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AmaDome: Arena II

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Initial post: Nov 5, 2012, 7:00:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 8, 2012, 12:06:47 PM PST
Splinker says:
Listen all! This is the truth of it.

Writing leads to fighting, and fighting leads to boring.
And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone yelling about shill reviews and sparkly vampires.

But we've learned, by the dust of them all... AmaDome learned. Now, when writer's get to writing, it happens here! And it finishes here!

Two writers enter; one writer leaves.

Welcome to AMAZONDOME 2012! ARENA II

Our second match features two nameless posters, each with nothing to prove and nothing to lose. Their name's will be revealed only after the crowd stops screaming for blood and the ink dries.

The genre that the gladiators will be fighting with.... CRIME/DRAMA!

Word count: Between 500 and 1,000.

Due Date: November 6

Stay tuned for the big match. Once both stories are posted, everyone who's anyone will get to vote.

Until then, feel free to place bets, discuss odds, talk smack and support your local bad boys.

Stick around. We'll have some fun!

Two writers enter. One writer leaves.

There can be only ONE!

Posted on Nov 5, 2012, 7:04:43 AM PST
Psylocide says:
Good luck to the contestants, excited to see the stories.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012, 8:41:23 AM PST
Irish reader says:
Psylocide and I got comedy/humor - and they get crime/drama? Lucky, lucky bastards.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012, 9:44:32 AM PST
Splinker says:
Lady luck is a fickle mistress.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012, 10:38:56 AM PST
Psylocide says:
I really don't envy them all that much, my writing is very 'wordy' and creating a decent crime/drama piece under 1000 words would be probably be tricky for me as well.

The comedy/humor genre was almost a blessing, in that I could fall back on the fact that the genre is not one of my strong suits, as an excuse for mediocrity.

Again, good luck to the current contestants.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 4:56:22 AM PST
Pete Morin says:
Where is this AmaDome II you speak of? Where are the contestants? Girding their loins?

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 5:25:33 AM PST
Irish reader says:
You're standing in it, P.B. We're just waiting for the contestants to enter/post.

Nothing to stop you throwing your hat in the ring.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 5:50:01 AM PST
Psylocide says:
Splinker/the-rest-of-us decided to keep the authors anonymous until the voting is completed. Of course, it wouldn't have been an issue in our thread if IR's username and voice didn't have such a blatant correlation.

But, I still don't think it was an issue in the end, this way just seems better, because you aren't actively trying to guess who wrote what.

Anyway, due date is today... good luck gladiators.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:01:33 AM PST
Splinker says:
Stories posted in two minutes. Everyone can vote. Voting ends midnight Friday.
If anyone else wants to be a gladiator, email me at

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:05:03 AM PST
Pete Morin says:
I am teeming with bloodlust.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:05:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 6:06:12 AM PST
I like this idea. I think it's interesting and fun. : )

Good luck gladiators!

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:06:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012, 6:25:06 AM PST
Splinker says:
Sensible Shoes
By Lilian Kendrick

I lay back on Gail's bed, laughing with delight as I raised my legs to get a better look at my new shoes.
"Aren't they wonderful?"
Gail shook her head in disbelief.
"When are you ever going to wear them? I mean, they're so high you'll fall over, and so pointy they'll squash your toes. That's before you even think of the impression people will get when you hobble around in leopard print stilettos! I give it two weeks and they'll be in the box on top of the wardrobe and never see the light of day again."
"Nonsense. These are dead sophisticated and I'll love them forever!"

That was thirty years ago, when we were students and I had legs to die for and no inhibitions. How times have changed! Last week, I had a call from Gail, the first in thirty years, and it all came back to me - Gail, with her commonsense attitude to life and her "Women's Institute Committee Shoes". We arranged to meet for dinner tonight.

I got to the restaurant first; I've always been a stickler for punctuality. I was glad to sit down. The bus stop was half a block away and my feet were killing me. Nowadays, I suffer from arthritis in my toes and the damp weather makes it worse. Besides, I'd insisted on getting `those' shoes out of the box to wear for old times' sake. After all, I'd only ever worn them three times. They'd been in the box since the night I `got it together' with Tony, but that's another story. Anyway, I'd broken my ankle by losing my balance when we were kissing goodnight and he wasn't impressed, so it was farewell to the love of my life and hello to sensible shoes from then on.
What a waste! I'd been after him for six months and when I eventually got my wicked way, the damned shoes wrecked it all.

I didn't recognise Gail until she sat down opposite me. It seems a strange thing to say, but middle-age suits some people and Gail has been blessed that way. The features that made her a rather plain young woman have transformed with the years into the kind of beauty and elegance that's going to last. I was a pretty teenager, but prettiness doesn't last and now the kindest thing that can be said is that I am fair, fat and heading for fifty faster than I care to think. So we ordered dinner and made small talk.

"So, Gail, why now?" I was halfway through a bottle of Cabernet-Sauvignon and feeling relaxed enough to ask the question that had been on my mind all night.
"Well, I thought it was about time we cleared the air." She was avoiding my eyes.
"It was all so long ago." I tried a smile, but it didn't feel quite right, Lord knows what it looked like. My stomach was churning.
"I feel as if I owe you an apology or something." She finally met my gaze and I thought I could detect the trace of a tear.
"Ah, maybe you did once. But we were kids and it's all behind us. Let's say no more about it." I was impressed with how magnanimous I sounded as I refilled her glass.
So we said no more about it. We finished dinner and the bottle of wine. As I got up to go to the ladies' room, she took my hand.
"Tony left me last week. I thought you should know." Her speech was slurred.
Suddenly, my head felt light. I stared at her, feeling a mixture of anger and remorse.
"I...I... have to go." I managed at last, turning away from her.

On the way out I spoke to the waiter.

"You'd better call an ambulance for my friend. She's very depressed and I'm sure I saw her putting something into her wine glass a while ago."

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:06:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012, 6:24:48 AM PST
Splinker says:
By Pete Morin (Winner)

The main suspect was the neighbor, Gates. The one without the gas generator.

Not that he was a violent man. Contentious, yes. But he was a lawyer. He wasn't unreasonable, but rather sometimes too reasonable. If the exercise of reason could only reach one conclusion, he reached it, and clung to it like a starving dog on a lamb leg.

There was shock at the news, but not surprise. His neighbors - or more accurately, his late neighbors -had a way of getting under one's skin.

The first day the Gates moved into the old farmhouse with the drafty windows, Tilton was quick to push his rigorous environmental ethic on them. They lived on a "fragile" tidal estuary, Tilton repeated ad nauseam. No fertilizers or pesticides should be used to keep lawns green and weed free. The poison ivy and briars should not be cleared for view or access to the water. The understory was too important to the ecosystem. Apparently, Tilton wasn't allergic to poison ivy.

Gates could ignore that sort of environmental tripe, were it not for the chainsaw roaring away (thus preserving Tilton's priceless water view), or the lawn sprinkler tick-tick-ticking for five hours while Tilton was off on his sailboat. Gates didn't work hard to form the firm opinion that Tilton was simply a hypocritical horse's ass.

Still, that alone would not have driven Gates to violence. Contempt, certainly - a contempt first validated when he heard Tilton's own wife scream at the top of her lungs, "Get out of my house, you sonofabitch!" and Tilton's riposte: "Ow!"

That made Gates smile. But Tilton didn't get the hell out of there, and the tick-tick-tick was back the next weekend.

Over time, Gates' view of the tidal river shrank as Tilton's trees grew. Gates' repeated requests that Tilton allow him to trim them were rebuffed. With each year, his request became more insistent, Tilton's demurrer more emphatic.

A decade of this can build a rage inside you, is what folks around the Daily Grind Coffee Emporium said, and not unsympathetically. Tilton's reputation was well established: his wife's opinion of him was near unanimous.

Just before the storm, Tilton had begun salting his yard with cracked corn, attracting a vigorous assortment of wildlife, especially wild turkeys. When he learned how vocal and diarrheic turkeys were, he cut off the corn supply. A more apt instance of "cold turkey" could not be dreamt.

Naturally, those turkeys turned outward for a replacement supply of food and bathroom facilities, and Gates' yard was closest, as Gates discovered at around 4:30 am. One more sore to fester.

Then the generator began to thrum.


The power went off at 10:00 am.

Hurricane Irene was all they heard about for days. The weather people really played it up! Gates' wife asked him to go out for more D batteries and ice for the cooler, even to fill the bathtub with water. He'd only balked when she asked him to tape the windows. It was tracking 100 miles to the west, he insisted. They'd be on the outer edge, surely. No cause for alarm. Vigilance, certainly, but not alarm.

Gates didn't mind the power going out. The house was so peaceful without the hum of the refrigerator. He had a good book, his wife her knitting. When dusk approached, they assembled a collection of hurricane candles, spread them around their cozy living room, watched the darkness come, listened to their antique house rumble and clatter in the buffeting wind.

By dinnertime, the storm had passed. The northeasterly wind shifted, abated. The Gates left their home to dine at the quaint bistro in the Harbor, where the lights shone bright. The bistro buzzed with others like them. Word was that a transformer in the west end had been wrecked by a fallen tree. They shared the excitement in this adventure of powerlessness. It brought neighbors together, one woman bubbled.

When Gates and his wife arrived home, looking forward to turning in early, he discovered how wrong the woman had been.


In their driveway, they first heard the dull hum, like a hot rod idling down the street.

Once inside, Gates discovered the source of the roar was no hot rod. Gazing out the windows of the cozy living room where the hurricane candles had glowed before, they beheld the Tilton home, lit up like a roman candle.

"My goodness," his wife hollered, pressing her hands flat against her ears, "that's quite loud, isn't it?"

Gates put his hand against the window, felt it vibrate, and muttered.

"What's that?" she shouted.

"I say, I think our ecologist neighbor is afraid of the dark," he said, one end of his thin lip curling.


Even shut in their bedroom, Gates could not train his mind away from the persistent groan of the gasoline engine. Although his more placid, and slightly deaf, wife found slumber in the darkness, he found nothing but a boiling fury.

He checked his watch. The motor whined and rumbled. Surely they would shut it down at 11:00. That was only civilized. Yet on it blared.

Gates slipped out of bed, pulled on his chinos and tiptoed from the bedroom, down the stairs. He wiggled his feet into the worn topsiders, turned the old doorknob, opened the door silently and stole into the night.


Cause of death, carbon monoxide poisoning, the coroner opined.

The District Attorney's office and the State Police investigated the possibility of a murder-suicide when they discovered that Tilton's wife had terminal cancer. That would explain the hose running from the generator exhaust to the bedroom window.

There was just the matter of the footprints. Topsiders, but a half-size larger than Tilton's.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:38:37 AM PST
Great stories! I enjoyed them both. But I can only choose one, sooo....

Power Failure gets my vote.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:39:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 6:41:03 AM PST
Psylocide says:
I guess I'll go first. (ETA: NVMD, Beat by Lil Devil.)

I enjoyed them both, and there are weaknesses/strengths in each story.

Sensible Shoes had me guessing the whole time, at first I was wondering, "Did this writer get the genre mixed up?" Then the end came, and tied it all together... it caught me by surprise, and that was a nice touch.

Power Failure was well-written, but was also a tad predictable. However, the biggest strength of this piece was the sheer amount of information relayed in so few words.

So my vote goes to, Power Failure.

Well done to both gladiators and thanks for having the guts to participate.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 6:47:47 AM PST
Good morning Psylocide.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 7:29:47 AM PST
Well done! Both gladiators had a good showing! *clapping*

My vote goes to Power Failure.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 11:23:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2012, 2:43:35 PM PST
Irish reader says:
After much thought, I'd have to give it to 'Power Failure' - but only by a whisker. Both entries were extremely well-written, and I reckon 'Sensible Shoes' had the edge over 'Power Failure' in terms of plotting, but 'Power Failure' had a more original setting and the mc had a more unusual motive.

Kudos to both gladiators for participating.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 12:11:40 PM PST
Both of these are really good. I liked Sensible Shoes a bit more. It was short and sweet and got to the point without having to outright say what happened next.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 12:19:45 PM PST
Splinker says:
Let's hear from those undecided voters!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012, 12:37:25 PM PST
Psylocide says:
I agree... I really liked the way it was tied up (even more so than Power Failure), but had to give it to Power Failure based on other factors.

But, thank you for giving Sensible Shoes its first vote... I just don't think I'm cut out to vote in writing competitions, because I feel bad picking one over the other, lol.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 12:56:55 PM PST
Wow! This just keeps getting better and better. I wish I was a wizard with words as you have all proven to be.
This was a hard decision to make. My vote goes to Sensible Shoes. The ending clinched it for me.
Thank you gladiators and Thanks to our gracious host.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 2:15:28 PM PST
Kelli says:
I am for power failure.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 6:41:29 PM PST
Pete Morin says:
Wonderfully different voices in each.

Sensible Shoes, by a toenail.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012, 7:01:33 PM PST
Sensible shoes gets my vote.
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Initial post:  Nov 5, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 11, 2012

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