Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com. I’m your host, Laurence Simon.
This is Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.
The topic this week was Funk.
And we’ve got stories by a lot of people:
- Serendipidy Haven
- Cliff – Uncle Monster
- Steven the Nuclear Man
- Bonchance and Sevi
- Norval Joe
- Planet Z
The next weekly challenge is on the topic of Chance.
And if you want to spam your social networks with this episode, use the Share buttons at the end of the post… this obligatory cat photo should help make the Internet go faster:
by Jeffrey Fischer
Marilyn invariably fell into a deep funk around Christmas. The stress of the season got to her, what with buying presents for ungrateful recipients, baking cookies for disdainful eaters, and having the same arguments every year with visiting family members.
This year she decided to cheer herself up. She mailed socks to everyone as gifts, baked nothing, and told her relatives she would be out of town for Christmas. Then she sat at home by herself, consuming a bottle of Wild Turkey and two pints of Cherry Garcia ice cream on Christmas Eve.
Despite the hangover, Marilyn deemed this the best Christmas ever.
I play trombone in Parliament, not the body the band. Julliard trained in oboe, I am sort of a musical shaman, one foot in hyper white, the other in hyper blue. Funk is the blues on Acid. Sorrow turned inside out. Where the blues lets it out, funk lets it go. My job is providing the hairpin turns when the Parliament train reaches full steam. I use to think George collected this circus parade to create a march of joy. Actually he was a music guerilla true to Che’s revolutionary vision. Funk is the driving beat of love. Be dangerous.
– The Call –
High in the Himalayan peaks is an ancient monastery where sacred monks devoutly pursue the mastery of the discipline of funk.
Clad in colourful robes, flared trousers and the distinctive holy afro that designates the devotees of funk, the brothers live simple, ascetic lives on a strict diet of funky chicken, magic mushrooms and James Brown.
I have heard the call… my feet feel the beat of that funky music, it’s time to get on up, gather my funky stuff and pack my brand new bag, for higher ground.
Time to ditch my junk and become a monk of funk!
– The Disciple –
“My son, you’ve gotta give it up… and don’t stop ’till you get enough”
The monk’s words were wise, yet perplexing.
Again, I asked him… “When will I attain mastery?”
“Son – that’s the jive talking, you gotta be yourself… now, try again”
It seemed so simple: when I could perform the ritual moves of the sissy strut, without tearing the rice-paper beneath my feet, I would have attained enlightenment – a true funk master.
I failed again.
The monk demanded I try once more.
“More? – What is it good for?”
“Absolutely nothing!”, came the enigmatic reply.
– The Enlightened –
Is it really ten years since I ascended this mountain?
With each step, the path downwards brought me closer to civilisation. I pulled the sheepskin coat tighter, my afro bobbing in the wind.
Soon, the monastery was out of sight and I knew my journey was at an end when I found myself at the carwash – the town spread before me.
Eager to spread the word of funk, I headed for the clubs and dance floors…
But, what was this?
A new sound in town!
The funk monk had discovered punk!
High in the Himalayas, live the monks of punk..
By Chris Munroe
1% of this country controls 70% of its funk. And that’s not right.
I’m not criticizing the funky, plenty do their part, sharing funk with the world. Prince, for example, releases music every year, and we’re all better for it.
However, not everyone shares Prince’s decency. How long’s it been since Maurice Day and the Time released an album?
So we’re taking to the streets, the 99% of us who aren’t funky, and we won’t be silenced. Join me, let our voices be heard!
We want the funk.
Give us the funk.
We need the funk.
Gotta have that funk.
“The end of the world… close call,” thought Lisa fearfully.
Bag? Check. Ticket? P28. It was time to leave the planet.
At the local flight-pod station, a sign said “No flights. The end is here.” What? Again? “Open this door right now,” she shouted in despair. When no one came, she kicked the door in, searched for P28, locked herself in it and clicked “Go”.
Where she went, no one knows. That pod model had been discontinued just the day before due to serious technical problems; it sort of disintegrated people. Well, apparently the end was here alright… for Lisa.
Heard it Though the Pumpkinvine
By Chris Mooney-Singh/Singh Albatros
The Desert Bowl Festival was nearly over. An Australian singer-songwriter travelling America, I’d luckily scored this Phoenix gig. My Cockatoo Rock and Didgeridoo Hullabaloo (with local blues legends The Gila Monsters doing back up) brought the house down. Then, the Bad Cactus Brass Band played.
A negro gardener paused on his rake.
“Any good, Mate?” I asked. “Can white boys play New Orleans jazz?”
“Why sure. But dey needs to stank it up a whole lot more.”
“Me too?” I asked cheekily.
He reached for something. “Here!” Put dis seed in yo garden back home, son.”
He smiled, and was gone.
I really did not know the first step in growing things, but my Dad had a greenhouse, home in Melbourne, so he helped me strike the weird psychedelic-coloured pod. He was pleased. Finally, I was showing interest in his lifelong passion. I did the daily watering and found myself humming new tunes. Soon a frond appeared, and next, a pumpkin vine snaked from the big terracotta pot. I really got into the routine, excitedly seeing my plant develop and sprout first produce. But this was no ordinary vegetable: the weird-coloured fruit was elongated and resembled the horn of a tiny saxophone.
Other emerald nubs began to unfurl child-fists along the vine. They looked delicate and pretty. One morning opening the greenhouse door, I heard a riff coming from the psychedelic fruit. Then it stopped. Dad had gone fishing, but I got through on the mobile.
“You are imagining things, Son.” Like any parent, he was concerned about the gig scene and bad influences.
“I don’t do drugs, Dad” Offended, I hung up.
It was weird that the vegetable would not play in my presence. So, one evening I sneaked up, rushed in and caught it howling like a New Orleans jazz legend.
It couldn’t hide its funk from me now, blowing harder after each watering. The other pumpkins were already transforming into psychedelic trumpets, trombones, sousaphones and a fat tuba. I had read about the psycho-physical effects of music on plants, but this was ridiculous. What’s more, the funk pumpkin ensemble was turning me into a James Brown. I did the Boogaloo, the Mashed Potato and the Camel Walk –there on the greenhouse slab. Even weirder was that each audible vegetable was now growing Afro hair and side burns and upbeat jazz funk was on fire throughout the house and the garden.
I had never really got down with funk before, so I hunted for old collectible vinyls and CDs. I rescued James Brown’s Greatest Hits, loads of Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone doing their famous hits like ‘I Want to Take You Higher’. I collected more and more, while the funk pumpkins kept rioting like rutting elephants. Meanwhile, I thought of all the Aus-rock, pop ballads and Indy folk tunes I had written as a thing of the past and felt the distinct wiry pressure of tight curly hair pushing through my scalp.
Tran our Vietnamese neighbour peered over the fence. “Having a party?”
“Sure am.” I said. “Come over.”
I showed him the funk pumpkins and soon we were both dancing. The music reminded him of Saigon. A negro soldier was once going to marry his sister and he also gave Tran soul records.
“Got killed,” Tran said. “ Then my sister got blown up in the street.
He passed me some fresh Pak Choy he had grown.
“All these pumpkin very ah..groovy,” he said pulling the word from his rebuilt past.
“Let’s have a real party. Call your friends, Tran.”
The whole Vietnamese Chinese neighbourhood were grooving from greenhouse to living room by the time Dad got home. I wore sunglasses, polo neck and striped pants and sporting a full afro, my black-skin transformation complete.
“Whasupp Daddyo? Gimme some skin!”
“What’s going on? Where’s my ratbag son?”
“I really dig dis old doghouse you got here, Big Daddy? Da joint is jumpin. Listen to da music!”
That was enough. “Ok, all of you — Out! Before I call the police!
“Hey man! No need for da fuzz’.
I grabbed my ghetto blaster and did the Funky Chicken out the front door.
It was a strange rebirth for an old soul brother from Motown, now downtown in Melbourne, Australia — funk busking with all the moves, plus the Robot, the Swim, and Soul Train steps, pumping to the music machine for thrown pieces of silver. Then, craving some home cookin’ I bought myself a chilly cheese wiener from American Hot Dogs franchise before dragging my black ass onto the St Kilda tram for some club action at the Tongue and Groove. There, I hit the dance floor creating a sensation that climaxed with me doing the splits worthy of ole’ James Brown himself.
Meanwhile, I wondered if the greenhouse effect had softened Dad at all. After sleeping on a park bench, I sneaked back the next day, only to find — funk was dead. The pumpkins were all sliced and diced waiting to become soup. Feeling cut off from my roots, I then had my brightest idea and rescued the seeds from the pumpkin guts tossed in the compost bin. I was saved! And started to do the Gospel side-step, marvelling what Almighty blessings come from weird desert travels. I’d become Johnny Pumpkinseed for the African-American funkinisation of Australia. The psychedelic seventies were back!
Casimir Funk was born in Warsaw back when it was part of the Russian Empire. A biochemist by training, he became intrigued by the idea that certain foods helped fight certain diseases and set out to isolate the elements responsible. In the end, he created the concept of vitamins. Every time you pop a Flintstones chewable, you should be thanking Casimir Funk. He died in 1967 in New York City. His work improved the health of millions and yet, it’s sad. He never once got to play his bass for an audience and truly be Casimir Funky, Master of Funk.
Every afternoon, I take the Grand Funk Railroad into Funky Town then stop at the Cornelia Funke Library and Playground. Orville and Wilbur play instrumentals and I say “Play that funky music Wright boys.”
I am often in a funk because as much as I want to rendezvous with my wife for a night of fun at Funky Town Dance Hall, I have to go to work making electricity at the funkiest place in funky town the Funky Town Sewage Treatment and Methane Plant. Our fair city may have been built on rock and roll but it runs on crap.
STEVEN THE NUCLEAR MAN
The stink rose from the dancer. The singer looked at the director. “Are you sure?” he asked.
“Look,” the director said, putting an arm across the singer’s shoulders, “you want to make a splash with this video. To recreate your image, right?”
“Look, trust me. That guy may not smell the best, but he’s got some serious moves.” The director handed the red leather jacket to the singer. “He’s got… An old groove.”
The singer smiled. “The funk of forty thousand years?”
They watched a finger fall from the dancer’s hand.
“At least,” the director said. “At least.”
SEVI AND BONCHANCE
This Cold will be the Death of him!
Jack was a substantial bloke who loved to push people around. He didn’t give a damn about anybody!
He literally got away with murder.
His favourite past time was to glide down the street, bump people, daring them to make something of it.
Jack’s latest victim was robed in black. He hit him straight on and shockingly Jack fell on his ass.
They stared at each other. The cloaked darkness glared coldly and projected a deathly grin.
In a sepulchral voice he bellowed “No time for you today Jack Frost, but I have an opening next week….Oh and bring the funk!”
Hunger is not seasonal, and suffering is not a trend. Yet every Christmas, there is a surge about feeding the poor. The same working poor and homeless who are visible year round suddenly present a fantastic opportunity. Lola got in a funk when the hotel Manager launched a food drive. This is the same woman who treats her staff like slaves. The same woman who smiles when she calls the cops to remove homeless saying ‘come fast, they have drugs.’ Lola watches as wealthy clients place cans into boxes and thank her manager for caring so much. A disgusting funk!
The company was safely through the thick oak door, though Spleen had to be dragged from within the slavering jaws of the water creature. The muffled roar of the creature could still be heard as it scratched at the unyeilding door in frustation.
A distant light down the tunnel raised everyone’s hopes, but Flindert’s. For some reason, the dwarf remained in a silent funk and only glared at the companions when they tried to cheer the unrecognized heir to the ancinet tunnels.
“An eternal flame lights the dwarven throne room,” Shareeka said. “I beleive we’ll find the princess just ahead.”
When Hosmer heard the musical question, “Are you funk enough?” he had to answer no.
He’d watched Soul Train every week and spent hours practicing the popular dance moves.
He didn’t have enough hair to get a perm, so he bought a large blonde afro wig. Tight Angel Flight pants, a wet look nylon shirt, three inch platform shoes, a gold chain and he still couldn’t get a girl to dance with him at the local disco.
Dispondent, he gave his wiener dog a mohawk, pushed a safety pin through his ear and waited for punk rock to catch on.
The phone rang.
The police technician nodded his head.
So, I picked up the phone.
“Hello?” I said.
“We’ve got the funk,” said a voice.
“Let me hear it”
Telephones don’t have the best audio fidelity, but what I heard was funky.
“What do you want?”
“We want the funk. But we really want the soul.”
I looked at the briefcase that the police had brought.
“Do you have it?”
I dialed the combination on the latches… six six six.
“Yeah,” I said, closing the briefcase.
They had the fink. But without soul, it was worthless.