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 TOMATO:
And we’ve got stories by a lot of people:
- Steven the Nuclear Man
- Serendipidy Haven
- Cliff – Uncle Monster
- Norval Joe
- Tura Brezoianu
- Planet Z
The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of YELLOW.
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:
Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll get those fixed up as soon as possible.
by Jeffrey Fischer
I was in the middle of “One for My Baby” when she caught my eye. She was a real ripe tomato, the kind of girl with a mouth made for kissing and hair made for tousling the next morning in bed. I winked at her. The band kicked into the last tune, and I had trouble keeping my mind on the song as I made sure she didn’t leave the room.
“How ’bout a drink, sweetheart?” I asked. She nodded quickly, so I added, “I have a nice bottle of bourbon in my suite.”
In the morning she was gone, of course. It was always like that, but it didn’t make any of them less special.
by Jeffrey Fischer
The tricky thing to learn about playing in a band in honky-tonks is how to dodge tomatoes while still keeping the rhythm. Sure, beer bottles hurt more, so you have to steel yourself for the impact and not flinch, but most of the drunks can’t put a lot of strength behind the throw. These guys aren’t Nolan Ryan, zipping a fastball at your head.
No, it’s the over-ripe tomato that causes the most damage. There’s no way to remove the stains on clothing, and chunks inside a hollow-body guitar wreak havoc on the sound. Even the chicken-wire barrier doesn’t help – it just slices the tomato before it reaches you.
For particularly nasty crowds, I’ve started carrying my own supply of rotten fruit to gigs. If nothing else, it keeps the crowd’s attention.
By Christopher Munroe
I say tomato, you say to-mah-to.
Seriously, stop saying to-mah-to.
It comes off as weird and affected, nobody talks like that. Maybe they did when the song was written, when regionalisms like that were more widespread, but as the world increasingly globalizes certain common pronounciations become widely accepted and you just have to learn to live with that.
It’s tomato. Everyone agrees that it’s tomato. Get over it.
I mean seriously. To-mah-to? What on earth were you thinking?
I say potato, you say po-tah-to….
Are you fucking kidding me?!?!??
That’s it, we’re calling the whole thing off.
A Well Defined Relationship Part Four
Tim pulled the trigger too late. The Clark exploded like a bushel of Roma
tomatoes. The coach was covered in red. Banister laughed while clocking a
floater, which was performing an un-natural act on one of the Batlofts.
The danger from the Clarks wasn’t due to direct injury, the danger was
from uneven distribution of weight. It didn’t take much to send the stage
into a barrel roll. Timmy doubled his efforts and extended his firing
range. “Not Good,” roared Banister over the gathering storm. A Russell’s
Teapot was doing a Z-drop. Timmy yelled back, “Is that the FSM? OF!”
#1 – Tomato, Tomato
It was going to happen sooner or later – it was just a matter of time before a word cropped up, over which myself and my American peers simply didn’t share common ground.
You say, ‘tom-ay-to’, I say, ‘tom-ar-to’ – but which should I use? Just like the song, I felt like calling the whole thing off.
I was going to compromise, but then I thought, to hell with it! Be true to yourself… be proud of your heritage!
So, ‘tom-ar-to’ it is, and ‘tom-ar-to’ it’s going to be
And, if you don’t like it – you know where you can stick it!
#2 – Tinned Tomato
All George’s efforts were now focused on finding human company – he headed in the direction from which he’d heard the squeal of tyres.
As he jogged, it occurred to him that he could well be running into danger – after all, the vehicle he’d heard was trying to get away from something, and fast!
He looked around for a weapon and soon came across a pile of cans strewn across the road. He hefted one in his hand and nodded to himself, then filled his rucksack with as much tinned tomato as he could carry.
Now, he was armed… and dangerous.
Bali Snapshots 2 (Tomato)
My nasi goreng arrives tomato-red on the plate, a rounded mound of Balinese fried rice. It’s different to your normal Chinese take-away. There is none of that black soy sharpness. Instead, kecap manis sauce carries a salty sweetness, especially sitting in this bamboo restaurant in the green paddy fields. We walked a trail to get here. A thick wooden straw is a periscope rising from the fat coconut. Its lid has been carved like a lotus flower. Meanwhile, a red hibiscus dangles over the bamboo railing nodding like someone tuning into our conversation. We smile, we smile, we smile.
They spread a thin mattress in the Balinese hut. I’m told to strip to my shorts, and when they drop the muslin curtains my wife does the same. We lie face down with sarongs over us. As they press and knead our Western flesh, my wife who speaks Bahasa learns both the women are widows. One lost her husband to a heart attack and the other keeps silent. I think of my own red face. Has my blood pressure dropped or risen since arriving here? My wife doesn’t turn over. She is still shy, due to her mastectomy nine years ago.
One the way to the cockfight, I see a white-haired grandmother with dried dugs exposed above her red sarong. She is hitting at coconuts with a long pole outside a house. I am reminded of old sepia-tinted photos of Balinese maidens who wore only sarongs in the streets, the rice fields, at festivals, in temples. The paradisal image immortalised by impressionist Gauguins survives now as a cheap model of sexy art sold from roadsides, thanks to the Protestant Dutch reformation making women cover up last century. Meanwhile, topless Grannie whacks the coconuts. They jiggle like breasts full of milk.
After independence Bali survived, clean-minded and house-proud with competitions for the best-kept walled homes and gardens. Our driver stops to showcase one owned by his friend. From outside there is not much difference between ornate temple and the average house of sculpted volcanic rock. Inside, we see separate buildings – the ‘head’, the ancestor temple points North to the mountains; the ‘body’ holds the family rooms; and the feet form the wood fire kitchen with its big rice pot; at the garden’s centre each child’s umbilical afterbirth is buried under the hibiscus tree linking the family to this place.
Women fold pandan leaf strips into square trays to hold prayer offerings. Then, thrice daily they take flowers and morsels to the temple. This eats up forty percent of the family income. Elsewhere, women are in paddy fields, are cooking, or sweeping the paths. Even in the temples, women priests mutter the same prayers and drip holy water from a long folded leaf into your hands like their male counterparts. Some men carve gods, while women slog to keep up the rituals, but mostly their husbands sit smoking clove cigarettes, watching football and drinking endless cups of the thick Balinese coffee.
We join 2000 men for tajen. Banned throughout Muslim Indonesia as an anti-gambling measure, the cock fighting arena survives in Hindu Bali’s province as religious blood sacrifice. Our driver says this is just a front. Under-the-table ‘licenses’ are provided by the police. Gamblers bid “Chok-chok-chok-chok!” as the black bantam and white are held up, a blade tied above hind claws. Released they fly at each other. The black one strikes and soon blood oozes like chilli sauce through white feathers soon to be chicken soup for the Balinese soul, betting stubs dropped in the dust.
We reach the professor’s home for our appointment. We sit upstairs to discuss shared interests. He has many students and is a leading figure in the Bali Arts Festival. Soon an American theatre director arrives to lead a group rehearsal for her coming show – a Balinese version of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. She explains the plot’s twists and foolish turns of cross-dressing infidelity and love. It all fits perfectly here. Nyoman our new young friend says he wants to be Romeo. “Wrong play!” someone shouts. “Don’t worry,” says the director.”There are plenty of Romeo’s in this one.”
The professor drives us through a traffic jam to the festival, picking up an Australian woman on the way. Tall, red-haired and loud, she launches into her day’s report: prison work for convicted Western drug mules learning to draw, act and write with the aid of the professor’s students. Some are on death row for the stupidity of coming to party in the night clubs of Kuta Beach in Denpasar, bringing in cocaine and marijuana to finance their holidays; others will be here for life. She reports on the good effects of art used as a tool for prisoner rehabilitation.
Weaving through clouds of clove-smoke, we escape inside to the Wayang Gong — folk opera with drum and flute orchestra. Nasally singing starts behind the curtained entrance. Next to me sits a sandal salesman. Girls caress mobile phones. Its a typical Shakespearean Balinese crowd.
Two women heel-step out with elegant red and gold dresses of formal brocade silk wearing bantam headdresses. They drag long hems between feet like the feathers of shaggy fowls. Suddenly, one is a slim standup artist working the crowd, the other a chubby buffoon wiggling her butt. An ancient story, new jokes and the crowd roars.
Outside we go to see a shadow play with the professor as Independent Judge. Behind the screen the dalang performs scenes from the Mahabharata with intricate stick puppets cut from buffalo hide. Painted in red, green, silver and gold only black outlines project in the coconut oil lamplight. Noble characters speak ancient Kawi and comic servants with bellies and bulb noses translate in Bali Bahasa. Father and son attend heroes and gods, while the bad guy’s servants’ schtick is to fall over, fart and fill in the story details. It ends with a battle between the good guys and the demons.
The next day we meet Nyoman. This Topeng mask theatre student has a passion for Marcel Marceau-style mime picked up deftly from You-Tube. He shows his own group’s video clips. The Balinese are brilliant mimics hiding their true selves equally behind traditional hibiscus wood masks, or modern white face-paint. He narrates the true tale of his girlfriend and love thwarted by overprotective Dad. Another Tempest on the island of Bali? He sips his smoothie, wearing its slice of watermelon, cut like the tail feathers of a fighting cock, still the best emblem for the spirit of this place.
He lays half naked, body slightly twitching, head glowing red. A quick opening of his eyes is followed by a catapult from off the ground.
“Johnny?” I inquire.
“What?!” he responds, eyes still half glazed.
“Are you alright?”
“Where’s my goddamn shirt?!”
“Will you please quit yelling at me?!” I turn, charge towards the bedroom and slam the door shut behind me. The pounding footsteps become louder…
I lunge towards the door and quickly lock it.
“Let me in!”
I close my eyes and envision Johnny at the machine shop, laughing with his co-workers. “Good ol tomato head,” they say.
Oh good. You’re awake!
Look, I have something to tell you. You were…
You were right. There. I said it. Not that hard at all. It’s not as easy for me as it is for you, but I can admit when I’m wrong, just like you–
Hm? Oh, right, I know. I search for similarities. 23 Skiddoo, right? Seeing things in clouds. You’re so quick to tell me that I’m “imposing a pattern of similarities onto dissimilar data”. And let me tell you, that’s just not true. We have SO much in common, and you just refuse–
Ah, right. Sorry. Starting to argue again, and it’s not really fair with the gag in your mouth. And besides, I already said you were right. We’re very dissimilar. It’s true. I mean, look at us. Look at what we do. You’re a banker with your suit and briefcase, and I’m a sculptor with my smock and my chisel.
That’s the answer, honey. The sculpting. You don’t build something up – you take a rock and then you chip away everything that doesn’t fit. Everything that’s different.
And then we can be happy together!
Tomato, tohmahto, let’s just chop the whole thing off.
The headline was intriguing – ‘Killer Tomato Destroys Family!’, and the news stand was doing a brisk business on the strength of it.
I queued, paid, then ran for my train; and settling comfortably in my seat, shook the tabloid open to read this extraordinary news.
The huge headline dominated the front page, followed by ‘Turn to centre pages for full story’ – I dutifully complied.
There, tucked in the corner was the simple story: ‘John Smith, aged 43, recently choked to death on a small piece of tomato. His wife says the family has been ‘destroyed”.
Who says the press never sensationalise?
“Do you have any two pound heirloom tomatoes?”
“Sorry Not this week” replied produce guy.
“Too bad you don’t have any this week because my last one was magical.”
The produce man wondered if his client knew of the dimensional pathway not far away. He liked the man so he decide to investigate further before having to kill him to protect the secret of access to real magical worlds
The produce guy asks “Was it really magic?”
“No but it did taste wonderful and it was priceless to hear my wife opened the produce bag then say “It’s so big.”
“A tomato is the perfect addition to a perfect salad.” He chopped the tomato in half. “Real food, tomatoes. They’re very healthy.” The rookie lawyers who drafted his contract messed up and didn’t state that he had to say the name of the kitchen knives he was selling. So, he never did. This generated a colossal confusion amongst the viewers. Knives or tomatoes? Hundreds of calls flooded the lines bringing the TV station to a halt. No sales whatsoever. He was fired. Well, invited to leave. He asked for a million. “The perfect addition to a perfect life,” he thought.
They warned me that stand up comedy was tough.
“You won’t make any money,” they said. I replied that I was already broke.
“If you’re any good, other comics will steal your material,” they said. I said that I’d write more jokes, better than before.
“They’ll heckle you,” they said. I replied that I was good with a snappy comeback.
“They’ll throw tomatoes at you,” they said. I replied that I doubted if they did that anymore and if they do, at least I’ll eat healthy that night. They forgot to tell me that the tomatoes would be canned.
Building the perfect BLT is an art. You start with the toast. If darker than a light golden color, it’s too dark. You don’t want it burnt, just toasted enough to support the fixings. The lettuce should be crisp and dark green, not pale and weak. The tomato should be firm and ripe, juicy without leaking. The bacon should not be fatty but not too lean and be cooked to perfection. You only need a thin layer of mayo for a bit of zest. There’s no M in the name, so you don’t need much. Garnish with cyanide and serve.
When I first came into Second Life, there was a comedy stage on the mainland called The Flying Tomato. From the first time I discovered it, the stage and parcel was always empty. In these moments of solitude, I would wonder what avatar would want to get on stage to do a comedy act just to have flying tomatoes hurled at them. With the lag in Second Life, it would be impossible for any avatar to get out of the way of such a barrage. Then one day, the stage was converted to an open store selling flying tomato chairs.
I hate thee little worm, in truth
You haunted my dreams when but a youth
With bulbous head and spiked tail
With which you threatened to impale
my tender hand.
Two eyes could see, but many more
Run down thy sides, and I abhor
Your clinging feet upon the vines
Of tomato plants, which do at times
Grow on my land.
Camoflage of silver and green
a grand disquise to look like leaves
I see you not ’til I wish to take,
The ripened fruit, but I must make
If tomatoes you wish to grow,
Poison is best.
I don’t like tomatoes. Nasty, cloying taste. But I once imagined I did. I’d fallen ill, getting sicker and sicker for two weeks. Then it turned round and I started recovering.
During that recovery, I read a novel, in which there was a small scene of an impoverished priest frying some tomatoes, sprinkling salt on them, and, his hunger being so strong, eating them straight from the pan. The author made it live, so much so that I nearly went straight out to buy some tomatoes and do the same. But I didn’t, of course, because I can’t stand then.
John Mullins, Soldier of Fortune, crept through the jungle, drops of rain bursting against the barrel of his assault rifle. The sound of muttering being cut off by “Hush!” gave him pause. Through the foliage he spied two terrorists attempting stealth through the trees. John swayed his gun towards them and bullets popped out through the silencer. One terrorist took a bullet to the arm and one to the neck. He died from shock. Two more bullets struck the other terrorist in the head, which turned into an exploding tomato. The bodies slumped to the ground quieter than when walking.
A lot of celebrities have fallen for the GYOP (Grow Your Own Produce) marketing hype. Even the First Lady has jumped on the eating fresh bandwagon. She holds fruit and veggie parties on the White House lawn for the children. For entertainment, she performs the hula hoop without breaking a sweat. Ah yes, save the children, Lola whispers to herself.
You have to admire a well-liked mother, wife, public health advocate who finds time to grow her own tomatoes. She then shares her bountiful crops with voters and visitors. Five blocks from the White House, CNN reported that a homeless woman was arrested for stealing bread at the Farmers’ Market. She confessed she lost her food stamps at the shelter and needed to feed her only child. I guess when it comes to feeding the hungry, not everyone can eat from the land.
Ted likes ketchup on his burger, but he hates tomato.
Fred likes tomato on his burger, but he hates ketchup.
So, when the waitress got their burgers mixed up, they attacked her with a chair.
Then, they sat back down, traded plates, and finished their burgers.
By then, the waitress had crawled to safety, and the owner of the restaurant had called the cops.
Ted and Fred asked for separate checks.
When nobody responded, Ted and Fred Each put down a twenty and walked to the exit.
What happened next?
Who cares. I’m hungry.
Let’s get a burger.