Weekly Challenge #189 – Smoke


Welcome to the Weekly Challenge Number One Hundred And Eighty-Nine, 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… was…. um…
It’s Smoke!
The excellent theme music is by Guy David.

Which stories were the best this week?
Norval Joe
Planet Z
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Go ahead and listen to them and then vote for your favorites (multiple selections are allowed):


The demons came from the campfire’s smoke. Jonah woke at Reyald’s
scream. Boyd slept until Reyald’s head bounced off his stomach.
“Last time I let Reyald stand watch,” Boyd grumbled, drawing his sword.
“You know,” Jonah said as he parried a claw, “I think that someone
wants us dead.” He thrust upward, drenching himself in demon blood.
Boyd dodged a tentacle. “Nah.” He stabbed the tentacle before it
could grab Jonah.
“Thanks,” Jonah replied, pouring holy water on a demon. “But disagree?”
Boyd sliced open the last demon’s abdomen. “Yeah.” He sat down. “I
think someone wanted these demons dead.”

Norval Joe

All Larry wanted to do after High School was join the military. He was big, strong and played on the football team until cancer took his leg.
He liked to smoke Camel no filters. He called them coffin nails. It wasn’t the cigarettes that killed him, though.
He had bi-polar depression. When he didn’t take his pills he could get pretty angry and depressed.
One day he didn’t come in to work. One of the guys went to check on him.
Larry had put a .45 through his head.
Some say he’d quit, given up.
I say he was beaten.


Winters were the worst, and the best. Sure, we had to go outside and it was cold. But the taste of crisp, frosty air firing a rich, savory mentholated Marlboro light, that was magnificent. It’s been three years, three months, and I can still taste it, the flavors, the feelings, that tingling sensation in the tips of the fingers following the first cigarette of the day, and privation giving way to a sense of instant fulfillment flooding through one’s entire being. Watching the smoke drift away and carry with it all of one’s troubles … GOD do I miss smoking.


With the sun’s rising, the chirps and calls of insects, frogs and birds rise through the forest. Collectively, the dewdrops lend the grass a velvety glow, resolving into tiny diamonds close up. The sunlight mixes with smoke hanging across the meadow; they become solid liquid vapor, and give the shadows crisp 3-dimensional shapes. A doe and fawn wander out of the forest canopy’s cover into the meadow’s openness. The sharp crack of a breaking twig snaps the silence. The doe freezes, ears swiveling and nostrils flaring, alert for the source of the danger, and the fawn bolts instinctively for cover.


In ancient Japan a young samurai warrior saw smoke upon the horizon. He ran to see what was happening. Upon arriving he discovered a Catholic monk rushing back and forth between the bubbling river and the burning trees with a bucket, extinguishing the flames. When the trees were saved, the monk said that God told him to come to Japan and preserve the certain forest from flames and burning. This happened many more times over the years in that forest. Anytime the trees burned, the monk appeared. The young samurai learned that when there is smoke there is friar.


Don’t smoke, she told me. She doused me in gasoline, told me the next cigarette would be my last.
I put arsenic in her donuts. She locked herself in the bathroom for three days.
I offered her a truce. I’d take her out to eat if she let me take a shower.
How could I know she’d been hooking up the bathroom plumbing to a tank of acid?
As I soaked in the cooking oil she was so fond of drinking, I told her she’d have to find another man.
“Did that five months ago,” she said, lighting a match.


Little Betty, Your getting older but you still look good
I wish you would quit smoking.
I don’t like it when you smoke.
I spend all my money on you and I think you should not smoke.
Are you angry with me for driving too fast?
Why are you acting this way?
It’s like you have blown a gasket or something.
Little Betty, please stop smoking and take me home.
I wish you would not act like this.
I fear we will be waiting for the auto club.
Little Betty you’re my true love because
because You are my car.

Planet Z

Early robots would get trapped in Ethics Loops.
Ask them a question or give them a command that caused an unresolvable conflict, and the robot would halt, take on an odd expression, and their circuits would heat up.
If you didn’t purchase an auto-restart or a sufficient cooling system for your robot, you’d have a meltdown.
The late poet Ruby compared the smoke to a soul escaping from the body, released into eternity.
I knew it was an expensive repair. But Ruby kept blowing CPUs
Why? She liked inhaling those “robot souls.” Good for a cheap, albeit toxic buzz.

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