Some really great comments here (and my to-read list is quickly filling up, which is an added bonus).
Bonniebrea, I think that motivation is important in writing a realistic story, and motivation is one of the things that can easily be dismissed when writing this kind of structured, device driven story. It's so easy just to let the rules of the game dictate the flow of the story, and that, as you say, just leaves the reader scratching their heads in the end. But it's not a challenge that's impossible to overcome, and it can be kind of fun to write how these characters react to sometimes outlandish situations.
Litfan, another story I'd recommend is one by Greygoose, called, "We're all friends here, right?" (http://www.literotica.com/stories/me...ge=submissions
) It's been years since I've read it, but like the Txtalltales one, it resonated with me. And I'd be remiss to put a plug for my latest book, All In (http://www.kennywriter.com/books/all...er-done-right/
), although it's not free.
I'll post a link to the blog entry when I can carve out some time to actually write it. Thanks for the fuel though, guys!