Title: Judgment Day
Subtext: Gum, germs and steel.
Date: 04 Feb 16 (Thursday in the AM)
Time: Less than a minute
Replies: 18
Revisions: 9
Publicity: Superfeed
Visual: View

The cranial appendage of the Basilica toppled, revealing steel beams. When I set to step back, I realized I was standing in gum. Old-school Bazooka — vulcanized starch dyed pink, dusted with powdered sugar, and not as often found where I lived as here.

I used to care about stepping in gum, but light was pouring from every seam in the universe, and for an instant I could see the germs festering in the hot pink gooey stretch of sweet spit communing with me in the cosmos. We were trapped in a prism, a prism of light — just a reflection of a reflection of a reflection of a reflection of a reflection.


Elk » Authorship
Elk » 11:43 AM 27 Mar 18
Elk » 10:37 PM 06 Feb 16
Elk » 2:37 PM 04 Feb 16
Elk » 1:16 PM 04 Feb 16
Elk » 10:54 AM 04 Feb 16
Elk » 10:51 AM 04 Feb 16
Elk » 10:44 AM 04 Feb 16
Elk » 10:43 AM 04 Feb 16

The Thread (18)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. New tweaks and twists – including attachment of the inspiring audio vignette. Still in flux, perhaps until at least two animals give it an all-clear.

  2. First paragraph, last sentence: change “than here” to “as here.”

    Having trouble discerning what happens and why in this one. Great images and reflections (get it?) but the ambiguity is throwing me off. More plot?

  3. Thought about this one more – ubiquitous light of God, everything as religion. Makes sense in that context. More development might let more people into this particular steeple.

  4. There is no plot to a vignette. You enter a world for thirty seconds, not thirty years.

    This is not a short story, or even a shorter story. It’s a scene that fades into oblivion at its edges — precisely what a vignette is/does.

    The title is Judgment Day. There are “apocalypse” and “South America” tags. A steeple falls, the narrator steps in gum, light pours in, and there’s a moment of insight. That’s what’s going on. It’s right there on the screen in letters.

    We know no before or after. We know no up or down, or over or under, or beginning or end. We know what’s here. Visualize it and let your mind go.

    That’s why I write in Rooster Land — to emphasize the negative space and to stimulate the reader to its own thoughts. My hope is always that I’ll get via reply some of what others have envisioned filling in around what I’ve provided.

  5. Even a vignette should suggest. I’m not seeing suggestion of what this character is doing there. It can’t be oblivian, vignette, oblivian. No one will understand. It becomes nonsense.

  6. The way this is written, the cranial appendage falls as the narrator is looking at it. Is that what you want us to see or are you avoiding the past perfect?

  7. Also, and I’ve said this before, don’t count on your tags. The story needs to stand alone.

  8. Plot is everywhere if you choose to see it.

  9. Added the inspiring visual vignette, as well.

  10. This reminds me of the first couple pages of Gravity’s Rainbow (“A screaming comes across the sky…”), where the information comes at me in sharp bursts and has to do with what emerges in the midst of destruction. The style of the writing certainly goes with how the narrator perceives what’s going on.

  11. Quite right, @myna.

  12. I’m alright with the excerpted-from-presumably-some-plot approach to vignettes. Nothing wrong with some impressionastic splashes here and there, and this one does a nice job of it.

    One nit – when I read “vulcanized” I picture the gum as old and fossilized on the sidewalk, not “gooey” as later described.

  13. An excerpt from a plot I’m not thrilled with. A moment that explains itself while encapsulating a plot is great. This feels like it’s trying to be the latter but ends up being the former. There’s too little context, which might be integrated nonintrusively.

    For example, we might have any indication that this part of the building falls before this character’s eyes (manifested through reaction – right now there is none). After witnessing what I would assume is a fairly chaotic event, the character only “set[s] to step back.” Wouldn’t the character react? The actual situation the character is in would govern the reaction – and this is the crux of the matter. I don’t have any indication of what the situation is.

  14. This scene happens in an instant. The only reaction documented is the instinctual step back and the momentary realization of gum, germs and steel. The freak out, if there is one, would follow this very brief scene — though, given the apocalyptic nature of this event, all of what you might expect likely does not apply or occur.

    (Also want to point out there’s a subtle connection between the subtext, the title, and the South America tag, if anyone’s playing along at home.)

  15. Rabbit — the gum isn’t vulcanized on the street, the starch was vulcanized to make the rubbery Bazooka we all know and love, which is now a hot mess underfoot. Does that quench your query?

  16. Yes, the scene happens in an instant, but it isn’t the only instant in even this universe. This character has been and will be elsewhere. I’m not asking you to write a novel or even a short short story, but to include a contextual clue or two as to what is happening beyond the present moment. It reads to me as so locked into the present that it excludes the past and future.

    To put it more simply, it needs context.

  17. Gum, I don’t believe, goes through a vulcanization process. It would be impossible to chew.

  18. Precisely what I sought to achieve — locked in the present so as to exclude past and future. Sounds the perfect definition of apocalypse to me.

    Vulcanized is a half-humorous approximation of what a bitch it is to initially chew down a square, ridged piece of Bazooka.

New Reply

Rooster Land
Verses & Vignettes &c.


It has been 2028 days since Rooster Land congealed online.

Nota Bene

"Writing is a little door. Some fantasies, like big pieces of furniture, won't come through." – Susan Sontag