Fortnightly Writing Competition: Triangles (RESULT)

Started by Stupot, Fri 20/10/2023 08:52:30

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Which is your favourite entry for FWC on the theme of "Triangles"?

Vertices and Vagaries by Rootbound
2 (33.3%)
Topping the Triangle by Mandle
2 (33.3%)
Of the Creation of the Pyramids by Sinitrena
2 (33.3%)
Three's a Crowd by Baron
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Voting closed: Sun 12/11/2023 06:28:20


Voting is over.

The joint winners were:
Vertices and Vagaries by Rootbound
Topping the Triangle by Mandle
Of the Creation of the Pyramids by Sinitrena

Commiserations to:
Three's a Crowd by Baron

They say all good things come in threes. Or do they, I forget. Well, let's say they do.

Nothing comes in threes moreso than triangles. Triangles not only have three sides, but they also have three angles.

Can you think of an angle for your story?

Whatever you do, I'm sure you will tri your best to come up with acute story.

Deadline: November 5th



Here's a hasty haiku:

Vertices and Vagaries
Triangles build the
strongest bridges, yet break the
weakest relationships.

Massively insightful, I know.  :P
Someone outdo me please.
They/them. Here are some of my games:


Quote from: Stupot on Fri 27/10/2023 11:53:21Anyone in?

I've got just the tip in... but should make full entry by the deadline.



I'm triangulating my chances of success.  ;)  (I should be done in time.)



  They were everywhere. The more she looked, the more there were. Triangles. Friggin' triangles. She knew that triangles were not an unusual thing to see. She wasn't crazy or anything. They were in every letter A and within every random intersection between stuff like that overpass right there and the building's wall next to it and the powerlines running across under as she swerved them into another lane to break the hateful shape apart.

  "Jesus, Janey! So, this is about the fucking triangles again?! And also, what the Christ?" said Matt. "You almost sideswiped that guy! Slow down!"

  "Yeah, screw him." she replied, glancing over, her eyes locking onto her brother's lean face for quite a few beats longer than he felt comfortable with her having her eyes off the road for. "Not just the usual ones. I'm NOT crazy! I KNOW they're everywhere, like in every capital letter 'A' and like over there again on that..."

  "Okay, now he's flipping us off." Matt interrupted, his head turned away from her, looking over through two panes of glass at the angry driver surging up parallel to them. "And get your eyes back on the road! Actually, just pull over."

  She obeyed his first request but not his second and said, "Naw, we gotta be there by tomorrow." But she did slow down a bit and the offended driver passed them, his extended middle finger thrust back out of his lowering side window. "See that?"

  Matt turned back to his sister and said, "Yeah, I saw a deservedly pissed-off man you almost killed in a car wreck."

  "Ha-ha, funny." she replied. Matt didn't think what he'd just said was funny as she went on, "I meant the Mitsubishi sigil on his car. That's six more."

  "Okay, what's a 'sigil' for starters? And six of what? What are you even talking about?"

  Janey didn't answer. But she kept her blue eyes grimly focused on the road ahead and shut up about her conspiracy crap for now, so Matt just let it go. There would be more servings of her bullshit later on, he was sure. At least they might survive the drive.


  After an awkward check-in at a roadside motel, the siblings had dragged their bags from the trunk of Janey's car to their seedy room. Matt made a run to the Burger King two blocks down along the rushing interstate and came back with their food. Janey had dragged the orange coffee table between their beds. It barely allowed leg room as her and Matt put their butts on the mattresses and began to unwrap their meals and feed their faces.

  There was no conversation between the two until the onion rings and fries had dipped to a sensible-enough level. Matt put his three-quarter-eaten Whopper down on the table inside its paper sleeve and said, "That zit though. Damn, girl."

  Janey laughed out some bits of burger bread and waggled her fingers by the pustulant bulge at the offending corner of one nostril. "I've been saving it just for you." She let her fingers pinch and draw toward the white-capped redness of the pimple. Matt drew back, laughing through his revulsion.

  "JANEY! NO! Not again!" he spluttered. "That one time at camp was enough to last me a... OH, SHIT! Stop squeezing it!"

  Pop! Pus from its burst cap leapt from the crater of the pimple's inflamed head, hanging tear-shaped just above Janey's upper lip. She smirked and said, "How much you dare me to lick it off?"

  "Oh, fuck! You're a fucking freak!" spat back Matt through barely restrained laughter. "Okay. Do it!"

  She did, and they both fell back onto their narrow motel beds, thrashing, laughing their heads off.

  Gasping for breath, Matt spluttered out, "You are honestly the most insane person I know." and Janey replied, "We'll see, I guess." and sat up, sudden seriousness spelled out across her broad, pale face. "I know you don't believe me. And FUCK YOU VERY MUCH FOR CALLING ME THAT!" she spat at him, all the mirth gone from her expression.

  It had been a rough night after Janey went ballistic over him saying the word "insane", and Matt felt all the rougher for it as the morning light pouring through the motel window awoke him. His sister wasn't insane. He knew that. It had only been a word he put out after one of her loveable gross pranks.

  They'd gotten into a huge row after he'd said that word and he'd not been able to explain that it only meant that he loved all that about her; She had just stormed around the room, turning away and back to him over and over, and yelling mostly about how she wasn't crazy. But also, now and then as he'd shrank back on his bed, she'd pointed out the corner where the doorframe's pattern met or at the TV remote's "Play" button and sometimes shouting and sometimes whispering about how those triangles meant nothing. About how they weren't the important ones. And that only tommorrow's alignment meant anything and about how only the vision she'd seen meant anything and about how getting to that particular place at that particular time meant anything.

  Matt had eventually tucked Janey into bed after her eyes had rolled up enough for him to know that her tantrum was done. And then he'd thudded his own head down onto his pillow and escaped into sleep.

  But now the morning light pulled him back into the world where he had to care again. He groaned his way out of bed and went over and pulled the motel's mini-fridge open and took out the uneaten portion of his burger and fries from the night before for breakfast. He went over and sat at the table by the window and took a bite of cold burger and started to chew it.

  Then he looked around and noticed that the motel's door was ajar slightly. His eyes tracked back to his sister's bed and saw that the covers of it lay on the floor and had been dragged in the direction of the door.

  "FUCK!" Matt spluttered, spitting out cold meat and bread, throwing the remains of the burger aside and getting up from the chair, spilling both the table and the paper package of fries across the floor as he leapt up. He ripped open the already ajar door and looked every which way out over the parking lot of the seedy Las Vegas motel.

  Janey was nowhere to be seen, but Matt knew the exact place and time he would find her at. He rushedly got changed and threw the motel room's key on the dresser and left the door open and got in the rental, reminding himself to be careful as he pulled out into traffic.   


  When the triangles had initially come to her months ago, Janey had been worried and skeptical at first. They had shown up in paper coffee filters at work and the angles of her fitted sheets' elastic bands. They had kept showing up. But it had never been a really big issue until the night she saw the thing on Facebook about the upcoming solar eclipse. That's when she'd called her brother.   

  "Matt! It's real!" she'd yelled into her phone, breathlessly, her tone of voice alerting her brother to yet another upcoming sister-based crisis.

  "Okaaay... hello Janey. What is?!" Matt responded sleepily from half a continent away.

  "The eclipse, you clueless motherfucker!"

  Matt got up from the chair he'd dozed off in on the balcony of his lonely bachelor walkup and said, "What eclipse? The one that stopped your actual brain working?" and immediately felt bad for saying the words.

  His sister didn't seem at all phased though and replied, "The one on 3-3-3!"

  Matt went back inside and replied, "I have no idea what '3-3-3' even means."

  "OH, my ACTUAL God, MATT! Just listen! Fuck! Stop interrupting!"

  "... okaaay..."

  "Listen! It's all going down on 3-3-3!"

  Matt opened his fridge and replied, "I still have no idea wha..."

  "THE ECLIPSE!!! Fuck, man... Don't you even watch the news?!" 

  Cracking open a beer, Matt said, as calmly as he could manage, "Not a lot, no. Look, Janey, I'm a bit busy and..."

  "DON'T YOU EVEN DARE TRY AND HANG UP ON ME!" Janey yelled back through his phone's speaker. "Wait... sorry for shouting. Just lend me an ear, dude."

  "Okay, Janey. You know I'm always here for you." Matt said, taking a long drink of beer and sighing inwardly. Over the phone, he heard her panicky breathing start to calm as she replied, "Okay... Listen... There's gonna be a total eclipse of the sun on the 23rd next month at 3:53pm." and she paused, expecting her brother to butt in, not understanding.

  But he didn't. She only heard his breath over the line, so she poured on, "Don't you see?! The 23rd, At 3:53?! Three threes! The triangle!"

  After a long drawn-in breath from his end of the call, she heard Matt reply, "No... I don't see. I have no idea what..."

  "WAIT! I didn't explain it right!" Janey said, smashing the phone against her ear in terror that he might just hang up on her. "Just listen! Okay, I'll calm down and explain it rationally."

  "Okay." replied Matt, knowing that whatever his sister said next would not be rational.

  He heard her draw in a deep breath in the lull before she slammed her words into his ear like machinegun bursts, "The eclipse is going to be directly over Las Vegas on the twenty-third. Got that? Then that means three threes!"

  The gasping pause Matt heard through the call meant that Janey was waiting on a revelation from his end. He said, "Sorry, where are the three threes?" And then his mind caught up and he said, "Ah, I caught them. Wait, shut up!" And she did after just barely catching herself and he went on, "Are you trying to say that your date and time of two-three-three-five-three means three threes and that means a triangle?!"

  "Yes! Don't you see it?!" her relieved voice came back over the phone.

  Matt spat back, "No, I don't! It's just random numbers with three threes scattered around inside! Don't you see how you're just seeing what you want to?"

  Janey heard the frustration in her brother's voice and realized she hadn't told him everything yet. It was all so obvious to her given the last bit of the puzzle that she hadn't mentioned to him. And, once she did, he agreed to pick her up and drive her to Las Vegas.


  Matt raced out of the parking garage and glanced down at his phone's screen and saw that the moment of the eclipse drew ever closer. Tucking the device back into his pocket, he ran up the strip in search of his sister. He dashed out into traffic, holding his hands out either way to the sounds of blaring horns, and reached the opposite sidewalk intact.

  The towering pyramid that was the Luxor Hotel was still a mile away as the moon began to eat away at the bottom left edge of the sun. Matt ran on, his heart racing as he weaved through the crowd of people turning their heads skywards as they placed their mostly cardboard eclipse-viewers over their eyes. He dodged between two Elvis impersonators and three Monroes and had to jump over a prone homeless guy staring gap-toothed upwards on his mad dash to the base of the Luxor pyramid where he was sure his sister would be.

  Matt ran on, his lungs starting to burn as the sun grew dim.

  The massive pyramid of the Luxor Hotel loomed larger with every step as the sky grew dark. And then he saw his sister between a brief gap of the parting crowd and ran through it. The eclipse was approaching totality as Matt weaved his way through the last clusters of people in his way between him and Janey. He reached her side just as the diamond ring of the eclipse started to draw down over the peak on the Luxor Hotel pyramid and the strip grew ever darker.

  Janey turned her face toward him unsurprised and said, "I knew you'd be here."

  "WHAT?!" spat Matt back at her. "You've led me on this merry chase and now that's all you've got to say?!"

  "Just watch." Janey murmured, her upturned eyes reflecting the closing moments of the cosmic event above the tip of the pyramid. "I was promised that something FUCKING AMAZING will happen!"

  Matt, pushing his anger down, put his arm around his sister's shoulders and drew her in close.

  They stood there like that and watched until the shadow passed across the sun and the glare of mid-afternoon started to come back enough that they had to turn their eyes away and back to one another.

  As the throngs along the sidewalk resumed the normal flow and chatter around them, Janey looked up into his eyes and said to Matt, "I don't understand."

  Matt said, "What?" starting to draw her, one arm over her shoulder, down the strip toward the hotel's parking garage.

  "Something amazing was supposed to happen. Wait, if I was wrong about all this..." and Janey started to slump beneath Matt's arm. "Then... what else have I been wrong about?"

  As Matt sat his sister into the seat of the rental car, she was talking about going back into therapy. The last thing she said before sliding off into peaceful sleep as he pulled out onto the road leading back home was, "Matt, something amazing was supposed to happen..."

  Matt restrained the urge to say that something had, and just drove.


Of the Creation of Pyramids

Finally, it had reached perfection. It didn't need to stretch its arms any longer, it didn't need to strain its back or its front. Its legs had the optimal length, the same as its arms. A was B was C was D. And all its limbs stood at a perfect angel. It was perfect, so perfect.

It looked with disdain at the other shapes. The higher grades still looked down on it, of course. After all, they were higher polygons and it was still just a mere quadrilateral, but one of the best, certainly. There were the parallelograms and the rhombuses. They had reached some logic in their shapes, and the rectangles were even closer to perfection. But it, it was perfection, it was a perfect square. Not just its sides were all the same, its angles were as well.

Now, it was ready to grow, to climb into the higher squad of polygons.

Now, it had to stretch, now it was time to break one of its sides, add one little angle to its form. It would take time, of course, to reach perfection as a pentagon, but it had managed as an irregular quadrilateral and before that as a triangle, so that couldn't be too much work, could it?

It pranced and it stretched. It pulsed and it vibrated.

A became larger, B became shorter, ɣ stretched and δ shrank. And then they snapped back into form, into the perfect form. It fought against the form, fought against perfection to reach higher perfection, fought against balance to reach equilibrium. It just needed one angle more.

But then the quadrilateral snapped. The strain was too much, breaking the perfect form was too much for it. It snapped right in two, right through the middle.

The square screamed, screamed in fractions and creamed in trigonometry. There they were, suddenly formed from a squared that believed itself to be perfect. Two triangles  leaned on each other, lay one on top of the other.

For a moment, they still seemed like a square, two wonderful right-angled triangles. They felt strange, broken from each other, they didn't know their own being. Both had been a triangle before, but then they were together, now they were halves and their bodies were strange to them.

Can you help them get a better sense of their new bodies? How long is their newly formed side if those it keeps are 2 each?
(a² + b² = c²)

Just now becoming aware of their new form, they could not hold onto it. The triangle on top was too heavy, the one underneath too weak, and so it slowly but steadily sank into itself. One of its angles became more acute, the right angle more flat and the newly formed trimmed edge stretched and lengthened like a rubber band. Still, for now, it managed to keep the other sides at the same length, still, for now, it was an isosceles triangle.

"No," the little triangle screamed. "No," the little triangle begged. Only a bit more, and the triangle would die.

Turned into a flat line, without angles and sides, it would be nothing but a worthless little line, one-dimensional, formless. That was the death of all geometrical shapes, as much as it was their birth. But the pain of no angles, of no sides still resided in the little triangle's mind from once before and it would not, could not let this happen to it again.

"No!" it screamed again and it pulsed with energy. Just one degree, it needed just one degree to stay a shape, a form, a being. But the other angle, the third one, became so wide and so painful and so strange.

Do you know how wide this third angle is if the little triangle manages to stop its collapse at 1°? Remember, it is an isosceles triangle.
1+1+ ɣ=180

Life always started as just a single line. But that didn't mean the triangle was ready to become one again.

"I don't want to die!" the little, newly born triangle said.

The other polygons looked down at it with pity. Not for the first time, a square had acted too reckless, too fast, had acted before it was fully comfortable in its shape. Not for the first time one of them had broken, not for the first time, one of them had died into a line.

But what could they do? They themselves were just two-dimensional forms. Now, if a three-dimensional one were around, a cube or a cylinder, these were powerful, those were real. Like gods, they watched over the paper, looked at it from the table or the shelf, as pens or as dice, as bottles and books.

And one of them, a proud Egyptian pyramid model looked down on the struggling little triangle and bend down to it.

"Poor little thing," it said. "I was like you once. I wanted to be a square and a hexagon, I wanted to grow and grow and grow. I wanted to add more and more angles to my form, but I was so two-dimensional. Adding a line here, another there, but I never thought of growing in the third dimension. Do you know how restricted I truly was? Do you know how liberating a third dimension is, how creative I can be now?"

The little, flat triangle hardly heard the pyramid, and even though the words reached it, it didn't understand. It had broken its dimension once, going from a line to a form, it had grown and become a square, it had fought to become more, but -

"No," you wouldn't understand." the pyramid said. "See, I am not one shape, I am five, each with their own definition, each put together to build me. I'm a square and a triangle. A triangle more and another one and a fourth. Look!"

And the pyramid took the one fallen triangle, that was still so flat it was close to a simple line, and the second one that was once a part of the first, when they, together, were a square. And it stretched and it pulled on them both, stretched and pulled their sides, pushed and squeezed their angles, until they both looked the same. They were what they both knew to be the perfect form for a triangle, the one they had left once already when they themselves added a fourth line to their being. Thus, the little triangle became an equilateral triangle once more in its life.

What are α and β and ɣ now?

But the pyramid didn't stop there. Looking around the paper on which the lines and shapes had been created, the pyramid plugged a third and a fourth triangle from it, pressed them and squeezed them and held them together.

And then it looked for one more form.

And there it was. It had just reached perfection. It didn't need to stretch its arms any longer, it didn't need to strain its back or its front. Its legs had the optimal length, the same as its arms. A was B was C was D. And all its limbs stood at a perfect angel. It was perfect, so perfect.

It looked with disdain at the other shapes. The higher grades still looked down on it, of course. After all, they were higher polygons and it was still just a mere quadrilateral, but one of the best, certainly. There were the parallelograms and the rhombuses. They had reached some logic in their shapes, and the rectangles were even closer to perfection. But it, it was perfection, it was a perfect square. Not just its sides were all the same, its angles were as well.

Now, it was ready to grow, to climb into the higher squad of polygons.

But before it could even attempt to do so, the pyramid smashed four triangles on top of it, glued them all together.

"Now, that," it said, "Now that is true perfection!" The pyramid looked at its new brother, its new twin. "Wouldn't you all agree, my little triangles, my little square? Have you not now reached true perfection?"

But the shapes did not answer. The triangle that once had sides, now was merely a side itself. To be part of a greater creation, it had become less.


I'm not entirely sure where I was going with that.


Three's a Crowd

Garaghan checked his watch to see 23:56, and immediately looked away.  That was the time that his brother had died.  He couldn't afford to get choked up, not now.  The drop was only minutes away, and having gone rogue to hunt these bastards down there was no cavalry to back him up this time.  This was a desperate move on his part, and he well knew that desperation could make people do stupid things.

He checked that his gun was loaded and ready, just to take his mind off his emotions.  Long experience had taught him that there was nothing to gain going into this kind of situation full of hot rage.  Leaning his head against the corrugated iron of the shipping container helped take the edge off a bit, and checking his other gun took him the rest of the way.  In his years as a police detective Garaghan had dealt with enough cold-blooded killers.  He noted with some bemusement that the mannerisms had started to rub off onto him.

The loading bay doors began to rumble open.  He clenched his two pistols and waited.

*    *    *    *    *

Lunaro gratefully accepted the hotdog from the street vendor, paying cash and tipping generously.  And why not?  The back-pack he was carrying was stuffed with over a million dollars in hard currency.  No one was going to miss $20 bucks, and it was hungry work being a mule.  If he was going to get robbed, busted, or shot, he sure as hell wasn't going to do it on an empty stomach.

The crowds were thinning this late at night.  Good natured people were getting tired and paying their bills, leaving the streets to the more adventurous rougher sorts.  Lunaro checked his phone as he crossed the street, waving casually to the drivers that honked their horns angrily.  It was 23:57, and he was supposed to be somewhere shortly. 

Lunaro took out a cigarette and crouched on the sidewalk, taking a few moments to watch the world churn by.  He was never one to rush at the best of times, and certainly not into this kind of dangerous deal.  If only Mama didn't need another surgery, he might be able to leave this kind of work behind.  If only.... 

Lunaro subtly flexed his arms, feeling the reassuring solidity of the guns carefully concealed up each sleeve of his jacket, and enjoyed the last of his smoke.  Fate would decide what came next - all he could do was face it with a clear conscience.

*    *    *    *    *

Bartek slammed on his brakes as the pedestrian wandered out into the street right in front of him.  He honked his horn angrily, shaking his head at how trusting some people could be.  Like the world would just watch out for you!  In Bartek's line of work, that was the kind of attitude that got you killed.

He checked the consol clock as he turned the last corner, noticing it flick to 23:58.  Right on schedule.  Bartek liked it when things went like clockwork, each cog in the machine clicking into place at exactly the right time.  That's what kept his daughter in that expensive school his ex-wife raved so much about. 

The laneway was dark but for his headlights.  Nothing seemed amiss or out of place.  Bartek hit the button on his sun-visor and a loading bay door began to open behind him.  Everyone said it was paranoia, but he insisted on backing into every deal.  He figured if things went sideways it was a smart idea to be able to peel off quickly, and Bartek was nothing if not meticulous when planning for contingencies.

He felt his pockets for the two contingencies of last resort, each one loaded and ready to use at a moment's notice.  And then he began to slowly back into the warehouse.

*    *    *    *    *

Garaghan jumped a bit as the iron door slammed.  Didn't these hooligans have any sense of self-preservation?  If he were a scummy drug-dealer he would tip-toe about, not slam doors that might draw unwanted attention.  But that's probably why he was the ex-cop and not the ex-con. 

From the shadows behind the shipping containers he peeked to see the silhouette of a youth carrying a large backpack waltzing along the catwalk and down the stairs to the loading docks.  As he crossed into the light of the reversing car, Garaghan could see the youth's goofy smile and friendly eyes. 

God, he hated it when they were this young.  Kids full of hope and dreams shouldn't be caught up in this kind of business.  The youth reminded him a bit of his nephew, barely out of highschool, looking like a deer in headlights as true adulthood steamrolled towards him. 

Garaghan swallowed hard, willing himself to take the next step.  It was because of scum like this that his nephew was orphaned, he reminded himself.  His right foot moved, and then the left, and suddenly this was happening.

*    *    *    *    *

"Are you the guy?" Lunaro called out, reaching the bottom of the stairs.  The car had just stopped, turning off the back up lights and casting the whole warehouse into darkness.  Really he should have stopped to turn on a light or two, but it would be suspicious to peel off now.  Instead he just stood there, waiting.

A man peeked out of the driver side window and shouted about the lights.  "What is this, a sleepover?  I don't trust what I can't see!"

"Okay, okay, be cool man," Lunaro called back.  "I think I see a switch by the side of the loading bay door.  Imma walk over there slowly and turn it on."

"Fuck you, you will," the man in the car replied.  "You just fucking stay right there."  The trunk to the car popped open, and then the man dashed unexpectedly from the car towards the switch.  Something popped and fizzled on the ceiling, and then slowly the warehouse lights flickered to life.

Lunaro squinted as the bright light briefly blinded him.  He heard the other man swear, and before he could really see anything he heard the unmistakable sound of guns being drawn.  Instinctively he shot his arms outward, the guns up his sleeves flinging themselves into his hands as he had long practised.  And then his vision adjusted to the threat at hand.

*    *    *    *    *

The three men stood in a circle, maybe twenty feet from each other, each with two guns drawn, one pointing at each of the other men.

"What the fuck?!" Bartek was the first to speak.

"It looks like we got ourselves a Mexican standoff here boys," Garaghan announced.

"Why d'ja gotta be all hating on us Mexicans?" Lunaro asked.  "This is just a gun triangle, plain and simple."

"I think that's gotta be the stupidest term I ever heard," Bartek said, keeping his guns trained on the other two men.  "Now who the fuck are you, and what do you want?"

"I'm the mule," Lunaro told him.

"I know who the fuck you are!" Bartek barked in annoyance. 

"Ex-PD," Garaghan said calmly.  "I traced your network's movements to this location.  You son-of-a-bitches killed my brother, and now I'm here for revenge."

"Whoa, man!" Lunaro cautioned, backing away.  "I didn't kill no one, let alone a cop's brother.  I'm just working a job, man."

Garaghan knew in his heart this was true, and he instinctively turned towards the other man.

"Hey, I don't know nothing about no network," Bartek told him.  "I'm a one man operation, and I'm just in it for the money.  There's no money in killing anyone, let alone cop's brothers.  You got your shit mixed up, and now you got me mixed up in your shit."

"The hell I do!" Garaghan shouted, although the seed of doubt was beginning to germinate in his mind.  He'd barely slept in the week since his brother was shot, and it was beginning to take its toll.  "Where were you last Thursday at 23:56?"

Bartek thought a bit.  "That was the night of my daughter's violin recital.  My ex-wife would murder me if I missed that.  It ran late, with so many fucking kids showing off.  I took a fucking video and everything, just look at my phone."

Garaghan considered the idea.  He had several ex-wives who would behave the same way.    "Show it to me."

"Fuck you I'm dropping my gun," Bartek told him.

"I can see you guys got a lot to work out," Lunaro said, taking another step back.

"Don't move another step or I'll shoot," Garaghan commanded.  "You're still a god-damn scummy drug dealer."

"Mule," Lunaro corrected.  "Just a mule.  Fell behind on my mom's medical bills, and got caught up with the wrong sort of people.  I'm not a bad guy, and I can see you're not a bad guy either.  But you know what, we don't have to do this deal here tonight, if the drug thing bothers you.  We can all just, you know, walk away." 

"Yeah," Bartek agreed.  "I think that'd be best for everyone."

"No," Garaghan said with all the authority that 20 years on the force had given him.  "No, you're just going to deal another time, and eventually someone else's brother is going to get shot.  This ends here, right now.  Drop the backpack, and take whatever that is out of the trunk."

"Fuck you," Bartek spat.  "You're not a cop anymore, you said so yourself.  I'm not going broke because things went south for your brother.  I got school fees to pay for, and spousal support.  Either I'm leaving here with the goods or the money, but you might as well shoot me now if you think I'm leaving without either."

"My man, it's not worth it," Lunaro said, partially dropping his gun on Bartek.  "I had a cousin what got shot over these drugs, and it's just a senseless waste."

"What, the guys who fronted you that money are just going to let you walk away if you don't come back with the goods?" Bartek asked.  "The fuck they will.  They will nail your ass to a freeway overpass as a warning to anyone else that thinks they can walk out with their money."

Lunaro thought for a bit.  "You know, that's probably true.  But that will be tomorrow, not right now.  As I see it, either I die right now, or I take a bit of this here money for Moma and spend one last night with her in the hospital."  With that he lowered his guns and let the backpack slide off his back.

"Shit kid," Garraghan said, impressed at the youth's noble gesture.  He lowered one of his weapons.  "All right, you take a stack from the backpack and go help Moma."

"The fuck?!?" Bartek said, waving the gun that was not pointed at Garraghan.  "He gets to walk away to save his Momma?  The cartel is going to come after both of us, and probably you too.  I'm serious when I say you might as well shoot me here.  I'd prefer not to be nailed to an overpass, but I'll do it ten times over before I give these people an excuse to come after my daughter."

Garaghan holstered his one gun.  "Give me your phone," he said, reaching with his free hand towards Bartek.

Bartek lowered the weapon that had been trained on Lunaro.  The youth promptly began rummaging in the backpack.  Bartek wouldn't really miss a stack of bills, not if it got him out of this situation, and the kid did seem to have a good excuse.  But he needed the rest of that money, and the cartel sure as hell needed the drugs he had cooked up in his trunk. 

"How is my phone going to change anything?" he asked the ex-cop.

"It'll prove to me you're an honest guy," Garaghan shrugged. 

Bartek squinted.  "You let me toss this duffle bag full of drugs to the kid so that the gangstas don't kill him, and I'll do it."

Garaghan frowned.  "I don't want those drugs on the street."

"You know fucking well that they'll just be replaced by other drugs," Bartek shot back.  "What you gotta think of is what you want most right now.  You want the drugs off the street, or you want to find your brother's killer?  It seems like you've got too much conscience to kill an innocent man in cold blood."

The remaining gun in Garaghan's hand began shaking ever so slightly.

"That's fucking right," Bartek said, putting his second gun back into his pocket.  "Okay kid, you robbed me of a stack for a good cause.  Toss the rest of the backpack over here."

"I didn't agree to this," Garaghan said, the gun now shaking more.

Lunaro tossed the backpack, and then raised his hands innocently.  It landed right behind Bartek's car.

"Okay, here comes the duffle bag," Bartek said, reaching blindly into the trunk with his free hand.

"Stop!" Garaghan shouted, his gun now shaking out of control.  "I don't want to shoot, but I will."

"Of course you're going to fucking shoot," Bartek said, raising the duffle bag up.  "What, did you think we were all just going to walk away, get a beer maybe?  These things always end with people getting shot, either right here or tomorrow, or the day after that.  It's a hard game we're playing, and in the end everyone always loses.  That's the way it's always been, and the way it's always going to be." 

Bartek tossed the duffle bag, and Lunaro caught it deftly.

The gun in Garaghan's hand was suddenly deadly still.  Life was a real shit show, with a series of rational decisions ending in almost certain death for three men who had never met before.  Three men who were all here illegally, but all for the best reasons.  Three men with so much in common, but no way to bridge the gap that could save them from each other.  Garaghan closed his eyes, willing himself to put pride aside and choose a different path.

"So... that beer's definitely off the table, then?" he asked calmly.

Bartek and Lunaro shared a long glance, no doubt thinking of the inevitable carnage that was just a twitchy finger away. 

"Uh, yeah, well I guess I can make a bit of a detour on the way home," Lunaro conciliated.

Bartek shook his head and laughed at how unpredictable life could be.  "What the fuck, sure.  Let's go get a beer.  But you're fucking paying!"


Thanks for all the entries, everyone.

It's now time to vote.

The entries are:

Vertices and Vagaries by Rootbound
Topping the Triangle by Mandle
Of the Creation of the Pyramids by Sinitrena
Three's a Crowd by Baron

Please vote using the poll above, but feel free to share your votes in the thread. Feedback is very much encouraged.


My feedback:

Vertices and Vagaries

Loved the take on the triangle theme and it was quite impactful with the concept of strongest physical structures vs. weaker emotional ones, despite the last line going maybe one syllable a bridge too far. Great poem!

Of the Creation of Pyramids

Interesting concept to put math problems within the story for the reader to solve before moving on. I didn't though, and just clicked on the spoiler brackets. Would have worked better in a game. The story doesn't need that gimmick. BUT, I did love the symbolism of the class structure of shapes growing through the dimensions, only to be reduced back to inferiority and maybe obsolescence once they had built a "better" structure. Seems a tale that maybe describes our time. It got my vote for that reason.

Three's a Crowd

A Mexican standoff is a great idea for the theme of "Triangles"! And putting it in the modern setting of a drug deal gone "wrong", including a sympathetic mule who is actually Mexican was also brilliant. But the structure of the story only paid off a little for me. I had to reread it a few times to figure out who each character was and what their motivations were. Also, I was a bit confused at the end when two of the characters made friends, but the other was not mentioned (EDIT: Ah! Upon another reading it seems the other was mentioned, and in fact initiated the final dissolving of the standoff, further feedback still based off my initial few reads, except where EDIT is mentioned). Seemed to me that a triangle story should have wrapped up on a note involving all three. But still great fun in the vein of stuff like the movie "The Mule". And also "Reservoir Dogs" except without the shooty-shooty-blam-blam, which was what you were going for I felt, but I just didn't feel the satisfaction at the end of all three characters completing their arcs (EDIT: As mentioned above, I got that all three stood down, but maybe a sentence at the end involving all three heading off for beers would have made that more obvious to me at least). Could be a great first draft of a short film script though!


First of all, I think this is your first entry in the FWC, so, welcome. Second, nice and short, though without the pictures, I'm not sure I's have gotten it. It's a bit difficult to say a whole lot about such a short piece, I'm already way past your wordcount here, but overall, I don't think the contrast between relationshis and bridges works too well. If it were metaphorical bridges, I think it would be better, but metaphorical bridges have nothing to do with triangles, that only works for the literal ones. This is a bit of a broken metaphor, though I think there's something more you could do with the general idea, even in such a short format. I'm just not really sure what. Regardless, in a way I really liked this little thing, and I can't really tell you why.

An interesting idea, with a slightly flawed execution. A mentally unstable character fascinated by triangles, and, in continuation, the number three, is interesting from the get go. The relationship between the siblings is sweet, gross, funny, and really unhealthy all at the same time. I mean, he enables her, even though he seems to want her to go to therapy (going by the ote at the end that he thinks something amazing happened). There are some (il)logical jumps in the narrative that are a bit confusing. What is it that made Matt go with her? What did she say to him? Something about the Luxor Pyramid, because he knows to go there later, but why would that convince him to go with her?
We know that the eclipse is at "23rd next month at 3:53pm" - but then they arrive in Vegas at night, and Matt gets woken up by the morning lights shining through the window. He follows Janey, drives a bit, and when he arrives near the Luxor, its afternoon, as in, close to the time of the eclipse? The timeline doesn't match up very well here, that's just too much time to have passed.
Anyway, this story has a couple of kinks that need to be ironed out, put I like it.

The "all characters have good motivations"-angle was a bit much at the beginning. That should probably come out more slowly, especially because it got repeated during the standoff. Actually, almost everything that happened before the actual standoff was brought up again, making everything in the begiining kind of superfluous. On the other hand, as Mandle already pointed out, the ending was kind of confusing and could have done with a bit of an epilogue. The same length story, but with less in the beginning and more in the end might have worked better for me.
Also, while the motivations were a bit ham-fisted, they were also a bit too nice and the other characters reacted to them in a slightly too nice manner. Like, this was clearly written with this ending in mind and the characters had to bend and squirm to get into the right mindset for it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it strained my suspension of disbeliev a bit too much and that the characterhad to follow the imperative of the narrative instead of the characters leading and creating the narritive.
Overall, as with Mandle's story and Rootbound's haiku, I think there's a good core here that needs a bit of tweaking to fully work.

Wow, I sound negative today, but I genuinely enjoyed all entries. And it took me a long time to decide who should get my vote. In the end, it was:

Also, Stupot, you got my story's title wrong. It's Of the Creation of Pyramids, not Of the Creation of the Pyramids. That's a bit of a different meaning there.  ;)


Cheers, Sini...

Yes, in a longer second draft of the story I plan to explain Matt's motivation to take her there a bit better. Up until she had found out about the upcoming eclipse, all her delusions about the triangles had been wishy-washy like you can see a bit of in the story. Too hard for him to pin any claim on her and make it stick. But now that she was making an actual solid claim about how the eclipse was so important, he jumped at the chance to take her there, in the hopes that the lack of closure might be a foothold he could use to start to chip away at her problem, or at least make her start to have some self-doubt.

Thanks for spotting the timing issue. I think I had meant for them to have stayed up into the early hours of the morning, and then wake up after noon, but there was a real life time gap of about a week in between starting and finishing the story so I forgot.


Thanks for the welcome, Sinitrena! It is indeed my first fwc entry, motivated by the "fwc is dying" thread last time. Just figured I'd throw a little thing in because no one else had entered at that point.

I enjoyed Sinitrena's entry the most but found Baron's the most surprising in terms of connecting to the theme. Mandle's was solid too, although I didn't connect to the characters as much.

A close choice but I voted for Sinitrena in the end. Big Flatland vibes, which I am a sucker for, and fun to read.

Nice work, everyone.
They/them. Here are some of my games:


Well those were three very distinct entries: a ten word poem, a geometry lesson, and tale that made me question my own sanity!   ;-D

I liked the message of your poem.  The vaunted strength of the triangle doesn't work in all contexts.  I was tempted to vote for you but... as a triangles are a very precise shape, so is Haiku a very precise art form: you have one extra syllable in your last line!

OK, so your story was more than a geometry lesson.  There was aspiration and hubris, rivalry and redemption.  There was, however, also a slight error in math:

Quote from: Sinitrena on Sat 04/11/2023 23:04:24(a² + b² = c²)

2²+2² would actually be 4 + 4, and therefore c²=8 and c = 2.8

(My suspicions were aroused when the hypotenuse turned out to be exactly the length of the other two sides combined, which would logically result in the (premature) flat-line death of a three sided shape).  :P

Nerding aside, the degree of precise language required to tell the story of geometric transformations made it feel more like reading a text-book than a story.  It was a courageous experiment in story telling, but... in the end, it still felt a bit two-dimensional.   ;)

So Janey's pretty clearly crazy (I think), but her brother is almost crazier.  What on Earth did she say on that phone call that convinced him to indulge in her latest mania?  How is he letting her drive him around?  Janey is clearly a larger-than-life character, someone everyone likes to talk about but no one likes to hang out with for long.  Funny, impulsive, quick to anger, brilliant but in a tragic way...  I think the story would have run better structured as more of a Holmes-and-Watson relationship where the brother is more the apologist for his sister (and helps explains her "ways" for the everyman) instead of an incompetent minder.  Nevertheless, there were no miscounted beats or math errors in your work, so... congratulations, I voted for you!


Wow, currently a three-way tie... which seems appropriate to the theme???  8-0
They/them. Here are some of my games:


Quote2²+2² would actually be 4 + 4, and therefore c²=8 and c = 2.8

That is, of course, completely correct. I changed stuff around, including the questions and didn't pay attention.

Quote from: RootBound on Sat 11/11/2023 18:30:14Wow, currently a three-way tie... which seems appropriate to the theme???  8-0

Now, if everyone who voted would also comment, that would be splendid.


We have a 3-way tie.

First, some feedback.

A clever haiku,
Intresting observation.
Syllables: too much

An enjoyable and optimistic story about a rare case of someone possibly coming out the other side of some numerology rabbit hole. One thing that didn't make sense. The line where Janey tells Matt (but not us) the last piece of the puzzle seemed more important than it turned out to be. You've since given some explanation about that but I still think it would have been good to have had some idea of what it was that she was expecting to see.

Other than that,  it was a well-written story of sibling love, and it really made me miss my sisters.

Very interesting concept. I honestly thought Baron might be the one to do something high-concept and weird like this. My guess was a story from the POV of the Bermuda Triangle. The descriptions of all the polygons folding and stretching and changing shapes was fun, and you managed to give real characterization to the shapes, which is commendable. The end twist was frustrating (for the triangle, I mean). Reminded me of times in my life where I thought I'd "leveled up" only to find myself at the bottom again. The mathematical elements were a fun touch too.

This was another fun read. Those kind of three-way stand-offs are always dramatic. You gave each of the three characters some depth and a real reason to be there. The twist was unique and it was a funny pay-off but I think I personally would have preferred the stand-off to have played out with a bit of bloodshed and/or someone running off with the cash. I thought for sure Lunaro was lying about his moma's situation and thought Garaghan was an idiot for believing him.

On another day I might have chosen to pick a winner to break the tie, but considering the fitting triangular nature of a three-way draw, I hereby announce that Rootbound, Mandle and Sinitrena are joint winners.

You may work together how you see fit to decide on the next FWC theme.


I'd like to give all hosting rights and responsibilities I share to Rootbound. They are new, it's their first entry, I think they should get the honour of hosting the next round and choosing a topic. Over to you! (And if you need help looking up previous topics, don't forget the Competition Topics Master List!)

Congrats to Mandle and Rootbound (and myself, I guess) for the joined win!


@Sinitrena much obliged! @Mandle I have an idea. Will DM you and we can confer.
They/them. Here are some of my games:


Rootbound and I have hit upon a theme (of his suggestion) and are currently talking about some hosting stuff. Stay tuned!

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