Weekly Challenge #368 – Old

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 OLD:

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

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

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:

Growing kitty


MIKE

OLD
by mbnels

“Dude.”

“What?”

“Do you have any singles?”

“Why?”

“That girl. I think she wants me to put a dollar in her g-string.”

“We’re at a high-school basketball game!”

“I know, but for God’s sake she’s wearing mesh pantyhose! She has tattoos, a butterfly on her ankle, a tramp stamp on her back and she has flowers that go up her tummy and over her-”

“Dude! That’s Amanda Tomlinson.”

“Wait. Mandy Tomlinson? Andrew Tomlinson’s DAUGHTER?”

“Shhhh, yes. Andy is right behind us.”

“Dude.”

“What?”

“Do you have any forks in there?”

“Just a spork…why?”

“I wanna gouge out my eyes.”

THOMAS

Henry was an old man. In the last ten, maybe twenty years, he realized that he had grown invisible. When shopping, picking a loaf of bread off the shelf, or choosing a couple of oranges at the produce counter, young people would pass by, almost brushing into him, but not making eye contact or offering a greeting. At the front entrance of the post office, an attractive young lady appeared, face to face at the large, double doors. She stared straight ahead, not changing her expression. She looked through the old man as if he was glass in the door.

#

The geezer was old

but still felt bold

older than dirt

but still the flirt

ogling the legs

with his ham and eggs

checking behinds

through venetian blinds.

Any chance he had

with the scantily clad

at the park

daytime or dark.

He’d wait for the runner

an exceptional stunner

to jog on by

and to catch his eye.

Bright yellow shorts

which barely supports

her magnificent tush.

Her fanny, a bubble

screaming for trouble

to the nasty old goat

tightening his throat

and raising his nubble.

Old, but not dead.

He could still pray

for that magical day.

NORVAL JOE

Before Katie could drag Borle from the hut screems issued from the tropical forest. Through the screen walls of the structure men could be seen leaping from the foliage and rushing to crowd around the small man’s house. Each warrior held a drawn bow aimed within.
“I knew you were O’Malley spies,” the small man whined. As one the women threw their spears to the ground, their bare breasts heaving as they sighed in resignation.
“O’Leary. Send out those thieves and make sure they’ve got the Tahloohlah gourd with them,” someone shouted from outside.
“This is getting old,” Borle grumbled.

“Mr. Dunderspawn. If you won’t sign the paper, there’s not a lot I can do for you. You’re being held on suspicion of being an international terrorist. You have no rights as a US citizen.”
A guard walked up, unlocked the cell door and said, “Come with me. You have a visitor.”
Across the plexiglass divider, Widow Finklestien scowled; an old cardboard box sat on the table before her.
“I’ve been feeding your wiener dogs while you’ve been away, but this one won’t eat.”
The grey muzzle of Long John Silver poked from under the folded lid of the box.

JEFFREY

Parker
by Jeffrey Fischer

The pen was old, a black 1947 vacuum-filling Parker 51 with a blue diamond on the arrow clip. Scratches along the soft metal cap gave the pen character. The rubber in the filling mechanism had become brittle with age, but with some careful work I replaced the diaphragm. After soaking the pen in water to dissolve years of dried ink, the 51 was ready to write.

I sat at my father’s desk, like the pen another antique I inherited, with the 51 in my hand, poised to make a note in my new leather-bound journal. My father thought of his pen as an extension of himself. Does the pen still have that power, or, in an age of electronic diaries and hand-held computers, is it hopelessly anachronistic, mere evidence of a bygone age?

Goin’ Mobile
by Jeffrey Fischer

My first car was a 1982 Mercury Lynx. It was old at the time I bought it, held together more by duct tape than welds, moved from zero to sixty in a brisk ten to twelve seconds or so, and had an annoying tendency to refuse to start when the engine was halfway warm.

Still, a car meant freedom. I loved that. Of course, to a young person, a car also meant car payments, and an old car meant lots of repairs. Did I say “freedom”? I meant to say “prison.”

RICHARD

#1 – The Dig

The team gathered excitedly around the find. The artefact was old – ancient in fact – but that wasn’t its most striking attribute, for there in the trench, surrounded by pottery and tile fragments, covered in mud and scoured by the ravages of time, lay unmistakeably, a Roman timepiece.

This was an historical moment – one that would change forever our understanding of ancient technology… nobody had realised the Romans were so technologically advanced.

Johnson walked up to the crowd, wondering what the excitement was about.

“Hey Guys, has anyone seen my watch? I dropped it around here a couple of days ago.”

#2 – Grow Up!

‘Grow up!’ It’s an admonishment I seem to get almost every day…

Like the time I put itching powder down Miss Turner’s back or the hilarious occasion I slipped those little blue tablets into Sydney’s orange juice. “Grow up!”, they said, in exasperation.

I don’t want to grow up – there’s time enough for that when I’m older.

Today, Louise caught me tobogganing down the stairs on a tea-tray. It was the last straw for her, resulting in a proper telling-off:

“For goodness sake grandpa, will you please grow up – you’re just too old for this kind of behaviour!”

#3 – Hasty Retreat

George’s exit from the mortuary was a great deal more rapid than his entrance – whatever disaster had befallen humanity outside, he’d much rather take his chances with the living dead, than hang around with the dead and decaying.

He cleared the corridor in five seconds flat and tore back up the several flights of stairs he’d only recently made his way down.

Finally, he could run no further and collapsed in a heap on the floor, fighting for breath and wishing he’d spent more time keeping in shape.

Miserably he thought, “I’m getting too old for this sort of thing”.

SERENDIPITY

My coffee table is an heirloom from my grandmother – I remember her teaching me to count the rings in the grain to see how old the tree was. No matter how many times I counted, I always came up with a different number!

We’d sit at the table and she’d show how each ring represented a particular year – “This one was made at the time of the industrial revolution, and that one is around the date of the American civil war”

“What about that dark one, right in the middle?”, I prompted.

“Your grandfather’s coffee cup made that!”, she grumbled.

MUNSI

Dubstep

By Christopher Munroe

I have to admit, I don’t enjoy Dubstep.

Which is weird, I’ve enjoyed electronic music in the past. I liked Chemical Brothers and Prodigy during the ‘90s, I still love Daft Punk. Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James albums is one of my favorites, and there’s a clear line between that and Dubstep, and yet…

I can’t get into it. I suspect the fault isn’t Dubstep’s, but my own.

Because I’m growing older.

I’m always growing older, every minute of every day. It’s the one constant of my life.

And one day I’ll die.

But, more importantly, I don’t enjoy Dubstep.

LIZZIE

To understand

“Preferably,” mumbled the foreigner, leaning against the SUV covered in dust.

Shariq didn’t speak English, but his job was not to understand; his job was to take the man to different locations, like this abandoned old house in a deserted area.

The foreigner checked his watch and shook his head.

Another SUV appeared from behind the house. A man stepped down. They talked for a few seconds.

The foreigner came back, muttering, “The devil’s waiting.”

As they drove away, there was a huge explosion and pieces of the other SUV flew in all directions. Shariq thought “The devil’s at work.”

SINGH

Dante and the Tumult Cards Part 2

9.
Dante looked down at the broken body in the pit. A flicker registered in the face.
“You thought I could forget, Wolfgang? How you snatched my company, my wife and children? Remember our deal done by kerosene lamp? Poetic justice, isn’t it? You tripped into your own bear trap. The one you dug ten years ago.”
“Take it all, Dante. Let me live.”
“Aha? You think I care. I’m way too old. But I will play a last card for you.”
Dante shuffled. The Surrogate Card turned face up.
“Sorry. You lose.”
Dante lifted the trapdoor and let in the wolves.

10.
The alpha dog tore at his throat, the she-wolf his genitals. The others attacked at each limb, ripping him like a rag doll. His neck was spurting red, but Dante was supra-conscious beneath the excoriations of pain.
It should not have happened like this. Had he become his enemies’ understudy? Yes, the Surrogate Card had decided and this wasn’t a rehearsal.
What circle of hell was he in? The leopard, the lion and the wolf were still at his heels. From the shit pit of bodies writhing in human ammonia, a black hand emerged holding aloft the Clone Card.

11.
“Ladies, you can change your spots through the Lady Leopard Sexercise Programme.”
“Francine?” He spun around. ”I never thought I’d see…” and broke off…the once chubby face of his childhood sweetheart had been cloned by wall to wall video screens, She was the Wellness Goddess.
Nothing made sense. Had he been saved from Hell, only to land up at this cheesy mall promotion with a Lady Leopard Lookalike Pageant just beginning?
The future couldn’t be so random. The idea of progress had to exist.
He tossed the Tumult Deck into the air.
Each falling future was a Time-out Card.

12.
Time is a lion pacing the cage, losing grip. The past might have been the tawny savannah of Africa, but the future was a putrid stall of thrown bones.
Shocking, Dante thought. How nobility could be so reduced to an object of pedestrian pleasure pointing and licking its French-fry fingers.
Caged in his consciousness he was no different to the big cat. Sitting on the bench under a tree, he felt truly compassionate and remorseful for the first time. Heavens and Hells, Africas and zoo-purgatory. Were these destinations or stopovers? Wind shook down the leaves and the Power Card.

13.
Dante met his she-wolf on Tuesdays. The circle drummed them into the underworld. Howling and mating as Power Animals, they then returned.
Lycanthia Wolf had founded the Therian Support Group after coming out two years back. Meeting her alpha she was happy.
He was circumspect about Therianthropy. All these drooping tails pinned to backsides.
“Psychiatrists call this ‘species dysmorphia’,” he challenged.
“It’s animal past lives,” she answered.
A newcomer jumped in. “We meet in a virtual world and are in a loving raccoon-hyena relationship now.”
Dante fiddled with the deck in his pocket and pulled out the Buddha Card.

14.
To escape leopard, lion and wolf Dante had backpacked here seeking sanctuary.
Thirty monks sat before the rare monkey wood image.
“Chop off Buddha’s head,” the abbot ordered.
“It is sacrosanct. Unthinkable!” one factional monk complained.
“Just do it!” said the cranky abbot.
Was Dante being ensnared in a power struggle? Who to align with, who would win?
“Why are you waiting, you fool?”
So, Dante swung. A chip flew out. Another card! It was Surrender.
“Now chop and burn it! My toes are icicles!”
Dante understand none of this. Lust, greed and power were still growling beasts in his belly.

15.
She was one hundred with a face leathery as a shrunken doll. But her eyes were pellucid as the mountain river.
Dante had to purify himself in water before Tingri the sky god would revoke the three evils.
Old Grandmother donned her she-wolf mask and danced into trance.
Soon she was howling in an animal tongue. Dante couldn’t understand.
Suddenly, she punched him left and right and left with such force it loosened a tooth.
Later in the yurt after a meal of horse offal, he dreamed of falling stones. On waking the Clemency Card was stuck to his palm.

16.
“Leniency, Sir?” Dante asked. “At Ypres, the beast in man was born from mud,”
Thirty miles behind the Front, General Sir Ossian Quayles luncheoned on.
“Some Christmas clemency please. Trench morale has been gnawed raw.”
Quayles held his tarte d’oignon mid-fork. “In battle Colonel, the lion must be unleashed, then goaded forward.”
Dante clenched knuckles remembering thousands sentenced to machine gun oblivion.
“The three deserters?”
Quayles considered the political implications. Let him carry the shit can in case anything leaks to the press. “Hush it up then, Colonel.”
Dante returned to his rat quarters, cut the Deck, turning up Death.

17.
Inside the coffin he was awake. Scripture re-surfaced: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”
Was this death? Dante blinked. The kidnapping came back, being knocked unconscious. Who was wolf, who was the lamb? Even here images of leopard and lion would not leave him alone. Fear’s movie was going on inside him.
Then, a phone vibrated rudely on his chest. A reprieve or ransom demand? No. Just a picture-send. It was the Birth Card.

18.
The wolf woman lived over the pass in Tumult Valley, an isolated place known for storms. She trained animals for Hollywood. Randy the leopard and Tamerlane the lion were caged out back with others, while Half Moon, a she-wolf had slept by her bed since a puppy. Few visited and she liked it that way. A stuntman got her pregnant during her last shoot. She was glad and never told him.
Around sunset the first contractions began. She walked up and down, rocked in her chair, but couldn’t settle. Even the wolf began to fret. Why was the midwife late?

19.
As the storm broke so did her water. She and Moon were on their own. Throwing down quilts she nested beside the brass bed, spread herself breathing and pushing until finally the baby crowned and was in the world. She slumped back and brought it close. She had done it. Alone, Moon licked the baby’s face. The tumult was over. She reached for the Deck on the bed table. As a ritual of significant beginnings she knocked it flying to see what fate would turn up for a newborn girl. It was the clean slate, the heart-shaped mirrorcard – the Blank.

TOM

Timmy smiled at dad. Raised his hand shook two fingers proudly proclaiming “I’M TWO!” The remains of the cake and candles were smeared across the top of the wooden highchair and Timmy’s face. Of the mountain of toys from Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Parents Timmy seemed most fascinated by a nerf ball. The Godfather Tom sheepishly apologized for inadvertently up-staging the family. “It’s ok Tom. It’s actually on the list of toys Timmy can take with him.” Mother carefully put the knit hat on Timmy’s shinning head. As they drove to the clinic Tom thought three years old was highly unlikely

To mark my 500th story at Laurence’s 100 World Story Archive I want
to thank you all for the shout outs for my birthday. As one advances
in years the milestones call to celebrate become more distinctly
spaced out. To this end only birthday ending in zero get properly
acknowledged. This is why I brought this to the attention of our band
of brothers/sisters gender correct thank you very much. Turning 60 is
sort of unfamiliar landscape sort of Gallup on acid and I highly
recommend not doing acid in Gallup, for one I feel no wiser or mature
then when I turned 14 but at the same time I am the last living
member of my childhood rat pack.. In the last year my best writing
has been in the form of eulogies. Gail keeps saying I’m just middle
aged, I don’t know many folk 120. I’ve always thought it odd that at
19 you’re a young man at 29 you’re standing at the border of middle
age. Now I’ve double 30 my goal is to care half as much about what
other think of me and have six times as much fun as when I was 10.

TURA

“Say, how old *are* you?”

I usually leave before people start asking, but it’s getting harder to disappear. Time was, I’d get on a ship and go missing, turn up somewhere as a stranger and start over. It’s not so easy under the eye of Google Earth, the Internet, and CCTVs everywhere.

I recently gave a DNA sample to a research survey. I’d like to know what they find, that’s kept this body going three thousand years, but it looks like I can’t stick around to find out.

Time to leave, time for a new life. That never gets old.

CLIFF

The book store was a collectors dream. Leather bound volumes lined the shelves. The older books were in display cabinets under lock and key. I loved it. I chatted with the owner for a bit and bought a first edition of 1984. He was obviously a huge bibliophile and grew quite animated when talking about his collection.
“I have a first edition bible. Would you like to see it?”
Of course, I said yes. I’d never seen a Gutenberg up close.
“Oh, it’s not a Gutenberg,” he said as he unlocked a door. Inside were stacks of stone tablets.

MIATA

I was young. I saw an old woman at the park. At first, I was afraid of her, that is, until I saw her eyes. They were like the Mediterranean Sea, and they were sparkling at me! Her voice cracked as she spoke, but after listening I caught the lilt, the music from her soul. Had she been to all the places she sang about? She was my grandmother, and the love I came to have for her had no bounds.

I am old. I met my grandchildren at the park. At first, they were scared of me….

ZACKMANN

“Hey Pops, Did you hear that new dubstep song on the radio?”

“No young man, and I hope I don’t. Back in my day music didn’t have to sound awful for kids to dance to it.”

“Pops, You know hating new music exclusively because it’s crap is a sign of old age.”

Pop winks and says “I’ve always hated bad music and I told you to call me Uncle when we go places without your mother.”

“Yeah, thats like so mature”
“Your mother assures me that I might have become responsible, maybe even old but I will never be mature.”

STEVEN

You don’t want to, you really don’t. But the scab – dried platelets and blood – can’t be ignored.

Try to concentrate on the smooth skin – not the red raised inflammation around the scab – focus, dammit, focus.

Your fingers, your clothes, the air brushes against the scab.

The invisible elephant makes it impossible to move, to breathe, to think.

Dig with fingernails chewed and peeled and bitten with worry. The sharp flashes of pain are relief, any sensation besides the crusted deadened dread.

You are surprised by the blood, by the wound.

It will stain your clothes.

It will leave a scar.

REDGODDESS

Lola can count the number of awkward moments at the hotel in both hands. Most guests are cordial unless they are in one their bad moods. You know, “the my problems are bigger than yours” look. They walk around like zombies with blank stares with the scent of rage. Lola feels like an invisible sculpture in the lobby. On other days, they seek her out like a lost friend, spilling their repressed secrets to her like a designated Therapist. The next day, some zoom by without saying a word. In spite of their indifference, Lola will remain the most reliable stranger in their lives.

Lola has come to accept the reality that old age is like death, both are inevitable. After turning 30, she stops counting. It’s a waste of time considering she feels older than she looks. Sadly, the media won’t let her forget either. Everywhere she turns, there are ads for wrinkle and cellulite cream. Her friends shower her with complements but she’s skeptical.
Henri, a French hotel guest with a permanent tan, greets with air kisses and spins her around like a ballerina. . “You look younger by the minute!” he squeals for everyone in ear shot to turn and stare. Lola blushes but feels oddly convinced by this drunk man’s flattery.

JUSTIN

Delbright traipsed across the Capital Wasteland, enjoying no longer living in the Vault. Sure it was a big giant mess, but not boring. Bright sunlight glinted off something in the sand. Delbright picked it up. It was old, but still new and shiny. Looked like something from the vault museum. It was amazing something this old still looked good out here. He fiddled with it trying to decide how it worked. It fell from his hands when the back of his skull cracked. Delbert fell and saw his killer. The sneaking bandit took it back, as well as Delbright’s things.

Carson goaded his brahmin along the path between Megaton and Bigtown. The wagon they pulled was his life, goods to trade. Travelers needed items of all sorts, and he needed caps to put food on his plate. Something that looked valuable laid in the sand ahead, reflecting the harsh sunlight. Carson picked it up. It was old, and it was in mint condition. Far too mint to not have been placed here recently. He took cover against his wagon. When a bandit came around the corner, spiked bat in hand, he shot, and added the bandits things to his own.

DANNY

An Old Man tried to commit suicide by carbon monoxide gas. The old man carefully hooked a long tube from the exhaust pipe of his car into the rear window of his four door sedan parked in his garage, then thoroughly sealed the back window with duct tape. Unfortunately, the car the old man used was a hydrogen fuel cell car from Honda. The Honda was so well built, and the duct tape job around the exhaust was so brilliant, and the cabin of the car was so well built, it rapidly filled with water. The old man drowned instead.

PLANET Z

Whenever I find an old ornate bottle that looks like it might contain a genie, I pick it up and wish that I never found the genie’s bottle in the first place.

This guarantees that my life will either stay the same, because the bottle isn’t magical at all, or that it will get better.

How will it get better?

Because with all this crazy shit going on, there’s no way I’d wish for the life I have now, so it stands to reason that the genie made my wishes backfire on me.

No bottle, no crazy shit.

(Fuckin’ genie.)

5 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #368 – Old”

  1. Tom – Thank you, as always, for your updates. Cheers.

    You can also say your are three score and zero years old. Sounds more elegant, no?

  2. A big congrats Tom and also for your updates. Your distinctive style and voice are always a pleasure to wait for in every podcast which you have beeping at for half a terabyte of story hoard.
    Best
    Singh.

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