Weekly Challenge #579 – PICK TWO: Track, Jill, Pinkerton, Blasphemous, Contusion, Orc, Zither, Neutral

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

(Be sure to wish Myst a happy birthday… she turns 8 today.)

JEFFREY

Private Dick (Part 1)
by Jeffrey Fischer

Young Jill Pinkerton – yes, of those Pinkertons, some number of generations removed from the great Allan – sat in her car, idling in neutral to stave off some of the cold. A tap at her window caught her attention. She opened the window with a punch of the power button, only to see the quarry she was tracking, a zither-playing orc. It was one of those days. “Why you follow me?” the orc growled, smacking Jill in the head, leaving a large contusion the next day. Without another word, the orc wandered off, playing the theme from “The Third Man.”

Private Dick (Part 2)

Jill’s client was a foul-mouthed, blasphenous priest who had been swindled by the orc. He had peeled off a number of large-denomination bills from a huge wad, swearing the entire time. He never explained how the orc swindled him, but it was clear that he held a grudge.

As she recovered from the orc’s blow, she reconsidered her career. Everyone expected a Pinkerton to go into the family business, but this day convinced her she was in the wrong profession. Maybe she’d open a small tea room. She’d ban all priests, orcs, and, yes, zithers too.

CHARLIE

After the new, school track opened, Jill JuciVana was the first to run the inner lane naked, while chased by the Pinkerton guards that were on duty.

Her behavior was heinously blasphemous. Earlier she was responsible for the GM’s contusion, and for breaking the large, Orc figurine he had on his office desk.

Displaying and demonstrating several yoga and sexual postures, unsolicited, for the General Manager, she snapped all the strings on his Zither; trying to prove that she was completely neutral about the outcome of the current relationship and the clumsy advances of the GM and the coaching staff.

RICHARD

Blasphemy

They’ll stone you for a bit of gentle mockery. Blow your brains out just for a satirical cartoon or imagined slight.

Somehow, they manage to argue it’s justifiable – no matter what common decency, morality or law might say – it’s protecting the faith, living according to the holy scripture, following the one pure way.

I try to stay neutral in such things, no matter what my personal feelings, but sometimes, the truth has to be spoken.

After all, what’s more blasphemous?

Speaking out against a warped ideology;
Or blowing up kids at pop concerts in the name of religion?

TOM

Can’t Fool Me
In 1894 my mother’s family was involved in the Pullman Strike. Not many
words were spoken about their stand. All the same the general feeling in
that end of the family was never cross the line. My father not one to let
in-law opinions sway him took a job as a Weekend Pinkerton. My mother’s
spit loyalty settled into an uncomfortable neutral gray. I on the other
hand was confirmedly in the red camp. This didn’t stop me from joining him
backstage at the Monkey’s show. Or James Brown or the Jackson Five. Live
music trumps principal every time.

JON

Battle Night
By
Jon DeCles

Jill Pinkerton, (on the track of an Orc, who, she was assured, was neutral
in the current phase of the battle) had suffered a contusion when she fell
from a ledge, overwhelmed by the sound of the blasphemous music of an
infernal zither. Now she lay on the rocks breathing as quietly as she
could, hoping the blood from the wound would not attract the attention of
any of the evil things that roamed the rocky canyons at the edge of the
Dark Border.
The soft plangency of the plucked and strummed strings continued to lure
her toward dangerous sleep.

LIZZIE

Mean Orc

Peter and Matt, two friends of the orc, were talking in the hospital corridor.
“No orc should have to go through this. The contusion was serious and now he’s talking funny. Everyone is laughing at him.” Peter rolled his eyes in disgust.
“Well, I suppose,” replied Matt, “but he was always slightly mean. Don’t you remember when…”
“I really don’t care. He should be respected. He’s fragile now.”
Suddenly, the orc died.
Peter waved. Matt got closer.
“I killed him,” whispered Peter.
“What on earth? Why??”
“I was talking to him and, man, did he have a mean bad breath.”

SERENDIPITY

I lay down across the track, preparing for the end.

It’s not like you imagine: It’s uncomfortable, cold, dirty. You’d like your final moments to be a time of reflection and peace, but all you can think about are the stones in your back and the awkward way your neck rests against the rail.

The driver saw me well in advance, hit the brakes, and my world filled with the sound of screaming, tortured steel.

So much for suicide… I walked away with just a minor contusion. Unlike the train passengers, whose broken bodies they pulled from the mangled wreckage.

TURA

Orc; Jill
———
The three orcs sat round the fire, gnawing on the bones of an elf.

“You ever wonder,” began Hrakht.

“Wonderin’s for elves an’ yoomns,” grunted Gnurgle.

“I thought…” said Hrakht.

“Ooh, thinkin’ now, izzee?” mocked Rabjagh.

“You know Hrakht ‘ere’s only half an orc?” said Gnurgle. “Yoomn mother. Must have scared her when he came out!”

Hrakht remained silent. How could he tell them that he didn’t feel like an orc at all? That he dreamed of belonging to one of the fair races, like the one they had just eaten.

In his dreams, he— no, she— called herself “Jill.”
———

NORVAL JOE

Deep in the forest, Jill and I followed the track of the Blasphemous Pinkerton brothers.
What they had done which was so offensive to the moral majority to earn that title was unclear. What was clear was that whoever caught them would be rewarded most handsomely.
Morally neutral and already beautiful, Jill didn’t need the reward. I was the one who looked like an orc with facial contusions. Any reward that would make me more handsome was worth the effort.
Zither birds, named after their distinctive call, burst from a grove of trees, pointing us to the brother’s probable location.

PLANET Z

Capone had rivals. Lots of rivals.
Sometimes, the cops would pick them up.
And take them to jail.
Capone would send a woman to the courthouse or jail.
She’d have a briefcase full of money.
The money was for bail. And a little extra for the judge or court clerk.
So they’d let out Capone’s rival.
His men would be waiting outside.
They’d pick up the guy.
And after a few days, he’d turn up dead.
The woman would come back with her briefcase.
And collect the bail money.
She’d set it aside, ready for the next time Capone called.

Weekly Challenge #578 – Bank

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:

Nap cat

MUNSI

On the subject of Banks
By Christopher Munroe

There are lots of different banks.

Commercial, investment, river, Tyra, the Banks family, who live in Bel Air with their cousin from west Philidelphia, the other Banks family, who briefly employed a magic nanny to handle their children, and no doubt many more…

So many banks’, each so different than the other, and yet each in turn sharing one fundamental thing in common.

Whatever the bank, you don’t want to crash a party bus into them while drunk.

Except the family in Bel Air, maybe.

That was kind of a fun afternoon.

I still get Christmas cards, from Alfonso Ribeiro…

JEFFREY

Deposit
by Jeffrey Fischer

When I had a deposit to make, I always drove to the bank, waited for the guard to wave the metal-detecting wand over me, and stood in line for a teller. Today was no different. I filled out the deposit slip and handed her the slip and a piece of paper that read “The Capitals will fold in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs again this year.”

“What’s this?” the teller asked.

“My great-uncle always told me that if something was invariably true you could ‘take it to the bank.’ Predicting another early exit for the Caps seemed like a safe bet.”

The teller nodded, took both pieces of paper, and credited that advice to my account.

CHARLIE

Dick was a bank of a man, in that he was a heap of flesh; an inglorious mass of meat carcass propped up against his daybed pillows.

He was surrounded by a dozen, small; nervous animals and paper plates covered with the evidence of the sugary and fatty diversions with which he occupied himself.

As he dozed, he reviewed the bullshit that he would soon share with his subjugated audience.

He has been involved in mass communications for several years, and as his mind slowly dissolves, his vocabulary and limited creativity steer him into early onset of dementia, delirium, and dotage.

RICHARD

#1 – Heist

Tony ‘Knuckles’ Jones looked shiftily around the bar before addressing me in a low voice.

“So, this bank job tomorrow… All in hand?”

I nodded: “Yeah, in early when the guards change shift – they’ll be distracted, drinking coffee. Not many staff about; I scope the joint, suss out the vault and what’s what.”

“Smart plan. Then what?”

“Stay outta trouble and wait…”

I was interrupted by the rozzers turning up!

“What’s this about a bank job, lads?”

I pulled out my offer letter, “I start tomorrow – six month’s probation. Gonna be early and make a good first impression!”

#2 – Jackpot

The day I won the lottery, I laughed all the way to the bank.

I laughed when I forgot my PIN number – three times – and, I practically cried with laughter when I failed to convince the bank staff who I was.

I didn’t laugh so much when the police arrived. They said it was ‘no laughing matter’.

I laughed, and told them it was all just a big mistake. They weren’t amused.

With hindsight, I shouldn’t have laughed at the magistrates and called them tossers!

Thanks to the restraining order, I can’t get my cash.

Not laughing now.

#3 – Means to an end

As a student, I’d try anything to make spare cash.

I joined a blood bank and a sold them a few pints but they banned me – apparently, there was too little blood in my alcohol stream!

I was also banned from the sperm bank – they caught me leaving a deposit with the receptionist. I argued that the interest was high, but they weren’t impressed.

The bottle bank wasn’t interested in trading in plastics, which was all I had.

So university was spent in poverty and I never got rich.

Ironic, since I eventually qualified as an investment banker

TOM

Building Character
When I was Eight years old my mother took me downtown to the closest town with a downtown. The most auspicious structure in the tiny town was a neo federalist bank building. We talked up to a teller behind a brass latticework right out a scene from Bonnie and Clyde. I slide 14 dollar 43 cents, he hand me my first pass-book. With the amount I had deposed and the date. Over the next ten years the amount in that account swung radically up and down. The account was finally closed due to banking fees. So much for building Character.

JON

Summer Night

By

Jon DeCles

Sally stretched out on the bank of the river and looked up at the stars, the glorious glittering stars, thick as a river themselves, way out here in the country. Mama told her that river was called The Milky Way, but Miss Renata told her that in Spanish they called it The Shepard’s Path.

Whatever you called it, Sally liked to imagine she could swim in it, the way she could swim in the river. Only you would be able to swim in it at night.

She knew it was never a good idea to swim in water at night.

SERENDIPITY

Monopoly – my favourite family pursuit.

Boring, maybe, but when I’m in charge of the bank, it’s different.

Take the memorable Christmas Aunt Maisie went bust speculating on hotels. I pursued her relentlessly, foreclosing on her mortgages, bankrupting her, and – when she still couldn’t pay – sending the boys round to break her legs.

She won’t be passing ‘Go’ anytime soon!

Yes, I know it’s only a game, but I take being banker very seriously indeed, and I fully expect you to do the same.

So, now that’s perfectly clear…

I think it’s your turn to roll the dice!

LIZZIE

The security camera of the bank turned slowly, especially because it would get stuck in a certain position looking away from the main room into a wall. When Deborah stood in front of the camera frantically waving for help, Thomas, the security guy, was watching TV. The SWAT team stormed the bank and saved Deborah. Thomas took a glance, still the wall. But it was time to go home. He put on his coat and walked downstairs, a broom in hand, to hit the slow camera back into motion. Then, Deborah grabbed the broom and hit Thomas with it, quickly!

TURA

Bank
———
Without a breath of wind to drive it, the shallow-bottomed derelict floated out of the night-mist, threading its slow way up the waters of the Great Marsh, until at last it drew in to the bank.

With a silent sigh the rotten timbers burst apart and sank into the mud, releasing its shapeless cargo. It flowed over and into the marsh, spreading and clumping.

A solitary boggaert was the only witness. It incuriously grabbed at it with its massive webbed hands. “Glup,” went the thing. The boggaert was no more, and the thing was bigger.

The Great Blight had arrived.

LAIEANNA

“Love’s Spell”

Michael stood on the bank of a rushing river, throwing pebbles into
the foaming center of the channel. The first time was an accident,
but he soon learned the splashes attracted the creature. She rose –
pale skinned and shimmering scales – with a gaze fixed on him as she
sang a melody that filled the air. At her melodic command, Michael
stepped off the riverbank. The rope at his waist held him above
water, only legs dangling under the surface like fish bait. The
creature surged forward on powerful fins. Michael had his knife at
the ready to receive her.

NORVAL JOE

The six weary cowboys of the cattle drive warmed themselves by a small campfire. They talked about their second day on the trail and rubbed their sore muscles.
Cookie blew a sad song on his harmonica. As he finished, Zacharias, the drive captain, said, “Boys. Let’s bed down. Wilbur it’s your turn to bank the coals.”
The cowboys left him to his work and rolled out their beds.
In the morning, the remains of the fire and Wilber were both gone, never to be seen again.
Zach regretted not being clearer with his instructions. He knew Wilber wasn’t that smart

DANNY

When you bend yourself to the mind of someone else’s reality, you are no longer your own person. You are at the will of the entity you submitted yourself to. What are you willing to sell yourself for today? Power, status, or simply your next fix? How large your next house? How luxurious your next car necessary to perfect the image plastered on your house of cards? Be prepared to step into the straightjacket of your dreams, because you’re about to be convinced you can afford the interest rates, by the same deregulated system that calls me a filthy liberal.

PLANET Z

I watched Francois sip his coffee as hooded teens went from car to car, smashing windows.
“I ride the Metro,” he said. “What concern of it is mine?”
One wore a black ISIS flag as a cape.
He shouted a lot. All I could understand was “Allahu Ackbar.”
“Don’t you thank Jesus for your touchdowns?” said Francois. “It’s rude of you to judge.”
Another teen lit a Molotov and threw it.
The black ISIS flag caught fire, and the teen wearing it struggled to pull it off.
His friends ran, leaving him to burn.
Francois left me with the check.

Weekly Challenge #577 – Thump

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 pillow cat

TOM

Thinking Outside of the Box

“Thump Thump.” “Shut up.” “THUMP THUMP.” “I’m not letting you out.” “thump.” “You can do this all day.” “Scratch scratch” “Good you have finally come to grips with the situation.” “thump thump thump thump thump.” “You’re going to wear yourself out, not to mention how much oxygen you’re crewing up in the box. Don’t want to bring unwanted eyes around.” “Tap Tap Tap.” “That’s more like it. Good you’re getting into the sprite. I’ll be going now, just got a text from you girlfriend. Wouldn’t want you to get lonely. Be back in jiffy.”

Tap tap tap tap tap tap

JON

In the Night

By

Jon DeCles

If you hear a creak in the dark hours of the night you can attribute it to the settling of the house, maybe to a nearby tree, if there is one. If you hear scratching, you can imagine that tree scraping against the windows, if there is a wind, or, less hopefully, to the presence of rats in the walls.

As you lie there in bed, even if there is a night light, your imagination can be a powerful adversary to sleep. Every small sound opens your inner gateways to avenues of horror.

None is so unwelcome as a thump.

JEFFREY

At the Grocery
by Jeffrey Fischer

I watched the woman with the child thump on a melon again and again. It wasn’t clear how much she was learning about the quality of the melon, at least until she punched a hole in the fruit. She put it back on the display and started thumping a second melon.

Later on, I saw her feeding grapes to her child. Hey, free food! In the bulk foods aisle, she let the kid run loose. He grabbed handfuls of candy from some bins, shoving food in his mouth, then grabbed nuts and trail mix, spitting out what he didn’t like.

Now I knew why my grocery bill was so high and why I got sick frequently after shopping trips.

JUSTIN

Jettisoned into space.

My whole entire life is a shrinking cracked wreck behind me. It’s not burning since there isn’t any oxygen to keep fire going. It’s already starting to freeze. I will too, eventually. There’s no one out here to rescue us.

I look back and I can’t even see the remains anyone it’s so dark. What happened? Why? Was it an accident? Did anyone else make it out?

Will it even matter? Maybe, just maybe I’ll find a place to land this thing. Or maybe I will just …

I hear a thump on the wall. It’s from … outside.

All Dharma Mining Worlds ship escape pods have calming nature sounds, lol

CHARLIE

I could hear Eddie booming across the room, headed for the hall bathroom. Every hour, like clockwork, he would thump across the floor, taking his weak, challenged bladder to the toilet. His haphazard lifestyle weakened some critical organs, sphincters, and orifices in his body.

He worked as a barista at Starbucks. At work, he would find a way to use the gents, and never leave anyone waiting at the counter.

Living well into his mid-eighties, he wore a collection bag strapped to his leg, allowing him to work longer shifts, and giving him more freedom on the dance floor.

RICHARD

P.I.

‘T. Hump – Private Investigator’, said the faded lettering.

Sighing, I turned the handle; had it really come to this?

A shabby waiting room, peeling paint falling to hide the damp patches, torn magazines littering the scratched coffee table. An overwhelmingly depressing feeling of loss and desperation.

Not just the room, me also – shabby, unkempt, desperate.

Here where the seedy side of existence was watched, documented and called to account.

Again, I wondered, how I’d arrived here? Then unlocked my office, sat behind my desk, and waited for my first client of the day to walk through the door.

LIZZIE

Thump, thump, thump, the little rabbit rushes on, thumping his little leg on the ground.
And he huffs and he puffs.
Thump, thump, thump. Away, farther away, the little rabbit thumps southbound, immersed in thoughts profound.
And he huffs and he puffs, harder and harder and kicks and kicks around.
“Where’s the playground? Where’s the foxhound?”
And the thumping little thumps, they abound.
Sick of this monotony of sounds, the thumping rabbit goes underground, still huffing, still puffing.
But, oh… what happened, what happened? He tripped, knocked his head on the ground, poor little thumping rabbit, said the wicked ultrasound.

SERENDIPITY

The thump of mortars, the chatter of automatic weapons, the screams and moans of the dead and dying: That’s the worst thing about warfare – it’s so noisy!

People wonder how someone responsible for atrocities and so much destruction can sleep at night. Well, believe me, it’s not easy, amongst that racket!

So I’m switching to unconventional weapons of mass destruction: Biological warfare being my weapon of choice.

Simple, deadly; but, most of all, quiet!

Just one gentle cough in your direction, and let nature get on with the job.

And I – finally – get a good night’s sleep!

TURA

Thump
———
Instantly on the thump of an explosion I move out, my software calculating the likely origin of the missile.

My image analyser detects an enemy and I dive into a doorway, ahead of a burst of bullets. I manoeuvre always closer, while the software shows my adversary’s likely movements as a diffusing probability cloud. I fire some mortar shells to blow that cloud into a tight spot.

What is free will, when all your choices lead to the place of my choice?

At the end, he surrenders. A single, efficient bullet answers him. I am not programmed to take prisoners.

MUNSI

Thump
By Christopher Munroe

Thump, thump, thump.

Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump, thump.

Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump, thump.

Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump, thump.

And then be bass kicks in and the whole thing continues like that for approximately nine minutes.

Which you’d think would become maddening in it’s repetitiveness, but it actually, weirdly, hasn’t.

Maybe it’s the club drugs, maybe gratitude that it’s not Dubstep, or maybe just pleasure at sharing in the energy of a crowd, but we do all love the soundtrack we’ve chosen, here on the party-bus.

There’s something about it that unifies us.

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? It’s the club drugs…

LAIEANNA

“Can’t Rattle My Chains”

Ear against wood, I listened intently to the hallway sounds outside my
apartment. Thump, thump, thump, groan, shuffle, and repeat. I was
warned about strange occurrences in the building, but hadn’t believed
it true. Steeling myself for a surprise, I swung the door open wide.

The dressed all in black fourth floor resident stopped dragging a
bloody soaked body to ask, “Can I help you?”

I sighed, sagging against the doorframe, “Oh thank god, I thought I
was hearing a ghost.”

He grinned. “Wouldn’t want any of those.”

“Not at all,” I agreed as I casually shut my door again.

NORVAL JOE

Every time I see the word, thump, I think of that jackass who got elected president of the United States.
Over the last few years I’ve tried to not say disparaging things about people or their opinions. There’s enough hate in our world. I don’t need to add to it.
I have consistently criticized our political system and said we need a break from career politicians and professional lobbyists.
We got our break. I guess I should be happy.
It would have been nice to get someone who would try to bring the country together instead of tearing it apart.

DANNY

I’ve lost faith in those I never should have had faith in to begin with. I’ve lost the ability to forgive, and maybe that’s a good thing in a world trying to cut my life. When your best friend curses you out on your death bed, because your unable to carry the weight of his world, then somebody needs to back off. Whoever wanted to play someone they never wanted to be to begin with? Life has this tendency to come back and slam you in the face in unexpected ways, till death. Yet my heart still beats with a….

PLANET Z

Sasha knew that you’re supposed to thump a melon to determine if it’s ripe, but she didn’t know what to listen for.
Only that you should thump the melon.
Like her mom used to, and then with a nod of her head, she’d put the melon in the cart.
Sasha never thought to ask… ask…
Google!
She pulled out her smartphone and Googled for the answer.
“Hollow and high pitched” was the answer.
She gently thumped the melon.
Again, the ghostly voice whispered “I will kill you.”
Sasha put the melon back and went with a prepared fruit tray instead.

Weekly Challenge #576 – CIRCUS

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 and Myst

TOM

1957
When I was young there was a program called Circus Boy. It stared Micky Dolenz who later shared led vocals with the Davy Jones (which is how we got David Bowe ) in that TV Chimera band the Monkies. Circus Boy was an orphan who took care of an elephant and had cool adventures. It pretty much inspired every boomer kid to long to run away and join the circus. Those were simpler times, a reboot of Circus Boy would take place in post-trumpian dystopian sort of Mad Max meets the Ringling Brothers. Maybe they could get Dolenz to play Joey.

JON

The Circus Has Come and Gone
By Jon DeCles

The Great Circus has come and now is gone.

We were not as smart then. We didn’t know that many animals were people. We didn’t know that many humans were people. We treated elephants and slaves with equal parts cruelty and stupidity. We escaped the disease and war that wrecked out own lives by laughing and cheering at the risks and ruins of the colorfully clad lives before us. For a couple of hours a year our lives could be rose-tinted, and it made us safe from our trouble and pain.

For that, we truly loved our distracting great circus.

CHARLIE

No ordinary circus, but the yearly backyard circus for the kid’s birthday. We invited Sparky The Clown and his wife, Nada. They specialized in site gags, clever patter, live mice, snakes, and fire gags.

The first casualty was the back fence, taken down to the corner posts with the first fire gag. The second casualty was grandma, who fainted when she saw the boa take two live mice into its jaws in the first few minutes of the show.

Sparky got a little drunk, sneaking drinks from his flask, and diddled the wife while she barbecued the fat, Polish sausages.

JEFFREY

No One Goes to the Circus Any More
by Jeffrey Fischer

The circus came to town. It was sold out. The children loved all the acts, from the trapeeze artists to jugglers to clowns, but especially tigers and elephants performing tricks. PETA organized a boycott, saying it was cruel to cage tigers.

The next year, the circus again came to town. It was well-attended, even though the circus had sold the tigers. PETA boycotted again, complaining it was demeaning to make elephants perform tricks.

The next year, the circus made its annual appearance. With no animal acts, kids didn’t want to go. Attendance was poor. The circus came no longer. Children coud only dream about the joy of seeing tigers and elephants. But to PETA, a child’s joy meant nothing.

RICHARD

#1 – Circus

This place is becoming a circus!

The boss is useless – barking commands and cracking the whip, whilst the managers are a bunch of clowns, running around in circles, falling over their feet and making a complete mess. As for me, I’m juggling priorities and jobs, trying not to drop the ball.
I feel like I’m walking a tightrope, and no safety net: Screw up just once and you’ll find yourself in the lion’s den.

So, I’m looking for a new job. Either that, or I’ll run away to join the circus… Well, I reckon I’m qualified for it already!

#2 – Autocorrected

You’ve got to watch autocorrect – a simple slip can cause all sorts of unexpected results. I put an advertisement in the local paper to try and recruit new students: It was remarkably successful, although the recruits weren’t quite what I’d expected.

I knew something was up when the first clowns started to arrive. Within a week, I had a motley collection of sword swallowers, trapeze artists and lion tamers, and frankly, they weren’t at all impressed with the programme I’d arranged for them to follow.

Next time I’ll proofread the ad… It was circuit training, you idiots, not circus!

LIZZIE

What a Circus

Four men entered the Carnival grounds and shot a few rounds left and right before robbing the cash register in the souvenirs stand. Luckily, they didn’t hurt anyone. Sophie, however, wasn’t happy. She pulled on her father’s hand, wide-eyed. The 5-year old pointed at the carousel, a big hole on the thigh of one of the horses. The father nodded. When the robbers were arrested, they were sick to their stomachs. Sophie’s father, with the help of other by-standers, had tied them up to the colorful horses, heads down, and made them go a few rounds, left and right.

SERENDIPITY

Roll up and welcome, to my Circus of Horrors!

Dare to step inside and see sights to confound you; observe mysteries beyond belief.

Behold, the bearded baby, the rat tailed woman and the three headed maiden. Marvel at Cockroach Boy, gasp in horror at the skinless girl, and puzzle over Mr Back to Front.

And then, I invite you to step through the far curtain, beyond which lies a sterile room, and a nurse with a hypodermic syringe.

And it is there I shall work my very special brand of surgery, upon you… My newest, and most peculiar exhibit yet!

TURA

Circus
———
On Pearl Street, I saw a juggler entertaining a crowd with 5-club back-crosses.

Cirque du Soleil were in town, so I asked, “Are you with Cirque?”

“That’s a story!” he answered, starting double Mills Mess. “This friend of mine, joins the Cirq. 12 hours training every day, 3 performances every night. Lasted 18 months, never juggled again.”

He began a seven ball cascade. There’s not many can do that.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’re top class. Go see them! But I got freedom!”

He nudged his upturned hat towards the crowd. “Save me from having to work for the Cirq!”
———

NORVAL JOE

My girlfriend surprised me when she suddenly stormed out of the bedroom and shouted at me, “I can’t take it here anymore. I’m leaving. Living with you is a circus.”
‘”I’m sorry, Babe,” I said to her, putting down my juggling balls. “I know I said the Borzshinski Brothers would only be here for a few days. I’ll get rid of them, and their dancing bear.”
“It’s too late,” she said, picking up our pet poodle. “And I’m taking the dog.”
Resigned, I gave her Fifi’s pink tutu and said, “You’d better take this, too. She won’t perform without it.”

LAIEANNA

Though she made the decision late in life, Sally’s choice for a circus
retirement seemed reasonable to her. It held the prospect of
adventure and excitement. All she was leaving behind was a cat who
barely tolerated her, a half empty apartment, and a monotonous job.

They let her in, but with no talent, Sally showed no promise and was
given something to suit her strengths. Still alone, still secluded,
she spent her days repeating her task – handing out tickets.

The moral? It doesn’t always pay to runaway to the circus. Sometimes
your escape is still just the mundane.

MUNSI

Clown Bus
By Christopher Munroe

You can fit a dozen clowns into a mid-sized car.

Car-clowning, fitting clowns into a clown-car, is a specific discipline in the clowning community, but one that’s still taught, and still a crowd-pleaser even after all these years.

I don’t remember why we decided to see how many clowns would fit on our party-bus. Drinks were involved, we were feeling boisterous after a lovely day at the circus, and it seemed like a good idea at the time…

319, in case you were wondering.

Four of whom travel with us still.

Though they wound up trashing the bus.

No regrets.

PLANET Z

I like circuses.
The ones with elephants and clowns and lions and tigers.
And motorcycles in a big round steel cage, where they go round and round.
Nowadays, a circus is a bunch of French-Canadians bouncing on trampolines with laser shows and weird costumes and sets.
Or some stoned hippie sitting by the side of the road, offering to take you on a trip through the circus of your mind.
I tried it once. And when the acid kicked in, the trip was really cool.
But I woke up robbed of everything but my underwear.
Worst Groupon I’ve ever bought.

Weekly Challenge #575 – PICK TWO

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:

Stripey

JEFFREY

The Marching Morons
by Jeffrey Fischer

The March for Science had the most ironic name for a protest. The distance between fantasy and reality for the marchers was a gorge. Persons of pallor pranced down the street holding signs about Commander Data and Kryptonite. One claimed that Hitler was a big supporter of science. If so, his interests were sharply limited to methods of destruction.

Although these people clearly had too much time on their hands, they had no time to spare for actual science. They tolerated no dissention, no questioning of their conclusions. Their closed minds exhibited the very opposite of the true scientific method.

CHARLIE

In Washington, The Gorge was the temporary home to the Tulalip Community College, field hockey games.

The emotions and pallor of the players suggested that the “quiz” they were mandated to take prior to the first field game was not the mellow and benign quiz they expected.

The team rogue, Duke, supplied the “clean” urine for the drug test. It came from the Girl Scout troop camped at the edge of the marsh. Caesar Disembogues brokered the deal.

They all passed the test and were allowed to continue the game, winning by 5 points in a very energetic, 2nd period.

TOM

Under the Sun
In the 1960s network executives were hard pressed to breathe a little more life into the hour drama. One of the formats they tried was the rotating hero. In the show the name of the game the three stars were rotated through the month Gene Barry, Robert Stack, and Anthony Franciosa. When Mr. Franciosa exited the show Robert Culp, Peter Falk and Robert Wagner filled in. Not to be out done NBC ran a show called The Rouges starting Gig Young, David Niven, and Charles Boyer. If you’ve never heard of any of these actors you’re probably a millennial

JON

El Presidente Says There Isn’t Any Problem
By
Jon DeCles

Caesar stared down the length of the gorge. He felt his own pallor. This was not some high school quiz, not some stupid hockey game. He was not going to feel mellow after this encounter: if he survived. This was a rogue monster from the haunted marsh, come to wreak havoc on his tiny town, where all the duly elected officials were pretending there was no problem and letting the bloodshed continue unabated.

He saw movement ahead. He struck a match, lit the cigar his invalid father had given him, and hefted his machete. He blew smoke, then headed in.

RICHARD

Chef’s Recommendation

There’s a rogue chef infiltrating local restaurants. Holding a grudge and out for revenge, but nobody knows who he is, or his motive.

He never uses the same tactic twice – today it might be listeria in the linguine; tomorrow, salmonella in the Caesar salad. You just can’t be sure where or how he’ll strike next.

Personally, I’m taking no risks – I only eat at McDonald’s… It’s crap, and I know it’s going to kill me, but at least I know what to expect.

Besides, it’s a cheaper death than eating a la carte at the local Michelin-starred joint!

LIZZIE

Rogue Quiz

Lilly studied a lot for the quiz about Nature. The prize was wonderful, a prize she had dreamed of for years. Well, she was only nine, but she had dreamed of it for quite a while.
There was only one problem. Tommy. Tommy was an expert cheater and he had won the last few prizes. She could barely look at his smirk.
While Mrs. Blake was not paying attention, Tommy sneaked a peek at his cheat notes and Lilly poked a finger in his ribs. He screeched in pain.
“Tommy!”
Yes, he was disqualified.
That was the best prize ever.

MUNSI

Autobiography
By Christopher Munroe

I’m writing this story on an unexpected day off.

I’ve just gotten a new tattoo, and while it does sting a little, it’s a good sting. I’m in a coffee shop looking out at the people passing by on 17th as I write.

In an hour I’ll be watching the Flames play the Kings. A friend unexpectedly turned up with tickets.

In the meantime, I’ll write stories about a party bus.

Overall, it’s been a good day. Relaxing. Mellow.

The sort I don’t get nearly often enough.

The sort I fancy I deserve.

Mental note to do this more often…

SERENDIPITY

Everybody wants me on their team on pub quiz night.

It’s not that I’m particularly good at general knowledge or that I know my stuff. If anything, I’m pretty useless at all things quiz-related, and a bit of a liability if you’re stupid enough to rely on my answers.

So, why would anyone want me in the first place?

Simple – I’m a sore loser, and I really don’t like being beaten. You’d never describe me as mellow, laid back or chilled… More like ‘homicidal maniac’…

So, when the punches start flying, you really want to be on my team!

TURA

Marsh; pallor
———
The boggaerts of the Great Marsh are nasty, brutish, and short. They live mainly on bog lampreys, which they catch in this way. A boggaert thrusts his bare arm into the mud. Lampreys bite on, and he hauls his arm out with the catch.

Their greatest delight is waylaid travellers, whom they bury naked, and neck-deep. Lampreys burrow into the victim, whose screams are sweetest music. When he is almost, but not quite dead, they haul him out, and eat lampreys and prisoner alike.

Men in the surrounding countryside know them by their ghostly pallor, and kill them on sight.

NORVAL JOE

I’m not going to quiz you on the episode which offended me. It should be pretty clear when I tell you I have a thirteen year old son who has autism and I don’t consider him retarded.
I realize the word ‘retard’ has different meanings to different people. Some people might even name their cat ‘Tard’ because of the physical abilities it was born with, but then tell everyone it’s actually short for Tarder Sauce, because the cat suddenly got famous.
I’m pretty mellow. So, I’ve been offended one time in nine years. That’s a good average for this podcast.

LAIEANNA

“Atomic Number 80”

Under the bright moonlight, Alan found Randy thrashing around in mucky
water that came up to his chest.

“Randy! What are you doing?”

Randy paused, pointed to the water, then violently banged his head
forward and back.

Alan sighed. “I said we were going to a mosh pit, not marsh. We’ve
been waiting for you.”

“Oh.” Randy put a wet hand to lips in thought.

“Concert’s over, man.”

“Oh,” Randy said again. He sank down until the water came to his
chin. “Guess, I’ll just mellow out here.”

Alan rolled his eyes. “You have got to lay off the hash.”

PLANET Z

Caesar lay outside the Theater of Pompey in a pool of blood, his face a sickly white pallor.
Sixty men with knives had attacked him.
Twenty-two wounds on his body, all superficial.
“You proved me right,” mumbled Caesar. “Out of sixty Senators, only twenty-two managed to nick me. It takes the firm hand of a dictator to land just one swift fatal blow.”
“That’s not a fair assumption,” said Brutus. “I’m pretty sure I hit you twice. Well, three times.”
And Brutus stabbed Caesar in the chest, severing his aorta.
“Much better,” said Caesar. “Wait, is that you, Brutus? Fucker.”

Weekly Challenge #574 – … what?

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:

Flumped Tinny

JEFFREY

Creepy Ads
by Jeffrey Fischer

I find those targeted ads that show up while you’re browsing the web to be creepy. Just searched for William S. Burroughs on Amazon? Here’s an ad for Naked Lunch, and another for a big bag of heroin. Looking for a nice dress for your wife? Now Google Ads thinks you’re a cross-dresser.

I buy a lot of Doctor Who books, but, even so, when an ad for a sonic screwdriver showed up on my screen I said, “What the heck?” and took a closer look. I didn’t recognize the specific model, but it sure looked authentic.

Imagine my disappointment when the product turned out to be a fancy tactical flashlight. Dumb, creepy ads.

CHARLIE

What is the cue word? Why? WTF? Where did this come from? What is going on? Maybe I am over reacting, but I question directives when given capriciously.

I would, of course, welcome some explanation for the choice of this cue, or at the least, the origin of the cue word or words.

No disrespect intended, as I am profoundly aware of the wrath I face, given the past punishment I endured publicly for questioning procedures and protocols, hereabouts.

Consequently, I was invited to “eat a bag of dicks” by management when I submitted a benign question and comment. Remember?

RICHARD

What?

“What?”, he practically shouted, “I can’t hear you… You’re breaking up”

I settled back into my seat and smiled, then tapped the icon that would quietly brick his phone.

You might consider me mean, but believe me, I’m providing an essential public service. Nobody wants to involuntarily become party to a complete stranger’s excessively loud conversation, especially when it’s first thing in the morning, with a long day in work ahead.

So, by all means, make the call, but keep it short, and do keep the volume down; and if you won’t… Then I’ll happily make sure you can’t!

LIZZIE

“Go up the hill, then left. Take ten steps and turn right. Walk straight forward for about twenty steps and then walk back ten steps, turn left and then right. Go around the fountain in the middle of the square twice and then forward a few steps, say 10. You should see it.”
“What?”
“You should see it there.”
“Wait a second. Why do I have to take twenty steps forward and ten back?”
“For the same reason you have to go around the fountain twice.”
“And why is that?”
“If you haven’t figured that out yet, you never will.”

TOM

In My Blue Heaven.

“What?” yell Frank. “He has to go.” “I’m sorry I’ll clean the box more regularly.” “Frank he’s an Elephant.” “A small one.” “There is no such thing as a small Elephant, and even if such a thing were possible a one room apartment is not the place for said Small Elephant.” “Look at those eyes, he adores you Sal.” “Not going to work this time Frank, its him or me.” Frank got a thousand yard stare in his eyes. “I said him or me Frank.” More staring, “Good, Fine, Whatever.” Timmy looped his trunk around the door and Sal was gone.

JON

Attention
By
Jon DeCles

“Women always say that men never pay any attention to them,” said Alfred to his wife.

“Well, that’s true,” said his wife, Marie.

“I specifically asked you to stop putting so much pepper in the soup.”

“It’s just a habit. I’ll try and remember next time.”

“I’ve noticed a lot of those habits over the years. I ask and you ignore.”

“I’ll try and pay more attention,” she sighed, turning on the television and sitting down to watch.

“I’m tired of being ignored,” Alfred said, sitting down next to her, “so I poisoned your coffee tonight.”

“…what?” she asked absently.

SERENDIPITY

Something wicked this way comes…

From the darkest recesses of your tortured mind, it oozes, slithers, creeps and stalks from deep within the murky shadows, seeking us out, hunting us down.

It lurks, waiting, watching intently and ever patient, ever present, feeding on our fear, waiting in the darkness, brooding and lurking.

The night grows longer, our fears grow stronger; whilst the knowledge that something in the shadows – something unspeakable and vile – is waiting, waiting for us, waiting for the moment of truth, growing ever more terrifying.

So, be afraid, for something wicked this way comes…

But what?

TURA

…what?
———
The interview dragged on, the HR droid going through some memorised checklist while I gave the standard box-ticking answers.

Then he asked, “What is the state and progress of your soul?”

“Er… what?” I smartly replied.

“That is,” he droned, “where do you see yourself in five years? Are your feet set on the narrow path to salvation, or the easy, broad road that leads only down into the Pit?”

“The narrow path to salvation, definitely,” I said, guessing the right answer.

He sulphurously frowned, and the horns I had not noticed before twitched. “We’ll keep your resume on file.”

NORVAL JOE

In junior high, no matter what amazing things anyone had accomplished, Albert always seemed to have done something more impressive.
Like the time I announced at lunch, “I sold five cases of chocolates for the fundraiser”. Supposedly, he sold twenty.
I ran the mile in six minutes. He ran it in five and a half.
We set him up and told him I drank a gallon of milk in ten minutes and he said he could do it in five.
We handed him a gallon of milk and said, “Prove it.”
The look on his face said it all, “…What?”

MUNSI

On Li’l Jon
By Christopher Munroe

And then; The question of Li’l Jon.

A thorny question indeed.

Yes, he’s dated, and perhaps a little ridiculous, and I do respect that opinions on the man and his music are sharply divided.

Some people hear him and are like: “What?”

Whilst others respond: “Okay…”

But I’m always like “Yeah!!!”

Because for my money, no artist embodies the boisterous aesthetic parties requires than Li’l Jon, and for that reason, arguments against him aside, there will always be a place for him on my Party Bus.

He really takes me back.

Ah, 2004.

We were all so crunk back then…

PLANET Z

I’m sure you’re familiar with Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?” routine.
The second baseman was What.
What played shortstop in college, but the team already had I Don’t Give A Damn as a shortstop, so they brought up What as a utility infielder, and he eventually settled in at second base.
Good at hitting and fielding, but not All-Star numbers.
After a questionable “Neighborhood” slide that broke his leg, What never quite had the agility he once had.
He ended his career as a decent designated hitter, got released, and ended up coaching a college team in the Midwest.

Weekly Challenge #573 – OFFEND

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

MUNSI

On Offensiveness
By Christopher Munroe

Although I never intend to offend, some do take offence when my Party Bus rolls into town.

It might be the near-naked go-go dancers atop of the bus, or the shockingly loud music we play, but whatever it is, time and again something, somehow, manages to offend a certain portion of the population.

Which is a shame, as like I said, this is never my intent.

I blame the offended parties.

After all, if I don’t mean to offend, yet you somehow draw offence, how can it be anything but your fault?

You need to learn to be less sensitive…

CHARLIE

Tasteless Instagram images offend me only slightly less than the number of people that insist on peppering their speech with “absolutely”. Bobkes mit kadokhes! [YID. Shivering shit balls.]

I don’t know what sex uses this word more frequently, but I think its women. They could use another word, like “yes”, or “completely” for a while and my brain and stress would subside-possibly heal enough, readying itself for the next onslaught of popular, spoken pap I see and hear in social media and on the radio and TV.

Little things like this annoy me, as does ignorant humans all around me.

~
Charlie LaCrosse
“A little consistency never hurt anyone.”

JEFFREY

Face the Media
by Jeffrey Fischer

“Frank, you stink.” Hmm, that didn’t seem like a normal greeting. Besides, we weren’t even in the same room.

“Hi, Bill. Nice to see you, too.” We were appearing on a segment of “Face the Media” to discuss the recent missile strike on Syria.

“Yeah, sure. Nice to see your lying face, too, even if you’re going to unload a steaming pile of shit on our viewers.”

Bill added, “Oh, and you’re a filthy, Christ-killing Jew, too.”

“Now wait a minute! There’s no need for this name-calling. Can’t we have a civilized discussion without resorting to insults? And, not that it matters, I’m not Jewish.”

The moderator nodded. “Bill, I think you owe Frank an apology.”

“Oh, fine. If I have offended anyone with my remarks, too bad, I mean, I’m sorry.”

And thus began another week of political talk shows.

RICHARD

PC

It seems you can’t say a damn thing these days without running the risk you’ll offend someone.

Even the most innocent comment or action can result in accusations of racism, insensitivity, being bigoted, or the latest trendy buzzwords: cultural appropriation. It’s a minefield!

I can’t say that I’m bothered – political correctness has gone way too far in my opinion. It’s about time people stopped getting offended, and started getting a sense of perspective and common sense.

And, if you don’t like it – I’ll happily tell you what you can do about it…

Except, I know you’d be offended!

LIZZIE

The family gathering was supposed to be a fun get-together, but it never was. Everyone pretended it to be great. Long time no see, you look great, and heavier, you’ve grown to look just like your mother, big nose and all. The usual remarks and the standard sarcasm. However, they would all go back, each year, for the family gathering.
Until that day when grandfather, whom they thought was hopelessly senile, put everyone back in their places.
“Have I offended anyone?”
The silence marked the end of the family get-togethers, well, until grandfather’s funeral, that is, where everyone met again.

TOM

The Retainer

“I don’t mean to offend,” said Sal Lowenstein “but you’ve run out of options here.” Maro Tissy spaded his weather hands across the table, stared his lawyer square in the eyes. “No offends taken, but I do not see a lack of options. Perhaps an associate of yours would be willing to go seek out Rubin?” The lawyer raised back open hands and turned his head to the right. “That is some heavy weight shit to set in motion We’re talking a federal judge, that come with a world on pain if … ” “Thanks Sal, but it is time.”

JON

How Shall I Offend Thee
By
Jon DeCles

How Shall I offend thee? Let me count the ways.

First, by using the wrong honorific.

Did I call you Miss when you are a Missus or a Mz? Call you Professor when you are a Doctor? Call you a She when you are a He, or a He when you are a She? –I’m sorry, I won’t call you They unless there is more than one of you. –But you are not stuck in an ungrammatical Otherness, because I have no desire to offend anyone. From now on I am using the non-gendered Japanese San, which covers everyone.

TURA

Offend
———
I stared gloomily at the next case file. Young offender, no education, employment, or training. Scrawny, wouldn’t last a week at a manual job. Two parents, although the man isn’t his father. But hell, none of them are worth a damn.

They live on Universal Basic Income, but what do you do all day if you’re not smart enough or strong enough to earn a living?

I’ll suggest he goes to university, like all the others. They’re not allowed to turn anyone away nowadays. Maybe one in a thousand gets something from it. But then, I always was an optimist.
———

SERENDIPITY

Here are the rules: You do as you’re told; you don’t draw attention to yourself; you do absolutely nothing to offend me.

You see, I have a badge and a uniform, a clear idea of my responsibilities, and I’ll never let down those who put their trust in me.

To you, I may just be a ticket inspector, but in reality, I’m the first – and last – line of defence against fare dodgers, cheats and con artists.

So, go ahead… Try your luck.

But you won’t be the first to meet their maker beneath the wheels of my train!

NORVAL JOE

In an attempt to increase national revenue, the landlocked pseudo-nation of Burgerslovegia invested in a luxury cruise liner.
Cost analysts recommended for the best profitability the ship should spend the least time in port possible. To achieve this they had passengers disembarking aft while new passengers boarded fore. The cleaning crew scurried between the two groups to get the compartments clean for the arriving passengers.
Not understanding the difference between fore and aft, confusion ensued when disembarking passengers tried to exit at the on-end and arriving passengers tried to board from the off-end.
Needless to say, everyone was quite annoyed.

PLANET Z

Every morning, I get up, get ready, and get in the truck to drive to work.
Rowdy Rob and The Radio Gang are talking to naked strippers or hookers again.
They’re going to prank some guy into thinking his wife’s dead, or sick, or leaving him.
They do this every Thursday.
Some people find it funny, but I think it’s sick and offensive.
Why the hell are these people on the air?
The only reason I have them turned in is to force me to play music from my phone.
So, I do… and Rowdy Rob is silenced once more.