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Location: canadurp
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bird

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Aug 20 2017, 11:23 PM
It snows the night Felix Menaker sees Osip Tabenkin kill a man -- a heavy, wet, unseasonal snow spat out from a sky that drapes over the city like wet velvet, that slushes the streets and spackles the lights along the pier and soaks through the thin cardboard soles of his shoes.

He steps outside anyway. Maybe to ask a question, maybe to get a little respite from the hot cramped quarters of the warehouse where he and a half dozen other young men are cutting barrels of Canadian rye into watery fifths, maybe for some other stupid reason that he'll never understand – but he sets out along the pier anyway, with his collar turned up and his hands in his pockets. He likes the city on nights like this, likes the soft alien quiet of it. Likes how it reminds him of a sleeping animal, waiting to exhale.

Tonight, though, there are voices along the pier. He strolls along a little while, eyes adjusting to the light and sees – Osip, by the broad stubborn set of his shoulders, and some other man there, older, no one that Felix has ever seen before. Some agitated conversation between them that he doesn’t catch, though the rising pitch of it carries across the water. He makes his way towards them. When he comes up thirty feet away, Osip’s arm moves out of his pocket and slashes, quick and economical – up, across, in in in ---

The moment stretches, utterly impossible.

Then, all at once: a soft, wet, guttural noise, the man starting to crumple, the snow turning dark. Felix must make some sound too, because Osip turns his head to look at him, lizard-slow.

“Felix,” he says, taking a step forward, and Felix starts walking back, hands out, his shoes skidding, stumbling, mouth moving don’t, don’t, no. The knife is still in Osip’s hand, the front of his coat slick and dark. “Felix, listen to me.”

He can’t listen. He moves back, back, gibbering like a fucking idiot, “-- what the fuck -- what the fuck did you do --” but Osip is too big, too quick on his feet not to close the distance. He grabs Felix by the shoulders, holds him close with a rough palm at the back of the neck until he stills. Until he sees the knife lying in the snow.

“-- I had to do it. This guy – you don’t know this guy, these people, not like I do. They’re dangerous men, Felya. I had to, to protect us. All of us, you understand?”

He doesn't. He's looking at the body -- a dark-haired man, a little stout around his punctured middle, both hands clasped uselessly over the broad gash under his neck -- even as Osip keeps pulling his head away, saying "Felya. Look at me,” and unbidden, the ghost of a memory wells up, how, years ago, when tinny broadcasts about the war in Europe were still on the radio, Osip Tabenkin used to come by for dinner with the rebbe sometimes, the way men sometimes would; how he used to bring fresh peaches from the store for Bina and the girls. "I had to,” he keeps saying, and both his and the dead man’s eyes are very still and very blue. Through the thin partition wall Felix remembers one of those endless annoying circuitous arguments --
a man protects, that is what a man does, rebbe and Rebbe Hirsch audibly frowning, yes, yes, Yussel, but that is not what a man is for--

“I can protect you too,” he says. “But I need you to do exactly as I say. Can you do that for me?”

Felix sucks in a breath. There is a smell that curls up from the dying man – not strong, not yet, but pungent and unmistakeable, a warm meat stench that makes his throat go tight. He locks his knees to keep his legs from shaking, makes his chin move once.

“Good man.” Osip stoops and peels the dead man’s body up like a sack of grain in the warehouse, like so much limp, empty nothing. It is wrong, all of it, all of this, but Felix is relieved when he doesn't ask him for help with the body, and then is ashamed, suddenly, at his relief. The dead man slumps into the water, uncaring. The river swallows him up without a sound.

“Go home and get some rest,” he says, not unkindly. “Tomorrow this will all be a bad dream.”

Later, much later, Felix toes past Bina and the rebbe in the dark, past the sloe-eyed Hirsch girls sleeping in the little bed beside the kitchen to where streetlight slants in golden-white through the single tall, drafty window over his bed. He curls his shaking knees to his chest and listens to the tide of his own breathing.

He doesn’t dream at all.

*


The days pass uneventfully. The snow melts. Life's rhythm continues unbroken, unchanging, and that is wrong too, somehow -- after all, that night should have been the most important of his life, shouldn't it? But instead there are times Felix finds himself forgetting, or looking for something he can’t quite put a name to -- hoping against hope at the docks with the rest of the would-be stevedores, running a few discreet cases of brandy up to the little watering hole up on 26th. Sometimes his chest goes tight, but if it wasn't for few extra dollars in his cut, or that Osip doesn't offer him work for the rest of the week, then it might have been as though none of it had ever happened at all.

It is worse, somehow, to know a thing and not to think about it.

And then the policemen come – on Shabbos, no less. Clever, some strange, detached part of Felix thinks, watching them stalk into the neighbouring tenement. It isn’t the first or the last time that the police have come to canvass this block, but when they come out empty-handed and cross the street his heart leaps into his throat anyway.

At the door, the knock, Officers Grady and McCallum. The entire fifth floor peering out into the hall at the rebbe looking at a photograph.

“Do you know this man?”

“No,” Rebbe Hirsch says, sighing. “I’m afraid I don’t. Who is he?”

Felix presses himself up to the doorjamb to look. He can’t see the photograph from here, but he knows long before they show it to him. All the guilt twisted up in his insides knots into a tight, cold fist.

*


After, on the rooftop:

“Here’s what we do," Osip says, very calm. “First, you’re going to take this up to that vulture up on Bellevue. I can't do it, but --"

“Gai tren zich -- are you serious?” Felix is sputtering, waving his hands around in the air, forgetting - for a moment - how absolutely terrified he should be, how the dead man is only dead because Osip killed him. That part he can't think about yet, so he throws himself at the other one, all the wild coiled up panic in his chest coming loose. “You slit his throat, it’s -- that doesn’t just – you can’t just make that go away --”

“He can. He does.” Still that same, infuriating calm. He presses a parcel wrapped in unassuming butcher paper into Felix's hands. There is nothing interesting about it whatsoever, besides being the rough size and shape and weight of a substantial quantity of bills. “Please, Felix. You just have to convince him. That should be enough, but -” A second parcel, smaller. “More, if he asks.”

Like there’s a standard price and practice for these things. Like Osip knows what that price would be out of habit. Like it isn’t more money than Felix has ever seen in his life.

“You’re crazy,” he says, just as Osip blurts, “You’re the only one I can trust.”


*


The city morgue sits up on 29th street --- not far, not really, though the contours of Felix’s universe are etched out in miniature, and the occasional night deliveries he makes up to Harlem might as well be to the surface of the Moon. Still, this, too, is another planet: the handsome, curlicued facade that reads PATHOLOGY BUILDING darkening with the peevish spring rain; inside, the black-and-white checkered floors and high, sterile ceilings, electric globe lights hanging from them like ripening fruit. He thrums with nervous energy sidling past the white-coated staff; a gangly, hawkish-looking young man with wild dark hair and shabby clothes, taking the steps two at a time like he knows the place.

He doesn’t, but --- ah, there it is. Chief Medical Examiner. Hat in hand, he smooths down his hair and shifts his rucksack on his shoulder – wants to take a breath to collect himself and his thoughts, come up with a plan, but no, no. No time. Across the hall one of the attendants from the lobby stands at the top of the stairs, craning her head to look for the intruder.

Shit.

Felix raps his fist against the door.
Aug 17 2017, 02:38 PM

hello friend!




do you:
  • love building cool new worlds to explore with someone else?
  • like writing queer or platonic relationships?
  • enjoy collaboration and communication?
  • prefer a casual, low-pressure posting schedule?
  • have a thing for adventure, character development, and wacky genre-bending hijinks?
boy do i have the bird for you!



i'm 25, in canada, and living the minimum wage grind in EST time. i lift heavy stuff for fun and studied rocks in university. one time i got into an argument with an apple sales rep because i tried to tell him that the concentrated acid solution that melted part of my cellphone didn't count as water damage. i did calculations and everything! he was not convinced.

i like to write genre fiction: mostly science fiction or low fantasy, maybe with some noir, horror elements, or espionage thrown in for fun. inventive, unusual settings always pique my interest -- medieval grimdark european fantasy or weirdly rapey and libertarian wonderland dystopias less so.

i'm comfortable writing just about any amount of sex and violence, but don't enjoy plots whose sole purpose is one or the other. my only real line in the sand is plots that center around abusive relationships or rape.

other than that, the sky's really the limit! i'll write just about any gender or orientation and enjoy exploring all sorts of relationships, including platonic ones -- though i'll be honest and say that it's going to take a terribly compelling plot to convince me to write a straight romance.

hit me up at esfirasorokina [at] gmail.com, or bird#9799 on discord if you're interested! you can find my writing all over barbermonger, which is my roleplaying medium of choice.
Jul 19 2017, 10:47 AM
the rules:
  • write as much as you want, of whatever you want, for the prompt above you but ~*~keep it casual~*~! this is pretty much the writing equivalent of GIVE A DOODLE GET A DOODLE
  • leave a prompt for the next person
  • the prompt can be whatever you want but try to keep it fun and open-ended
  • if two people respond at the same time, just pick whichever prompt looks more interesting
  • idk lol



our first prompt is orange crush




Jul 11 2017, 02:45 PM
“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”

― Werner Herzog



Eight bells find Jack testing the unsteady earth beneath his feet and the port of Carriden sinking into dusk - first rose, then purple, then finally blue and apple-green between nimbus clouds fattening with monsoon rain. The sea is warm and still, glowing faintly where it laps at the docks and the red hulls of the tugs and fishing scows, and one by one, the electric lamps flick on and light the windows of the little red-brick rowhouses along the harbour and the spires of the cathedral beyond. Even restless Bellerophon settles for the night, the men sharing languid cigarettes along her stark white gunwales, the bosun's voice now a sullen murmur as the last of the ship's provisions are hauled up and stowed away.

And it is his, all his; this glittering sea and the massive white gleaming cutter sitting on it like a sleeping bird, the tropical sky sprawled out from horizon to horizon. Jack is twenty-seven and barely a breath away from command and the immensity of it all staggers him - the lieutenant commander's bars on his shoulders are weeks old now, but in home waters they only ever seemed ceremonial. They are real to him now, looking out at this ship, his ship, shining under the light of foreign constellations. One good tour and then his own command -- maybe the Bellerophon herself – He straightens his hat and grins into the dark like a madman, heart swelling in his chest.

Up on the cobbles, a group of junior officers prepares for the night’s troublemaking in their crisp service whites.

"Velasco! Where the fuck are you?”

Jack catches up with them in a few bounding strides, a lean, bright-eyed young man with a boyish grin and dark, wavy hair kept as vainly long as regulation will allow. He careens headlong into the mass of them, sun-browned arms draping expansively over their shoulders.

“What,” he laughs, feet still catching on the ground, “were you going to leave without me?”

*


Trouble takes them up through the Bowhead and out of the Cloak and Dagger, down cobble streets no one knows the name of and into establishments of increasingly ill repute, until the hand of luck collects them all and brings them home to roost like raucous seagulls at some sedate alehouse by the shore. Mulaney nearly knocks over the carved bowsprit by the door when he stumbles in and Kartick’s half-open shirt reveals a new mermaid on it in a state of similar undress, and Jack’s black-brimmed hat sits askew on the head of some local girl whose name he can’t quite recall but who danced an enthusiastic quickstep with him at some point all the same.

Mulaney, pouring out a line of some foul-smelling local spirit, is running out of toasts:

"To wives and sweethearts! May they never fuckin' meet."
Jan 19 2017, 04:08 PM
because this thing is fun and i wanna hear what you guys sound like! vocaroo is probably the easiest way to record yourself and share.


QUOTE
1. What's your name?
2. How old are you?
3. Where are you from? Are you living there right now?
4. What's the time?
5. Is it cold where you are?
6. What are you wearing?
7. What was the last thing you listened to?
8. What was the last thing you ate?
9. What was the last thing you watched on TV?
10. What's your favorite TV show? Why?
11. Quick! Find a book, or something with text on it! Flip to a random page and read some of it! GO!
12. What was the last movie you saw? How was it?
13. Do YOU think you have an accent? Talk about that.



here's me getting over a really bad case of pharyngitis. i swear i don't smoke.
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