Weekly Challenge #378 – Original

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 ORIGINAL, which is also the topic of this week’s Single Frame Stories challenge. There’s a lot of good images to view and ponder there, and I strongly encourage you to participate in those challenges.

Over here, we’ve got stories by a lot of people:

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

Use the Share buttons at the end of the post to spam your social networks. This obligatory cat photo should help make the Internet go faster:

Tinny closeup

Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.


BOTGIRL

I died again and it’s starting to bother me. I know it shouldn’t. We are taught that the Self is nothing more than identity and the continuity of our memory. So every time they restore an archived brain scan into one of my clones, it is the real I who awakens.

But what about the lost memory of each death? All gone. A sniper’s laser. A drone’s warhead. An enemy’s blade. Abandoned in the black hole between my last scan and the last breath of each incarnation. They who died are dead and gone. Irrecoverable. May we rest in peace.

ASIAH

The sun was setting and orange light filtered through the half drawn blinds. Sheets upon sheets of newspaper were scattered across the floor, the smell of fresh paint was thick in the air, almost suffocatingly. Daniel stared at the canvas which rested upon the paint stained easel, his brush, hung loosely in his hand dirty from his work. “Damn… I really fucked it up. Heh, call it exotic, original, one of a kind, and some pretentious prick will spend thousands just to buy a paint covered mistake.” he chuckled to himself. Yes, he supposed it would do.

JEFFREY

Everyone’s a Critic
by Jeffrey Fischer

The curator was practically beaming as he told the guests about the museum’s find. “A lost Botticelli – can you imagine that! He was one of the great painters of the Renaissance, and created slightly more than 100 paintings. A new Botticelli – half a millennium since his death – is just astounding! And what a find for the city of Baltimore!”

One of the guests, a middle-aged man with a young daughter, raised a hand. “Has the painting been authenticated?”

The curator waved a hand. “A mere detail. Just look at the brush work, the delicate features…”

The little girl peered closely at the portrait. “Look, Daddy! That man is wearing Ray Lewis’s Super Bowl ring!”

The curator took out a magnifying glass and read the inscription in oil: “Baltimore Ravens, February 3, 2013.”

“Well, perhaps another test or two might be in order before any final conclusions.”

Bureaucrat Season
by Jeffrey Fischer

At long last, it was Max’s turn. He presented the form to the woman behind the counter. “I just need to renew my hunting license.”

The woman popped a bubble and glanced at the form. “This looks like a copy. We need the original.”

Max looked exasperated. “Where does it say that? Look, I’ve been in line for an hour. Can’t I bring the original by later?”

“Next, please.”

The next time through the line, Max presented the original form. “Needs to be notarized.” The third time, the woman said, “Has to be two witnesses.” Trip four found his signature to not match that on file.

The last time through the line, Max shot her twice. Among the charges levied against him: hunting without a license.

MASHA

She’d been safe in the shelter of his arms, the cocoon of his protection. She’d wanted to stay that way forever, sunlight pouring through their windows, warmth moving throughout the day.

Until he could no longer be warmed, and arms grew too frail, too weak to remain about her waist. Until all that remained were his unwashed sheets, abandoned wrappings with a fading scent.

She wrapped herself within them, burrowed deep, lain still to let the sunlight bake her into something else. No warm safety for her transformation. No witness to her rebirth.

Painted in sunlight, she conjures the storm.

RICHARD

#1 – Dozer

With a cloud of exhaust smoke, the bulldozer roared into life. George finally felt he was gaining some control, although he realised that there were still some things he had no say in.

The light was fading and his original plan was now far less attractive – he had no wish to be driving around unfamiliar roads after dark and not knowing what to expect… wasn’t night-time the natural preserve of zombies, after all?

Once again, he found himself rethinking his strategy – his priority now was to find safe shelter for the night – but the big question remained…

Where exactly?

#2 – Apple

In my childhood, my dad bought me an Apple One, thinking it would be my meal ticket to a bright future. Of course, I was more interested in sport and girls and it ended up in a box in the loft.

Then I saw the prices that Apple Ones were now fetching – it seemed my bright future was back on the cards.

An exasperating search through the dust and cobwebs of my parent’s loft proved fruitless…

“Oh, that old thing”, exclaimed my mum when I questioned her; “we thought you weren’t interested in computers… we threw it out years ago!”

#3 – Original

It’s said all music shares the same twelve notes, yet even after all this time, people still come up with original tunes.

There are only three primary colours, plus black and white, yet artists manage to create seemingly endless unique works using these.

How is it then, that with hundreds of thousands of words to choose from, and a vocabulary of, maybe twenty thousand, I find it so difficult to put together a measly hundred of the damn things, in any fashion that resembles an original story?

I bet someone else has beaten me to it with this one too!

LIZZIE

The original was sold for millions to a flamboyant millionaire. It was on the news for days as the biggest sale ever of an artwork piece. Photographers snapped hundreds of photos, journalists wrote dozens of articles, made countless interviews. Everyone wanted to be a part of this extraordinary event. So, thousands of copies were made, numbered and sold as a limited edition. After the whole commotion cooled off, he opened his safe and unrolled the painting. It was his, only his. That millionaire had paid a fortune for the perfect fake and he’d never ever know it, the original loser.

SINGH

(Text has been entered into Ubud Writer’s Festival)

TOM

A well defined Relationship Part Seven

While Timmy concentrated on presentable Mother set her sights on pretention. As the clock stuck 4 she joined the swirl of women headed for the Empress hotel for High Tea. In 1092 the original structure was disassembled, packed, and shipped on Angus Bowsmen’s largest ore transport. Angus’s wife Magdalena, an actual descendent of Victoria herself, held without tea there was no civilization. She wasn’t about to set foot on P348 until a proper public dining place was in place. Despite her current station Mother’s family was highly regarded and thus a chair was set for her at the Founder’s table

NORVAL JOE

Dergle donned his wiener dog nose and eared hoodie. He slipped onto the dark street, a wiener dog pup cradled in the bend of his elbow.
Half way to the drop point a police car pulled onto the street, drove to him and shined a spotlight in his face.
“Just what are you supposed to be?” A voice asked from beyond the light.
Trying to sound normal, he held up the puppy and said, “I’m Wiener Dog Man.”
“I’ve heard of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny,” the cop said, “But Wiener Dog Man is a new one to me.”

TURA

“Happy birthday!” I said to my girlfriend. “I made you this CD.”

The first track was “Yellow Submarine”, sung by Kathy Berberian with a string quartet.

“Cool arrangement!” she exclaimed.

“Next track’s the killer,” I said. A string quartet played the same music. “This was recorded in 1932.”

“You mean, they didn’t write…?”

“Boccherini, 1763.” An ancient, scratchy recording of a mournful Russian folk song began, strangely familiar.

“Ok,” she said, “nobody believes that Paul wrote ‘Yesterday’.”

“Name one they did! I’ve traced half their back catalogue already. When I publish, I’ll be the first celebrity forensic musicologist. The original!”

MUNSI

The Crisis

By Christopher Munroe

The prompt was the word Original, and lo did I quake with fear.

What? How? I’m widely known not to have an original idea in my head! I never have! I’d been skating by on a hodge-podge of dated pop-culture references and non-sequitors too long to come up with an original thought at this late date, would this be the end of me?

But no, I persevered, pushed forward, and soon I had the stroke of genius that would prove to be my salvation.

I’d go Meta, write a story about writing the story.

And that would get me there.

SERENDIPITY

Sheila’s original recipe burgers were hugely successful – the succulent, juicy meals she served up turned fast food into fine dining. The recipe was, of course, a closely guarded secret and despite numerous cash offers from several giants of the food industry, it wasn’t for sale.

Despite her success, Sheila never sought the big time, selling her burgers from a mobile kitchen at the roadside. She’d stay for a while, never more than a few weeks in one place, then move on.

Oddly, the neighbourhood cats and dogs seemed to follow her – because there were never any about after she’d gone.

BARBARA

I started out wanting to write something original.

Then I began again, because I had written it before

Surely a third time would be the charm, as I began once more

Then, to my dismay, I found that I had been writing the same thing, over and over again.

That was hardly original, so I contemplated starting over again.

But I was in a quandary as to whether I could start something original if I did

I compared my three previous efforts, each of them, identical.

So I destroyed the first two, and alas, I had an original at last.

ZACKMANN

“What we need is an original idea.” said the manager “something to make us if not rich at least well known.”

“How about using urine to power a battery that can charge a cellphone?”

“Joe, now that is the type of thinking we need but someone in UK does that already yet still there has to be something no one has thought of yet.

“Solomon said “Vanity vanity all is vanity there is nothing new under the sun.””

His manager says “Something new Joe. Are you going to listen to your friends or are you going to listen to me.”

CLIFF

Working homicide has never been fun but lately, it’s been a real nightmare. Take this guy. When I got to him, he was lying in a parking lot with most of his head missing due to a shotgun blast at close range. The fellow that put him down was Jeff Spence. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong. Spence is part of a Hospice Intervention Team. Jeff kills zombies. So we know the final cause of death. Now I have to find out the original cause of death. Heart attack? Murder? Choke on a pretzel? See what I mean? A complete nightmare.
———————–
So, the idea was that we would produce original plays from unknown playwrights like me. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but we soon found out otherwise. Audiences didn’t want originality. They wanted the tried and true. Oklahoma. Annie. The Odd Couple. If they hadn’t seen it a dozen times, they didn’t want to see it at all. So, I found a loophole. Turns out you can copyright a story but not a title. So I changed everyone in my murder mystery to a feline. I was quite happy with the turnout to see Clifford Lowe’s Cats.

DANNY

Wentworth spent weeks slaving at his typewriter hacking away at his next novel. “This is BRILLIANT!” Wentworth screamed, frightening his neighbors, as he hacked away at all hours of the night. Finally, the day arrived, his transcript finally complete. He skipped down the street in leaps and bounds to the publisher’s office merely 200 yards away. “I’ve got it this time!” Wentworth screamed at the publisher’s face, who calmly responded, “Look, I get it, your whole thing about being original, writing about the George Zimmerman trial 2 weeks after the fact. When you actually have something more original, get back to us.”

JUSTIN

The volcano erupted! Lava poured over Omnitron and his minions, but immune Ra projected his protection to Tempest. Omnitron blasted out an electro-pulse, wounding the heroes! Another gout of lava melted more of Omnitron and its devices. Ra pulled out his staff, gaining strength. Tempest collapsed when they brushed some deadly plants! Enraged at how such a small thing nearly killed them, Ra hurled his staff at Omnitron, shorting it out. Omnitron submerged into lava with the smell of melting circuits and metal. Ra carried Tempest away from the volcano as the last of Omnitron’s drones burned in the fire.

RED

People think the most meaningful words in a relationship are “I love you” and “I’m sorry.” Regardless of the nature of your involvement, you will find yourself apologizing and declaring your love. There is no original way to express those emotions. The order of words of choice during an argument is irrelevant.
Lola couldn’t care less about minced words. She wants to see bold gestures yet thoughtful. To her, romance is in the intimate details and subtleties. Her boyfriend has been traveling more than usual for business. Sometimes she hears from him daily. On other trips, he barely emails her. She sometimes wonders, does he even think about her when making his plans?
As if he has psychic powers, the day before he flies back, he ships a box of velvet cupcakes soaked in rum, with a letter on each one. It reads: “FYI T O U. I wish I were here to feed them to you.” With a goofy grin, Lola sticks her index finger in the creamy icing. She closes her eyes, with one sweet finger licking taste, she suddenly develops temporary amnesia.

WHISKEY

“Where do you get your ideas?” they asked.
“How did you get so creative?” they wondered.
If only they knew how easy it is. Original ideas grow on trees. They
can be plucked from the gnarled branches in bushels. Ideas are the
fruit of the stubby trees of despair, euphoria, loneliness, and
strife. These trees feed from the loamy soil of hardship, watered by
the rays of a smile and fertilized by longing. For every idea that is
picked, three more grow in its place.
Just pay no attention to the serpent, out on a limb.

PLANET Z

What you can’t fix with bioengineering, you can replace with cybernetics.

In fact, most people pass on replicated meatware and go straight to the TurboHuman dealership for polymer. You can get better performance from designer flexware.

The danger is that you can’t buy cyberparts, you can only lease them from TurboHuman. And they don’t come cheap.

Miss a payment, and you’ll find your Jarvik heart skipping a beat.

Miss another payment, and you’ll get a visit from the chopwagon.

I stuck to all natural. Because driving this chopwagon only pays commissions.

Or bribes.

Fifty, and I’ll let you go, kid.

21 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #378 – Original”

  1. No reason to put the fan on… when I want to drown out the commentary, I just place the iPhone on top of my own fan. (Not so! The commentary is the glue that binds the stories – it’s an essential part of the podcast.)

    Good stuff, as always.

  2. BOTGIRL freaks me out that someday it might be like this, and yet I welcome that day as well for it’s potential immortality albeit
    messed up immortality with lots lost…
    ASIAH reminds how I feel about art, even more own. I’d love to say that I know what I’m doing, and people may often compliment me,
    but to myself it seems sometimes as random a stream of consciousness as throwing paint at a canvas with my eyes closed (though I’m not a painter, but a musician and sometimes photographer)
    MASHA – Apple, I know the feeling there!
    Original – although there are so many combinations, we tend to put together similar combinations anyway, perhaps many of us are wired similarly, and/or
    we can’t quite help escape what music we already listen to.
    TURA – cool another one about music and the trappings of being a composer trying to be original.
    PLANET Z – woh…I can see this happening too.

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