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Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Oh boy, this has been a long awaited duel we never thought would ACTUALLY happen. I feel like these two contestants and this match could only be properly introduced by one of Sent's eerily spot on wrestling videos. I am amazed I got two entries, but hell with this pair I would've been amazed if I got even one entry. I was planning jokes around posting a blank thread, and now I don't have to. And I am so, so excited to see what the voting public has to say this week. So without any further delay mashing words into this post, let's let this iconic fight between the fattest Kentuckian and the laziest Mexican begin.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
A

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Story A: “Order! I will have order in my goddamned court!” the bellowing voice of the judge rings out in symphony with his gavel slamming into the rotting wood of the table in front of him. Each time he did it you could almost hear the old table groaning in pain, begging for a reprieve after God knows how many years of abuse The judge’s yelling seemed to have the desired effect, as the gathered gaggle of housewives, farmers, old women, and the occasional old man stopped cursing and spitting at you. Now, they resigned themselves to stare menacingly at you, complete with angry sighing and scoffing every now and then. Perilous as your situation might be, you were glad to have been brought here before the judge instead of the mob of angry citizens outside. Perilous was still better than torn apart limb from limb. You quickly realize you might have been too hasty to praise the judge’s crowd control skills, for a wiry man in a patched shirt broke the silence by smacking you across the face with a large, slimy fish. The situation was bizarre enough to make you doubt your next move. Usually, a slap across the face merits a similar one in return. But a slap with a fish? Then the smell hits you, dragging you out of your thoughts. Not just from the fish involved in the attack against your person, but from the entire basket full of fish the man is carrying. Struggling not to retch you turn to the man and point at his basket. “I wouldn’t eat those if I were you. They smell diseased.” “I’ll show you fucking diseased, you prancy fat fu –“ he yells, preparing his smelly weapon for a second strike before he is silenced by another slam of the gavel. “Idiot! Have you lost your damn mind?” the judge exclaims as he stands from his chair. It gives you the opportunity to appreciate just how short the man really is. Combined with his large, fleshy neck and bulging eyes it gives the man an admittedly comedic look. ‘Very out of place, such a boisterous voice coming from such a frog-like man.’ “Miss Tiller! Remove this man and his… ugh,” the judge falters as he covers his mouth and nose with one hand, “his… catch. Remove them from the court room now!” he forces himself to finish while jamming his finger into the air in the direction of the exit. In answer to his words, a shuffle behind you that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention and your arms feel wobbly and heavy at the same time. You had almost forgotten she was behind you. You see through your peripheral vision as the tall figure walks by your side, too scared to turn to look at her. Once she positions herself in between you and the fisherman, you look upon her again. Tall, lanky, spindly, awkward, and dangerous looking. Lorena Tiller was a bounty hunter who usually worked for the courts of the southern territories, and she happened to be the one who caught you about a two-day ride from this ugly little town. She shot you in the knee, which was the reason you were facing this trial sat down in an old stool. She also beat the crap out of you, tied you up like a pig and threw you on the back of her horse in such a way that your balls were crushed against the damn animal every time it bounced a bit. Granted, you did try to run but there was no need for all the extra punishment after she had already expertly shot at the side of your knee from several feet away while you were running. Seriously, if it had been anyone else getting shot you would have congratulated the bitch for such an impressive feat. As it stood, your knee was swollen and hurt like hell, your ribs and face were both massively bruised and tender, and you were pretty sure you would no longer be able to sire any children. And yet somehow, the indignity of being slapped with a spoiled fish was much more painful than your collection of injuries. When faced with the author of your woes, the fisherman seemed to shrink before her. Still, he thought it wise to open his mouth. “I… I have a right to be here!” At this, a barely audible chuckle from your tormentor. The levity, however, was soon followed by a lightning-fast strike from her gloved hand directly into his abdomen. The loud thud that echoed across the room would have made you believe the fisherman’s belly to be hollow. The fishy slapper let out something between a whimper and a croak, doubling over immediately. The bounty hunter wasted no time in grabbing the crumbled man by the armpits, dragging him to the door, and promptly throwing him and his fish outside. Lorena Tiller finally slammed the door shut and walked back to her place behind you with a small smile. Her face reminded you of a bird. The judge settled back on his chair with a sigh. “Now, if the townspeople are done playing the fools, we can continue. We were just about to hear from the accused before… whatever that was.” You weren’t particularly anxious to continue. Your guilt had been decided already and a noose awaited you. These trials in the southern territories were famously impossible to win. They were mostly a way to have a record of the executions and to give the backwater towns that practiced them some sense of legitimacy. And yet, implausible and unheard of as it was, you have to find a way out of this. You certainly didn’t sell all those fake life insurances just to be hanged among this collection of dirty hovels before you even have the chance to enjoy your money! “Your honor, I maintain that I did not sell any sort of life insurance to anyone,” you say with the most solemn countenance you can muster. The judge sneers while looking at the documents he has at hand, which you’re pretty sure don’t even pertain to your case. “And I maintain that you did, as do all the people who have accused you,” he says calmly without looking away from the papers towards you, only gesturing towards the gathered folk with his other hand. They respond with nods, grunts of affirmation, and by shaking their fists at you. “Your honor, there is no evidence. Surely you can see that –“ you try to reason before his booming voice silences your own. “Listen, young man. Do you know how many years I’ve been passing judgements in here?” You’re not sure if it’s rhetorical, but you shake your head. “38 YEARS!” he suddenly and unexpectedly yells, making you flinch. What the hell is wrong with this old man? “And not ONCE, have I seen a scoundrel like yourself weasel his way out of paying his dues!” he continues in his elevated tone of voice. “You will not be the first.” “Your honor, please. I have proof that these people signed off their rights to complaints and takebacks! Please, just look at it!” you plead rather unceremoniously while extending your bundle of contracts towards him. The judge motions towards one of his lackeys who takes the documents and hands them to him. The judge silently reads over the first couple of them. Abruptly, he grabs the entire bundle and burns them over a candle, quickly throwing them into a clay pot nearby afterwards. “What the fuck!” you manage to stand up through the pain out of sheer anger. “Those were proof that I am innocent!” Your momentary feat of strength lasts little, as a pair of familiar bony hands grasp you by the shoulders from behind and violently slam you back down onto the stool. The judge smirks. “Control yourself, sir, or I will hold you in contempt.” But his words are hollow. “FUCK YOU!” you yell. His eyes seem to bulge out even more. His gavel falls into the table so hard you think it might finally break. “Order! This is your last warning sir!” As if on cue, you feel cold steel pressed against your cheek. The hollow, cylindrical feeling against your skin leaves little to the imagination. Dry lips brush against your ear. “Come on asshole,” her raspy, almost sickly voice sends shivers down your spine, “just give me a fucking excuse.” You will. You must fight the fear. There is nothing you can’t talk your way out of. No argument is impossible to win. No trial is impossible to weasel your way out of. You will find a way out of this. You muster all your courage and fight through the visceral fear this woman causes in you. “I don’t have to!” you yell as you stand, grimacing, and turn to look at her. In her face, where you expected to see surprise, you see… nothing. That fact drains some of your newfound energy, but you soldier on. “You may as well just kill me now because this entire trial is a sham. I have no lawyer; I had no time to prepare a defense… The judge fucking burned my proof of innocence in front of all our eyes!” you gesture wildly as you turn towards the people. Where there was once anger in their eyes there is now something else. Doubt. But you intend to bring them back to anger soon. Their anger, you realized a minute ago, was the key to your unlikely victory. The judge calls for order with his gavel once more, but you ignore him. Your captor has remained where she was, not following as you approach the people. She has her arms crossed and is watching you with something approaching interest. “Who is to say, this won’t be one of you tomorrow? Accused for something you didn’t do, and with no hope to defend yourself!” The anger is coming back. Good. “I am not your enemy. He is!” you point at the judge, whose frog neck inflates with rage and surprise. “Him and his like. They sit with their little hammers and send everyone straight to the gallows!” Nods and angry looks, now directed at the judge. “They hang you and your kin for stealing bread to survive, for an honest mistake, for a completely made-up fantasy! And you cannot defend yourself, cannot fight! Well, to that, I say bullshit! Who judges him and his abuse?” The people seem ready to explode. They look at you intently, waiting for the answer. You raise your hands dramatically. “YOU! THE PEOPLE! You are their judges!” At this, a communal shout of rage. The crowd-turned-mob rushes the judge, trampling court officials. The judge tries to run but his townspeople catch up to him and carry him away, no doubt to grim ends. Lorena Tiller is nowhere to be seen. You use the chaos and slip away. Outside, you breath a sigh of relief. Impossible to not be found guilty, these trials? Ha! Nothing is impossible for you. You begin walking towards the road, but a loud bang makes you freeze. Immediately a warm, wet feeling spreads from your lower back towards your buttocks. Your feet and legs feel cold, and you collapse. You’ve been shot, you surmise. Lorena Tiller walks into your view. “Gotta hand it to you, never seen anything like that,” she says, sounding like pestilence itself. “Unfortunately, your little show means I wasn’t paid. Fortunately, you are wanted for the same crime on another court. They want you dead, though. Dead pays less, but I can’t afford to be picky. You understand.” ‘Fuck, no! I was so close!’ You want to curse her, but she raises her gun towards your face. “You were fun. People like you make me love this job.” A bright flash is the last thing you ever see.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

AAAAAAAAAA

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Story B: Somewhere in the morning winter howl of the drunken stupor of death, leaked inspiration. Through the cracks of the house without any doors, the bricks turned to styrofoam, it remained. A quill. Unused, better instruments now. Unowned, unmade. Unsoaked with the blood of the mind. Heavier than the world, so it’s impossible to wield. Yet in other forms, it is wielded. But not by me. Not tonight. An impossible task.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
And no, I didn't accidentally cut any entries off this time.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

Well it seems being in the discord has given me the particular knowledge of who's is who's.


Which is why my vote is for story B. :)

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
glad to see mara is doing well

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

The quill's other forms include a dictionary, English textbook, and functional brain. Not wielded by the writer. Not tonight, and not ever.  An impossible task.

Story A, obviously.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

I vote for Allah

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

Story A, because it's more finished than B. Story A reminded me oddly so much of Cel, probably because of the exclamation marks and the CAPSLOCK SPAM and the constant cursing. I don't know whether this should be a compliment for Dark.

Ace once said that he struggled with writing 4 pages, so I would like to think that he wrote story B. 

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

Huh?

 

Why do you keep editing your post? That's like your 4th time 

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
don't you start now

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
How many times have you edited this?

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

I felt bad spamming everyone with notifications, so I thought that my edits would solve this. I read it on my phone so it was glitching pretty bad. Plus I was going back and forth to read the story again.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
damn you've edited this post like 8 times now what are you even doing

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

IDK which is which, but Story A was fantastic - no notes. Whichever one of the two wrote Story B should be banned from the site 

 

Story A gets my vote, easy. Story B - please do better. 

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
I don't vote in these when I'm hosting, but my theory is that the author of story B was banking on a win by default and the author of story A just not showing up. Which does not narrow it down or give anything away at all with these contestants.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

A

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Story A by default. The author of B sounds like a habitual wrist cutter.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 10/20/2023 3:37:26 PM
I vote A.

Length isn't everything, but there isn't much of a story with B. It does have a vibe, but I'd prefer not to have most of the burden of engagement set on my imagination. I can only read that story as an admission that writing a short story was too hard, which isn't really that interesting. Maybe add a dragon next time.

Story A ends up being entertaining with a structure that reveals things at a good pace. Our criminal should've tried bribing the bounty hunter, but maybe they did when they were first caught (and I can see how a bounty hunter might value their reputation, but it is also very possible that any bribe he offered would get confiscated without benefit). I'm not complaining, just showing that using my imagination like this is more enjoyable (compared to B).

I will say that too many short stories end with the POV character dying. On the bright side they didn't kill themselves. I also thought for but a moment that he might get away, so that's good (since it stops the ending from being too predictable). Realising now that the story built the setting well enough that I carried it over to story B, so points for that.

I sure do wonder who's going to win.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Voting for Story A.
Story B seems like it would've fit better back in that one Morgan thread where the Wardens were farming comms off of haikus and whatnot.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 10/16/2023 11:26:26 AM

This was a hard one. I liked Story A a lot, it had a fine sense of imagery and each major character was made keenly memorable upon introduction. The sheer wretchedness of the court and everyone involved gave the story such an amusingly picaresque character, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this cast of belligerent muppets fail to hang a con man.

On the other hand, brevity is the soul of wit, and Mizal herself has noted, (correctly, in my view) that it's actually harder to write a short story in 50 words than it is in 1000. Technically, both contestants did go a little above what I presume was their goal limit, but the principle is the same. Which is what makes this contest truly come so close to the wire.

I think that Story B is punching well above its weight class by far, and yet, he is holding his own. Much like Dark is punching several hundred pounds above his own weight class in this duel, and yet the entries are neck and neck. But personally, I think I have to give my vote to Story B, because even though Story A paints a delightfully detailed tapestry of violence and institutional hysteria, Story B manages to cover a canvas of the same size using only a single turd, and within the brown is an indescribable depth, to which I cannot help but notice new things I dislike every time I look at it. It is so layered, and so rich in its way.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

I vote for A (-salaam alaykum) 

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

Story A.

Story B felt like someone turning in a homework assignment 5 minutes before it was due. And while I can respect that, it wasn't that great.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 10/20/2023 3:37:37 PM

Story A was good, a few minor errors, but I liked it. There was solid characterization, great tension, some descriptive prose, from which the writers of the previous bout could learn a thing or two: note how the author conveys a lot of style within the constraints of the word limit. There isn't paragraphs of description, but what we're given still paints a pretty full picture.

Story B, however, blew harder than Ace's mom after she got offered a quarter pounder and large fries for sucking dick. Sentence 1 is dumb because the author can't even think of a metaphorical place whence the inspiration could leak from. Sentence 2 is retarded because inspiration is described as "remaining through cracks" which is utter fucking nonsense. The second paragraph is attempting to be poetic, I guess, but it comes across with the gravitas of a wet napkin and the elegance of a vulture eating. I mean, starting not one, but TWO CONSECUTIVE sentences with conjunctions is just fucking gross. If they served a purpose, or had a good flow, it could be forgivable. But they add nothing to "in other forms, it is wielded", which probably flows better WITHOUT the conjunction--on top of that, this sentence doesn't really make sense with the metaphor anyway and it sucks.  "Unused, better instruments now" reads worse than AI generated text. Like poetry, this story takes a lot to digest and fully comprehend, but it's not because of a significant, impactful message; rather, it's the inane attempt at complexity, which only results in unintelligible, uninteresting metaphors that still manage to be vague. You use four sentences to write some shit about how you can't write, and this is what you go with? It's also shameful to not submit anything after you agree to a duel with a limit of 2k (so you at most spend three hours on this). My last thunderdome entry was written in the last hour before the deadline because I fucking forgot about it for the whole weekend. You could write an actual story instead of a shitty half-poem. While Sent may be lost in this shit, it drives me to drink.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

After sleeping on it, I vote for Story A

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

You know what, story B is more poetic and does a better job of setting a tone. And even in so few words, it tells such a story...

jk. I'm voting for A

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

A

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 10/20/2023 3:37:54 PM

I vote story A.

Story A had a strong premise and plot. Unfortunately, what started engaging mood-setting description in the first two paragraphs turned into over-wordiness as the narrator's musings dragged on. Many were clever, but could have been communicated much more quickly in a way that didn't drag out so much. I feel that this story could have been half the length, and much stronger for it.

I liked the trick the narrator uses at the end, but I thought it was poorly executed. The townspeople are shown to be pissed at them, so I can't imagine they'd turn on the judge just like that. Maybe if the townspeople's anger with the judge was foreshadowed earlier, this would work better.

Story A feels like a strong first draft. Some intensive editing could turn it into a strong final draft. But it's definitely not there yet, in terms of the language.

Story B actually isn't a terrible concept. I can easily imagine a short, punchy, poetic story covering the same premise to great effect. This one didn't. It's pretty clear that the author was rushed and just vaguely threw together whatever phrases they thought would cover the concept in the limited time remaining.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 10/16/2023 10:57:10 AM
I have to say, Story B was quite a literary accomplishment. It just starts out so strongly, even just the first word: “Somewhere.” This leaves so much open to interpretation, which some people will not like, but it also leaves so much open to the reader’s imagination. The location of this upcoming adventure could be deep in dripping caves during Spring in Kentucky; or it could be on the top of a sand dune in the Sahara with the sun beating down without end. There is so much opportunity and complexity just with that first word.

But beyond that, the story works to build the setting in the reader’s mind right away. The reader is immediately taken inside the “morning winter howl.” While certainly most readers have firsthand experience of being inside howls, it is hard to know how many readers have really experienced being inside one in winter and in the morning. Howls are certainly much more common in the evening, or even at night, of course. And for one to experience one during winter as well takes quite the hardy soul. Indeed, the author is clearly here setting the reader up for quite a rare experience.

And the author does not end there! No, there is so much more detail and complexity. After the reader is imagining themselves inside that quite rare “morning winter howl,” they are informed that the howl is of “the drunken stupor of death.” Now that really is something. Just think about how death has been portrayed and pictured throughout history by various authors and playwrights. Have you ever heard of anyone thinking of portraying death as drunken stupor inside a morning winter howl? While I have clearly not read everything that has ever been written, I can most certainly assure you that no one has ever tried to do that.

Then, when the reader is just about to be overwhelmed with emotion, comes the uplifting hope: “leaked inspiration.” Seriously, who could read that first sentence and not feel the raw emotion and feel something immediately leaking? This is just one sentence into this literary creation, and I honestly had to stop and read that “sentence” again and again. After reading it, I even had to stop, pause, and return to this work of art after a moment of respite.

Returning was certainly a great way to continue this adventure. Trying to calm my emotions, I read on, only to read about the incredible Styrofoam crack house. My mind immediately drew pictures of the floating white house the shifted with the whims of the wind, moving about, and smelling of chemicals and desperation. “It remained.” No matter how much crack was cooked and no matter how many times the wind moved the house, clearly, it remained. Powerful.

The next paragraph was quite the creative use of sentence fragments. For some readers, this might evoke memories of the writing abilities of Fyodor Dostoevsky or even F. Scott Fitzgerald and their work with very long sentences; this was quite the opposite. Certainly, the attempt was there to make a joke around the use of a quill, but for this reader, that joke fell quite flat: so flat, indeed, that I cannot be quite sure it was intentional.

Seventy words were written here and the message this reader took away from them was quite clear: the message was “beware.” Beware of the budding genius and potentially insane mind from which these words flowed. Could this author be another borderline writing master, trying to balance the rational world with on the edge of insanity twisting and churning in his brain? Could this author be fighting a continuing battle every moment of every day trying to appear sane to the world while wild stories wander free in his mind, threatening to takeover his daily life? Alas, with output like this, the world will likely never know.

I vote for Story A

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

Easy B here.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
One of the funniest parts of this was that immediately after the thread went up, Dark started apologizing to everyone and straight facedly pretended to have written Story B, and kept this up into the next day.

But of course, he actually wrote story A. And we've had a lot of votes already, so I don't see he need to keep you guys in suspense any longer: Story A wins! Wow, amazing! Congrats to @Darkspawn! I disliked everyone in your story, and it was a fun read even if I agree with Gryphon that it seemed a little rough around the edges. May your styrofoam bricks never leak inspiration.

Next week I believe we have a showdown between stargirl and Abby. Let's see if it leads to IRL violence that tears their friendship apart.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

@MrAce321

Shame

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

@MrAce321 you're fat 

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Commended by Sherbet on 10/17/2023 6:45:54 PM
I just want to mak it clear that it was @MrAce321 who challenged me out nowhere, kept obnoxiously reminding the fact when the thunderdome was shut down, and made me spend 3-4 hours writing this bullshit while he scratched his fat ass and did nothing.

I agree with everyone who said my story is a rough draft at best. I admittedly had trouble with the word limit (ironic considering Gryphon says it could be shorter) and the ending in particular was rushed.

My main idea was to present a cast of horrible people, from the unrepentant con man, the corrupt froggy judge, the rabid townspeople, and the vile and horrible bounty hunter Lorena Tiller. This last one is actually a character I've toyed around with in stories that exist only in my head, or that I've tried to write at some point. Basically, she was an idea I had about this awful bounty hunter woman who is the secret protagonist of said stories. In essence, the idea behind her was to have stories starring criminals and falsely accused people in an alternate wild west setting. The stories have these characters getting up to all sort of wacky hijinks trying to get away or to commit more crimes or whatever, and then at the end the stories would have this Lorena Tiller character invariably coming in to kill or capture the "protagonists", revealing herself to be the main character. Or something like that.

Maybe some remember a short story, "Infierno", that I wrote years ago. This was going to be the first of such stories, but I ended up liking the false protagonists too much and ended up getting rid of Lorena and just rolling with the other two as protagonists. The only positive thing about this entire shitshow is that now I might be motivated to maybe continue writing about such things.

If it wasn't for that I'd be tempted to say that this, as with anything else I've ever been involved in that also involved Ace, was a massive waste of my time.

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago
Infierno

Many good stories have been posted on this board, but nobody reads anything not in a duel format. We should recruit some kid to scribble out 70 words to "challenge" authors with any time anyone wants to share something. (Not one that takes three days to do it though, that's just shamefully inefficient.,)

Thunderdome 8: Ace vs Dark

4 months ago

I'm voting for story A, I just love that Table abuse