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more useful than all the spam that is on here.
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The Coffee Shop / Re: The Crap Joke Thread / Adult Content
« Last post by Michael Edits on Yesterday at 05:36:00 PM »
A lady with a prize-winning schnauzer figured that he was going deaf. He wouldn't come when she called. When she took him out for a walk he wouldn't heel like he had been taught to do. As a matter of fact, when the dog wasn't looking and she called him, he acted like he didn't hear her at all. So she took him to the vet.

The vet looked the dog over and gave him a complete physical. He told the lady, "There's nothing wrong with your dog at all. Look here. He has too much hair growing in his ears. Just get some Nair or Neet and put that in his ears and it'll fix him right up."

So the lady went to the nearest store and picked up a small bottle of Nair and looked over the instructions. There was nothing on the carton that related to her dog so she took it to the druggist and asked his advice.

"How do I apply this product? Do I put it on right out of the bottle or do I dilute it or what?"

The druggist said, "For your legs, put it on straight. Right out of the bottle. For your underarms, I recommend that you dilute it 50-50 with water."

She said, "I don't think that you understand. It's for my schnauzer."

"In that case, dilute it 3 to 1 with water and don't ride a bicycle for a few days."
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I wanted to get some feedback from the community on these posts, are they helpful for anyone or would they be considered unsolicited advertising?

If they are useful, I'm happy to leave them on the forum for everyone.

Thanks in advance for the input!
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Review My Work / Short Story Excerpt/Adult Language/1400 Words
« Last post by DRP22 on Yesterday at 03:22:28 PM »
Hey, folks. I've been putting together a book of short stories, each around 6-7K words. I've completed three of them. I'm attempting to write each story in different styles, playing with tenses, voice, etc. Below is an excerpt form the fourth story. Let me hear your thoughts!

_____

The key to being a spirit medium, the key for any conman, is to know when you’ve almost worn out your welcome. I mean, I’m good—real good—but eventually people wise up and walk away.

Or worse, run out of money.

For instance, every once in a while, I’ll get invited to someone’s home to hold a “séance party”. Mrs. Whats-her-face is a long-time client. She came to me when her father died of liver failure. She came to me when she thought her daughter was pregnant. She came to me when Trump was voted into office, asking about “omens of doom.” Whatever that means. About six months, this woman was in and out of my parlor, coming to hear me say things like, Your aura is bruised. The spirit world is communicating, but are you failing to listen? Again, all of this horseshit.

So I get a phone call, the one I was telling you about, the phone call where everything turns to shit. This chick, Whats-her-face, calls and says, “My husband is out of state for a conference. Is it possible to book you for a small gathering at my place?”

Immediately, I know this is the beginning of the end of our consumer/provider relationship. The best thing to do here is to charge triple—even quadruple—what I’d usually charge. In advance.

In the early 90s, McDonalds was really blowing up. A drive-thru ended up on every major street corner, the big golden arches spaced about twenty miles along every interstate. The big wigs in home office know that maintaining quality food with this many chains would be nearly impossible. Not to mention how difficult it is to provide a dining experience for people eating inside, and speed for those eating on the go. They approached this problem with a psychological solution: hard, cheap plastic seats. Sit and eat for more than five minutes, and your ass is so sore, you can’t wait to leave. In every McDonalds, high quantities of bright yellows and reds—colors denoting urgency. Everything about the layout screaming go, go, go. Google “hostile architecture.” Google “aggressive interior design.” The trick to getting more money, the trick to not pissing off scores of customers, is to get them in and out of their own volition before they have time to complain. Customer experiences in high quantity, not quality.

When working away from my parlor, in some hostess’ house, with all her skeptical friends drinking white wine and judging each other’s nails—I know my presentation will be shit. Without the theater design, without the diffusion of saffron oil, without a track of chanting monks playing at low volume, my whole shtick is nearly impossible to pull off. Suddenly, under the lighting in this chick’s dining room, my mysterious goatee looks… glued on. With everyone around me at the table dressed in GAP, my second hand robes look dingy. I’ve got a little more eye liner on one side than the other. Don’t look too close, because, yes, I’m wearing silver-tinted contacts. Before the séance even begins, I’ve already these people. This is why I charge so much for home visits. The big bang marking the end of steady income.

Our hostess says something like, “Guys. I promise. Victor here is the real thing.” But there’s a hint of doubt in her voice.

Lighting a cigarette, I say, “So, are we gonna do this?”

One of these Gucci soccer moms looks over, appalled, and says, “Tobacco is really bad for your health.”

Yeah, with the inflection and everything.

And blowing smoke, I say, “I’ve read your palm, sweetheart. Between you and me, I’m not the one who should be worried about cancer.”

Half way through the séance, and people are rolling their eyes. Whats-her-face is bright pink, and drunk, the bottle of pino grigio sitting a few inches from her glass. I stand up and bow, saying, “Ladies, the mysteries of the spirit dimension must wait. I need a piss.”

I make my way to the bathroom, up polished wood stairs. A few minutes later, I’m wiping my hands on a monogrammed towel when I hear something. Singing. A low, croaking kind of voice singing in what sounds like Russian. Cocking my head to the side, I’m walking down the hall towards a partially shut door, lamplight inside spilling out from underneath. Behind me, from downstairs, Whats-her-face is apologizing to her friends between hiccups. I press my ear against the door to catch the tune being sung and the singing stops. My hand flat on the door, I push it open.

This is where I first meet the Glass-Eyed Woman. Sitting on the edge of a twin bed, wrinkled and veiny hands resting shakily on her lap. She’s ancient. Decrepit. Barefooted In a pale nightgown, I can make out the shape of her tits, sunk low, sitting heavy against her stomach. Where she’s not balding, her hair is grey-white and thin. Her lower lip stretched up halfway to her nose, she’s rubbing her gums together, staring down at the patterned carpet.

Then there’s me, standing there in the doorway, entirely uncomfortable with that monogrammed towel in one hand. “Sorry, I-I didn’t know—I just heard you singing, so I—“

She turns to look at me, and her eyes look off. Not crooked or anything, just wrong. The way prosthetic eyes, no matter how good they are, always look too glossy and unfocused.
“Well, I’m gonna—I’m just going to head back down—“

Weak, shambling, she starts to push to her feet, mumbling that now incredibly creepy Russian song. Coming at me, she smiles, and her mouth is the color of raw beets. Me, I’m just paralyzed with discomfort.

Google “fight, flight, or freeze.”

A foot away from me she puts her ice cold, skeleton-like hands on either side of my face, and for a terrifying moment, I think she’s trying to kiss me.
Instead, smiling she says, “You don’t see. Not really, no,” and then, nodding, “But you will. Then, you will know.” And she takes my hand and gives it an affectionate squeeze. Shambling away, back towards the bed, she’s singing again.

I step out quietly, shutting the door behind me, dropping the towel there on the hallway floor. Time to go.

Back down stairs, it’s dead silent around the dining room table. No one making eye contact. Whats-her-face’s mascara is running. I clap my hands together, and say something like, “Well! Thank you for a wonderful dinner. But alas, the witching hour is at hand. I’m off! Please, no one get up, I know the way.”

Fishing for keys in my inner robe, halfway towards my car, someone says, “Hey, asshole.”

Turning around, there’s our gracious host, holding my jacket. “Forget something?”

“Right.” She hands me the jacket and I smile, saying thanks. She’s so pissed, she’s radiating heat. “Hey, you’re mother… does she speak Russian by chance?”

Arms folded, she says, “My mother died when I was thirteen. You told me her presence was what got me through grad school.”

“Of course.” Shit. Forgot about that one. “So the lady upstairs, who—“

“I think you should know that I intend on calling my lawyer tomorrow. I have never been so mortified in my entire life. I had this dinner party planned for months, you dipshit.” And putting both hands to her forehead she says, “I knew I should’ve just gotten a magician. I hope you know an a-blocked-mazing defense attorney, because my husband--”

And in that moment, it happens for the first time. I feel a knot in my chest, and momentarily I can’t breathe. My teeth are vibrating the way they do during hyperventilation. In front of me, Whats-her-face was still speaking, but instead of words, a stream of clear water pours out from between her lips, splattering down onto the sidewalk between us. Her face is blue. Suddenly, her hair, her clothes—it’s all soaked. Ounces of carefully placed makeup run down her face in sheets to the collar of her top. I watch as her eyes roll steadily upward until only the bottom edge of each iris can be seen.

Then it all stops.

Dry as anything, arms crossed, she says, “Are you listening to me, asshole?”

“W-what?”

Turning on her Prada flats, without looking back she says, “Expect a call from my lawyer.”

That night, I didn’t sleep. The next morning, there in the Weekend Express:

UPPER EAST SOCCER MOM JUMPS FROM RIVERBANK BRIDGE
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I actually thought this was an entertaining read.

I found myself a little confused by your choice to use no conventional punctuation for the dialogue, but never confused by the dialogue itself. Actually, the lack of quotation marks reminds me of a few minimalist authors I've loved.

TP's character was pretty well defined by his interactions with the other players. I'm picking up on this flawed character at the same time as our narrator--which is how it should be.

Nit-picky grammar stuff aside, I'm struggling for something to really critique. To me, the cynical view of this character cuts down on the bizarre quality of him being a cat-human hybrid. It's a weird idea, but playful and well written.
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Review My Work / Re: Short story
« Last post by DRP22 on Yesterday at 02:29:03 PM »
First thought, right off the bat without reading a word:

I would love to see this broken into paragraphs. As a writer, you want your readers to have a reason to keep at it. When the page loaded, seeing this solid wall of text almost immediately scared me away.

Thoughts after reading:

This doesn't come across so much as a story being told, but a synopsis of a story with full dialogue. There are some tense issues.

"One day, he comes into a town called Hollow Grounds, this man walked around..."


Honestly, there are some moments where I have issues understanding what's actually taking place. I get the gist, but I'm having an issue following along. Some of this comes down to punctuation and syntax. For example:


"The man still having tears in his eyes said to the woman with a shaky voice,  "I've been..."

Wait. Who has the shaky voice? The man with tears in his eyes? Or is he talking to a woman who has a shaky voice? In my head, given the context, could I rearrange these words to get what you meant? Probably. But it slows the reading down considerably and makes the whole thing pretty tedious.

I think the best advice I could give is: READ. Read everything. Read all day long. You can avoid many of these pitfalls by seeing how other writer's work. Figure out how people format and pace their stories. Keep writing, but seriously, keep reading.
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The Gallery / The Man Who Was Never Free (excerpt)
« Last post by NothingName1 on May 20, 2018, 07:44:22 PM »
The man who was never free

Dr Rudolph Ilesley, a man who was widely regarded by all who knew him, as a prudent and practical man; a little bombastic in his speech; softened, however, by a slightly nervous delivery. He possessed an air, both proud and stately, despite his small stature, which was, as it were, elevated by the close-inset of piercing, be-speckled eyes; suggesting a creature of high intelligence and discernment.  Above all, Rudolph regarded orderliness and punctuality, as virtues that all men, despite their class or station, should strive to honour, as the bedrock upon which all civility is conducted. Anyone who failed in this respect was simply an oaf. As such, there was nothing more displeasing to Ruldoph then to admit a patient into his practice—for, Rudolph was an orthodontist—who was tardy, or behind-time. And though, he would never call a man an oaf; he would nevertheless, greet his belated patient by regarding his gold watch in amazement, even giving it a few raps with his finger, in disbelief. This is as far as his timid nature would permit and, in all the years of practicing his craft in the dreary, rain-soaked and almost forgotten galleria of shops, balustrades, plazas, moribund with lines of interurban expressways; this eccentric, simple-hearted man, had never been known to utter a single disagreeable word; to lose his temper, and conversely, never to have expressed joy or conviction in very much at all. All was simply: as it was, and ought to be.

One day, however, Rudolph began to cry. He later imagined, this sudden attack would not have so appalled him, if he were not at the time in the process of examining a patient—a young boy—for realignment. On his drive home, he pondered whether it was the sight of boy's crowded teeth— brought on a by a fractured jaw which he had seen so many times before; and which, moreover, were showing signs of progress— that had hailed such an uncommon fit. He recalled how the fit had first manifested as a knot in the pit of his stomach, then, erupted forth with such force, he was unsure, whether he were indeed crying, or laughing. He had concealed the first sobs with a battery of coughs and sputters; until they finally breached forth in such an uncontrollable torrent of tears, as to wrack his body in pure sorrow. Sorrow? No. It could not have been sorrow. Nerves. But I don't feel nervous. He inspected his face in the Rear View Mirror, a bleary-eyed red devil stared back at him. It's true, I don't look well. But that's only shame. I'm burning up in shame! How I had to settle that poor boy, who thought his condition was incurable. Rudolph gritted his teeth, he could not believe he had been so unprofessional.    
       The route to Great Horkesley was jammed; the radio blared an acetone song, as a welcome breeze from the open window soothed his temper: “I'm gonna use myself, It's happened all before. And in all these years. I've never known more. Than I see...” Rudolph began to laugh; he was laughing as the sunset hit his eyes, as the engines of a passing motorcade drowned out the music. He was laughing still, as the lights turned green. At the interchange he swerved dangerously over to the hard shoulder, since he was laughing so hard his sides hurt; doubled with laughter, eyes closed, he gasped for air. In panic, Rudolph rolled out of his car, clawing the turf, his airways blocked by riotous laughter. When, at last, the laughter ceased, Rudolph, for the longest time, embraced himself; like a fetus, and wept, until his tears ran dry.
 
In this world, that never changes.


          “What are you doing with that ghastly thing?” Agatha shrieked, fanning the air, as if to ward of an evil vapor.
           “This... I found in the garage,” Rudolph replied with a hint of pride, surveying the painting, “I painted it in college, before I decided on Mclindent. I was experimenting with split-complementaries, but, somehow, I see something in it now—I was thinking beneath the stairwell. What do you say?”
           “I'd say you're mad! ugh, the eyes! It looks positively demonic! Rudolph, I love you, dearly. But I will not tolerate that painting in this house; not for a moment.” Agatha bellowed below, as she crossed from the atop the stairs to the bathroom, readying for the evening's dinner with the Altschuls.   

   “Aggy, I think it will be good for me.” Rudolph cried, feeling a resentment that he need must shout to be heard above the noise of her hairdryer. He clenched his fist: “ I don't feel I create anything anymore. Yes, there was the butterfly house, and the bird house, and the gemology... stuff. Just, stuff. But I don't create anymore.”
   “I can't hear, you! What about the bird house!” She cried above the dryer. Suddenly, it cut off. “Have you spoken to Gerrard about your crying thing.”

   Thing.

   Rudolph did not dignify a response.
 
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The Coffee Shop / Re: The MWC Bar/Red Barren Bar
« Last post by Noizchild on May 20, 2018, 07:08:52 PM »
I think this place is dying.
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The Coffee Shop / Re: The MWC Bar/Red Barren Bar
« Last post by intercat on May 19, 2018, 11:04:28 PM »
eep, I just popped in to poke my head in and say hi... what happened??
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The Coffee Shop / Re: The Crap Joke Thread / Adult Content
« Last post by Michael Edits on May 19, 2018, 11:00:24 PM »
What does the clock do when it's hungry? Go back for seconds.
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