This was an impossibly good week. I can’t stress enough the importance of reading these; you guys are putting together a fine season and I’d hate it if Novak and I were the only ones noticing. These concepts are gold and the execution suggests that a lot of you are forgetting that Turbo stories aren’t supposed to be this good.

The prompt was to write about an event at a small-town diner that changes the lives of everyone in attendance.

Thanks for the stories, gang. Enjoy.

Brooks Maki

Seven dwarves walked into to the tavern, each placing an apple on the bar.
This again, the bartender thought as he picked the one in front of bashful.
He died.

K: Huh. Did you get distracted, or remember the challenge at the last minute? Well, whatever. It’s not a nonsub.

MN – It’s short, which I like. Could have used a bit more character though.

Pete Bruzek

“‘Nother cup, hun?”

Trevor’s attention snapped back to the untouched coffee in front of him. He glanced up at the kindly waitress.

“Uh, no thanks” he said, faking a smile and having the genuine article given to him in return.

Trevor glanced at the front door again. Still nothing. It was a good sign, but he wondered how long that might last. Glancing around, he took stock of the diner’s patrons. An elderly couple quietly sipped their coffee together as they shared a danish. A few scattered farmers picked at their eggs and hashed browns and glanced at whatever part of the local paper they had been able to scavenge. The waitress flitted about like a honeybee from customer to customer, flashing her smile and divvying out the coffee.

None of these people were ready if he should come through the door.

Trevor suddenly felt a pang of guilt. If the battle should seek him out here, none of these people were prepared for it.

Then Trudy came by, and it was refill time again. This time, Trevor nodded in silent acceptance. Trudy began to pour coffee into the already full cup, he eyes suddenly drawn to the door. Coffee dribbled idly onto the counter.

Though it was mid-morning, the entire front of the restaurant went dark, as if the light had been stolen away. The door opened, and shadow began to seep into the room.

Trevor’s hand flew to his side, but before he could arm himself, he heard it. Trudy’s voice filled the room, his mind, his inner thoughts, everything. He looked up in dazed awe, only to find Trudy’s eyes glowing, piercing into the darkness.

“You are not welcome here” the voice reverberated, “Leave us at once.”

By the time Trevor’s eyes could adjust, the darkness had been banished from the room. He looked around the diner, and everyone was looking at him. They were smiling.

He was finally home.

K: This seemed to just be getting started by the time it ended. It’s got a nice sense of dread behind the small-town pleasantries, though, and I liked the imagery of the final moments.

MN – This is really cool. I am a sucker for angels, demons, judgement type of stuff. You hadn’t noticed? So this is right up my alley. I wish we would have seen a bit more interaction between Trevor and some of the others, instead of just him observing them, because it could have really cemented the sense of place. Some of the word choices and sentence structure get a bit repetitive, but ultimately this comes together wonderfully, and the action feels very substantial which is tough with the non-physical. Really, this one just missed.

Melissa Diamond

First one person, then another, tapped on the rim of their glasses. The diner filled with clinks while voices lowered and hushed. No one needed direction. This was what everyone did at weddings; a cultural practice that they all knew by rote. A practice that would continue until the end of time.

The room went quiet, and the bride stood. She held up her glass of champagne. Her eyes were red-rimmed. She bit her lower lip. “I wanted to say more,” she began, “but I realize there’s not much more I can say. We’ve spent days opening up to each other. Months of words and embraces in preparation. You all know I love you, so all I can say now is thank you. Thank you for agreeing to be here, for humoring us by letting this day happen for me and Joe. Thank you for being our family, friends, and more throughout our lives in this small town.” She smiled down at her groom, tears escaping down her cheeks. “Joe, I’m so amazed to know that we get to accomplish what so few do these days. We get this happily ever after. Til death do us part.”

Aunt Jane sobbed openly. Uncle Hubert put his arms around her and shouted, voice cracking, “Here, here!” in response to the toast.

“To Anna and Joe!” exclaimed the waitress behind the diner counter.

“To happily ever after!” agreed Arnie, the town postman.

Everyone drank. The teenagers got to enjoy their first glass of champagne. The children were filled to the brim with cake and treats. Some asked for more, and no parent turned them down. Babies rested against their parents’ breasts, and no one seemed annoyed when one cried. In fact, they came together to comfort and soothe. On this day, no one could be angry at each other.

The bride’s mother stood up and motioned with her hands. “Let’s link arms.”

The group joined together in the tiny diner. Anna and Joe linked their arms. Anna’s mother took her other arm. Joe’s mother took his. Fathers joined in, and siblings, and then friends joined as they all milled outside the diner, spilling into the quiet street beyond with their arms linked. Even the staff joined. Some guests had started weeping with Aunt Jane, but it really completed the atmosphere for Anna. Weddings always had weepers.

Together, arms linked, the group glanced up at the sky.

“Will we even notice?” Anna whispered to Joe. “Will we feel it?”

He kissed her on the cheek. The sky brightened to a blinding flash.

They never noticed.

K: This is a prime example of a story that doesn’t feel the need to explain the crap out of itself and destroy what it’s building. The emotional complexity was palpable, and you did well to capture as many characters as possible, to give us an emotional link to the event. SILVER

MN – Hot damn. This captures that feeling… that perfect acceptance of the end, of what has been, and will be, and of the love and peace that comes with that. It’s a rare thing. I felt that way watching the last episode of LOST (you be quiet, Kelly!), and this nailed it for me. Such… wow. The emotional depth here, the perfect archetypes recognized as such but not dwelt on too much… You tip it just right with the “til death do us part” but that doesn’t reveal it all. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever read on this site. GOLD


Joey’s Place was a very small diner. But it was a nice diner. It had a long countertop, and booths, and lots of chairs. There was a payphone in the corner that nobody used, but it looked good there on the wall. Best of all, almost everything was bright red and yellow.

Sal cooked breakfast for everyone eating. Lucy was the waitress. Everyone liked Lucy.

“Sal, table one wants a stack of hobo wallets!” she would say. Sal cooked up five pancakes. They were delicious! Sal was Joey’s nephew by the way. Nobody ever saw Joey. Some say that Joey never existed. They say “Sal’s Place” just wouldn’t have sounded as good.

Ted and Ned came to the small diner every day. Mostly they played checkers. They drank coffee too. The coffee wasn’t very good but Ted and Ned didn’t care. They just liked hangin’ around. And Sal and Lucy liked that they hung around.

The other regular customer was Jake. He always ordered three eggs sunny-side up, a chocolate muffin, and a side of ketchup. Jake was kind of strange, but he kept quiet and paid his bill.

One day Sal was cooking pancakes and eggs and grits and Ted was beating Ned in checkers (though Ned usually won) and Jake was dipping his chocolate muffin in ketchup. Everyone was happy. Then out of the sky came a big red fireball!

“Oh no! A meteor!” Lucy screamed. And Sal said, “Okay, one bacon stuffed donut coming up!” But Sal didn’t realize it was a real meteor Lucy saw. And then the meteor hit the diner. Kaboom!

“Joey, time for bed!”

“Okay, Mom, just a couple minutes!” he yelled back, cleaning up his Legos. “I just gotta find Lucy!”

K: We’ve seen this story play out quite a few times at CdL, but I think this one did a particularly good job of capturing the sense of childlike wonder that attempts before have usually failed to do (a neat trick, since this is Turbo and you didn’t get to work for very long on it). The color scheme and pay phone bits all make perfect sense in retrospect, and the ridiculous foods come across as the ideas of a little kid. I like this more the more I think about it. BRONZE

MN – What a fantastic children’s story. Except for the fireball. Also, two in a row with death from above (and the one before that with Death from beyond? Weird.)? The language was perfect for a children’s book, so bravo there. I wish the whole story had been self-contained, because stepping outside certainly put a nice bow on things, but it broke what had been the strength of the story, which was the buy-in you created for this narrator telling a story to kids. SILVER

Zack Sauvageau

“How’re the eggs today, Chuck?”

“Pretty good, Bill.”

The eggs were perfect, as always. Bill made the best poached eggs in town. Of course Bill ran the only restaurant in this town.

“Glad to hear it, pal.”

Chuck was Bill’s most loyal customer. He knew his order by heart. Two eggs, poached. Bacon, extra crispy. Wheat toast with strawberry jelly. Coffee, black. Of course Chuck was the only customer Bill had.

“I am thinking of shutting her down, Chuck.”

“For the day?”

“Naw, for good. I am 76 years old. I been cookin’ eggs at this joint for the last 45 years. Don’t get me wrong now, I appreciate your business, but maybe it’s time for me to ride into the sunset.”

Chuck was puzzled. “Well what the heck ya gonna do then?” They had been sharing breakfast like this for the last 20 years. They were the only two left in town. There wasn’t exactly a lot else he could do.

“I was thinkin’ I would just see where the road takes me. I don’t wanna die standing over my flat top.”

“Huh. I don’t know what I will do without ya, Bill.”

“My truck has plenty of room. You’re welcome to join me. We can just leave this town behind.”

Chuck was seriously considering it. “I am gonna need to sleep on that. Can I answer in the morning?”

“Of course, pal.”

“In case this is the last time I see ya, could you make me my regular? For old time’s sake?”

“Comin’ right up!”

K: This is as small a story as they come, but I’ll be damned if I don’t love this elderly bromance all the same (fun fact: Google Docs doesn’t ding “bromance” as a misspelled word). It’s VERY small-town in feel, even without the descriptions of just how ridiculously tiny it is, and now I want to see the two of them travel the country, see some things they should have seen at a young age, and eat lots more eggs. BRONZE

MN – This is neat. Some of the explanations are bit too on-point, and I wish they had been shown a bit more, or at least gotten at more indirectly, which could have been good fun. I absolutely want to follow these two gents as they journey to the big city, or wherever they might happen to go. I suspect it would be the kind of movie my dad would tell me I should watch, and I’d roll my eyes, but humor him, and even though I know there are some major flaws with the acting and the plot, truth be told, I kind of enjoyed it too. You guys sure are making me happy tonight. BRONZE

Annette Barron

On I-80 Westbound, between Carlin and Battle Mountain, there’s a small cluster of buildings. A Texaco, a Mighty Mart and a diner called Peg’s. The six employees of these three businesses liked to call themselves a town and renamed it after one or the other of them every Monday at lunch.

Therefore, this Monday, the town was named Walkerville, after Jill Walker, a waitress at Peg’s. Jill placed one lemonade, a Doctor Pepper, a Sprite and three Diet Cokes on the table. Peg didn’t pull in enough business to provide lunch for the little group, but she did generously provide drinks every day and the orders never varied.

Lunches were retrieved from Peg’s ancient Fridgidaire and the group companionably munched their sandwiches in silence. No one ever bothered to lock up for lunch as they had a great view of all three buildings and could certainly see any potential customers in plenty of time.

So when the bell over the diner door chimed, all six of them jumped a country mile. Jill actually shrieked and then giggled in embarrassment. Bud whipped around to look out the window, but there were no new vehicles in any of the parking lots. Peg hurried to the front, but stopped at the entryway to the dining area, hand to her throat, and inhaled sharply. The rest of her lunchmates, hurried to join her, chairs flung over with a sharp crack.

Just inside the diner door stood a barefoot man, at least 6’4”, wearing white robes with flowing brown hair. He smiled beatifically at them, holding his hands toward them.

“He’s got holes in his palms,” Jill hissed under her breath.

Maryanne dropped to her knees and burst into tears. Bud stepped around her and stood next to Peg, who appeared frozen in place. The man waited patiently.

Finally, “Uh, what can I do for you?” Peg’s voice was firm, though her face had paled.

“Children.” His voice was warm and smooth, caramel over ice cream. “Everything is changed now. I have come.”

“It’s the second coming,” Maryanne sobbed.

“Are you Jesus?” Jill warbled.

“I am Jesus,” he affirmed. “This planet now belongs to me. Shall you tell your leaders?” He nodded reassuringly.

“They’ll never believe us,” Bud inserted. “We don’t know any leaders.”

“You should probably go tell them yourself,” Peg said practically. Her voice had steadied even though her clasped hands still shook.

“Where shall I go to tell the leaders?” The smile on his face didn’t change.

“Washington, D.C.,” Bud answered, “You should definitely go see the President of the United States. He’s at the White House.”

Jesus stepped backwards through the open door. “Thank you children. Have you readied yourselves for my coming?”

Maryanne fell prostrate to the floor. “I’m a sinner, Lord! Save me Jesus! Don’t burn me up!” Snot bubbled in her nose, which she ignored.

Jesus nodded. “We shall see.” He turned and walked toward the side of the building.

There was a low humming and a slight vibration. Bud ran out the door and around the building, but the Visitor was gone. The air smelled like ozone.

Puzzled Bud searched the desert sky . . . nothing.

K: This is certainly the most extreme attack on the prompt. It approaches a sort of absurdity while remaining more dramatic than comedic, which is an interesting dynamic. The conversation leaves some to be desired – I wish they’d ask more questions and not let Jesus go so quickly – but all the same, it’s a great opening with a lot of small-town touches leading into a bizarre ending.

MN – This is another one that’s a hoot. I kept anticipating it getting bigger, but the jokes just sort of kept switching direction instead of building on top of themselves. I could tell you it needed a bit more of an ending, and the beginning sets things up nicely but probably needed an edit, but you already know those things I suspect. Jesus nodding to them as he tells them to tell their leaders is hilarious.

Brendan Bonham

A door chime chirped, the cook didn’t even turn around.
“Bill. The same.”
Bill cracked two eggs. They sizzled on the hot griddle. He reached left for the toast, brushed the two dry slices with butter, set them next to the eggs and turned around.
“Anyone been around, Bill?
The cook grimaced, “Martha, Tim, sheriff swung by for a cup. Few Air Force boys.”
“Slow, huh? “
“S’pose. Saw one of them new Corvettes drive by. Cherry red, a real beaut.”
“Yer kiddin,” Sonny smiled wide-eyed, “you sure it was a ’63?”
“Sure as shit.”
“I’ll be. What you think one’a them’s doin’ kickin ‘round Pearce?”
Bill split a wry smile, “s’pose one’a them professors from Tucson just headed through. Way he was drivin’, wasn’t lookin’ to sight see.”
Bill turned around to tend to the eggs. He moved them to a cooler part of the grill and flipped his toast. An Air Force Jeep pulled into the lot.
“More’a the boys,” Bill nodded.
Sonny looked over his shoulder and smirked at the scrawniness of the duo exiting. He looked back at Bill.
“Don’t make ‘em like they used to.”
The two Air Force men walked in the door. The dark-haired one spoke.
“Gentlemen, I’m Major Opson,” he looked both of them in the eye, “this is First Lieutenant Yawed, we need a moment of your time.”
Bill opened, “Shoot, son.”
“You’re a cook, sir?”
“Since I bought this place, sure,” Bill chuckled.
Opson looked around the room, “and what kind of stock do you keep?”
“Stock, huh?”
“Food. Rations. Eggs, milk, coffee. What do you keep here?”
“Uh…” Bill was taken aback, “few days’ worth eggs, plenty of meat in the freezer out back. More freeze-dried coffee than you can shake a stick at.”
“Good,” Opson maintained eye contact, “we’re going to need it, all of it.”
Sonny stood up with his hands on the counter. The smell of burnt toast filled the air.
“Now what in the hell is this about, exactly?”
“You two” Opson glanced at Yawed, “we’re going to need a cook. Will you come with us?”
“We at risk’a dyin’?” Sonny asked.
“If you stay here, yes,” Opson deadpanned.


Opson pulled up to a dozen armed guards at attention around a military gate, Yawed sitting next to him, Bill and Sonny in the back seat. In front of them, an opening to a mine. Behind them, a truck full of the diner’s supplies idled.
Opson presented his identification.
“Who are these two?” a guard asked.
“A cook,” Opson looked at Sonny, “and his understudy.”
The gate lifted and they drove forward.
“Cubans,” Sonny looked at Bill, “they launched on Florida?”
“Never trust a goddamn Commie.”
The Jeep pulled into the mine.
“Well,” Sonny sighed, “at least we fired back.”

K: I don’t think we need the bit after the break; it doesn’t do much to enhance what we already know. The story we got, though, was well-executed. The Air Force hints were dropped enough so I knew where this was going, and this felt a little like the opening of Stephen King’s The Stand with the military being very coy with the general populace about a huge threat. I also think it’s neat that we’ve had two stories about a guy named Bill making eggs during his last day at work.

MN – I’m trying to decide if you did enough to set up this reveal or not. Setting the date was smart, and some military (but it didn’t quite imply active duty…) but that was all that was there for it… I think it needed something just a bit more, to put us in the proper Cold War mindset. Good use of dialogue, all very believable, and a nice job showing. The diner characters could have used a bit more individualization, which might have helped the impact of what they were losing. BRONZE

Brian David

Marcy stared out the window, past the gravel parking lot. She looked lazily at the cornrows that lined the highway, a single light post shining on the occasional car. She crossed her hands over her stomach.

“Can I get you something, honey? A coffee?”

Marcy waved her hands. “No, thanks, Jeanie. I’m just waiting.”

The waitress raised her eyebrows. “No coffee? Well, I guess I’ve seen everything.”

Marcy smirked as the waitress walked away. Looking at the phone sitting on the formica tabletop, Marcy frowned. Marcy thought she noticed something streaking across the sky, long and thin. She turned her head but all she saw was stars.
* * *

“It’s been three hours, honey. Are you sure you don’t want some coffee?”

Marcy rubbed her belly.

“You know what? Sure, I’ll take a cup.”

The waitress smiled. “That’s my girl. I’ll be right back.”

Several more lines streaked across the horizon. Marcy leaned on her hands and studied the night sky.

“Hey, Jeanie.”

The waitress turned around.

“Did you know there was going to a meteor shower tonight?”

Jeanie shrugged her shoulders.

“Course I did. Didn’t you see it on the news?”

Marcy blushed.

“Sure, Jeannie. Yeah, I saw it on the news.”

* * *

The horizon glowed a crimson red. The night sky was covered in white lines. Marcy winced as several fire trucks screamed down the highway. She felt a hand on her shoulder.

“You haven’t touched your coffee, honey.”

Marcy turned around and looked at Jeanie, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Do you know how long we’ve been trying?” Marcy said, lips curling as she rubbed her belly. “Do you know how long? It’s happened, and all I want to do is tell him. What’s going on, Jeannie? Where is he? ”

Jeannie wrapped her arms tightly around the young woman.

“I don’t know, honey.”

Jeannie looked through the diner window and watched as the white lines streaked across the sky.

K: Why the f*&k is this happening on a week where I only have five medals to give out? I’m practically begging for a bad story or two at this point. I love the dichotomy of the grounded, everyday problem of conception with what’s happening outside. The light conversation belies the enormous stakes the world is facing; I’m always begging for some more (or ANY, really) subtext, and this was satisfying. SILVER

MN – This one definitely punched into high gear the emotional impact. I love stories where there’s something big! going on, but all we really care about is the “little” thing close by. A lot of times we’re actually more interested in the big thing, so to have a story where the little thing isn’t overshadowed is quite an accomplishment. I think it would have been nice if we knew a tiny bit more about “him” – at least a name, something for us to use to speculate. The growth in the scenes makes a real nice structure. SILVER

Joseph Rakstad

Jeffy sat in a booth reading All the Weyrs of Pern when Eli and Gina came up to his booth and sat across from him. “So, what’s up little bro?” asked Gina.
Jeffy leaned in close to the others and motioned for them to follow suit. “Look, I know I sound crazy, but I had a dream last night, and it told me to be here at 2:30 in the afternoon…”
“Really, dude? You brought us here because of a stupid dream?”
“I have better things to Jeffy, mom needs help with the laundry and dad…”
“Look, you have to trust me. This wasn’t an ordinary dream. This was different. There was this … light… I don’t know how to describe it. It felt more real than anything I’ve ever felt before. I think… no, I KNOW that I need to be here at 2:30 today. The light told me to bring friends, people I trusted. That’s why I brought you.”
Gina and Eli exchanged glances and rolled their eyes in response. They sat back in their seats, bored and tired of Jeffy’s antics. Meanwhile, Jeffy looked anxiously out the window toward the north, waiting to see what his dream might mean. When he wasn’t looking outside, he was checking the clock. 2:28.
While Jeffy glanced at the clock, taking a bite of cheeseburger, Eli stared out the window, looking south, when he saw a distant object in the sky. It was like a star shining bright in the day. Eli elbowed Gina and she looked where Eli pointed, jaw falling as the object got closer. Jeffy caught on and bolted out of his seat and outside toward the object. “Wait!” Yelled Gina and Eli together as they scrambled to join Jeffy outside.
A small meteorite-ish type thing landed in the field across the street, about a half a mile away. Jeffy ran in a sprint toward it. Gina and Eli struggled to keep up.
Eli and Gina slowed to a walk. They saw Jeffy walk into the cloud of dust toward the object. “I know why the light chose me!” Jeffy exclaimed. The air started to clear, and the two could see Jeffy on the ground next to the meteorite, but it had a distinct shape to it. They weren’t quite sure what to make of it. Before they even could ask the question, Jeffy spoke, “Guys…. it’s a real, live, actual dragon!”

K: This has all the hallmarks of a children’s story, and I would have liked to see that tone be utilized more, or to have this skew even harder toward the darkness. I like this plot quite a bit, but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about any of it; I think this is a pretty strong story in other weeks, but this week, we have to ask a lot.

MN – I think this story had a lot of potential, but it feels like it’s probably aiming for something much bigger – like this is the first scene (or maybe 2nd or 3rd scene) of a book – and it doesn’t quite stand on its own. We know about Jeffy a bit, but why both Gina and Eli? You could probably just pick one, since they aren’t differentiated here? I’d like to know where this goes, and why Jeffy got picked, etc. The fact that this raises questions is good. The fact that they are unanswered is sad.

erik sunshine

In the back of the dusty train car diner, an oasis of artificial light under the flickering stars, Jerry made up his mind under flickering fluorescent tubes.

“I’mma say something,” he said to no one, vaguely hoping something dissuade him. He looked around hopefully, theatrically, then smiled at himself a little. Muttering, he pushed through the greasy swing door to the front.

In the squat space behind the counter, Al (Alice), the omnipresent waitress for the last eon of this town, had her back to him rolling silverware.

Jerry waited a moment, swallowed, and softly asked, “Al?”.

She’d heard the swing door; no one else was there. She still jumped a little.

“Oh, Jerry,” she managed without turning around. “You startled me a little.”

He paused, then summoned the courage and jumped off his mental cliff.

“Look, Al, Janey wanted me to sell that old pop-up camper. Why don’t you take it? You can hitch it up to your truck.” Even though she hadn’t yet turned around, he still motioned with his head at an old beige Isuzu in the parking lot only in slightly better shape than the diner.

“Why, that’s awful kind, Jerry, but why would I need that? I’ve got no need to go anywhere.”

The spotty forks and knifes continued clinking. The shuffle of the napkins in burgundy adhesive strips had a factory line like precision to them. The quiet murmur from the ancient Zenith in the corner filled out the rest of the din.

“Al, come on…” Jerry said baldly.

Alice slowly turned, revealing blotch of strange lavender; blacks and blues with a veneer of inexpensive concealer.

Just as plainly, and hopelessly, she replied, “Come on, Jerry, I’ve really got no way to go anywhere. You know that. That truck wouldn’t make the interstate, not that I could pay for much more gas than that.”

Jerry sighed, and reached for an old leather wallet, fat and bloated with old value cards and receipts.

Alice immediately protested. “Jerr—“ she managed, when the swing door in the front of the diner shot open softly, but firm.

Alice’s words of protest, and Jerry’s swift rebuttal both caused their mouths to hang open as a young looking, lithe wisp of a creature stood before them. She was tall, and had long, auburn hair tied up in strange, swirling braids.

She eyed them curiously through gray eyes surrounded by smooth, grayish skin. She blinked forcefully twice, then motioned at the old TV in the corner. Her eyebrows shot up in a quizzical manner.

Jerry collected himself first.

“Uhhh, sure,” he said.

The beautiful young thing flitted to the set, eyes darting over it. She changed the function to UHF, clicked the bottom wheel over to 23, and started shifting the inner tuner like a safe cracker.

She smiled and backed up, watching the static nervously. Her eyes stopped, focused, and light up like fire. She did a small little dance, making strange, hooting, happy noise in front of a flabbergasted Jerry and Alice.

She fumbled at her pants, and after several attempts at navigating her pockets, she indifferently tossed a sizable wad of American currency on the counter, and bounded out the door.

The two remaining occupants stared after her as the television hissed away in the corner. The static, partial remnants of the radiation at the beginning of the time. The roar of the universe, hissing away at all times. Indistinguishable from the background. The perfect place to send a message.

K: Well, so much for ending with a bad story to make this easier. I like the fact that you gave us just a glimpse of the alien, and didn’t belabor the point and take us out of the action, but still got the point across. I like that the moment was just enough to suggest intent but also cryptic enough to leave a sense of fear in us (and in the characters). As with a lot of the best stories here, I want more. GOLD

MN – What a strange, fun, colorful, little story we just saw. That right turn comes a bit suddenly, as we care very much about Al and Jerry and then we pretty much forget all about them when it really comes down to it. A few of the typos and recycled word choices here break up the pace in unfortunate ways, and in what might be my favorite week ever here, that’s a bit too much.


I need a cigarette, gang. What a week. I like that this was so hotly contested. I don’t like that Novak keeps ruining things for people who get golds from me, but Novak is a dick, and that’s what he does.

Our two Immuniteers have almost certainly been to a diner together:

Melissa Diamond
Brian David

There were some stories I cannot believe I couldn’t give medals. Ideally I would have doled out four golds and probably three silvers? Or so? However you slice it, this was a joy at the end of a long day, before an even longer one (tomorrow will be 22 hours for me doing work-related things…on my birthday, even!). Your votes are due tomorrow night at 9pm Central. I WILL be walking the Relay for Life, and I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to post from the ballpark where it’s happening, but I’ll try.

Cheers, Survivors.