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One Shot · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
A Journey in the Dark
“Is it still far away?”
“You know the joke, eh?”
“What joke?”
“‘Is America still far away?’ a boy asks his mother. ‘Shut up and swim!’ she responds.”
“That's not even funny!”
“Yes it is. You just have a lame sense of humour.”
“Curious, I’d say the same of you.”
“Cultural difference, dear. I was born in England. We know what humour is. As a matter of fact, we invented the concept.”
“Come on, quit showing off! We both come from the same skid row. Why do you always have to lord over anyone as if you were of royal ascent? ‘I was born in England’, ‘I'm an intellectual’, all that bullshit. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you were raised in the gutter like all the others.”
“And why don't you shut up and swim?”
“It stinks here. Do you think we are in a sewer?”
“I hope not. I don't want to end up in a crocodile stomach.”
“How so?”
“You don't know there are crocodiles in the sewerage?”
“Oh bitch please! You expect me to eat that up?”
“I swear to you it's true. Hundred percent.”
"Are there also giant spiders in the sewerage?”
“What you mean giant spiders?”
“Like… that big.”
“Pffft… Don't be ridiculous. But why do you ask?”
“Because I just saw one right behind you.”
“Haha! Gotcha!”
“That's not funny!”
“Yes it is. You have a lame sense of humour.”
“You know what? Screw you!”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. But what? This is tedious. I begin to feel really fed up.”
“We're not even halfway. Well I think.”
“It was such a bright idea to go caving without headlamps. ‘It will add spice and thrill to the overall experience’. Spice my arse! Now we're lost. I'll never see mum again!”
“Oh, you're such a negative nancy. We can't get lost, there's only one way down.”
“Actually it's more up than down it seems.”
“Stop nitpicking would you? Who cares if it's down or up as long as we find it.”
“Find what?”
“Well… It.”
“What's ‘it’?”
“Wonderful! Now is a fine time to own up you've no idea what we're supposed to look for. I wonder how are we supposed to find something in that pitch black tunnel anyw—Ouch!”
"What is it?”
“I banged my head against something! Fuck!”
“You head is so hollow it should've rung when you hit it. I heard zilch.”
“Ha ha mister smart-aleck. It's here. Hey can you feel it now?”
“Yeah. Oh my god it's huge!”
“So what do we do now?”
“I'm not sure but I think we're supposed to get inside.”
“And how? We stand up, knock and expect someone to open the door?”
“So hilarious you moron!”
“You have a better plan, mister egghead? Yell the password?”
“Goddammit! Could you just knock it off for this once and let me think? THINK. You know that verb, yeah?”
“Haha! Mister mastermind has forgotten the user's manual. Eh? What's that?”
“What have you found?”
“It feels like a sort of lever. What if I pull—”
“Fuck! I can't believe it! That nitwit got in!”

“Look! The test's positive. It's wonderful!”
“What? Really? But, I mean, we fucked just once before I left for Florida.”
“Well didn't you know you're an awesome stud!”
“Err… Thanks!”
“And I'm sure it's gonna be a genius!”
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#1 ·
· · >>Monokeras
Well. That ending.

Dialogue-only is an uncommon choice, and one that I'm not entirely sure was necessary - you only ended at 563 words, so you had plenty of room to throw in the occasional bit of narration, and it should have been possible to add without spoiling the end.

Punctuation might seem an odd thing to complain about in a dialogue-only story, but it seems to me that you're missing a number of commas. None that really took me out of the story, but it's a thing to be aware of.

Despite those complaints, I thought this was an entertaining little story. The interaction between the two characters in the first section was well done, and the ending does a good job of recontextualizing what came before.
#2 · 3
· · >>Monokeras

I wasn't sure how I felt about this until I reached the end, and then… it worked. The all dialogue trick is used to good effect here, I think, because it obscures the surroundings without feeling to cheaty. The ridiculousness of the conversation fits with the ridiculous premise. This doesn't feel super original, but it got a snicker out of me, and I'm happy with that.

Oh, and good job fitting the story to the word limit. It's not overly ambitious, but it doesn't feel too long or too short, either.
#3 ·
· · >>TitaniumDragon >>Monokeras
Amusing. Agreed with the others on the effectiveness of the twist.

The one thing that bugged me was that I had a hard time telling the two voices apart. For all that some of the humor rested on 'baby is a genius'/'dumb sperm winning' juxtaposition, I never perceived why one might be smarter than the other, besides self-proclamation (which is dubious at best).
#4 · 1
· · >>Monokeras
The biggest problem here is, as >>Ratlab noted, the lack of a strong sense of differentiation between the voices.

I think that it would be best if the final scene wasn't dialogue only, to give it more contrast with the dialogue-only nature of the rest of the piece. I think it would still be able to deliver the punchline effectively, though you might have to rearrange it a bit.

Also, the sewer joke is retroactively made much funnier by the end of the piece.
#5 ·
· · >>Monokeras
I'll be with the others on this one. It was a good laugh, I didn't expect the ending.
Rereading it knowing the ending also got me a good laugh.
So good job.

I'll also echo the fact that maybe you should have made the two voices more different. It was a bit difficult in the middle of the story to remember who was talking.
#6 ·
· · >>Monokeras
With Ratlab on distinctiveness. I just kind of gave up on telling them apart by the end. Still, nice reveal at the end, and this is only the second fic this round to actually get me to laugh.
#7 ·
· · >>Monokeras
Hm. Very gimmick reliant, and forces a reread. I can't really knock too many points for that in mini rounds though. I'm with Ratlab on distinctiveness, and TitaniumDragon on how the end could be improved.

This is certainly the best of the dialogue-only entries this round. Difficult for me to evaluate beyond that, because its humor misses my personal tastes. The jokes are funny, ish, but also put me off a bit on the whole. Like, yeah, the ending recontextualizes it and you go back and find all the jokes, but that also means all the jokes rely on "LOL THEY ARE ACTUALLY SPERM!" for their humor.

Mid-tier-ish for me, in the end, no really strong feelings either way. Thanks for writing!
#8 ·
· · >>Monokeras
The punchline here didn't really work for me, largely because I feel that, while several of the jokes are funnier in retrospect, several are also just... bizzare. Basically I find the front half of the story is played too straight to really buy the eventual punchline.

Dialogue beats are nice and there is some fun banter, but yeah, I also agree that the voices are relatively indistinct, which is a shame in a pure dialogue piece.
#9 ·
>>Cold in Gardez

Thanks all for commenting. More thanks to the majority of you who liked this little skit. Really, I wasn’t expecting it to final. So ❤️.

Most of all, I’m especially chuffed no one found the dialogue weird or off. It’s very important to me to be able to pull off “real sounding” dialogues in a language I don’t get to speak very frequently. So ❤️❤️.

I agree it was easy to get confused over who spoke to whom. My idea was to use, like Horizon had done before, tags to alternate between left and right justification. But it turned out to be an ordeal: on an iPhone – I was in vacation when I wrote this piece and had not carried my computer over with me – copy/paste ergonomics is horrible, so I gave up after five lines and reverted to flat formatting, knowing some of you would get confused. I apologise for this.

TD, well noted. It's true I could’ve written the second scene “normally” to make it a better foil to the first one.

As a final note, this and the more shoddy Atlantis 2050 were both part of an experiment: writing a dialogue-only piece, and a no-dialogue one in the same round.

Pretty pleased with the result. See you next round! ❤️💜💚