Weekly Challenge #565 – NORMAL

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 Tin

JEFFREY

Higher Education
by Jeffrey Fischer

Back in the day, a Normal School was essentially a training school for teachers. In the United States, they date back to the 19th century, while Europe had even older examples. These days, many of the Normal Schools have been transformed into typical universities. You may not even know the background of these schools; UCLA started as one, for example.

Lesser-known are the country’s Abnormal Schools. These have always been secretive, and that secrecy continues to this day. No one brags about graduating from an Abnormal School, no matter how prestigious the institution. And yet, here’s something you might not know… every national politician since the days of Millard Fillmore graduated from one of these schools. It explains a lot.

LIZZIE

A normal day always started with a nice cup of coffee. This wasn’t a normal day.
When she picked up the cup, the stain of lipstick on the brim glared back at her, a mocking slap on the face.
The stupid ass had forgotten to clean the cup right.
She walked to the bedroom and looked around carefully. Everything was in its rightful place. Except…
An earring had rolled under the bed. Silver. A loop, how fitting.
She picked up the phone.
“Go for it.”
Two days later, he was found by the river, wearing a shiny silver loop earring.

RICHARD

#1 – Abnormal Norman

Norman was far from normal – nothing to do with the odd socks with holes in the heels, the plant pot he wore on his head, or the stuffed pet fish he’d take for walks in the park.

It wasn’t the toasted marshmallows he insisted on for breakfast, or the dinner parties for dogs that he loved to host.

And it wasn’t his habit of bathing in malt vinegar and chocolate sauce.

None of these set him apart.

Norman was far from normal because he was the last king of England, and a perfect example of the folly of inbreeding.

#2 – SNAFU

Got up, fell out of bed, got a bruise on my forehead.

Made a brew; milk was off, burned the toast – smoke made me cough.

Running late, I lost my hat, made the bus in seconds flat. Wrong bus: I ended up lost, now I’m really counting the cost.

When I finally got to work, the boss chewed me out and called me a jerk.

Phone rang – it was my wife – got into a bit of strife. So no fun tonight, it’s always the same.

What a day, but can’t complain; every one is just the same…

JON

It’s Not Normal

By Jon DeCles

“It’s not normal for a dog to behave that way!” Paul said.

“You’re right,” said Ruth.

“I hope she’s not sick,” said Paul.

“I hope it’s not rabies!” said Ruth, with alarm.

They backed away.

The Collie danced around, ran off toward the gate in the fence surrounding the farm house, then came bounding back. She barked, ran off again, came back again.

“I’d take her to the vet, but if it’s rabies I don’t dare touch her,” said Ruth.

The dog did her best, but the humans didn’t understand that Timmy had fallen down a well. Thus Timmy drowned.

TOM

école normale

The tradition of teaching colleges goes back to the 1680s. Jean-Baptiste La Salle founded it in Champagne, France, given the amount of liquor the average teacher need to carry on, quite appropriate. The First normal school in America was founded in 1839 my Samuel Hall in Concord, Vermont. Not the one with shoot heard round the world. Southern Illinois, and UCLA were both normal school. Norman school were laboratory school. Providing a model school with model classrooms to teach model teaching practices to its student teachers. Children, teachers, and the teachers of the teachers were often together in the same building.

SERENDIPITY

Don’t try to tell me what’s normal!

Just because I don’t fit into your stereotypical definitions of acceptable behaviour and societal standards doesn’t mean that I’m wrong, or that you’re right.

I’m different. Live with it, and if you can’t, then keep your mouth shut and stay out of my way. You have no right to tell me how to live my life simply because I don’t happen to obey your arbitrary rules.

I don’t care that you’re a judge, and I’m guilty.

I’ll still hunt you down when I get out.

And my revenge will be far from normal!

MUNSI

Normalized
By Christopher Munroe

This is normal.

This has always been normal, and it’s the way things have always been.

Things have never been any different than this, and when people tell you “We can not allow this to be normalized!” you can safely pay them no mind.

We can normalize this.

And we will.

Although there is no need.

Because all of this is already perfectly normal, perfectly ordinary, reliable and predictable and well in keeping with what has gone before, and requires no more thought than that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a story to write.

About a Party Bus…

TURA

Normal
———
Everything adds up to normality, they say. When physicists discovered that solid matter is mostly empty space, people weren’t suddenly able to walk through walls. The physicists could even explain why.

So why did people turn into zombies when neuroscientists finally explained consciousness? People read about it and the lights go out in their head. A fundamentalist militant Buddhism that denies the self is sweeping the world.

The zombies get suspicious of the conscious ones, immune to the basilisk. There are lynchings. There’s talk of pogroms.

Everything may add up to normality, but the calculation could take a long time.

NORVAL JOE

I heard one guy say that alternate lifestyles are the new normal. Unfortunately, something alternate can never be considered normal by the very definitions of the words. Normal means, the norm. You know, average, the most common. Alternate means, not the most common, not the norm. Ab–normal.
There’s nothing wrong with being ab–normal.
There’s nothing wrong with being normal.
Alternate lifestyles are the new acceptable.
The normal lifestyle is for a man and woman to marry, endure one another for three to ten years, then get divorced.
Therefore, any relationship that lasts a lifetime is abnormal.
I think that’s great.

LAIEANNA

PLANET Z

I like to buy minor league baseball caps.
The sillier the team name, mascot, or logo, the better.
The Normal, Illinois baseball team asked their fans to vote on a name, but due to a security flaw on their website, the vote was rigged by hackers.
They ran it again with the CornBelters, the Nutz, the Coal Bears, the Fellers, and the CamelBacks.
Eventually, the fans settled on the CornBelters, and their logo is a confused ear of corn.
I added the ballcap’s store page to my bookmarks list for consideration.
Maybe I’ll buy it someday.
But I doubt it.

Weekly Challenge #564 – LICK

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 cupboard

CHARLIE

Faster than a cat can lick it’s behind. That’s fast, not too fast, not half fast, just fast enough to be efficient, I suppose.

It’s the speed that I assign to my piece-work employees. As they extract the piece from the mold, remove the flashing, and inspect the body of device. I ask that they do it at speed, and that they are consistent with the speed at which they perform the action. If they do not do this, they are removed from the line, beaten, fined a week’s wage, and forced to live in less comfortable housing.

A second offence is a death sentence, or they are exiled to a small island off the coast.

JEFFREY

Reaching the Pinnacle
by Jeffrey Fischer

Steve wasn’t a bright bulb. Everyone knew this – even his mother said he didn’t have a lick of sense. His personality did nothing to overcome his lack of intelligence. He had a volatile temper that, when it erupted, was directed toward anyone who disagreed with him.

Mysteriously, these handicaps did nothing to hinder his career. He became a business tycoon, with almost unimaginable wealth. True, that career had its ups and downs, and the downs were embarrassing. The press loves a winner, but it loves picking on a loser even more.

In the end, despite his limitations, he became president… of a huge software company. Go figure.

RICHARD

Lick

“It’s mostly cosmetic, only needs a lick of paint! “.

I couldn’t agree – the place was clearly riddled with damp, there was a huge structural crack in the back wall and the spongy feel underfoot definitely hinted at woodworm.

Still, the defects gave me a distinct buyer’s advantage and most of the other bidders dropped out pretty early, rather than throw away their cash.

After the deal was sealed, the vendor laughed: “It’ll take more than a lick of paint before moving in!”

“It’s not for me… And I don’t care about the tenants, as long as they pay the rent!”

MUNSI

…on Pub Games
By Christopher Munroe

“Betcha won’t lick that!”

It’s the disgusting game that anyone can play, you simply need to point to a thing, and utter the phrase.

Your opponent, now roped in, must lick, or concede defeat, which for some is nearly impossible, especially after a few drinks.

And trust me, this is not a game anyone plays sober.

I’m good at it, I have almost no impulse control, so to most I’m a formidable opponent.

Though I admit, I’ve lost more than once.

When asked to lick the FLOOR of the party bus, for example, I got while the getting was good…

JON

The Late, Great…

By

Jon DeCles

America needed her Conservatives. They reined things in, kept her Liberals from going too far. They maintained the balance.

Enter the Neo-Con-Artists. They made Conservatism flashy and fashionable: but they also outspent the Liberals thousands to one. They undermined the principals of Conservatism, and left the true Conservatives looking dusty and dowdy.

Barnum said there’s a fool born every minute, and two crooks to take him.

Barnum and Bailey has folded, unable to compete with the Circus in Washington.

Ronald Reagan is best remembered for taking down a wall.

Donald Trump may be best remembered for putting up a wall.

**

You Can’t Lick Our Dick

By

Jon DeCles

Well, that was not officially Nixon’s slogan, and it certainly was belied by his loss to John F. Kennedy in a race for the presidency, and his loss for the governorship of California to Pat Brown. But the man had resilience!

He ran for president again in ’68 and won. He ended the draft. He opened trade with China. He initiated an anti-ballistic missile treaty. He transferred power from the central control of Washington back to the States. He enforced desegregation and established the Environmental Protection Agency. He was president when we landed on the moon.

He was a Republican.

TOM

Lick

Being a child of the 50s I am bracketed between Elvis and the Beatles. I wish I could say the Stones, but alas I didn’t get a vote in the meme. By the time KISS showed up it was way to indecorous to lay a musical claim on the band. So in the passing days and nights I never heard a single KISS song until … Lick it Up. Well what can I say? Brilliant, the high-water mark in Western Civilization. Everything that went before just silly little love songs. Please pass the white grease paint. Black Shamrock what’ya think?

SERENDIPITY

I watched the flames lick the coals in the grate, painting their flickering, insubstantial images in the darkness, like a story unfolding before me.

It seemed to me they were speaking to me, the crackle of the flames whispering secrets in my mind and compelling me to respond.

“Burn!” They seemed to say; “Burn it all… Burn everything to the ground”

It was a voice that could not be ignored; one that I simply had to obey.

I’m sorry about your house, but really I’m afraid that it’s all your fault. I always said you should have fitted central heating!

LIZZIE

Late, as always.
Her pathetic little assistant, buzzing with enthusiasm for his new job and who had the annoying habit of licking his fingers to turn every page of every report, had proven to be quite the slacker.
When she entered her office, nothing was done. Unacceptable. The problem was that the eccentric middle-aged man now owned half the company. She’d have to get rid of him, but how?
Pushing him down the stairs? Too obvious. Hiring someone to get rid of him? Too expensive.
Then, mysteriously, he became quite ill.
They say reading reports is hazardous to your health.

NORVAL JOE

When Wanda accepted the position of Tiger Trainer at the Morganstern Brother’s Circus, she assured the Ring Master, that she had an almost telepathic empathy with animals, and that she wouldn’t need to use a whip on the large cats, as the previous trainer had.
“Watch this,” she said and walked fearlessly into the cage with the tigers and held out her bare arms for them to lick. “Seeee? They’re showing me how much they love me.”
And they did love her. Every ounce. The three tigers ate everything but her sequined costume and the red ribbon in her hair.

LAIEANNA

“If they say jump off a bridge, will you?” his mother asked, “or stand in front of an oncoming train? And if they dare you to stick your finger in the mouth of a snapping turtle, are you going to do that?” Max only offered up a shrug she was too furious to notice. “Why would you lick a metal pole in winter?”

Stuck lying in the hospital bed after his incident, Max snuck a hand down to shake his pocket. Three quarters and a Snickers weren’t bad rewards. If they upped the ante, he would consider the other stunts.

TURA

Lick
———
On the plains of Audhumla, a shower of rain is rare and passes in minutes, hardly more than dampening the ground. But the petrichor brings creatures from far and wide to lick the minerals leached from the broken grey slabs. The glabbeeks come first, lizards no larger than a finger, that can travel miles to reach the lick. Then the girondelles, nervous of predators, but hungry for the minerals they need. And certainly the feloids will arrive and pick off one or two of the herd, and the scavengers will have their share.

Thus life on Earth continues, after Man.

PLANET Z

I knew a girl who hired herself out as an assassin.
She got the job done, and got out. Nothing fancy.
Usually, she’d pay some homeless guy to shoot her target, or shove them under a bus.
Walk into a public restroom, stuff the wig into a purse, wipe off the makeup, turn her jacket inside-out, and she’d walk out a different person.
She didn’t do anything fancy or sexy, like licking her gun.
“That’s a great way to shoot off your tongue,” she said.
One day, she’ll kill me to cover her tracks.
“Free of charge,” she says, smiling.

Weekly Challenge #563 – LATE

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:

Curled Tinny

CHARLIE

Sorry I’m late all the time. You wait for me, regardless of my habitual tardiness. It is the least you can do, since I’m superior to the whole frigging bunch of you. After all, you are, undoubtedly, a bunch of sleaze balls and miscreants, hell bent on causing any number of problems and harm to the good people of the county-just as I am.

Of course, I have to iron my sheet and touch up the edges on my Bowie knife in addition to gathering matches and small bottles of flammables for our nightly foray into the outskirts of town.

JEFFREY

Teen Angel
by Jeffrey Fischer

Sara snuck out of her bedroom window, scrambling onto the porch roof and lowering herself to the ground. It was late at night. Her parents were assuredly sleeping, but they seemed to have an uncanny sense for waking just as she passed their door, hence the dangerous exit.

A boy was involved; of course a boy was involved. She had met this one at a house party, a long-haired, heavily-tattooed interloper. No one seemed to know him, making Sara all the more smitten. She instantly agreed when he suggested the tryst.

Her parents tried not to worry when they noticed her missing the next morning. Soon Sara’s body was discovered. She had earned the title of the late Sara.

RICHARD

#1 – Late

I’ve never been particularly good when it comes to being on time, I’m invariably the last to arrive at parties, regularly miss trains, and frequently arrive late for important appointments.

I’m always being told off: It’s disrespectful, they say, you really should make the effort to be on time, especially considering your profession.

And what is my profession?

I’m an undertaker, and yes, I’m never on time, (the dead don’t really care!)

My friends have always laughed at me for about my timekeeping and say I’d be late for my own funeral.

Probably… I’ve been late for everybody else’s!

#2 – Shirley: Him

Shirley was late.

It was unlike her. She always finished at six, took the same bus home and her key would turn in the lock twenty minutes later.

He sat uncomfortably, as the tea he’d made her grew cold and undrinkable in its cup.

By eleven, he was frantic.

He’d called her friends and mother: None had heard from her. Now he was phoning around the local hospitals, but drawing a complete blank.

It was early hours the following morning when he finally dialled the police and heard himself say the fateful words: “I need to report a missing person.”

#3 – Shirley: The Other

Shirley was late.

It was unlike her. She always arrived at five, and it was worrying – considering the circumstances – that she hadn’t turned up.

He tried to relax, she’d be here shortly. He breathed deeply waiting for her key to turn in the lock.

By eleven, he was frantic.

He had a severe cramp, and could barely breathe. Things were not looking good.

It was the early hours of the following morning that the heart attack came.

When they found him, bound and chained in the gimp suit, it seemed hardly worth holding the inquest.

Death: by misadventure.

#4 – Shirley: Her

Shirley was late.

It was unlike her. But life was unpredictable, and hers was such a tangled mess it scarcely mattered if she missed the bus, or never turned up at all.

Sure, people were waiting for her; relying on her, but she felt no connection – only pain, anger and self-loathing.

So, it had come to this.

By eleven she’d arrived – a second rate motel in a backwater town. Calmly she ran the bath and reached for the razor blade.

By the early hours the following morning, it was over.

She was late… The late Shirley Elizabeth Swinton.

TOM

Just a Matter of Scope

Later that evening Sam and Lenny rolled the body bag into the river. “Don’t be late, now,” they laughed. Later that week Benny and Max drove Lenny and Sam’s car into the same river. “Don’t be late, now,” they laughed. Later that month Jimmy and Sal sent Lenny’s piper cub into the west river. “Don’t be late, now,” they laughed. Later that year Don Vito Demonte pored sixty ton of concrete into the same river “Don’t be late, Jimmy,” he laughed. The mushroom cloud pretty much vaporized the river. “Don’t be late, Vito,” said the old man in the wheelchair.

MUNSI

The Meeting
By Christopher Munroe

John, welcome, I’m glad you could finally join us, and you’re fired.

What do you mean: Why?

First of all, you’re fifty-five minutes late after I’d made it perfectly clear that our foreign investors were visiting today, and that I wanted to give the best possible impression.

Secondly, you reek of whiskey.

And finally, perhaps most damningly, I’m assuming you arrived in the “Party Bus” parked outside, blaring Dubstep as we speak.

Obviously there’s no place for this kind of behavior in…

…sorry, what?

ALL your lotto numbers hit?

Oh!

Well, in that event I suppose congratulations are in order!

SERENDIPITY

It is late.

Almost midnight now; just a minute or two remaining.

Then it is too late.

And afterwards?

All that has gone before, all the striving and endeavour will come to nothing. The hope, the joy; all that is great and good will turn to terror and pain, horror and despair.

Almost midnight now, just seconds away.

What have we achieved? What is our legacy? What epitaph will be spoken over our funeral pyre… And who will mourn our passing?

It is late.

And the hands of the Doomsday clock march relentlessly towards the midnight hour.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

NORVAL JOE

Bill slipped into the chapel and sat on the back pew, not wanting to disturb any of the family and friends who were considerate enough to arrive on time.
The eulogy was already in progress. He’d missed his niece’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art”. She was only sixteen but her voice had the maturity and depth of a much older singer.
The minister completed his thoughts. The organist began to play and, as the pall bearers carried the coffin passed his wife, she placed a bouquet of roses cut from his own garden on it; just as he’d asked.

LIZZIE

They were late.
“What now?” Ron sat on a rock.
Peter kicked the grass. He was furious.
“We keep looking.”
“Where? In there?” Ron stood up.
Peter walked up to the small cabin and kicked the door open.
“They didn’t take the jewel box with them. It’d be too dangerous. Look, a trap door.”
It was barely covered by some debris.
“Let’s get it and take off.”
A bright pair of green eyes stared back at them.
“Damn… Didn’t they say it was a box?”
The jewel was the 10 year old heir of the biggest fortune in the country.

TURA

Late
———
Travelling with Jim was a nightmare. I’d say, come on, we’ve a train to catch, and he’d say, we still have time. That’s right, I’d say, so we go now, and we catch the train. And he’d say, what’s the hurry, we’ve time.

He always had time, so he never had time.

He once got cancer, and he was in a pretty bad way. When the doctors said he wouldn’t make it, someone jumped the gun and put a death notice in the local paper. In the end he recovered. I guess you can be late to your own funeral.

PLANET Z

Fred worked at an office equipment company.
His job title was Punchclock Quality Control.
So, even when he was late to work, he was actually on time.
He was just testing the punchclock’s tardy algorithms.
He also took a lot of vacations to test the Time Management Application.
It was important to confirm that the system reported employees who ran out of vacation time, but still took time off.
One day, he showed up for work on time.
The system crashed.
“FAIL” he marked on the case, and sent it back to Development.
And he left for an early lunch.

Weekly Challenge #562 – PICK TWO: Lead, Floppy, Argon, Purple, Brunch, Taffy, Worried, Venerable

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

JEFFREY

The Club
by Jeffrey Fischer

Brunch at the club was always a tedious affair. I would be surrounded by elderly women in floppy hats and purple flowery dresses, and even more ancient, venerable-looking men in threadbare suits that were the height of fashion in 1972. The maitre d’ would invariably lead me to the worst table in the club, as though he was worried I would do something shameful. Perhaps he was right. The service was indifferent and the food nearly inedible.

So why did I continue going to the club, week after week, despite what sounds like an all-around unpleasant experience? Two words: bottomless mimosas.

MUNSI

Upon being invited to Brunch
By Christopher Munroe

Yes, I’d love to join you for brunch.

It’s a good meal, after all, and you’re a good person, at least everything I’ve learned about you has led me to believe you are, and I suspect that the two of us could very much enjoy one another’s company over food.

Just pick the place, and I’ll be there with a smile on my face. I’m already looking forward to it!

However, I’ll offer fair warning, don’t be shocked if I arrive via party bus.

It’s been a long couple of weeks for me, I don’t want to get into it…

RICHARD

#1 – Medical Advice

The doctor told me I really shouldn’t be worried: “Everyone gets a little floppy now and again – maybe work is a little stressful, or you’re just tired… Or could be one of those signs that you’re simply not as young as you used to be. Worrying yourself about it isn’t really going to help matters”.

I asked him if there was anything he could prescribe, but he was reluctant to go down that route.

“See how things work out”, he said.

Actually, everything worked out just fine. Turns out the girls just can’t resist a rabbit… with floppy ears!

#2 – Purple

It was one of those unfortunate accidents – working late in the lab one night, a freak combination of a leaky reactor, a spilled test tube, and a small explosion combined to subtly alter Professor Argon’s body chemistry in a totally unexpected manner.

Sadly, for the professor, his resulting super-power, although Interesting, appeared in practical terms, to be useless.

No incredible strength, invisibility, x-Ray vision or fantastic speed for him – instead, he gloried in bright purple skin during daylight hours.

He did, however make a fortune from copyrighting his colour and selling the international retail rights to paint manufacturers.

TOM

Y’all Come Back Now

Purple Brunch, Purple Brunch I only wanted to see you do is eating purple brunch. One of Prince’s last songs. It was going on the last album he was working on, oddly titled: I would die 4 U. All the songs were about food. It was part of a tie-in to the launching of Purple Rain Burger Shacks the home of the Purple Burger. No more singing and dancing, just an old black guy in a white suite. It worked for KFC why not PRBS. Prince even lay down serious coin for an office Kentucky Colonel proclamation. Tongue wagin good

LIZZIE

Blindfold

“Wear a blindfold and follow the hordes. Blindness is liberating. Not even the venerable elders will lead us through. Don’t fight it. That growing lightness cradles a fading uncertainty, a state of alluring oblivion, of complete exemption, it will free us.”

“Turn it off. That’s depressing.”
The silence invaded the darkest corners of the room as the two friends sat side by side in front of the TV.
“Did you notice she was pregnant?”
“I don’t want to think about it.”
“Did you notice…”
“No.”
“You’re wearing your blindfold already… You’re doing what they want.”
“Just shut the hell up.”

JON

Your Skin Color Wasn’t Relevant On The Radio

By

Jon DeCles

“Taniwa, Fury! It is I, Straight Arrow!”

The bus driver is old. He remembers World War II. He is also aware that you need passwords to do anything after the Millenium.

“Come on, what’s that from?”

“Radio,” says my friend Bruce. “He is a White Rancher by day, but when danger threatens he is the Heroic Indian, Straight Arrow. That’s how he greets his horse, who he keeps in a secret cave. First Native American radio hero I can remember.”

Bruce grins at me.

“It is I, Straight Arrow: and my friend, Not-So-Straight Arrow!”

“Come on aboard!” the driver smiles.

***

In Modern Washington

By

Jon DeCles

The venerable Taffy worried that the brunch she had planned would be heavy as lead. She wanted it to be as light as argon, and she hoped as inert. She was tired of parties that disintegrated into brawls. She hoped for parties where everyone was cheerful, happy, non-corrosive: but she would settle for simple good manners and pleasant conversation.

Lobbying had always been done by women. At least the best of it. She longed for the days when Elsa had seated General Eisenhower next to Marilyn Monroe. She put on her floppy purple hat, sighed, and headed for the garden.

***

SERENDIPITY

The Venerable Reverend Albert Shuttlestone closed and locked his vestry door, threw his purple robe carelessly over a chair, and poured himself a large scotch.
Sinking into a battered leather chair, he pondered, over his position.

Had selling his soul to Satan been a bad thing? He wasn’t sure. Certainly, he had a massive and loyal congregation now, none of whom suspected they were on their way to the eternal fire, but there was still one constant irritation that troubled him.

Being the devil’s disciple was definitely cool…

But those bloody black masses were boring the hell out of him!

TURA

Lead; venerable
———
There were lead shot sewn into the hem, to make the robes hang better, enhancing their gravity to enhance the gravitas of the Venerable Primate. Hah! He had never felt less venerable, with the new king openly contemptuous of everyone outside his coterie.

“These robes,” he said to his dresser, “do not meet the moment.”

“Yes, the times are changed,” said the dresser discreetly. “Ex officio, you can wear a military coat, but perhaps something ambassadorial would suit.”

“An excellent idea,” said the Archibishop. “Expressing intent on constructive accommodation.”

But he feared that he might not long survive the coronation.
———

DANNY

Venerable Captain Spaulding of the Taffy industry woke up one day to realize he could not get any lead in his pencil. Suffering from Floppy penis, aka, erectile dysfunction, off to the Urologist he went. “Good News!” the urologist exclaimed, “We have just invented a purple Argon therapy that will make Viagra obsolete! All we have to do is shove a fluorescent tube up your urethra in what can only be described as a painful operation!” Worried, Spaulding replied, “are there any side effects?” “Only if you get an erection,” Doc retorted. “OK, doc, I’m convinced. One prescription for Viagra!”

NORVAL JOE

As the dust settled around the startled exploring party, Thurbing worried that their adventure had come to an end. When the ringing finally faded from his ears, he discovered that an unusual crunching sound was actually the venerable wizard’s laughter.
“What find ye so blasted humorous, old man?” Karbunkle asked. “We be in our tomb.”
“Not to be worried, my worthy companion. Follow my lead and you, like the rest of us, will be free of this crypt, forthwith,” Fenestration said.
A purple glow surrounded the wizard from his boots to his floppy black hat. Still cackling, he strode forward.

PLANET Z

Purple Argon topped the charts for weeks with their Venerable Taffy album.
Not that the charts meant much anymore.
When was the last time you went to a record store? Or bought an album?
Sure, the charts take into account online stores, like iTunes and Amazon Music.
But the record companies and recording industry get all the money anyway.
Bands get nothing.
This is why bands tour so much. Ticket sales that pay the bills. Or don’t.
They’ll break up, reform as Lead Brunch, and go out on tour again.
But the cool kids will still wear Purple Argon shirts.

Weekly Challenge #561 – Bus

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

JEFFREY

The Wheels on the Bus
by Jeffrey Fischer

Phil’s son was eight, and Phil loved him very much. This is why, against his better judgment, Phil volunteered to be a parent chaperone for the class field trip to the science museum in Middleburg, the nearest big town. Thirty eight-year-olds, two parents, a teacher, and one frazzled bus driver in a single vehicle. Phil had also forgotten that the science museum was about 50 miles from the school.

After the fifteenth round of “the wheels on the bus go round and round,” Phil snapped. He remained in a catatonic state until delivered home. Only then did he come around, revived by copious quantities of beer. As a result of the trip, Phil never boarded a bus again.

MUNSI

The Party Bus: Volume II

There will come a day when you’ll want off the party bus.

Not forever, of course not, but for a while. You’ll realize you’re not as young as you were, and that the party bus lifestyle is no longer something you can live full time.

There’s no need to feel ashamed.

It’s part of growing up, and when the time comes accept it with grace.

Pull over, get off, and don’t look back as it drives away.

Feel neither guilt nor shame.

Cuz while there ain’t no party like a party bus party, still, a party bus party must stop.

CHARLIE

Uncle Ralph dug the hole with his Cat 416 backhoe. After the hole was dug, an old, 61 passenger bus was slid into the hole.

We used the bus as a clubhouse through middle and high school. A large hatch and a ladder was constructed under a disguised trap door on the forest floor, and several vents were neatly and cleverly hidden inside hollow trees.

We opened up membership to our exclusive club and sold time inside the bus to locals that wanted a private, secure place to partake of their dalliances and drug use.

The bus is still there.

RICHARD

Bus

My father was a bus conductor. He wasn’t employed by the bus company, neither did he inspect tickets. In fact, it’s true that he never boarded a bus in any official capacity.

Neither, for that matter, did the rest of the band.

The percussionists sat on the back seat; brass and woodwind on the left; strings to the right, and dad would stand by the luggage rack holding on to the straps for dear life!

In the end. The bus company banned them, of course. Not because of the noise, but because there was never any room to carry passengers!

LIZZIE

Right by the bus stop, Roger noticed a strange flower. It seemed to have grown exponentially overnight.
He walked closer and noticed the flower was panting. Suddenly, it spat out some bones.
Roger jumped back, alarmed, hiding behind the glass of the bus stop. Those looked like fingers, he thought.
“Where’s the damn bus?”
The following morning, the reports on TV were slightly intriguing. A whole bus and a young man waiting at the bus stop had mysteriously vanished.

“I think we have finally developed it right. We are ready to take over that miserable planet. Start the count down.”

TOM

In the Long Haul
Jack had been wedged into the Greyhound seat between the window and an 80 years old farmer for the last two days. Said farmer was only going as far as Omaha, but he had spent hour upon hour describing all the places he had visited in Chicago in 1917 always ending with the punctuation, “probably tore down.” When the seat became empty in Nebraska the Gods of Crappy Bus Trips didn’t fail to deliver. An ex-grade school teacher from Omaha who remembered the name of every single student she had taught, and was quite happy to share with Jack

SERENDIPITY

We used to sing songs on the bus… A happy bunch of kids, without a care in the world, heading off to school.

Or should I say, a happy bunch of kids, and one crazy, disturbed bus driver.
He hated those songs, and he hated us kids. Hated us with a passion defying reason, which ultimately caused him to snap. That fateful day the school bus, with all on board, plummeted from the cliff road… The school run finally silenced.

But not quite…

We still sing our songs tormenting the driver.

Only now he must suffer them for all eternity!

JON

Your Skin Color Wasn’t Relevant On The Radio

By

Jon DeCles

“Taniwa, Fury! It is I, Straight Arrow!”

The bus driver is old. He remembers World War II. He is also aware that you need passwords to do anything after the Millenium.

“Come on, what’s that from?”

“Radio,” says my friend Bruce. “He is a White Rancher by day, but when danger threatens he is the Heroic Indian, Straight Arrow. That’s how he greets his horse, who he keeps in a secret cave. First Native American radio hero I can remember.”

Bruce grins at me.

“It is I, Straight Arrow: and my friend, Not-So-Straight Arrow!”

“Come on aboard!” the driver smiles.

NORVAL JOE

My plan for when I finally lose my mind is that I’ll use my social security check to get a small apartment downtown and a monthly bus pass.
Everyday, I’ll ride the bus to the shopping mall wearing swimming goggles, a speedo, and a beach towel wrapped around my shoulders for my super hero cape. I’ll spend my day eating mall food, assisting the mall cops apprehend criminals, walking around the mall addressing all the shoppers as “Citizen”, and other super hero activities.
Just because I’m crazy doesn’t mean I can’t have fun or spend my time doing something worthwhile.

TURA

Bus
———
“The Routemaster was the best bus ever made,” he said, with a gleam in his eyes. “Built for efficient maintenance, did you know it only takes twenty minutes to swap out the engine? But people say it’s old-fashioned, they go for fads like bendy buses and driver-only, no romance.

“Bradford City Council still uses the Routemaster, and not only do I know the bus manager there, he knows me, and sometimes I can help him get hold of spare parts. You just try finding an original stainless steel throckle bracket these days!”

That’s the last time I date a bus-spotter.

Z

Organizers fill the schoolbus, and hand out signs as the driver carries the group across the city to the protest.
As the passengers exit, the organizers tell each: “You’ll get your fifty bucks when the protest is over and you hand back your sign.”
They join the others, and the organizers send the bus back to the pickup point to get more.
Twenty schoolbuses running a circuit, all morning long, until they run out of fuel.
“We’ll be back,” the organizers say, and they abandon the bus.
At the end of the day, the organizers watch the news, and laugh.

Weekly Challenge #560 – Party

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 shame

CHARLIE

The party lasted a full year. It only broke up after all the drugs were depleted. Three party goers passed away over the year, four couples were married, two babies were born, two children left home, and four declared their wish to transgender AND quit drinking and binging on psychedelics. Oh, and one auburn-haired woman was beamed up on some kind of blue tractor beam into a big spaceship.

Right before this happened, several of us swore we saw Carrie Fisher laughing, in among the faces pointing and looking out of the ports of the craft. I hope it’s true.

MUNSI

The Party Bus: Volume I
By Christopher Munroe

Every bus is a party bus, if approached with the right attitude.

You simply need to believe. In yourself, in the bus and, most importantly, in getting this party started.

Because truly, starting this party is your responsibility, nobody else is going to start it for you. It is your party, just as it is your bus, and it is up to you to start them.

And every moment you put this task off is a moment spent not partying.

You have a responsibility, take it seriously.

Just ask yourself; What would Andrew W. K. do?

And then: Party Hard.

JEFFREY

Office Holiday Party
by Jeffrey Fischer

Every year was the same: Frank, the regional manager, organized the office “holiday” party. Caterers brought food, but the real draw was the open bar. The company paid for everyone to get so drunk that the next morning was lucky to have a skeleton crew at work. Over the years, punches were thrown, friendships among colleagues ended, and several marriages went under.

In 2016, Frank decided to cut down on the mayhem and regrets by having a dry party. It turned out that his employees didn’t much like one another. Everyone left early. Frank’s resolution for 2017 was to bring back the booze.

LISA

What Remains
In a matches strike it started and a slow lick of flame over cedar lit them.

Naked and goosebumped. Together at last, they didn’t notice the dark cold room, their sanctuary. Couldn’t see the wrong in what they did. Led by desire, rather than logic.

And as their eyes met so too did their lips; in a rush of heat as the flames leapt higher beside them. Kindling dried over a long hot summer.

It burnt to almost nothing.

A mess of ash the next day in the fireplace.

Easily swept away although of course dust floats and clings forever.

ZACKMANN

I hate to interrupt since you would make a cute couple. I know I am a killjoy. Being a parent who works security I have been informed of being a killjoy more than once.
You two are so into your conversation that you maybe didn’t notice me walking past every ten minutes for the last hour since the band packed up after playing “Closing Time”.
Do you need directions to the freeway?
The rest of you part left over ninety minutes ago and the clean up crew is waiting to finish this room so you really need to leave now.

LIZZIE

The party was scheduled for ten.
Lucia stressed over everything, the lights, the music, the food, the lights.
“What’s wrong with the lights?”
“Honey, they are crooked.”
“The lights are fine.”
She shrugged and walked away to stress over the food again.
Eleven and no one had arrived.
“Where is everyone?”
Midnight and nothing.
The next morning, Lucia received an email signed by everyone, claiming they had orchestrated that revenge for some obscure reason she couldn’t understand.
She didn’t care. She was still fixated on the crooked lights.
“The lights were fine!” yelled Peter from the kitchen, reading her mind.

SERENDIPITY

I like to let my hair down, in fact you could say I’m something of a party animal.

Although there’s a good chance that you and I may have rather different ideas about what that means.

Because, when I hit the dance floor, strut my stuff and entice you closer; willingly accepting your offer of a drink, laughing at your jokes and suggesting we find a quiet, dark alleyway somewhere, where we can have our own little ‘party’…

You’d be well advised to refuse and walk away.

Because that’s when I become an animal… Although only during a full moon!

RICHARD

Party

Political party – now there’s an oxymoron, if ever I saw one.

Politics around these parts is certainly no party, neither is it a game.

Unless your idea of fun is dirty tactics, foul play, backstabbing, backhanders, spin and lies.

Of course nobody ever admits the truth, even though we all know it. Instead we smile, pretend it’s all above board and correct, and turn a blind eye. We dress up politics to look like something it patently is not.

But, no amount of cupcakes, funny hats and silly games will ever convince me that politics is anything remotely, a party!

TOM

Hail To The Thief
I am a RINO. A member of the party for 45 years. I cannot tell you how many time this party has been hi-jacked. How many time it has abandon its core beliefs. Been led to folly and beyond. I thought I had seen it all, but what is about to happen is truly beyond the pale. I long for a time when conservative meant best use of recourses and not a banner for denying others access to the bounty this country produces. I can only hope my party passes quickly through the gathering darkness and return to the light.

JON

The Party’s Over

By Jon DeCles

It was a great party, or so people thought. Winter nights give way to bright lights, a little too much to drink, the conviction that the cold air will disperse the buzz and bring sobriety. Sometimes it’s true,but it should never be taken for granted.

The canyon is narrow, and even late in the afternoon the sun has not reached the blacktop, and the ice, like the shattered glass of windshields, remains thick.

You can hurry too much, or nod off early. Either mistake is ultimately agricultural. A little twist, a slide. The canyon grows thick with plastic flowers.

NORVAL JOE

The exploration party lit torches and crept into the temple, the wizard leading the way.
Fenestration raised a hand to stop the group and held his torch up to the wall.
Gold symbols flashed to life in the reflected firelight.
Karbunkle growled, “What be the meaning of these inscriptions?”
The wizard hummed tunelessly for a moment, then said, “It is an ancient script. From what I make out it says, ‘All may enter. Only the worthy may leave.'”
With a rumble that shook the ground, a stone slab dropped from the ceiling behind them, blocking the exit from the cave.

TURA

Party
———
An official decided to hold a celebration, following his appointment to a high office. He sent an invitation to General Wei.

General Wei responded, “The inferior man hopes for an invitation. The mediocre man solicits an invitation. The superior man needs no invitation. Therefore to those of inferior rank one must send invitations, to those of one’s own rank one should make the event known, but one may merely hope that persons of superior rank elevate the event by their presence.”

Then he removed the official from his post, and ordered that he be invited to his successor’s inaugural celebration.

PLANET Z

Commander Toschlog organized the first Super Bowl party on the moon.
The hydroponic units produced tofu with sequenced buffalo wing flavoring.
The distiller and reclamators produced plenty of beer and vodka.
And they scheduled plenty of satellite time to handle the video feed.
Technically, gambling’s illegal on the base, but friendly bets that involve covering someone else’s shift or other favors were permitted.
Well, overlooked.
A lot of cheering. A lot of noise.
But best of all, everybody could watch the commercials and laugh.
Because nobody was going to special-order anything on a supply flight for at least two years.

Weekly Challenge #559 – Fun

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:

Occupied by cat

CHARLIE

I always order Chow Fun as takeout. I love the lard varnish on the noodles, and how they slide so quickly down my throat. The other foods I like slathered in lard are tongue, shark fin, spleen, tripe and pig’s knuckles.

I grew up in a family of big people…big people that worked with their hands, and during wine grape harvesting, worked with their big, gnarly feet to crush the grapes in the traditional way.

Most of my family had their stomachs stapled by the time I finished vocational school. I stayed slim by eating rancid oil and mung beans.

JEFFREY

The Job
by Jeffrey Fischer

Hank was the town executioner. He carried out the ultimate punishment when the jury imposed it and had done so with professionalism and enthusiasm for years. The problem was that the job just wasn’t fun any more. Read the warrant, throw the switch, repeat. Eight hours a day, five days a week. (This was a tough town. At least the benefits were good.) Hank told his boss, “The job has no growth potential. I feel creatively stifled.”

His boss nodded. “I understand what you’re saying. Back in my day, it was ‘Read the warrant, chop off the head’ all day long. It’s the nature of the job. But I have an idea…”

After that, Hank got to choose the method of execution: hanging, blade, gun… he especially liked some of the more creative methods. The fun was back.

MUNSI

Fun
By Christopher Munroe

In the morning, in the evening, ain’t we got fun?

Well?

Ain’t we?

I work so fucking hard, I do my job every day, without complaint, and I ask for so little in return. A little fun, in the morning, and perhaps a little in the evening when I get home, and I don’t think, considering everything I put up with, that this is an unreasonable thing for me to expect.

So, I’ll ask again, and this time really consider your answer before you give it.

In the morning, in the evening, ain’t we got fun?

Well?

Ain’t we, punk?

TOM

Bluestocking to Barbie

Girl just want to have fun. Does this rule out real estate, 401K-s, Gold, Diamonds? What exactly constitutes being a Girl? Shouldn’t being over 30 make one suspect of having an elderly agenda? The song seems to be a slap in the face at pay equity, sending the women’s movement new marching orders.

On the other hand it might be a cautionary anthem. The dominate female pleas with the protagonist. “When you gonna live your life right.” The paterfamilias voices a vailed Cassandric concern. “What you gonna do with your life.” What’s the big deal about walking in the sun?

It is a tale. Told by an idiot

Tom you Trotskyite Darwinian Tree-Hugging Papist you’ve totally missed the meaning of the song. Failing to note the sub-text of how the masculation of the fair sex has produced ball-busting Valkyrie. “You say this as if it were a bad thing?” Well the song does. What cost freedom without joy?

Get over the fact that the song was sung by a mid-aged-waif-wanta-be. She was 30, you were 30, get over it. The Boomers failed to change the world. The least we can do is leave songs of hope. In a post Trump world perhaps the best defense is having fun.

JON

It Depends on What You Like

By

Jon DeCles

It’s not much fun being a God in a badly designed universe. For one thing, you have to share it with the other Gods: and believe me, there will be other Gods!

Some of them are pretty nice deities, but most of them resent having to share..

For my part, I enjoy trying to set up my Creatures with the possibility of, within their limits, reasonably happy lives. But some Gods: well, they like to watch Creatures suffer and fight and make war and die horribly. So—

If you don’t like your life: you may be worshipping the wrong God.

TURA

Fun
———
After the gods had created the universe, and the multiverse, and Man, they wondered what to do.

“Consider Man,” said one. “Man invents obstacles, then overcomes them. This he calls ‘fun’.”

“What is an obstacle to the gods?” said another.

“This!” said one, and split into a billion stars, each a fragment of the whole.

“This!” said another, setting to study what was, before the gods.

“This!” said a third, and placed a sliver of himself into a Man.

One day they will end their fun and return to themselves, and their creations will vanish like a dream upon waking.

LISA

Follow the Rainbow
She’d slept with the light on.
It was pink. A metallic glittered hue. It sparkled from across the room.

A girls dream come true. A scooter. The one that chalked as you rode. Painting a rainbow behind you in the city streets.

Pom-poms from the handlebars shed glitter on her floor next to a discarded shoe.

Mum calling from downstairs broke the morning silence.

“I don’t know what time you got in last night my girl. Or what drunken state you were in. But you’re gunna be late for work. And you need to take that fucking scooter back.”

RICHARD

Fun

“Let’s do it”, she said, “it’ll be fun!”

And that’s how I ended up going on my first, and quite definitely my last ‘Mystery Trip’.

Four hours on a bus, with a load of elderly idiots whose own idea of fun was singing endlessly throughout the journey: To be deposited in a depressing historical town, in the pouring rain, whilst a bored guide took us on a whistle-stop tour of the sights, then abandoned us to shopping all afternoon.

Then four hours back on the bus.

The only mystery to me, is how anyone can call this fun!

SERENDIPITY

You know what they say – girls just wanna have fun – and, when it comes to men, I can’t deny that it’s true.

We’ll break your hearts, take over your lives, destroy your dreams and take you for a ride. You’ll pander to our needs, fulfil all our desires and worship us with your mind, soul and body.

Then, once we’ve tired of you and feel like moving on, we’ll take you for everything you have and leave you empty, destitute and helpless.

And all this, sanctioned and supported by the law.

Around these parts, we call it ‘marriage’!

LIZZIE

Her last wish was to have the room filled with balloons.
While she was sleeping, they brought them in.
The look on her face when she woke up was extraordinary.
She smiled, her eyes sparkling with excitement, mesmerized by the soft swaying of a multitude of colors.
Suddenly, she reached for the cord of one of the balloons and frowned.
“What is it, sweetheart?”
“Mommy, we must free them now. They won’t be happy locked in here.”
So, they opened the window and, one by one, the balloons were set free, as was her young tired heart later that night.

NORVAL JOE

Thurbing reached toward the glowing keystone, but withdrew his finger before touching it,
“That’s hot. I can’t touch that. I’ll burn myself.”
“Aye, Son. Ye can,” Karbunkle said. “Ye weren’t brought on this quest for fun.”
Thurbing took another step back. “I’m not talking about fun, Dwarf. I’m talking about permanently maiming myself.”
“Enough foolishness,” Beechbark said, took Thurbing’s arm by the elbow and wrist, and pushed his hand against the keystone.
To Thurbing’s surprise, the keystone pushed into the wall of the temple without his hand bursting into flame.
With a rumble, a passage opened in the temple wall.

PLANET Z

My T-shirt says: We put the “FUN” in “Fungus!”
Why?
Because I went to The Mushroom Museum in Zagreb.
Where is Zagreb?
It’s in Croatia. It’s the largest city and capital of Croatia.
They have many museums there, but I liked The Mushroom Museum the best.
It’s a nice place.
Plus, you can take home as many samples as you want.
I filled my pockets with the “special” mushrooms.
But Customs stopped me at the airport, and they seized my entire haul.
Except for this T-shirt.
Which is made out of “special” mushroom fibers.
Let’s eat it and get stoned!