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Author Topic: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!  (Read 2198 times)

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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2018, 05:36:38 PM »
Just a story where nothing really happens.


Funeral for a friend


The funeral was fine. It was still a 3 hour drive after several other drives, but the sermon was nice and the social interaction minimal. He’d only known the man and his late wife, none of his family. Even though it was a hassle, Berry Johnson never missed a social appointment. No matter how pointless he saw social gatherings, so long as they were truly annual and of special note, he would attend them. If that did not get in the way of his familial obligations - and if he wasn't explicitly uninvited.

The advent of social apps made the boundaries that much harder to determine, but Berry Johnson never lost his cool in even the most awkward situations where the host hadn't quite expected him to arrive. Over the years he’d gotten skilled in choosing the perfect gift to leave, the perfect timing for enjoying an obligatory social drink and then the perfect timing for slipping out before the party was over. It had worked for the past 70 years of his very long life, and at a funeral this technique would serve him even better.

The latest death was Terry Codswop’s - Kidney infection - which was just an excuse Death came up with this time because at his age everything could've gone wrong. He had the benefit of slipping away in his sleep and grandchildren who actually openly cried for him. Berry Johnson was surprised Terry had ended up with a family as large as this one. His own, while substantial seemed more attached to his money than himself, but that was neither here or there. Today he was here for a funeral for a friend. A technical friend. On facebook. And an old classmate. It counted.

After the sermon, Berry would’ve normally been on his way if not for Terry's friend - He couldn't remember the name for the life of him. Age was merciless even to Berry Johnson's once perfect memory - He could place the face but wasn't sure about the name. Something unremarkeable, like his surname. Jim. John. Jack or something. He didn’t even remember if he disliked him more than the others or not.

Anyhow, this individual invited him to the wake for coffee. Berry thought it'd be a good idea to get some warmth in his bones before the drive back to Birmingham.

"I had no idea you'd come." Terry's friend said.

Berry grunted. Drank coffee. Watched the rain outside the glass windows. Rich house. Wide lawn. Berry couldn't stand it. It reminded him of his own modern tip top house. He’d been as obsessed with acknowledgement as his other classmates, it seemed. Back then they’d all been horrified at the prospect of working half-jobs in their younger adult years before having a house, and when the money was finally there it was almost comical how even the most wild of Berry’s alma matter settled down with a surburban wife.

Now, Berry found himself fantasizing about going to a cabin in the Alps again, but that just wasn't as interesting anymore without Elma around...

"Actually, I sort of thought you would. Come, I mean." Terry's friend continued. He was 60 or something. Still had some kicking left in him. His breath smelled of alcohol.

"He was a friend."  Berry Johnson said, "I had to come."

Terry's friend chuckled, "We all have friends. I have 1,200 on Facebook. Guess how many I talk with now?"

"I do not talk with mine either." Berry Johnson said. The coffee was good. African… Kenya, maybe?

"Why do you do it? I heard from Earl - you've been to five funerals already?"

"You make it sound as if I'm making a tour on purpose." Berry Johnson said, "It's bothersome that so many people are dying this month, but at this age I suppose it’s expected."

Terry's friend looked choked up with emotion for a moment, and Berry Johnson remembered he had been good friends with Terry. Berry let him gather himself.

"Man, I want to - We're already at that age, huh? Dying away like this?"

"We're not that old. But yeah, we're just about there. You have plenty of more years, I hope. I don't want to drive to wherever you live any time soon."

"Dude, we literally never talked to eachother other than in highschool."

"And?"

Terry's friend paused, "Damn it Berry Johnson, you've always been a weird bastard. But... Thanks. You know - " He didn't bother hiding himself spiking his coffee with a whisky flask this time, "We all invite eachother to our alma matter parties and have friends online and all that sweet stuff but we never bother, you know? Not really bother. I mean I'm sure you don't care for any of us but the fact that you made the time helps."

Berry Johnson grimaced, "I'm not a robot, you know."

"Yeah, you just brood and stay in corners and never talked to any of us. Sorry. I said that in past tense, you still do it somehow." Terry's friend chuckled, "You're a character, man."

"I'm terrible at socializing." Berry Johnson said matter-of-factly, "But I know how to keep my commitments. My father told me that if I have nothing else, I can at least show up when I'm invited. Terry's family, like the others posted 'Friends and family invited.' I came."

Terry's friend stared at him and looked like he wanted to hug him, but thought better about it. Berry Johnson had already inched away instinctively at the look and decided it was just about time to go, and he was feeling warmer already from the coffee.

"Take care of yourself." Berry reached out a hand and patted the man’s shoulder once, placed the cup of coffee on the table and headed out, murmuring his goodbyes to the bereaved and heading towards that expensive glass sliding door.

"You don't remember my name do you?" Terry's friend called from behind him.

Berry Johnson turned and tapped his head, "Not as it used to be."

Terry's friend grinned, "Berry you gob*censored*e. You really don’t remember me? I was your nemesis." He said.

It clicked immediately. Berry Johnson snapped his fingers, "George. George with those godawful outdated insults."

"I have a whole encyclopaedia of them, Berrywerry."

"Jesus Christ." Berry Johnson left. His mouth may have been curled at the edges.
[/size]
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 05:51:19 PM by legomaestro »

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2018, 05:43:45 PM »
Short stories are like that. Sometimes they feel like nothing really happens. What makes them important is the details and what aspect of life it's highlighting. As for that, I think you did a fair job.

Offline legomaestro

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2018, 05:59:48 PM »
That is how it feels sometimes haha. But I guess I love explosions and magic too much. My realistic writing has suffered terribly as a result, though.

Offline Coryn

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2018, 07:20:10 PM »
Nice work Lego! It's probably because I'm just coming off of a funeral myself, but yeah, I think this is a pretty common occurrence. Old cousins who have maybe met only a few times, or haven't seen each other since they were kids. Sometimes I wonder if either party actually remember the other's name, and are just secretly looked in a stalemate until some aunt with a much better memory calls out to one or the other.

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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2018, 08:06:55 PM »
Damn. This is totally an oxymoron question but how was it? (Personally I have been to a BAD funeral before. It was in the middle of a hot burning sun and the pastor found it so important to suddenly go into a political speech. I was not amused.)

Well my mali is a professional funeral visitor so you can always count on her to know the most obscure familial connection. It's almost amazing.

Also is it Black Saturday or am I the only one on the 23rd as of this moment? Write your pieces, people!

Offline Coryn

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2018, 09:50:26 PM »
Black Friday, and it's not even 9pm yet on the night before over here.

Well, it was my grandmother, who spent as much time raising my brother and I as our actual mother. So yeah, it *censored*ing sucked. But the weather was good, the priest did a good job, lots of family showed up. Not a grand affair, but as far as funerals go, it went about as well as it could have gone.

Thanks for asking though. Grief sucks, but it's not eternal.

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Offline suuper-san

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2018, 05:29:53 AM »
@Coryn so sorry to hear about that. glad the funeral went ok.

@Lego the heck, you posted and it wasn't even Friday for me yet XD I'm doing a one-shot manga Saturday so you'll have to wait a bit :P
interesting concept for a story. I struggle with short stories since they often encompass a very short period of time, and very often, nothing happens. it's almost like an excerpt of a larger story, with just better trimmed ends. very realistic of a funeral conversation I think. well done!

bringing up the badges again, this is totally the kind of thing that needs a "participated" badge, if you ask me. (.....and now I've had an idea. oh dear XD)

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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2018, 12:00:40 PM »
I'm an idiot. I thought because 22nd was a big day in 'Murica it was Friday for some reason? I posted way too early hahaha.

Looking forward to that one-shot. And who knows, maybe I'm feeling epic enough to make one too muhuhahahaha.  How many pages are you thinking?


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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2018, 03:24:56 PM »
well as long as you get it done, no problem! and as Coryn said, there wasn't a time constraint, so earlier is also ok, albeit unexpected :P
hmmmm I'm aiming at quantity over quality, although drawing things I'm not familiar with will slow me down regardless. I'd like to say 20-30 pages but I wont have all day to make it, so I'll probably have to settle or around 15. Unless I lower the quality super heavily, which might also be a thing. we'll see how I feel on the day.
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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2018, 03:31:39 PM »
Well, as I said Suuper, it just needs to be 24 hour span. So if you start late, you'll still have the next morning if you need it!

Meanwhile, mine is written, but I realized that I swapped tense a bit, so I need to do some solid editing before posting  :push:

This is what I getting for writing in strange perspectives. Can't ever keep the tense straight.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 03:34:10 PM by Coryn »

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2018, 04:58:57 PM »
ahhhh 24 hours can span more than one day.........this is a new concept XD
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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2018, 10:04:31 PM »
Indeed it can  :D


Well, here's my entry, music is included, so play for full effect. If the link doesn't work, there's a pretty big hint right at the beginning there for what to search for yourself.

Enjoy!

https://open.spotify.com/track/4w494MnUQPFNXcDn22oSg0?si=Sjho-8SJQTCAUzgW9zLSUA


EXPLOSION DAY

EXPLOSION DAY

Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian blasted across the Science Division's speaker system.
        On repeat.
        The director flew down the halls at a dangerous speeds, atop one of his force field bubbles. He was lost in his own mind's workings. It was a day he had been planning for all year, the day when a very specific set of experiments were to be carried out. It brought a wide smile to his face, a smile that made you cringe on the inside every time you saw it.
        You watched him over the screens in the director's office. You usually watched him from his office. It was where you worked. Well, it was where you lived, technically speaking.
        Your name is Alice. Science Division V.I. #1. While the other V.I.'s are assigned to, and reside in, specific departments, you are the one V.I. designated to control and maintain the entire operation. You have always done your job admirably. However keeping the Science Division running is only half of your job. The other half is by far the hardest part. It is far less tedious, but that doesn't mean you enjoy it. In fact, it was for the second half of your job that you were truly created. It was the reason for your strict demeanor, your professional look, and the stern face you made most hours of the day.
        Your job is to keep Director Sken from getting himself killed.
        “Again…” You thought with tightly closed eyes and a furrowed brow, before activating a voice line to the director. Even though you had a direct link to his skull, you hoped he could hear you over the music. “Director, please be aware that you are exceeding recommended speeds for the upcoming department.”
        The music still blared, but you could filter out the director's voice. “Thanks Alice!” He said, without actually slowing down. Director Sken at least took the next turn more carefully. Much to your relief, it was the last one before he hopped down to ground level, and popped into one of the labs. You flipped to a separate camera to monitor the situation further.
        The lab beyond consisted of two rooms. The first, was a small control room with a window. The second, a large box of reinforced concrete. Both were heavily reinforced to withstand what was about to happen in the larger of the pair
        The director did a few twirls as he danced up to the object in the center of the dull, concrete and metal room. For all the world, it looked like a teddy bear. Well, it looked like a teddy bear in an adorable sailor's outfit, but that was beside the point. You knew it wasn't a teddy bear. It was an object of seemingly undeterminable mass and shape that had fallen out of a portal the director had opened earlier in the year. It just happened to look like a teddy bear in this moment. The day before it had been an egg. A week ago it had been a refrigerator.
        Director Sken checked his connections. He had spent the weeks prior laying out a massive explosive yield around the object. In theory it would all be directed inwards, and no blowback would be directed towards the director himself.
        In theory.
        Sure of his set up, the director turned towards the camera he knew you would be watching from. He opened his arms with a dramatic flourish. “Alice, begin recording! Experiment: #6528, Object: #453 Codename: SharkTooth. SharkTooth has withstood all traditional means of study. Moving on to next phase of testing. Experiment will commence in one minute.”
        The director scurried back into the smaller room. You closed the heavy metal door behind him as he passed. You didn't like this experiment one bit. You can't get just go around blowing up objects with no earthly reason for their existing. The director had been determined however, so here you were, watching your creator priming enough explosives to level a building.
        He spoke to you, but never took his eyes off the object.
        “Initiating blast in three...two...one!”
        Click click.
        Nothing.
        You could see the director's jaw working. He was questioning his wiring. He opened his mouth to address the recording software.
        Boom.
        The whole load went off at once. Panic went through you as the dust filled all of your cameras. Not just the ones in the blast chamber, but the ones in the control room, and in the corridor beyond.
         You activated the exhaust system, and at long last you found the director in the hallway. He was pressed up against the wall, having been blasted out with the walls, but he had a shield around him.
        You sighed. The fool had lived through another experiment. “Director, are you okay?”
        He wasn't slow on the response. “Just fine Alice! I'm going back in!”
        “Sir!”
        He was already off. The director pushed through the smoke and back into the blast chamber. You switched back to the interior view to see him walking up to where the object had been. You saw… nothing. It seemed that whatever it had been, it was not explosion proof.
        The director yelled at you. “Alice, look in close!”
        You sent the camera servos into action. Slowly, you zoomed into the small crater where Director Sken was digging with his bare hands. That's when you saw it.
        “Oh, damn it all.” You thought.
        There, laying in the dust and the rubble, although completely free of both, was an open pack of cookies. The little plastic tray that held the sugary treats was half pulled out of the plastic packaging. You could count individual crumbs.
        “I don't like this.” You said to the director.
        “I'm going to take one.” The director said to you.
        You have no body, but you think you felt your hologram having an aneurysm. “Director-!”
        It was already in his hand. He held it up so the camera could get a better shot.
        Shortbread, a dark-chocolate drizzle. The director sniffed it. “The object smells exactly like a shortbread cookie.”
        You watched with horror as he brought it close to his mouth, but thankfully, he thought better of the idea. Tension fell away from your non-existent shoulders as he placed the cookie back in its plastic tray.
        Just in time for the tray to suck itself back into the packaging, and for the brightly colored plastic to close tightly together, as if it were trying to reseal itself.
        All with the director's hand still inside.
        “It's got me!"
        You opened a wide broadcast to the entire Science Division. “Attention, all V.I.'s and sanctioned intruders! Director Sken is under assault by an unknown entity! Lock down your departments and render all assistance possible!”
        You turned your attention back to the director just in time to see him slam against the wall of the corridor. His mouth was open, and emitted a sound of worry. It wasn't a scream, but could be described as a scream from a great distance, as heard through a tin can. He held the hand which the cookie package was latched onto in the air, and supported that arm with his other hand.
        As the director ran down the hallway, he started banging the package of cookies against the metal walls. Seemingly to no effect, although you could hear the crackling of cellophane with each impact.
        As this was going nowhere, you reached back out to the director. “Director, the other V.I.'s have closed down the rest of the division. What do you need?”
        “Where's the next experiment for the day?!”
        “What?!”
        He hopped up onto a new shield bubble. “I think we scared it!”
        “Who's we?!
        “It didn't attack right away after the first blast! I think it may have been stunned! If we can stun it again, maybe it will release me!”
        “Or maybe it will turn into an elephant and crush you!” You yelled, but you were already transmitting the next lab's location. “Mechanical Engineering and Development, Lab 6, Bay 3. Get there quick.”
        The director shot off. This time, you omitted any speed warnings. He spent half the trip there trying to scrape the container of cookies off on the ceiling, to no avail. Thankfully, the day's route had been laid out in sequence, so it did not take long to arrive. The director made a beeline through the lab, and burst into a truly massive room.
        In the center was a metal elbow joint, that could have allowed two monumental pieces of machinery to bend with each other. It was slated for stress testing, which explained the explosives. You had questioned this as well, but you were starting to think that maybe the director had been correct in this instance.
        Director Sken kicked open the door to a small bunker he had constructed in the docking bay. His free hand, he used to input the commands to prime the explosives. The cookie hand, he stuck back out the still open door.
        “Test number, whatever we'll fill it in in post! Three… two one…!”
        The director cringed. You cringed. The sneaking suspicion that you were about to spend the rest of your day directing a rescue crew on the best way to collect your creator's chunks flashed through your mind. You closed your eyes while waiting for the blast to happen.
        Only.
        It didn't.
        You opened your eyes, only to see the director still standing there, just as he had been a moment before. The cookies were still on his hand, and there was a look of puzzlement on his face. He looked up at the camera, at you. Then he looked back down at the hand in the cookies.
        The director brought it up in front of himself, and then turned towards you. “Say, Alice. This doesn't hurt.”
        “It… what?”
        “Look.” He turned his hand so you could get a clear view. Sure enough, it was plain as day now that he wasn't flailing about so much. The director's hand was inside the cookie package, sure enough, but that's all it was. The plastic packaging kept trying to close around his wrist. It looked like a mouth taking bites. But if it was a mouth, it was a weak, toothless one.
        The director grabbed the package with his free hand, and slid it off with relatively little effort. As soon as his fingers were clear, the cookies sealed themselves up. All of a sudden it was like they were freshly off the grocery store shelf. The director's hand was completely unmolested.
        “Well.” He said. “I guess that was a whole lot of fuss for nothing!”
        You hated him. You weren't programmed to hate him, but despite that setback, something about him could really make your blood boil. Maybe that was just what it took to keep a lemming of a human being like him alive. “I am glad to see that you are alright, Director.”
        He smiled at you. “You're too good to me Alice.” And spun back towards the control panel. “Well then, since we're here, let the test commence!” The director hit the button. The bombs went off. Another Explosion Day test successfully completed.
        Your name is Alice. Science Division V.I. #1. Your job is to keep Director Sken from getting himself killed. It is not an envious position, but you do it well. And you are the only one who can.

 
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 11:57:23 AM by Coryn »

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Offline legomaestro

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2018, 07:54:54 AM »
Press F  to pay respects for Alice's efforts.  It's amazing that Coryn gets so much done even though he's a mad scientist about it. I was begging to know what the entity was but you somehow made it not important in the end. Very interesting perspective there, can't quite say who it reminds me of, but it got a natural narrative feel to it, rather than the forced feeling that happens when people try to take such liberties.

The music was too fitting. I wish it didn't stop abruptly at the end and went on in a loop better, but it works quite well.

Also is that entity a Q? It must be. And damn what would've happened if he ate the cookies. Infinite fuel? I wonder.

Also operation kidnap a VI for... Ethical study is in place. SAVE ALICE CHAN

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2018, 08:56:56 AM »
a cool read, well done Coryn :)
curious 2nd person point of view, definitely worked well.
and well done Alice :)
the music totally changed the mood of the piece, if I was a mad scientist it would be a must to have this playing.
hmmmm sentient cookie packet? totally a challenge of the day for Director Sken :)
now the next important question, is this Canon?

....and I'm probably going to save my challenge until Monday, since I'm out of it as far as doing anything large goes. Turns out I'm still ill despite thinking i was ok, and went outside for half an hour and was coughing for the next 2 hours from the cold air and now I have a headache so I'm just going to mope the whole day.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 08:58:37 AM by suuper-san »
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Offline Coryn

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Re: Black Friday: One-Day-One-Shot!
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2018, 09:52:25 AM »
@Lego: She's a serious woman for a serious job.

Well let's be honest, I got tons of 2nd person perspective training from reading Homestuck. My real challenge was keeping it past tense instead of present (I had to re-edit the whole thing)

That's just the nature of the piece. But hey, at least that means it was internally consistent! On to be honest, I completely didn't notice that while writing. So I guess it's good!

A Q? Like in the Star Trek sense? I wouldn't say so. It's just an object of indeterminate mass and size. As we discovered. It's not exactly sentient. As far as what he would have gained by eating it? Well, possibly a lot of bad things. We'll never know.

Unfortunately to you Lego, Alice is far too serious to allow herself to be caught up in such shenanigans.

@Suuper: Thanks Suuper! I'm glad you liked the perspective. As explained to Lego above, I had some practice.

It was was something that looked like a cookie package in that moment. Whatever it actually is, it seemed to just be trying to seal itself up. You wouldn't say a clam that closed on your finger was attacking you, after all

It is by my reconning! Set in the Prime universe, doesn't counteract anything that has already been established, and it's finished. Congrats Suuper, you've read your first MR Canon story!

Sorry to hear about your sickness. Feel better!


Of course, there's also a little secret I revealed in this piece for people who are already familiar with the canon. Two cookies to whoever can get it right! (Actual cookies this time).

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