Weekly Challenge #596 – PICK TWO: Washing, Hope, Downward, Nix, Lie, Thrive, Joy, Rhapsody

Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com.

This is the Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.

We’ve got stories by:

Breakfast

GINGER

How much does a mass transit pass cost these days? The last time I took a subway train from downtown Montreal to the suburb of LaSalle was December 2002. Back then, a monthly transit pass was about $60.— just pay the man, show your card, and you would have no trouble getting from A to Z with very few delays. The seats were formed plastic, not mahogany, and the fluorescent lighting illuminated human flesh with ghostly transparency. Usually I would drink sweetened hibiscus herbal tea from a Mason jar during commutes. One summer, a fellow passenger sitting opposite to me was noted to be wearing cut offs as well as running shoes. He looked tired, old and slumped – this could be confirmed without candling as his mast appendages were hanging freely. Was that worth the price of admission?

It was not really a math problem. Grades 8, 3 and 2 each had triplets. Grades 1, 2 and 4 had two sets of twins. Double cousins and extended families complicated the roster with similar-looking namesakes. Pretty soon, attendance could not be gauged. One never really knew for sure who was present or who was absent. No one would name trouble makers. Teachers peered hopelessly into a sea of multiples. Large eyes leered imperviously back and lied about who was who and what was what or stonewalled. The school registrar faced administrative issues caused by multiple birth households head on. They nixed free enrolment to cover “administrative costs”… each child is now radio-tagged, weighed-in and marked for study on the first day of school.

RICHARD

#1 -The storm

We boarded up the windows, tied down everything we could, sealed ourselves indoors, and waited.

The storm was coming, washing away everything in its path. We had little hope that we stood any chance – if we were lucky, we might not die!

Those with any sense had evacuated, but we were pioneers, made of sterner stuff – although others thought us stubborn idiots. Maybe they were right.

We braced ourselves for the worst as the first methane clouds appeared, whilst joking about the good old days on earth, whose hurricanes were a breeze compared to Jupiter’s advancing Great Storm.

#2 – Bargain?

He was hard to ignore. His hand on my arm gently guiding me through his store, trying to sell me every piece we passed.

I was drawn to a painted mask – then, he was pressing it into my hands. “Mahogany! I carved it myself. Very hard.”

He had me, and he knew it. I asked him, how much.

He wrote a figure – a crazy price, but the game was on – I made a crazy offer back; and we haggled.

Now hanging on my wall, I’ll never know if I got a bargain.

But it was worth it!

JEFFREY

One As Nuts as the Other
by Jeffrey Fischer

When the Southern History Society heard that up north they were tearing down statues of Confederate figures such as Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis and renaming roads and schools named after them, the Society agreed that, if the Yankees could try to erase southern history, they could try to do the same to the north. Any Confederate figure associated with Mr. Lincoln would go, including anything commemorating Grant or, cursed be his name, Sherman.

Sadly, all they could find were tributes to Cary Grant and the Sherman who served with Mr. Peabody in his Wayback Machine. Still, the Society eradicated every one of the tributes. So there!

CHARLIE

9-24-17PICK TWO: Funk, Double-jointed, Ulcer, Mast, Mahogany, Candlestick, Brush, Sherman

I have been in a funk for months. Dating a double-jointed, ulcer afflicted lady did not keep my main mast of straight-grained, mahogany timber upright. A younger woman would keep my candlestick prominent.
Double jointed women have a collagen abnormality and a heightened flight response.

Luckily, I had a brush with Holly Sherman while driving through town this morning. I spotted her sitting on a bench awaiting the school bus. Underage, but she was the answer to my prayers. I couldn’t get the launch of the frigate off my mind. It was like having a stolen chicken in my pants.

2.

9-24-17PICK TWO: Washing, Hope, Downward, Nix, Lie, Thrive, Joy, Rhapsody.

Washing dishes for the Chinese Restaurant gave me no hope at all. I was on another downward spiral. I was told to nix the idea of opening my own, on-line business. I thought I had enough talent to do freelance writing, but I was telling myself a big lie. There was no way I could thrive, and I would find no joy in creating a rhapsody of extravagant samples in order to place ads for my business.

The only semblance of a writing portfolio I had was my pitiful collection of 100 word stories produced weekly for a web site.

TOM

Bend his thumb clear back onto his wrist

A lot of people don’t know this but Sherman was double-jointed. Not the kid with Mr. Peabody, that general dude who did that March to the sea. From November 15 until December 21, 1864, General William T. Sherman led some 60,000 soldiers on a 285-mile march from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. Union forces called it the Savannah Campaign. On his orders railroad tracks were ripped up, heated up white hot and wristed into bows. Many a plantation had generations old trees wrapped in Sherman’s neckties. After the war Sherman became one of the first trusties of the University of California

JON

Well, first: funk is a strong offensive smell. Second, it is a state of depression. As a verb it means to avoid a thing out of fear. How did that good old Dutch word get associated with cool, rhythmic dance music?

You’d might as well talk about a double-jointed candlestick or describe Sherman’s march as annoying like an ulcer. It is the mahogany mast of semantic meaning that holds up the sail of language and propels our conversation forward.

After music became funky, programmers felt empowered to brush aside all meaning in assigning new meanings to established words.

Danged Arbalistic!

SERENDIPITY

Only a true artist can create an authentic death mask. One skilled with brush and palette, scalpel, and blade.

Capturing the essence of the departed is a rare skill. You do not merely render the appearance, as in a painting; it must evoke their spirit and soul, capturing the persona, not just the person.

My methods are slightly unorthodox…

I start with a living subject, assisting them in their transition to death: It’s key to capturing that final, essential moment.

Then, like any good artist, I try to get under their skin.

What good is a mask, if never worn?

LIZZIE

Candlestick and Brush sat side by side. They looked quite innocent, I must admit. However, the mess in the kitchen was the proof that they had been busy all night. As I stood there, my index finger pointing at them, their big round eyes staring at me, I couldn’t help wondering how they had managed to drag a whole cabbage from inside the fridge onto the counter. When I finished admonishing them, they simply stood up and walked away, as if nothing had happened, their tails swaying in the air. I’m sure they were thinking “the slave will clean it”.

TURA

Double-jointed; Mahogany
———
“I say! Look at this! It’s an 1892 Packeinton with the double-jointed synchronising camshaft! The mahogany and gilt brass fittings are rather a decadent touch, but the arrangement of the compensating tandem brackets on the standing frame would make a Swiss watchmaker jealous.”

“It just looks like a steam engine to me. In a steam engine museum. Where they store steam engines.”

“Have you no romance? This drew carriages that crowned heads of Europe travelled in!”

“I thought you were an anarcholibertarian, or something like that. Now you’re impressed by royalty?”

“Oh, that’s just politics. This is a STEAM ENGINE!”

NORVAL JOE

Though the sound of Astrah’s laugher filled Axel with joy, his hope for success spiralled downward, with the blush of embarrassment washing over his face.
“What makes you think we have sales jobs here?” Astrah asked.
Axel hoped she wouldn’t see through his lie. “A friend told me you might need to move some delicate materials.”
Her golden eyes were a rhapsody when she smiled. Still, she shook her head, “We’re recycling contractors. I hate to nix your enthusiasm. While dealers in contraband may thrive in some places on the Galactic Battle Base, this facility is not one of them.”

LAIEANNA

My words flashed upon walls I walked passed, compelling me to stop,
read, and remember before moving on.

“You are my love,” I had said to my wife three hours before banging another.

“Your money’s in good hands,” I had said pointing at doctored reports
while pocketing their money for my personal gain.

“I won’t hurt you,” I had said as I tightened the cord around her neck
and watched the light leave her eyes.

There were many more. Until I was descending, there were never any
consequences. Now I wondered just how far down in hell I would go.

DUANE

Spring Rain

Looking out the window I saw her hanging clothes on the line. The wind blew her hair and it swirled over her face. She began to smile. Suddenly a cool rain started to fall. The laundry was getting wet and still she smiled. She began to dance. The pouring rain soaked her hair and her clothes and she still she danced. She began to laugh. Dancing and laughing in the spring rain.

When winter has passed and everything awakens with new life, I think of her. Her dancing and laughing around the clothesline. I see her in the spring rain.

PLANET Z

“hope is a lie”
written in blood
over the bed
we followed the trail
of blood
to the bathroom door
turning the knob
opening the door
she was in the tub
the mayor’s daughter
dead
arm draped over the side
what a mess
my partner took out a knife
and stabbed her in the heart
wiping down the handle
“we can’t let it look like suicide”
he called a cleanup crew
offered a hundred bucks
they wanted two hundred
deal
they’d get rid of the words on the wall
total discretion
we’ll get our stories straight
and call it in

The next weekly challenge topic is COOK

Hi there. This is Laurence Simon of the 100 Word Stories Podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com.

The topic of the next 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge is COOK.

Want to give it a try?

Write an email to isfullofcrap (at) gmail.com with the subject line of WEEKLY CHALLENGE.

Include the following in your email:

– The text of your 100 word story on the topic.
– Your site’s URL, if you have a site and aren’t ashamed to share it.
– A topic for an upcoming Weekly Challenge.
– And a recording of your story. (Be sure to introduce yourself to the audience.)

If you hate the sound of your voice or can’t record your story for some reason or another, that’s your problem. Deal with it.

Everything’s due by Sunday morning when I put the episode together. However, if you’re running late, I can put your story up on the feed in a separate post.

Good luck, and as always… keep it brief.

1/1 Key
1/8 Fun
1/15 Party
1/22 Bus
1/29 PICK TWO: Lead, Floppy, Argon, Purple, Brunch, Taffy, Worried, Venerable
2/5 Late
2/12 Lick
2/19 Normal
2/26 PICK TWO: Lightning, Italics, Spain, Tofu, Fragment, Ochre, Stumble, Pad
3/5 Suggestion
3/12 Flap
3/19 Dry
3/26 PICK TWO: Join. Aspirin, Gravy, Mercantile, Polar, Clay, Eggshell, Juniper
4/2 Tumble
4/9 Correct
4/16 Offend
4/23 … what?
4/30 PICK TWO: Gorge, Hockey, Pallor, Quiz, Mellow, Rogue, Marsh, Caesar
5/7 Circus
5/14 Thump
5/21 Bank
5/28 PICK TWO: Track, Jill, Pinkerton, Blasphemous, Contusion, Orc, Zither, Neutral
6/4 Cupcake
6/11 Shell
6/18 I can’t believe that…
6/25 PICK TWO: Too, Two, To, Tooth, Tour, Toucan, Toon, Volcano
7/2 Void
7/9 Ticket
7/16 Creepy
7/23 Monster
7/30 PICK TWO: Squad, Value, Callous, Iron, Bunk, Loner, Wispy, Divert
8/6 Loot
8/13 Paprika
8/20 Drive
8/27 PICK TWO: Washing, Hope, Downward, Nix, Lie, Thrive, Joy, Rhapsody
9/3 Deal
9/10 Gas
9/17 Alien
9/24 PICK TWO: Funk, Double-jointed, Ulcer, Mast, Mahogany, Candlestick, Brush, Sherman
10/1 Cook
10/8 Mask
10/15 Hospital
10/22 Rock
10/29 PICK TWO: Meter, Bash, Yell, Iridescent, Goon, Opulent, Mango, Traffic
11/5 Point
11/12 Chasing your tail
11/19 Whiskers
11/26 PICK TWO: Shed, Sale, Rancor, Vellum, Slope, Zip, Kale, Bane
12/3 Virgin
12/10 First
12/17 Clutch
12/24 What do YOU want for Christmas?
12/31 Endings

AND THEN, IN 2018 (draft)

JAN 7 Slack
JAN 14 Involved
JAN 21 Smartypants
JAN 28 PICK TWO
Corner
Tiger
Tie
Please
Encountered

FEB 4 Why not?
FEB 11 If only I had…
FEB 18 Ticker
FEB 25 PICK TWO
Native
Drumroll
Brothers
Web
Pi(e)

MAR 4 Generally
MAR 11 Braided
MAR 18 Water
MAR 25 PICK TWO
Fail
Globe
Sunny
Wee
Shift

APR 1 Hardly
APR 8 Vibration
APR 15 Weak
APR 22 Camping
APR 29 PICK TWO
Granite
Pertinent
Record
Surely
Tag

MAY 6 Fly
MAY 13 Organ
MAY 20 Pizza
MAY 27 PICK TWO
Tarp
Packer
Terminal
Grass
Elephant

JUNE 3 Tip
JUNE 10 Ratchet
JUNE 17 Wafer
JUNE 24 PICK TWO
Prompt
Screech
Future
Gyrate
Frustration

JULY 1 Never say…
JULY 8 Stab
JULY 15 Chance
JULY 22 Quill
JULY 29 PICK TWO
Mug
Unfortunate
Global
Grime
Elephant

AUG 5 Power
AUG 12 Print
AUG 19 Flay
AUG 26 PICK TWO
Mask
Pinprick
Out of sync
Grapes
Rose

SEP 2 Win
SEP 9 Driver error
SEP 16 Addictive
SEP 23 Chaos
SEP 30 PICK TWO
Minefield
Fountain
Angle
Craft
Sodium

OCT 7 Dug
OCT 14 Mystery
OCT 21 Turtle
OCT 28 PICK TWO
Pagoda
Winner
Rustic
Confusing
Grinding

NOV 4 Dispute
NOV 11 Braced
NOV 18 Flower
NOV 25 PICK TWO
Bubbling
Saffron
Lime
Axial
Repetition

DEC 2 Too much
DEC 8 Polar
DEC 16 Belt
DEC 23 Irritation
DEC 30 PICK TWO
Reflect
Pounce
Gymnastics
Obsolete
Engage

Fuck With God

Lots of people say “Thank God it’s Friday.”
I did too.
But I’d wait until 11:59PM to say it.
Just to fuck with God.
Once, I said “Thank God it’s Friday.” when I stayed up late on Thursday.
God had all day to fuck with me.
So, he did. Harshly.
When Friday was finally over, I almost said “Thank God that’s over.”
But he would have just fucked with me all Saturday, too.
These days, I live in the woods.
I hunt for my food. I don’t have a TV. Or a calendar.
Who cares what day it is?

The Cheap

so, my friend is turning fifty
my cheap friend.
and they invited me to their birthday party
well, sorta
they want me there to serve drinks
as bartender
and yet, it’s a bring your own bottle party
that’s right
they’re so cheap, they’re having people bring their own drinks
and not paying for a real bartender either
i brought a bottle
it’s a vodka bottle, full of gasoline, and a rag in it.
but i forgot my lighter.
i’ll just wait until they light the candles on the cake
unless they’re too cheap to get a cake and candles too

The Metropolis Streaker

The thing about The Green Lantern is that it’s not just one guy.
Well, Guy. As in Guy Gardner, and his stupid haircut.
No, it’s whoever happens to have the Power Ring on.
That person is called the Green Lantern.
I suppose whoever dresses as Batman is Batman, or Robin is Robin.
As opposed to Superman, who is Superman.
Even when he takes off the cape and the tights, he’s still Superman.
Although, when he puts a paper bag over his head, they call him The Metropolis Streaker.
Until he flies away. Then it’s back to “That goddamned pervert Superman.”

Hyperloop

Some say that Elon Musk’s gone too far with this whole “hyperloop” idea.
Which is why he was smiling wide for the cameras as he unveiled his gleaming hyperloop test track.
A miles-long vacuum-sealed tube through which a passenger cabin would race at thousands of miles per hour.
He ushered the press into the cabin, stepped outside, and slammed the door shut.
“How does it slow down?” asked a reporter through the window.
“I’ll show you,” said Musk.
Then he pressed the Go button.
The cabin leapt forward, and zoomed away down the track.
“It doesn’t,” he grinned. “Good riddance.”

Striking colors

Back in the days of frigates and pirates, to show your colors meant to lower the flag you sailed under and then raise the Jolly Roger to reveal that you are, in fact, pirates.
Which is kinda strange, considering that the Jolly Roger was a white skull on a black field. Not very colorful at all.
I’m sure you could make a comment about rainbow flags and “butt pirates” but that’s highly offensive, and you should never use that kind of language.
Instead, just say “Yarrr!” and “Shiver me timbers!” over and over.
Otherwise, you should prepare to be boarded.