Weekly Challenge #366 – Journal

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 JOURNAL:

And we’ve got stories by a lot of people:

The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of BLANK.

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:

Kitties


THOMAS

I have a large, thick, journal. I didn’t write in it. I used it to prop up the end of a table I bought for the family room. It was just the right thickness, and more attractive than a brick or block of scrap wood. The journal sat there, propping up the end of the table top, until I removed it one day to clean and rearrange the room. I opened it and read a few words: “This journal is the property of Edgar Poe. Please return if found. A modest fee will be your reward for its return.” E.A.P.

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The ship’s massive, main journal screamed. The bearings had turned to dust, and the sound of the heavy engine indicated it was far too late to repair. The engineer shut the old diesel down, and our ship was left to drift until we could get a tow. Sparky radioed for help, and the captain calculated our drift, based on the wind and currents. We drifted for a full day until a sea tug was sighted, hopefully to tow us to the nearest port. Thirty Somolians were on deck, and they signaled that they were coming on board for our cargo.
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I read my daughter’s journal, to my regret. She wrote, recently, that she would like to give me “a swift backhander right across my red, steaming face”, and she thought I was “a Hitler worshipping, gypsy scum!” Little Angela had a dark side, and little did I know a web cam was aimed at her dresser drawer where she kept her journal. My indiscretion was uploaded to her web site and stored as a series of still images that she would access the next day. I was busted, and the photos were posted on Twitter, Facebook, and on her BLOG.

#

My belief for journal writing follows the belief of my literary hero. Walter Benjamin wrote: ulla dies sine linea [No day without a line]. I vowed that I would write the minimum of one page a day in my journal. My muse would be roiled if I ignored my daily pledge. I didn’t always have something to say, and I was too self- critical of my entries – just as I often was with my lovely and insatiable wife. I wrote about that, too. I wrote about how I felt when I didn’t have anything clever or profound to say.

JEFFREY

Birthday
by Jeffrey Fischer

When I was a child, my father was always aloof around me, carrying out his paternal duties with competence but not apparent affection. After he died, I took a week off to clean out his house. In the attic, I found a set of journals in his handwriting, dating from his teens to his early 30s. I spent every evening before bed perusing his old thoughts, trying to come to terms with our complicated relationship.

Like many such journals, Dad’s started off with frequent, detailed entries about all manner of trivial things, and tapered off to the occasional entry of greater importance. His last entry was dated the day I was born. It read, “Should be a happy day for me but instead all I see is a lifetime of obligation.”

Therapy
by Jeffrey Fischer

My shrink told me I should keep a journal. Write down your thoughts, he said, and reflect on them. Every year, look over the previous year’s entries to understand your mental space at the time. Anyway, pen and paper are a lot cheaper than an hour with me, he chuckled in that annoying way.

So I did. I dutifully made notes every day about what I was doing, what I was thinking, what I was feeling.

Truth be told, though, I’m having trouble staying motivated, especially about that year-end review. Well, especially after the computer in this spaceship told me the oxygen recycler was broken, and I have about twelve hours to live. But hey, it’s therapy.

RICHARD

#1 – Good Dog
He’s getting on a bit now, somewhat greyer and slower, but I wouldn’t be without him.

People ask why he’s called Journal – odd name for a dog – but it makes sense to me.

I’m not one of these new-fangled bloggers, putting every trial and tribulation of my life into print, but Journal’s been with me every step of my life: He’s chewed up my achievements and gnawed my trophies. When I feed him my trash, he sometimes sicks it up; other times, he devours it with relish; and, every so often, I’ll throw him a juicy morsel.

Good dog.

# 2 – Unicorns and Rainbows

I remember sneaking into my older sister’s bedroom as a teenager, intent on prying into her personal life. So, when I discovered her secret journal under the bed, I was convinced I’d hit pay dirt.

Seems I was mistaken – after thumbing through pages of girlish drivel, I was convinced that not only was my sister intensely boring, but for a girl her age, it was about time she grew up.

It was only after her arrest I realised that her girly ‘fairy dust’ and ‘barbie doll’ entries were actually detailed accounts of her extensive drug dealerships and lucrative prostitution rings!

#3 – For the Record
Once George had recovered from his cat encounter, he couldn’t help but wonder what other, less savoury encounters he might have, once he ventured outside the hospital walls.

It occurred to him that he should chronicle his struggles, in the hope that his experiences might someday have a greater purpose – he would write a journal! An inspirational account of survival against all the odds – his legacy and gift to the children of the future!

Sadly, for the children of the future, George could find neither notebook or pen, so – for now at least – the journal would just have to wait.

MUNSI

Entry: May 1st.

By Christopher Munroe

We found a battered journal among the wreckage. It’s our first lead to date as to what may’ve happened to the seek/rescue-team sent out mid-February in the aftermath of the initial incident.

No survivors have been found to date, nor trace of the seek/rescue-team.

I’m pouring over the journal for potentially pertinent details while the rest of the response crew combs through the wreckage of the research lab in the hopes that some clue might be uncovered.

Personally, my hopes aren’t high. Still, I’ll give the journal a read…

“Entry: February 14th. We found a battered journal among the wreckage.”

TURA

My dear Dr. Brezoianu:

I regret that the Journal of Neurosemantic Research must decline to publish your paper, “Obstruction of Remote Memetic Excitation by Aluminized Mylar Composites”. It has been closely read by three referees, all experts in the field, who unanimously recommend rejection on the respective grounds that its results are absurd, well-known, or trivially obvious. Furthermore, I don’t care for the over-familiar manner in which you approached my wife at the Oslo conference last year.

With best wishes for your publication, but not in any journal I have anything to do with,

Prof. Dr. Dr. Jarogniew Grzeszkiewicz (Editor)

ZACKMANN

Sue started writing a diary of her new work experiences and some of the unusually things that happen.

Dear Diary: Today I was training as a nurses aide. The senior aide training me took me to answer a call.

Oley, who had pulled the call sting said “Hand me the yournal.”

My trainer said “I sometimes have trouble with Mr Erickson’s accent. He subscribes the Fergus Fall Journal. Oley, would you like to read the Fergus Journal?”

Oley said “No,” pointing to a plastic container near the end of the bed “I need the yournal. Quickly, I have to pee.”

LIZZIE

Wrapped in a magic spell

Alexandra wrote her most private thoughts in her red and green leather journal. To make sure no one read it, she wrapped a magic spell around it. Most of her spells were quite benign so her roommate decided to take a peek. The next day in class, in walks a red skinned young woman with glowing green hair. Everyone laughed. Alexandra didn’t. She stood up and said “Begin”. Her roommate turned into a journal instantly, flapped her pages and clumsily flew away, only to find, down by the forest, a collection of similar journals being pecked at by ill-tempered birds.

TOM

From The Journal of Josef W. Walker

October 7 1849
I met a most peculiar man this evening exited Patterson’s Glove shop on Lombard. He was propped up against a gas post inches away from the gutter. His voice, barely a whisper, seemed to be working through a delirium fancy, punctuated with clearly audible cries to his personal muse. “Cassandra” he said at once a declaration yet at the same time a questioning lament. I asked him if he was in need of a doctor? “Call me Mercutio.” Said he handing me a folio upon which the in most delicate hand the signature read E. A. POE

SERENDIPITY

Who in their right mind would want to read a psychopath’s journal?

Actually, it gained a huge following, and I suddenly found myself acclaimed, ‘bestselling author’!

It seems my readers had a huge thirst for intricate plots, liberally interspersed with graphic descriptions of murder and mutilation, all executed with a callous disregard for humanity, leaving only sorrow, pain and bumbling, ineffective detectives… always one step behind the killer they sought.

The plaudits, and hard cash, came rolling in – nevertheless, I was unhappy with the book’s reception.

It annoyed the hell out of me that they insisted on calling it fiction!

CLIFF

Day 1: Got my assignment. This one should be easy.
Day 2: What was that assignment? Oh yeah. I got this one.
Day 3:
Day 4:
Day 5: Wife reminded me; I have an assignment. Need an idea. What was the word?
Day 6: Going to have to write my story tonight. Can’t get distracted.
Day 7: Get up early and sit down to type. No ideas. Search Wikipedia for inspiration. Latch on to an obscure idea and throw words onto the screen. Record my story and send the email. Send second email because I forgot to attach the recording.

MIATA

I sat at my table, looking out my window. It is a beautiful view, the pinks of the azaleas, the white dogwoods, green grass, and the blue stream. There is no better place to write than this….well, maybe at the beach.

As I look out over the serenity of it all, I’m reminded that my life is so opposite. I love a man. I know he thinks I am a stalker. Love unrequited, but he consumes my thoughts daily. I am getting better, no contact, but only thoughts. It is hard, and my fault. I will love, and live, again.

SINGH

The Mailman Journal

1 Journal
I am recording this, Mailman. Since The Shutdown other channels have closed. I only have this chair, a pedestal keyboard and screen in the wall. It blinks on randomly with a new daily word like a carrot. I am your donkey. Are you pulling me by the golden chain of language, Mailman? To where? I write to keep the will to live flickering like a firefly’s shadow on the screen of my own parochial consciousness. Why am I here? Isn’t that the only question worth asking? I think, I tap. After 100 words, the screen blinks off. Not one more.

2 Burn
I remember Mailman, how the Zen master took a wooden image, chopped it up, and made a fire, warming himself. Seeing this, one of the other monks asked, “What are you doing, setting fire to the Buddha?”
The master replied, “Where is Buddha?”
Before the Shutdown we said — religion? It’s poison. We also wanted to burn the Buddha. That monk was wooden and stuck, just as we were anti-form. So someone shut us down, obliterated us, but that didn’t end attachment. See beyond existence and nonexistence, Mailman, and make a Buddha of gold out of garbage scraps, appearing and…

Whistle
Dear Mailman, do you think I need the future? What use is it when I can reach into memory and pluck out the wind whistling against my old garage. It still rattles the roller-door, it still speaks to me with a taunting sense of its endlessness beating against my puny shelter like a house of straw. Are you telling me to whistle Dixie with folded gum leaf or some other cute tune as if it were a new creed to place trust in? I do not need to believe because the old wind still blows right through my bones.

Pizza
Fortunately, there is tinned food. A small mountain in the corner. That’s my pizza. I have water from underground. It seeps and I lick it up. Rocks glow in the cavern’s ceiling. How long before I am plunged into the full dark? I am adjusting, finding my way, practising on all fours with eyes bound. I must. I do not trust the light. These rocks are emitting a little less, a little less. As for this screen and your daily mail, I can only place trust my own process, not what prompts you try to steer me with, foolish Mailman.

Escape
Are you provoking me? Squinting my eyes, yes I see an empty canoe waiting on the shore, a motorbike ready with a key in the ignition. The word of ‘escape’ is meant to throw up a goldfish leaping out of its bowl. Mailman, you think I am your mouse in the treadmill, the passenger in your a car about to plummet, the hand over my mouth stopping me from uttering the name of the one who caused The Shutdown. Do you think your daily morsel of words can handcuff me? Mailman are you taunting me when such escape is irrelevant?

6. Mailman
Let’s get to the point, agent provocateur. You deliver, I respond, you set agendas, I reject. The Shutdown was my good fortune. Time is a coat on the hook. Whether you are male or female is my fiction. 0h bird-like flutter in my biological heart, I understand everything. Your prompts make me believe in neither the wooden Buddha chopped and burning, nor the golden Buddha sixteen feet high. You’re not, but in. I am your mailman. You only exist to receive these hundred intentions. Knowing this, today, I add one to the golden chain. It’s my gift, the extra factor.

NORVAL JOE

Flerdy tapped his voice recorder and said, “New page. Journal entry number 1685. Professor Flerdy Phlegmbburn in command. Day four on the planet O’Gillyham.
“My pilot and traveling companion, Borle Torquespindle, while availing himself of an opportunity to vegetate, found himself surrounded suddenly by countless Amazon warriors. The women’s lithe frames and bare buxom breasts belied their deadly prowess.
“Sweat trickled down his temples as the women crept slowly toward him.”
Borle cleared his throat. “Ahem. Flerdy?”
“Don’t interrupt me. I’m recording.”
“Right,” Borle said.
“Borle held his breath as the razor edge of a spear hovered above his throat.”

Sitting in a jail cell, Dergle sighed and thought, “Some super hero I turned out to be. Wiener Dog Man? More like, Big Stupid Loser Man.”
Someone in a cell down the hall yelled. He sounded Latino. “Guard. My journal no is working.”
“Keep it down,” the guard shouted back.
“How is that fair?” Dergle mumbled looking around the empty cell. “They didn’t let me keep anything, and he has a journal to write in.”
The man shouted again, “I’m telling jue. I need to juse the journal. If jue no fix it, I going to piss on the floor.”

JUSTIN

Artyom gazed at the sky. Condensation from his heavy breath obscured the gasmask’s lenses, but he stills saw the demon flit across the sky, it’s wings beating against the poisoned air. Artyom sprinted across the roof, leaped over a tripwire and landed hard on the unstable floorboards, leg nearly pushing through. The demon crashes above and peered into the room. Artyom rolled through a doorway and pointed his pistol, firing on the wired explosives. In a blast of splinters and stone, the demon tumbled into the air, where it flew away on tattered wings, dripping black blood onto the snow.

DANNY

Charles Manson started writing a journal after being incarcerated for his crimes. Way to delusional to admit to his guilt, he kept writing, convinced his journal was a novel. Because he has no right to privacy in prison, his journal is read to the parole board everytime he is up for parole in the California prison system. At every parole hearing, Charles screams how fixed the system is, then the parole board simply reads back his own journal entries, and properly denies parole. Charly, baby face, why don’t you know when to drink a cup of shut the fuck up?

PLANET Z

For a hundred years, Middleton was a two-paper town.

The Middleton Journal and The Middleton Chronicle competed for stories, subscribers, and advertisers. The quality of both papers was exceptional.

One day, the owners of The Journal and The Chronicle met to negotiate a merger.

They tossed a coin, it came up tails, and the staff of The Middleton Journal emptied their desks into cardboard boxes as The Middleton Chronicle-Journal began its run.

The journalism got lazier and sloppier, many subscribers of both papers cancelled, and advertising rates skyrocketed.

Sure, I read it. When I steal it off my neighbor’s porch.

REDGODDESS

Lola reads all kinds of tabloid magazines while at work. The hotel subscribes to the top five fashion magazines and newspapers. The guests steal them like the little shampoo bottles in the bathrooms. She’s repulsed by the tasteless covers yet intrigued by articles that show 769 ways to please a man. She wonders, if these magazines hold the answers to women’s satisfaction, why the majority of their readers are still hopeless lost. Are there magazines that offer men better advice for a better sex life? Recently, Lola learned that the Good Housekeeping Journal is the most reliable source of information for all women, regardless of marital status or income. It occurs to her that women spend as much time worrying about keeping a clean house as they do about pleasing a man. With that kind of obsession, these magazines hold the mirror to women’s angst for generations.

3 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #366 – Journal”

  1. So many good stories this week – the topic must have inspired people! I enjoyed the over-the-top reaction of the daughter in Thomas’s third story and Munsi’s twist at the end. Cliff’s story was amusing and reminded me of my own chronicles.

    Interesting, too, how the same challenge word can sometimes inspire very different interpretations, and sometimes get people thinking along very similar lines – to wit, two stories that not only have an old journal, but in both stories the journal is Poe’s.

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