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Feb 2, 2019
I know I'm probably going to regret this, but I keep telling myself that I am going to enter one of these things and I never do.

Today I am going to change that.



Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010

Signups closed!

Feb 25, 2014

on the anniversary of when time ended; or, wow, that felt just like yesterday

flerp fucked around with this message at 21:23 on Dec 31, 2021

Jul 29, 2007

"That’s cheating! You know the rules: once you sacrifice something here, you don’t get it back!"

(1438 words)

Have you ever wanted anything? I mean, really badly? I dont suppose you have. You must be very content.

I have.

What I wanted was to be young again.

When I was young, I was beautiful. Smooth and polished and perfect. All children are beautiful but I was particularly adorable. The boys would pull my hair, always mine. Then I was a teenager and Id step out with a guy now and again, even had a few... well boyfriends, I suppose? But I never went steady with anyone. I was too beautiful to be tied down, too vivacious, too alive.

But nothing lasts.

One day, I had a wrinkle, God, not even a wrinkle, the tiniest hint of a crease in my skin. We used to call them frown lines and that just made no sense to me because what did I ever have to frown about? It wasnt just a mark it was an irreversible suggestion of mortality, a cruel reminder that one day I would wither and die. Would the boys still want to pull my hair?

So, I started wearing makeup. Id never had to before. It was just a little color to begin with, just something to smooth out the tiniest whispers of age. That first wrinkle invited friends though. I wore more concealer. Then, I would wear mascara to make my eyes bigger, give them back that twinkle. My lips turned pale and drab so Id throw on lipstick. My taught, springy skin lost some of its firmness, so Id contour my cheek bones.

And for a while, it was enough for a while, I looked and felt young again. But nothing lasts.

I realized that I needed to live better, I needed to adjust my lifestyle. I was putting on weight so I cut right back on meals. I quit smoking, which was practically unheard of at the time. I stopped sunbathing which was important to maintain my skins health but it meant I lost even more of my glow and that meant even more makeup. I started doing calisthenics. I dyed my hair. I made sure to get a full eight hours of sleep. I began to feel healthier, or perhaps just felt as though I was fading slower. For a while, things were fine.

But nothing lasts. Time crept back in.

I started reading about surgeries. A doctor would take a scalpel and make a little nick in your skin and hoist it up and pin it and voila, you were young again. Now, I was still relatively young at this point I thought I would just get tiny little procedures done. Of course, I couldnt afford it. There was a guy in town who had left to become a dentist and when he came back, I let him take me out a few times and once he found out I was saving myself for marriage (wink) we were married real quick and what was his became mine. He adored me, bless his heart. I had everything I wanted. So a nip and tuck here, a tighten there, a little filler and boom! Back to my old self! I was so happy, I looked ten years younger. But nothing lasts. Eventually, everything started falling apart again.

And it wasnt just about physical beauty. My mind was dulling, my character rotting. I wanted the energy that comes with youth I wanted the heat and vigor. I wanted the joie de vivre of the young!

So, I needed bigger surgeries, which meant more money, which meant a richer husband. Ditched the dentist, moved on to the investment banker, got a little more done, dropped him for an older homosexual who needed arm candy. When he died, I got everything. I married a much older guy who died too, bless him. Moved on to an Argentinian. He was crazy. Very passionate. When I tried my same old routine, the routine that had freed me from husbands three and four, he saw straight through it. He nearly killed me when he realized what I had tried to do to him. I was impressed it made me think hey, you can stick around! I suppose I never LOVED him, but I respected him. He spent a lot of time away on business and chasing other girls, and I spent a lot of time away on surgery tables. The days of nip and tuck were gone now I was getting whole slivers of myself hacked away, whole parts most people didnt even know the names of were being manipulated in increasingly complex ways. I became an expert. Hell, put a scalpel in my hand and I could probably have done a pretty good job myself.

Some people want that extreme look. I was going for natural. I looked incredible for a woman my age. I was beautiful. But I did not look young. I was not young. And that, my darling, would not loving do.

So, I went back to Doctor Weber and asked whats next and he told me, Nixt? Zere ist no nixt! Maddum, you haff hed everysing zat modern zience can do fur you!

Which is where a weaker woman would have given up. But not me. I figured if modern science couldnt help me, Id get real freaky with it. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars finding alternative solutions. I saw a man in Sweden who did what he called Gene therapy where he used radiation to fiddle about with my DNA. I spent a year in Nepal paying a whole temple of monks to meditate on my youth for eighteen hours a day. There was one guy, a Peruvian who knew my husband, he said that he could freeze my body so that I would wake up in the future when scientific breakthroughs would solve all my problems. A married couple in New York told me that they could, and hold on a second so I make sure I get this right... they said they would make me into a code and put me into a computer so that I would never age a day and live forever. But I didnt want that. I just wanted to be me, living my life, being young forever.

And thats when he contacted me. My god, he sounded perfect. My friends said it was too good to be true but I knew those withered old corpses were just jealous because I would be young.

He had no address. He told me to meet him at the crossroads at midnight and when I asked which crossroads, he said it didnt matter! When I looked upon him for the first time, my heart skipped a beat. He had exactly what I wanted. I knew he must be older than me, from the way he talked, but he was RADIANT. He glowed with vitality, with charisma, with the inner light of the morning stars that came only with the confidence of youth. He told me that he could give me what I wanted without potions or exercise or surgeries.

Will I look young? I asked.

Anyone can look young. You will BE young.

Will it last forever, I asked with tears in my eyes.

If you ever need a top-up, you will always be able to find me here, he said.

I told him to name his price, that my resources were infinite and he smiled at me and told me in a voice like honey that my money was no good, that he just wanted to help me, that he liked rewarding good, honest people, oh but there was one thing he had always wanted and never achieved. One tiny little thing hed never managed what with all his time working on this miracle cure of his. Hed never settled down, never married, never had children. All he wanted was an heir.

Well, I laughed in his face. A child? I told him. Darling, I might look in my prime, but I think those days are behind me.

But he insisted that was not the case. He purred in my ear that a woman as youthful as me would do just fine. All he wanted was my first born.

And thats how we got here little bump.

I know what you must think of me, selling my first-born child to HIM. But sweetheart, angel, little perfect child...

That wasn't you. I sold my first born to him decades ago.

You must be the... what thirteenth? Fourteenth? Thirteenth I think. Please dont be mad with mommy. I just want it so badly and nothing lasts.

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009


His Special Day
620 Words

I cant believe the little poo poo is getting married.

Joe was in his hotel room, getting ready for the big day. Said little poo poo was none other than Jim, his brother. Jim was having his wedding at a fancy hotel, and Joe was one of the groomsmen. After all, in terms of brothers, Joe was all Jim had. The same could be said for Joe.

Joe remembered his times with his brother. How he would pick on him, make fun of him. Then again, Joe wasnt exactly brother of the year, himself. But, like many brothers, they were there when it was needed the most. As they both grew up, both matured, but there was still a bit of laziness from Jim. He would ask his mother to do menial tasks that he had the full capability to do himself, such as making a sandwich. Sure, Jim was the younger of the two, but he still had a bit of immaturity in him. Well, at least until Jill came along.

The family was surprised that Jim got a girlfriend. After all, he didnt exactly scream boyfriend material. But as it turned out, Jill was the best thing that ever happened to him. They even moved to an apartment beforehand. Sure, there were some troubles, the immaturity of the past was hard to shake off. But eventually they both decided that they both had to improve if their relationship was going to work. And work it did. Eventually Jill was a much of a member of the family as Jim, Joe, and their parents were.

Joe and his parents knew that the engagement was eventually going to happen. After all, they liked Jill, they met Jills parents and liked them, so there wouldnt be any problems! People around them were wondering when Jim and Jill would ever get married. Eventually, the day came that Jim proposed, and to nobodys surprise, she said yes. Phase one was completed, now on to the much harder phase two.

Joe and Jims parents offered to have the wedding over at their church, but Jill wanted an area close to a lake. The parents mentioned an area close by that floods so much that it could be considered a lake, but Jill was steadfast. Eventually, they decided on the hotel that everyone was at today. Jim and Jill chose the food, which was especially important since Jill was a Vegetarian. And Jim chose the familys former pastor to officiate. All Joe really had to do was get fitted for a tuxedo, and be a part of Jims bachelors party. (He left before everyone got too drunk.)

The day finally came. And Joe was putting on his Tuxedo. He remembered the times with Jim. There were moments when he wondered, Was I a good brother? With his Tuxedo on, Joe went down with the rest of the groomsmen. Jim was nervous, of course, but Joe jokingly assured him that this is only a day he must remember for the rest of his life. That made Jim feel somewhat better. Eventually, the moment came, and for the most part, everything went off without a hitch, though Jim said I Do a little too early.
While Joe was Jims brother, he was not his Best Man. So, he was not the one who had the speech at the reception. Not that Joe didnt have anything to say. He wanted to mention moments of Jims immaturity, how he was lazy at times. He wanted to mention how everything changed with Jill. He wanted to thank Jill for making Jim a man. But he didnt at that time. Jim was nonetheless grateful that his brother was there for his special day.

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:

Couples Counseling
1414 words

Tell me a little bit about how you met.

She shifts uncomfortably on the couch. The therapists office is small, cozy in a sort of carefully designed way. It seemed less awkward when her husband was here as well. We met at a rehearsal dinner. It was the most beautiful venue in the Finger Lakes. All I wanted to do was get outside and hike, but I was stuck at this place with a bunch of people I didnt know. Then the most handsome man Id ever seen sat down next to me and told me the worst joke Id ever heard. Whats brown and sticky?A stick!

She grins as she tells the joke. I have no idea why it made me laugh so hard. I must have been nervous, Id never been a bridesmaid before and my anxiety was so high I thought I was going to burst. But after that joke everything got easier. He was easy to be around. The next day we went on a hike all around the area, just walking and talking about our lives. His brothers accident. My anxiety. It turned out wed been to the same high school. It was a ten mile hike around some of the most beautiful landscape Id ever been in, and the only parts I remember are the conversation. We had the same values, the same life goals. I knew he was the one for me by the end of that hike. We got married exactly thirteen months later, so that we wouldnt share an anniversary with our friends.

He leans forward, his elbows on his knees. We went to high school together, actually. She was a big musical theater geek, I was in the AV club, so its not like our paths crossed much. She was a great dancer. Everyone had a crush on her, so I never bothered to ask her out. I hardly recognized her at Jeffs wedding, but then we went for this walk around the area and got to chatting and I told her about my family. See, my brother got into a car accident in high school. His friend was driving drunk and straight up ran him over. hosed up his pelvis and lower spine. We werent sure he was going to walk again. But there was nothing wrong with his brain, right? My brother actually pressed charges, his friend was eighteen and actually got jail time. It was a major scandal, half the school was like hey, your bro is a narc and the other half was like hey, gently caress that guy for driving drunk. So anyway. I mentioned that and she suddenly realized we went to the same school.

He looks at his hands. We knew a handful of the same people. I dont know why it hurts so bad that she doesnt remember me from back then.

The therapist nods and takes some notes. When were things good in your relationship? What did things look like when you were at your happiest?

Before we had kids he was always free, she says. He took time off of work just so we could go walk on the beach together. Wed go on these weekend backpacking trips. The best one was out to Shenandoah to hike along the AT. We were trying out hammock camping. I hated it at first because I always loved to sleep next to him. Im one of those people who wants to cuddle while I fall asleep. But man, Ive never slept better outdoors than in one of those hammocks.

We wound up hiking to this little campground with almost nobody else there. I wish I could remember exactly where it was. There was a little flat area where we set up a campfire and ate our meals. There was a creek about a quarter mile away for water, and a composting toilet a couple hundred yards in the opposite direction. And there was this triangle of oak trees for us to attach the hammocks to. We talked all night, looking up through our bug nets, through the leaves of the trees, up to the stars. The sky was so clear. The whole mountain was all singing crickets and rustling leaves.

She is silent for a second. Then says My individual therapist has me do safe space meditations. Thats my safe space. In a hammock. On a mountain. With him.

He frowns at the question. I dont know. Sometimes it feels like Ive always been working so hard to make her happy. Shes got anxiety. I knew that going in, right? But shes got these panic attacks and theyre really draining to be around. I feel like if I do anything wrong Im going to set her off.

Yes, the therapist says gently. We talked about that in your intake. I understand that its always been hard for you, but when was it easier? There is a slight stress on the last syllable.

The line on his forehead deepens. When she was pregnant with our first I was in a really bad place. Drinking too much. Avoiding being home. I never saw myself as a parent, I guess. It freaked me out. But then Sarah was born and the entire world changed. I wanted to be better. To be better for Sarah. To be better for my wife.

Someone whose brother got crippled by a drunk driver should have had an easier time quitting booze. But my friends are big drinkers, see? There was a going away party. My wife told me to go, to have fun. I hadnt had a drink in months so I thought I was in the clear, right? Id beaten it. I told myself I could just have one beer. And then I thought, well, another wont hurt, theyve got that barleywine I used to like. The last thing I really remember from that night is slurring Sweet Home Alabama while my friends tried to bully one another into taking shots of Malort.

He sees the therapists look and smiles, wryly. I guess this isnt sounding great. Anyway. I woke up the next morning with a biblical hangover, sprawled across the wicker couch in our backyard. My wife was standing there, holding Sarah, just looking at me. Shed left me a glass of water and some Ibuprofen. The only thing she ever said about the entire incident was tomorrow is another day. Shes been on my side since day one. Every time I really wanted a drink after that all I had to do was remember that she was on my side. Even when weve been fighting, even when things have been hard, I just had to remember tomorrow is another day and it would make it not easier really. Just bearable. Shes good at that. Always has been.

When did the problems start? The therapist asks.

She sighs. After our second daughter was born he got a major promotion. Huge pay raise, massive boost in responsibility. He started working late. It freaked me out. I kept wondering if he was out drinking. We stopped having sex because, well, Id just had a baby, but even after I felt better he wasnt interested. Id planned this romantic evening in. My parents had the girls. I ordered sushi to be delivered at 8pm and greeted him at the door wearing lingerie and thigh high stilettos. He looked at me and laughed.

Dont get me wrong, she says, I didnt get upset at the laugh. Its funny, I was doing a silly thing. But then I made it very clear that we could have the entire house to ourselves I wasnt exactly subtle about it. I told him exactly what I wanted. He just patted me on the shoulder and said he had more work to do, but that he was grateful that Id found a sitter for the night. I slept on the couch. I dont know if he even noticed. Thats why I insisted on coming here, I just cant take it anymore.

He rolls his eyes. I dont know. Shes jealous about this new job I have, it takes up too much of my time. She says Im not as attentive, and yeah, that may be true, but Ive got a lot on my mind, you know? Her being passive aggressive and sleeping on the couch doesnt help. Thats why I insisted on coming here, because I just cant take it anymore.

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

1100 words


Yoruichi fucked around with this message at 05:09 on Jan 6, 2022

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.

She Was the Change

642 words

You want to know about the fleet, don't you. The dirigible leviathans belching smoke and steam in their flying V array, the needlecraft escorts circling in air, the blue one-crew floaters dancing like giant seahorses, cracking electricity out of their spiral tails. No less a wonder than the one come for Helen to Troy.

The painting, of course you know the painting, as the fleet took Paris. The landing in triumph outside Versailles. But Paris, France had already fallen by then, the revolutionary government seized power in Paris before Lyon's fortifications went under the fleets electocannonaide. The Queen was in Calais, or possibly already in England by then. The war was over in that painting. This was the image of the fleet in pomp, in parade. To see in our mind's eye the fleet in her glory we must look elsewhere.

Kent, perhaps? That was her framed in brutality, the burning pitch falling like snow onto the industrial district, cannonballs flying and melting in flight, and the screams, always the screams of the Royalist conscripts writhing from shock and fire and gas. There was a kind of glory there, with the last gasp of time-crusted tradition falling without surrender to the scientific future, but only the purest in their revolutionary spirit can correctly revel amid the wails and sweet-smelling smoke from sizzling man-fat.

So Vienna, then. Early in the war, before dialectical inevitability was matched by the arrayed forces on the battlefield, when the fleet was untested but for a few colonial skirmishes. Vienna, where the city of history had a modern air force to challenge the great fleet. There was glory, glory and the Viennese Dragons.

They were made from paper, if you can believe it. Treated paper, strong and supple and fireproof, and insulated against electric attack, with frames of vulcanized rubber and chemical forges to fill the flight bladders and ignite the pyrotechnical munitions. And the dragon were supported from the ground by array upon array of lance-cannons, aimed under the control of an algebraic loom, the most sophisticated such ever built. The revolution could have ended in ignominious retreat to the fortresses of Northern Africa. The first moments of that battle were terror in the air, as the Dragons flew interference, matching the floaters blazing belch for shocking jolt before that first volley, a hundred iron lances, tips red-hot with air friction, struck the Needleship Athena, nearly twenty piercing blows and many more glancing ones. Athena dipped. Her crew fled the wreck straight into the battle, each in a velocipedal glider, each bearing dual pistols to fight all the way down. The captain of the Athena died in the barrage. We do not know which of her crew took the pilot's seat, who aimed those deadly tonnes of copper and steel into the heart of the Viennese artillery, but steered she was and true she struck.

The fleet did not lose another Needleship. The next volley targeted one of the dreadnought, and did damage but not enough to even threaten to down her. And there was no third. Before a third load of lances was loaded into the cannons, the fleet was in position, every galvanic battery fully charged and sparking, ready to fill the air above the city with a web of arcing lightning. There was the glory.  There was the fleet. Captured only in memory of those in the air, as there was no mercy for the revolution's ground-bound enemies.

The Viennese Dragons would have made a fine addition to the fleet, but it was not to be. The engineer who had devised them burned his plans, melted down the prototypes and unfinished Dragons with concentrated hydrochloric acid, and, rather than face scientific persuasion, chose instead to drink poison. Some say it was hemlock, others quicksilver, but whichever reagent he swallowed was swift and deadly.

Feb 2, 2019
A Small Indulgence
1419 Words

Okay, listen. Ill bring the thing out, but I need you to understand something first. The early 2010s were a very different time.

I know, I know, its an odd thing to own. And believe me, I dont wear it anymore. I didnt wear it much back then either. I thought it would be a nice souvenir. Obviously, the context for these things has changed. I dont just show it to anyone. I have to trust them first.

Its from the trip I took with Federico. His mom worked as a stewardess, so she got the occasional discount for friends and family. You couldnt choose the location, but the deals were unbeatable. One day, a pair of tickets popped up for the Philippines. Federico didnt care one way or the other, he just wanted to get drunk, and the legal drinking age there was 18, instead of 21. For me, it was in Asia, so I was happy. This would be the first time both of us were out of the country.

Im not going to lie to you, most of the trip was awful. We spent far too much time in the city. We should have ventured out more.

What was wrong with the city? The smells, the commotion of the people. The ugly buildings all decorated with an exposed rats nest of electrical wires constantly humming and buzzing at frequencies that, quite frankly, did not feel safe. I remember the feeling of constantly being boxed in on all sides, in every direction, no matter which direction I went. I remember it being a pedestrian hell, as the sidewalks were always filled with street vendors selling greasy food or illegally parked motorbikes, and thats if there was a sidewalk there at all. Often times, you would just have to co-mingle with the motorized traffic in the street which seemed to abide only by that old truism: Traffics laws here are only a mere suggestion.

I remember the people constantly begging. Every few yards, you would be stopped and stopped again. It would be the same introduction, Hey Joe!, the same questions, What do you do? Where are you from? Can you help? It was relentless.

I am used to it back here in America, but the scale and scope was different in the Philippines. Here, its easy to ignore. Driving past the same guy with a Help Me sign on the highway off-ramp every day doesnt exactly pull at your heart strings. If you ever have the misfortune of catching the red light getting off of I-95 on the McNab exit, watch the guys on the shoulder. They get at least one sucker every stop. How many times does that light change in a day? And its always the same people. I bet you they make triple what we do, while only doing a fraction of the work.

Its hard to be like that in the Philippines. Its not able-bodied men with signs. Its men missing limbs. Women with tumors on their neck. Its children. Whenever I visited the corner stores, the cashiers behind the counter would tell me the same thing.

Dont give them money. Theyre all part of a gang. Even the street kids. And make sure you keep your wallet close, theyre pickpockets too.

I had suspected as much, but it was always tough saying no to the children.

Getting off the streets wasnt much of a reprieve either. Even in the ornate Catholic church, there were clergymen asking for a donation. Such splendor has to be financed somehow; I suppose.

Honestly, the longer I stayed in the city, the more I began to doubt that I would enjoy this whole enterprise of travel. Perhaps I had fallen victim to a different type of scam. But thats enough about the city. This is a story about the countryside.

Even before I got off the plane, hell, even before the tickets were ever purchased, I knew what I wanted. I wanted one of those. I had seen them in video games and on T.V., in comics and history books. They seemed to be everywhere. Little did I know, they really werent a thing in the Philippines anymore. Most people had moved on. They werent at the markets. They werent at the shops. We were going to have to find one in the wild. The only solution was for us to go further afield.

We chartered a trike driver for the day. He said that for a upfront flat fee, hed take us anywhere we needed to go. We choose a direction at random, and off we went. Ill admit that it took a lot longer than expected for our view out of the trike frame to shift from the concrete monolithic megastructures of the city to the stilted wooden shacks of the countryside.

I would watch the people working the rice paddies as we passed them by. Not a single person had it. I suspect that Federicos patience was probably wearing thin for this whole endeavor. It was a good thing I bought a couple of six packs before we left. I even had a few cans myself. The sun was beginning its descent. When was I going to admit defeat?

Thats when I saw her. A woman in a barren field. As the trike approached, her features became more apparent. She was wearing a beige shirt that enthusiastically proclaimed her membership in the DULUTH BOWLING LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS 1992 and purple leggings that had little pictures of ducks on them. She looked to be no older than 25.
But most importantly
Is what she had on her head.
The conical hat.
There it was.

Later the next day, when Federico was sober, he told me that the way that hat was hanging off of her head reminded him of those weird circular halos we saw on the angels in the stained-glass windows of the Church. I didnt see it myself, but I could understand the feeling.

But yeah, getting back to the woman...

We tell the trike driver to stop and to wait for us to return.

As were walking up to her I say, Hey lady!

She responds, but in Tagalog. I have no idea what she is saying. Well, thats not true. I knew po meant sir, like an honorific in Japan, but thats the only word I understood.

I nod and say, Thats a lovely hat.

She looks confused, Me?

No, your hat. I mean, sure, you too and I point to her hat.

She places her fingers on the rim and starts saying Sakalot.

I didnt realize it at the time, but that was the name of the thing. So, I just say No, hat again.

There is an awkward pause, it looks like she is thinking about something. She says a few more words in Tagalog. Then suddenly she removes the hat from her head and places it on mine. A nervous smile forms on her face.


I pull out my wallet and try to find an appropriate bill. The currency there was so hard to decipher. Strange colors and weird denominations. Honestly, it felt like Monopoly money most of the time.

As she sees me fumbling through my wallet, she throws her hands up in protest.

No, no, no she says.

Federico starts getting nervous.

He says, Does she think were trying to rob her?

I think it's a silly question, but as I stare back at her, her expression becomes more and more nervous. She continues to repeat No, no, no with more words in Tagalog interspersed.

I start to feel guilty.

I take all money in my wallet and throw it at her feet. It is all the spending money I have left for the trip. I turn around and start sprinting away. Federico follows suit.

Jogging behind me, Federico asks That should be more than enough, right?

I tell him, Yeah.

We look ahead at the trike, and suddenly Federico interjects: Wait a minute! Were dumb idiots! Lets get the trike driver to translate for us! His English isnt great, but its better than hers! He can clear this whole situation up!

I turn around and tell him that its probably for the best if we just leave. Its getting late anyway.
And so we did.
And thats how I got it.

Sure, you can try it on. Just be gentle. The edges are fraying and its starting to crack along its right side.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

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

One Last Good Thing
1382 words

Pappy Ben, can you tell us about Grandpa Phillip?

Miles tugged on Bentons shirtsleeve as the old man rocked slow in his wicker chair. Benton stopped rocking, surveying the porch and gently swaying trees.

About Grandpa Phillip? Well, I suppose your mothers gone shoppin for another hour. How bout you, Sam? You want to hear about ol Phil?

Sam nodded, her eyes wide at the prospect. Benton smiled. It had been nearly thirty years since his last day with Phil. His voice went low.

This is about the time your Grandpa Phillip saved my bacon, pulled my whole butt out of the fire.

Miles raised his eyebrows at the turn of phrase. Benton continued.

But that kind of a rescue? It wasnt so simple...

--- Im tellin em, Benjy, that Im a right payin customer and that it dont matter if this is the Burgermania or stinkin Stevensons backroom casino, my moneys as good as anyone else's, family name be damned.

Benton stirred the embers with a stick and looked across the firepit to Phillip.

Oh, they givin you a lotta pushback at the Burgermania these days?

Phillip snorted. His voice was a high drawl.

Its a turnt phrase, Benjy. Anyway, they slide this rack o chips at me and I go to work.

He picked up a few leaves and spread them in his grip like a straight flush hand. His eyes peeked slyly at Benton as he mimed drawing an extra leaf and discarding another.

So I deal and play and...bam! Flush! Straight! Flush! Two pair! Next thing I know, Im sittin real pretty. Too pretty. Theys mad, furious even. I get heated right back, Im winnin fair and square. Maybe I started rantin a little.

Benton raised his eyebrows.

You got heated? What happened? You didnt start talkin about...

Phillip nodded, looking a little sheepish.

Well yeah, maybe I did start talkin pretty loud bout god-drat Vietnam. Its where I go to when Im that kinda heated, you know that. But Im gettin sidetracked. Didnt call you out here for poker stories. I called you out here for this.

Phillip reached into his breast pocket and extracted a folded piece of paper. He passed it to Benton, who opened it and read:

Marker: Benton Waylon, owing in the amount of ten thousand dollars.

Bentons hands began to tremble as he saw the words stamped over the text on the marker:

By confirmation of Callum Stevenson, proprietor, PAID IN FULL

Benton shot to his feet, nearly knocking over the log hed been sitting on. He stumbled to his brother and gripped him by the shoulders.

You got me outta hock, Phillip? All of it?

Phillip grabbed Bentons shoulders in return.

Youre free, little brother.

Bentons heart leapt, but his celebration stuttered and died. Outside the exultation, something still ate at his gut. Maybe it was the lingering unease in Phillips tone, or the traces of a frown at the corners of his older brothers mouth.

Bentons voice grew soft.

Thats not all of it, is it?

Phillip gulped. His frown deepened.

I wish it was, Benjy.


With some gumption and a whole lot of luck, Grandpa Phillip had gotten me out of the clutches of some very bad men. But something was wrong.

Sam piped up.

What was it, Pappy Ben? Were the bad men still coming?

Benton nodded his assent.

Meaner than ever, madder than ever.

Benton started rocking faster, sinking deeper into the memory. His voice was sharp, tinged with terror.

Suddenly, there was a faraway screeching and a distant thunder on the horizon. Then, everything went quiet. A shadow covered the forest, covered us up.

The kids huddled closer around Bentons chair.

See, sometimes bad news feels like it comes in on wings.

--- kept going, didnt you?

Benton didnt know why hed bothered asking. He already knew.

Phillip got up and turned away, his hands in his pockets. His voice was quiet, muffled even in the stillness of the forest.

I was on a run, a red-hot streak. I was gonna bring the whole house down. Then I lost a hand. Then another hand. Then I doubled down. Switched from poker to blackjack. And again.

Benton rubbed the debt marker between his fingers, smearing the ink. He felt nauseous.

How much, Phil?

Phillip turned back toward his brother and shrugged, but the discomfort sat in his shoulders.

All of it. My house. My truck. Then a lot more besides.

Benton shook the little paper marker in the air. And how about this?

Phillip gave his brother a sad smile.

Yeah, they asked on it. Offered to cash it back out to me, one and a half to one, then two to one, get me to lose that too.

Phillip shook his head.

Couldnt ever do that to ya, Benjy.

Bentons eyes stung with tears. Part of him wanted to chastise his brother for the whole rotten scheme. Part of him wanted to just hug Phillip, hold him and not let go.

They walked back over to the fire and sat down. The brothers were silent a little while. Ben rolled the whole thing around in his head, then spoke up.

So what now? We come out here, you drop this chit on me... Ben said softly.

Phillip drummed his hands on his knees.

I gotta go, Benjy. Stevenson gave me a week to pay, then he sics his vultures on me. I gotta get gone and gone for good. But Ill be fine, see? Dont have a real care in the world anymore, even with the buzzards circlin. You know why?

Benton shrugged, tears streaming down his face. Phillips voice was dead even.

Its that slip you got there, one last thing from me to you. So you hold on it tight, because you dont owe anyone a goddamn cent.

The pair sat, looking into the embers and ash. After a bit, Phillip got up and began collecting his things.

The woods were quiet. The brothers embraced, then Phil was gone.


...and the shadow got darker, closer, and smaller, but not small at all! It came right for me!

Miles was on his feet now, hopping with excitement.

It was a huge vulture, bigger than Ive ever seen, as big as a school bus! It looked me right in the eyes, swooping down with its terrible claws. I was done for!

Sam inched closer and gripped her grandfathers pant leg. Bentons voice boomed.

And then, at the very last second, Grandpa Phillip tumbled right into me, right where I was standing. I was safe. But Phil, hed tumbled right into the vultures monstrous claws!

Miles was shaking his head, repeating No in a faint, worried voice.

I thought he was bird food, but no! Your ol Grandpa Phillip didnt flop like some kinda caught trout, no! He started climbing, pullin on feathers and scrabblin up until, until

Benton paused for effect and put his hand to his head.

Oh, its too exciting to even finish! I cant even say it!

He peeked around his fingers at the enthralled children.

Sam leapt up in panic.

Pappy Ben, no! You have to tell us, you have to!

Benton paused, nodded stoically, and continued, his voice full of wonder.

Next thing I knew, Grandpa Phillip was clutchin the back of that great ol buzzard, riding it like a bucking bronco. They flew up, up, up, and up, until they were just a tiny dot in the big blue sky, far above the trees.

Benton was standing now, looking up with his hand held high above his head.

He sat down and, after a few seconds, began rocking again. Miles voice was pleading but still exhilarated.

Then what happened? Did the buzzard get him?

Benton smiled fondly at his grandchildren and thought of his brother, of that last good thing Phillip did before he was gone. His voice light, he concluded the story.

No one can say for sure, but knowing your Grandpa Phillip? Oh no, son, not a chance.

The old man looked to the faraway dark hollows of the forest, savoring the memory.

And if you ask me? Id say hes still flying high out there in the wild. And maybe one day, maybe hell come home.

May 19, 2021

I Remember
Word Count-512 words

I remember when you died.

I remember the weeping and shouting. Some in mourning and others with celebration.

I remember the fire and smoke. It choked and gagged me.

The drinking and partying that followed soon afterward.

They said that you died during battle. Wearing a bearskin and screaming at the top of your lungs. They said that you were a great warrior.

But I didnt want a great warrior. I wanted a father.

You tried. You showed me how to wield an axe, how to sail, and even how to farm.

You also flogged me when I mixed up portside and starboard. You said a great leader never forgets, but some things deserve to be forgotten.

I forgot when showed me a village you raided.

You forgot when I threw up not soon afterward.

Our tribesmen thought me a weakling.

While they sailed in their longships and raided the English shores, I wrote in my leather-bound journal.

It felt strange that most of the things we used belonged to other people, but I still used them.

I remember one day you brought something that I would treasure the most. A bow, hand-carved and well-made. A war prize from a fallen ranger.

You told me a true berzerker only uses a bow for hunting, and to use them in battle was cowardly. But you also told me tales of archers taking out dozens of your best men from a distance.

At first, I only used the bow to hunt small game. Rabbit and the like. Some of the berzerkers gave me funny looks, but they still ate what I hunted, and they could respect that.

I guess you respected it.

I remember you brought a slave. Hugh was his name. He had killed four men with a bow. He taught me not how just to shoot but to not miss. I was soon the best archer in the clan. I began to respect Hugh not just as a teacher but as a friend.

I remember the merchant you sold Hugh too.

He had a greasy black beard and crooked teeth. Strange things to remember, but if I dont, Ill remember the look on Hughs face on that day.

I remember the first raid I partook in. Everyone but me was wielding an ax. The berzerkers joked and laughed at my bow. They didnt laugh when I used the same bow to kill two villagers. More raids came after that. And more killings, but it was all a blur.

I remember when I sailed to England to establish a colony. It was just after your death. You wanted to go. You did arrive, just as ashes.

We started a village. The land was fertile, and it snowed less than back home. We didnt need to raid for food, and it was peaceful, for a time.

I remember when Alfred the great attacked our village. I used what you and Hugh taught me. I trained archers to defend ourselves. Many died, but we won.

I remember when we finally named our village.

We named it after you.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Settlement Day
437 words

The house looked tired, thought Alistair, all slumped down onto its old piles in the moist heat. He rotated his neck, feeling vertebrae grind and crack, and ran through his mental list of Things To Do before they Left Forever. Then, realising it was finally empty, he smiled.

I think were done, called a voice from the garden. Come and have a gin.

The low sun was glinting through the pohutukawa branches. Alistair slumped into the swing seat next to Kelly.

Hows your back, he asked.

Improving, she said, passing him a cold can.

He examined it. A cheery polar bear was sunning himself under a giant lemon on the dew-beaded metal. Instant gin and tonic? Isnt this cheating?

Kelly wiggled her fingers, like she was playing an imaginary piano. The rules were only ever theoretical constructs.

Alistair popped the top and took a sip. It was horrible. There was a distant hum of traffic from the motorway down the bottom of the hill and he listened to it infiltrating the warm late afternoon air as he swilled it round his mouth and swallowed.

I made my first g&t ever at this house.

Kelly nodded absently.

It was before we had the place, there was a party, some guy. Toney. With an e. Anyway there was this girl I really liked and she had an entire bottle of gin, huge thing. I was all, let me make a gin and tonic for you!

He took another sip of the can. It was still horrible. Where did you find these things?

Basement. Theyve been there a while, someone must have left them there.

Wise of them. Anyway, I fill the glass half full of gin, slosh in some tonic and Im away laughing. 50/50 proportions seemed about right. Utterly undrinkable. So bad.

He looked at the lawn, which had yellow patterns on it where the old slide and trampoline had been until the buyers came to pick them up that morning. He had a sudden piercing sense of it being here, and this being now, and no other time or place.


And what?

What happened with the girl? Im on tenterhooks over here. As Kelly dragged out the first e in tenterhooks she stretched out her long legs and set the swing set moving, with a creaking groan of rusty metal.

Alistair pulled his legs up onto the seat, and watched the world bob up and down for a moment. Well, nothing. Turned out it wasnt even her gin.

Kelly considered this for a moment, and chuckled. They sat together for a while, rocking back and forth, in silence.

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010

Thats it for submissions.

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009


So, who won? (Yes, I know its not me.)

Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy
INTERPROMPT: two booklice critique the last book you read while they eat it

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010

r e s u l t s

Thanks for a lovely week, especially to those that requested songs so I could share ones that I like. The rest of you were fine too.

HMs go to Captain Indigo for Cracked and Carl Killer Miller for One Last Good Thing.

Our Winner is Yoruichi's Lacunae.

Video forthcoming.


Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Here's a video of t a s t e and chili's storytime hour, featuring my horrible cat being horrible:

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Lil judge burps. Ask for more if you want them, brawl me if you hate them.


I like the sound and the texture of this, but thats as far as Ill go. This went in a weird direction and Ill be damned if I followed much of any of it even if I did enjoy the ride in parts. The tone and voice feel very natural.

Captain Indigo

That was upsetting! Yikes! I didnt see the bit at the end coming for sure and Im still not sure quite how I feel about it. Oddly, I found the prose about the protags childhood a bit more striking and evocative than the surgical adventures. Protags character does shine through but feels a little one-note and obsessive, the allusion to I guess the murdering of the husbands caught my interest but I wanted to see more of that and more of what she was actually doing.

The man called M

Your prose needs a tune-up, for one ditch the after alls, eventuallys and other trite cliches. For a week focused on the telling of stories, it feels like an incredibly odd choice to focus on a wedding and essentially replace a best man speech with a bunch of exposition from an omniscient narrator. This rambles on for a bit and doesnt really connect with me or bring out any kind of feeling. Also, if youre gonna have two characters in a story, dont call them Jim and Joe, go easy on your reader that was a pain in the rear end to parse.

Chernobyl Princess

Figures that the first solid therapy story I come across in a very long time in the dome came from a fellow shrink. Its got some problems, least of all the kind of non-ending. There are certainly more questions to be asked and its OK not to include them but just imaging this scene play out and the suddenly stopping is pretty unsatisfying. The way the clients each say what they want to say and at times dont answer the questions being posed to them was a good, and common choice, and I was very much drawn in, but this needed to be crafted as a scene not a beginning to something that needs more.


loving devastating read. Powerfully done and handles the prompt in a creative way. Small critique: even though you used a subtle touch, I didnt need the narrator to let me know about the shivers beyond the first one or two, I was definitely able to feel the pain enough on my own. But beyond that? This was a very solid piece of writing.


A little hard for me to wrap my head around what I read. It never felt like there was a clear narrative of what was going on. It just ultimately felt like a bunch of things that happened that didnt feel connected somehow. The telling was probably better done here than in what Ive read thus far, this really did feel like a story being told by a war vet. I didnt find it to be as compelling as Id like though.


I dont know if the intention of the story here is to be disappointing but thats ultimately how the thing being a conical hat made me feel. Like really? All that buildup for this? Maybe that was what was intended, but I dont know why its funny if its supposed to be funny. I dont know who this character is so I dont really care. I also dont quite understand much of the storys purpose. You even, in the middle of the story say but thats not what this story is about, its about something else then why waste words on that? It did indeed feel like an oral story but it just kinda meanders and the punchline isnt very satisfying.


OK, Im gonna chalk up a fair amount of my trouble with this story due to my poor reading comprehension. But maybe its not just me. I found it jarring and a bit unclear when the story was being told and when it wasnt. Like from beat to beat are we in the story? It feels kinda like we are. Almost like how the movie princess bride works, with the story-within-the-story happening in a cutaway fashion, away from the narration, with occasional interruption? If so, OK, I guess I get that but it sort of feels like a cheat, and I also really enjoyed the telling beats moreso than the showing beats. Regardless I was struggling to follow the action from beat to beat. I think utilizing an omniscient perspective from the story-within-the-story and then cutting back to the narrator who has his own read on things and his own voice definitely made this muddier for me.


There isnt much that ties these musings together. Im also really sour on the repetitiveness, and this ultimately just feels rushed as evidenced by the proofing errors and lack of an overall narrative thrust. I also dont know where or how this is being told. My guess is a graveside I suppose but I think this could be clearer. But why the anaphora, and why is this so stilted and unnatural? Has this character been prompted by their English teacher to write an I remember paper?


I mean this was fine? Felt like a bit of an afterthought. It follows the rules of the week OK but nothing in here made me feel much and it felt like if this story was meant to be anything, it was meant to be evocative. The story being told is of little interest to me but it works well enough I guess.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Chili posted:

Here's a video of t a s t e and chili's storytime hour, featuring my horrible cat being horrible:

no loser? the spirit of the dome frowns, in blood-choked ire, what can this


so let it be mote, for butterscotch, and a red dawn!

Feb 2, 2019

Could I get a link to the Discord?

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Thunderdome Week 478: Neon Baroque

Hello Thunderdome, this week I want you to write stories inspired by the aesthetic of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. Way back in 1996 this movie absolutely blew 14-year-old me's mind, and the soundtrack remains one of my favourite things that I ever owned on CD.

This movie is lush. It looks gorgeous, everything is over the top, the colour palette is neon, and the emotional dials are all set to maximum. That's the vibe I want you to shoot for. I don't care what your characters are doing, but whatever it is, they will be extremely passionate about it. They are going to feel the hell out of their feelings.

If you want a flashrule I'll give you an action your characters are doing to help get you started. If you want a hellrule god help you.


Q: But what if I've never seen Romeo + Juliet?
A: It doesn't matter, just try and write a good story.

Q: But what if I HAVE seen Romeo + Juliet and I hated it?
A: I don't care, just try and write a good story.

Q: Do I have to write a tragedy?
A: No, and if you do want to try and make me cry you'd better make it really good.

Q: Can I write in Shakespearean English?
A: I don't know, can you?

Q: I don't understand this prompt, what do you actually want me to write?
A: You are overthinking this, just try and write a good story.

Q: But...
A: Stop it.

Q: What's the word limit?
A: 1996 words

Q: And what about deadlines?
A: Sign-ups close 8pm Saturday NZ Daylight Savings Time, submission deadline is 8pm Monday NZ Daylight Savings Time.

- Me
- Chernobyl Princess
- Weltlich

1. Chairchucker (flying)
2. Thranguy (lying)
3. The man called M
4. Idle Amalgam :toxx: (escaping)
5. Simbyotic
6. Captain_Indigo (pursuing)
7. sebmojo (germinating)
8. SurreptitiousMuffin
9. t a s t e (all the objects in your story are moving too fast)
10. Taletel
11. My Shark Waifuu (gathering)
12. asap-salafi
13. Barnaby Profane (raging)
14. Azza Bamboo
15. Carl Killer Miller
16. Antivehicular

Yoruichi fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Oct 2, 2021

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Flash me

also in

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Chairchucker posted:

Flash me

also in


Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
In, flash

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Thranguy posted:

In, flash


The man called M
Dec 25, 2009



Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

CourtFundedPoster posted:


Could I get a link to the Discord?

Feb 2, 2019


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
In :toxx: flash please

Aug 24, 2010


Jul 29, 2007

"That’s cheating! You know the rules: once you sacrifice something here, you don’t get it back!"

In with a flash please.

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Idle Amalgam posted:

In :toxx: flash please


Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

Captain_Indigo posted:

In with a flash please.


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

In flash

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

sebmojo posted:

In flash


Mar 21, 2010
Yeah sure. In.

t a s t e
Sep 6, 2010

In, drag me to hell

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk



Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

t a s t e posted:

In, drag me to hell

All the objects in your story are moving too fast

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