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Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


Two things:

1. Still looking for two judges this week!

2. Forgot to mention in the original post, but this will be a negative mention free week. No loser, no DMs. I’m on holiday and don’t need that negative energy.


Sep 22, 2000

Soiled Meat
I can judge this week.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
I will judge.

Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


Sign-ups are closed now I guess? I’m not used to being in this timezone. If I’m wrong and sign-ups should still be open, feel free to go ahead and join. If I’m right and sign-ups should have closed hours ago, go ahead and sign up anyway.

Jan 21, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy

Albatrossy_Rodent posted:

Cut of your derp Brawl

I would like to see some parody, please. If you want, I'll give you a popular short story to parody. What "parody" means is up to you.

No word limit, but don't get cute with that, I'll be mad if you make it hyperbolically long as a bit.

Due two Wednesdays from now

This is like 3 days from now right? Just to be clear.

Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!

No the next one

Jan 21, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy


derp fucked around with this message at 01:01 on Dec 15, 2023

Vinny Possum
Sep 21, 2015

Thumbnail in the Coffin
1001 words

Ioan peered through a slit in the wall of his cabin. The line stretched down the winding path till it was out of site. Tourists, almost all of them. Ioan snorted, and pulled on the rest of his habit. Ever since that blasted instagram hunter delivered an unwanted product placement to his social media, the place had been swarming with them. Most didn't speak Romanian, or even Hungarian. He sighed. He supposed he should thank God for the slaying of Vyacheslav the Shriveled, and even for the extra income all these heathen simpletons brought into the order, but he preferred the simple life he had before the spot went viral.

Eva was already outside delivering her usual spiel, with telltale flicks of holy water and flashes of a crucifix. It wasn't foolproof, but the ritual did double duty of adding a bit of mystique to the place, and possibly revealing some bloodsucker's thrall via an involuntary twitch or cringe.

Ioan headed down to his desk. Two crates of stakes sat there, open. They were both fakes, ash wood from the nearby forest, but not the grove of the True Cross itself. One was made up to look a little more convincing. The real stakes were naturally in short supply, as overcutting would be a disaster for the human race, and only sold to carefully vetted clients with a history in the hunting business. Ioan hated the business of selling fakes, but the order needed the cash.

The day dragged on. Stamping "seals of authenticity”, repeating the sign of the cross, granting the spare shavings of the actual stakes to earnest religious pilgrims. By afternoon the line had thinned out a bit.

Ioan resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the sight of the young man before him. Chubby and scruffy, with a patchy beard and ponytail, he seemed to have trouble making direct eye contact. He wore a duster and fedora, both ill fitting and positioned sloppily.

“Come forward son, what brings you on your pilgrimage?” Ioan did his best to not sound sarcastic, and stroked his beard to give an impression of being busy and thoughtful, rather than bored and annoyed.

“I-I’m looking for stakes, Father Ioan.” the kid stared at the floor, the icons on the wall, only giving the monk an occasional furtive glance. Surprisingly, he spoke Romanian, not confidently or smoothly, but like someone who had poured an impressive amount of time into language learning apps.

“Of course, God can provide. All we ask is a small donation, 250 Leu, for the maintenance of our grove and the upkeep.”
Ioan reached into the first box as the young man fumbled for cash.

“Not those… The real ones.”

Ioan forced a paternal smile.

“Of course. You're a bright lad. The real thing is more precious, but 500 should cover our costs and keep us running.”

“Don't bullshit me.”

“Excuse me, Young man?” Ioan raised his eyebrows.

“I need the real thing.” The kid was glowering at him directly now, with an intensity in his eyes that took Ioan aback.

“This is-”

The young man pulled a vial of dark bile from his duster. It swirled for a moment, then went stale.

“Do you mind if I test it then?”

Ioan sighed. The westerner knew his stuff. Where he got the humors of a vampire was a puzzle, but it showed at least more than a passing knowledge. Maybe it would be easier to reason with him honestly.

“I will be frank with you then. This is serious business. We simply don't have enough wood for every fool who's filled with Hollywood hubris and romantic notions. If it was up to me we wouldn't be open to the public at all. Go back to America, go to school. Learn to program. This is not a world you can be a part of.”

“Please, father.” the young man grabbed at his hand, leaning over the desk. “They killed my parents… took my sister….”

The tears, of desperation and rage, seemed sincere. Ioan felt a his heartstrings tug a little bit.

“Blind revenge is a fruitless task, son. Better to leave this up to professionals.” he put a hand on the young man's shoulder. The young man, in turn, began to cry a little.

“I-I just need…” he sank to his knees.

Ioan muttered a short prayer under his breath. Maybe he could break protocol just this once. Maybe give the lad a chance. Tragedy at the hands of a bloodsucker was the whole reason he had gotten into this business and joined the clergy himself as a young, angry man. Who was he to deny another that opportunity?

Slowly, he reached into his drawer and pulled out one of the three genuine stakes inside, cut from wood from a copse of trees planted from seedlings that had sprouted off the timbers of the True Cross itself. He pressed on into the messy young man's fingerless-glove covered hands.

“Tell no one of this, and go with God, son.” he blessed the boy, and lifted him to his feet. “Now run along, we must have all visitors out before sundown.”

The boy kissed his hand, bowed in an almost Japanese style, and shuffled out backwards, repeating the gesture as he left through the door. Ioan sighed, with a bit of nostalgia this time. He was a little afraid he was sending the kid to his death, but maybe, just maybe, he could do it.

The next morning, as he was breaking his fast, Eva approached him, smartphone open.

“Father, have you seen this?”

It was a YouTube video, only hours old. It took him a moment to recognize the young man from yesterday, cleaned up and dressed in much less ridiculous getup. He was making an exaggerated face of feigned astonishment, and a red circle and arrow highlighted a photo of the stake he had been given.


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
1,145 Words

Henrik sat near the hearth, transfixed by the fleeting shapes in the flames. His grip tightened on the gnarled leather whip in his hands, intent rising with each passing second. The resounding crack that followed was laced with Henrik’s pained winces. As sure as the barbs on the whip flayed his flesh, the spirits that haunted him were quieted. In the doorway, a concerned attendant watched as Henrik whipped himself. Henrik, feeling the attendant’s presence, turned to face them with a gaze of deep placidity. He nodded and returned to his penance. The whip cracked with more fervor.

* * *

It had been more than a year since Henrik had begun his pilgrimage to the Monastery of Fallen Grace, and now, at the base of the mountain its sacred halls had been carved into, he was within reach of redemption.

As he climbed, he recalled his previous attempts at exorcising his devils. No matter the amount of prayer or mystic-guided rituals he participated in, he was unable to rid himself of the atrocities that plagued his mind. The horrors he had committed with his own hands in the name of cruel gods and crueler vassals would not leave him. He was stained to his core with the blood of the innocent and they demanded vengeance.

He had been at the bottom of a bottle in a cattle pen, in the contemplation of ending his own life, when he was given an unexpected lifeline. A man in soft, billowing robes approached Henrik and studied him with weary eyes.

“The rusted armor and dull sword tell all there is to tell. You are a soul on the verge of collapse,” the man said.

Henrik tried to wave him away ineffectually.

“I sense in you a soul seeking redemption… seeking absolution.”

Henrik tried to retreat into the hay, but his drunkenness rendered him immobile. Tears welled up in Henrik’s eyes as the man pulled up the hem of his robe and knelt beside him. The robed man, a monk by Henrik’s assertion, had looked at him stolidly and without judgment.

The monk produced a vial of dark liquid that shimmered in the moonlight. Then the monk gingerly worked his fingers onto Henrik’s cheeks, lowering his jaw and parting the lips enough to receive a single drop of the curious liquid.

Henrik recognized the taste right away as blood, but had not expected it to, nearly instantaneously, turn sweet. It was at this moment that the incessant voices and visions vanished. Tears flowed unbidden from Henrik’s eyes as he realized this.

“The Spirits… they’re gone,” henrik said, disbelieving the words as he spoke them.

“Not gone, brother, but placated,” said the man. “Seek out the Monastery of Fallen Grace. There you will be given a new purpose. There you will find what you seek.”

“That liquid. What is it? I must have it!” Henrik demanded.

“You cannot.”


“It is too precious a resource, and now that you’ve been shown the way, it would be wasted on you. That single drop alone will sustain you on the journey to come.”

“B-but the voices… the visions… they’ll return without it.”

“The burden you’ve shouldered all this time has been lessened. It is your penance, and yet still, you must become more penitent. When the spirits return, and they will, you must placate them with your flesh. Blood for blood,” said the robed man, then he retrieved a worn cat o’ nine tails from his robe and placed it into Henrik’s hands. “I have shown you the way, you must follow it if you wish to be redeemed.”

Then the monk disappeared into the night leaving Henrik somewhat restored to the man he once was.

* * *

The climb to the peak had taken Henrik nearly a full day, but when he had arrived he was met by a pair of monks who stood resolutely at the entrance to the monastery like wardens.

“Why have you come here?” the first monk asked.

“I am Henrik of Aglemmar and I have come seeking absolution.”

“I apologize, but you’ll not find absolution here. You have been misled.”

“That cannot be. One of your order came to me and saved my life. They—they had a liquid, a vial nearly black as pitch, and equally acrid to the taste, like sharp blood, but then… It was so sweet and purifying. It was as if I had no troubles in the world. As if I had been forgiven by all I had wronged.”

“You were not forgiven and your troubles are not behind you. They are who you have become, and who you will be. There is no absolution for you here.”
Henrik fell to his knees and desperately flung himself at the unflinching monk. “You must let me in, please. I cannot go on like this!”

“You misunderstand, brother Henrik,” the other monk said, helping him to his feet. “The way to you is not barred, but we are forever stained by our sins. They cannot be absolved. Even the divine must become penitent in their failing. It is your resolve that led you here, and it is this strength of character that will allow you to do what comes next.”

“And what might that be?” Henrik asked genuinely curious.

“Your vigil.” The monk said as he opened the monastery doors.

A frigid gust of air escaped as the door flung open and Henrik trudged in slowly, reminded more of a tomb, than a site of holy worship.

He navigated elaborately carved halls that depicted an eternal battle between good and evil. As he continued, he began to hear the low murmur of chanting. When he rounded the corner, he stepped into a large apse and his mind reeled. Hoisted from the domed ceiling in constricting chains was a creature unlike any he had ever seen. It had the size of a dozen men and a multitude of wings that seemed to burn but produce no heat.

Beneath it, a circle of monks chanted in perfect harmony. If one left, they were replaced without interruption by another who joined the chant effortlessly. A person, nondescript in every way except for their robes, stood beneath the creature with a golden lance and smoldering thurible. At the height of the chant, the person would spear the creature’s abdomen allowing it to bleed into the reservoir it had been suspended above.

Henrik’s mind struggled to reject what he was seeing, but then as he turned to flee, it spoke to him saying, “Take, eat,” and it was at this moment that Henrik truly saw the creature. A being fallen so far from grace as to willingly give itself to mortals. To engage freely in penance for sins Henrik would never even begin to comprehend.

Then without any interruption or hesitation or lack of understanding on his part, Henrik joined in the chant.

Sep 5, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Brand new ancestral tradition
741 words

André was winded. He sweated, even in the shade of the juniper trees. His feet hurt, even in sports shoes. How old was he, he wondered, and of course he knew the answer, but then he stumbled on an exposed root in the path, and Camille had to grab him lest he fell.

“We’re almost there,” she said. Her smile was a little worried. Even his daughter had gray hair.

Camille’s children had stridden ahead with the impatience of youth. When he left the juniper grove he saw them twenty meters below, arguing about a large stone. The slope around them was steep, mostly scorched grass with patches of broom and lavender.

“Be careful dad, the trail is steep. You want me to go first?”

André descended the trail carefully, without answering. His adult grandson and granddaughter were arguing about legends.
“But the stories of Melusine and Arthur, they were new once too,” his granddaughter said.
“They weren’t made up by a company, though,” his grandson said.
“How do you know?”

When André reached them he saw the stone was a concrete block with stylized low reliefs of knight and a fay. A small placard beside it explained that the fay lived in the lake and the knight was in love with her. The trail they walked was themed after their legend.

“Grandpa, do you remember that, a story of a fay living in a water and a knight, from when you were young? I think they made it up after they filled the reservoir, and now they pretend it’s from the Middle Ages.”
“No, I don’t think so, I don't remember that.”
He sat on the stone, one buttock on the knight and the other on the fay, catching his breath. He looked at the lake, trying to see beyond it, under it. He closed his eyes to see better.

“See,” his grandson said, “it’s all made up. Fake medieval kitsch for the tourists.”
“Let your grandfather rest,” Camille said. Lower, she added, “That was where it was.”

That was where it was indeed, the village where he had grown, before the dam, before college, before selling insurance in a small town with a graveyard full of strangers and a concrete church. The place where their family came from, generations buried under the waters.

He sat there a long time, the others rested on the grass around him, surrounding him with unspoken affection, a little regretful, as if he was dead already like his wife.

“Do you remember the place?” his granddaughter asked, a bit enticing, as if politely asking for a share of his memories. “The village?”

Every house, every shop, every barn, he remembered it all. He had been there before, in this very sport, he was sure, when ran through the countryside with the other boys, tearing their clothes on broom thorns. He saw the limestone chapel, the fountain with its rusty pipe, Mr Germain’s school, the war memorial with his two uncles (his mother always pointed them to him and she was sad, even twenty years after the war). He remembered the three roads meeting in a Y on the village square and the dry stone walls on either side of them. He saw the pastures and the fields, the overgrown pond, the small wood where they played at war. There was one tree, a gnarly oak, with two boughs that formed a perfect seat, and when they raced for it the winner got to sit on it. He saw the hill that was now an island, the river where he jumped one winter on a dare, the mill whose owner was a cousin to whom nobody talked.

He remembered the sound of dead scattered people’s voices and horse cart wheels. He remembered the smell of manure and hay. He remembered the taste of tallow on rye bread, and Sunday jam, and communion wafers. He remembered his own grandfather, sitting in the sun, smoking and spitting. He remembered blood on his wife’s scraped knee, she must have been eight or so, and the way she bit her lip to be brave. It all came rushing to him and he bit his lip too.

And for maybe the first time in his life, something selfish called at André, like a voice from the lake, a desire to keep for himself what had been taken from him.

“I don’t remember that well,” he said.

Apr 21, 2010

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

see archive

Thranguy fucked around with this message at 07:17 on Jan 8, 2024

May 21, 2001

The Advent of Television
704 words

"Just ordinary, as expected."

Masao mumbled to himself, and finished chewing the first bite of his dumplings. Juicy with the flavor of beef, the satisfying elasticity of konnyaku, and finished a touch of cool mayo a small sprinkle of green onion, a drizzle of sweetly-dark sauce to bring it all together, it was familiar, yet had a subtle freshness to it. Being a boy of ten years of age, the taste of nostalgia was a phenomena that was still blossoming for him. There was something there that tickled his senses in a way that evoked a tinge of transient memories that struck and faded like a bolt of lightning.

"Hey, mister, what do you call these things," he called out, peering over the counter towards the kitchen.

The chef's cleaver thumped against the cutting board over the muffled static of a transistor radio sitting on the counter. A nightly science program was running its course, as scheduled. The middle-aged man working the kitchen set his cleaver down and turned towards the boy, wiping the sweat from his brow.

Showa period, 8th year. Advances in the field of electronics have been made last month in Germany, as engineers have produced a concept for a glass cathode ray tube, dubbed the 'CRT'..

The program continued as he approached.

"Those are Radioyaki. And I am Endo," he watched patiently as Masao swallowed another bite, then continued:

"Packed with flavor. Each bite tastes as if you are eating them for the first time."

Masao appeared unimpressed, but the man was able to sense the boy's curiosity slowly building.

"Well, mister, this is the first time."

"And..?" Endo asked, eagerly.

...and are expected to display a picture of far greater fidelity than the current spiral of apertures utilized in the neon tube 'Televisors' developed by Baird incorporated, across the Pacific...

The program buzzed softly from a few feet away.

"It's not that they aren't good, Mr Endo. It's just.." He paused, and began to chew the last morsel of the 3-serving dish. He delivered the news, unperceptive of the program playing in the background:

"Bor-ing." Masao placed his chopsticks on the face of the empty dish.

Endo concealed the slight graze to his ego with a chortle. "Is food supposed to be fun?" He muttered and turned towards the radio, hitting back with a firm "MURI."

"It was tasty, I wouldn't look forward to eating it again," Masao chirped. "The meaty part is a bit rough. It takes time to chew through, it's like a chore."

...within the next decade and beyond, engineers expect to construct a tube that can display a full-color picture far more exciting than the monochromatic images that are currently being produced...

Endo's senses unconsciously touched upon the words blaring from the program as he meditated on the young boy's words. He reflexively reached out to switch the dial to off to further tend to his thoughts. In that moment, the idea of beef was dead to him. The grainy texture and monochromatic flavor melded with the whir of the radio signal and faded away, leaving only the sizzle of the batter forming in the iron molds behind him.

"Maybe it is time to move on from radio," Endo conceded. "Come back next week, and i'll have something different."

The curiosity that Masao had been concealing earlier now radiated outwards from his eyes as he spoke. "Oh, like what, mister Endo?"

"You'll have to solve the mystery," Endo said, boldly. "That's what fun is, isn't it?" He had ideas to workshop. Innovations often took time, but once the ball was rolling, it was likely to gain momentum. He looked back to the spherical molds in the kitchen, then to Masao who had risen from his seat and turned to leave.

"Next will be the first time, so be sure to come back," he yelled to the boy.

"See you next week, mister Endo."

The first televisions wouldn't hit their neck of the woods for a half-dozen more years or so, thus the dumplings came to be served in batches of two rows of three each. One for each year in waiting spent to finally leave the radio behind.

Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


submissions are closed

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you

Week 582 Submission/Make Up
some late bs, in transit betwixt nightmare dimensions

Jed's Words

In the end, the speciality of any place is only the speciality of another place. Heartbreak.

Lol. JK. When I went to visit my new neighbor, Jed, the first thing he ever said to me was, “Holy poo poo, did you fill out your ID ten T form?” And as a ten year old, that was shocking. Some dude who just said poo poo without regard to a couple neighborhood kids. And Justin said no, the same as me, and he wrote IDIOT on a scrap of paper and handed it over. And I got red in the face cuz I was interested in the adult world of forms and taxes and these jokes were beneath me.

Jed drove a Honda CRX hatchback and worked at Fischer Scientific which was the last place in the world to actively produce radium paint. So if you want a local wrysm, that’s it. Oh, that’s a ‘wrong ecosystem’. It’s just our local slang. We do that here.

The old guy we just called Pappy lived in the double-wide before, and it was mostly a calm garlic and cabbage garden running around the half acre, and that’s where I learned to roll pierogies and make apple butter, his recipes are still sort of a local legend. There was a brief period when I was kindergarten age (but my mom didn’t let me go to kindergarten) where Pappy’s grandkids moved in, and I made a pact with Courtney to get married when we were forty, but she got married and had three kids by then. Way earlier than forty, even.

Yebbut, Jed was a dork like the rest of us kids, and we lifted weights in the yard, and mostly we just lifted the bar on its own. Then one day, he jacked up the trailer on cinder blocks a couple more feet and had to build a little staircase to fit.

And there was all of a sudden, a bikini babe in the back yard, and Mark said she was a littly sucksky because he couldn’t say sexy no matter how hard he tried. He still can’t.

So there was a night when we saw the christmas lights floating in the window and we all tried to jump up and look in the window, mebbe seeing a Lori in the nude, and oh, how we all wanted to see that, us and Justin and Martin, and Erin from across the road. But before we saw anything Jed was out in the lawn, shirtless, wielding pitchfork like he was trying to down a Frankenstein, chasing tweens into the corn.

On one of those nights, Justin invited us up to his tree house, and it wasn’t related to a tree in the slightest, it was a shed on top of some 4x4s where roof nails poked through the fiberboard in most places but he had a few Hustlers and a very interesting erotic novel about Sally Hemings from her point of view.

It wasn’t about our peeping or pranks, and it wasn’t anything Jed did, but a year or two later, Jed and Lori moved away. There were a series of tenants, including Marissa, who’s dad owned the custard parlor, and was way into my brother Mark, but like twenty years later, I met Jed in Philly. I sought him out and Lori had a nail salon and was doing fine. She was still hot.

Jed did want to talk about why he moved away, but I did, and it was messed up but also heroic. He was biking down 56 and witnessed a car wreck. He had a breakdown because one of the people couldn’t be saved, though he tried his best, and the way he told it was like a Garbage Pail Kid’s head exploding. It was a bend we could all imagine. A turn in any dangerous road that has too many accidents. It was sad. And this guy couldn’t talk about it to the tweens who were his only friends. But it was soon some classic Jed.

There was a clapboard, and it said the usual, vente and latte and cappuccino, and all the rest. And it was done in chalk and there was a beauty to it. You and I both know it was hand drawn. There’s no disputing the type. It just is a coffee shop thing.

But deep in the centre there was a circle? A spiral? A circle. Details can be debated, and denials can be strong, but I will contest any of the arguments. The circle said scrapple. And the rest of the offerings were aligned in a goatse pillar of coffees and teas. The ring said ‘house brew’, and I always imagined goatse to smell like a fresh pot of coffee.

Go on, said Jed, and he giggled like the olden days. He still looked a tittle tough, tat sleeves and a a denim vest,and a pair of Fakeleys where part of the rainbow reflection had worn off the rims. But mostly he looked as dorky as ever.

I was juggling a Collette and a Nikolai at the time, and that was probably a little too much for him, so I was prepped to dodge all those questions, but he was unconcerned. He just said, “Yeah, yeah, go ahead, try the scrapple with some maple syrup.” The diner maple was as fake as his look.

And it was crispy and bland and sugary where the syrup soaked in but Jed was going inflated bananas until he finally burst. “How do you, how do you, how do you like your—pscht—hog anus?”

I don’t think there are really that many hog anuses in scrapple, and certainly less intestine in general compared to a standard sausage. But holy man, he just loved the gag. And it was probably not five days later that I tried seitan for the first time and went vegan, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with hog anuses, I was more into the environmental impacts of farming rather than the PETA ethical concerns, so I paused, looked at him, and drew down my brow.

He waited, and I waited, and he finally tipped down the ragged sunglasses until I saw his good eye. I whispered, “It’s good.”

Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


Thunderdome 582 Results

Hola, thunderdome! I’m currently on a train heading from San Sebastián to Barcelona, which is certainly more picturesque scenery than I’m used to for judgechats.

Thanks all who entered this week, and thanks Jib for posting your story albeit late. It’s unfortunately a DQ this week but I’ll crit it with the rest.

As mentioned before, I decided this week would be loss and DM-free, so no negative mentions this week. I think every story had something to recommend it — but of course every story also had some areas to improve, which will be expanded upon in crits.

The two stories at the upper end are distinguished from the others in that they told fairly complete and well-structured stories, and also hewed closest to the prompt. Neither of those are necessarily winning qualities by themselves, but they elevated these stories above the remainder this week.

Vinny Possum takes the sole HM for Thumbnail in the Coffin

And the winner is derp with truffles.

Welcome back to the blood throne!

Jan 21, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy
week 583: shore thing

hi friends. Your prompt this week is: something washes ashore

the boundary between sea and land, what kind of things are there? all kind of things. some which should have stayed in the sea, and some which should never have been there in the first place.

what do you find on the shore?

1300 words

no fanfic or erotica or political screeds, etc

signups close friday night pst, entries due sunday night pst

I'm travelling this week thought so, probably will be loose on those times and you may squeeze in, try your luck

beep-beep car is go
Apr 11, 2005

I can just eyeball this, right?


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven

Vinny Possum
Sep 21, 2015


Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome



Feb 25, 2014

Green Wing
Oct 28, 2013

It's the only word they know, but it's such a big word for a tiny creature

In, I'm back baby

Sep 22, 2000

Soiled Meat
In with a real dumb idea based on an even dumber dream I just had

Jan 21, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy

rivetz posted:

In with a real dumb idea based on an even dumber dream I just had

Hell yeah

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!
shore why not, in

Apr 12, 2006

Chili posted:

Ok knuckle buckers.

I have been sad for a while. And it's mainly because nothing worked out like I thought it would.

One of you will handle my problem head on and the other will distract me.

Claim what you want, and whoever doesn't get here first gets the other.

1. Write a story where nothing works out for your protag. Maybe they learn from that, maybe they don't. Maybe they cope, maybe they hurt people. I don't care, but nothing works out.

2. Write a story where everything works out for your protag. Maybe they earned it, maybe they luck their way in. Maybe it's a result of privilege, maybe not. I don't care, but it all works out.

You each have until like two Fridays from now to submit a story of up to 2000 words.

O Che Vita Capricciosa!


Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 04:28 on Jan 2, 2024

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

The Swinemaster
Dec 28, 2005

Tyrannosaurus posted:

[i]O Che Vita Capricciosa!

Hey, I really enjoyed this! And not just for a forum story - I’d be happy to read this published in a collection. Really funny, moves at a great pace, and despite the subject matter it doesn’t overdo the goofiness.

Nice one.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you


Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!

Brawl story

Skateboarding is even more radical than drugs

1870 words

On my way to school that morning, I saw a disheveled man gingerly placing discs on the sidewalk, and witnessing this meant I had solved a mystery.

The school administration had been all in a fuss about the DVDs that had been littered on the sidewalks around the high school the past few weeks. Simple burned CDs, sharpied with names of the summer's biggest movies–Iron Man, Dark Knight, Forgetting Sarah Marshall–that would reveal themselves to be pornos upon insertion into your DVD player.

"Hey kid," he snarled cigarettedly, seeing me see him. "If you don't tell nobody 'bout this I got sum'm special fer ya."

"Porn?" I said. "No thank you." My mom had just gotten high-speed internet and was quite satisfied regarding my pornography needs.

"Nah, this," he said, and took a loose orange pill out of a greasy pocket. "If you eat this magic bean, all yer dreams will come true. You'll forget this conversation ever happened, but everything will start going your way."

"There must be a catch," I said.

"Yeah. All the good stuff I said would happen, well it'd all be in yer head, yer whole happy life flashin before ya as ya die on this sidewalk. But you won't know the difference. Whattaya say, partner?"

Hmm. On the one hand, it did seem like a phenomenally bad idea to take a lethal pill from a pornography-strewing vagrant. On the other hand, things had been going pretty bad at school lately.

When I got to school Wes Hetchler and his friends met up at my locker to copy off my homework. I had to do it because if I didn't they said they were gonna post that picture of me smoking a bong on Facebook and my mom would see it. Then he made me get them all pop tarts, which my mom would eventually badger me about when she saw the bill from the school.

The whole school was having a big seminar that day. They set up a whole skate park in the gym so some guys could do cool skateboarding tricks to teach us that skateboarding was even more radical than drugs. Then everyone gets pizza. I wouldn't be allowed to go to the seminar because I had to go to speech. They made me go to get rid of my lisp because no one had ever told me that the S sound was made behind your teeth and once I learned that I didn't need them anymore but they still made me go, assembly or not.

When I got to speech it was just me and Katie Dodge. I had a huge crush on her, but I was one of a few hundred who did, and most of the other guys were hotter, smarter, funnier, and nicer than me.

"Hey man," she said. "Almost glad we have thpeech–speech–today. Skateboarders and pizza? Like, c'mon, we're not in fourth grade anymore."

I liked pizza, and seeing some rad tricks would be cool. "Oh my God, I thought I was the only one who thought that," I said.

We waited a few minutes, but it looked like Mrs. Wyatt probably wasn't going to come. Must've forgotten she wasn't supposed to go to the seminar.

"Awesome," said Katie. "We got out of that lame seminar and now we have a couple hours to gently caress around."

"What?" I said.

"Come on, I bet AddictingGames isn't blocked on Wyatt's computer." Oh, okay.

As AddictingGames was loading–BANG BANG BANG–the unmistakable sound of gunshots from somewhere in the building.

"poo poo!" Katie screamed. "Someone's shooting up the school."

"gently caress," I said. "What do we do?"

"Barricade the door!" Katie said and we ran to push Mrs. Wyatt's desk but it wouldn't budge against the carpet. I grabbed a chair and ran towards the door, and as I did it opened. Unthinking, I hit the masked man with the chair and he crumpled to the ground, dropping his AK-47 on the ground. Katie grabbed the gun.

Someone said something in some Eastern European language over the masked man's walkie-talkie.

"Tell them you're all good or you die," said Katie.

"Silly little girl," he said, and Katie poked him in the eye with the gun. He smirked, and said something back into the walkie-talkie.

"I have a Russian aunt," said Katie. "He said khoroshiy. I don't think he's lying."

The intercom's signature click clicked. "Hello, children. I am Vladimir Karkov. I am here to give your government a choice. If zey are kind, and value your lives, zey vill release Alexander Dmitriev and grant him immediate passage back to Moscow. If, unlike me, zey hate zeir children, zey vill vatch tventy of zem die every hour. If anyone is listening outside of ze gymnasium, you may take zis opportunity to flee. Consider yourself among the lucky." The intercom's click clicked off.

"You heard him," said Katie. "Let's go."

My answer was immediate, my own courage inspiring me. "No. We're here. We have a gun. If anybody can save our friends, it's us."

She gave a quizzical look upon my use of the word "friends." Then she sighed. "If you stayed to fight and I ran away, everyone would totally think I was a coward, wouldn't they? Okay, Jake, what's the plan?"

"We need to know how many of them there are, and where they're posted. Luckily, we know who has that information."

Our hostage spat on the ground. "Stupid children. I will tell you nothing."

"I see," I said. "Unfortunately for you, I watch a lot of 24."

The terrorist's face suddenly changed. "No, no, please. Nobody told me you watched 24. Please don't do the thing with the neck tie. There are twelve of us. The only door we aren't guarding is the one to the swimming pool."

"That just leads to the balcony with the rafters," said Katie. "Only access is from the gym."

"That can't be right, no way that passes fire code," I said. "Pull up some schematics." Everyone in our grade knew Katie was extra good with computers. With seconds, she had printed off blueprints she'd found on Wyatt's computer.

"There it is," said Katie. "Staircase up to the balcony, accessed through Coach Erickson's office."

"You stay here in case I need extra help navigating," I told Katie. "I'm gonna need the gun and your cell phone number."

She shouted her number as she tossed the gun. I caught it and rifle-whipped the hostage unconscious in the same motion.

I made cover behind each wall and locker on my way to the cafeteria. It was empty. I crossed quickly, then made my way through the music nook and finally, into the gym and swimming hallway. From around a corner, I eyed two terrorists guarding a door between me and the swimming pool. I dialed Katie's number.

"Hack whatever you need to hack," I whispered. "I need a distraction."

"Okay, but it might take a second…"

"drat it, Katie, I need this distraction now."

"Okay, okay…" she said. The start-of-class bell rang over the intercom. The terrorists, seemingly confused by any possible noise, hustled towards the nearest clock. Quickly and silently, like a fast and silent scorpion, I darted behind them towards the swimming pool door. Just as I was about to open the door to Coach Erickson's office, I heard a gun click behind me.

Wes Hetchler stood before me, holding a pistol.

"Wes! You're working for the terrorists!" I said.

"No," said Wes. "I was planning to shoot you today anyways, and then the terrorists also attacked, by coincidence. Now drop the gun."

"Come on, man, why are you doing this?" I said.

"For the same reason I've bullied you all these years. If you ever got a chance to not be a lame nerd, you would be the coolest kid in school, even cooler than me, and I couldn't let that happen. Drop the gun."

"No," I said. "Like you already said you were going to shoot me, I have nothing to gain by dropping the gun."

"Huh," said Wes. "Good point. Well then, prepare to…"

A held down the trigger for a few seconds and his bullet-riddled body fell into the pool.

The intercom clicked on. "Jake, don't listen to them, you can do–" said Katie before stopping abruptly.

"Hello to zees 'Jake,'" said Karkov, his voice echoing all around the swimming chamber. "As you can hear, ve have your little girlfriend. Surrender now, and our original deal is still on the table. The two of you may leave with your lives. Continue to fight on, and I vill hold a contest among my men to see who can craft ze most excruciating death. Choose visely."

I had already chosen. I would shoot the other eleven terrorists before they shot me, or get shot trying. I found Coach Erickson's key inside his desk, opened the little door on the far side of the office, and ascended to the balcony. The unguarded gymnasium doors were in front of me. I took a deep breath in, and pushed them open.

In the split before the terrorists noticed me, I saw the corpse of the skateboarding sobriety activist at my feet. I knew what I had to do. I jumped on the skateboard and rode down the bleachers past the rows of my cowering, terrified schoolmates and into the skate park in the middle of the gym. I could hear the gunshots behind me, but I was skateboarding faster than the terrorists could aim. I had never skateboarded before, but it seemed my Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 skills transferred. I made my way into the half-pipe and launched myself into the air. At the apex of the jump, it felt like time stood still. I held down the trigger and took aim. By the time I was back on the ground, ten of the terrorists were dead.

"Enough!" shouted the last terrorist. I could tell it was Karkov from the Marxness of his beard, the Stalinesque quality of his mustache, and the Leninicity of his baldness. He held his Uzi to Katie's scalp. "Drop your gun and get off your skateboard."

"Why?" I said, coming to a halt. "You'll kill us both anyways. Why do I keep getting into standoffs with people who don't know what leverage is?"


"Come on, bro," I said. "I just shot ten guys in midair. You think I'm afraid that I'll miss if I just shoot you?"

"Stupid American child," Karkov growled. "Once Dmitriev is freed and vorldvide communism is established, you vill be the first to–" I shot him in the face.

Katie ran free of his limp arms and into mine. She kissed me as the school erupted into thunderous applause. Tongue entered the picture as I emptied the rest of the AK's clip into the air.

"You know?" I said to Katie under the continued roar of everyone's approval. "Some pornography-strewing drifter offered me a magic poison pill this morning."


"I'm so glad I told him to gently caress off. This is way cooler than the dreams that would supposedly come true."

Jan 21, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy
Signups closed

Apr 21, 2010

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

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
poo poo work out/poo poo not work out brawl results (how the cookies crumbles)

Let’s start with things going right. Maybe it’ll give me some steam for when things go wrong:

Rodent’s thing. Ok, so this is Total Recall, right? He certainly did take the pill, or else this is just insane nat 20s. If it’s the former, OK, I mean, I was waiting for the ending that came, and once the win-streak begins, it’s kinda rote adolescent fantasy. If it’s the latter, I guess it’s some kinda parody or taking down of the concept that it’s impossible for everything to go right. I guess Both approaches are fine, but they lack courage in trying to tell a convincing story where things just end up okay and good, but it’s believable, and the story is still worth reading. As it is, nothing here really impressed me.

T-rex’s thing. Not gonna waste time; this one wins. The imagery is strong, I saw all of this playing out in my head as I read it, and it could have quickly devolved into monkey cheese if a lesser attempt, like what I would cobble together, were made. It doesn’t work out, but everything in the middle has an actual message that gets delivered without it being all cringe and horrible. The monologue could have been preachy but wasn’t, thanks to the interplay of absurdity and sincerity, and it shines. This piece helped me. Thank you.

T-rex wins; it's a really lovely story.

Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!


It has been an honor to fight for your right for speedy crits, Thunderdome, even if I fell in battle and also delayed the crits by making Ty write a story.

Crits up by next Saturday, and unlike Tyrannosaurus, when I set a time for crits, I keep my word.

Ouzo Maki
Jul 4, 2023
It occurs to me that I did not sign up because I am a filthy degenerate with ADHD

If this is a d/q I accept my fate, and throw myself on the mercy of derp


I walk to the shore with everyone else, a teeming mass of chattering gulls that fights in a cacophony against the crash of the surf. We crowd through the sandy streets, the taffy shop and dive bar emptying quickly to further swell our ranks.You can already smell it, the burning stench of ammonia that presses upon us like wool blankets soaked in brine. As we get closer to the beach, we can see the swell of the beast, and we begin to run.

It–he–is titanic, and sublime. His body is an amalgam of glittering purple carapace and pale, wet flesh; he stretches across a hundred feet of coast, a woven mat of thin tentacles and chitin married to a torso of sculpted muscle. I cannot count his arms for there are many, some ending in claws, or hands that clench and unclench mindlessly against the wet sand.

When my hazel eyes meet the abyssal black of his, I’m struck by the humanity I see there. He is handsome, regal, his features marked by an aquiline nose and the pouty lips of a Renaissance heartthrob. Atop his head, growing directly from the meat of his brow, is a crown of gold, studded with barnacles and pearlescent opals. Some bastardized version of whale song, a low-frequency groan that I feel in my bones, wheezes from those plump, gorgeous lips. Without question, he is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

The throng of people, a mix of locals and tourists, huddle together away from his body. They are mixed between fear and awe; I can tell by the way their gull-like squawks fade into a susurrus of whispers. They keep their distance from this thing birthed from the sea, whose pink gill slits weep with a syrupy, clear liquid. Eventually, some brave or foolish teen breaks the spell, and approaches close enough to stretch one hand up to rest on the heaving ribs. People push each other forward, a thousand palms now slapping against his skin. Who could resist being able to say they touched a god?

The surf is coming in, swelling around his body, gently rocking him as a mother would her infant. As the dying day streaks its dull orange across the sky, making his shell sparkle, tears spring from my eyes. He is dying on the shore, and I wonder if I’m the only one who realizes it. I fight my way to his side, suffocating from the smell of his skin and the crush of bodies. My pleas to the other humans to move him, to return him to the waves, are lost among the noise.

I can’t see who throws the first rock. The rage just boils out abruptly from the people behind me, a sudden cataclysm of screams and profanity I do not comprehend. Rough hands grab my collar and drag me backward. The stones are few, at first, but then blacken the sky like birds as they pelt upon the supine form of this gentle king. I collapse upon the sand, frozen, incapable of processing the desecration I must now witness.

A tall, corpulent man in a boater hat stands next to me, clearly a tourist with his hangdog wife and terrified children in tow. He bends with a grunt and snatches an agate from the beach, raising one ham hock arm to toss it toward one of the colossal, twitching eyes. I marvel at the meager nature of this protest, amazed by its futility. This fat man, a giant among humans, is pathetic in his demand of supremacy from this extraordinary lord of the sea. The man grins as the rock finds its target, denting the soft tissue. He barks at his family, who immediately scramble to find their own missiles to launch.

The ocean is aroar, gray and churning under a sky that has rapidly turned from orange to slate. Black storm clouds roll in, and an hour's worth of rain falls all at once to mix with purple ichor leaking across the regal, resplendent face. The crowd departs as quick as it formed, a sizzling caldera quenched by the deluge, and I am left alone. I add my sobs to the chorus of the ocean and wind and rain as the light slowly dies from the king’s great eye. There is nothing I can do but pray that the tides are enough to drag him back home.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 24, 2007

you don't find a style

a style finds you

Week #583 Submission - shore thing

Picking my teeth
1300 words

There is a horizon everyone agrees upon, because that’s what we see. And we know that a horizon is curved and and that fucks with our senses, and makes it seem impossible.

I was alone on the beach, save my good friend Bill’s wife, Sharon. She made some hints, and maybe hiked her bikini a bit too low for common decency. It wasn’t unappreciated, but I wasn’t about to crack open that can of worms. Not that she had crotch worms, no, you know what I mean.

So I nodded, appreciatively, at the first hint of pubes and scrunched my underbite into a ‘I have things to do’ sort of face. I went out into the foam. There were thousands of crabs, little guys throwing their arms up like they just don’t care frolicking along behind me. If we had laid down the sand for who knows what, one would surely crawl over my bare bottom. They were practically tame, practically pets, and no one caused a ruckus with the crabs that would teach them any different.

There were riptides that would suck you out into the merchant lanes and ruin your day, but I didn’t feel them. In fact, it felt like nothing at all. It was walking into smooth jazz. Walking into a Kenny G concert a bit late. People would look, but they drat sure wouldn’t say anything. Water felt like air. Haich two oh into oh two, and back again. And it was nothing to slip between the molecules.

And the darkness on the bottom, the mist of the seaspray—-it was simple resistance. I always got mired down thinking I was stepping on a gooey duck that would clap its tongue around my ankle or a man-o-war what would end me before it thought twice. I pushed through, and buoyancy and gravity were nothing to worry about. I walked on the soft shells and hard shells, and bottle detritus worn smooth and the horizon was far above me. The shipping lanes were close.

The rustle of prop pushing a thousand ton barge, or maybe it was a tanker, I don’t know, two hundred feet above, ASMR. Every sound had a heartbeat. Every heartbeat took two seconds to reach my ear. What mattered was there was nothing between me and those propellors. I could reach up and touch them. I could have my fingers lopped off in a fit of curiosity. It felt easy.

When I reached the shelf, where oblivion waited below, there was a decision to be made. Would I be lost forever? Was it a netherrealm? I saw The Abyss. Maybe there was magic and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

As I dropped, deeper and deeper, I realized there wasn’t no MEM and no magic. There were stratas of life and death and life and death and nothingness as the filler in the sandwich. But eventually there’s a landing.

And there are kelp beds flourishing out of rock formations that look like pubes peaking out of a bikini bottom, and you know I’m saying no, but I keep flashing back to the flashing on the beach.

Just. Keep. Walking. And I do.

I spent some time in Southampton, and it was real funny looking out where the Pilgrims on the Mayflower disembarked, and seeing a bunch of dicks drawn on the docks and practically every inch of useable space. My grandma claims that there is a direct line, William Doty, but if you look him up he spent the entire trip across in the brig, and did some horse thievery in the New World.

If you walk straight shot from North Carolina, across the Atlantic, you’ll wind up in Nothern Africa. That effin jeffin jet strream does some weird things with climate. So I rose in Morocco. Bogey and Bacall, baby.

IDGAF, just kept walking at that point. Deserts full of sand. Derelict monuments that used to be oases. And soon enough, I was in the water again. And you bounce from water to land to water to land, and I realized I haven’t eaten in a continent. And food is good. Noodles and rice, and the freshest veg. And I avoid the crabs that might have bounced on my sex butt.

But I can’t escape it. Buntings on food stalls with fresh herbs tacked on lines remind me of that bikini line. Just keep going.

The Pacific is deeper and stronger and more. Just more. I think about Sharon a lot. There are a few places where I have to swim, but swimming is not what you think. It’s like jumping off the top stair and landing half way down, over and over again. Water doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.

I walk and I climb the shelf, and I have no idea about the west coast of the Americas. I might be in Panama or California. But I walk and I see lights. It’s Teotihuacan and I know that because I have dreamed about going there since I was a wee bairn.

The pyramids rise in regular angles and the avenues saunter off into the distance. Everybody claims they can’t make sense of it, but it makes perfect sense to me. The Avenue of the Dead is the main drag. Everything revolves around it. These are my people.

Corpus Christi is not that far away. And shares a similar though more recent vibe. gently caress the Alamo. I saunter through the hills, and I did Route 66 once upon a time, but it feels super weird to do it West to East.

And here I am, back on the beach, and Sharon is there, and we lay down in the sand. I know the beach house overlooks this little cove. I want to get into it, but I keep looking up at the house, waiting to see Bill scowling down.

He never does, and things happen. Under the house that’s on thirty foot pillars, waiting for the next hurricane, there’s a shower with a couple stalls, and more things happen there, and I constantly look up through the floorboards waiting. There is no Bill.

I can see his old Subaru in the drive. The upholstery is ragged and stained with coffee. There are a couple Four Loko cans in the back. It is more than just a vehicle. It’s a way of life. Sharon’s head is cradled to my chest. Our fat butts sit on the people-smoothed cedar, water trickling down from a sucky shower. I might sniffle, now and again, and she looks up every once in a while, but I play it off as the water getting in my nostrils. She wants to kiss, so we do. I have wanted this, and it’s just a gently caress all around.

I don’t know how I’ll face Bill in the morning, or if I even will. The kiss feels more like a betrayal than all the loving that could ever be conjured.

I walked the globe, and came back home right to the same problem I sought to avoid. Sharon still sat there, on the human-slicked bench. I could see the little triangle of her pubes jutting between her crossed legs. The water ran down her cute little belly.

“Do you, d’you, think . . . Bill will say something?” I asked. “Will he know?”

“I don’t care,” she said.

I did. And I did. I wouldn’t make some grand confession or anything like that. I just walked into the water, and it was nothing to me. But Bill and Sharon and Rich and Laura all panicked and called the Coast Guard and I watched the boats go overhead.

I watched as they thought I drowned, I watched as they mourned me.

I watched as I couldn’t face them. I watched as I knew I lived, unable to face them.

beep-beep car is go
Apr 11, 2005

I can just eyeball this, right?

Theme: Shore Thing
Words: 1288

I took Karla down to the beach after midnight. The beach was empty and we were walking along, the roar of the surf a rise and fall of applause for our walk. The sea smelled of salt and rotten vegetation, ever present in the area. Every time I left the coast, its lack was stark. The sand, still warm from the summer sun spilled over my sandals,warming my feet. The beach was wide and long, curving gently from Camp Ellis all the way to Old Orchard Beach with its twinkling lights of the boardwalk.

I finally worked up the nerve to lean over and kiss her. She sighed happily and murmured “finally” as she melted into the kiss. It felt like forever.

After not enough time, it ended. We broke off the kiss and turned to look out to sea. I saw a star fall to Earth.

It wasn’t really a star. I might have only gotten a C in Earth Science, but I know stars don’t fall to Earth. A few seconds later, the horizon glowed brighter than sunrise. The clouds in the sky were backlit from the glare. After a five count, it still hadn’t faded.

“What the gently caress was that?” Karla lit a cigarette and stared at the glow.

“Hell if I know, aliens?” I grinned and looked over to her. Karla wasn’t smiling.

“gently caress off Terry. I wonder if it was the Russians, or the Chinese.”

Karla was the first to notice it. She grabbed my shoulder and pointed. It looked like the tide was going out. As we watched, it went further and further, exposing the storm drain, and then further down an old hulk of a fishing boat.

It looked like the ocean was a mile away now and the water kept on receding. Karla spoke to me without taking her eyes off the water, her voice very controlled, trying not to panic. “We have to leave right now. I think a tsunami is coming!”

Through the alcohol induced haze, a dim memory. A really big wave. Maybe an earthquake causes them? Was it the star that fell? Karla punched my shoulder, knocking me back to the present. “gently caress, Terry, we gotta run! Get to the Jeep!” Karla took off down towards the beach house. She jumped into the Jeep and was cranking it over by the time I ran up, out of breath. “Gotta stomp the pedal a few times, get some gas into the carb.” I gasped, out of breath, and buckled up.

Karla stomped the pedal and tried again, and the old straight six roared to life. She slammed it into reverse and chirped the tires. Backing down the dead-end street faster than I’ve ever seen her drive before. She hated my Jeep. It was noisy, and bouncy, and never worked right.
At the intersection she whipped the wheel around. The oversize knobby tires howled on the oilstone road as she threw it into first and took off. I swung my head around, trying to see in the dark.

“Karla! I don’t see anything! Slow the gently caress down, you’re gonna break the Jeep!”

I have no idea how Karla kept the Jeep on the road. She was driving like her life depended on it. I suppose she thought it was.

That was when I heard it. Loud enough to be heard over the straining of the engine, loud enough to be heard over the wind pounding my ears. I could feel the vibrations in my chest. I glanced behind us again.

You tell people that you saw a tidal wave, or a tsunami, and they imagine one of those waves like you saw on the videos. A perfect curl.

This wasn’t that.

This was a wall of dirty, muddy water, at least twenty feet high, full of debris. In the dark, you couldn’t make out much in the way of details. It was darkness, blotting out the land behind us. It must have been full of trees, houses, cars, anything in its way. You heard more than saw it. Its presence was anxiety itself. The crashing and smashing of huge things being broken by the force. I could have sworn I heard a ship's bell, its tolling muffled when it was subsumed.

I looked over at Karla. She heard it too. She glanced up into the rear view mirror. I could see her icy blue eyes reflected in the mirror, lit from the brake lights behind us. In the red light, I saw her swallow. She took one last drag on her cigarette, tossed it out of the Jeep, and wordlessly upshifted. The Jeep protested as the revs climbed higher, but somehow it found some more speed.

I have to admit. I was proud of the Jeep. Sometimes it felt like all I could do was keep it running and here it was, screaming down the road at full chat. I risked a glance back, and it looked like we were pacing the wall of water. “Keep it up Karla! I think we can outrun it!”

“gently caress!” She stomped both feet down hard and the tires locked up and howled as she slid towards a T intersection. Ahead of her was the park. If we turned right or left we’d get swamped by the wall of water just behind us. She backed off the brakes so that we didn’t come to a stop, and with her foot still on the clutch, she reached down and slid the Jeep into 4Hi. We took off straight across the park.

I couldn’t help myself. I whooped and hollered. My hands were locked to the grab-bars as the Jeep bounced and jumped across the park. She jumped the curb and with another protest from the tires, we were back on the road. I looked back. I still had a hard time making it out, but it was close enough to smell. Salty, punctuated with notes of soil and petroleum products. It was a rolling superfund site.

“Goddamn this flat land. There’s got to be a hill around here somewhere.” Karla swore as she swerved around a pickup that lay abandoned in the road.

I realized where we were. “Get on 95! The on-ramp is right there.”

She swerved onto the onramp and accelerated towards the toll booth. I winced as she smashed through the gate and onto the interstate.

It was chaos. We clearly weren’t the only ones who had the same idea. The interstate was absolutely full of people, the heaviest traffic I had ever seen. Cars were barely moving at a walking pace. “gently caress. fuckfuckfuck.” I pounded the dashboard in time to the words.

But, 95 was on an elevated berm, and we were pretty far inland by now. The water came up to the highway, but it was out of energy. The berm stopped the debris and muddy, salty water washed onto the highway.

Karla looked over the door of the Jeep at the muddy water. It wasn’t even up to the lockers. She took out another cigarette and lit it with shaking hands. She took a long drag, leaned her head back and blew it out. She started giggling.

“What is it?”

“We made it. I can’t fuckin believe it, but we made it. How many folks do you know who out-drove a fuckin tsunami? Especially in your shithole Jeep!”

“Hey! My Jeep isn’t a shithole!” The adrenaline leaving me was causing me to get the giggles too.

Karla leaned over and kissed me hard, her mouth tasting like her American Spirits. “It’s not how I’d like to spend every night with you Terry, but all in all, not a bad date.”

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!
Traveling Companion
1040 words

It was cold autumn up in the mountains, but it was still late summer by the shore. If you’re passing through Lheon, there’s a quiet hostel on the sands. The view out the window is a bend of craggy shoreline, and it gives all the waves an awful chop. So only passing travelers ever spend the night there. But for a few minutes, at low tide, you can walk out among the eddies, and it’s like standing in new spun glass. That’s what Rhodes, a fellow traveler, told us over drinks at the last place we stopped. He was a tall, thin man, with a tall, thin nose and an oversized hat made of straw. I thought he looked like he had just sold off his startup and had taken to traveling the world. My traveling companion thought he looked like Snufkin, the wanderer from Moomintroll. We were in a spinning restaurant, eating free olives off of toothpicks, as a city green with trees revolved far below us.

Let me tell you about my companion. Her name is Ashley but she likes to go by Ash. She’s nineteen years old, an art school student, but she says she’s a runaway. I wanted to ask how she could be a runaway when she’s already an adult, but I held my tongue. She has enough to deal with already. Ash is easy to pick out in a crowd. She’s tall, with jet black hair and her head half shaved, and she wears a black cotton jacket even by the sea.

The hostel owners are older folks, a little bitter. A married couple with skin baked tan from a life under the sun, who don’t mind arguing in front of guests. So you can understand that I needed to correct them about Ash. “She’s not an hombre,” I said, when the husband, Ted, served up two plates of toast and eggs in the morning and said, thoughtlessly, “Here you go, hombres.” Ash was wearing these little athletic shorts and pink sneakers at the time. I can’t stand that poo poo from people. After that they just called her kid.

I never thought I’d end up in this kind of relationship. With a woman almost twenty years my junior, or in fact with a woman at all. I have no ill intentions, believe me. I told her it wasn’t safe to be hitchhiking, especially in these parts, and when she told me her story, I figured, hell, we look after our own.

We were out in the eddies like Rhodes had told us about. She had this kit with her, a little tin of fancy charcoals and a sketching pad, and wore a sun dress she’d bought down the road. Ever since we got into town, she had this idea that she’d draw my portrait. We borrowed a beach chair from the hostel and everything, set it up at low tide on the shelf of flat rock the waves had been rolling smooth for centuries. “Take off your hat,” she said, so I did. She had me sit like that for half an hour, hat in my hands. To be honest, it was a pain, and my neck was aching from holding so still. But I didn’t mind too much, either. The waves were brushing past my ankles, and gulls were calling each other. And the whole time, those eddies were swirling gently. It was blue hour and you could see the reddish shelf of stone beneath the blue spirals.

I thought it’d been enough when the tide started rising. The chop really was as bad as we’d heard. But Ash just stood there, wordlessly drawing me, even as the waves darkened the hem of her dress and pressed it wet against her knees (the water was waist-high to me in my beach chair, if you can imagine). The tide rose higher and higher and she kept on drawing, tilting her charcoals at different angles and rubbing her fingers against her hair to dry them off before blending the marks on her paper. I thought she was crazy. But when there was a real chance the tide would destroy her artwork, she tore the page out of her sketchbook, rolled it up, and placed it in a glass bottle that she sealed with a cork. Then as the tide drew out she laid the bottle in the water and it swept into my hands.

She had looked at me so carefully and with such focus the entire time she was drawing. And that whole night she never stopped looking at me that way. When she slipped into my bed I couldn’t help but hold her, and she traced shapes along my back that made me think she was still there on the shore, blending me in charcoal. I didn’t like that I was attracted to her, not because of my pride but because I really did think of her as a woman. I didn’t want my interest to hurt her. So the whole night I just held her, and whispered “it’s okay, it’s okay,” into her ear, while the window unit drowned out my voice, while she gently whimpered, and we heard Spanish music playing and the distant sound of revelers a hotel away.

When I woke up alone, I thought for certain that Ash must have left in the night. The glass bottle was sitting there on the nightstand, reflecting light from the morning sun, with the portrait rolled up in it that I still hadn’t seen.

“Don’t open it yet,” she said. She had just come through the door holding breakfast in both hands, and she sat down on the edge of my bed.

“I’d like to see it,” I said. “Your drawings are always so impressive.”

“Not yet. It’s the first in a series. I’ll draw another when we reach the key, and more when we head back into the mountains. We’ll bottle them up and save them for the journey’s end.”

“I wish I could give you something in return.”

“You can,” Ash said, and she handed me a plate of food. “You can give me your company at night.”

She had a deal, I told her. Until our journey’s end.

Apr 12, 2006
Week 589: Hero Clowns Crits

The Cut of Your Jib
I like this more today than I did when I was originally judging. Quite a bit more. The plot itself is simple: they dressed as clowns to raise (awareness for a dinner that is raising) money for the women's shelter. But it is very soft, ethereal writing. Strange but believable weirdo characters. If a studio was to adapt this for the screen, it would be A24.

The opening paragraph is strong but I think it needs a tweak (or the story needs a tweak) to connect it better to the rest of the piece. I wonder if it was your jumping off point for writing but the story changed as you kept going. In any case, it feels just a bit off.

Albatrossy Rodent
Almost always, it is a great pleasure to read your writing and this is no exception. I really only have one note and it's one that I think I've given you before and if I haven't then I've certainly thought it in my head: I'd like to see you be more dedicated to the sincerity of your story. I love the wild and wonderful whimsy, I love the silly outlandishness, but I think you could improve tremendously by finding and maintaining a level of internal reality. Figure out what the rules of your world are and stick to them. The movie Airplane works because all of the actors treat the script like it is a serious drama. Sure they are having a ton of fun but no one is winking at the audience, no one is saying, hey, I'm in on the joke, too. There's so many good bits in this ("I'm not haunted. I'm enchanted", "legally speaking, we are children") but Nethergong's dialogue doesn't really fit. Go all in on making him an actual demon. As is, he feels too much like a wink to the audience - like, hey, it's me, the writer, this is silly but a little clever right?

Fantasy flash fiction is hard. You don't have the luxury of spending time and words world building. You squeeze a lot into 1500 words. But I'm left with many questions and this would undoubtedly be improved if you had a larger word count where you could really stretch your legs.

Also, not a huge fan of the ending. It's a pet peeve and not necessarily great advice but I don't like "and this is where the real adventure begins" endings because that's where I would want the story to begin. Have the confidence to end your story.

Or don't. I'm just one judge.

Slightly Lions
Fun, interesting heist that adheres to the prompt while building a solid world. The tie-in to make them "heroes" was a bit of a stretch and kinda stitched in there at the end but I was willing to forgive it.

I can't quite put my finger on what doesn't work here for me. The story is well written. Opener and closer solid. Fun bits of dialogue. Interesting characters. You did well with the prompt. Nothing particularly wrong anywhere it just didn't tickle my fancy like other stories this week.

Other than loving up a word in the last sentence, everything about this is great. From concept to delivery. I imagine this is on of the stories where you finish and think to yourself, I better come up with a prompt because I just knocked it out of the park. I love the imagery, love the setting, just great stuff.

Well done.

Weird as poo poo. Excellent world building. Thanks for putting this out into the world.


Feb 25, 2014
draggin’ on and on

flerp fucked around with this message at 17:29 on Jan 2, 2024

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