Weekly Challenge #389 – Deception

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 DECEPTION.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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Closet cat

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

THOMAS

We were deceived. Angela was an expert at deception. She accessorized with a number of plastic and rubber accoutrements which enhanced her average frame. On the dance floor, from a distance of ten meters, she was a statuesque figure; buxom, thin waisted, voluptuous hips and derriere. Closer, the camouflage was apparent. Skin didn’t match, supplements slipped out of position. Adhesives warmed and wet with perspiration were out of alignment or…pulled by gravity…shifted down and away, leaving a trail of adhesive or toner. She was the belle of the ball until she slithered out, covered in her enormous, green wrap.
#
Helmut deceived the girls at the beach. Slipping a smoked kielbasa into his Speedo, he stood proud, cocky, hands on hips, drinking from a bota. He learned this deception from his frat brothers at State. They would stock up at Safeway before driving to Santa Cruz. One of the lads used all his cash to gas up his Olds, so he had to make do without any sausage props. He borrowed a pair of gym socks to form a bolster that he stuffed into his swimsuit. Explaining his unusual outbreak of athlete’s foot to the University doctor was a challenge.
#
The magician, Jonathan, was a master of deception. His specialty was close-up magic. Years of practice honed his hand magic skills to the master level. Twice a year, he and his lady friend would travel to The Magic Castle, a showcase for the world’s best magicians, and headquarters for the Academy of Magical Arts and an exclusive club for magicians and fans of magic. Last year, Jonathan performed the Kapolowski Ultra Move, wowing the audience and the other performers at the show. His friends begged him for the details of his trick, offering money or a night with their woman.
#
Deception Lake is located about thirty miles due West, just on the other side of Nichols Corner. The lake water is dark because of the minerals dissolved in the water. Only two feet deep at the shore and two and half feet deep in the middle, Deception Lake has claimed the lives of scores of drunks and careless, show-offs that run from the beach and dive into the water, taking a high arc, and crashing head first into the rocky bottom. Signs were posted around the lake, but teenagers and miscreants removed the signs as fast as they were installed.
#
I became a purveyor of deception when I went to a writing workshop at her home. I entered the dark, tiled foyer, and when it was requested that I remove my shoes, I asked for two plastic bags so I could slip them over my boots. The ploy worked, and I was allowed entry. (I had a hole in the toe of my sock.) The four women read their work, as I sat on the couch, ten feet away from their tiny, ornate table, crowded with manuscripts. I excused myself saying I remembered I had left something in the oven.

JEFFREY

Last Trick
by Jeffrey Fischer

They say that magic is really the art of deception. The left hand creates a distraction so the right hand can whisk away the object, making it “disappear.” The magician’s stage patter and his beautiful assistant provide dual distractions for the magician to open hidden compartments.

The conjurer who called himself Mysterio planned one last deception, but it was his most important. During the trick of the Sawed Lady he did his usual misdirection for the audience, then killed his cheating partner before disappearing beneath the stage, his getaway set.

When police officers arrested Mysterio leaving the back door of the theater, Detective Smith looked the killer in the eyes. He said, “We’re not that dissimilar: sometimes police work also involves an artful deception.”

A Grey Area
by Jeffrey Fischer

When Markus began his affair, he gave no thought as to how he’d manage to keep his wife in the dark. As time went on, however, he began to run out of excuses for coming home late.

He hit on the idea of faking a book club, so he could be out of the house on a regular schedule. He typed up a list of books they would read, he invented fictional participants, and even baked cookies every few months when it was ostensibly his turn.

His deception ended when his wife followed him one night. When the door opened, the entire “club” consisted of Markus and a lingerie-clad brunette.

“Gee,” said Markus’s wife, “I didn’t realize tonight’s book was 50 Shades of Grey.”

SPATE

Triple Deception

Maybe I exaggerated the truth a little bit. Okay… I lied.

But it was my lifelong dream to be an author and when this job asking for a writer came up, well… I had to lie. Who is going to hire a writer whose only experience was a few 100 word stories? (And they weren’t even that good.)

But in the end it turned out it was their deception.

Tickets?!
The only things I would be writing were tickets!
My job was to write freaking parking tickets!!!

Well… at least my legs look absolutely stunning in this meter maid uniform.

LIZZIE

“Some doors are best left closed,” he said, when he got back home.

She became angry at him because she thought it was better to clarify things, to talk about what was not right, to be honest. It was easy to get trapped in routines and entangled in the petty little every-day-life bickering.

“To grow above that, we cannot open all doors,” he replied.

She tried to understand, but she couldn’t… Unspoken, muddled half-truths broke her heart.

He walked away. “I’m right,” he thought, only to become so lonely in his fake righteousness.

She stayed, alone, behind a closed door.

RICHARD

#1 – Fort Hope
Fort Hope, it transpired, relied heavily on the art of deception.

Clever use of shipping containers, sheet metal and bits of old machinery contrived to give the impression of a secure, well-fortified compound. The reality was very different – the fortress would struggle to hold off any determined assault and was a potential death trap for anyone caught inside. It did, however, provide a much-needed sense of security.

The ‘Resistance’ were a pretty disorganised bunch, but no more so than George himself, and for the first time, George dared to think that his fortunes had changed for the better.

#2 – Place your bets

“Now, watch my hands carefully”

Rapidly, I switched the cups, sliding them quickly across the table, under the observant gaze of the mark, egged on by his friends.

“Now… which one is the pea under?”

He chose the left and lost the bet – as he always would, no matter which cup he decided on.

The gullible might call what I do ‘magic’, others may say ‘sleight of hand’, to the cynical it’s a ‘confidence trick’ – but, however you dress it up – it’s deception, plain and simple.

You can call it whatever you like – to me, it’s ‘money in the bank’.

#3 – Monkeys

It’s not really deception – I prefer to call it ‘enterprise’.

My publisher gives me a topic, I pass it to my to my team of trained monkeys, they come up with the stories, and I claim all the credit.

Why monkeys? Well, they’re cheaper than paying ghost writers – for the cost of a few old typewriters and plenty of bananas, I get all the stories I want.

Sometimes they get it wrong; occasionally they poop on the manuscripts, and I do wish they’d stick to producing short stories…

For some reason, they’re obsessed with typing the complete works of Shakespeare.

#4 – Coming Soon

In a world where movies are sold on the strength of their trailers, deception is the name of the game.

This year, we’ll take every explosion, every car chase and every romantic interlude from a three hour movie, and cram it into a two minute trailer.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be completely convinced that this is the greatest movie ever made.

But It’s not.

It’s three long hours of mindless tedium, bad acting and confusing plot, interspersed with two short minutes of stunning raw action.

But what do we care?… as long as you’re paying to watch it.

TOM

If You Try Real Hard You Get What You Need.

She was practiced at the art of deception. Yep that’s my mum. Wouldn’t
think it, but a hard core rock and roller, serious Robert Johnson fan.
Spent late nights talking politics with Mick. Even in his 20s the front
man was a serious Tory. Good friends they were, she pulled some major
strings when the lads got in that nasty business with drugs. Music money
helped her quiet rise through parliament. In 67 she, Rockefeller and
Jagger attended a reception for the International Monetary Fund in New
York all posh and all, but that night all Sympathy for the Devil.

Waltz Across America

In the US the divorce rate is roughly two out of three marriages. The sure
mass of on going infidelity should’ve had a profound effect on the
American Psyche, but thanks to refined levels of cognitive dissonance and
an open embracing of daily deception, we’ve collectively maintained a
NeoPuritan view of marriage. Personally I believe its more a matter of
Commedia dell’arte. Some of us have been give the mask of the ruling
class, others the mask of the serving class. In a futile afford to adopt
the airs of our betters we have abandoned our true nature: serial
shagging.

A Well Defined Relationship Part Isipal

Mother moved towards the street. She was checked by the Senator’s hand.
“We won’t overtake this crowd. There is another way, further no small
amount of deception will be needed.” With Mother in tow the Senator headed
back across the tea room through the kitchen entrance. He started
rummaging through pots and pans. For a moment Widow Parsons wondered what
on earth was he doing? Her son was at the mercy of some mob. The honorable
gentleman was wasting time with cooking utensils. “One size fits all,”
said Mr Smith raising two spaghetti strainers. Out the loading dock they
went.

TURA

The new client showed me his business card: “Master of the Art! D. Zepshen.”

“What art?” I asked.

“The Art of D. Zepshen!”, he exclaimed. In a flurry of movement he transformed into a tall, slender, faceless figure, tentacles waving from his back.

“Ok, Slenderman impression,” I said in my bored voice. “I can probably find you some work at Halloween parties. Anything else?”

He changed into a Jedi with a lightsaber. Then a Pink Panther. “My résumé,” he announced importantly, presenting an envelope. It was a writ from my ex’s lawyer.

He gloated, “D. Zepshen, writ server, wins again!”

STEVEN

She is still online.

Quotes pump out on her Twitter feed, one every three hours. Her Tumblr shares funny images, the occasional poignant quote. Three posts a day.

I read her blog, every Monday. Ten in the morning. Like clockwork.

The rest of it doesn’t matter. Not the bounced e-mails. Not the offline indicator on Jabber or Facebook or Skype. Not the stuffy home with the overwrought quasi-Victorian wallpaper, the smarmy attendant, the stifling heat in the suit jacket in the stone-littered field. Her weeping parents.

The casket.

None of it.

She is still online.

For now, she’s still alive.

SERENDIPITY

I received one of those spam emails from a Nigerian businessman, offering to make me a millionaire. Do these people really think we’re gullible enough to fall for such blatant attempts at deception?

It was high time that somebody fought back!

I hacked into his mail server, set up a re-direct and waited to see what would happen.

Surprisingly, it seems people are actually pretty gullible – every day I’ve been getting emails accompanied by large deposits into my bank account.

Deception – it seems – really does pay, and thanks to my helpful Nigerian businessman friend, I have indeed become a millionaire!

SINGH

78
It was dark when Bhim returned to the hut and handed over the catfish and crabs. Devika had been doing her hut chores and collecting water, but felt a nagging loneliness. Priya seemed disturbed also.
“Where is Baba?” Devika asked passing Bhim a cup of goat’s milk.
“Gone,” is all he answered, drinking only half the cup.
Devika boiled the crabs and fish pieces. She was rationing the oil. The lack of basic supplies in the shaman’s store was beginning to frustrate her. That night she pulled her sleeping mat next to her husband, but he had turned to the window.

79
She felt rows of bamboo had grown between them. It wasn’t conscious deception. His dialogues and savage journeys would have scared her. Neither would he have known how to explain about the old man’s death. Instead, he spent more hours on the water than he needed for the fishing. As weeks passed she noted him spending long hours too in the temple, and after hearing strange voices, she sometimes crept up close to listen. Had visitors come? The prospect of returning to the world of community and familial warmth was her one wish. Meanwhile, he hunted her away with harsh words.

80
Bhim didn’t mean to shut out Devika, but the inner life demanded it’s due. After the shaman’s death, he had felt the baba’s power increasing day day day in him, but hadn’t noticed a new sharpness in his tone. Devika didn’t know what to do, but kept on with her chores and purposely forgot to wear the mask sometimes when going for water just to spark a reaction from him. Although his words were jagged, they were better than no words at all. She took refuge in her Lakshmi puja morning and evening and from resentment stopped going to Bonobibi’s temple.

81
Each day Bhim Das was becoming part of the Sundarbans’ untamable ecocosm. Representing Bonobibi’s symbolic brother Sha Jungli, the go-between rider of the tiger soul prowled through the shamanic levels assuming goddess power. Each shaman became his human face, and soon he would have to assume duties with the villagers, park officials, and be ever watchful of poachers. Yet, who would authorise a young man in place of the old shaman? Now Bhim Krishna Das would have to go and assert and become acceptable as the man who could offer protection prayers for fishermen, honey-gathers, wood cutter charcoal makers.

82
Meanwhile, he went on the tiger journeys mentally visiting old villages and farms across the water that once dotted the long canal that linked the thatched communities. Eventually he saw the crumbling heap that had been the concrete flood shelter. Like a bombed out building only one corner was still standing. His amber eye couldn’t help searching for a drowned mother, for that calm, gentle voice within the desolation of broken shards and bones. But there was no presence he could detect here and reunite with. The pull of maternal blood had been washed away by the sacrifice of the shaman.

83
As Bhim desired, he saw. The floods had subsided and some people were rebuilding. But the land had been poisoned by salt. Engineered cash crop rice had rotted away into sludge. Nothing would grow for years and a farmer without land was a wage slave. Who then had endured and how? He saw scenes from the city, survivors now driving rickshaws, peddled vegetables on bicycles door to door. He saw roadside women in saris breaking rocks to layer the coming freeways and relays of people working in cramped tailoring factories to make containers of clothes for London and New York stores.

84
He followed the tributary canal beyond Sitapur, searching for his own piece of river frontage. How different it looked. The river had changed its course in the floods. He looked for any landmark and finally there was his mango grove far away from the water’s edge. The flood had almost doubled the size of his land. Bhim trained his tiger eye and saw the stone grotto. Focusing even closer, he could see the old image of Lakshmi was intact and the hand pump beside it was no longer under floodwater. But there was an even more remarkable thing that had survived.

85
It was the Lakshmi plot — that little field that his father Bapu Das had made Bhim Das promise never to uproot. Tall and spindly, it stood defiantly flood-resistant. How many generations of storm surge had this local variety survived? The salvation of the land was in the land. Here was the seed stock for a new uprising and that real endurance is in the original genes. Now he had something to offer his wife and daughter. They could regenerate with even more land than before. Bhim drew back to the jungle and regained consciousness slumped over in the forest temple.

86
So he told her. “Chello. We are going back. Get ready.”
But then her doubts and questions arose. “Where? Our farm is gone. How will we live?”
A mother needs community for her child to grew up in and she was relieved. But he silenced her. “Stop thinking woman!”
She hated that tone, yet had to bow. He was the husband, the authority, the protector who had saved them. Yet for what? To wear masks backwards throughout their lives? Who would Priya one day marry? A monkey? They had suffered enough. Leaving, she could reclaim the husband she was losing daily.

87
Although she did not understand Bhim’s inner life, she could see the modern thinker had transformed to a jungle goddess devotee. Why couldn’t he just follow Lakshmi, the wealth Devi who was the link to the comfort and community she had known and loved? But Bhim had hardened, and she blamed this wild place and Bonobibi who represented it. Neither did she want to have to wear widow whites as custom demanded whenever her husband returned here as she knew he would. Or worse still, have to one day join the village of tiger widows. No, she would rather be dead.

88
Baby on hip, Devika brought her bag, cooking pot and the goat, while Bhim did farewell prayers in the temple. Stepping down toward her, she saw the smiling husband she had once married. Yes, he seemed glad to be going home too, although he sternly reminded her to put on her mask backwards. They made their way back down the trail to the boat beached on the mangrove mud. Bhim helped Devika aboard with the baby, then gathering up the goat by its legs passed the bleating bundle to tether inside the shelter. Devika nursed Priya while perched at the prow.

89
Bhim pushed off from mud, poling into the tributary toward the entrance to open water. Seeing Lakshmi’s spindly plot of sprouting rice in his vision had returned the feelings of the farmer in him, and yet this habitat had become a home as well. It had saved his family during the floods. Devika too was feeling alive and refreshed by the open breeze after many weeks cooped up in the hut and nearby surroundings. Then she called out: “Look!”
It was the pink-grey dorsal of Gangetic dolphin. It stayed ahead of the boat as if leading them to open water.

90
Bhim thought it a good idea to cast a final net for their journey and soon he and Devika traded places. She kept the boat steady while he cast in the narrow space next to the shore. Soon enough, he netted a baby bull shark and after landing it thrashing in the net, clubbed it unconscious at the bottom of the boat. Now the vessel was drifting bayward. Again they switched positions and Bhim commenced poling underneath the last mangrove overhang at the end of the island. Here, the branches dipped low like fingers wanting to trail in the water.

91
Just before the prow scraped under the leaves, Devika threw off her mask. She was glad to be rid of that, and bending over undid her plait, letting her hair cascade downward, exposing her neck. She disappeared from view and then Bhim felt the boat lurch. He couldn’t see what was happening, but he heard her sharp brief struggle and cry. Using the boat for momentary purchase, the tiger had leapt directly out of cover and cleared twenty astonishing feet with her gripped in its meat-stained incisors to the other side of the tributary island like an orange comet against blue.

92
Bhim yelled, but it was too late. The tiger had crushed her neck and was dragging her into the jungle opposite. He quickly shifted course to follow, and strained his eyes to see beyond the last tip of its tail, but midstream, he realised in his heart it was over. If he got down he would have to leave his baby girl crying and unprotected. The bleating goat had too had smelled the beast. Tigers were good swimmers and could easily reach them from either side. All he could do was paddle and try to mute the chaos in his thoughts.

93
An hour into the bay he stopped and slumped at the stern, stunned. Despite his inner journeys, visiting the tiger temple, witnessing the end of the old shaman nothing had prepared him for the utter desolation of this moment. She, who he had travelled so far with had been snatched from him at the last moment. “Why Ma? Haven’t I done everything you wanted? You said it was time to leave. Go do my work there, you said. Why take her and not me?” He felt tricked and deceived that the contract of the shaman had to be sealed in blood.

94
His baby daughter was still crying inside the shelter. Bhim went to comfort himself as much as her. It hit him then, how little he really knew his own child. Devika had done everything. He had protected and provided but done little of the nurturing. Now she was his only link. Laying down, he held the child close trying to smell Devika’s presence, then noticed her shoulder bag against his neck. He nestled into it like a pillow and breathed. This was all that was left and for a long time he let himself drench the cotton bag with his tears.

95
It was dark when he lifted his head. Priya was whimpering. He had to feed her and forced the goat up, wet his hands with seawater to work the teats. Dipped again and again into the creamy liquid, Priya suckled on his finger. It was clumsy work, but the best he could do until she was satisfied. It would have been so much easier to stay floating in limbo, but he had to paddle now for the child’s sake and face the new double existence awaiting him. Bhim nestled her against the goat’s udder and commenced the final journey for home.

MUNSI

Talent

By Christopher Munroe

I’m a man of many talents.

A fair writer, decent actor and good-ish comedian.

But my greatest talent, if I had to choose, is my talent for self-deception. Which is convenient since, of them all, it’s the talent I find time to use every single day.

I tell myself I’ll be okay.

I tell myself I deserve happiness.

And, like a chump, I believe it.

So, to everyone who ever said my talents would never get me anywhere, I say: Look at me now! I’m king of the world!

Or, at least, I will be. So far as I know…

ZACKMANN

I think my niece has started lying to me. First She told me she read Deception Point by Dan Brown which is crazy because people buy Dan Brown books but nobody reads them.
Then she told me she would be flying to Philly to checkout schools. After I said something about Manila she counters she meant Philly as in Philadelphia.
I told her everyone knows Philly is short for the Philippine Islands. Phillydelphia was just made up for that cartoon show all the guys are watching. Besides you don’t really want to move away from me to that other coast.

BONCHANCE AND SEVI

Janet sat quietly as the quick witted editor tweaked her story. She had completed a comprehensive background search on the topic. Her story was solid, she excelled at writing.

It was clearly self defense. The man had a concealed weapon.

The gang boys liked to play the “pick a loser and scare him to death with a stun gun” game.

The boy’s gun misfired, the man’s did not.

For effect, the editor choose a picture of the victim’s gun and dramatized the boy’s hospital experience.

The facts would still be in the story, but the deceptive innuendo would shine through.

NORVAL JOE

A cow, a sheep, and a deer stood at the lunch counter eating veggie burgers. The deer held up a piece of paper for the other two to see.
“This has been circulating through the department all morning,” Deer said, scratching an antler. “Apparently there is a picture of a duck wearing combat boots within all these squiggly lines.”
Turning his head one way and then the other, Sheep said, “I don’t see it.”
Cow swollowed her cud and said, “According to the humans, the deception is in the optical illusion.”
“Humans are weird,” Sheep said and the others agreed.

DANNY

Mia Farrow recently commented that her son Ronan may have been fathered by Frank Sinatra Sr. Barbara Sinatra, Frank’s fourth and final wife, fired back, screaming deception, stating “It’s just a bunch of junk. There’s always junk writer-lies that aren’t true.” Ronan Farrow responded “Listen, we’re all possibly Frank Sinatra’s son.” Interesting, I don’t care who is deceiving who, tell me more! Woody Allen, 77, told the Hollywood Reporter via his rep: “The article is so fictitious and extravagantly absurd that he is not going to comment.” That comment itself is a deception, alleging that no comment is actually being made.

CLIFF

Maps are meant to be beacons of truth. After all, if your map is wrong, the consequences can be dire. What most people don’t know is that many commercial maps were deliberately inaccurate. In order to detect copying by competitors, map makers would introduce small lies into their maps. Usually, on a state map, there was at least one town that didn’t exist. The most famous in cartography circles is the legend of the disgruntled employee. Several small towns in Texas appeared on the map. The names of the town were quite insulting to the owners of the map company.

JUSTIN

It’s simple really. All I do it put on this paper mask and everyone thinks I’m on their team! Then I just walk around and stick knives in their backs and put disabling devices on their sentry guns when no one is looking!

Naturally, this makes people nervous and they start shouting that there’s a Spy around. Then I have to give every Engineer a wide berth because they are hitting everyone with wrenches to see if they are me.

The Pyros are the worst, spritzing everyone with a flame, also Spy checking.

It’s hard, thankless work being a spy.

PLANET Z

Every Wednesday, the delivery driver dropped off the wolf’s clean clothes.

“Thank you,” said the wolf. And he dragged the sack into his house.

When he opened the sack, the wolf saw frilly and lacy things no self-respecting wolf would wear.

“What the fuck?” he said, and he called the laundry service.

“We’re terribly sorry,” the laundry service said to the wolf. “It appears that we swapped the tags between your laundry and another customer’s.”

Across town, a sheep put on the wolf’s leather jacket and acid-washed jeans.

The phone rang, but she ignored it.

“Because I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaad,” she grinned.

13 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #389 – Deception”

  1. for the record: i like the patter between stories! tho’ you do need bailys for your coffee. OR, in celebration of october, pumpkin-spice liquor…

  2. I want the version with the rambling jackass!

    I also like the lazy man’s Terms of Service: too lazy to demand a cut of the action. (Seriously, I’m surprised the Lab hasn’t come up with a retraction or clarification of the new ToS. It seems to have caused more consternation than the Lab could possibly find worthwhile.)

    Richard seems to have been burned one too many times with a misleading trailer. I’m with you, Richard. My solution: don’t go to the movies. You’ll save a lot of money, some time, and your sanity.

  3. a day without patter
    is like a day without rain
    on the roof…… which has
    nothing to do with your
    call out…. oh look I’m pattering
    pattering good
    me happy
    L don’t change anything
    simple is good.
    add stuff, things sinks into the deep.

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