Weekly Challenge #383 – Just

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 JUST.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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JEFFREY

Circus Act
by Jeffrey Fischer

“Inspector, over here.” I wandered through the circus’s administration center toward the direction of the forensic specialist’s voice. “This is… just bizarre.”

I studied the blood spatter. The void it left suggested a killer of just around four feet tall.

“Just a minute. Give me some time to think.” To my right was a sign for the midgets’ dressing room. The door to my left led to the child-care center.

“We need to wrap this case soon, sir,” said my sergeant, handing me a set of latex gloves. ” A group of female gymnasts are visiting today, and they’re already waiting at the gate.”

“They’ll have to wait a little longer. This case is just baffling. I have no idea where we could find a suspect who fits that description.”

Business 101
by Jeffrey Fischer

The factory was a model of just-in-time delivery. Orders came in from the customer, and the company’s purchasing agents set out to obtain parts to be delivered just as needed during the assembly process. Suppliers – even those as far away as Asia – worked with the company to assure a seamless process.

This worked well for years. Then one day the phone rang for a new order. The factory couldn’t get commitments for delivery of essential parts. The customer was furious. The company president had to call to explain the situation.

“General, I’m very sorry. In retrospect, it just wasn’t a good idea to have no parts inventory for our missiles, especially for key components from our Asian supplier. In fairness, though, sir, how was I supposed to know your boss planned on declaring war on China?”

TOM

A Well Defined Relationship Part 12

Normally Timmy would not have indulged in the premium amenities, but his
new status of Profit seemed to have come with an ample amount of perks.
Just for starters his suit and shoes where run through a separate unit.
Then there was the unmetered Mark 7 with undulating shower heads. And
finally a service that defied any level of justification the Micronite
body scrubbers often credited with causing spontaneous premature puberty.
Over the nano roar Timmy heard Sparky cry out. Dashing to the lobby Timmy
was confronted with six men wearing silver cullenders. “We’ve come for
justice.” railed the Pastafarites.

EXPLORER

just defines wisdom, and understanding of life, and the depth of the human soul. Just defines how we humans interact with one another, and how easily we can be torn apart by words of another. just Breathe, and concentrate on centering the emotions of the heart. I hope you find the words to help you look beyond the twisted knots, and help you find your inner peace. just Breathe.
just Breathe Angel Desires Absent Valued
Chasing Fears
T rust Spilled T ears
Whispers Inside Shining Knotted Moonbeams
just Breathe Cherished Dreams Hope
Rising

RICHARD
#1 – Just for once

As the truck rumbled on into the night, George slumped into a corner, ruminating on his bad fortune.

The accident had been bad enough – all he could remember were snatches of that fateful journey… the car spinning crazily, the sickening crunch of metal, then the emergency room and anxious doctors, then… nothing.

Nothing until he awoke in a silent, empty hospital to this crazy nightmare.

Why did these things always happen to him, he agonised?

Staring into the darkness he wished, just for once – just once – why couldn’t things go right for him?

Or was that just asking too much?

#2 – Rough Justice

Morgan the Just had a reputation for being a harsh, but fair king. He ruled with a rod of iron, and nations bowed to his reasoning. At his hands the kingdom prospered and his passion for justice brought him respect from far and wide.

But not from everyone.

His wife was a nightmare and, no matter how hard he tried, she was impossible to please. Far worse, she always had things her way.

Often, Morgan would muse about his misfortune… oh, the irony of it: respected by millions and derided beyond reason by just one.

Where’s the justice in that?

#3 – Just one more…

Just one more and he’d have done it – the world domino-toppling record would be his, and those who had doubted him would finally have to eat their words!

He savoured his moment of triumph – it felt good.

Selecting a double-six with care, he kissed it and prepared to stake his claim in domino-toppling history.

The sneeze was the type that catches you completely unprepared… no gradual wind up and false starts, but a sudden violent explosion of involuntary sound and motion.

The domino flew from his hand, with inevitable consequences…

And he’d only needed just, one, more.

MUNSI

Just

By Christopher Munroe

Remember that Radiohead song with the guy laying in the street?

A crowd gathered and asked why, and when he told them they collapsed, paralyzed by the revelation.

You know the one.

I can’t tell you how many times I watched it, trying to figure out what he says at the end.

Hundreds, easily.

I saw it again the other day, for the first time in years. I think I’ve finally figured out what he said.

I’ll tell you, if you like.

Just… not now.

For now, I just want to lay here.

Just for a minute.

Just to recover…

SINGH

12

The high winds also brought a cyclonic thunderhead of conflicting thermals. They smashed the low-lying delta peninsular — just like a fist cracking the bony fingers of a hand. Walls of water surged over flimsy estuary embankments and flooded inland, uprooting and washing away the thatched mud huts, roads and settlements. Hundreds of thousands of acres of rice and jute disappeared under the sudden sheet of in-rushing ocean. Families woke in chaos and many were immediately swept away to oblivion. Others more lucky had a small window of opportunity to pack and flee with whatever meagre belongings they could carry.

13

Bhim put Devika, clutching their baby girl onto the cart. Then, while helping his mother up she dropped her brass pot packed with rice grains. It tumbled away into the rising water.

“Hai!” Meera screamed.

Bhim reached down and retrieved it. Sadly, all of the precious rice had now dispersed in the floodwater. Nothing could be done. “Chello!” he said. “Let’s go.”

Setting off, he soon offered Narayani Mata a ride, but their old widowed neighbour refused to abandon her bony cow. Having seen floods and ruined crops she knew she would starve without milk anyway, and resigned to her fate.

14

The road to Sitapur was clogged with fleeing families. Bhim Das beat the bullock’s rump until the cart could progress no more. He freed the beast, dragging his family toward the old dilapidated flood shelter. It was a two-storey concrete building on four plinths with stairs, balconies and a flat roof. This was a vote-catching initiative of some old regime. There were too few scattered along the coastline. This stationary structure was already over-crowded. Bhim and his family fought through huddled shapes and managed to climb, push and squeeze past complaints to find a corner on the roof.

15

The four took shelter under a tarpaulin of stitched-together fertiliser bags previously used to cut and wrap roadside grass. Bhim Das had salvaged it from the cart. Now it became a tent with squatting heads and shoulders for poles. They huddled together sharing warmth and tried to sleep through the storm. Palm trees had snapped like toothpicks. Seawater was encroaching. Goats, cows and buffaloes were in distress. Slow moaning and bleating scraped along human nerves as they floundered to find any foothold in the deluge, eventually going under one by one. Meena Devi, clung onto her bronze Lakshmi and prayed.

16

The cyclone shelter had doubled as a school with rotten foundations and white-washed walls needing repair. After bureaucratic kickbacks, foreign aid’s cannibalised funds could only build with porous cement. 2000 were now packed onto three floors meant for 800, each with just one metre to squat in, including the pregnant and the elderly. Emergency store rations had long ago turned a profit on the black market through Devendra Gosh, the government official-in-charge. There was no cooking fuel, the latrines had never worked and survivors were only a fraction of the displaced, or those floating face down like logs.

17

Bhim’s family made it through the gale-force night praying to the goddess Lakshmi. Meera collected run-off from the fertiliser-bag tent in the cooking pot and they took careful sips. Going to the toilet the next day was a whole other problem with 800 exposed on the roof. They squatted in turn above a rusty bucket, petrol tin or some plastic motor oil containers with the tops cut off passed on until brimming with faeces, then dumped over the side into the floodwaters. Rain continued to pelt down with ferocity, pinning Bhim and family underneath their makeshift synthetic tarpaulin.

18

The shelter was so far just holding out, but the concrete steps and supporting plinths were being consumed by rising tide. As long as the storm surged, those on the roof could exist on sips of collectable rainwater, but others locked together on the lower levels could barely move, each in their meagre metre of shitting space. All were dehydrating badly, some with respiratory problems due to cloying suffocation. By the second day the cyclone shelter had drawn first blood — two newborn infants and an old man wheezing away life on his daughter-in-law’s lap. Death’s bad news spread fast.

19

Meera Devi still felt guilty, having earlier let the rice pot slip from her grasp climbing onto the cart; and now there were only three onions left knotted in her shawl. Onions discouraged thirst, although not for long. She propped Lakshmi up against a crack progressing up the concrete wall. She could only close her eyes and wave an imaginary ghee light on a tray, She visualised garlands, burning incense, piles of mangoes – and mentally poured unhusked rice over her deity’s feet like an endless showering of gold coins. “Please take me, but save my family,” she bargained with her goddess.

20

Meanwhile, Devika feeling her milk drying up from dehydration and anxiety couldn’t satisfy her suckling infant who bit harder for nourishment. The young woman’s strength was dissipating. It worried her. A mother is a milk tap. How long could her baby last? Mother Meera understood, stopping her sips for Devika’s and Priya’s sake. Bhim Das felt helpless too. His waterlogged fields would soon rot. As Bapuji said: “A farmer is only a lord at harvest time.” He couldn’t feed his family on air like some non-eating yogi. The shelter was delaying the inevitable and cruelly forcing them to befriend death.

21

Around 4am cyclonic winds and a fresh wave of storm surge began to rock the overcrowded ark. The foundations splintered. Then, one of the four supporting concrete plinths snapped and the corner opposite Bhim’s family collapsed. The only thing left to do was to leap from the ledge behind them. Meera Devi had already made her pact with Lakshmi. “Go,” she said to Bhim. “Take them.”

“”Ma!”

“Just go.”

The roof tipped, sliding away human cargo off its deck like a boat and passengers going down. He waited until the last moment, grabbed his baby girl and wife and then jumped.

LIZZIE

After the police showed up, there was nothing else that could be done. They found a whole room filled with photos covering the walls all the way up to the ceiling. The first time she spotted him, he was standing in his veranda, holding binoculars. “What a perv,” she thought. Months of multiple complaints followed. All got lost in a torrent of paperwork. His last words were “I was just…” He kept a diary, the police found out later. He was in love, fatally in love. Her destiny also had a fatal twist to it. She was convicted to life.

CLIFF

History calls him Mathias the Just. You may ask how one gets a description of “The Just”. After all, he frequently beat his own sons for minor infractions. He once locked his wife out of the house for a night because she had let his soup get cold. Mathias was a swindler, an adulterer, and quite possibly a murderer. So why did the history books call him Mathias the Just? Because, in that village, only Mathias could read and write and he wrote the history book. However, he couldn’t record who was wielding the meat cleaver that ended his life.

I believe we should strike the word “just” from our vocabulary. Everything is important. Just a wife and mother? Do you know what goes into running a proper household? What about the phrase “It’s just a cold”? That’s how we lost Jim Henson. Everything and everyone is important. Maybe not to you, but to someone. Write someone off as just another person and you may miss out on a job opportunity, a new friend, or even a lover. No one is just anything. Everyone is important and special. Well, except for David Lee Roth. He really is just a gigolo.

TURA

General Wei issued a decree that all trade take place at the just price. “Charging more is extortion; charging less is competition; offering more is bribery; offering less is oppression. Free trade is conspiracy against the realm, for all belongs to the Emperor, who orders men’s estates.”

He instituted the Committee of Justers, to decide the just price of every thing, and the just punishments for illegal trade. Oppressors and competitors would be stretched on the rack by the same proportion as their prices fell short, and bribers and extortionists were sent to be precisely shortened by the executioner’s saw.

DANNY

Another article in this morning’s newspaper calling for change to Florida’s self-defense laws in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case. Once again, a re-invention of facts to fit a scenario of racism different than the evidence presented at trial. If the media used the actual facts, it would be hard to define pulling a gun while flat on your back having your head pounded into the ground an act of racism. Or should we call the woman from NJ pummeled in her home by a black assailant in front of her 3 year old child a racist? Is that just?

JUSTIN

When the day started out, I had a hangover, and the submarine I was in sank, and New York was in ruins. On the bright side, after washing up after some strange ship took potshots at us, I met a man. He said I was the only hope he had, then he gave me a spiffy nano suit. Powered combat armor. It allowed me to jump higher, run faster, all that jazz. There was just one little thing the man who gave it to me neglected to tell me. A whole army would be out to kill me. Thanks buddy.

ZACKMANN

“Justice Justin Johnson Jets to Jamaica in January just for Jamaican jerk.” said Jake

John asked “Just what do you think you are doing?”

“I was trying to make an alliteration. Do you think Jamaica has Jeepneys? Would it be unjust to go poetic licence just to have the right sound.”

“Jake, Just maybe I am jaded but I think Justice Johnson should have revoked your poetic licence long ago.”

Jake starts again “Justice Justin Johnson JaJaJa.”

“The Cat got your tongue? I’ve never seen someone tongue-twisted before. Now that is an example poetic justice if I’ve ever seen one.”

PLANET Z

Billy had never beaten Ted at Words With Friends.

He was a hundred points down, tiles were running out, and he and had nowhere to go.

His phone beeped, and he looked.

The triple word was open on the left side.

His car hit a bump and his rack shuffled:

It spelled JUST… wait, hold on: JUSTICE.

Billy looked at the board… it fit perfectly! Not only would it hit the triple, but the J would be on a triple letter, too!

That’s when he ran the red light, and the truck slammed him from the left.

Ted remained unbeaten.

16 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #383 – Just”

  1. I enjoyed listening to (and/or reading) this week’s stories. It’s interesting how a single word, “just”, was able to produce such a diversity of settings, scenarios and characters. Many participants chose to write about justice in the sense of equity or moral rightness, while others applied the word “just” in its adverbial sense.

  2. Richard – I can empathize with the tough but fair king….. Often – behind the scenes – the wife rules….. Always tough – not always fair… LOL

    Another great week of 100 word stories!

  3. Hello, I did not have time to read all stories, but Justin story is my funny one. Thanks and Cheers, AlainBKK

  4. Amazing what you can get with 100 words. Some of these I didn’t get, like it was the middle of the chapter in the middle of a book. I did find that I wanted more of Circus Act. The story by Singh was well developed, but it was not really a 100 word story, it was several chapters.

    Thanks to the authors, I am looking forward to next week’s offerings.

  5. Lots of good stuff as always. I especially liked Planet Z this week – poor Billy, victory within his grasp before his karmic justice. (This is why I don’t play Words with Friends. Well, that and inability to do well.)

    I’m testing out baseball bats this week, trying to find just the right weight for maximum impact.

  6. My favorites this week were Jeffrey Fisher’s Circus Act and Munsi’s tale.

    I hated Planet Z’s story. Oh, it was a good story. It’s just freaking spooky because…

    Well, I’ll save that for my story for next week.

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