week 439: new year new me same blunderdome
at the beginning of 2020, i went out of town to irving for a fighting game tournament where i hung out with a ton of friends in a crowded conference room yelling incoherently at dumb video games. sometimes, we dont know what's going to happen, how much the world has changed, until you really think back and realize "holy poo poo that was actually this year? i thought that was like five years ago?"
in the spirit of 2020, as one final hurrah for this hell year, i want stories about transformations and transitions. physical, emotional, or whatever kind of change. people, time, and place changing. i want to see the world as people know it start out as one thing and then become something unrecognizeable at the end. the change can be big or small, but no matter, i want things to just be different. better or worse, up to you. but honestly, i am a little sick and tired of poo poo always getting worse.
2500 words, 4000 words with a
fri/sun 1159pm PST
no google doc links, no poetry
flash rules on request
those who stay the same (because they are cool and handsome)
other judge 2
those who change
Tree Bucket the moon is gone
Weltlich the rocks are angry
Thranguy the grass whisper
Staggy the air hardens
flerp fucked around with this message at 04:46 on Jan 3, 2021
|# ¿ Jan 1, 2021 01:04|
|# ¿ Apr 10, 2021 22:57|
In, flash me please
(from the old thread)
the air hardens
|# ¿ Jan 1, 2021 01:10|
sign ups closed
|# ¿ Jan 2, 2021 22:46|
|# ¿ Jan 4, 2021 16:54|
week 439 results
i suppose it's my fault for asking you for stories about the world changing and not foreseeing that i would get sci-fi. so much sci-fi. omg
pretty average but boring week. didnt make me want to die, but did make me want to take a nap
the winner goes to tyrannosaurus for not writing sci-fi
DM goes to tree bucket for trying to do way too much in not enough words
loss goes to weltlich because i dont know who shakespeare is
|# ¿ Jan 5, 2021 00:06|
|# ¿ Jan 5, 2021 02:02|
New in town
Night of revelry
i tell you this to make it true
Wait for the man with oceans in his eyes, my son. You do not know what oceans are, yes, but you will know when you see him. For when you do, you will know he will end the world.
He will come into town at night, like this one. Rain drizzling across the earth, and he will come in, clothes dry and eyes unblinking. He will be handsome, more handsome than you ever thought a man could be. I will be dead by then, so I can not warn you, but I will tell you now. If you look into his eyes, you will fall in and drown.
It will start harmlessly, as every end does. A few glances while he sits at the bar, ordering a drink. He will look at you, and smile. Like a dagger in your side, you will be lost before you even know it. You will sit next to him, and he will ask you your name, and you will give it, but never ask his. You will already know he doesn’t have one.
Then the man will shout over the shouts in the bar and ask you if you want to see something. You will nod, since it is so hard to speak to this man. His face is tan, and his smile is sharp, and you cannot look away. Then he will give the barman far too much money, and the alcohol will be flowing, and everyone will be drinking, and too much of it will reach you. His face though, will always be so clear. He will whisper in your ears things you can’t quite understand, telling you of towns and cities outside these ones.
Then he will tell you of the oceans. He will tell you he’s a sailor, that he circled the entire world over and over. He will tell you that, beyond the walls of these cities, farther than you can see from the top of the central tower, there is a vast and terrible ocean. He will tell you it swallowed many of his friends, of nights stuck in storms, where his ship rocked, and he saw men be thrown over and plummet into the depths of the darkness. Most of his words will topple over you, things you can't understand. Masts and starboards and riggings, they mean nothing to you. Still, these words will be the ones that make you whisper in his ears, “Please, I want to know more.”
He will smile, and he will (please pardon a metaphor you won’t understand) reel you in. He will pull you out of the bar, into the tempest outside. You won’t notice how crazed the weather is, how hard the rain hits against the back of your coat, because he will be holding your hand. He will be so warm, so carefully wrapped around your fingers, that you will feel like you’re burning, despite the winter storm.
He will take you into a house, your house maybe, you won’t know for it will be too dark, and he will kiss you. You will have, by then, kissed others, but it will feel like the first. It will be soft and simple and somehow salty. You will ask him to tell you more about the ocean, and he will. He will tell you he grew up by the waves, that he splashed in there as a child, that his father was lost to it. He will tell you of the expansiveness of it, of looking out across a cliffside and seeing only water. I see you right now, straining, trying to picture it. Don’t worry, even then, you will not be able to see it. It’s okay.
This may seem hard to you now, but you will grow to hate the earth. This town may seem so big right now, but eventually, the walls will feel like hands squeezing against your head. You will spend your days pacing along them, counting the steps, and finding the numbers to be so small. You will ask people who come in what it is like outside, and they will tell you it is flat. The grass brown and the land quiet. Sure, it feels loud now, but eventually, even on gusty evenings, the wind will feel like a whisper.
And you will hate the earth for what it does. It has already taken your mother. It will take me, of course, and the earth will also hold the promise of taking you. I do not blame you for eventually wanting to leave, of hating this place. This is why I am telling you of this man, so you are ready.
You and the man will be in the bed together. He will be holding you, tighter than you ever thought a person could, running his fingers through your hair. You will ask him, “I want to see the ocean.”
It might seem so simple now, those words, but I promise you, they will change everything. Because the man’s fingers will stop, and he will pull away from you, but you will ask him again.
“I need to see it,” you will say. “I have to.”
And the man, as quiet as ever, will take you out of whatever home you were in, and into the rain for the last time. It will be so dark, darker than you ever thought possible. This time you will feel the rain striking against you, like it is trying to push you away. But the man will be so strong, his grip so tight, that you will not let go.
To think, a place where water does not fall, but beneath you. Something like a puddle, but larger, vaster, never drying. Things called fish, swimming underneath you. Something like a bird with no feathers, gliding through the water, but even that comparison doesn’t conjure the right image. You have to see it to know, and you will want to see it. Maybe you want to now. I don’t blame you. I wish to see it too.
So he takes you to the central tower. Yes, I know you’ve climbed up there before. I know you’ve look out across the top of it, at the expanse of our nation, and you must think it huge, yes? Well, eventually, it will not look so daunting. Especially not with that man by your side. You will only see a flatness. Nothing changing, nothing rolling.
“Do you want to see it?” the man says.
You will be terrified for the first time since you saw the man, and that is okay. It is okay to be scared. However, his words will flutter in your mids. Of waves, glistening in the sun, seafoam spread across sand. You will not be able to understand what that looks like, no matter how much you try. You will want to, so hard, but you won’t be able to.
So you say yes.
You and him, you will end this world with a kiss. It will tear the tower down, and suck in the entire of the world. The rain will fill the entire chasm of our homes, and you two will drown in an ocean of your creation.
And I tell you this now, I wish I could see it. A new sea, made from my son.
|# ¿ Jan 10, 2021 23:37|
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2021 20:10|
this story fails because of scope. you try to have an entire character’s history within 2500 words, which is extremely difficult, and here, it doesnt work. you’re trying to both craft a world that’s pretty out there while trying to tell a cohesive story spanning a long period of time, and you end up just being too constrained, where the world doesnt feel strong enough, the characters arent interesting enough, and the plot doesnt do enough. there’s just enough space for all of this individual pieces to work. i would, if you were trying to keep this in word count, to focus on a specific scene or moment and use that individual scene to explore the character and setting.
i also have some general qualms, which the old guy is just an exposition dump, which felt really awkward and kinda unnecessary. there’s a few tense shifts in here as well. i also really dislike the libertarian weirdo character, since he feels extremely fake and like youre just trying to make fun of those types of people w/o really doing anything in the story.
i like this concept, but i feel like the voice is kinda forced, trying to be this kinda like w/e sort of dude, which i think is fine, but the forced nature of makes it feel constructed, and not quite lands with the naturalistic feel that it should. however, i did enjoy the stuff about the dad and the parallel between the dad growing to like his afterlife and the real world kinda falling apart but the latter part was kinda weird because it was in the background and i couldnt quite put my finger on what it was or what it was really trying to do in the story. the relationship with the son and dad was pretty alright and felt realistic. however, my main issue is that the story doesnt quite fit together at the end. it doesnt really hit the final beat it needs to to bridge the entire concept into something bigger than “some stuff happened.” like, i see the parallels, i see what’s happening, but it never really culminates into making something bigger.
this one is odd. its from a very distinct perspective, which is cool, but idk i cant find myself really pulled in. i think it has to do with the vagueness. its not really clear what these people are (aliens? robots?), what they want besides like world domination, and the character perspective of a grunt doesnt really help that. maybe thats the point, that, despite being an immortal, ever-respawning soldier, they wont ever know why they fight. but i dont think this lands from an alien perspective because i feel like i need to at least what theyre being told why theyre fighting when we get nothing. i also dont really get the ending? the soldier seems idk not happy about fighting, but relatively w/e about it, that him going like “im breaking free from the system” doesnt really line up with the rest of the story. like, it doesnt feel the character was ever trying to become free, and then all of a sudden he wants to? didnt land.
idk this one doesnt hit for me. i dont rly care about sci-fi stuff, and the world here is just like computers went crazy or w/e. but its not rly clear why or why theyre throwing literature at robots. i feel like thats probably some kind of literary reference, but also, im illiterate, so it doesnt land for me. its just, there’s not really anything interesting in this story. its honestly just a boring ww2 story where they sit in a foxhole waiting for things to happen, and then theyre saved by an outside force, and then the person mails a letter like that was supposed to be mean something? idk but seriously why are they throwing books at robots?????
this feels like brotherly’s, in the sense that the voice does feel rather forced here. there’s a few times where it lapses in genuine and good ways, especially near the end, but the beginning does feel super forced. this also feels a bit too forced in its political views. im not going to be that whole both sides sort of nerd, but in fiction, where you have free reign to control how your characters act, it feels just a little too much that the liberal sister is unequivocally good and the conservative mother a horrible person. i feel like you try to combat at the start by calling the sister annoying, but then she’s just super supportive and kind and understanding and then the mother murders her husband which you know might be playing your hand a little obviously. also, on the mother murdering the husband, that was a bad ending. i did enjoy the story for the most part besides the forced voice, as i thought it was a nice reconnecting story over some trauma. but then the main character sets up her own father to be killed and that was just not nice? i feel like you had that ending in mind from the start and thought hey thats cool, but it just feels so harsh of an end to what shouldve been a nice and cute conclusion
this one is like… what??? people find out somebody had a wedding, but actually, theres a fake news for everyone out there and it just ends up being like… so what? you just spend your time setting that up, but it doesnt really change anything. the people just end up laughing about it and being like welp i guess thats how the world works now, oh well. there’s also hints at a bigger, weirder world thats super restricted or w/e, but that also doesnt really make sense or seem to lead to anything different so i dont know why thats a thing except to add extra useless details that dont rly inform the story much. and then you try to culminate it into your last paragraph, but it doesnt work because your story wasnt really about trust. it was just about how people have fake news about themselves all over the place, but it wasnt about trying to figure out who to trust, so the last bit does not work at all.
i dont really get the list format since its just like counting every sentence but it does have the benefit of answering the occasional question i have reading stories about how many sentences there are in a story so maybe the list format was the right choice who can really say. but anyways this is pretty alright, but obv very light. it kinda starts out tongue and cheek, but then gets kinda serious, esp w/ the person saying they might not be saved and it was weird to say that, so they clearly were expecting to be saved, but theyre also talking about trolls, and idk getting kinda mixed signals here. it also just kinda ends, but idk how youre supposed to end a story like this where the whole world kinda just stops because the story kinda stops, which ig makes sense, not the most satisfying end but it fits together like youd expect, but maybe thats the problem, it kinda just hits the notes you expect and says thats enough and is that really enough?
|# ¿ Jan 15, 2021 05:11|
The bed is empty. The blankets are strewn about like dust and you're tired and the neighbor’s porch light blares through your window and you can’t do anything about it because they’ve been gone for weeks.
So you do what any reasonable man does, and put on some shorts and grab a tank top from the dirty hamper and plan to walk out into the winter night so the cold hits in before the hangover hits, which of course it does when you reach the front door. Your dog Tina barks behind you, collar jingling, and you bend down to tell her that it is 3 AM, which is no time for a walk, but then you realize that you were going anyway, so you sigh, say you win, and grab the leash and go out into the night.
Your phone vibrates and there’s a message but you don’t look at it because your bed was empty. You know your phone has something of platitudes from Alex, that it says something like I had a great night but my cat was throwing up and all those I love yous and kisses on the necks were real and I love what we have but work is really busy and my grandma is sick and my dad doesn’t know I’m gay, so I need like a week or two months before we can see each other again but I really do care about you. Or maybe you’re overreacting and it’s some stupid heart emoji but somethings aren’t simple. Then Tina tugs on the leash so you let the headaches overtake your thoughts. Tina drags you to the vacant neighbor’s lawn to poo poo on and you stare at the pile of crap and consider for too long not picking it up because the assholes really had to leave the one light on, but you’re not a dick like Alex so you pick it up.
So you and her, you walk. You don’t really have a plan because, really, look at yourself. You’re wearing a dirty tank top and shorts, walking in the middle of the streets and if you were a cop, you would almost certainly pull yourself over and ask what kinda drugs you were on, man drugs would definitely make this better. But it’s too late or too early to buy any, so instead you go to the creek down the street, and now you’d think if a cop saw you here, you’d think you were trying to kill yourself, and sure your headache would get better if you drowned, but Tina is splashing her paws against the water, and what would she think if you up and died?
And so, you think, if not now, then when, and look at your phone and it says thanks for the great times, but I don’t think this is gonna work out and, man, what the gently caress. You thought it’d be harder if there were excuses, because you could be pissed off at Alex, but the bluntness takes that way from you. You can only look at the words, and remember the way he held you tonight, the way he whispered to you that made you feel like you mattered, all of these winter nights that have been too loving cold, he made them warm. The way you walked into your room sometimes, and saw him covered in your blankets, and you realized there was somebody actually wanting you here, somebody who needed you, and now it was all, maybe not a lie, but just gone. You want to scream at something but somehow all of that energy just can’t get out in the way you want it to, so you fall down onto your back and even though you’re pissed, even though you want to punch the ground until your hand bleeds, you cry and it loving sucks and
Tina hops onto your chest. She’s big, and you trained her from jumping on people, but here she is, crushing your rib cage, her snout up next to your face. Her wet paws soak through your shirt. Her breath is warm and she’s panting loud and you hug her. She squirms, but relaxes and presses her full body against yours, and everything feels quiet. She’s a calm dog, always has been, just wanting to be pet and fed and played with, and every since you got her, you knew that when you came home, she would come up and paw at your shoes until you threw the tennis ball at least a hundred times and maybe poo poo isn’t so bad and maybe Alex has a reason and there’s a bunch of cute boys out there and maybe it’s okay to keep crying, so you do, and Tina just stares at you. You smile despite the crying and thank God that dogs don’t understand why that looks weird.
Then, finally, you and Tina leave the creek behind and go home.
Your bed is empty and the sheets are in the same ragged pile you left them. You slink into them, and Tina scratches at your door, so you let her in even though she’s not supposed to be in your room, and she hops in your bed, and you cuddle next to her, and it's like the neighbor’s light isnt on and it’s like the bed isn’t empty.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2021 00:50|
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2021 15:39|
just a few more minutes like this
You’re flat on your rear end, wet grass staining the back of your shirt. Enrique spits on you, which, even in the fog of your mind, just seems unnecessarily cruel and petty, and he walks away. There’s a big long silence, where you stare up at the grey sky, and you’re not really on the ground and not really seeing anything, and there’s just a loud ring bouncing along your skull and you can’t quite recall why you’re on the ground until there’s someone kneeling down next to you.
“That was a loving hit,” Abe says. “I actually thought you might’ve died.”
You’re not quite sure, because it doesn’t look like the clouds are moving, so maybe you did die, and death is just a pause button. Then Abe puts a hand on your chest and it’s warm and hey, you can feel things. Progress, you decide.
“Yeah,” you say, and the words actually make sounds and you’re starting to feel like a person again. Which, of course, means the side of your head starts to smart like hell, and there’s a trickle of warmth pooling down into your ear and, man, you’re bleeding.
“So, you wanna get up?” Abe asks, and you feel the ground underneath you for the first time and it’s hard as hell, but also, the clouds are shimmering from the sun behind them, and the cold air is making your blood chill the side of your head.
“Nah, I like it down here,” you say.
Abe cocks his head, so you add, “Wanna join me?”
He laughs a little, then, he does it. He lies down next to you and puts your head against your chest. He’s never done that before, you realize, and you remember that you can also remember.
“Thanks,” Abe says, “for having such a thick skull.”
You run your fingers through his hair. You’d never done that before either, but you realize that Abe probably thinks you’re hosed up, so you can get away with it.
“One of my skills is being too dumb to die,” you say.
Abe doesn’t laugh, even though you think he should. “You still have to think sometimes,” he said. “It’s not like I liked watching that.”
And then the memories hit you. It wasn’t even a big kiss. It was just a peck. And then Enrique started walking over to you two, talking about fags and the like, and you’d never had to deal with that before, so, yeah, you stood up too fast and balled up your fists, and said some rather unkind things about his face and his attitude, but he was also calling Abe a queer boy, and yeah, you could’ve handled it better, but you asked him what he was going to do about it, and okay, yeah, you really are dumb as poo poo sometimes.
“You’re right,” you say. “I’ll try to get the poo poo kicked out of me less.”
Abe laughs, and says, “Promise?”
“Promise,” you say.
Then Abe pulls himself right up close to your face, wipes away a little bit of the blood, and snuggles himself close up to your chin. His breath is warm, and yeah, your head still hurts like hell, and your dad is gonna have a lot of questions about why you’re bleeding, and there’ll be a huge rear end bruise that’ll hurt for a couple weeks at least, but there’s worse places to be, knocked to the grass, cradled next to Abe.
So you’ll get up, the both of you, in just a second. But when it happens, the pain will come rolling back, the blood will start dripping, and the world will start up again, so you want to just take a breather. You also still have to figure out if Enrique will kick your rear end if he sees you kiss Abe again.
Then Abe whispers, “You’re right, it is nice down here,” and his warm hand slides against your neck, and you decide, if the cost is getting knocked on your rear end, then it’s worth it and kiss Abe.
|# ¿ Jan 25, 2021 00:28|
|# ¿ Jan 25, 2021 23:16|
There was only one car left - now that's gone too
The last car in the world is stuck in a ditch. Richard is standing next to you, laughing his rear end off.
“Holy hell, we did it,” he says.
It was your dad’s car. He loved it more than you. When he passed, he gave it to you, and it sat in your garage for months. He kept it for years, after all of the other cars were sold and the world was slowing down. Then, he passed it on to you because he was an rear end in a top hat.
“Yeah,” you say, staring at ever-turning wheels sputtering in the dirt. A cinder block is on the gas pedal, and the two of you wait for something to happen. A bit of you hopes that it will explode, ignite the air around you, but you know it won’t happen.
“Do you think my dad’s pissed?” you ask, and Richard stares at you. You understand why, because Richard doesn’t really know your dad, and you agreed to destroy this car explicitly to piss off the corpse of your dad.
“I don’t know,” he says, “but it feels good, right?”
You nod, but you’re not sure. The car is a roaring mess, most of its red paint already flaked off. You remember afternoons of your dad washing it, and then yelling at you to help, and then yelling at you because somehow the tires weren’t clean enough even though you knelt down so long washing them that your knees were aching. When you were fifteen, you even keyed it, and your dad blamed it on the neighbors because they were the hippie types like everyone else who didn’t appreciate the way gasoline smelled. Of course, he also blamed you, because you probably left the garage door open, but it was better than him thinking you keyed it.
You see the scrape you left years ago, still on the metal. It felt good, when it happened, when you tore into the car, but that was because your dad could actually see it. You did, after all, keep your dad’s car. You could’ve sold it, or gave it away. You should’ve, since it was useless and was taking up space, but you didn’t.
“I wish he was here,” you say, and Richard smiles.
“Yeah, I’d love to see his face.”
“No,” you say. “I mean, yeah, that’d be kinda funny, but, I don’t know. Maybe if he saw this, he’d get it.”
Richard cocks his head then sits at the ridge of the ditch. You join him, and he touches your hand.
“Get what?” he asks.
“Me, I guess.”
The words feel weird. You’ve been dating Richard a few months before dad’s death, and they never met each other. For good reason, of course, because your dad never really got you being gay. Like you did, once, work up the courage to tell him, hey, I like boys, and he laughed and said that’s not how it works. So you’ve only told Richard what you tell most everyone. Your dad was a dick who hated everything but his car. The only reason he kept you in the house was because you paid rent.
Richard wraps his arm around you and pulls you in tight. It’s supposed to be comforting, but feels more like an obligation, that your words make no sense, but that he has to do something.
“I don’t know,” you say. “I hate him, I think. I hate how everything he did, it always felt like it was for something. I had to wash his car as a kid, or I’d be grounded. He called me when he got admitted to the hospital. He told me I had to visit. That if I didn’t, he’d keep the house. Write me out of the will.”
“loving dick,” Richard says.
“Yeah, but he just, he didn’t get it. He started with that line. Like, the reason I went there, it was because I wanted to see my dad. Not ‘cause I was scared of him. Or wanted something from him. I just wanted to see him.”
The car sputters beneath you, dust floating into the air. You know why he gave you the car. It was because that was the point of you seeing him. You came and you asked him how he was feeling, and he said the doctors gave him a few days, and that, when he went, he wanted you to make sure nothing would happen to the car. It was always something, you thought then. Even when he was dying. It was always about something he needed.
“He just, never got it. Never got that you could just, do things just because. There always had to be a reason,” you say.
You stare at the car. You wonder what dad would be doing here. Running down the hill, shouting at you to do something. You wonder what you would do. Would you tell him that you didn’t want to help? Would you go down there, help him rip open the door, taking the block off the gas?
“I thought this was supposed to feel good,” you say, “but it just feels petty.”
Richard stares up at the sky for a while, then says, “He was something else, huh? Piece of a poo poo ain’t the word huh?”
You nod, because the right word is dad, but you don’t want to say it to him.
Then Richard looks down at the car. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have even suggested it.”
You shake your head. “It’s fine. I just, I wish he was here. Not that I miss him. Just so I’d get one more chance, to really show him who I was.”
“I don’t know,” Richard says. “I mean, didn’t you already have enough chances?”
You look down, for the last time, at the car your dad made his life. He would be pissed. He would probably threaten to kill you. And he would ask you, why? Why would you destroy the thing he cared about the most? He would want there to be a why, for you to give him a clean answer. Even one that’s as simple as you hating him.
You would tell him that there isn’t a why and doesn’t have to be a why and to stop looking for whys and just let things be as they are. You’d tell him you could just do things without a reason.
But he’s dead and buried, and the car is waiting there, waiting for all the gas to burn up. You know if he saw that, he’d be pissed. And if you told him that you had no reason, he’d say you’re wrong. No matter how much you tried, he would convince himself of something.
So you and Richard leave the corpse of that car and the last bit of a man who will never understand, waiting for the explosion that never comes.
|# ¿ Feb 1, 2021 05:22|
emotion: jesus christ youre dumb as poo poo, i love you
|# ¿ Feb 9, 2021 19:29|
do I like you, or do I want to BE you??
We Didn’t Drown
Raynard sits at the edge of the wall, shirtless, feet dipped into the new ocean below. You sit down next to him and rub your hand against his back, his muscles tightening.
“The sun’s out today,” you say. It was raining when the world ended, dark clouds and thunderstorms. Now, light shimmers across the waves. You had never seen water so vast until today. The horizon was always flat plains, empty and endless. Now, you see the rise and fall of water, small ripples that build into larger waves that crash into pillars sticking out from the water. Old towers of the city you once knew.
“I missed this,” Raynard says, putting his hand on your thighs. “You can taste the salt in the air. You don’t realize you miss it all until it’s back, I guess.”
He looks at you. He is the man your father warned you of. The man with oceans in his eyes. A deep, shimmering blue that twinkles with the light. He kisses you, so quickly that you don’t have time to process if you want it or not. You do, of course, so you lean into it and taste the salt of his mouth, feel the roughness of his tongue. Then a splash strikes against the two of you, and Raynard releases you.
There is something in the water. A flickering of gray, and Raynard reaches down with such an unbelievable quickness you miss his hands entering the water. Then, he pulls out a thing, squirming in his hands.
“A fish,” he says. He told you of them. Of things that breathed the ocean waves and swam with their fins deep into the trenches. There are thousands of them, teeming in the oceans you never saw. Now there are more, living in the ocean you two made.
“It’s odd,” you say. It still shakes in Raynard’s hands, and you touch it. It is slippery and slimy and hard and its eyes are weird and vast like the waters beneath you.
“These taste good,” he says, “when you cook ‘em, of course. You get good at cooking them when you see as much as me.”
You almost ask him what he saw. You remember the stories he told you in bed that night you met. You remember the glimmering waves, the ocean storms, the crashing of waves against his window. But you cannot feel them. You set your hand out into the open air and feel the blister of heat rise against your forehead. He told you about sunburns, when you would lay too long on the deck of a ship, and the sun would turn you red before you turned tan. Then he laughed and rubbed his hands against your pale skin and said yours had a kind of beauty too.
“It’s hard to describe,” he says. “The taste. Sorta salty, but just, sorta different than everything else.”
“Kinda like you,” you say and he laughs.
In the night, Raynard finds driftwood and starts a fire. He stakes the fish through and holds it over, waiting and watching. You sit as far off the wall as you can. You look out over the darkness, at the waning moon and the drifting tides. For years, you looked up at the sky, at the rain, and wondered what it would all look like flooded. It is here, endless, and you could go in any direction.
“Food’s done,” Raynard says, sitting down next to you. He hands you a slice of meat and you take it.
You two sit in silence for a long time, until he says, “Do you want me to tell you another story?”
You asked him so much, the night you met him. You asked him about his life, about what waves and oceans are, about all the places he had seen. Now, you look forward. You wonder what lies in these waters, what deaths you might defy like he did, so many times.
“Which way,” you ask, “should we go?”
Raynard looks up, then points towards the sky.
“My mom always said,” Raynard says. “If you don’t know where to go, you head towards that star.”
You don’t see what star he’s pointing at. There’s an endless array of them, shimmering, reflected in the dark waves. But you nod. It doesn’t matter which star you go to.
“My dad told me when I met you, I would drown.”
“And you still decided to be with me?” Raynard says.
You nod and Raynard laughs.
“Nicest compliment I think I’ve ever gotten.”
“But we didn’t drown,” you say. “I thought I’d only know the ocean from what you told me.”
Raynard stands up, dusting off his shirt. He’s smiling. You can somehow see it in the dark.
“But now, I think I can really know it. More than just through your words. Really feel it.”
Raynard offers you his hand and you grab it.
“I missed the ocean,” Raynard says, “but what I miss even more.” He kisses you then says, “Is seeing the world with someone else.”
His body is warm, despite the chill air. He fiddles with your hair, and you have never felt so close to another person. Even on that night with him. He feels so full, so full of life and stories, but you look out into the distance. The waves do not look like the puddles you saw all your life. They look like experiences, moments to fill yourself with.
There is a new world you made, and a new person holding you, and you want to know everything about those two things.
|# ¿ Feb 15, 2021 07:05|
|# ¿ Feb 18, 2021 22:39|
so we keep on burning
It’s late summer when the sun speaks to me.
“Hey,” it asks, “if you had a choice, how would you like the world to end?”
I’m laying outside my apartment balcony, just lost my job, AC shut off, my ex inside grabbing all his stuff for the last time. The hammock’s his too, which he’ll take in a bit, but for now, at least I get to enjoy the humid August air on something at least a little soft.
“I don’t know, probably loudly?” I say. “Never thought about it much.”
“I think about it a lot,” the sun says. “I look down at you guys, and I wonder what it must be like.”
“Being human? Kinda poo poo, if I’ll be honest.”
“No, not that. I wonder what it’s like not to burn.”
The sun beams down against my bare chest. Summers always drag in the city, heat dripping from the clouds and into your building. Can’t even afford to run AC for most of the year, and the landlord already has my number for being late for too many months.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy,” I say, “if you’re looking for someone not burning.”
“Or the right guy,” the sun says, “if I’m looking for someone burning.”
The city roars underneath me. It’s always been too loud, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, too smelly, too much.
“I change my mind,” I say. “If the world has to end, I want it to take its time.”
“One day,” the sun says, “I will burn so bright, that I will eat up this world.”
“Well, yeah, but if I had a choice, I’d want it to all just slow down. Just, you know, one day, you stop smelling. Then everything stops being cold or warm and it’s just, you can’t feel anymore. You go outside, and there’s just no cars. And you can walk and walk and walk, but you never really go anywhere. The mountains are all gone and the rivers just don’t move. And then eventually, you stop too. Sounds nicer than a big ol’ explosion, don’t you think?”
The sun considers for a moment. I look at it. It's crimson underneath the layer of smog.
“We don’t get to choose how the world ends,” the sun says, “but if we could, I would prefer it to be fast.”
“A slow burn is still a burn,” it says.
“Fair enough,” I say, “but it doesn’t really matter, now does it?”
“Lots of things don’t matter, but we still keep talking about them.”
I lay in the sunlight for a while. The heat trickles through my skin and I really wish my landlord would just finally shut up about the electricity and let me run the AC for one goddamn afternoon, but of course, that’s not how things work.
But then again, the sun isn’t supposed to talk, and sure the world is supposed to end, and not much matters, but that’s only if you decide things don’t matter.
“Is it alright if I change my mind again?” I ask.
“Huh?” the sun says.
“If I could choose how the world ends, I’d want it to not.”
The sun shimmers again. The heat is unbearable, even this late into summer, but it is something. A sensation rubbing against your arm. Maybe it wouldn’t be so great if things ended slowly. Not so great if all this heat was gone.
“I’d ask you to not take us all out if that did anything. Because, yeah, it does all kinda suck, but also, I kinda like it here. Sitting here, talking about the end. It makes me not want it.”
“Me too,” the sun says, “and if it’s worth anything, I’d rather not take you out either.”
“Well, it’s not over yet,” I say. “So might as well enjoy it while we can, eh?”
So I lie down on the hammock until my ex comes and takes the hammock so I lie down on the hot balcony, waiting for the sun to set and for the heat to seep away and for the cold to creep in. Waiting for the end that will come, but that me and the sun don’t want.
|# ¿ Feb 21, 2021 03:30|
island of the god watchers
|# ¿ Feb 23, 2021 15:06|
island of the god watchers
the thin line between now and later
When you were ten, you found a god on the sidewalk.
It was a crystal. When you picked it up, you knew it was a god because it told you it was. You asked what kind of god it was, and it didn’t know. It was a new god, and new ones didn’t know what they were until they figured it out. You didn’t realize it was like you, not knowing what type of thing you were, but it did ask you to take it because a god needed to be watched to grow.
So you took it into your room, and you talked to it. You didn’t have many friends, so you told it about your day, your parents, your room, anything and everything. In the mornings, you placed it next to the window, and the sunlight shone through it and sent splintered rainbow lights throughout the room. He sometimes talked back to you, but not much. He never told you his name, but he did say he was a he.
Then, one day, you noticed it talking even less than normal.
“Something wrong?” you asked.
“I’m thinking,” he said.
“Just thinking,” he said. “Keep talking.”
So you did, and then he talked less, then he stopped answering. You knew he was thinking so much he didn’t have time to talk. Then eventually, you stuffed him in a drawer and forgot about him until you became sixteen.
Your dad found your private Twitter where you tweeted too much about being gay and retweeting too much gay smut. It happened when you were at school and then you walked in and your dad was there at the kitchen table. He was looking past you. Then he asked you, what the hell?
You didn’t have an answer because you didn’t know what he saw, so you said huh, and that was wrong because he stood up and got real close to you.
Then he asked you what was wrong with you, why you lied to him, why you did this to him. He gripped your wrist hard and squeezed and told you he did so much for you. You realized in the middle of the rant what happened, or what he knew, and you wanted to explain, but then what was there to explain? You were gay, and you didn’t tell him because this would happen. You wanted to cry, but your dad taught you a long time ago not to cry, so you held it. You held in everything inside of you until, thank god, your mom walked downstairs.
And she came up slow, bless her soul, and put her hand on his back, and said, honey, we should talk real quick. And dad let go. He turned to her and away from you. Mom nodded to you, and you snuck upstairs.
Your computer was on and your Twitter was sitting there, scrolled way too far down. You deleted your account, and sat there on the computer, holding onto your wrist. It was sore and red, and you remembered your dad’s other hand. It was a fist. Was he going to hit you?
Then the god spoke to you. It had been so long, but you remembered his voice. Soft and easy. He said your dad wanted to. He really wanted to hit you.
So you cried. You didn’t want to believe the god, but his voice was so certain, so simple, that it was the only possibility. Just the thought of your dad wanting to hit you, maybe even wanting to kill you, it poured everything out of you. You collapsed on your bed, and you sunk your head into your sheets and muffled your cries because you knew it would only be worse if your dad heard it.
Then a knock. You didn’t answer. Then it was your mom’s voice. You didn’t answer again. He left, she said, so you opened it, but not before you wiped the tears from your face and threw the need to cry down into yourself.
She smiled her calm smile, and she told you it was okay. She said she loved you, and would always love you. She said your dad was a complicated guy, and didn’t get some things, and that she would try. She would try to tell him that you aren’t any different than you used to be, and that, one day, he will come around. It will take time, and you’ll have to leave when you turn eighteen, but she has some family friends nearby she can talk to, and they’ll take you in. It will be better for everyone, she said, when you leave. She promised you money, not enough for college on its own, but enough to help. Then she told you your dad loved you. That he always loved you and never stopped loving you, and he just didn’t understand some things, and she would work to help him understand.
She hugged you and stroked your hair and asked if your wrist hurt, and you said no even though it burned, and she said good. You didn’t cry in front of her. You couldn’t show her how much you hurt. You asked her if you could have some time, and she said of course and closed the door.
Then you laid down, and the god spoke to you. He said, “I know what kind of god I am.”
You didn’t answer. You didn’t care.
“I’m the god of the future.”
You wanted to laugh, but his voice wasn’t funny, so instead, you hit your head against the pillow.
“He won’t understand,” the god of the future said. “He will never understand.”
You don’t know why, but you believed him. And you thought that should’ve hurt. You thought knowing that your dad would never love you for what you are, that it would tear you up inside. Instead, you smiled.
Because, in the future, when your mom tells you to maybe eat upstairs at night, you would get why. You would know that when your dad didn’t look at you, you didn’t have to worry because there was no point.
And the god of the future, he kept telling you what was going to be. He told you that your mom was right, that you would move out, but she did send you money. He told you that you two would talk every now and then on Facebook. You two would hardly ever see each other in person because she needed you to keep the peace, but when you did meet, she hugged you tight. She would even cry sometimes. She would tell you how good you look, and smile when you told her about how you were doing.
The god of the future, he told you she would meet your long term boyfriend just once, but when she did, she would hug him too, and tell him how much she wanted to meet him. She would say you two look cute together, that she thinks you should get engaged, but she never saw that day. She would die, the god of the future said, married to your dad. Your dad would eventually disown you, once he found out you moved in with your boyfriend.
You won’t go to your mom’s funeral. Your uncle called you, said the family thought it best to make sure nothing happened. You’d been keeping the peace for years, so you accepted. On the day of the funeral, you will light a single candle in the living room. Your boyfriend will wrap his arms around you and ask you if you’re alright. You’ll be honest, which you can be with him, and you’ll say you aren’t. And he’ll say, “It’s okay to not be alright.” You’ll put your head against his chest, and he’ll stroke your hair like your mom did.
The god of the future, he told you that you will be in a bed that is warm. Your boyfriend will be there with you and he will hold you, and when he tells you he loves you, he’ll mean it. When he says he understands in a way your mom and dad never will, he’ll be right. You’ll fall into him and he’ll catch you and cradle you, and you’ll cry in front of someone.
So, the day after your dad wanted to hit you, you put the crystal that was the god of the future onto the desk for the first time since you were young. The light shone through it, but it didn’t shatter into a bunch of different lights. It was a single white beam of light, aimed straight at the door. It led to the bed that you would have, the person who would hold you and tell you that everything wasn’t alright, but it was okay for things to not be alright.
And each day, you walked through that light, opened the door, knowing the future wasn’t going to be easy, but better.
|# ¿ Feb 28, 2021 22:37|
|# ¿ Mar 17, 2021 17:30|
You woke up to your pale skin aching and burning and peeling. Your forearms flared pink, and you went downstairs and asked your dad if he had any moisturizer.
“What kinda guy has a moisturizer?” he asked
Your skin burned too much to object, so you said, “Look at me.”
Dad looked up from his TV, starting from your face, then to your bare belly, and said, “It’s a spider bite.”
“All over me?” you asked.
He shrugged, and said, “Maybe a few. My skin gets like that too, sometimes. Take a shower. That’ll help.”
So you sighed, and went into the shower, and you put yourself into the water. It didn’t help. Instead, the cold mingled with the heat in a criss-cross of pain, shivering and burning at the same time. You put shampoo in your hand, but it seeped in the cracks of your skin and stung your fingers. You waited a few minutes in there, contemplating your ugly skin. It was worse than when you woke up. The pink was darker, closer to a red.
So you left, and you went downstairs with the towel still on because putting on clothes was chafing your skin, and you said, “The shower didn’t help.”
And your dad asked, “What do you want me to do?”
And you said, “Something,” even though the only solution you could think of was tearing it all off, digging your nails into your skin and peeling off the layer of red to get back down to whatever didn’t hurt.
“Does it hurt?” he asked
“Not much,” you lied.
“A drink, then,” he said.
You laughed, but dad stared at you, and you realized he meant it, so you followed him to the freezer and he pulled out some tequila. He smiled, pouring two shots and said, “This always helps me.”
Your dad took the shot fast before even cheering with you. You looked at the alcohol, the smell seeping up your nostril. You wanted to vomit before even tasting it. Your dad looked at you expectantly, so you sighed, and took a swig. The burn that covered your outside skin then dug into your insides. The tequila sat heavy in your stomach, throat straining from the cheap tequila. You coughed and your dad started laughing and you smiled because you didn’t want to look like you didn’t like drinking.
“Feel better?” he asked, and you wanted to reach into your stomach and wrench the alcohol out of you, but instead you said,
“A little, yeah.”
Your dad smiled and said, “I was like that, when I was young. Didn’t like it either. But you get used to it.”
Then he poured you another shot, and the words lingered inside of you. You were like him, once. You couldn’t take another shot without vomiting.
“Maybe I’ll lie down,” you said, and he nodded before he downed his glass.
You didn’t lie down when you got to your room. Instead, you stared back into the mirror. Your body made you want to throw up more than the drinks. You were short and fat, like your dad, and you hated how the rash made your flabs look even worse. Then you looked at your fingers. Stubby, like your dad’s. You looked at your eyes. Black and harsh, like your dad’s. Everywhere you looked -- your short legs, the thick hair around your nipples, your slight underbite -- you saw your dad. Even the peeling skin, he said he got it before you.
The tequila swirled in your stomach, and you wanted to reach inside of yourself and find those pieces of your dad and tear them from your insides, piece by piece. Then you saw a divot in your palm. You put your nail in it, and the skin gave way, like wrapping paper. You peeled, and there, you saw new skin. Tanner, thin skin. Then, you pulled and pulled and pulled.
There was a new person in front of you, standing on a pile of red skin. He was tall and lanky. His fingers were thin. His eyes were blue and calm. His stomach didn’t hurt with the tequila inside of it. He was tan and smiling and thin and
He wasn’t your dad.
And, as if your dad could smell the burning skin underneath you, he opened the door to your room.
“Are you alright?” your dad asked you as he glared at your new body.
You said, “Yeah. I feel like I’m me.” And, for the first time, it felt like you weren’t lying.
Your dad glared at you, and you could feel his eyes tracking, judging your new slender fingers and darker eyes, and all you could do was smile, because he could no longer see himself in you.
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2021 04:56|
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2021 22:36|
How a Transformer Fanfiction Made Me Gay
Two kinds of people read fanfic. One kind is so obsessed with some media that they take any scrap they could get. The other type is the twerps who mocked them. Me and Ricardo were twerps.
We were weirdos who only had the internet and only liked each other. So most evenings were on Skype, playing Call of Duty, saying slurs to strangers as was our god-given duty of being a teen on the internet.
Then Ricardo said, “Hey, have you heard of My Immortal?”
Now, enough’s been said about My Immortal, but we got obsessed fast. We spent nights together laughing at the stupid names and the embarrasing emo bullshit that reminded us too much of middle school. Ricardo started going further. He trawled fanfiction.net, dragging tons of Supernatural and Sherlock fics out of the depths. We took turns reading them in lovely voices and laughing at teenage girls being endlessly horny for Benedict Cumberbatch.
Then he found the Gay Transformer Fanfic. It was officially called “Transformer: Eternity’s End” by Optibee99, but we never called it that. It had some kind of plot about the Decepticons finding something on the moon, but we weren’t reading it for the plot.
We were reading it because Optimus Prime railed the poo poo out of Bumblebee in the first three chapters.
We weren’t strangers to the sex stuff because there was a lot of that poo poo. Transformers, though, was something special. Most fanfics are either obvious trolls (I still say My Immortal is a troll even if Ricardo disagrees), or just too earnest that it felt mean to riff on.
Transformers was something incredible. Right in chapter three, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee went at it in the most awkward way possible. The author described Optimus’s dick as a “metal banana going into Bumblebee’s exhaust pipe,” and, well, yeah, it was funny as hell. We would whisper to each other “metal banana” in the middle of class and we’d die laughing for minutes.
It didn’t feel fake though. When we found it, it was still updating, and was already around fifty chapters in. The other thing was how chaotically horny it was. The Autobots and Decepticons fought and then the robots went home, hosed and cuddled in bed. At some point, Bumblebee was ripped apart by Starscream, then in the next few paragraphs, Optimus was in the guts (or gears) of a different Transformer. By the time me and Ricardo stopped reading it, all the Autobots had hosed all the other Autobots, and even some of the Decepticons.
We fell in fast love with the fic. We caught up with Gay Transformers in a couple of weeks. Then we waited on updates. During school, sometimes Ricardo would text me, “New drop,” and I knew it’d be a fun Skype call that evening.
We were deep into the Transformers world during senior year. I went over to Ricardo's more, since my parents were tired of being married and fighting, and started getting divorced and fighting.
Now, I was a shithead teen who thought himself straight. And it is the greatest shame of my life to say that it was Optibee’s (both the author and ship) fault that I’m gay. The love between the two robots was genuine and the author’s confidence was inspiring. I mean, there were clearly more embarrassing things than being gay.
Ricardo was a bit to blame too for making me gay.
It was a few weeks before Christmas break. My mom had moved all the way out, and Dad wasn’t much for conversation, so there wasn’t much there for me. It was freezing cold and me and Ricardo were wrapped in a blanket, reading. We were too close together to be just friends, but I’d already been questioning myself that I didn’t really mind. He was my best friend, and he was laughing so hard that I didn’t notice when he laid his head against my shoulder.
Then he said to me, “I’m glad you’re here.”
And I said, “I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere else.”
Ricardo smiled, and it was the cutest drat thing I’d ever seen, so I kissed the first guy in my life that night.
Then I spent the night there, and a few more nights there. We got into a rhythm of playing games, reading Gay Transformer, making out, and trying out things. And when we laughed about Optimus Prime’s new love interest of an OC Transformer who was bright purple and a gigantic rear end (yes, that was a thing), it didn’t feel like we were making fun of Optibee anymore. After all, we were just as awkwardly fumbling with each other as Optibee was with the Transformers.
We didn’t last as an official couple since we ended up at different schools, but we still talk all the time. Sometimes I wonder what brought us closer, the gay sex or the gay Transformers. And, yes, I did call Ricardo’s dick a metal banana once.
So I won’t forget Gay Transformer Fanfiction. It was one of the few things that I felt like I could care about. I hated school, my parents, everything but Ricardo. I didn’t want to care. I hated caring. Making fun of fanfic, at the time, was so cathartic because I could laugh at those idiots who cared so much they didn’t notice how poo poo they were.
And then there was the Gay Transformer Fanfiction. So terrible, so long, so stupidly genuine, that it broke through my teenage assholeness. Maybe I would’ve ended up where I am without it.
Or maybe not. Maybe Optibee, someone who found Transformers way too sexy, really did change our lives with his gay robots. I do want to find Optibee. To thank them for the laughs, for the nights spent with Ricardo rather than being alone, for giving me the chance to kiss Ricardo.
And also so I can ask why the hell he called Optimus Prime’s dick a metal banana.
|# ¿ Mar 29, 2021 03:12|
|# ¿ Apr 10, 2021 22:57|
in dragon fact
|# ¿ Mar 29, 2021 13:47|