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Messages - Baron

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50 Shades of Guffin

   It's a pretty little trinket, isn't it?  Oh yes!  How it shines in the darkness and sparkles in the light!  How it swings coyly on its chain!  They all want to possess it, but it is not made to be held for long.  No!  It is naughty, and it likes to play the field.  How it gleams on the outside, but it is a dirty little strumpet on the inside.  It breaks the masters' hearts, flirting with one and then another, and then another.  A trampy little bauble, it is.

   It was young and naive once.  Its father polished it and coddled it and kept it very close.  It had no eyes but for father.  But after 13 years it began to feel such yearnings.... 

   There was a boy who worked for father.  He was young and handsome.  He laboured hard over the glowing coals, creating soft hisses as the sweat dripped from his nose into the forge.  When he sweated so much father would allow him to strip to the waist, and then it could see how his flesh was drawn taught over his bulging muscles.  How it began to ache for the touch of that smooth, brawny mass.  But father would have none of it.

   And so it glittered like a thousand diamonds whenever the boy looked its way.  No sooner had it caught his eye then he could hardly keep his eyes off of it.  How he would stare, lustfully, as it flitted in and out of view.  How his strong fingers curled involuntarily, imagining it in their grasp.  How he began to sweat even when he wasn't toiling.  How it heard him weeping softly to himself in the night, sick with longing.  It consumed his every thought, like an insatiable flame.

   And then, in a moment of passion, he struck poor father down.  It was his now, and he gloried in it.  At night he would lay awake, staring at it endlessly, turning it about in those strong hands.  By day he would keep it nestled between those great pectoral muscles so that it could hear how his heart skipped a beat when it jangled playfully off of his skin.  How he worshipped it with every shred of his soul.

   It revelled in its conquest, indeed it did.  But now it felt stifled in the arms of the boy, for he guarded it even more jealously than had father.  It was suffocated by the endless attention, by the merciless cloistering.  It cast about again, seeking another champion, and it found one in the guise of a stern lawman.  Older he was, with a plain manner that spoke of honest dealings and a keen eye for injustice.  It made itself visible, and the lawman was instantly drawn to it.  He sensed the egregiousness  of its captivity and determined to set things to rights.  The boy was arrested for his crimes, and it was itself seized as evidence.  How it exulted in being seized by those tough, calloused hands.  How firmly he did hold it with such a fervent sense of righteousness!

   And how the lawman struggled to balance his duty with his desire.  His inner turmoil was palpable, and intoxicating.  It never felt so seductive as when it was corrupting the incorruptible.  How it teased him along, in its distress, until the lawman's certainty had been shaken and his hardness turned to mush.  At last he took it for his own, and at that very moment it started looking for yet another master, for the lawman was now shifty and paranoid, the noble manliness leached from him like the moisture from an old flower.  How wretched he was, serving himself at the expense of his ideals. 

   But soon opportunity presented itself in the form of a slender thief.  The lawman had the thief cornered in a darkened alley when it made its move, glinting in the moonlight.  Intrigued, the thief surrendered willingly and to the lawman's great surprise turned out to be a woman.  It soon began to appreciate that the thief had her own considerable arsenal of wiles.  Her eyes sparkled in the moonlight, shimmering like the mirage of a helpless damsel.  While being frisked she accidentally rubbed up against the lawman more than once, and when he handcuffed her she assured him in a sultry voice that she liked it rough.  The lawman pretended to give her short shrift, but it could tell that he was sorely tempted.  Faithless oaf!  Dangle anything shiny or novel in front of him and he was off like a dog chasing a rabbit.  He entered the back of the barred wagon greedily intent on having both it and the thief.

   The lawman did not reckon on the resourcefulness of two captive beings yearning to be free.  The thief struck first, kicking him in the gut, then the face.  The blow threw him back against the side, where it snared itself mutinously upon a loose bolt, tying the lawman by the neck to the wall.  He fumbled gracelessly for the clasp but the thief was on him in an instant, kicking his feet out from under him.  It strained against his full weight, choking him as he flailed about for a grip or foothold, but the thief was relentless in her assault on his legs.  The lawman's nails began to claw at the chain like a feral animal, but it would not be cast aside by such a boor.  It was leaving him, not the other way around. 

   At last he fell limp, and the thief gave him such a kiss that it might have been a spider kissing a fly.  Then in a trice she had the keys from his belt and had the handcuffs off her hands.  In another instant she had it wrapped around her wrist, and she was rolling gracefully out of the unlocked door to disappear into the darkness.  She paused briefly to listen to see if her escape had been detected, and to give it a rapturous, raptorous kiss.  Then she and it stole away into the shadows.

   What a spree they had together!  The coming months were a blur of robbery, violence, alcohol, and drugs.  The thief did not hide it away like its male masters, oh no!  She flaunted it at every opportunity, luring men in like moths to a flame.  They seduced together such a horde of lowlife scum, pierced and tattooed and angry and greedy.  The wicked men lusted for the both of them, with their roving hands and swollen heads.  It was a thrilling game of bait and switch, virtually throwing themselves at the men and then snatching themselves back at the very last moment.  Some would weep and some would beg and some would try to take by force, but the game always ended the same with the creepy men slain in the moment of their triumph.  Together they were unstoppable!

   But the thief had a hidden weak spot, buried so deeply that it took even it a while to discern it.  The thief had a dead sister, once her partner in crime, and that sister had a daughter before she died.  It came to pass that an incredibly sinister man had knowledge of the helpless orphan girl, and he came to covet it as well.  Not for him was the coital massacre.  No!  He had no qualms with bathing in blood, but he meticulously avoided spilling his own.  He formed a plan and kidnapped the girl, demanding it as a trade for her safe return.  The thief was torn, and again it sensed that wretched lack of commitment that so infuriated it.  It would not be parlayed in some transaction!  It would choose its own master.

   And so came the fateful meeting where the swap was to take place.  The thief held it aloft and demanded to see the girl.  The girl was shown but the meeting had been a trap all along.  The thief was mown down in a deluge of bullets.  Or so it seemed, for the devious thief had her own plan, and her demise was nothing but smoke and mirrors, for she had no intention of giving it up after all!  Nameless minions were quickly dispatched, and the thief and the sinister man stood face to face in a showdown to the death.  How they grappled, kicked, and scratched, like two starving rats in a sack! 

   They each thought they had the other's measure, but they each left one critical factor out of their equations.  The little orphan girl was tired of being abandoned or a pawn in the scheme of others.  She marshaled all of her sociopathic genetic endowment and grabbed a machine gun.  Laughing maniacally she gunned down both her aunt the thief and the sinister man.  This was unexpected, even by it.  Should it reveal itself?  Or face the indignity of being salvaged by the first slovenly oaf to stumble upon the scene?  It quickly made its choice, glinting tentatively through the gore.

   But such a mistake that was!  How it loathed the little orphan girl, who used it as play jewelry for her headless dolls.  For years it was subjected to interminable make-believe tea parties with a ghastly array of misfit guests:  legless bugs and tailless cats, gagged and tied social workers, and the occasional scientologist.  It would pass the long hours pretending to eat mud cakes and sipping fake tea brewed in a light bulb oven and steeped with the orphan girl's toenail clippings and nose hair pluckings. 

   At last it was able to flirt its way to freedom with a greasy scientologist.  It wasn't proud of stooping to that level, but misery does acquaint us with strange bedfellows.  Soon it was off again with a circus freak who could squeeze himself through a catdoor, then a gangster who liked to break thumbs in his spare time.  Then there was the bank robber who would ride a horse right into the bank with careless bravado, then the aristocratic playboy who won it in a high stakes card game.  Such a parade of egos and base ambition, all of them slaves to its glittering charms!

   Then it came to pass one day that the magician with whom it gleefully hypnotized victims up and died of a heart attack.  The executor of the estate was such a cold man that he auctioned it off in a batch lot to a flea market dealer.  How viscerally it hates to dangle on the jewelery stand, exposed to the gleeful tuts of every broach-wearing old lady with a day off from bingo, tried on by every Hallowe'en costume shopper with a dollar in their pocket.  How it cringes when the toddlers reach at it, their puppy breath reeking of tea party and venom!  Such a depressing end it seemed, demoted to knickknack status in a glorified junk yard.

   And then it heard the ominous tapping of a metal cane stabbing the concrete floor like a weapon.  Shyly, not daring to hope, it turned to look into the light.  There loomed an unmistakably sinister silhouette, a little bent for all the years, but exuding all the more wicked energy for it.  The incredibly sinister man reached out a mechanical hand that bore the telltale smells of gunpowder and blood.  It flashed him a calculated glimmer of seductive menace.  The sinister man cradled it gently in his cold, iron grasp, and all was well with the world once more.

...someone has to carry it, and it cannot speak directly to people and explain what it wants, merely influence their thoughts and feelings, and even then it is ambiguous....

Got it.  A MacGuffin is some kind of human baby. :=

The One Ring seems to be some kind of proper noun, and the adjective Ring-bearer is also usually capitalized, so I figured....  When in Minas Tirith, do as the Minas Tirithians do. ;-D

MacGuffin, it is an object with no explicit will of its own.

I don't know....  The Ring of Sauron seemed to have quite a bit of its own will. ;)

But great topic nonetheless! (nod)

Baron: A gender-flipped version of Rapunzel, which is my favourite fairy tale, by the way, is very refreshing. I saw the "twist" coming a mile away, but maybe I was just in a dirty-minded mood when I read it. I find it a bit sad that you limited your version to one scene. Espacially the beginning of the tale, how Rapunzel's father stole from the witch and she took the girl as payment/punishment and named her after the thing the father stole, could be interesting in a gender-flipped version. Was it the mother who stole? Did the witch know the unborn child would be a boy? Did she intend to raise him as a sex-toy? Or is it just (un)fortunate that the magic affected his manly parts instead of his hair? So many questions, not least of all: Why did you gender-flip the prince and Rapunzel but not the witch? And how strange is it that the trophies I drew are Rapunzel's tower with a pointed roof? :-[

Mostly due to time constraints I had to cut a bunch of my original plan, including the gruesome blindings (although I did try to reference them ;-D).  My original idea always revolved around the princess's motivation for courting the mysterious prince, but after that there were quite a few radical changes.  At first I had conceived of the prince as having absurdly long moustaches (that would be during the first, more serious half of the piece...).  But then on the night of the deadline I was really struggling with carrying on the alliteration and the story kind of lapsed into dialog and got a bit silly and then a whole lot silly.  A little bit of channelling our gracious administrator's phallic trophy design, a little bit of back editing to make it make all make sense and -Boom!  We've got an instant classic! :P

I did hide an easter egg in the story that links it to the original beyond any doubt. Nobody has mentioned it yet so I'm guessing nobody found it ;)

Are you talking about the golden ovoid paperweight or the "flee my foe fum" line?  (Or, another more deeply hidden easter egg?!? :shocked:)

What?  Take action before the deadline?  What kind of show do you think I'm running here? (roll)

Best Character: I gotta go with Blondbraid and his asinine movie exec: he was soooo bad it was awesome. (nod)
Best Writing: I liked the way Frodo put the whole story into dialog, and the sinister twist at the end was awesome. :=
Best Atmosphere: I thought the minimalist language but strong word choice used by DBoyWheeler made for an excellent atmosphere.  Was anyone else picturing an anime cartoon when some of those over-the-top lines were delivered with such deadpan seriousness?  "I know my destiny, father,"  "I can use all the help I can attain," and my personal favourite: "We are here to put an end to your tyranny, Oni King!"  Classic. :)
Best Change: Ah, let's keep it fair and go with Mandle for this one.  If you think about it the story from anyone but Jack's perspective, it really is a story of larceny and murder.  I like how Mandle twisted it around to be so realistic as to be almost unrecognizable until you put your thinking cap on. ;-D


We have four fary tales to warm the hear and vote for:

Momotaro of the Future by DBoyWheeler
The Life and Times of Mrs Fizzlepink by Frodo
A timeless Tale, modernized for a modern audience by Blondbraid
Second Story Man by Mandle
Rampion by Baron

Read tem, ejoy the, vote fro them - in the following categaries:

Aaaaaaand, since we're being picky, there are actually now five fary tales to warm the hear, ejoy, and vote fro. ;)

Well, I missed it by an hour, but there's no point in keeping it to myself.


        The dashing Princess rode her black charger through the woods, her short cropped curls blowing carelessly in the wind.  The crispness of the last of the winter snows wafting from beneath the thickest conifers mixed with the riot of spring flower scents from the sunny glen.  The world was alive with the sound of birdsong and swollen brooks and bees swarming over the wild apple tree blossoms.  The forest was fresh and fabulous. The Princess forced a merry laugh and rode on.

   And why should she not be merry?  Was she not young and strong and free of cares?  Had she not done a great raft of good deeds for the poor and the meek?  Why, she had bested the brawny Bandersnatch in single combat and had outwitted the wily Wasket in a war of wisdom, all within the fortnight.  Not for her was the brooding drizzle of late autumn or the chilling emptiness of midwinter.  She was a lioness of spring who seized life by the horns, and if that didn't work then by the throat!  The Princess forced a louder, merrier, more convincing laugh.
   There are foes that thou can charge against
   And foes that thou can flee from
   But worst of all are foes immense
   That dwell in thine own bosom

   The steely edge of the wily Wasket's rhyme sliced through the season's charade of gaiety.  The Princess reined in her steed, turning to look from whence the words had whistled.  Desperately she sought a someone whom she could smite or spite, but the forest was empty but for her.  The words were her words now, seared into her soul by the scorching shrewdness of the wily Wasket.  The forest was empty, and the foe was inside her, that gnawing emptiness that she had sated and suppressed these many years with deeds and dash.  Now it gnawed at her like a feral animal trapped too long in a cage, and she yearned to tear at her breast from without, so that by working together they might sooner be rid of each other.  She wept despite herself.

   The Princess did not know how long she wallowed in woe, but her poor steed had eaten through half the moss covering the nearby rocks when at last she pulled herself together.  That wily Wasket had weft this whirl of woes with his worming words!  It was a trick of the mind and nothing more, and she was fool enough to fall for it.  She had brawn and brains and beauty; what need had she of belonging?  She held her head high once more and laughed again, though somewhat feebly.

   And then she heard it.  A gentle song flitting faintly through the forest like a frolicking fox.  She could hardly hear it hovering half-dreamt between the binary beating of her horse's hooves and her own hopeful heart.  Here it crooned and there it crested, through the branches and the bramble.  It was a man's voice, soft as summer sunshine, singing with such sure soulfulness that is sent shivers through her shirt.  She wended her way through copse and clover, listening for the lilting lyrics as they lazed and loudened.  She found herself infatuated, following the fancy like fairy footprints through the ferns.   
   At length the Princess found herself gaping gladly near a glade.  Therein soared a slender tower, slim and spired, ascending into the sky.  The spindly structure seemed to suffer from a definite dearth of doors.  The voice was clearly calling from the topmost tip of the tower, and the Princess wondered how the man would come and go with no gate or gantry?  Then suddenly she spied a sorceress slinking slyly through the slough.  She said in no uncertain speech:  “Rampion, Rampion, please put down your p-”

   The words were chopped by the churlish chewing of her hungry horse.  Vexed, the Princess viewed the vile vixen hove up the tower-side, but she could hardly see how?  She pondered the problem for mere minutes before the witch-like woman was wandering once more, moving down the masonry in a most magical manner.  Soon the sorceress had slunk away, and the song started up once more. 

   The princess determined that she too would brave the battlements to behold the boy above.  She rode to the ramparts and called carefully to her crush: “Gentle man, I'm your biggest fan, please pull me up to meet you!”

   The singing stopped rather suddenly, and there was no sound for quite sometime.  The Princess decided to mouth the man once more: “Gentle sir, I'm just a girl, let me up to see you!”

   The soul she sought stayed silent.

   Beriddled, the brave beauty brooded on the sorceresses' swift success.  What had she said that had so surely summoned the singer?  “Rampion!” she exclaimed, remembering the recent ritual.  “Rampion, Rampion!  Please put down your.... -er.....”  She impishly improvised: “Please put down your Prmphnrdmgr!”

   The visage of the voice poked out from a window high above, quite hale and handsome.  “What did you say?  I missed that last bit?”

   “Are you hard of hearing, good sir?” she asked cunningly.  “I've said the password, now have me up!”

   “Er...  I don't think I should,” he called back

   “Rampion!  Surely you long for company, cloistered as you are so far from everyone?  We have much in common, you and I, risen so high above the throng that we are quite cut-off.  Let us slake our loneliness upon each other's amity.”

   “Er.... You should go now.  The witch is very jealous.”

   The Princess tapped her foot impatiently.  “I have brawled the brawny Bandersnatch and whipped the wily Wasket in a wit-war!  I fear no witch.  And besides, what fault could she find in just a friendly visit?  Pull me up and we'll discuss the matter.”

   “She blinded the last girl by clawing out her eyes.  You really should go.”

   “What, for just visiting?!”

   “Er.... yeah.  There's kinda this entry thing that crosses certain boundaries of intimacy....”

   “Good sir, I am a princess of the most noble bearing!  I can assure you that I will respect your personage if you should insist upon it.  Truthfully, I am smitten by your song and would gladly content myself with the platonic pleasures of sharing some happy moments with a kindred spirit.”

   “Er.... it's not that simple.  We've really got to do this... thing to get you up.  It drives the witch mad with jealousy.  You've got cute eyes, you should keep them!”

   “Good sir, I am begging you!  We can keep our relationship on the plane of friendship, I swear it!”

   “Er... No we can't!”

   “We can!  I can!  Being a princess is all about restraint and self-denial.  I can keep my hands to myself, no matter what you throw at me!”

   “Uhh... I don't think....”

   “Don't think, good sir!  Feel!  Feel that this is good and right!”

   “Yeah... The witch really doesn't like other girls feeling-”

   “What could you possibly be hung-up over?!?  Just pull me up!  Rampion, Rampion, please put down your p... -oh god, you've got a hundred-foot-long cock, haven't you?”


I'm half-done my entry.  I might make it by the deadline or I might not.... I haven't decided yet. (roll)

I'm back.  Sorry folks!  We had some internet trouble and then I was crazy busy with my wife running off to Nepal and leaving me with the kids.  But I'm slowly clawing my way back to being on top of things, I swear! :)

Mandle, your story was awesome.  I love how you cram so much into your tiny vignettes.  I'll be the first to admit that I didn't quite get the whole story on the first read through, but I enjoy that wtf?!? feeling I get when I actually have to turn the old brain onto full-focus mode and make some inferences.  So good job, ol' boy. ;-D

Sinitrena, your story was awesome, too.  Except for when it didn't end like the Thomas Crown Affair, but that wouldn't be very original. ;)  As always I enjoyed the tie ins with your other stories, although you're going to have to compile a glossary of characters like in the back of those big fantasy novels for new readers to help them with the wider connections. (nod)  I too have visited the Louvre, although it must have been a quiet day because I don't recall crazy crowds.  I thought the Mona Lisa was a colossal meh, but some of the other art in there was pretty cool.  Especially the giant canvasses featuring glorious megalomaniacs.... (wtf)(laugh)

To the results.  I actually had Mandle winning by a hair until I revealed his hidden "real" votes. (wrong) 

The golden meh goes to Sinitrena with 12 votes.  While maybe not as inspired as my other trophies, you could at least use it as a paper weight or a cudgel with which to fend off small pickpockets. (roll)

The silver meh therefore goes to Mandle, that octo-limbed god-king of the uber-realm who deigns to occasionally bore himself with our trivial human contests.  I like how he hides his omnipotence in a guise of humility - he will probably keep most of his eyes yet. (nod)

So now I belatedly turn the contest over to Sinitrena.  Thanks everyone for entering and voting, and then waiting around for an eternity to get tickets to line up for the somewhat anti-climactic award distribution ceremony!  Hope to see you out next time! ;) the next exciting instalment of The Fortnightly Writing Competition!

....And we're closed.  Thanks to all the competitors who submitted a story this round!  They are, in alphabetical order:

Mandle with "God" Is Just "Job" In The Mirror
Sinitrena with Arnaud‘s Art

Voting will be in the following categories:

Best Rant (aloud or thought)
Most Unique Thingy that is Popular
Most Insight Into the Psyche (attempts to explain the rationality of following the crowd or bucking the trend)
Least Meh Atmosphere (a combination of writing style and word choice)
Most Entertaining Whateverness (best story)

Sorry for the extra category thrown in there, but I feel with only two entrants that we need an odd number of categories to avoid the likelihood of a tie.

Voting will be open until Wednesday January 14, with votes tabulated the following day.

Good luck to all contestants!

Sweet criminy, that deadline sure creeps up on you!  I'll leave the comp open for 24 hours as of this post if anyone wants to make a last ditch effort to enter. 

It's probably just my messy handwriting, but to me "god" looks an awful lot like "boe" with a really big "e" in the mirror. (nod)  Something to contemplate for a future "through the looking glass" theme.  In the mean time, we have approximately 5 more days to receive up to nine more submissions.  Get them in while the getting's good! :)

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 10 Jan 2018, 01:42 »
Correct, of course.  In further trivia, I am apparently a very distant descendant of hers.  So keep your eyes off granny's tits! :=

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 09 Jan 2018, 02:09 »
This eleventh century noblewoman is reputed to have ridden naked through the streets of Coventry to protest high taxation. :=

If you've ever been to Coventry you probably know her from her statuary.  If not, her name has also been adopted as a popular corporate brand. (nod)

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 07 Jan 2018, 02:15 »
I'm pretty sure it was the Bling dynasty.... :P

Greatness is what people make of it.  If enough people think something is great, then it becomes great.  But in this era of counter culture and alternative narratives why should we accept what the majority thinks?  Ten men's idea of the greatest thing of all time may solicit only a colossal "meh" from the eleventh.  Circumstances have thus aligned to create a...

Great Whatever

Your story should feature something amazing that most people think is awesome, but someone prominent in your story finds boring, mundane, inane, contemptible, or outright vacuous.  Your special something can be an event (New Years, Valentine's, Birthday, etc.), a piece of art (music, movie, book, etc.), a person (celebrity, sports star, etc.), fad (type of dance, fashion style, way of talking, etc.), or object (whizzbang, doodad, widget, etc.).  Obviously something boring might make for a bad read, so don't be afraid to ham up either the event or the reaction to make it more entertaining.

Possible voting categories include: Best Rant (aloud or thought), Most Unique Thingy that is Popular, Most Insight Into the Psyche (attempts to explain the rationality of following the crowd or bucking the trend), Most Entertaining Whateverness (best story).

Deadline is Friday January 19, 2018.

Good luck to the vast and teeming hordes of potential entrants.  Please be advised that we will only be able to accept the first ten valid submissions, so don't delay and start today! ;-D

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