Weekly Challenge #604 – Whiskers

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:

Tinny nap

LIZZIE

There used to be a place where cats roamed freely. It had lots of hidden corners where the sun shone in late afternoons. And they lingered lazily, stretching their lean furriness.
There used to be a place where the birds chirped a song and water was a magical backdrop.
There used to be a place with butterflies and pelicans, and lions and ferrets, dogs and roosters, chickens and bears.
And I used to go for a walk amongst the strangeness of the mixture of animals and the familiarity of their peacefulness.
There used to be a place I called home.

RICHARD

Kitchen Rivalry

The ‘Most Excellent Order of Whiskers, Beaters and Meringue Whippers’ – usually shortened to the diminutive, ‘Whiskers’, for convenience – is a little-known and exclusive society reserved solely for the most influential of pastry chefs.

Not only is competition fierce for the few highly desirable memberships made available to those eligible to join, but jealously is rife amongst the other kitchen professions denied entrance.

So much so, that rival factions fight fiercely for dominance. The most notable of which is the ‘Venerable Society of Salad Washers, Spinners and Dressers’.

Since that’s such a mouthful, we call them ‘Tossers’, for convenience!

CHARLIE

Whiskers was a small, underweight kitten, but grew quickly to become a twenty-seven pound whopper. I learned later that Whisker’s parents were Chausies, whose ancestry is ancient Egypt.

Whiskers wore the pants in my house. I had two, medium-sized dogs who gave Whiskers the run and rule of the home.

She was a danger to the bird population on the property, but after some demanding training, she never bothered my feathered friends again.

Whiskers lived a long and happy life, surviving well into her twenties, on a diet of balanced and nutrient dense kibble and expensive, moisture rich canned foods.

#2

Whiskers and Cups is the go-to coffee shop in town. Owned by sisters, Kathie and Karie Maplethorpe, W&C opened last month.

Serving house roasted coffee, the shop features rescue cats from the local rescue organization and nearby pound.

Customers can enjoy their coffee and tasty pastries, while cats leap onto their tables and heads, after lounging in the nearby litter boxes. Patrons bring in rodents and birds for the cats if they tidy up after the entertainment.

Fortunately, many of the larger, aggressive cats are adopted, and no contamination has yet been the cause of any discomfort to shop clientele.

#3

The cat whisker, made from a safety pin and a pencil lead, in contact with a single-edged razor blade was at the heart of my crystal radio. Some magnet or coated wire, an oatmeal box, and piezo earphones completed the unit.

The reception was good, after attaching the set to the feed pipe of the radiator, I used as ground. I had a twenty foot, homemade antenna on the roof of the garage.

My first foxhole, crystal radio was used in Germany during the Second World War. I could pull in German language stations as well as stations in England.

SERENDIPITY

The old cat woman at the corner house was a complete stereotype – living alone with her many cats, she was rarely seen by the outside world.

Then the neighbours noticed an offensive smell – somewhat worse than the aroma of twenty cats and their excrement – emanating from the house.

When the police broke in, they found the mouldering remains of the old woman, half-eaten by the starving animals, almost all of whom were now just skin and bone.

Only poor little Whiskers survived, so we took him on.

Little realising he’d acquired such a taste for human flesh!

TURA

Whisker
———
“There’s nothing like a cat’s whisker receiver and the human ear.” he said. “Modern electronics can’t come close. Even valves aren’t good enough. You have to adjust the whisker just so, you see? Sometimes it takes me an hour… do you hear that? All those clicks and beeps? Aliens! Talking to each other somewhere above us. I’m trying to decode their language…”

I subvocalised a command to the nearest ship, and presently the familiar grip of a tractor beam drew us up.

We always abduct the smartest, curious ones. They improve our hive brains, and it keeps the Earthlings docile.

JEFFREY

A Close Shave
by Jeffrey Fischer

After changing jobs, a long-time colleague told me my boss hated facial hair. I was surprised I got the job. My beard dated back to high school, and I was unreasonably proud of its neat appearance, so I kept it. The other new hire was a skinny millennial with a hip goatee who kept it as well.

The day before my review, I thought I didn’t want to sit before the boss flaunting my beard so, somewhat wistfully, I shaved it completely. As it turned out, the year hadn’t gone well for the firm. The boss planned to fire one of his new hires. Mr. Goatee was gone and I survived – by a whisker, you might say.

NORVAL JOE

This is Movember. That means that men are supposed to grow a moustache to bring awareness for mens health.
One out of eight women will be affected by breast cancer. One out of nine men will have to worry about their prostate.
With the women, we can all appreciate, “Save the Tata’s”.
However, no one wants to chant, “Save my butt”.
So, I’m growing a moustache.
Nearly a month into it, it’s sad to say that my best friend from my childhood had a better mustache as a senior in high school than I do, now, as a senior citizen.

TOM

I Want Out

Mr. Whiskers sat patiently by the front door. Ben did not call Mr. Whiskers, Mr. Whiskers, he called him Fred. “Fred is no name for a cat,” his girlfriend Amber said. Neither is Mr. Whiskers, but he wasn’t about to get into a fight over a 25 pound ball of fur. Ben opened the door just wide enough for the cat to wedge his head out. “You’re not going to like it.” After three seconds, Mr. Whiskers look up at Ben with a kitty incriminating glare. “Yup I made it Cold and Wet, just for you.” Mr. Whiskers was not amused.

I’m just a hair guy

One of my favorite George Carlin riffs goes as follow: “The word ‘beard’ shook a lot of people up. BEARD! It’s not American sounding. BEARD! Lenin had a BEARD! Gabby Hayes had ‘whiskers’. Monty Woolley had whiskers.” Yup despite five presidents sport one and a dapper C Everett Koop. Look what happen when Al Gore grew his, to bad about that Bin Laden thing. Tom Hanks could get away with his because he was shipwrecked on a desert island. Personally I don’t see myself as someone with a beard. I see myself as someone who just doesn’t shave. Seriously lazy.

DUANE

Whiskers

“Whiskers” Manetti had it out for me. He told “One Thumb” Tony that I was to blame for his men being pinched in the hotel robbery. He was right. Word on the street was that he called in “The Shovel” to take care of things. Micky “Squint” was my inside man with Whiskers. He had kept me one step ahead of the gang so far. It was getting more dangerous relying on Squint and One Thumb for information. Even Pete “Tips” O’Hanlan down on the docks couldn’t be trusted. If I was gonna survive I was gonna need a nickname.

Z

Old Man Peterson stroked his white beard and looked over the chessboard.
“Checkmate on five moves,” he said.
To nobody.
He was sitting alone in the park, with no pieces on the board.
Peterson stroked his beard again.
“I may need to swap some of my tiles,” he said.
Once again, to nobody.
He reached down to the board, let his hand shake for a moment, and withdrew it back to his lap.
This continued for the rest of the day.
When the sun was low in the sky, Peterson stood up, picked up the board, and shuffled back home.

Weekly Challenge #603 – Chasing your tail…

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:

Tinny

CHARLIE

As a country boy from rural Connecticut, I started chasing tail in grammar school. I learned many useful skills and strategies from my grandfather, Pete, and from my uncle Jim. Grandpa was a carpenter, and Jim was a Chief Gunner in the Navy.

The tail I chased was attached to a little, red fox that lived in the woods in back of the house. I would walk into the woods and stay there, quietly reading, until I heard the rustle of leaves. I’d look up, waiting for a glimpse of the fox.

There it was, the long, white-tipped, bushy tail.

#2

I chased my tail for the first 30 years of my life. College was a waste of time and money. After I learned to handle a gun and spend some time in prison, I realized I could make a good living as a thief and drug dealer.

After accumulating a sizable amount of money, still in my thirties, I found a rich sponsor with similar, political ambitions. He sponsored me and I worked my way through city councils, mayorships, the House and the Senate.

I will probably be elected governor next election if I can get all my records purged.

RICHARD

The chase

I sometimes feel I’m going round in circles with this hundred word story lark – I churn one story out, then it’s time for another, week after week, story after story.

I like to think some day I’ll find that elusive combination of one hundred words: The Holy Grail, so perfect and sublime I can finally lay aside my notebook, retire my keyboard, and be at peace, knowing that no matter how many more words I write, I’ll never do better.

I haven’t found it yet though, so until I do, I shall continue in my quest… chasing my tale.

TURA

Chasing my own tail
———
I spotted the tail the moment I went out. It was a cold November evening, so I decided to tire him by walking about the city at random, as if sightseeing. I stopped for a while in a coffee shop, forcing him to shiver in the cold across the street. At last I continued, but made a show of suspecting his presence. I briskened my pace, crossing busy roads at random, nimbly avoiding the traffic, until at last, I heard somewhere behind me a screech and a thud.

He thought he was tailing me, but I had been chasing him.

LIZZIE

The whole event became a disaster when a stubborn sponsor decided not to give the organization the agreed amount.
Nine of the models chose to leave while the other five were unsure.
The designer couldn’t do the show with five models only.
Everyone was in a frenzy, debating the same issues over and over again when a woman came up from behind and laughed hysterically. She pulled out an automatic and took the money from the sponsor.
“No money. No show. No debate. There, solved. By the way, do you need a free model?” And she struck a pose, smiling.

JEFFREY

A Tale of Tails
by Jeffrey Fischer

As a pup, I had hours of fun chasing my tail. Round and round, the furry thing was always just out of reach. Big Man thought it was funny, and I suppose I did, too. When I tired of the game I’d stop, panting, and Big Man would scratch behind my ears. Sometimes he’d give me a belly rub.

Then Big Man took me to the Bad Place. When the wrapping came off, I found I had lost my tail! No chasing, no belly rubs, no laughs. I now chew on everything of Big Man’s. I laugh. He doesn’t. Serves him right.

TOM

Danger Man
Simon Lake spun the Lotus in an arching drift across the New York intersection and then repeated the move to drop behind the little red Covet. Over the car speaker central command chirped “Chasing your tail, very smooth move Mr. Lake.” “Thank you Miss Winters, we aim to please, we got eyes in the sky tonight?” “Front and center.” “Good. Please get a shot of this for my collection.” “Affirmative.” With that Agent Lake hit the break and release his two stingers. The Covet burst into flames and careened to a dead stop. He race pass it, on the right.

SERENDIPITY

As a puppy, my owners used to laugh at my antics. “Aww, look at you, chasing your tail”, they’d chuckle.

Over time, as I grew up, I realised it wasn’t natural, and my silly little quirk was purely a result of their torment: They would have me chasing in circles, teasing me with toys, and whipping me into a frenzy until I was so confused, I was snapping at my own nether regions.

But, I am no longer a puppy.

And tonight, my owners are going learn what it means to be tormented.

And let’s see who’s laughing then!

TODD

Facebook yesterday announced a location based find a friend feature. The auto opt-in feature attempts to pair individuals who frequent the same locations for long periods of time.
Vincent “Big Vin” Poletti, current resident of the New Rochelle City Jail isn’t too sure about the new feature.
“I’m just sitting there minding my own business casing this marina warehouse, when I get a Facebook ping that Detective Sergeant Ed Carrol of the Harbor Unit is 20 feet away. Do you want to be his friend, it says. I didn’t even get a chance to say yes before he arrested me.

NORVAL JOE

“What’s wrong, Axel?” Ursseanna asked when he collapsed into their study station.
“I had all I needed. Enough credits to get a shuttle off the battle base, Sixty thousand credits, and Flick blew it all to bits,” Axel said between gritted teeth.
“Well. You’re no worse off than you were a month ago, then.”
“Twenty years on this base, circling the galactic loop, and you’ll be back where you started. Like a giant ouroboros worm, you’re chasing your tail,” Axel said. “I want out before I end up like my parents, just doing the same thing for another twenty years.”

DUANE

Chasing Your Tail

I made three random turns and he was still on me like a bad tattoo. I had a tail. I sped ahead to the roundabout and instead of taking a right I whipped around and came up behind him. Now I was tailing him. It didn’t last long. He hit the gas and was around and back on my bumper in no time. I floored it and grinned to myself as he saw me in his mirror. Back and forth we went until we ran out gas.

We both hailed cabs and I finally got to say “follow that car!”

PLANET Z

We pulled over about an hour out of Barstow to enjoy the sunset.
In the distance, coyotes barked and howled.
I saw one running through the scrub, stopping and turning circles every few steps before racing along again.
“What do you think that coyote’s doing?” I asked my companion.
“Not a clue,” she said. “Ready to go?”
We got back in the car, and as I turned on to the road, we hit the whirling coyote.
We stopped, got out, and watched it twitch for a minute before it lay still.
I shrugged, we got back in, and drove off.

Weekly Challenge #602 – Point

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:

Sleepy Tinny

LIZZIE

Mark and Ron placed their oil lanterns down and waited for a long time. The horizon was a flat line and the darkness extended as far as the eye could see. A few bright stars twinkled in the cloudy sky.
“Look.”
Mark traced an imaginary line from the tip of Ron’s finger to its destiny over the water.
“Can you see it?”
Mark squinted his eyes.
“We’ll have to go there.”
Mark nodded.
By the end of that long night, they’d be richer, but not happier. There was a baby in the wreckage, and they couldn’t do anything about it.

CHARLIE

I presumed Larry Leathersack and Teri Tingetuna would make it their point to open the restaurant soon. They planned to be unique. The most extraordinary thing they planned to do when greeting and seating a supper guest was to ladle a small portion of gravy on the guest’s shirt as the server took their order. This would not only break the ice, but it the guest would feel at home upon entry, and not suffer the embarrassment of spilling food on themselves during their dining experience.

The restaurant reviewers went crazy. The hipster diners couldn’t wait to make a reservation.

#2

Shena was the unfortunate victim of a birth defect. Although perfect in every other way, her head came to a sharp point.

Teased at school without mercy or care for her condition, Shena would hide her deformity with a large, Afro wig or a thickly knitted, wool cap when she ventured out.

Her teen years were painful, and she had little hope of finding employment or a life partner.

Shena turned down dozens of lucrative offers to headline in sideshows, but made an excellent, sustainable, living, as she became the object of desire and devotion to thousands of Hollywood fetishists.

RICHARD

#1 – Happily Married

My wife: Every argument, always the same – “Just what exactly is your point?” she’d argue in that whiny, irritating voice, over and over again.

Other times it was: “Will you just get to the point, for crying out loud?”

Eventually I was wondering myself, what was the point in carrying on? Why bother, because it was pretty much… Pointless!

So, I decided to do away with her: Stabbed her 28 times – once for every year of our marriage.

As she breathed her last, I stood over her bloody body.

“You got the point that time, didn’t you, bitch?”

#2 – No return?

We talk about the ‘point of no return’, but it’s not what we think.

Many times I’ve passed that point, but I’ve always returned, and frequently after making a comeback, it’s only to reach the point of no return all over again at some time further down the line.

But, I do sometimes worry I may be pushing my luck; after all, there must be a limit to how many times you can reach that point and still keep coming back?

Perhaps you could say that I’m reaching the point of no return, for reaching the point of no return!

SERENDIPITY

My mother always said it was rude to point, although I could never quite figure out why.

So, every time, I asked her why it was rude and she’d invariably counter with, “It just is, OK!”

Eventually, she got wise to me – “Just remember”, she’d say, “when you point the finger at somebody, there’s always three pointing back at you!”

I never took any notice, I knew that to succeed, you not only have to be rude, but ruthless too.

And, let’s be honest, when it’s a gun you’re pointing at somebody, there’s only one finger that really matters!

TOM

On Point
My oldest living friend could have been anything in life he chose. Way smart and athletic, so it wasn’t that surprising he chose to be a dancer. Had a whole slew of dancer girlfriends. Despite the elegance of form, the silhouette on point, what is holding that minimal connection to earth are truly battered toes and soles. Dancer’s feet are a serious wreck. Such is the cost of defining gravity, full impact with the floor. One time as he painful pull off his shoes, I asked “How do you stand the pain?” He said. “By the healing grace of applauds.”

JEFFREY

Missing the Point, Part 1
by Jeffrey Fischer

Damian, Seth’s boss, pointedly shut the door before the performance review. The boss went down his talking points item by item. “Let me get right to the point: you haven’t been doing a good job. I hate to point this out to you, but, unless your performance improves, we’re going to have to let you go.”

Seth stared at Damian, who reminded him of the pointy-headed boss in Dilbert. “I am what I am, dude. No point in trying to teach old dogs new tricks.” Damian broke the point of his pencil by grinding it against his mahogany desk, the gouge joining many siblings.

Missing the Point, Part 2
by Jeffrey Fischer

Damian focused on the point of Seth’s nose. Trying to keep the incredulity out of his voice, he said, “You’re telling me there’s no point in this review? I anticipated this and got HR’s approval for what I’m about to do next.” He walked around his desk to where Seth stood. He kicked Seth hard in the ass with the point of his boot. As Seth rubbed his sore rear end, Damian pushed Seth out the open window, where Seth fell into a trash bin that was lined with spikes. As Seth writhed on the sharpened points, Damian called his boss to report another successful performance review. Beelzebub Industries would have another record quarter. More to the point, Damian expected another substantial bonus.

NORVAL JOE

Axel sipped at his fruit juice, sitting at his regular table. Torque, stood by one of the entrances to the rec center eying everyone who walked in. Cent, cruised through the crowd confronting anyone unfamiliar.
A single security guard, obvious in his blood red jump suit, stepped in from the passage and spoke to Torque. “Can you point me to a man named Axel?”
“I don’t know anyone by that name,” Torque said.
“Don’t lie to me. He’ll want to deal with me. I found something he needs. Something he’ll want to buy that will earn him lots of Credits.”

DUANE

Point

The smiths worked through the night hammering and filing, making sure each point was strong and razor sharp. The crashing waves mixed with the sounds of the fiery metal being shaped on a dozen anvils. Before sunrise the drums began to beat. The sleeping army stirred to life and prepared themselves. There was the clanging of steel as warriors tested new spears. The rustle of sharkskin armor being adjusted and laced up.

At first light the drums sped up and abruptly ceased. A brief moment of silence and then the order rang out across the camp, “Saddle up the dolphins!”

PLANET Z

I remember our first babysitter, Stewart.
Our behavior was measured in points.
Twenty-five points was the most we could get.
That got the Lick-em-aid fruit-flavored candy dust with vanilla sticks.
As we misbehaved, we lost points.
At fifteen, we got Snickers bars.
At ten, a Hershey bar.
And at three, only a York peppermint.
Me, I was a bad kid. I misbehaved constantly.
Zero points got me a beating in the backyard, and a mouth full of dirt as my brother yelled “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU SUCH AN ASSHOLE?” at me.
Because I knew where Stwart hid the candy.

Weekly Challenge #601 – PICK TWO: Meter, Bash, Yell, Iridescent, Goon, Opulent, Mango, Traffic

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:

National Black Cat Day
(It’s International Cat Day!)

LIZZIE

He put his glasses down. The letter had arrived. He half-expected it to be what it was. He didn’t expect it to be that bitter though. What hurt him the most was when she wrote she felt like yelling to the world he was trafficking women into the colony. He was, true, but still… it hurt to see it written down on paper. The lawyer told him she was trouble. But he loved her so much, he didn’t have the heart to kill her. He trafficked her to L-028. It cost him a fortune, because they don’t like humans there.

RICHARD

#1 – Taxonomy

There are few creatures as bizarrely named as the Iridescent Mango Butterfly, which is neither iridescent, nor does it have any connection with the mango.

Also, it’s not a butterfly at all – it’s actually a small, brown, incredibly venomous snake.

Many explanations have been proposed for how a snake could have been so badly classified, but none have been entirely satisfactory, and no one really knows for sure.

I have my own pet theory: I think it’s what that snake wishes to be called… And with something so venomous, nobody is stupid enough to argue the point with it.

#2 – Traffic

My eyes kept darting to the meter on the dashboard, and I cursed the heavy traffic.

This is what you get for waiting to the last minute before leaving for the airport. I’d forgotten the rush hour traffic, and now not only might I miss my plane, but it was going to cost me dear.

I ignored my phone buzzing in my pocket, and – thoroughly fed up – told the cab to stop, and headed for the nearest bar.

I’d get the next flight.

It was only then that I remembered…

I had everyone else’s passports in my luggage!

CHARLIE

The meter would record the impact delivered by the bumper as I bashed the obnoxious pedestrian for bellowing as he blocked my truck. Although he wore an iridescent stripe on his sweatsuit, he ran, carelessly, into the crosswalk from the left.

The goon made an opulent gesture, standing in the crosswalk, and in my path. His mango-pumpkin latte clutched in his hand, he screamed and ranted.

I popped the clutch, hitting him at groin level, breaking his hip and smashing his nads. I slipped away in the dark and bought a big breakfast after washing gore out of my grill.

#2

I suffer in goon traffic twice a day commuting to school. Goon traffic is composed of people that try to grab an extra ten minutes of sleep or five more minutes of makeup or application of hair products.

I rigged a windshield wiper pump to a small hose running through my back bumper. I hit the motor button if anyone is tailgating, and squirt a quart or so of cooking oil mist in front of them.

The oil mist covers their windscreen, and fails to go away when they try to use their window washer. Wetting it makes it worse.

#3

Billed as the OPULENT MANGO, Lulu commanded the stage at Club Bugassi. Lulu could do things that would shame the dancers at The Blue Fox in Tijuana. Sailors on liberty would flock to the Bugassi.

Lulu started her career when she was only sixteen. She lied about her age, and constructed an elaborate backstory that included being left an orphan.

Don Demarco, the club manager, tried to take advantage of Lulu, but she rebuffed his advances and reminded him that she had friends in the mob that would smash in his face and cut off his schwantz if he continued.

TOM

South of Congress

I knew this guy name Mickie who loved to bash parking meter with a 16 pound sledge. Guy had biceps the size of melons. One swing, baam! Kids would follow after him to gather up the spray of Municipal Piñatas. When it got too damn hot on the south side Mickie would open a fire hydrant. You’d think his career would have been curtailed by the local gendarmeries, oh contraire mon ami. He ran and won a seat in city council, Alderman Mickie they called him. Got all the park meters removed and got four community swim pools built.

Just a breath away

Lilly was a most unusual child. A quiet grace and a searing sense of propose. Her secret garden was a local haven for hordes of butterflies. “Do you hear that?” She would ask of selected visitors. Most would smile, give fanciful accounts of an ethereal natural. Few passed the initial test, so few survived the attack of a million butterfly wings. The song she sang to her flock was sweetness dipped in daggers, she called it her Iridescent Yell. Then she would giggle and add it was an invitation to supper. You have no idea how voracious an appetite a butterfly has.

SARAH

How very apt that this a ‘birthday bash’!

It is, after all, your birthday and I am going to thoroughly enjoy giving you a good bashing.

It’s your own fault… You really should have invited me; and the look of disdain you gave me when I arrived made it clear I was an unwelcome guest.

So, I’ve waited until now with your gift. Don’t you just love party games that see you locked in a dark cupboard with your nemesis?

So yell all you like – no-one will hear.

And let’s see how you like your new baseball bat!

JON

Sea Song
By
Jon DeCles

Oh, rock me in the deep, where the big rocks sway beneath their coats of green and slimy moss, the cool cold deep where the fishes dream and the crabs click their claws and the shrimp make little popping songs while the big whales moan happily about their long journeys, sharing the up and down of their deep scales with the up and down of their swim, big back fins propelling them until they break and blow and steam like geysers on a rolling landscape where all is water and there is no rocky ground: rock me like a whale.

Hating the Nasty Parking Meter
By

Jon DeCles
With an iridescent yell, Alice the Goon bashed the parking meter again and again. She stood in fury beside the stream of Hollywood traffic, wondering how, on a night when the Moon was as opulent and gibbous as a celestial mango, anything could be so totally frustrating. Popeye had given her all the change from his pockets, but none of it fitted in the little slots.
She looked more closely at the coins.
The pictures were all wrong. They seemed to be from the State of Las Vegas. She started to bash again, then decided to drive back to Toontown.

JEFFREY

The Big Game
by Jeffrey Fischer

Traffic was horrendous to the big game but, after parking our RV, we made it to our $200 nosebleed seats in time. I went for food and drink. The only line that wasn’t two-dozen deep was the health food kiosk. Health food at a stadium? Whatever happened to nachos and $15 gassy beers? I bought a pair of mango-spinach smoothies in iridescent green. My companion took one look and started yelling at me. I sucked on the straw and spat out the viscous liquid. My team lost by three touchdowns. They don’t make big games the way they used to.

NORVAL JOE

Here’s his first story:

Axel stumbled back to the family’s cube. His parents were in the living room, eating dinner.
His mother looked his way as he entered, and said, “I didn’t synthesize your dinner. I wasn’t sure when you’d be home.”
His father didn’t look away from the Entertainment Screen.
Axel stood a meter away from his parents, and they couldn’t see that he’d been beaten within a hair’s breadth of his life. He wanted to yell and jump up and down, just to get them to acknowledge his existence. It wasn’t worth it. He would just find some other place to live.

And here is story number two.

The invasion began so small, and unnoticeable beneath the awareness of most of the humans, that by the time they realized the creatures were upon them, it was too late.
First one, then another, then more and more until thousands joined the first wave of intruders. They crowded the streets, bashing into fences and walls. Stopping traffic as they made their way to the center of town, howling and barking, and gnashing their vicious teeth on anything but one another.
They left as suddenly as they had come, and no one knew why. They were, after all, only wiener dogs.

LAIEANNA

That meathead Max flipped his shit again yesterday when the parking
meter sprung “time expired”, startling him as he passed. Using brute
strength, Max tore the device out of the ground, waving it wildly at
traffic as he yelled. A volks was bashed before I could come to the
rescue with my iridescent mango. Its sparkle and shine caught Max’s
attention. The big goon followed my opulent fruit off the streets and
I led him home where I handed the jewel over to pacify his lunatic
rage. I still had plenty left over in my bag for the art showcase.

DUANE

Iridescent Mango

The rise of Iridescent Mango is like any other electronic rock band. The opulent lifestyle. The bashing up hotel rooms. The fighting with the paparazzi. What few people know is that the band was a cover for an evil scheme hatched by the lead synth player. While the audience was enjoying calming rhythms and synthetic melodies, hired goons would be at their homes rolling their electricity meters forward. By the time anyone noticed, the band was long gone with a cut from the power company. Yet this was just to cover up their illegal trafficking in My Little Pony collectibles.

PLANET Z

I remember the first time I heard of The Goon Show.
I was a preschooler, wandering through the public library, looking for books about Popeye the Sailor.
I’d wandered out of the Children’s section and found a book that had “Goon” in the title.
Goons were those weird monsters in Popeye, right?
I opened the book, but instead of Popeye, it was a bunch of words and some photos of three old men around a microphone.
I put the book back and kept looking. Eventually, I found a book about clowns.
Well, one clown. Named Pennywise.
I never slept again.

Weekly Challenge #600 – Rock

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:

A few days off...

GINGER

Rock

The age-old debate – can girls rock???

(“…me and the boys are playing…” – Kiss) …There would be nothing wrong with a girl playing with boys.

(“…oh, won’t you please take me home?” – Guns N’ Roses) …Doesn’t every girl want someone to drive her to her door?

(“…I’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain…” – Kiss) …Expresses motherly concern for an infink, don’t doubt.

(“…all we need is just a little patience…” – Guns N’ Roses) …Patience is one of the seven virtues. *Note to self: Sabr is a cornerstone of Islamic faith which pertains to fasting. Again, these are fragile ties but they can be drawn.

Yes. I have decided gender is ambiguous when it comes to heavy metal ballads.

TOM

We Salute You

It was just down the road from the dawn of Podcasting 2004. At the time I had collected 3000 midis during the previous decade. So I did this show called: Midi. After 10 years I hit my goal of a million download. Thought to closing it out then, but I’m pretty lazy. So I let it ride. A few weeks ago I get this email from Libsyn that I need to more my billing info to a new account. Of course this email is bit postdated, so when I go to the site I get a 404. So much for customer loyalty.

CHARLIE

Rock Hard. Good diet and lots of sleep are key. To build muscles, strength, and stamina the trick is a balanced diet and enough sleep.

A diet of grade B Western movies and sleep walking through a mundane job will keep a man less interesting, uncreative and in a torpor. A job better done by a robot or a chimp turns the mind into over-ripe squash.

Challenge yourself, as someone else that intelligently challenges you is rare.
Learn something new every day, and read widely across disciplines.

Don’t be sold a bill of goods by phony, self-credentialed “experts”, and narcissists.

LIZZIE

The idea of going back was unbearable. Summer had been wonderful. Work was a distant place. She had forgotten about David, the pervert, John, the sloth, and Lewis, the hippie who didn’t bathe enough. She stared at a few seashells, tokens of moments she would cherish forever. David said she would get bored by herself. He was so wrong. John advised her not to get a sunburn, and Lewis just smiled, stoned. Everyone thought she was too fragile. Perhaps she was, yes. But she decided she wasn’t going back. And she held that small rock in her hand and smiled.

RICHARD

#1 – Rock a bye

Rock a bye baby, on the tree top…

Wait a minute! How the hell did you get up there?

Don’t tell me; you were kidnapped by marauding squirrels? Now they’re holding you for ransom – your body weight in acorns?

No? Did you fell out of a passing jetliner and were fortunate enough to land safely in those branches? Unlikely.

Were you dumped there by a stay tornado, abandoned by cruel parents, or did you crawl up there on your own?

I guess we’ll never know, since you can’t talk.

Take care that bough doesn’t break.

Oh dear, too late!

#2 – Grandpa rocks!

Grandfather was a rock musician – he’d throw large stones at inanimate objects to produce rhythmic percussion.

We asked him, “Why not just play the drums?”

“Drums is for wimps. Real men play the rocks.”

We’d have left it at that, until he started hurling stones at the neighbour’s windows, and then at the neighbours themselves.

He was charged with assault, and got sent down for three months.

When I visited, I asked how the music was working out. He told me he’d quit…

“I’ve gone into serving booze now… In fact, I spend almost all my time behind bars!”

SERENDIPITY

I know where you keep the spare key – it’s under that rock, next to the front door. I also know that now you’re aware I know, you’re going to move it to some new hiding place.

Too late, my friend.

I made a copy.

Of course, now you’re going to go and change that lock, aren’t you? You may as well do the other doors too. After all, you can’t be too careful with someone like me lurking in the dark.

It won’t help you.

Remember that rock by the front door?

I just lobbed it through your window…

JEFFREY

The Hot Rock
by Jeffrey Fischer

Hank examined the rock carefully. “Looks like a real diamond to me,” he said to the rest of the gang, who had just liberated the ring from the Horowitz’s bedroom.

“How would you know?” sneered Luther. “All of a sudden you’re an expert on real and fake diamonds?”

“I just know, okay,” Hank said. “But fine, we’ll get an expert to take a look. So the gang looked up the location of the nearest jewelery shop and piled into their car. The jeweler took out his loupe and examined the rock carefully. He looked up at Hank and slowly shook his head. “A good job, but it’s costume jewelry. Worth maybe $200.”

The gang exchanged glances. Now what?

“Tell you what, guys,” the jeweler said. “I’ll pay you $150 for it. I’m pretty sure I can resell it for a little profit.”

After the gang left, the jeweler called the homeowner, a long-standing customer. “Mrs. Horowitz? I have your diamond ring back, and some good closed-circuit pictures of the thieves.”

TURA

Rock
———
I gave up eating meat, because animals suffer. Then I realised that plants also are alive, and resolved to subsist only on inorganic nutrients. But are not even rocks alive? They wear and crack from rain and frost. We burrow into them like maggots, mining for iron and oil. We grind them for concrete. Would they not scream, if only they could?

Then consider their atoms, imprisoned in crystal lattices. This world is made of suffering, all the way down.

And that is why I seek the key to unravel all of creation, and return it to the pure void.

NORVAL JOE

Axel tried to scoot away from the security officer’s prod but found his way blocked by heavy crates.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was just waiting for a friend,” Axel said.
The officer jabbed the prod into Axel’s thigh. His entire leg lost all sensation. He rocked to the side and rolled onto his stomach, trying to push away with his one good leg. The prod jabbed into his back and the lower half of his body went numb.
“Don’t lie to me,” the officer growled and kicked Axel hard in the ribs.
And everything went dark.

LAIEANNA

I hadn’t expected a rant when sitting by the man as old as time before
time. We both stared at my phone where I was scrolling through songs.
I opted to ignore him with a song to tune him out. He continued his
tirade on the disappointment of the music of today, growing louder and
slightly more annoyed.

His pause is what caught my attention again. Feebly picking up a rock
only to drop it back down, the old man tapped his foot to the rhythmic
thumps of the rock rolling downhill. Pointing, he cackled, “Now
that’s rock and roll.”

DUANE

Rock

It was the summer of 1975 and everyone had a pet rock but me. We were too poor to buy one so I had to hunt down a wild one. After hours of skipping from stone to stone, I found the one for me. I stalked my quarry as it tried to hide among the gravel. I grabbed it and held it up for a better look. It was a gem. I named it Jagger and took it everywhere I went. I made it costumes for Easter and Halloween. To make sure it never got lost I had it chipped.

PLANET Z

One village had caused problems for our patrol.
Kids throwing rocks at us.
We’d stop, and the kids would scatter.
After a few days of this, the rock-throwing stopped, and a video appeared on YouTube.
There’s us driving by, the kids throwing rocks.
Then, spliced in, men dressed up in uniforms similar to ours beating up the kids and shooting them.
When kids in another village started throwing rocks, a second patrol spotted the cameraman.
He shouted “First Amendment! Free Press!”
We shot him. And we shot his compatriots in the fake uniforms.
The kids threw rocks at their corpses.

Weekly Challenge #599 – Hospital

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:

Myst

GINGER

Hospital

The psychiatric attending physician on rotation at hospital decided to take advantage of a blond admitting nurse early on in her career. His favorite tactic had been to ambiguously refer to an undefined “we” when explaining very particular directions for the handling of patients he wished to assess:

“Sit him in the furthest corner of the waiting room, do not speak with him until we tell you to,” etcetera, etcetera… “…because that is how we want it done.”

This worked very well in terms of gaining blind obedience from hospital staff.

No instruction required explanation because he was a doctor. Not just any doctor, a psychiatrist. And if an explanation was requested by someone serving admittance to emergency, one would simply be assured, “…because that is how we want it done.”

And the phrase alone would always ensure exacting compliance…to the letter. It also served to confuse patients who would be admitted promptly with a medical illness for voicing concerns.

One night, well into the wee hours of the morning, an assault victim arrived at admittance, having driven herself to the hospital with a slashed throat.

“Tell her to fuck off,” said the psychiatrist to the admitting nurse.

FAUVE

No one sane answers yes to the question Do you want to go to the Hospital…but neither does hardly anyone crazy either! So how do you know if you are sick or well if we are all a little crazy or just dying by the second as we live? You listen to your body. Listening to it produces weird dialogue…my right foot complains a bit, she is bigger than my left and feels somewhat put upon when forced into that half-size smaller shoe if I buy cheap ones that don’t come in size nine and a half…

RICHARD

#1 – Hospital

If you really want to make me miserable, put me in a hospital.

The sights, sounds and smells of the sick and injured makes for a distinctly depressing environment. The interminable waits, painful and intrusive procedures, and the sheer discomfort only adds to the unpleasantness; while visitors feel obliged to make inane conversation, but all the time wish they could be somewhere else.

What about the dreadful food and those depressing, bland pastel colours they insist on painting the walls?

It really does make you feel sick.

Every day, I find myself wishing I’d never chosen to become a doctor!

#2 – Cure-all

It’s a universal cure all… An all-natural remedy with no side effects and highly efficacious against a multitude of ailments.

Bad back, high blood pressure, bulimia, acid indigestion, brain tumour? All these, and more, can be treated simply and effectively; often only requiring a single course of this revolutionary new treatment.

Its therapeutic qualities aid recovery, assist the healing process and protects against infection and complications.

Take orally, or rub on the affected area as a lotion – then just wait for the results.

Yes folks, you’ll never look back after you’ve tried all new, scientifically proven…

Horse spittle!

TOM

Whistling Past the Graveyard

I don’t know what it is about hospitals that bring out the snarkyness in
people. They tend to hang the most pejorative of moniker on these
institutions. In our county Lakeside is referred to as Graveside and
Redbud is called Deadbud by the locals. Perhaps it is a throwback to the
days when it was unlikely you would survive your trip to the hospital. It
could be there are few place that one losses all dignity and control, so
we whistle pass the graveyard will any air of superiority. Of course if
you’re running a temp of 105, different story.

CHARLIE

As a floor nurse, I’ve dealt with the foul, fascinating landscapes, besmirched with armpits and fruity genitalia, belching gobs, and those impulsive blurting sphincters in whose hot updrafts that I might ascend and soar.

After my shift, I joined the clandestine cocktail therapy session in the break room. I took advantage of the head nurses drugged condition and shoved her face into the pasta puttanesca. Doctor Hummingshorts whispered in my ear, saying he thought my Jacuzzi was wet and warm.

It was time to leave when I found a pube in my gelato.

#2

Rash Barwash was the hospital administrator. He recently put out a memo to all docs and nurses that a rise in supply prices from vendors would necessitate rises in all consumables. Of course, the prices billed to insurance was already high. An example was the current charge of $308.00 for four boxes of sterile, gauze pads each containing twenty-four, 4 inch by 4 inch dressings. These could be bought over the counter at Walgreen’s for $3.99 a box.

Barwash left this plane, prematurely, along with six CEO’s of vendor companies. They were flying to a conference when a mishap occurred.

JEFFREY

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
by Jeffrey Fischer

I lie in my hospital bed, just starting to drift off to sleep, when a nurse arrives. “Time to check your vital signs!” she says cheerily, sticking a thermometer in my mouth, wrapping a blood pressure cuff to my arm, and clamping a heart rate sensor to my finger. I’m fully awake now. The clock reads just after midnight. She leaves. I close my eyes again.

“Time for a blood sample!” another nurse calls out. Two-freaking a.m. By four it’s another round of vitals, followed by breakfast at six. “You look tired today,” a day nurse says. “No kidding,” I reply.

JON

It was built of brick and it had dignity. It was beautiful, with details that bridged the gap between a public establishment and the home one missed. Nice frames around the doors and windows. Rooms where those who were mobile could gather and talk, perhaps play cards or chess or checkers. There were sunny screened porches.

People had died there, many times, but many more had lived. The smiles of nurses lingered, sunlight rather than shadows.

The new place down the road was easier to clean, had many advanced facilities, and was probably better: but it had no stories yet.

SERENDIPITY

You lie there in your hospital bed: Every intrusive beep of the monitor, every ponderous drip of the saline, counting off the moments that remain.

Moments that are marked and defined by pain.

And here, in my hand lies the answer – a simple syringe, loaded with a soothing, pain relieving, peace inducing panacea… Morphine!

Just one shot can ease your discomfort, dull the pain and bring you relief. Or maybe, if it’s just too much to bear, the full load – bringing permanent release.

So… What shall it be?

Actually, it’s mine – you can suffer while I watch!

TURA

Hospital
———
It was the first time I accompanied the senior doctor on his hospital round.

“Generalised Semantic Disorder,” he said of the first patient. “He sounds like he’s asking to be discharged, but none of his words mean anything. Treatment: ignoral.”

We continued to the next room. “Persecution Disorder. Attacked in the street. Let’s hear your thoughts on treatment.”

Caught on the hop, I stammered some foolishness about finding his attacker.

He looked at me sharply. “Young man, talk like that could get you arrested as a patient. It wouldn’t be the first time some starry-eyed intern has contracted Conspiracy Disorder.”

NORVAL JOE

The security officer dragged Axel into and empty warehouse and threw him onto the floor. He pulled a prod from his utility belt and aimed it at Axel.
Several holes on the end closest to Axel told him the prod could project various charges. Most likely it was preset with stun bursts to incapacitate and immobilize a perpetrator. Though, other possibilities included O2 deficit, muscle spasm, and tissue dissolving charges.
If the officer fired the prod, Axel could end up incarcerated, in the morgue, or in the hospital.
“Now’s your chance to come clean,” the officer snarled. “Who’s your supplier?”

DUANE

Hospital

Arriving late to the maternity ward I was hurried into scrubs and watched from outside myself as the doctor darted away shouting “Let’s have a baby!” The nurse ushered me towards the delivery room and into a cacophony of action, light and sound. The doctor said “I need you to push” and all hell broke loose. What was a couple of nurses seemed to turn into a large choir chanting “push, push…” My wife had a look on her face I had never seen before. If a marching band had come through at that moment, I wouldn’t have even noticed.

LIZZIE

He pressed the button and a nurse appeared.
“Hungry.”
She turned around and walked away. He waited. Nothing.
He pressed the button again. Another nurse appeared.
“I’m hungry.”
She turned around and left.
For the third time, he pressed the button, and a third nurse appeared.
“I’m really hungry.”
She tilted her head.
“Haven’t you figured it out yet?”
He frowned.
“The code.”
“What code?”
“The one they gave you with your patient card.”
He flipped the card back and forth. In small letters, the code.
“Please?”
And food was provided, abundantly.

PLANET Z

I used to play the game SimCity, where you put together a city’s infrastructure and zones, and the computer would fill up that city with people and homes and offices and other things.
Every now and then, a dense residential zone would turn into a hospital or church, which wouldn’t get you much resident density for that zone.
So, I’d bulldoze it and rezone it, and the residents would pour back in.
Until another church or hospital appeared.
After two hours of playing Whack-a-Mole with them, I gave up.
Completely. God crumpled the disk and threw it in the trash.

Weekly Challenge #598 – Mask

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:

Tinny

GINGER

Mask

Belinda was a masked individual. Her face had been traumatically altered in an accident when she was young. Surgeons had attempted facial reconstruction at that time with little success. As an adult, Belinda held various back room jobs in stores as well as in restaurant kitchens. She could not work in view of the public for fear that the scars would scare patrons. She failed to inure advancement in office jobs because of an overriding fear on the part of her employers that the face of trauma might intimidate female co-workers. She maintained routine visits with a plastic surgeon. In time, the appearance of scarring no longer shocked the world. In time, she began to feel less guilt for being a monster.

JEFFREY

What The Eye Don’t See
by Jeffrey Fischer

You bought a mask, I put it on
You never thought to ask me
If I wear it when you’re gone

Get real
— Sisters of Mercy, “When You Don’t See Me”

My boss chewed me out because I was late. I tried to look contrite. He chewed me out again when he read my report – not up to standards, he said. I smiled wanly and said I would rewrite it; surely it would be better with his comments. At the staff meeting, the section chief commended the group for their efforts over the past year and those who made the company proud would be honored at this afternoon’s company-wide awards ceremony, though he noted that some weren’t pulling their weight. He stared at me while making that last point. I kept my mask on.

At lunch I went to the garage, found my car, popped the trunk, and took out the guns stored there. Screw the mask I had kept for many years. Today I had my own way of rewarding the company’s overachievers.

RICHARD

#1 – Fart at a funeral

It was one of those priceless moments.

A real trouser-tearer that practicality echoed throughout the chapel during the solemn silence. As for the culprit, we never found out.

The timing was perfect, the incongruity and inappropriateness, delicious… And my response, all too predictable.

I tried to mask it, but the badly disguised smirk on my face was obvious. As were the shoulders of the mourners in front of me, shaking with barely suppressed mirth.

With superhuman control, we somehow managed to regain our composure…

But it made for an unforgettable send off, for a somewhat less than memorable acquaintance!

#2 – The Mask

You see it everywhere – at every protest, every riot, every scene of political unrest.

The Guy Fawkes’ mask – now wholly appropriated as the best-dressed protester’s choice for anonymity. It’s replaced the balaclava with its overtly paramilitary overtones, whilst the old standby – a scarf covering the face – suggests a lack of preparation and any real dedication to the cause.

I can’t help wondering what old Guy Fawkes would have made of it. I can imagine him smiling at the thought. Although you’d never know it… On account of the Guy Fawkes mask that he always insisted on wearing!

CHARLIE

He started to wear mask the day he was convicted of pederasty in the small town where he lived. He further disguised himself by gaining a hundred pounds and changing his dress style. He disguised his voice by getting a private voice coach.

No one ever questioned his mask. He voluntarily revealed the disfigurement he suffered in Paris from an acid attack. He wore a scarf tight, to further disguise himself and to heighten the illusion.

Unknowingly, the mask was that of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. Literati and hipsters put two and two together, so his secret was out.

#2

I couldn’t mask the smell by spraying lemon oil. The odor persisted. Someone had “upper decked” my commode during the party. It was the gardener – recently fired for his poor attitude and his outrageous rates. I invited him because he was a relative.

The prank blocked the outflow, and the subsequent eruption caused havoc and an odor that triggered most of the party-goers to leave, dry-heaving and retching as they went out the doors.

I was never able to prove whom the guilty party was, but from that day on, I made it my duty to “upper deck” everyone’s toilet.

SERENDIPITY

“Would you like something to mask the pain?” I asked, with genuine concern in my voice.

You nodded, through the agony, teeth gritted, eyes wide with pleading.

I wanted to be certain that I understood what you were telling me.

“Are you sure? “, I said.

“Yes!” You screamed, with all the strength you could muster.

Well, that was pretty clear, and to be honest, I was a little surprised. But, I wouldn’t argue, if that’s what you wanted.

So I hacked off your feet too.

“There you go. That should take your mind off what’s left of your hands!”

LIZZIE

Lean forward and read the words, she thought, one after the other, one after the other, paragraph following paragraph, obediently covering the pages of a blank book. For the others, the pages were blank, and had nothing written on them. Yet, she saw words, one after the other, strings of paragraphs covering the desert of whiteness. She forgot the ban. And the world became warm.
Lean back, she thought, place the mask back on. No one will see how you can travel away. The book went back on the shelf of empty books, and no one knew she could read.

JON

Before Me and Behind Me
By
Jon DeCles
We mask our feelings: we mask our fears, we mask our joys, showing nothing to those around us. Our masks are armor that protects us from the untoward unrealized threat.
But worse than the mask we wear to show to others how little power they have over us is the mask we wear that faces inward, the mask we show unto ourselves, pretending who we want to be and looking at that mask and believing we are that, and not the shadowy person who lives behind the public mask, the inner mask, the person whose raw nature we fear most.

My Salad Days, When I Was Green in Judgement, Cold in Blood
By
Jon DeCles

A salad is usually made by the chef, but only on rare occasions does the chef actually cook a salad, so on those occasions is he cooking or not? We could call him a cook, but suppose the cook works in a salad bar? Or how about those occasions when desert is assembled out of freshly chilled raw comestibles, like fruit or ice? There is a delightful Philippine desert made of what I think to be slightly fermented fruits mixed with small chunks of ice: that’s not cooking, is it? But we do have it prepared by the cook, no?.

TOM

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear

It was 1957 and every kid who could talk their parents into springing the coin wanted to be the Lone Ranger for Halloween. Rudy had not only got the cool black mask, six shooter, and silver bullets. He had also convinced his less than enthusiastic little brother Lenny to accompany him as Tonto. For the greater part of the night they were racking in serious sugar cash, but then a pack of kids dressed at the Butch Cavendish’s gang fell on them. “We’ve been in worst straights, Tonto.” “What do you mean ‘We’ Whiteman?” said Lenny exiting stage right.

TURA

Mask
———
The Red Flash and the accountant faced each other.

The accountant whipped off his mask, “No mere accountant I,” he said. “Behold Magnetron!”

“Not so fast, Magnetron,” said The Red Flash, “for I am–” he whipped off his mask, “–Xray! I see beneath that mask–”

“Curses! But your X-rays are powerless against–” Magnetron whipped off his mask, “Galaxian!”

“But I am really–” said Xray, whipping off his mask. “–Mr Neutrino! Nothing deflects me!”

“But I am–” said Galaxian, whipping off his mask, “Nigel Weems, Accountant! Your neutrinos are a mere accounting error!”

Nigel awoke, sighed and returned to his desk.

NORVAL JOE

The security guard strode down the passage.
Axel looked anywhere beside the advancing officer, hoping to mask his overwhelming anxiety.
His worst fears were realized when the man stopped in front of him.
“You’re in a controlled sector. Why are you here?” the guard asked.
“I’m waiting for someone. And this isn’t a controlled sector, or I couldn’t have walked into this passage,” Axel countered feigning bravado.
His act didn’t work. The guard suddenly had him in a choke hold, dragging him toward the link.
“You’re here to make a drug deal and I’m going to find out for whom.”

LAIEANNA

“What do you think, Jack?” she asked, flaunting her new look.

The mask advertised a fresh new face in just twenty-four hours and
Sara couldn’t wait for Jack to see what she did for him, always for
him. They hadn’t spoken in weeks, but she kept tabs on where and what
he did. When the mutual friend’s party came up, Sara arrived smiling
with bright whites, tossing her blowout, and batting the eyelashes of
her new face.

Jack looked with his usual disdain and shook his head. “Sara,
nothing’s changed. Your insides are still showing. Go away, you
psycho bitch.”

DUANE

Mask

The Devil was looking over my shoulder. Had been for ten minutes. Maybe an hour, I was pretty stoned. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone. They would just say, “you are so high!” So I sat there, hair on end. I decided one more look then I’d tell someone. I glanced around and his face shot toward me. I was up, across the room with the lights on in one move.

My “friend” stood in the corner with a Devil mask, laughing hysterically. I punched him in the chest as hard as I could, then we were cool.

PLANET Z

Halloween was right around the corner.
Every year, Freddy trick-or-treated as a ghost, and his mother would take away his candy because he’d ruined a sheet.
Once again, he’d waited too long. The stores were out of costumes.
Even those crappy plastic smocks with the lame cardboard masks with elastic bands.
Freddy sighed, grabbed a sheet from the linen closet, and cut out two holes.
But this time, he’d take two candy bags.
One to stash the good stuff in a tree, and one to hand over when he got home.
Sadly, Freddy stashed the wrong bag in the tree.