troubling,” said a deep-voiced man near the middle of the left side of the table, the only black man on the Council.

“I agree with my colleague Mr. James Earl Jones regarding his assessment of this matter’s troublingness,” said Professor Chesterpool. “Have you considered this matter, Mr. London?”

“I have,” said Landon. “And though there may be some confusion, we should remember that viewership of Friends is high, both in its original run and its current home on streaming platforms. The association is positive.”

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
BREAD ALONE, Chapter One
1050 words

Every lame-rear end youth therapist my parents have sent me to has told me to use protection when I mentioned I was having sex, but Wanda was the first one to actually mean it. When the other therapists said “use protection,” what they meant was “don’t have sex, slut, but my big book of How To Therapize told me not to say it like that.” Wanda, meanwhile, seemed so thoroughly bored by everything I said that her “use protection” meant that she actually didn’t give a poo poo. There was no big speech about the dangers of AIDS and teen pregnancy. Just a tossed-out, obligatory “use protection.” She was the best therapist I’d ever had.

I didn’t need a therapist to listen to my every word and be oh-so-concerned about troubled little Kimberly, bulemic teenaged alcoholic. I needed someone to deeply, sincerely not care about anything I said, thus allowing me the freedom to say it. Then one day she asked the question I’d been dreading.

“How have you been smuggling booze into your bedroom?” she said.

“What?” I said.

“You come home sober, your parents ground you in your bedroom, you’re drunk by the time they check in on you. They search your backpack when you get home from school. So how do you do it?”

“I’m better at hiding it than they are at looking for it,” I said.

“Fair enough. So how have you been doing with eating?”

Know what, gently caress it, I thought.

“I’ve been lying to you about something. Something pretty big.”

“What’s that?” she said, not looking up from the notepad rested on her belly.

“What I’m going to say is going to sound crazy, like I’m crazy, and I need you to believe me.”

“It’s not a good look for a therapist not to believe a patient. What’s up?”

“Before I begin, can you get me a glass of water?”

“You know where the office kitchen is, get it yourself,” said Wanda.

“Please,” I said.

Wanda made a heavy sigh and pulled herself out of her chair. She shuffled out, and returned a few moments later with a cup of water. The cup had a cutesy cartoon unicorn on it, probably for one of the little kids who came here for family therapy. I hadn’t told Wanda that I really liked unicorns and I wondered whether she just knew or whether it was just a random cup. She sat down with the same lazily intense effort with which she had stood.

I breathed in deep. “Four or five years ago, when I was eleven, my parents were taking me to a little Renaissance Festival in Glenwood City, Wisconsin. I liked Renaissance Festivals back then...but as we were driving through the woods, I heard a voice from the forest.”

I gave Wanda a moment to ask what the voice said, but she didn’t.

“The voice told me to get out of the car and run into the forest. And by the time I knew what I was doing the car door was open and my seatbelt was unlocked and my parents were screaming at me, so I closed the door and they started driving back toward the cities, and I didn’t get to go to the Festival.”

“Have you had an episode like that since?” said Wanda.

Tell her no. It’ll be our little secret, said the thing in the woods.

“I haven’t not had an episode,” I said, feeling the first tear start to fall. “Since then, it’s always been talking, always telling me to go back to that forest in Wisconsin, saying mean things about me.”

Dumb bitch, it said. I guess I shouldn’t expect any better from such a cute little whore.

For the first time since I began seeing her, Wanda looked interested. She even looked me in the eye instead of the yellow notepad. “So the issues with food…”

“It’s been telling me not to eat,” I said. “I try, I really do, I’m so, so hungry, but it tells me not to. And when I do eat, it tells me to throw up. I fight it when I can, but it’s always there.”

“And the drinking?”

“It shuts up if I’m drunk or high,” I said. “And it returns when I’m sober.”

Wanda looked down for a moment to compose her thoughts, then set her notepad on the messy desk beside her and looked back at me.

“The symptoms you’re describing might not be as unusual as you might think. Some in my field might call it schizophrenia but I wouldn’t. It’s perfectly natural for someone of your age with your level of creativity to imagine your troubles as an anthropomorphic demon. Do you know what anthropomorphic means?”

“Yes, and that’s not it. It’s real,” I said, letting a bit of anger show. I was close to sobbing.

“Can we just say it isn’t so that I don’t have to write up a consultation for the psychiatrist?” she sighed.

Finally, someone who sees you for the crazy bitch you are.

“I’ve been able to do things since that drive through the woods, like superpowers,” I said. “I can heal people when they’re sick, I can turn a little bit of food into a lot of food. You have to believe me.”

Superpowers? Ha, you’re a hot little piece of gently caress-meat, not good for anything else.

“Seriously?” she breathed. She made a motion with her hands that suggested she was about to pull herself out of her chair. I couldn’t hold my tears in any longer, and they fell on my lap.

“I can walk on water! I can do all sorts of Jesus poo poo!”

She started to stand.

Now you’ve done it. She’s gonna put you in a sanitarium. That’s where you’d belong if you didn’t belong in a whorehouse. How about you run away now and meet me in the woods?

“You wanna see how I smuggle booze into my room?” I sobbed, and threw the contents of my unicorn cup at Wanda’s face.

Wanda was surprisingly chill as it dropped from her nose onto her mouth. She licked her lips and said, “Well drat, if that isn’t the best wine I’ve ever tasted.”

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In unicorn philosophy

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
The Many Amazing Adventures of Beaudacious Glitter the Unicorn: Book Two: Return to Suzie’s Birthday: Chapter Nine: The Revenge of Doctor Darkness

Beau awoke, surrounded by cold and dark. He felt chains around his ankles and a hood over his horn, preventing him from using his sparkle powers. He was scared. All he could think of was Suzie. If Beau didn’t make it back home in time for her birthday party, the party was going to not have any magic or sparkles, and all of Suzie’s friends would want to go to Mean Becky’s party. Beau shuddered at the thought.

He thought he would be back by now after escaping from the circus crooks who had kidnapped him. But Beaudacious Glitter always found trouble. “Why did I eat that birthday cake that was hanging from a tree from a rope?” Beau thought in frustration. “I should have known it was a trap!”

A hideous, familiar cackling came from the shadows. Out came a short man in a black labcoat and black, nerdy glasses. It was Doctor Darkness1!

“Dr. Darkness!” said Beau. “I should have known you were behind this!” He recalled his previous encounters with the evil scientist, when Beau had saved all of the cute boys that Suzie liked at school from Dr. Darkness’s dark clutches2.

“Yes!” cackled Dr. Darkness, cackling. “I knew you were around when I saw the posters for the circus. It was only a matter of time before you fell for my dark trap3!”

“What are you going to do to me?” asked Beau.

“I am going to do what I should have long ago!” Dr. Darkness cried, making a laugh that could be described as a cackle. “I am going to steal your sparkles, then throw those sparkles in the dumpster!” He whipped a tarp off a big, black machine that glowed with tenebrous darkness.

“No!” cried Beau. “That’s unethical, biologically speaking!”

“They don’t call me Dr. Darkness because of ETHICS!” said Dr. Darkness4, gleefully and wickedly chuckling. “They call me Dr. Darkness because I dramatically declared that I was Dr. Darkness immediately upon receiving my PhD in quantum biophysics!”

“But why?” said Beau.

“Because once I have your sparkles, there will be no more unicorn sparkles ever again!” Dr. Darkness shouted with a cackle-like yell5. “And since I’ve covered your horn with my Dark Hood, your Glitter-Magic can’t stop me!”

“That’s where you’re wrong!” said Beau. “As a doctor, I thought you would have done your research. Unicorn magic isn’t just activated with our horns. We can also use...the power of song! FAIRY BACKUP BAND!!!”

Three small fairies leapt down from the heavens. The pink one had a bass guitar. The purple one had a drumset. The unearthly neon blue one had a regular electric guitar.

“A one! A two! A one two three four!” shouted the drummer. The lead guitar fairy played a line that could be described as “ska without brass” but not as “pop-punk.”

I’m Beau-dacious Glitter and I’m going to say
that we’ll rock and roll in a unicorn way!
I’m gonna unicorn dance and unicorn play
so go have a unicorn day!
” sang Beau in a unicorn rock and roll way. Everything started glowing.

“This can’t be happening!” said Dr. Darkness6.

Hey there kids, don’t ya know?
Unicorn magic makes everything glow!
I’m a unicorn and my name is Beau.
And kids, my magic’ll make y’all go WHOA!

The lead guitar fairy played a sick solo.

“No!” screamed Dr. Darkness as his dark machine exploded darkly7. “The power of song is stronger than the power of darkness!”

Unicorn! Unicorn!
Uni-co-orn! U-u-ni-corn!

“No!” said Dr. Darkness, vanishing into sparkles.

The chains around Beau’s ankles broke instantly. He looked onward. “To Suzie,” he said.

1Look, I know some people were upset that the first book’s only “black” character was the bad guy, but just to be clear, Dr. Darkness is ethnically white, his parents were like, I dunno, Norwegian?, he’s black in the same way the Joker is white, he fell in a vat of black goo.

2Hey, it’s not like I said the good guys WEREN’T black, how do you know Suzie’s best friend Capri wasn’t black? Don’t blame me that the illustrator made them all white, maybe Quentin Blake is the real racist.

3It’s been brought up quite a bit online, but I do not see the resemblance between the illustrations of Dr. Darkness and classic minstrel blackface. I think it’s a bit of a reach.

4Quentin Blake may have mentioned me forcing him to make horribly racist illustrations for the first book in his suicide note, but’s that’s just the sort of crazy nonsense a suicidal racist would say, isn’t it?

5Nobody focuses on the fact that Dr. Darkness is a doctor, even if he is black, why doesn’t anyone see Dr. Darkness as a role model for black kids? He overcame oppression and earned a PhD in a white supremacist society. But it doesn’t matter, he’s white, that’s canon.

6I have no idea why every white dad who read the first book suddenly recited “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” upon finishing it, my hands are clean of that. Not that many men of fathering age read the book anyways, they’re really not the target demographic.

7The people calling me racist are the real racists.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In flash me toxx

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica

Dogs piloting spaceships.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
I mentioned this in the discord, but please give me all the flash rules you can, make them all big and stupid as you please, I will incorporate all of them into my story

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
Titanic is PG13 and it has boobs. Just don’t describe any fleshy things going into other fleshy things and you should be ok

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
ROBOCASINO: A Johnny Backflip Adventure

1216 words

Johnny Backflip limped into the throne room, covered in the blood of many of his enemies and some of his friends. The owner of the RoboCasino, Technologus Johnson, clapped slowly.

"Well done, Mr. Backflip. I didn't think you would make it this far. But rest assured, your scheme to steal my prized golden pangolins has come to an end. I will sell them for an enormous fortune to the Republic of Putinchina, and I will be rich enough to control all of RoboVegas and be a dickhead to its people."

"" Johnny growled. "How did you know we were coming?"

"You were betrayed," said Technologus.

"No...but...who?" Johnny stammered. Who in his heist crew could have done such a thing? Could it have been Mandy Breaststoke, who specialized in backflips? Or Kōhō Chūgaeri, who also specialized in backflips? Or Lilith Darklips, who specialized in hacking? Or was it Backflip Jim?

"It was Lilith Darklips, the hacker, she's the only one who hasn't died yet. Like duh it's her," said Technologus. "Well then, let's get it over with." His robot arm opened up menacingly. "With your backflipping leg injured, you will never escape my laser rockets!"

"That wasn't part of the deal!" came a growly voice. An eyepatched figure emerged from the shadow of the pangolin vivarium. "You said I would get to be the one to kill my brother!"

"You are right, Randy," said Technologus, closing his robot arm back into a fist. "Do as you please." He stepped back.

"You betrayed the Backflip family name when you abandoned the sacred tradition and started practicing the perverse art of the frontflip!" shouted Johnny.

"You are a fool to deny the raw power of the frontflip," said Randy. "And now, I will prove it." He charged forward, then jumped into the air to execute a lethal frontflip kick.

Johnny closed his eyes, afraid to face death by the same evil art that his family had spent generations trying to wipe from the Earth. Afraid to be killed by the one he used to call his brother.

Time stood still as Randy's leg rotated toward Johnny's face. Johnny flashed back to the previous night, when he and Mandy Breaststroke had shared a tender, sweaty night. Mandy had whispered "I love you" into his ear as they were entangled. Johnny had whispered back, in a voice as gentle as a soft summer fog, "Your nipples make for some awful good rubbin's."

Then he flashed back to the poker floor, where he saw Mandy's spine devoured in a single bite by one of Technologus' spiderbots, then shat out into the web that entangled Kōhō long enough for him to be ripped apart by laserducks. The only part of her that remained intact was a single nipple, which found itself stuck onto the lever of a retro slot machine.

In Technologus' throne room, an image of Mandy appeared.

"Johnny, you have a power that is stronger than frontflips," said Mandy. "You have the power of friendship. You have the power of love."

As her image vanished, Johnny felt strength in his wounded leg. In a single motion, he leapt upwards, then rotated backwards. His foot collided with Randy's, and the room was filled with a blinding light. When the light subsided, both brothers were standing on their feet in awe.

"I'm sorry, brother," said Randy. "That was the greatest flip I have ever seen. I was wrong to have abandoned the way of the backflip." 

"No, it is I who should be sorry," said Johnny. "All this time I thought backflips were good and frontflips were evil. Maybe it isn't about good and evil. Maybe it's about...balance."

Randy turned toward Technologus. "Mr. Johnson, consider this my resignation."

Technoligus activated his laser-rocket arm.

Johnny chortled. "Not even your science can defeat the combined power of backflips and frontflips, and friendship and love."

Technologus looked around nervously. He knew Johnny was right.

Desperately, he shouted, "Go go explosion vivarium!" The cage exploded, launching the pangolins into Technologus' human arm. He launched a laser-rocket at the exterior wall behind him before jumping out of the building. Randy and Johnny looked over the edge. A hundred floors below, Technologus landed on both feet, which were also bionic. He got into a palanquin carried by two android clones of Usain Bolt.

"We have to get down there!" yelled Randy.

"Leave that to me," said Johnny. "BACKFLIPMOBILE!"

Johnny's bipedal mech tank backflipped a hundred stories to the top of the casino, giving Johnny and Randy just enough time to jump into the cockpit. 

"Catch that palanquin!" shouted Johnny. 

"Catching...palanquin…" said the robotic voice of the Backflipmobile. It gave chase after the robots.

The evil face of Technologus appeared on the Backflipmobile's vidscreen. 

"You ever wonder why I called my casino RoboCasino?" cackled Technologus. "It isn't just because it's staffed by robots. It's also because IT IS A ROBOT!"

The RoboCasino behind them rumbled to life, taking the form of a giant pangolin. It started chasing the Backflipmobile, launching lasers out of its mouth.

"The palanquin's too fast for us to get within backflipping range!" said Johnny. 

"You're right," said Randy. "There's only one kind of flip that can hit the palanquin now. Backflipmobile, activate frontflip attack!"

"Command...not...recognized…" said the Backflipmobile.

"Why isn't it working?" Randy shouted.

A laser from the RoboCasino barely missed the Backflipmobile, luckily obliterating a local small business.

"You'll have to program the frontflip capabilities yourself," said Johnny.

"I'm not going to be able to do that while this RoboCasino is shooting at us!" said Randy.

"Leave that to me," said Johnny. "Leave that to backflips. Activate backflip attack!"

"Doing...sick...backflip…" said the Backflipmobile, launching backwards into the air towards the RoboCasino.

"Enter the frontflip program now!" shouted Johnny as they were both upside down in the Backflipmobile's cockpit. Randy frantically started typing into the Backflipmobile's command console. The Backflipmobile smashed right into the RoboCasino's pangolin face. 

"Ouch," said the RoboCasino. It started to fall backwards.

"If we don't do the frontflip now, we'll never catch that palanquin!" shouted Johnny. "It's now or never!"

Randy dramatically smashed the enter key of the console.


Entire chapters would be written about that frontflip in the history books. It was so elegant, so beautiful, so perfectly executed, that everyone who saw it could only be in awe, even the many, many people who were about to be crushed by the falling RoboCasino. The Flipmobile's foot landed right on Technologus' palanquin. The Campbell's soup that fueled the android Usain Bolts rained over many of RoboVegas' city blocks. Technologus was crushed, as were his golden pangolins, who were also evil, so you shouldn't feel bad about them dying.

As Randy and Johnny Flip climbed out of the Flipmobile, a huge, cheering crowd rushed out to greet them. Many hot ladies embraced Randy.

"Looks like we're getting laid tonight, brother!" said Randy, accepting a cold brewsky from a bosomy babe. Johnny looked toward the sky and again saw Mandy's ghostly image.

" that okay with you?" said Johnny. 

"Uh, no," said Mandy. "I died like fifteen minutes ago."

Johnny turned towards his brother. "Hell yeah we're getting laid tonight."

And they did.

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
In 'er like a sinner, wearin my flash like a sash

Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
rear end GHOST!

980 words

In the dark ancestral crypts of the savage Nuulvek people, a sorcerer lurks. If his people were to ever find out he invaded the sacred caves, he would be ripped bone for bone and scattered across the unsightly plains of Galgooga, never to join his ancestors the glorious Eternal Steakhouse. But his spell requires ghosts, and ghosts haunt only here.

He takes out a scroll, and marks its etchings in the sand by magelight. Then he breathes warm air along the etchings, muttering the word for fire in a long-dead tongue. Then he softly chants the Nuulvek national anthem, which was actually the Sengarr tribal anthem before they were conquered by the Nuulvek who quickly realized their new slaves had a much cooler anthem. Then he lays down an offering to the spirits, a brand new graphing calculator he hopes he spent enough money on. Then he breathes warm air on the etchings again. Then he shouts:

"Ancestors of the Nuulvek, enter into my bones and bring me new strength!"

The bones lining the crypt rattle and spit neon green dust from their eyes, which converge upon the sorcerer and spin around him. The spell has worked.

"Aw man, who pulled me out of the Eternal Steakhouse? I was just about to get my order of all-you-can-eat shoestring potatoes!" says the ghost in the sorcerer's skull. 

"You are here to enhance me intellect, and show me visions of the unknowable," says the sorcerer. "I swear, upon your release, you will receive an honored place in the Eternal Steakhouse, in the seat by the taxidermy doe."

"What about me?" says the ghost in the sorcerer's humerus. "What was I brought out of the Glorious House of Reliably Pretty Good Wings to do?"Crew

"You can make my arms turn into little volcanoes when I flex them, like in a cartoon," says the sorcerer.

"Know what, that's actually pretty sick," says the humerus ghost. "Can I sit in the smoking section, which the Eternal Steakhouse still has, when I am released?"

"I don't see why not," says the sorcerer.

"And what of me? In life, I was High Queen of the Nuulvek, and made many of our great conquests, personally driving the Royal Humvee into battle during Desert Storm. I sit at right at the sacred bar in the Eternal Steakhouse, where it always my birthday, and I am always entitled to a free margarita. How shall I enhance your power as you pave the road to glory in blood?"

"I dunno, what bone do you have?" says the sorceror.

"Let's see, I am housed in your…no. Oh no. No no no no no. Oh no. No no no no."

"Hahaha, sucks to suck," says the skull ghost. "Looks like you're an rear end ghost."

"What, seriously?" says the ribcage ghost. "When I was alive I was shift manager at a Denny's, and I got ribs and the High Queen got the butt? This is amazing."

"I'm sure I can do something cool from the tailbone," says the ancient High Queen. "Tell me, great sorcerer, how shall I assist you?"

"I think you can change the color of my poop," says the sorceror.

"And turn it to poison acid as you launch it across the battlefield?"

"No, just regular poop. If it makes you feel any better I think you can make little designs, like sparkles and stars."

"How dare you! I should be revelling in my holy reward, and you turn me into a common poo poo decorator? You shall face my cursed wrath!"

"Nah, I don't think I will. See, I'm a powerful sorcerer, and you're an rear end ghost. Alright, you guys ready to kick some rear end?"

"Yeah!" shout the ancestral ghosts housed in two hundred five out of the two hundred six bones. The sorcerer starts to ascend the crypt staircase. But in the dark, he trips on one of the steps and falls backwards on his butt.

" rear end...I think my tailbone's broken," moans the sorcerer as the spectral form of the High Queen seeps out of his backside. She stands over him with a deeply displeased expression.

"Uh, ya know, I don't think I need my poop decorated after all. You can get back to your free margaritas," pleads the sorcerer.

"Oh I will," says the queen. "After I have my revenge. ROYAL HUMVEE!" The ghostly form of the Royal Humvee materializes around her.

"What? Humvees can become ghosts? How?" screams the sorcerer.

"The same way our clothes do," I guess, says the queen. She hits the accelerator and charges at the still-seated sorcerer. Desperately, he flexes his biceps, but the tiny volcanoes do nothing against the tough ghost-humvee armor.

The sorcerer opens his eyes and smiles. He can't believe it. He's in the parking lot of the Eternal Steakhouse. Even after all of his horrible crimes against the ancestors, he has obtained the divine reward. He walks into the building.

"A table for one," he says to the hostess, looking around at the bountiful vintage street signs that decorate the Holy Restaurant.

"Sorry, we have a little bit of a wait," says the hostess. "Here, take this, when it vibrates, we'll have a seat open for you."

"Cool," says the sorcerer. "How long is the wait?" 

"About twenty minutes," she says. Suddenly, her professional smile curls into an evil grin. "But in twenty minutes, the wait will still be twenty minutes. And the same thing twenty minutes after that. And twenty minutes after that…"

"No, no, no, this can't be happening," says the sorcerer. He storms out of the Steakhouse. He finds the sign for the restaurant: ETERNAL STEAKHOUSE. But something is wrong: STEAKHOUSE is written on a separate tapestry. He rips it off. Tears come to his eyes and he screams curses at the sky.

The sign now reads: ETERNAL APPLEBEE'S.


Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
The Ghost Room

1652 words

Jackson fell asleep on the couch to the white-noise chatter of some nothing sitcom and when he awoke at a miscellaneous nighttime hour, Tanya was no longer seated beside him. Assuming she had simply gone to bed, he went to joing her, hoping that maybe in half-dream she would take warmly the sort of touch she took waking with stiffness. But she was not on the bed when he opened the bedroom door. He called her name, but she did not answer. He started to worry, until he heard her soft footsteps coming from the ghost room.

They had an unfinished space in their apartment, a converted mansion attic, that was as big as the rest of the apartment put together. They had dubbed it the ghost room upon moving in for its mundane kids-haunted-house creepiness. It was a joke at first, but the name outlasted its own meager humor value. They used it as an enormous closet.

Jackson wondered what Tanya was doing, but not enough to investigate, so he went to bed.

"What were you doing in the ghost room last night?" Jackson asked. He had gotten home from work just minutes earlier, and was picking up hard cider cans with ashy rims strewn about the living room. Tanya sat glassy-eyed on the couch.

"Just a bit of organizing," she said, not looking up.

"Why? Isn't the point of having a storage room to have a place to put you stuff without having to organize it?"

"I just wanted to."

"Why? This room's filthy. The kitchen's filthy. The bedroom's filthy. Why is the ghost room the priority?" 

"Don't get mad at me, I don't need that right now," said Tanya, massaging the scars running up and down her arms.

Jackson sighed loudly and intentionally. "Okay. I'm sorry. Can you please just pick up a little when I'm at work?"

"gently caress you, I'm trying, okay?"

"Sorry." He placed his trash bag of butt-filled cans on the kitchen floor, then collapsed on the living room carpet, leaning his head against the couch. He put on a reality show, and it was enough to numb his brain. 

When he woke up in the middle of the night, Tanya was again in the ghost room. Jackson tried to open the door, but found it locked. He didn't know that locking was something that door could even do. He huffed an exasperated  "I love you!" through the door, and threw himself into bed.

As Tanya went out to the porch that Saturday to smoke a cigarette, Jackson tried again to open the door to the ghost room. Again, it was locked. He stepped out onto the balcony. 

"Hey, I was hoping to do a little painting this weekend, but the canvases are in the ghost room," he said. "Can you unlock it for me?"

"No," Tanya said. "That's my space."

"Uh, no. It's our storage room. I would like you to unlock it for me."

Tanya angrily blew cigarette ash off the balcony. "So I can't have anything that's just mine?"

"Not if my poo poo's in there too, no," Jackson said, and stormed back inside. He walked straight to the ghost room and pulled out his key to the front door.

The lock turned smoothly and easily. He shrugged and went inside. After pushing a broken air conditioner out of the way, he saw something his senses could not comprehend. He felt nauseous, and ran out to the balcony. He threw up over the railing.

"Hey!" Tanya said. "The downstairs neighbors are gonna…"

"What in literal hell is in the ghost room?" Jackson said, wiping puke off his chin with his forearm.

"You're not supposed to look at that! You know I'm into witchcraft stuff," said Tanya. 

"Sure, moon phases and crystals and burning sage. That's not what I saw. Is that a torture chamber? A sacrifice room? What are those insignias? Where did all that blood come from?"

"Don't worry, that's my blood," she said.

"Great! It's your blood, that makes everything fine, I guess!"

"Okay, I can explain, just please don't be mad at me."

"FUUUUUCK!" Jackson screamed. "Don't be mad at you? A month ago you were planning on making me find your body. You were gonna make me tell the story to so many cops. You were gonna make me apologize to your parents. And there was no way you didn't think about all of that when you decided to run that knife up your arm, you just didn't loving care enough about me, about anyone, to think for a single loving moment what kind of hell you were gonna throw everyone into. But I can't be mad. I have to be nice. I have to be understanding. I have to be supportive. That's my job, and your job is apparently building weird demonic shrines in the storage room, so all things considered, I think I've done a pretty good loving job not being mad."

"Oh no! I was gonna make you so sad that you wouldn't kill yourself? I can't imagine that level of sadness!" she said. "Trust me, darling, you'll get over it. You have no idea what's it like to be in actual pain, to be me, to not have enough blood to open the Channel of Krilnath."

"What are you even talking about?" he screamed.

"Oh," she said. "Was that weird?"


"I...I'm sorry. I sometimes forget where it ends and I begin. It can trick me into believing the things that it thinks are the things that I think. I don't know whether I tried to kill myself or if it tried to kill me."

"What?" he said. "Come on, we can talk about this." He opened the door. She ran inside.

"It's coming out!" she said. "Be careful!" She opened her mouth and it started pulling itself out. He gazed in horror. It looked like an enormous black crab except it had way more legs and way less everything that wasn't legs. As it spilled onto the living room floor, he grabbed the fire extinguisher off the wall and started pummeling at it. It acted like nothing was happening at all.

"That's not gonna work!" she cried. "Get to the ghost room!"

He didn't hesitate. They grabbed hands, ran down the hall, swung open the door, and thrust themselves into the unfinished attic. He slammed the door behind them as it lunged to get it. It clawed at the door with its pincers. 

"Please! Let me in!" it shouted in Tanya's voice.

The couple held the door with their backs and gazed at the bizarre altar with its machinery made of their unused stuff.

"What just leapt out of your mouth?" said Jackson. "Is that like, an alien?"

"I suppose, in a way, it's like an alien from hell," said Tanya. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. It's been with me since I was a kid, but it's gotten a lot stronger in the past few months, and it's taken over just about everything. I thought if I told you, you'd think I was crazy and that you'd run away."

"Please don't be sorry. I'm sorry I haven't really been present since...well, I'm not really the most present guy, am I?" He smacked at the crab legs reaching under the door with his fists. "In a way, I'm almost kinda relieved. For the first time in months, I can see the woman I fell in love with. So, uh, how do we kill this thing?"

"If I knew I would have done that by now," she said.

"Okay. Is there anything it doesn't like?"

"I don't know," she said, dodging a leg that burst through a newly made crack in the door. "It doesn't like anything, and in the past few months it talked me into thinking that I don't like anything either."

"Okay. So it doesn't like the stuff that you do," he said. "Do you know where we put that box of your old witchcraft stuff?"

"Yes!" she said. "I moved it out of the way two nights ago to make room to build the Beacon of Bal'Kazur."

"Great!" he said. "You go grab that, and I'll hold the door." Tanya kissed him and ran towards the shrine. He stood to use all his limbs to keep the door shut. A hinge snapped, and the demon's started to wrap around all sides of the door.

She returned with a cardboard box with "WITCH poo poo" sharpied onto the side. She dropped it on the floor. He ran forward and grabbed a stick of palo santo, letting the creature throw the door off its remaining hinge. She pulled out a wooden Baphomet figure out of the box and pointed it at the demon. It wretched backwards.

"Throw me a lighter!" he yelled. She complied, and he caught it. He lit the palo santo and jabbed its lit end at the demon. 

"No! Stop it! That hurts!" it screamed in her voice. She threw the Baphomet at it; its long shriek sounded like her at first, but quickly disintegrated into a monstrous gargle. Its many legs shriveled into its ethereal center.

Jackson slapped the palo santo against her singing bowl, and the demon evaporated into a cloud of smoke.

"Is that it?" he said. "Is it dead?"

Tanya inhaled deep, and the smoke came in through her nostrils.

"No! We have to get it out! We have to kill it!"

"No," she said. "I wish I could, but it's okay. I need to keep track of how strong it's getting. And I need you to help me with that."

Jackson smiled. They sat on the couch and cuddled up as they put on a well-deserved mindless sitcom. And so the three of them lived in that rented mansion attic: he, she, and it.

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