I am glad you two are having a good time with your farts.
as yoruichi is certain to ask me how to write her story i hereby offer fumblemouse 2x beers-worth of story discussion, to ensure maximum fairness
|# ? Jul 3, 2021 04:33|
|# ? Dec 3, 2023 23:20|
Enjoy your beers, losers
|# ? Jul 3, 2021 09:49|
signs up closed
|# ? Jul 3, 2021 13:34|
Whatever the hell you do with your flashrule, please post it above your story when you submit
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 05:48|
Everybody Wants to Be a Cat 907 words
It was Wednesday, and Allegra had been a cat for about three hours. This had come as something of a shock to her, and didn’t fit with her plans for that evening at all. Her plans for that evening had involved surprising her boyfriend with a home cooked dinner. When she thought about it, the surprise part might still happen. Dinner would be a struggle. It had taken her those three hours to make it to his house, since driving was off the table in cat form. Fortunately, there was an open window, and it turns out that as a cat, she was pretty good at climbing.
She jumped up on the sink, turned the tap on, and washed her paws. Hygiene was still important. The fridge resisted her attempts to open it. Door too heavy, magnet too powerful. Fine, the pantry it is. She opened the pantry, with difficulty. Hmm, what’s in here? Spices, flour, sugar. There really wasn’t much worth eating in here. Wait. Her ears twitched. There was an unmistakable squeak of… what? A mouse? Heck yes. Mouse was a delicious meal, right? Right.
The hunt lasted only a minute or so. The mouse came out from under a skirting board, Allegra’s powerful paws came down on it, and bam. Dinner was served. She grabbed the delicious mouse and climbed up on the table with it, dropping it at Dirk’s usual place. Was that enough?
No! She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t realised at first. There were two of them. She would need another mouse. Or another… something. She poked her ears up. She couldn’t hear much else going on inside the house, it was probably a single mouse. Outside, though…
She came back in ten minutes with a small lizard. The mouse was the tastier treat, so she’d leave that for Dirk. The lizard, she dropped at her own place. Not a moment too soon, either – there was the sound of his car. And she was still a cat. Well, it wasn’t to be helped. She’d make herself scarce. She looked around, but wasn’t sure where to hide. Ah! There! Up on the bookshelf, behind that vase!
She was standing very still behind the vase when Dirk entered. He looked at the table and saw the meal she’d prepared. ‘What the hell?’ he said. Well, that was certainly surprise, but he didn’t seem that thrilled. You can’t win them all, though, right? He turned and looked right at her. Oh no! She must’ve moved slightly! He sighed. ‘This was her little surprise? A cat?’ He shook his head, then went to the fridge, got out a beer, and sat down in front of the TV.
As Dirk didn’t seem to object to having a cat around, she got down from the bookshelf and climbed up on the couch, then onto Dirk’s lap. ‘Nope,’ he said, and pushed her onto the floor. His phone rang, and he answered. ‘Hey mate. Nah not much, just watching the game. Nah, she’s not around, but it looks like she got a cat. Yeah, it was just waiting for me when I got home. Killed some critters, too, and left them on the table.’
And you didn’t eat them, thought Allegra. Rude.
‘What?’ asked Dirk. ‘Yeah, still wasting her time at uni. I don’t know what she’s thinking, you don’t need a journalism degree to be a stay-at-home mother.’
Hmmm, thought Allegra. This is new.
‘What? No, of course I’m proud of her achievements, she’s the top of two of her classes. She’s even beating the men, not just the other women!’
Not just the… Allegra frowned and growled.
‘But it’s a waste of time, right? Her place is going to be at home, looking after the house. Well of course I haven’t told her yet, there’s no need. It’s science, once I put a baby in her, the hormones will kick in and she’ll give up on this career nonsense.’
There might’ve been more conversation planned, but Allegra opted not to wait for it. She jumped up on the bookshelf, braced against the vase, and pushed.
‘Bugger me,’ said Dirk, ‘I gotta run mate. Allegra’s not here, I guess it’s up to me to clean this place.’ He got up and went to the cleaning cupboard. Allegra, however, was not done. She did a parade of the bookshelf, knocking everything off. Coffee table, same thing. She went for the curtains, scratching them up and down with her claws, then jumped up and knocked down the framed, signed poster of the entire New South Wales State of Origin team that he seemed to love so much. When he returned to the room with dustpan and broom in hand, she was behind the TV, pushing hard. He was just in time to catch the TV as it toppled over.
Allegra bolted for the window. ‘Not so fast, you feral,’ said Dirk, and turned to grab her. He probably should’ve secured the TV first; he dropped it on its screen, and missed Allegra as well. She launched herself out the window, landed in a tree, and then scarpered.
She wasn’t sure what her future held. She would’ve liked to finish her studies, of course. If this cat thing didn’t wear off, that might be in jeopardy. One thing she was sure of, though, cat or no, was that her future did not hold Dirk.
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 14:22|
Week #457 Crits
Better late than never, here’s crits from a few weeks back now that I have a chance to sit down and reread them and consult my notes again.
Brotherly - The Little God—Overall I dug it a lot, stayed on tone the whole time and it was a cool setting and premise. If you’re looking for ways to make it better, then I’d look at the romantic aspect of the story because it’s a little flat as it is, and it skews the end in an unsatisfying way. Tl;dr was Favola offering himself as a sacrifice, or was he just reckless? Still, a good story this week.
Tyrannosarus - there is a reason my stories feel familiar – Lol. You know what you did. Good job writing some words, tho.
Simply Simon - Terwaworld – Ambitious with some solid foundations—but the typos, plot holes, and clunky prose let it down. Needs to decide if it wants to be science fiction or science fantasy. Needs some more revisions, as it feels very “first drafty” at the moment. I suspect it’s because you went for quantity this week, which isn’t a bad exercise in-and-of itself. My advice for a re-write here is twofold: Get rid of the zombies and the less you say about the “science” the better. The core of what makes sci-fi work is not spaceships and apocalypses, but rather putting people in different rulesets and seeing how they react.
Seaborgium - Cavern – Another ambitious piece, but another victim of flat prose. At the moment it reads more like a story without a plot. You just sort of go “here’s a thing that happened, take it or leave it.” You’re probably going to want to break this one back down to an outline and look at how it works. At the moment, it’s missing a hook—something to make a reader “buy in” to the story and suspend their disbelief. It’s also missing stakes (a term that gets over-used in TD crits, but I think actually applies here). But as the story is written now, what does it matter that the drone survived vs. being destroyed? It doesn’t really. My advice is to rewrite the story focused on the drone operator, because for a person success or failure has a totally different meaning than to a drone. Is their job on the line? Is this the last drone they have on the mission and they’ll have to go back to earth if it’s destroyed? That’s up to you. Still a foundation and can be revised to improve.
Azza Bamboo - So, Amon. – A really interesting historical fiction piece, especially setting it among the losers that didn’t get to write the history. I’m curious if Anu’s name was deliberate (a reference to THE Anu) or just a name chosen from a hat that fit the setting. The prose flows well, though there are a few detail mismatches. Some of the other judges this week weren’t as keen on it, with the criticism that it took too many historical liberties. I honestly didn’t mind so much, because that’s sort of what fiction is about. Overall a good story and it left me satisfied.
JABC - Chasing – This is an interesting conceit and mostly well done. It still needs another revision pass to do a couple of things, though. First, clean up the typos and tense shifts—sometimes in a story like this a deliberate tense shift helps delineate (or muddle) what’s a dream and what’s “real,” but at the moment the shifts feel like an oversight instead of deliberate. Also work on the end to tighten it up, the prose starts to feel a little sloppy in the last scene. This could have been a contender with another revision pass.
Flerp - If I could give you these stars... – I dig it. It’s bittersweet but lovely. The prose is spare and there’s repeated sentence structures within paragraphs, but it seems to have been done for deliberate effect—and it works. The one paragraph that booted me out of the story was the one starting with “I was chosen as a candidate.” If you decide to revise, I’d pay close attention to that paragraph because while it seems like the narrator is being humble, the truth is that on “recon missions” intelligence and curiosity are very important, as opposed to the “they just needed warm bodies” that is implied. Otherwise one of my favorites so far this week.
Obliterati - How To Navigate The Remains of Ross-248-b – The prose here is very well done, and I really like the tone and setting of this piece. In a week where I’ve read a number of stories without plot, this is the flip, all plot with barebones story, and most of the story occurs in the last three paragraphs. I’d have liked to see a little more foreshadowing early on, perhaps a preamble. Also due to the line “You’re right, I’m shouting” implies this is a transcript, but it’s laid out more like a letter or message—my advice is pick one. Otherwise this was a fun read.
Gorka - Keep Sailing South – This had me right until the end. The prose is solid and I think the pick of using the present tense was the right call for this, maybe. I think there’s an inherent “this will be a cliffhanger” ending that you have to use when telling a narrative in the present tense because the story is still ongoing, it’s just stopped for now, as opposed to “THE END.” I don’t think this is my pick for a win or HM this week, but it’s far from the bottom.
My Shark Waifuu - Supersymmetry – Not going to lie here, the writing here was really flat—especially for a semi-comedy piece. Writing high-concept that’s funny is even harder. I think the biggest problem here (like some other entries this week) is you’ve decided to try to “science it up” where there’s no hard science to build on. I find it hard to give advice for this one because I’m not sure what you want you feel is more important: do you want it to be funny, or that it be compelling sci-fi/fantasy? My advice is pick one and go all in on that if you’re going to do a re-write. If you go sci-fi, then concentrate on not breaking suspension of disbelief by trying to explain everything—handwaving is your friend. If you go comedy, then really work on the characters and don’t use the “science” for anything more than a prop.
Thranguy - The First Four Frontiers – Gotta respect your commitment to working with alternative narrative structures, and props for trying things out to see if they work. This piece is really interesting and reads like excerpts from a space opera series (one I’d probably read). And I’ll be straight with you, I lobbied for an HM rather than a win here—and that’s not because the prose was lacking. Honestly, it’s really good and enviable. But the gel doesn’t quite set given the ambiguous ending. I’m suspicious that the word count ran out and this is just where things ended up—with an episodic story you can sort of get away with “THE END…OR IS IT?!” But this feels like there needs to be one more chapter at the end that ties it all up and leaves me satisfied. Still, I really enjoyed reading it, and the prose is tight as always.
Weltlich fucked around with this message at 18:53 on Jul 4, 2021
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 16:47|
Man's Best Friend
The first time I saw the white dog, I was nearly crushed by kitchen implements. Just minding my business on my every-other-month Costco run, snapping up a nicely priced vat of Skippy peanut butter, when a looming shadow stretched out before me, heralding the tidal wave of pressure cookers and Ninja blender juice-o-matic whatevers. The whole sky-high mammoth Costco shelving unit was coming down, and I knew in that moment I hadn’t the time to get out of the way. So I shrugged and closed my eyes and hoped I’d die, rather than just get horrendously maimed.
The first sensation I felt, though, wasn’t the crushing blow of a personal deep frier or the bone-breaking impact of an economy-size crock pot. Something bit me. It wasn’t a deep or painful bite, just firm. Firm enough to grab me and carry me along out of danger. Out of the Costco completely. I opened my eyes to see a muscular white dog latched onto my sleeve, pulling me through a vast open plain. Twilight stretched from horizon to horizon. Tall waving grass reached up to the smoke-grey sky with a kind of longing. All around was not silent, but the kind of pregnant quiet that seems to fill forgotten places. Like the world is holding its breath in anticipation of some great event.
We streaked through that place with such speed I thought I might fly off into the darkened sky if the dog were to let go. I shut my eyes again and swallowed down a bout of nausea that was half panic and half motion sickness. I was still again. Opening my eyes, I saw the wreckage of the Costco aisle, mere feet from my face. But there I was, safe and sound on the cold, heavily-waxed floor, staring up into the rafters.
For a while, I thought it was all a kind of fever dream, or some sort of lucid dreaming absence seizure. Like it was a strange canine-centric place my brain went to explain how I moved hundreds of feet in maybe two seconds.
But then it happened again. Not just once, but dozens of times, starting with more freak accidents: a delivery truck jumping the curb while I walked to the coffee shop; an air conditioner slipping loose from a fifth-story window and crashing down where I had been standing moments before; the ceiling in my office collapsing and sending down streamers of live electrical cables like it was someone’s lovely, deadly birthday party.
Each time, the dog appeared, and for a brief moment, I felt the cool, dry wind of the open plain rushing past my face. Each time I reappeared a quick jog away, completely unscathed.
I stopped going out not long after that. A friend sent me one of those videos of a warehouse collapse caught on security cam footage. He no doubt thought the grainy visual of the massive shelves toppling like dominoes would be a funny way to say “Hey, remember that one time you magically and inexplicably escaped certain death? rofl !”
But it made me wonder. I started digging through the websites that collected those strange, voyeuristic videos of destruction. Like there was someone out there who could only get through the day if they had the satisfaction of watching everything fall apart. Hundreds of videos, with more appearing every day. It took me hours, but I found the footage from the Costco, tucked away between a semi trailer coming unhitched and a scaffolding collapse.
The angle wasn’t great, you couldn’t quite see down the aisle in question. I couldn’t see myself at all. What I could see, the moment before everything came tumbling down, mad me leave my chair and pace my tiny apartment for a good fifteen minutes before I could bring myself to watch it again. But watch it I did, hoping that I’d just imagined it or misinterpreted what I saw.
There it was, though, clear as day: A huge shadowy hand wrapped around the towering shelving unit and shoved it. The hand was impossibly long and didn’t reach so much as uncoil like animate smoke. It originated back somewhere in the depths of the store, out of the camera frame.
I spent the rest of that day, and part of the next, plumbing the depths of the internet. Searching for anything, security cam footage, cell phone video, anything. I finally found the falling air conditioner unit on a Russian meme site. Someone had caught it on their webcam, pointed through the window of the apartment across the street. It looked like the air conditioner just decided it’d had enough and it was time to end it. It tipped gracefully out of the window and promptly fell out of frame.
But there, behind it, was the black smoke-hand. Smaller this time, but still inhumanly large and unmistakable.
Since then, the attempts have become more brazen, less obviously “accidental.” I don’t go to restaurants after the time I was in a pub and a knife flew off a nearby table and buried itself in the back of my chair, and I do all my shopping online ever since a chainsaw somehow started itself at Home Depot.
Each time, the dog was there, like he was waiting just on the other side of whatever invisible door he dragged me through. But I’m terrified of the one time he won’t be there. So I did some looking, scouring Google Earth and atlases and nature photography. I think I found the waving grasses, the rolling hills, that grey-dark night sky stretching from horizon to horizon.
I know getting on an airplane is likely the most foolish choice I could make, but I’m not sure there’s a more expedient way for me to reach the pampas of Argentina. I don’t know why my magical guardian dog haunts those rolling plains, but I know I will not rest until I join him. Or die trying.
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 18:15|
Getting Over It, 973 words
Three weeks after the breakup I was still lying on my couch every moment I wasn’t at work. I realized I was everything my ex had accused me of being: colorless. Dull. A stifling waste of space. Carmen had brought life into my too-orderly world. She was my reason to wake up early and exercise and shave my legs and put on makeup and do literally anything other than the barest minimum. I was lost without her. I picked up my phone and started another text, trying hard to ignore the wall of previous texts I’d sent, all marked read with no reply.
Hey. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. It’s really lonely here without you. I miss you. I miss you so, so much. Peaky misses you too. I wish you were here. I know we ended things, but do you think you could come over? Just tonight? Just for dinner? We could order from that sushi place you like
A clatter from the kitchen made me wince. Peaky had his head shoved into the bottom of his food bowl and was pushing it around the floor while whining. His nightly dinner-time ritual.
“I didn’t even want a dog,” I grumbled under my breath as I scooped his food. His water dish was empty. I carried it over to the sink and realized that to refill it I’d have to address the pile of dishes that had built up beneath the faucet.
I leaned against the counter for a moment as a wave of loneliness swept through me. The dishes had been a constant fight between us. Carmen always said she just couldn’t “see” mess. I always told her that was bullshit. But there I was, with three days of dishes built up in my sink while she updated her Insta with pics of her out at brunch with the friends she’d refused to introduce me to. It was all falling apart without her. Just like she’d said it would.
“Better to be a mess than a boring mess,” she’d snapped at me once. I clenched my fists.
Peaky whined at my feet, dragging me out of my memory hole. “Sorry, little guy.” I moved some things around and put his food and water down. He attacked his dinner while I cleaned the dishes, scattering kibble everywhere. He treated meals like a full-contact sport, chasing down every particle that fell out of his bowl and licking the floor for good measure.
I glanced back at my messages. Jesus, I sounded pathetic. The breakup had been mutual. She didn’t want to live like me, but I didn’t want to live like her either. Why was I pining for something that I didn’t even want? I should set the record straight.
This has been hard for me. I’m sure it’s been hard for you. We were together for years, but this really is for the best, I know that. We’re just incompatible. You never wanted to settle down and I was never going to be able to fulfill whatever instagrammer van-life poverty tourism lifestyle you clearly wanted. Seriously, Car, we’re in our thirties, this poo poo has to end at some point
I gripped my phone again, shoulders tense as Peaky started barking and scratching at the back door.
“If we’re going to get a dog,” I’d said to Carmen as we drove to the shelter, “let’s get a big, silent dog that has a big, fuckoff bark when it finally speaks.” And so of course Carmen fell in love with this twelve pound, yappy little poo poo that needed hours and hours of activity per day. And of course, Carmen only had the energy for that when it was time to take pictures.
I let Peaky outside, where he took off after a squirrel. It sat in a tree above him, furiously chittering while he barked and hopped around beneath it. The squirrel’s righteous outrage was the funniest thing I’d seen in weeks. Peaky abandoned the squirrel and grabbed a squeaky toy which he pushed against my leg, wagging his tail so hard he threatened to leave the earth.
I tossed the toy for Peaky. He raced after it, yapping, rolling over top of it before starting to try to rip the squeaker out. I looked around the once-flat yard, now pockmarked with holes dug up by my little dog. I realized I hadn’t been cleaning up after him all that well. And I hadn’t been walking him as much as I should. That was embarrassing. Letting my kitchen get messy was one thing, neglecting this little dog was unforgivable. I grabbed the scoop and cleaned up the yard, pausing every so often to throw his toy for him.
Back inside I glanced at the message in progress. I didn’t sound less pathetic, I sounded pathetic and angry. That wasn’t better. Maybe I just needed a distraction. Peaky jumped up on the couch beside me and rested his head in my lap, I petted him absently while scrolling through Instagram.
Carmen had posted a story of herself and Peaky running through a park, the glittery text read “LOVE THIS LITTLE GUY!!!” I remembered that video. I remembered recording it. It was from months ago. I remembered that walk.. She wouldn’t even hold his leash until it was time for me to record her acting cute, and then she’d handed him back to me straight away.
She never cared about him. Maybe she’d never cared about me either. We were just props in her life. We were just extras to help move her story forward.
gently caress that. I couldn’t deny being boring, but I knew that Peaky deserved better. I closed the app and deleted her number. I was done with this.
“Come on,” I said, grabbing his leash. “Let’s go for a walk, buddy.”
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 19:47|
The Tale of the Ship's Cat
Van watched with disdain from her perch on the bowsprit as the dog bounded up the gangplank ahead of the captain. She had met dogs before, on land, and none had impressed her. This one, with its silly droopy ears and mustache, didn’t look like it would change her opinion. It rushed up to each of the crew members, shoving its face in their hands, but it was rewarded with scratches behind the ears for this interruption. Lastly, it came up to Van. “Hello! My name is Rusty! What’s your name!” He gave Van a big sniff.
Van swatted Rusty on the nose to reestablish her personal space. “I’m Able Seacat Van, the chief mouser.”
Rusty did not seem bothered by her swipe. “Nice to meet you, Able Seacat Van! What a wonderful ship! So many smells!” His tail wagged and he looked around excitedly.
“Calm down. This is a serious research vessel, and it would not do to knock over the sensitive equipment or samples in your excitement.” She puffed up importantly. “We all have jobs aboard the ship, what is yours?”
Rusty looked uncertain. “I don’t know. I only met the captain a few days ago. He’s so nice, he gave me treats! He’s my favorite person!”
The captain called Rusty and he leaped away, tail wagging. So undignified, Van thought as she washed dog slobber off her white paws. What was the captain thinking, bringing him on board?
The mystery only deepened as they sailed away from the port. Rusty seemed to do nothing but distract the crew from their tasks and gobble up scraps from the galley. He took her spot on the captain’s bed, leaving her to spend the nights in the hold, sulking next to the cargo. Worse, he soaked up all the crew’s affection that had previously gone to Van. Rusty got ear scratches and belly rubs, and for what? For just being a big dumb dog. She tried leaving dead rats for the men, but not even those offerings seemed to help. Angry and envious, she punished the crew by clawing them whenever they reached down to pet her. Eventually, they stopped trying, leaving her to stalk the ship alone.
Things finally came to a head when Rusty snatched a piece of fish from Van’s bowl in the dining room. She jumped on him with a yowl, claws extended. The dog was not prepared for an attack and tried to wriggle away, whining. Van chased him under the table and through the mens’ legs, heedless of their shouting, until both her and Rusty were picked up by their scruffs and thrown out of the room. Van leaped on top of a crate and began grooming herself as if nothing had happened. Rusty just looked confused.
“Why did they put us outside? I wasn’t done with my dinner!” he whined.
“It’s because you took my fish,” Van said, oversimplifying the situation.
“Oh! I’m sorry, I just got excited,” Rusty said. “I get the feeling you don’t like me that much. But I like you! I like everyone on the ship!”
Van stopped licking her paws. “It’s because you are not contributing. Do you notice that everyone is working? I catch rats. The cook cooks, the helmsman steers, and the captain makes sure everyone does their jobs properly. As far as I can tell, you just get in the way.”
“Oh,” Rusty said sadly. “I do want to be helpful, but the captain hasn’t given me a job yet. So I guess I have to find a job!” His tail wagged again. “You know the ship well, can you help me?”
Van considered it. “Hmm. You’ve got a good nose. Perhaps you could be my apprentice.”
Rusty agreed eagerly and so, the next morning, he accompanied Van down into the hold. Under Van’s supervision, he quickly sniffed out a rat’s nest. However, before Van could flush them out, he pushed his head in between the crates, barking excitedly. The rats scattered and Rusty chased them around the hold, knocking over boxes pell-mell. The quartermaster came down, yelled at Rusty, then dragged him to the upper decks. Van could hear him whining. She felt bad for him momentarily, but at least he wouldn’t be taking her job anytime soon.
She found him lying sadly under the stairs. “I don’t think I did a good job,” he said.
“You didn’t,” Van said. “Your talents must lie elsewhere.”
“Oh! My mother was a guard dog for the house! I could be a guard dog!”
“Against what?” Van asked, but Rusty had already rushed off to the bow to stand watch.
Over the next day, Rusty patrolled up and down the deck. He warned the crew of an albatross flying overhead and he barked at the pod of dolphins surfing alongside the ship. This activity kept him out of Van’s way as she hunted below decks, but seemed to annoy the rest of the crew. Finally, the first mate shut Rusty down in the hold, making him Van’s problem again.
“I don’t know what to do. I just want to help, like you said.” Rusty looked at Van with mournful eyes. “But helping made the crew mad at me.”
“At least they still pet you,” Van said peevishly, twitching her orange ears.
“Maybe I’ll try helping the cook after the storm,” he said hopefully.
“Oh, the storm that’s coming. I can feel it, can’t you?”
She concentrated. Now that he mentioned it, she could sense the dropping air pressure in her fluffy ginger tail. “We have to warn the captain,” she said.
Rusty flopped over, sighing deeply. “I don’t want to get yelled at again.”
Van had no patience for self-pity that wasn’t her own. She batted him on the nose. “Get up. This is important, and you’re good at getting attention.” Obediently, he followed her as she located the captain. Van wound around his legs while Rusty bobbed in front of him. “What is going on with these animals?” the captain said, but he allowed himself to be led up onto the deck, where he quickly spotted dark clouds building on the horizon. “Batten down the hatches,” he called. “Storm’s coming!”
The storm hit several hours later. Van and Rusty were shut in the cabin to keep them out of the way. Rusty covered his nose and whimpered at every clap of thunder. Van retreated under the bed, claws dug into the floor to keep herself in place as the ship bucked and heaved. They could hear the shouts and heavy footfalls of the crew as they toiled. “We’re going to die!” Rusty cried.
“No, we’re not,” Van hissed. “The captain is good, he’s led us through worse weather.” Her point was undermined by a tremendous crash. Rusty howled and the crew’s voices turned panicked. Van just dug her claws deeper. It wouldn’t do for the dog to see that she was scared too.
Eventually, the storm abated and the ship returned to its normal rocking, albeit listing to one side. The captain finally opened the cabin door and they ran out onto the deck. The mizzenmast had fallen, smashing through half the ship to rest halfway in the sea. Van jumped on top of it to supervise as the crew scurried around with planks and saws, desperately trying to patch up the ship, which was taking on water. Rusty, for once, recognized that his help was not needed and sat under the main mast, staying out of everyone’s way.
As the sun set, the crew finished their emergency repairs. The men slumped on the deck, silent and exhausted. Noting the mood, the captain ordered the cook to bring out the rum. As the crew started drinking and relaxing, Rusty left his spot, tail wagging tentatively. He went up to each man, licking their tired faces and getting scratches in return. Van was about to tell him off when she noticed that the men petting Rusty were notably happier. Hmm. She jumped down and approached the carpenter, rubbing her head on his legs. His rough hands petted her head and she began purring. The man relaxed as well. Making their way around, Rusty and Van cheered up the crew. The bosun brought out a harmonica and the other men started singing. Both animals ended up with the captain, Rusty lying at his feet and Van on his lap. He told them what good girls and boys they were: the ultimate compliment.
“We did good, didn’t we?” Rusty asked later that night in the captain’s quarters. Van had decided to sleep there again.
“We did,” Van said. “That must be your job, then, keeping up morale. You’re quite good at it, too,” she said with grudging respect.
“It can be your job too, Van!” Rusty said happily. “The crew love you, you know.”
“I know,” she said. Despite herself, she started purring again.
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 21:56|
Flash rule: https://cfa.org/laperm/
The Wizard’s Dilemma
964 / 1000 words
Daverim of the Fifth Order, Midnight Sage and master of the mystic arts, burned dragon bones and mountain root and spoke words of power into the resulting flames. Eventually, a response came: the image of Archmage Arune, Scion of the Second circle, blossomed in the fire. The two wizards stared at each other from across the planes and the universe held its breath, awaiting the words of wisdom that they would exchange.
“gently caress me, Dave,” intoned Arune, “what happened to your face?”
“So you noticed?” Daverim rubbed his jaw, his fingers scratching through the sparse copper hairs that clung to his pale skin. “Like, it’s properly obvious?”
“You look like someone shaved a boar with their eyes shut,” Arune said. “Who’d you piss off to get cursed like that? You had a proper Merlin going on when I last saw you.”
“Oh please,” Daverim sneered, “like I’d let someone curse me. I did this myself.”
Arune took a deep breath. Then, in a voice that could - and had - called the stars from the sky and riddled with Father Time himself, he asked the Ultimate Question.
“Well I had to look presentable for the King, didn’t I?” Daverim snapped back. “I was just going to tidy up but then I took a bit too much off the left. So I tried to even it out but I took too much off the right and then - look, I couldn’t walk into a royal court with a face like a baby’s arse, could I? So I did something about it.”
“What spell did you use?” The sound of shuffling paper came through the crackling flames. “And why can’t you just use the backup?”
“I am not using the backup,” Daverim said, his eyes narrowing. “Street performers use the backup. Magicians use the backup. I’ve been summoned to the court of King Zebediah the Radiant to be congratulated on saving the Holy City from rampaging fire demons, not performing a kid’s birthday party.”
A heavy sigh echoed through the fire. “What spell, Dave?”
Daverim looked away from the fire and replied in a low voice. “Tabitha’s Tumultuous Tangles.”
“Tabi - really?” The flames leapt and snarled. “Gods, Dave, that’s for livestock! Not to mention it takes two months and your fur - sorry, hair - comes back curly! A curly beard, Dave, is that what you wanted? You’d be better off clean-shaven.”
“Well I was going to comb it, obviously,” Dave snapped back. “And I tried to speed it up with some crystallised eternity.”
“Well I feel a few years older but that’s about it.”
“Serves you right,” Arune said, sniggering.
“Yeah, yeah, you gonna help me or not?”
“Keep your hair on -” Another snigger. “- it says here you can speed it up with pixie spit. Get a good dollop in there, really rub it in.”
“I’m fresh out of pixie spit.”
“Well how long do you -”
“I’m supposed to be there in five minutes.”
At this news, the flames leapt almost to the ceiling of the ritual chamber, snarling against the stone blocks and sending a flurry of air whipping through the books and scrolls that lay scattered across the floor. In one corner Cafa, Daverim’s tabby familiar, stretched out a paw and yawned before burrowing into a tighter curl.
“Ok, ok, fine,” Arune said at last. “Fine. You got powdered mandrake?”
“Yeah,” Daverim muttered.
“And leviathan blood?”
“Well what you’ll want to do is mix them into a thick paste; it substitutes for pixie spit but only lasts a day or so. Should get you through the party or reception or whatever the King has planned.”
Daverim drew in a deep breath. The shadows lengthened and ice crystals grew across the floor; even the fire’s movements seemed to grow sluggish.
“Ron,” Daverim said, his breath misting the air in front of him, “listen to me. I am not going in front of the King smelling of leviathan blood like … like some sort of common alchemist!”
“Then throw some perfume on!” Arune’s voice - and his clear tone of exasperation - was unaffected by the slowly solidifying fire. “Gods, Dave, it’s fine.”
“They’ll think it’s incense, you know what royals are like.”
“It’s undignified!” Daverim spat and now his spittle was white-hot, melting the stone floor of the firepit. “It is beneath me, beneath the office I hold, beneath the vows I -”
“Do you want to go clean-shaven?”
“Do you want to use the leviathan blood?”
“No, absolutely not!”
“Then you know what you have to do.” Arune’s image folded its arms; his gaze drifted to the side. Daverim couldn’t see what his friend was looking at but he knew all the same. His own eyes drifted to the backup where it hung on the back of the chamber door, taunting him. Mocking what he had become.
“I can’t,” Daverim stammered, “I - I won’t.”
Now it was Arune’s words that turned icy: “Choose.”
“Wonderful, Master Daverim, simply wonderful! You are a true credit to your calling!”
King Zebediah laughed and gestured wildly with his goblet, speckling wine across the tablecloth. Most of the guests tittered and laughed along, their eyes never straying from the royal at the head of the table. Around them, the grand feast carried on in full force.
Daverim simply nodded his head and played his part, stroking his fingers through the long, thick tresses of his beard. It ran down past his belt and was almost unbelievably white. When people looked to him, they looked to the beard. He was the very picture of a powerful wizard.
He just hoped nobody spotted the way the hole didn’t quite line up with his mouth or the thin string that looped around each ear. Gods, he hated the backup.
It was so itchy.
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 22:32|
I didn't put my flash rule in my post and now if I do it will count as an edit.
Prompt Puppy: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/peruvian-inca-orchid/
Zurtilik fucked around with this message at 03:56 on Jul 5, 2021
|# ? Jul 4, 2021 23:45|
I didn't put my flash rule in my post and now if I do it will count as an edit.
Don't edit your submission.
Do edit the post you just made to include the prompt.
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 00:16|
If you look past the carousel, the one with the hosed up horses, you’ll see Anders bleeding out. He’s crumpled against the fence after running full tilt past the turnstiles at the entrance to the amusement park. The bullet that’ll finally end him hit right below his ribs, tore his liver apart. It’s all dark red violence down there now.
I run past him checking my last mag, finding it empty and tossing that and my gun aside. He turns his head like a camera, eyes firing on dying neurons, recognizing something without the capacity for recognition. I kick open the door to the haunted house and he’s as dead as any other past.
“Gentlemen, meet Singapura.”
Gabriel pats me on the shoulder, and I give the group a little wave. They’re men used to seeing temps come and go. Find a safe-cracker for a job, cut all ties, get a driver, forget they ever existed. The core is the core, anything else is a risk.
“She comes highly recommended, works security systems on-site as natural as taking a poo poo. Listen to her, she’ll have our backs.”
Anders and MG look at me, no smiles, no nothing. I prefer it that way, no attachment. Gabriel takes us through the first part of the plan: hit the Wellstar Foundation near 2nd Street. It’s a cover for a dark money depot connected to something less serious than an alphabet agency but important enough to warrant a completely off the books front guarded by top-of-the-line electronic security. That’s where I take over.
This place is so dark that an obvious, manned security presence would be a risk, so it’s all up to the pressure sensors, wires, lasers and a myriad other gadgets I can manipulate like a pianist. Gabriel takes over and explains the escape. Through an abandoned tenement building, across a lot and into an under construction amusement park. Split and spread through the whole park, enter the sewers where crews are working to reroute lines. Eventually we end up near the harbor, where we slip away on a container ship.
Stuck with a gang of dour criminals in a tiny box until we reach San Francisco, and we’re clear.
Jess takes a long sip from her coffee, Darryl spikes his.
“It’s easy, Shetland,” Jess says, “We can hound you until you’re dead, or you give us Gabriel’s crew now, and you’re done. You walk away without a loving cent, but you walk way.”
Darryl leans forward, sour breath too close, “It’s a nice fuckin’ offer. It’s charity. More than chaity.”
He leans back, runs a hand through slicked hair.
“It’s more than you deserve,” Jess says, “We could gently caress you without a second thought.”
I’m silent, watch the server in the diner take a round, filling up coffees, making small talk.
“I’ll make it easy,” Darryl says, sliding an old brick phone across the table, “You give us the target and the time, meet us when it’s done, we get you out and clear.”
Jess’ face softens, choreographed, artificial, “Gabriel has a lot of lives on his conscience, this is a good thing either way you look at it.”
I make the choice as we’re scoping the place for the third time. Me and MG looking like tourists, walking down 2nd Street snapping pictures of birds and facades. When MG is busy with the camera, I type out a message on the brick phone.
Wellstar Foundation, June sixth. Nine PM.
Jess and Darryl have told me they’ll clear the way. Let me know when I can escape. I just make sure everything goes as planned until the ambush. The sun casts all the small scratches and lines on the car window into relief as we drive down towards our target. Anders gets angry when he’s nervous. Not at anyone in particular and not in any way that fucks it up for the rest of us, just a general, focused anger. MG is just nervous, Gabriel is completely blank.
The job is flawless until it’s not. Practiced routine through the back, guns on the on-site personnel that’s there, guarantees that anyone getting hurt would make everything worse for us too. I dance across the security systems. We transfer bonds, gold and cash to bags, head for the exit.
MG takes a bullet through the throat as he opens the back door, falls forward, props the door open. Anders turns around and lets loose with half a magazine against the on-site personnel before Gabriel’s yells halt him. The shot came from outside, they’re in the alley behind the building. Gabriel tells us to run and we move towards the front of the building and the main entrance, Gabriel covering us with controlled shots towards the doorway. He turns away from the flashbang, but trips in doing so. He’s on the floor, ears ringing, when the burst of a submachine gun rides up his body terminating in the head.
Anders sprints out the door in front of me, I hear pops and see small red flowers on his back. No burst of blood or chunks of meat, just lead-antimony fate through flesh. Gunfire from out in front of the building, not behind me. The ones behind me are holding fire. Anders keeps going as bullets hit the asphalt around him. The phone beeps, “Now,” and I sprint out after him.
I see his camera-eyes as I rush through the dark. Dead as any other past, still there.
From the haunted house, it’s through the lot of a half-built rollercoaster until I reach the sewer. Ten minutes through drained pipe until I reach the docks. The phone beeps again, “Boat house, near South Star terminal.”
It’s where the docks meet the beach, just at the junction. I jog towards it out of breath, shoulder the door open. When I’m inside, I fall back towards the wall and scream until my throat feels like it could catch fire.
A few minutes later, Jess and Darryl walk in.
“Get me out of here,” I say.
“It occurs to me,” Jess says, “That you’re not done.”
I can only look at her, color draining from my face. Darryl snickers.
“Weird how you’re supposed to be so smart, but you’re this loving stupid,” he says, “You’re too useful when you’re working for us.”
Jess gives me that choreographed compassion again, but this time I can feel an intention behind it. She wants me to know it’s fake.
“This, too, is charity,” she says, “You’re not rotting in a cell, and you won’t be. But freedom has a price.”
“I assume we have a deal,” Darryl says, “Because there’s nothing else you can do.”
My face goes slack, and I stumble as I get up. I look at them for a long time before reaching out my hand.
“Good dog,” Darryl says.
I spring forward and reach down towards his holster. I’m not quick enough to avoid the draw and the first bullet, but I grab the knife he keeps next to his gun, turn it around in my hand and push it into his wrist as I feel the bloom of pain through my entire body. He screams and fires twice into nothing. At this point I’ve pivoted and I’m behind him when Jess draws. I stab Darryl twice in the small of the back, underneath where his vest ends, and grab the gun from loose fingers. I fire twice, first shot taking Jess in the gut, the next taking off part of her skull near the temple. Darryl’s bullet went into my lung, I’m breathing blood, I can feel a shivering something near my spine.
I stumble out of the boathouse and down to the beach. Above me, a helicopter—police or news—circles away before turning back towards me. I make it a few hundred feet before everything stops responding. I can fall to my knees, I can look to the sea. The bullet rubbing against my spine is a hand on my shoulder now, a dull voice in the distance, sound through fog. I sit down and watch the waves come in. I feel my eyes go heavy as the waves come in.
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 01:01|
https://cfa.org/bengal/ & https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/afghan-hound/
Bashir on the Road to Gauda
When Bashir first learned of his brother’s death, he felt great despair. He and Momen had quarreled throughout much of their youth, but Bashir bore him all the love and respect due his elder. He had seen his brother off on his journey eastward with a heart full of hope and admiration. Now, though, Momen was dead. Bashir was not yet a man, much less the man of legend, but as his father had died of illness many years before the obligation to collect Momen’s body from Gauda now sat upon Bashir’s shoulders. He did not welcome the burden. The Northern Road was not as dangerous as in centuries past, but he knew that the great distance presented countless opportunities for a thief to catch him unaware. The trip would take at least two months, and while Bashir was outfitted by his friends in the village, he dreaded the rigors of the journey.
The boy departed Kabul at dawn, and as he passed through the main gate he spoke to his horse. “I will entrust you with both myself and my brother, Sadiq,” he declared. “You will deliver me to Gauda, and then you will deliver us home.” Sadiq was an intelligent animal, and though he could not understand Bashir’s words, he knew the love and trust beneath them. The boy had treated the horse well, and his simple loyalty had helped the two become the best of friends, though perhaps to the exclusion of Bashir’s relationship with his peers. The boy now forged a solitary path, but he was well prepared, as he had long been alone in Kabul.
Days passed without incident, and as Bashir progressed further eastward the terrain grew more beautiful and unfamiliar to him. He recalled his father’s stories of his trips to Hind, and at times imagined the man riding beside him, boasting of his good fortune to be traveling with such a capable partner. He also pictured Momen, and these moments carried him into sorrow.
On the sixteenth day, Bashir was attacked. As he had feared, a thief came upon him in the night, and though the boy struggled proudly, the advantage of surprise decided the fight.
When the boy awoke, he first felt the incredible pain that radiated throughout his body. It hurt him to move, and to breathe, but he refused to stop. As Bashir rose, he saw that his horse was gone. The thief had left in haste, however, as some of the boy’s supplies remained strewn on the ground. To his great relief, Bashir still possessed a small amount of food and water. He was in peril, but his fate was not yet decided.
Bashir’s incredible feats would come later in his life, but even before he began his great works, the boy possessed power of spirit. He righted himself and fashioned a walking stick out of a branch. Relying on its support, Bashir began to follow Sadiq’s tracks in the earth. His pain would have crippled even the strongest of men, but he pressed on, determined to rescue his friend and fulfill his obligation to Momen. Bashir’s progress was slow. Though his dedication never wavered, his fatigue continued to grow. The boy motivated himself through trickery, promising that he could rest after the next turn in the road, and then the next, and so forth. Bashir had lost count of these turns when he felt his body begin to give way. The boy stumbled forward and barely caught himself before hitting the ground. Defeated, the boy sat, and stared at the winding path before him.
To Bashir’s surprise, he saw a small figure approaching him. It was not unusual to see animals along the road, of course, but none had traveled it so reliably and with such apparent purpose. Bashir soon recognized the leisurely gait of a cat. Intrigued, he settled upon a mound of earth on the roadside and waited to encounter his fellow traveler. He liked cats well enough but knew little about them. Perhaps this one’s behavior was not as strange as it appeared.
Soon enough, the cat met Bashir on the road. It was a beautiful animal, in sharp contrast to the scraggly, desperate strays that he and Momen had fed their table scraps. Stranger still, the cat’s spotted coat was pristine, with no hint of the dust and dirt that inevitably collected itself when one journeyed on the road. Bashir found himself charmed by the cat, and as it began to pass him he extended his hand to stroke it. He was taken aback, however, when the animal stopped before him and looked into his eyes. Confused, Bashir spoke for the first time since his struggle. His throat ached, but as he began to choke out his words the boy found a hoarse tone that he was comfortable with. “I admire you, cat,” he began. “You walk with grace and delicacy, while I stumble forward helplessly.” He half expected the cat to reply, but when it did not, he continued to speak. “Have you seen a horse come this way, cat? He is my friend, and I have lost him when I need him most.” The cat continued to stare at him blankly, but quickly seemed to realize that the boy had finished speaking. To Bashir’s surprise, it turned toward the direction it had come from and took off at a sprint.
Bashir had not yet come to understand the intelligence that is in all animals, but the cat’s strange behavior reinvigorated him. Perhaps it had understood him, he thought, and was trying to lead him to Sadiq. The boy collected himself and pushed forward. He limped along for several hours, and as his pain dulled his pace increased. The sun had begun to set behind him when he first noticed the trail of blood. It was faint at first, but unmistakable. It pooled alongside what he was sure were Sadiq’s tracks, and Bashir nearly wept at the thought of the abuse his attacker must have inflicted upon his friend. His alarm grew when the blood trail became thicker, and to his shock Bashir now noticed a new set of tracks alongside Sadiq’s. These seemed to grow in size as he followed along the path, and when both sets diverged into the brush Bashir slowed in fear. The blood was everywhere now, even splattered onto the leaves he carefully pushed aside as he descended into darkness. He understood that the blood was not the thief’s doing. Bashir lacked the strength to best whatever animal had drawn it, but if Sadiq had been its prey he owed it to the horse to end its suffering.
The boy stumbled forward into a clearing illuminated by moonlight and saw a man torn to shreds. Next to the body was one of Bashir’s packs, and he knew in this moment that his attacker lay before him. Bashir offered a quick prayer before scanning the clearing for any sign of Sadiq. The horse was not there, but he found two sets of tracks once again. They led further into the brush, and Bashir followed after. It was difficult, rocky terrain, but as he pressed on the boy began to hear running water. He reached for his own nearly empty water skin and quickened his pace expectantly.
He could see another gap in the brush, and as the sound of water grew louder Bashir emerged to find a small spring. He suddenly realized how thirsty he was, and as the boy bent down to drink, a movement in the trees on the opposite side of the water set him into a momentary panic. To his astoundment, he saw before him his dear friend. As Sadiq trotted out of the trees, Bashir threw himself into the spring and clumsily lunged himself through the waist-deep water. He had begun to shout in relief when he noticed the two were not alone. The cat he had met on the road sat on Sadiq’s back, and while Bashir had seen cats wash themselves countless times, he had never seen so much blood on one’s paws.
The boy gained some sense then of the things one cannot know but must understand about the world. Much is spoken of Bashir’s great strength and his later feats, but it was his strength of spirit and his compassion for his friend that delivered them both from sure death. You know of his dire trials in Gauda, but where some tell those tales as Bashir's ascendancy to greatness, they are mistaken. His legend truly begins with him badly beaten on the side of the road, talking hopelessly to a passing cat.
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 05:04|
“I’m going to turn into a werewolf!” Ulrich proclaimed. A few fellow bar patrons glanced at him before going back to their business.
“Relax, what old crone doesn’t claim to be able to cast spells or curses?” his friend said before taking a sip from his mug. The tavern they sat in was grubby and dirty, but it was the only one in the village.
“I’m serious, Sven. She chanted something strange and then told me that I would turn into a beast on a full moon.”
Sven nearly spit out his ale, “That’s tonight! How did you get in trouble with the crone anyways?”
“One of my traps accidentally killed her cat. drat that animal; it wasn’t my fault it was curious!”
“Okay, let’s say that the crone did curse you—what do we gotta do? Are we going to look for the crone?”
Ulrich looked from side to side, “There is no time! I have to restrain myself before I slaughter the whole village. I can already feel the changes.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll help you. Let’s get to your cottage and see what we can do.”
The chains and shackles restrained Ulrich to the cottage wall. Furniture and wooden planks barred the windows and doors—there was no way he could escape, not in his current form.
“Ulrich! Are you alright in there?” Sven shouted from outside the cottage.
Ulrich grumbled and muttered under his breath incoherent sentences. Sweat accumulated on his brow despite the cool, fall weather. “Not so bad—If I ignore that I will become a werewolf in a few minutes!” Ulrich shouted back.
“There is no need to be so clever. I’m here to help. Remember that,” Sven said.
Ulrich began to feel a strange sensation surging throughout his body as if some kind of spirit or beast was inside him. Then came the changes.
At first, they were gradual. Fur sprouted on Ulrich’s legs and arms. It was coarse and black in color. Ulrich stared at his fur in astonishment as he realized that it was proof that the curse was real.
He grew silver whiskers on his cheeks. His mouth and jaw elongated as fur engulfed his face.
Urich stared in horror as his hands and feet morphed into paws. His nails turned into claws.
Lastly, he started shrinking in size. His bones cracked and shifted as he became smaller; much smaller than a werewolf. That was the last thought that coursed through Ulrich’s mind before he lost consciousness.
A cat squeezed through the boarded-up window of Ulrich’s cottage—out onto the outside. Sven’s eyes widened as he stared at the cat. An elderly woman appeared, and the cat sauntered towards her as she let out a cackle.
Ulrich assumed that the crone’s curse would turn him into a werewolf. He assumed wrong.
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 06:06|
https://cfa.org/birman/ and https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/kromfohrlander/
Ruins and Battlefields
This is a story about a war, but it is not a war story. Soldiers may fight and struggle to survive, but they are far from here and scarcely notice the moment passing between two orphans in the wet mud bed of a crater from the early days, the early moments of the conflict. Jack was eager, at attention, looking skyward for paratroopers to engage with the imagined rifle that a stiff tree-branch has become in his hands. Mo was more wary. When she scanned the skies it was for those few seconds head start toward shelter she might win. When she imagined a rifle against her shoulder her thoughts were singular, and each imagined enemy soldier in her sights had the same face.
They were both thirteen, for then. Eleven months separated their birthdays. The war was four months older than her.
A siren wailed briefly then cut off. Jack turned his eyes downward, looking for motion in the ruins, and saw the rising wisp of black smoke from the tower. These blocks were unoccupied save for strays and stragglers like the two of them. Not of strategic value, likely to be spared further destruction. But movement was coming, and armies might move through here en route to somewhere that matters. He met Mo's eyes, and they agreed. Time to hide.
This is a story about growning up, but it is not a coming of age story. There was no moment of lost innocence: Jack and Mo were born to this world. Each lost their parents before they found words, Jack to the front lines and Mo to explosions behind them. There was never a time when they didn't understand that adults were, if not outright predators, at the least not to be trusted, not to be relied upon. There was Jianni, two years older and self-designated protector and provider, leader or the scrounging gang. Independence was their rule, from day one. There was no rite of passage, no figure whose approval had to be won. Jianni took tax and gave what protection he could, up to the day they made him a soldier and sent him south.
The gang fell apart after, into solitaires and dyads. The pickings were slim enough by then that the predators moved on.
A letter arrived one day, drone-delivered and addressed to Mo. From Jianni's commanding officer.
When he was fifteen, Jack snuck into Mo's room while she was out foraging to try to read it for himself, but the officer's script might as well have been hieroglyphs to his screen-taught eyes. He took pictures of it, spent a month of nights learning cursive from old dead videos stored on archives that still took connections, wondering where Mo had picked it up, if she had done the same, if she had just inferred everything from the fact of the letter. There wasn't much there. The officer had only known Jianni for five months.
Some time, a month or two later, Mo knew. There was some tell, he let on to some fine point about Jianni's death that she had never told him. Their first fight. No words. Just looks. One of disappointment and betrayal. One of resentment for keeping the secret in the first place.
Forgiveness took words. Forgiveness came much later.
This is a story of the apocalypse, or its aftermath. There had been no end to history, just more history. No final days, just bad days. A generation of bloody civil war and desperate migrations, of breakdown and collapse. A generation of forgotten children left in the ruins and lands outside.
There was an end to it, though. A truce, then a peace, then a new union on better terms. The loudspeakers had been silent for years, but they sprung to life to spread the news, and played songs old and ancient to celebrate.
Soldiers came again, dressed as police this time. Mo still didn't trust it, thought it was one more trick to draw them out for recruitment.
"Well," said Jack, "If it is then we'll go and fight."
They weren't recruiters. They were surveyors, mapping the land for rebuilding, measuring out the compensation due to displaced squatters like Jack and Mo. They promised the two that they would be resettled together, and though the next weeks were a nightmare of bureaucracy and medicine, every possession burned to flush parasites, days spend wandering bright white corridors, at the end the promise was kept. They were nearly neighbors, living in apartment towers two blocks apart.
This is a story about love but it is not a love story. Jack and Mo were close, intimate even, through those years, but never romantically, never sexually. Not like brother and sister either. But they loved.
When Mo was sick Jack starved to keep her fed. When Jack mangled his left arm Mo found a doctor from the deep wild to come and save him from rot or amputation. There was nothing either would not give.
They both married, after. Stood up at each other's weddings. When they visited each other's large and growing families, they never touched. Jack would carry Mo's children on his shoulders and Mo would hug Jack's like the last doll on Earth, and they both smiled.
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 06:30|
Flash: Japanese Bobtail
Harley Davidsons: They all have the same kind of ticking, lumping, gas-guzzling heart the company has been prizing for decades. Twenty of these monsters were roaring down the highway, two abreast in each lane, lunging through the gaps in less agile traffic. Among the swarm purred a green machine, chrome detailed, with bars that hung high overhead like some kind of workout tool. Its leather-clad rider suffered an open-face helmet: Bug corpses adhered to his Ray-Ban shades, and bounced from his greying stubble. That was Terry, a specialist investment-finance consultant (and a weekend road warrior).
Callum, the senior marketing guru riding the mauve bagger, waved his finger at a grey van up ahead —an Internal Revenue Service support vehicle, according to its markings. Terry nodded, spat into the wind, and with the synergy of their lurching machines, they flanked their prey. The driver’s side window drew near. Terry peered into the cab. Hunched over the steering wheel sat a sheepish creature in a cheap suit. He could doubtlessly hear the growling V twins, and smell the petrol haze rising from their gilded fuel tanks. His frightened eyes met Terry’s chrome gaze. The driver gulped, and Terry bounced with cruel laughter. Callum slapped the passenger side mirror, which turned to face the desert. Then, with a twist of their wrists, the swarm of Harleys surged into the midday horizon.
“Harleycoin is down fifteen percent,” said Terry, over his diner lunch of a waffle covered in pulled pork. “Is it time to switch?”
“Never switch,” said the marketing guru, taking swigs from a glass bottle of Fentiman’s pink lemonade. “Harleycoin is not just an investment; it’s a lifestyle —it’s a part of who we are.”
“That’s right,” said Terry, “we’re Harleycoin brothers.” And they shared a fist bump.
Over the desert, like the roaring of a summer storm some seventy years in the future, came the din of a detailed bobber in matte black. The Harley riders sat in the diner rose like meerkats to scan the stranger astride his black bobber as he parked. He wore a full helm, a full leather one piece in yellow and black, where a frayed and fading patch spanned his left shoulder: It said '10% organic bio ethanol'.
“What the gently caress is that?” said Terry.
“A custom Honda Valkyrie,” said Callum, “you can tell by the iconic sound of that smooth flat six.”
The stranger prised away his helmet. He was a thirty something, with buzz-cut back-and-sides and a quiff on top. The young man pushed through the glass doors of the eatery, where Terry stood by the bar, facing the stranger.
“What are you supposed to be?” said Terry.
“Me?” said the man, “I’m a corporate imagineer.”
The bankers, financiers, directors and senior managers among the Harley riders barked in their laughter. Smiling and stiff lipped, the imagineer waited to speak.
“I’m here to disrupt this market,” he said among the tittering men. “Terry, I’m challenging you to a race.”
Like the surge of the rising tides, the jeers and laughter came in waves and waves.
“—to the top of Dead Cat’s ridge.” Said the young man, and the Harley riders fell silent; the air conditioner sighing overhead.
“Heh,” said Terry, “no one can get to the top of Dead Cat’s ridge: You’ll get halfway up and it’ll just throw you back down again.”
The men in the room turned their eyes back and forth between Terry and the confident young man. Despite his reasonable analysis, Terry could feel the weight of his phone in his pocket: it was the weight of the Harleycoin numbers falling.
“But I’ll get higher than you get, that’s for sure,” he said.
They met in the desert at sunset, by Dead Cat’s Ridge. This was a slope that stretched as far as the eye could see in both directions. Like a tidal wave held in suspended animation, this rise of dirt curved steeper and steeper until it was near vertical. The Harley swarm kicked up a cloud across the desert brush to arrive where the corporate imagineer lay in wait, at the foot of Dead Cat’s Ridge.
“First machine to the top of the ridge wins,” said the young man.
“And if no one gets up there, it’s the highest,” said Terry. They shook hands.
Callum dropped the flag for them, and their machines soared toward the ridge. The men cheered the green machine, whose knobbled tires bit the dirt. They rose up the quarter pipe, kicking up dirt, and slowing as the slope pushed their front wheels above them. Terry dug himself a hole halfway up that hill, his machine still and his wheel throwing the sand behind him. The young man pulled in his clutch and fell back for a second run. But a keen eye in the crowd noticed a dust cloud coming upon them from behind. Distant vans approached them from the desert, and began to encircle the men, pinning them to the ridge.
“You’ve got to get up that hill!” Shouted Callum, “The IRS have us surrounded!”
Every man took to his machine, as Terry slid down the ridge to line up another attempt. Every Harley began to heave up the ridge, to no avail.
“This is it,” said Terry, lining up his final attempt, as the suited men began to disembark their vans, clobbering the leather-clad men with their briefcases in a brutal and bloody melee.
“For Harleycoin, Brothers!”
His knobbled tyres pressing the earth once more, and the sound of the All American roar, as he pulled alongside the Japanese bobber. But the wiley young man stuck out his foot, pushed back on the headlight of the Harley, which tumbled down Dead Cat’s ridge, alongside its rolling rider. This kick gave the Goldwing the shove it needed to cross the final yards of the mound. Victorious, the young man looked down at the melee below.
“It’ll happen to you, one day!” said Terry. “It’ll happen to you!!!”
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 12:20|
|# ? Jul 5, 2021 13:26|
Week 465 Results
ill be honest with you td, this was a fun week. note i didnt say good. it was fun though. lots of stories whose goals were to be pleasant or enjoyable instead of sad, which is honestly a surprise. the lows were clear this week, but the highs were a bit more up in the air.
so we'll start with the obvious. the first DM goes to Taletel for their shaggy
the second DM goes to Azza Bamboo who, despite posting five hours after the deadline (which earns them a special DQ as well as a DM), wrote incomprehensible bitcoin nonsense.
still, Azza has some thanking to do, because somebody else decided to be incomprehensible AND unpleasant. The loss goes to Black Griffon’s Waves for writing a story about unlikable people dying for no real good reason.
there was a bit of contention in the judging halls about the upper half, but we’re gonna start with an HM for My Shark Waifuu, who wrote a cute and competent story about cat and dog friends.
Chairchucker also gets an HM for another fun story with decent character work.
MockingQuantum, while not in contention for the win, still gets an HM for a really cool concept executed pretty well, but didnt quite have the words to get the full story out.
the win, however, goes to Staggy for writing a story that made two of the judges smile, and the other one didnt hate it, and sometimes, that’s all a winner is.
flerp fucked around with this message at 02:50 on Jul 6, 2021
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 01:14|
week 465 crits
Zurtilik - “An Evening at Papa’s”
The one where an old man has dementia.
I think this is a shaggy-dog story on purpose, to model the main character’s mental state. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make this story better – this just feels like snapshots of a character being confused, without any real sense of momentum or emotion, as the dad relays anecdote after anecdote and Sofia just seems mildly annoyed by it all. And I think the ways Sofia reacts here doesn’t really mesh with someone who’s been caring for a parent with dementia for a while; when she corrects her dad, this seems like it’s for the benefit of the reader more than to provide info on these characters. I think there’s flashes of depth here, as when Sofia is encouraged by her dad being somewhere in the right place when he talks about Lima, but on the whole I just don’t know what this story is trying to do and it just feels a little pointless.
Chairchucker - “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat”
The one where Allegra turns into a cat and tries to punish her awful boyfriend.
I kind of love this. It’s quick-witted and I really end up rooting for Allegra here, though I don’t quite believe that he’s only now realizing that her boyfriend sucks. But the cat perspective is done really well here, the tone is whimsical without being twee, and the blocking of the action is really easy to follow. There’s not a lot of depth but I don’t need that when the piece is a blast to read.
MockingQuantum - “Man’s Best Friend”
The one where the main character is cursed and repeatedly saved from near-death by a dog.
This one starts really strong, with a powerful voice, a compelling set-up, and some really good prose. But the second half of the story doesn’t execute on the set-up: a character staying home and Googling things might be my idea of a Friday night, but it’s not really that compelling to read about. It’s a shame, because the opening paragraphs here are some of the best writing I’ve read from you – they’re really gripping, vivid, and compelling. I just want to see our character confronting the danger, not avoiding it, and I think maybe the story could have sacrificed some of the lore for something more visceral.
Chernobyl Princess - “Getting Over It”
The one where a woman is depressed about a breakup and becomes slightly less depressed when she sees her ex using their dog as Instagram clout.
This is pretty good on the prose level, with some emotionally evocative specific details, but there’s not a lot of substance here. I would have liked to see a little more nuance to the characters; as is, the protagonist comes off as clearly wronged and Carmen comes off as selfish and awful. And it’s valid for the protagonist to feel that way, but I think this would be much more interesting if there was a sense that the protagonist’s recollections are warped in some way, or that there’s some sort of omission. I think the story would benefit from some third (human) character to push the protagonist in some way; since we’re just sitting in her head for most of the story, this just feels kind of stagnant.
My Shark Waifuu - “The Tale of the Ship’s Cat”
The one where Van the cat tries to teach Rusty the dog how to be useful aboard a ship.
This is pretty good! There’s a complete story here with both plot and emotional stakes, and while Van and Rusty are kind of stock cat/dog characters, they’re charming enough that they’re fun to read about anyway. The beats of the story are a little predictable, but there’s a real sweetness and coziness to the ending that I ended up enjoying anyway. A big step up in characterization from the submarine story a few weeks ago – nice work.
Staggy - “The Wizard’s Dilemma”
The one where wizards discuss grooming.
This is another shaggy dog story, and this one doesn’t really pay off very well. It’s definitely an amusing image for a very powerful dragon to be wearing a party store beard, and there’s some flavor in the proposed other options beforehand, but on the whole, this story is the opposite of substance. And I think if you’re going to end on a shaggy dog ending, you have to foreshadow what the actual solution is a little less beforehand – it should be less clear what “the backup” is before the last scene. Not terrible but very much disposable.
Black Griffon - “Waves”
The one where it’s a confusing heist.
Couldn’t get into this one. What does Singapura want? Why are there so many characters? What is the setting here? All of the characters are affectless and seem functionally identical that I just don’t care when Singapura gets… betrayed? at the end. Why does Singapura need their help to “get out of here” when it seems like she’s running free in the previous section? The action is really hard to follow, as is the motivation and goals of these characters, so I have no idea what’s happening in a micro or macro sense, other than there’s a heist and Singapura is betrayed.
t a s t e - “Bashir on the Road to Gauda”
The one where Bashir is led to his stolen horse by a cat.
There’s a consistent voice and mood here that I respect, even if I wasn’t very engaged by this story. I’m not sure if the story is referencing an actual myth that I’m unfamiliar with or if it’s just very lived-in, but it feels very mature and well-written, and the sense of desolation Bashir feels after being beset by a thief feels real. I had a hard time getting into this, though, and I think it’s because the mythic voice here keeps the reader at a distance; that said, this is definitely the kind of style that a lot of people enjoy.
Taletel - “The Curse”
The one where Ulrich thinks he’s going to get turned into a werewolf but he is actually turned into a cat.
This definitely has “oh no, the deadline” energy to it, because there is certainly a lot of story that could have filled in 500 more words here. The first two sections are just “oh no, I’m gonna become a werewolf” and the last section is “karma instead.” And I think I’m wondering why the witch turned Ulrich into a cat. Is this a bad thing for him? I actually thought that he’d been turned into some prey animal and one of the other witch’s cats was pursuing him, which feels a little more karmic. All told, very little substance and without the charm that works for the other stories low on substance this week. Good job on submitting and not failing, though!
Thranguy - “Ruins and Battlefields”
The one where two friends grow up together through war and an apocalypse.
This feels a little too heavy on style, on gravitas that is told but isn’t in the text. The characters are held at a distance in this narration, and so they end up feeling extremely thin, so that while I acknowledge that it’s something deeply felt for friends to remain close in terrible times, I don’t end up feeling it from this story. And the details of the setting are vague, painted in generalities – I usually expect some memorable, vivid imagery from a Thranguy story but this one glazes over most of the details. (The mangled arm at the end and the branch-as-gun at the beginning are good, though. Would have liked to see more of that.) It’s not awful, but it’s also not very engaging.
Azza Bamboo - “Disruption”
The one where… uh… well, there’s motorcycles and cryptocurrency.
This is a frustrating story because there is a ton of energy here and some pretty good writing, but it barely makes any sense. If I understand this right, a bunch of Harley enthusiasts have invested in some Harley crypto, for which they are being pursued by the IRS. Secondarily to this, a stranger in a Japanese bike challenges the head of the motorcycle gang to a race. The IRS continue to pursue them during this race, which the Japanese bike rider wins by tripping the Harley rider. I’m not sure if there’s a literal or symbolic connection between the IRS and the mysterious bike rider, but none of this makes a bit of sense to me, even though I like the sentence to sentence writing. It’s just Some Things That Happen.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 01:16|
There's a few I haven't read still. But wooo! I'm ready for another one. Got the dust off the old writing brain, even if it wasn't a great little story.
Thanks for keeping this cool thing going, goons.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 02:04|
Here, have some week 465 crits of varying quality and usefulness.
Zurtilik - An Evening at Papa’s
This is written decently enough, but it feels like the setup to a story that never really lands. You have characters, a setting, and some tension in that the daughter is clearly frustrated by her father’s dementia, but there’s no conflict or change from the beginning of the story to the end. Maybe — just spitballing — the father could be having difficulty looking after the dog while Maria’s not there, but reacts angrily when she suggests taking the dog away, and recounts some story about how the dog (or a past dog) was really important at one point in his life. Maybe he’s being sent to a nursing home that doesn’t allow dogs. As it is, everything feels a bit disconnected, as if the emotional weight of the piece is carried only by how much dementia sucks in general. (I’ve done similar in the past, so maybe I’m just sensitive to it.)
Also, yours was the first submission by a long way, which makes it really hard for me to overlook a lot of mistakes and clunky phrasing that would have been picked up by an editing pass. eg “A middle aged woman sat on a couch several feet from the old man, her eyes darted over to the dog and then to the old man” has both repetition and poor grammatical structure.
Anyway welcome to Thunderdome, this story wasn’t as bad as the above probably makes it sound, it’s a nice scene with realised characters, and definitely the bones for a decent story.
Chairchucker - Everybody Wants to Be a Cat
I enjoyed this story! I liked how Allegra’s transformation into a cat is handled with no explanation, and her biggest immediate concern is how to get dinner ready. I do think some choices act against this approach, though. “This had come as something of a shock to her” works as an acknowledgment that, hey, this wasn’t an expected transformation, but I feel it detracts slightly from the deadpan delivery.
My biggest problem with this piece is just how the entire story hinges upon an unrealistically expository conversation. Which I think could work, as an escalation of over-the-top misogyny and disrespect, but the execution here doesn’t quite work for me. I think, on a re-read, this may be because we have no idea about Allegra’s character until Dirk tells us everything. Even just a line or two at the start that establishes her career ambitions and drive, and maybe a sense that she feels Dirk supports her, would help the later conversation land as a betrayal, and the comic escalation wouldn’t have to fight the exposition.
MockingQuantum - Man’s Best Friend
This story raises a lot of questions and doesn’t really answer any of them, so honestly I just felt really unsatisfied after reading it. I wasn’t necessarily expecting this whole mystery to be solved in a thousand-word story, but this feels too much like the setup for a longer story, rather than a neat little self-contained piece.
Otherwise I thought the language was strong, if a bit detached, but that suits the tone of the story. I just kinda would’ve liked the story to start at the ending, here.
Chernobyl Princess - Getting Over It
This is a nice story and I enjoyed reading it. Is it pretty obvious what’s going to happen? Sure. Am I going to overlook that because it’s got a good dog in it? Absolutely.
That said, the characterisation in this doesn’t ring true to me, in particular the line about everything falling apart without Carmen. I get the sense that the protag is the sensible one who was probably holding everything together long before they broke up, and I feel Carmen could have said much worse if she wanted to hurt the protag. Besides that, their relationship is a fairly well-travelled dynamic, and I would’ve liked to have seen something more of their characters, in particular some hint as to why they stayed together for so long if they were so incompatible. (Also, “I’d rather be a mess than a boring mess” doesn’t sit right with me, like she’s implying the protag is also a mess?)
My Shark Waifuu - The Tale of the Ship’s Cat
I think this is my favourite story of the week. It’s a nice story, has distinct characters, a solid arc, and a satisfying conclusion. I guess, if I was being super critical, I found it a bit odd that it would take the captain noticing the dark storm clouds for the crew to realise there was a storm coming? But I don’t know how I’d resolve that, and it doesn’t detract from the piece as a whole.
Staggy - The Wizard’s Dilemma
Finally, some wizards!
I have no real problems with this story, but I feel it could probably be 1-200 words shorter without honestly losing much. The last line landed for me, but otherwise I feel it travels fairly recognisable fantasy-humour beats, without really expanding on the genre. I really, really liked your previous gnome / dragon story, and with only a hundred words between the two stories, I don’t think this story carries its wordcount as well.
Actually, I lied: I do have an issue with the sudden shift in register between first and second paras. I get what you’re going for, but honestly this pivot from Serious High Fantasy to regular people talking feels kind of rote in a fantasy humour piece. Maybe this would have worked better for me if Arune had immediately assumed it was a curse and asked who he pissed off, and then we switch to “gently caress me” once Daverim admits he did it to himself. Right now the shift in register feels almost telegraphed by how ornate the first para is, so I don’t feel the shift has the impact it might otherwise.
Black Griffon - Waves
I dig the connection to the theme, with the cat and dog breeds providing her different identities, and I dig the line “dead as any other past” (but not enough for it to be repeated). Otherwise this doesn’t do a lot that other, similar stories haven’t. I’m not surprised by any of the developments in this story, which is a shame — I feel I’ve read and watched far too many stories about the double-crossing team-member who gets betrayed herself, and I was hoping for something more in this case.
The scene where she makes her choice feels like it’s structurally important to seperate the surrounding scenes, but I don’t get any sense that this is a considered decision on her part. It just kind of happens and we move on.
I think, overall, my biggest issue with this piece is just that we don’t get a whole lot of insight into the protagonist. She doesn’t do anything on her own volition until the very end, and we never get any real insight into what she’s thinking or why she’s betraying Gabriel. Without some sort of clear characterisation, all I can make of this story is, as above, the basic plot beats that are familiar to a lot of other stories. I’m a fan of heist stories and a sucker for double-crossings and betrayals, but I was just hoping for this story to wow me with something unexpected in the genre.
t a s t e - Bashir on the Road to Gauda
There’s a good story in here, but I found all of the trappings about his brother’s death and the framing as some sort historical piece distracting and unnecessary, and I found it very hard to get emotionally invested.
I think it’s this biographical framing that most bothers me about this piece, both because it prompts a certain dry style that doesn’t really enamour me to reading it, but also because lines like “Bashir’s incredible feats would come later in his life” sap absolutely all of the tension out of the story. We now know Bashir will be safe for the rest of the story, because you’ve outright told us.
It’s a shame this story doesn’t work for me, because you can definitely write, but I think you made some certain stylistic choices in this piece that worked against it for me.
Taletel - The Curse
Okay, I saw the ending coming a mile off, but maybe that’s just because of the flash rule. That said, you get in, you tell your story, you get out. I think my biggest issue is that the dialogue sounds too much like the characters are two improv students. Also: really not a fan of the last lines. Yeah, we got it, thanks.
Beyond that, I’m a bit confused about where we go from here. So was this just a run-of-the-mill transformation that just happened to be triggered by a full moon, and the witch is replacing her lost cat? Or is this actually some kind of werecat situation and he’ll turn back into a man in the morning? I’m not saying you have to answer these questions in the story, but I think the impact of the ending changes depending on which of these you take to be true.
Speaking of the ending: as I said before, it’s kind of telegraphed by the flash rule, which is no fault of your own, but I do feel that everything past “he grew silver whiskers on his cheeks” is just going through the motions. Perhaps you could solve both this and the above question by fading to black as soon as his transformation starts, and then ending with Sven seeing the crone in the market the next day with a familiar-looking cat, leaving the rest to inference.
Thranguy - Ruins and Battlefields
It took me a few reads to get into this piece, as I kept feeling as if I was missing out on some extra layer of meaning. (Or: how the prompt ties in to this? I’m still a bit lost here.)
I think it’s a nice collection of scenes, with some nice characterisation early on, but nothing in here really pulls me in at an emotional level. Also, the style — especially in the first paragraph — honestly does as much as its can to push me away. “Soldiers may fight and struggle to survive, but they are far from here and scarcely notice the moment passing between two orphans in the wet mud bed of a crater from the early days, the early moments of the conflict” asks a lot of the reader for the second line in the story, but also just doesn’t make much sense. ‘Scarcely’ suggests to me they do notice the orphans, somehow.
I really wanted to like this story, and I think either the prose improves immensely through the story or else I just got more accustomed to the style, but I don’t think I took enough away from this for it to be memorable. Everything’s a bit vague and indistinct, which reinforces that feeling above that I’m somehow missing out on something.
Azza Bamboo - Disruption
The juxtaposition between investment bankers and motorbike gangs is kind of amusing, but I think the story both relies on this inherent contrast too much, and also doesn’t really do enough with it. From the beginning, I was anticipating some kind of story where a roving gang of biker bankers were attacking IRS vans, but then we’re in a diner for some reason (that segue did not work for me at all) talking about cryptocurrency for some reason, and then a corporate imagineer shows up and challenges them to a race, for some reason (isn’t that a Disney thing?).
I feel like there are too many ideas vying for attention here and you don’t properly commit to any of them, unfortunately. I dig the premise but you kind of lose me with this Dead Cat’s Ridge thing. Is this supposed to be some sort of metaphor for how cryptocurrency keeps rising and falling … ?
Also, the ending lost its impact as soon as you talk about “the Goldwing” getting the shove it needed, as you hadn’t mentioned anything about a Goldwing in the story so far and I don’t know enough about bikes to know if that’s a Harley or the Valkyrie or what. (From context it’s clearly the Harley but it threw me a bit, wondering if I’d missed something.)
rohan fucked around with this message at 03:54 on Jul 6, 2021
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 03:41|
Hmmm it's disappointing that there's no prompt yet, but once there is, IN.
Assign me a bird
Chairchucker fucked around with this message at 07:30 on Jul 6, 2021
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 06:58|
Week 466 - Birds that threaten you with a good time
This week you're going to write me a feel-good or upbeat story that will be inspired by a bird with a threatening aura.
Because I like birds, gimmick twitter accounts and feeling good about the world, you see.
You can either provide your own image of a bird with a threatening aura or let a judge choose; I'll be drawing from https://twitter.com/AurasBirds/media and you can too, though other judges may not and you don't have to. You must state what you are doing in your signup post though. If you choose the image, your max wordcount is 1000. If a judge chooses, your max wordcount is 1200.
The judge(s) will try not to assign duplicate images but if you want to choose one that somebody else has already chosen/been assigned, you may do so.
How upbeat? Well I'm not looking for forced positivity or saccharine sweetness but I do want to enjoy reading your story and maybe come away from it with a smile on my face. No bird death.
How inspired? Your story doesn't have to feature an actual bird but, as always, there should be a clear line between the image and the story.
Max Word Count: 1000 words (your choice of bird) / 1200 words (judge choice of bird)
Deadline for entry: Friday Midnight PDT / Saturday 8AM BST
Deadline for submission: Sunday Midnight PDT / Monday 8AM BST
When submitting your story, please post your image (as an image, not a twitter embed) above your story
Staggy fucked around with this message at 21:43 on Jul 8, 2021
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 07:22|
In, bird me.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 07:29|
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 07:33|
I’m in and will take a bird
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 08:03|
in, give bird
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 08:25|
in me bird, give me my bird
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 08:29|
In. Please give me a bird.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 09:08|
In, gimme a bird. Also since I missed last week.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 10:41|
Hmmm it's disappointing that there's no prompt yet, but once there is, IN.
In, bird me.
I’m in and will take a bird
in, give bird
in me bird, give me my bird
In. Please give me a bird.
In, gimme a bird. Also since I missed last week.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 12:11|
In, this is my bird:
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 12:28|
In bird please
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 13:42|
In and in need of bird
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 14:17|
In, bird me please
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 14:38|
In bird please
In and in need of bird
In, bird me please
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 18:05|
In. Hand over the bird.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 18:15|
In. Hand over the bird.
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 22:14|
|# ? Dec 3, 2023 23:20|
I like birbs and feel-good stories so I'll judge
|# ? Jul 6, 2021 23:45|