Weekly Challenge #390 – River

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 RIVER.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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:

Curly Tinny

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

THOMAS

The river of words flowed through my mind. Moving quickly, twisting and turning with the currents, bumping against the banks on their way to the river’s mouth and the open sea. When I awoke, I would try to remember the words that played tag, bumped into each other, or joined as they wound through the river’s course. I would look at the notebook on my night table, squinting to read the rough scratches I made in the night, if I awoke from a dream. Some days, I would be lucky enough to pour some of these words out onto paper.

#

The hobo lived in a shack by the river. As a boy, we’d go down to the river to throw stones, and harass the black man that lived in a shanty near the river’s edge. We would yell taunts, jump up and down, and run away if he stepped out of his shack. He was something unique, unusual and unknown that made us do what we did. He was attacked as he fished for his supper. He never yelled at us, and kept his head down. I am still saddened and ashamed, more than sixty years later. Forgive me, please.

#

In spite of a painful creek in his neck, he was able to put together new lyrics to the tune, Old Man River, employing the stream of conscious method he learned at The Little School of Mystery and Heirloom Tomatoes in Boulder, Colorado. A deluge of ideas cascaded through his brain, as he constructed new lyrics for the tune, as a present for the 44th birthday of the master. The tune began with the words, “Old Guru, Larry, That Old Man Larry, he must know something, but he doesn’t say nothing, he just keeps meditating, he keeps on meditating alone.”

#
I wish I had a river that I could canoe away on. A long, blue, sparkling, clean, river – full of jumping fish; flashes of Blue Herons and folks picnicking on the banks in straw hats, playing with their children and the family dog. A surprise around every corner.

I wish had a river, straight, and easy to paddle…a light current that would carry me forward to a place where everyone, everyone, has a good word or a smile, and the sun is out…for as long as I like. A river I could float on, as my time grows close.

JEFFREY

Honeymoon
by Jeffrey Fischer

Standing on their stateroom’s balcony, the couple watched the countryside move by as the ship left the river and slowly ventured into the ocean. Behind them, the sun sank slowly below the horizon, casting the water with a gentle orange glow. The woman shivered slightly in the cool evening air, and the man put his arm around her. Waves crested and crashed, causing the ship to bob slightly in the shallow coastal waters.

A second marriage for both of them, he couldn’t help think of it as a second chance as well, an opportunity to avoid the mistakes he had made the first time around. He knew, though, that the hard part was about to begin, that their ship had left the safety of the river for the uncertainties of the ocean, and sometimes the waves were very large.

Up the River
by Jeffrey Fischer

When Clyde was convicted of robbery for the first time, he didn’t know much prison lingo. However, even he thought he knew what it meant to be sent “up the river,” so he was quite surprised to find himself on a cleanup crew assigned to the state park upriver. Sporting an orange jumpsuit, he and his fellow convicts picked up trash left by anti-social tourists, trimmed trees, and cleared brush. It was unpleasant work in a pleasant environment.

The best part of the work was the education Clyde received. In addition to a newfound appreciation for the outdoors, he learned the secrets of older, albeit not very successful, criminals, and planned his next three robberies.

JOHN

The Journey of a River Named Emmanuel
by John Musico

Emmanuel was born of the highest mountaintop which was snowy white and looked down upon the world below.
Given legs, Emmanuel meandered down the mountainside. As he cascaded from one region to another, he cleansed the earth in his path.
Finally Emmanuel’s journey led to an arid land named Calvary where the heat beat down upon him transforming him to vapor.
He floated higher and higher above the clouds- returning to the mountaintop; rejoining with his father.
After he had ascended to the sky, there was no trace of his existence upon the land. Emmanuel wondered if he’d be remembered.

LIZZIE

The river twisted and turned in a familiar path. When Rick saw that last new turn, he was confused. It was blocked by debris, so he jumped off the boat to investigate. The more he tried to shove the debris aside, the deeper he was buried in it. First, he saw an arm… He got closer, carefully. The body was face down, bloated, scratched. Although disgusted by the looks of it, Rick turned it over and saw his own face. He remembered now. He had been lost in the river, looking for the way out for weeks, after that storm…

RICHARD

#1 – Emily

Over the course of the ensuing days, George had plenty of opportunity to get to know his new found allies. Apart from the occasional sorties to scavenge supplies for the group, there was little else to occupy his time.

He found himself gravitating towards Emily, a thirty-something woman, with dreadlocked hair and a decidedly new age outlook on their situation.

“Life”, she would say, “is a river… we are caught in its current and swept along with it – resisting its flow is pointless.”

George thought she was barking mad, but she amused him, and it helped pass the time.

#2 – Crossing over

People wonder why I do this job and not something a little less creepy.

I can understand, but every job has perks – it’s a steady wage and no chance of being replaced by a machine or a sudden fall in demand. It’s a skilled profession, and I’m not stuck behind an office desk all day.

Then there’s the people… you’d be amazed at the characters I get to meet. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before our paths cross, and it’s your turn to cross the river… and then you’ll see I’m the best damn ferryman there is!

#3 – Against the flow

A river of blood caused an ocean of tears – emotions burst their banks and flooded the land, yet peace it seems, was simply a bridge too far.

The glib words of politicians washed over us: wave after wave of meaningless flotsam, pouring from a wellspring of washed-out speechwriters – a fast-flowing current of rhetoric… we were drowning in propaganda.

It was clear the politicians didn’t give a damn. The tide of public opinion turned: anger overflowed, bubbling over in an outpouring of resentment – a watershed had been reached – revolution!

Finally… peace! And the soldiers began to stream back home.

CLIFF

Clyde stood on the moonlit bridge looking down at the river. Thin ice covered the water near the shore, but her e in the center, it flowed dark and inviting. “Looks like you could drop the whole town in there and no one would ever find it,” he said. He took a deep breath, building up his courage. “They’ll probably say it’s a cowardly thing to do, but a man can only be pushed so far. At least now, maybe I can find some peace.” Then Clyde lifted his neighbor’s musical Christmas yard statue and dropped it over the side.

TOM

A Well Defined Relationship part 19

The center of Bowsmen was triangulated by three rivers. The Tiber
running North to South, the Arno East to West, the Rubicon running
North-by-Nortwest. The island in the confluence of these rivers was called
the Mea Culpa. Along the banks of the Mea Culpa stood the highest
concentration of temples, synagogs, church, Mosque in the solar system. At
it’s apex sat Mea Maxima Culpa with its newly ruined temple. The shattered
remains of a mosaic depicting the Eight Armed bringer of noodles. The
Pastafarites pour over the Bridge of Sighs thus crossing the Rubicon
“Alea iacta est” thought Timmy

The River

Alma Sue and Billy spent the summer skin dipping in the river beside the
refinery. Alma Sue ever shy always had Billy turn his back while she
undressed. Billy dutiful turned and closed his eyes till he heard the
splash. With the cloak of the dark waters she would sidled up to Billy.
Despite the glow of her crucifix Alma Sue felt safe in the river. Zombies
can’t swim, but they’re damn good floaters Prone to hyper gag reflex there
was little chance they would attempt a bit in the water.
As clusters float by you could hear: brains brains.

Broken Promise

When I saw the topic strains of the Bruce Springsteen flowed cross my
mind. “Go down to the river and into the river we dive.” Being a
contemporary of the Boss I know well the deeper meaning of that river.
When everything was extracted it was abandoned. A promise so deeply broken
it can scarey be captured in words. But he did ” I got Mary pregnant, man
that was all she wrote.” Good lord that was two generation ago. What’s
this place going to look like when the rest of the hope is gone. go down
to the river.

MUNSI

On the Subject of Wisdom

By Christopher Munroe

Every river flows into the sea.

It’s the sort of thing that sounds immensely profound, pregnant with meaning. The sort of koan in which deep truths can be found, if only you find the wisdom within yourself to really look, to truly understand…

…and yet, if you stop to think about it, it’s a completely meaningless turn of phrase. Factually accurate, but with no more depth than the equally true “ice is cold”, or “the sun does shine”.

Nonetheless, say it to somebody after a few drinks, in the right context, and who knows? It might just get you laid…

ZACKMANN

“I thought you had such a good idea to take a boat on the river and head south for the winter maybe ending up at the Red River but you know how you thought all rivers flow the same way; south?”

“Yeah Joe, since all rivers run south we’ll get someplace warmer maybe the gulf in Mexico.”

“That Welcome to Canada sign makes me think we took a wrong branch and are on the Red River of the North which flows north. All rivers do flow the same direction; downhill. Hopefully you’ll really like spending the winter on Lake Winnipeg ”
zackmann

SERENDIPITY

Old Jake was legendary to those whose weekends were spent at the river.

There wasn’t an angler among us who hadn’t lost a prize catch to him, or sat shivering on the river bank throughout the long cold night, hoping to ensnare the wily pike.

Jake was the source for many a yarn, retold in the Fishermans’ Arms, where he was known as ‘The River Spirit’. It was said with confidence that he’d never be caught, not by any mortal means at any rate.

How wrong they were!

It’s amazing how effective a couple of sticks of dynamite can be!

SEVI AND BONCHANCE

River Street Library

Jim decided to make a detour to his local library on River Street prior to the start of his work week.

Five minutes to opening there was a large crowd waiting for the doors to unlock. It had been a bitter cold night. Winter’s chill lingered in the morning air as he gathered his collection of borrowed Edger Allen Poe books.

Jim remembered days when there was less talk of economic recovery and fewer people huddled to gain access to the warm River Street Library.

Jim relished the comfort of his jacket against his skin with hope in his heart.

RED

There is a river that runs through Lola’s neighborhood to the hotel. Many residents treasure it as if it were “La seine” itself. Lola gazes through the foggy bus windows with sadness as she watches the fishermen, rowers, boaters and ducks on the water, soaking in nature’s beauty. It occurs to her, she has never taken a walk, had a picnic or even rode a ferry to the many islands close by. It’s ironic that tourists seem to explore the city more fully than those who live here.

DANNY

The movie “A River Run’s Through It” was the first thing that came to mind as heavy rain caused the river behind my home to flood its banks. Now a river literally runs through my home. Walls are missing, but frame and foundation is holding strong. Hopefully FEMA will take that into consideration before hiking my flood insurance premiums. Thanks, Florida, for not presenting any legal challenge to the rate hikes, filing a “friend of the court” brief supporting Mississippi’s case doesn’t help. I have no idea what this has to do with fly fishing, Brad Pitt, or rural Montana.

NORVAL JOE

Yellow flourescent tubes flickered and went dark, robbing the shopper of their meager luminescence. A brown glow beyond the register implied an avenue of escape. The cashier, his waxy corpse, a silouette against a shadow, sat on his stool, a rigor mortis guard.
Behind himself, buried in the darkness, a frozen-section compressor, thumped, rattled, then hissed its last, dying breath.
A mouse, alone, skittered past his feet, then another, and more, a river of peeping, squeeking vermin flowed down the aisle, past the rotting sentry and away, free.
The shopper didn’t move, couldn’t move, frozen, alone forever in his hell.

JUSTIN

I am a game character! I have mighty power! I can carry fifty guns, I can hold four hundred potions, I can survive the onslaught of innumerable foes! I fight with steel and magic. I can survive catching fire, getting shot with arrows and struck with falling objects. I can leap over chasms, swing on vines, and slide down snowy hills. Rock slides? No problem. Car chases? Easy. Drive a tank? I can do that, and fire the guns at the same time!

But if I put as much as one foot in water. I drown. What is the deal?

TURA

The Moving City was built a thousand years ago at the mouth of a great river, well placed for trade by sea, river, and land.

The city prospered, but over the centuries the river gradually swelled its flow, spreading over its banks and forming new branches. Buildings close to the river sagged into softening ground. Their owners abandoned them and rebuilt upstream.

And so, as the river mouth developed into a great, swampy delta, the city drifted miles inland. At last it reached the rocky ground where it now stands. But by tradition, they still call it the Moving City.

SINGH

From Foreign Madam and the White Yogi

a verse novel in progress

This work is set between Australia and India travelling via North America and Europe visiting relatives. In this episode Australian Yogi and French-Canadian Margot with two cranky daughters from her previous marriage are sightseeing in Chichester, West Sussex Later they get a taxi back to their friend’s cottage in Dimple Lane.

1

Lunch and double ice-cream. A signpost walk

to museums, pubs, a flower show, cream tea –

an hour’s stroll around the Roman wall

that’s been five metres high two thousand years.

The girls were not adventurers – just bored

and dragged their little heels on down the path

far from history – back to Australia

talking about Papa. “Can we call later?”

“I’m tired Mummy,” moaned Pauline. “Let’s go!”

while Adele played Glass Eyes. Yet, poor Margot

knew the game was up. It was time to get

a sleepy cab at the Square.

Away they went.

Miss Walkman hardly seeing the languid river;

2

Miss Glass Eyes paid no heed to the bumpy bridge,

stone-masoned, where those haloes of black gnats

were fish food hour upon the village water.

A man was casting a fly beyond the midges.

“Stop the cab,” said Yogi. “Do we have to?”

the girls complained. “Just for a second,” he said.

The driver stopped and Yogi wound down his window

to see the line whiplash and strike as the leaping fish

made its escape across the short fat river.

But the fisherman worked his line and soon all heard

the scream of the reel as the tussle then ensued.

3

The fish lunged to the right, until the angler

checked him. Then he dived, causing the rod
to dip, but the spring of it was too strong
and he had to rise, shattering the plate-glass
surface, its back smacking like a hand;

and plunged down deep, fighting the line

taut against his body, then tugging it away
from its mouth. The fish fought with water
diving to gain leverage with its tail
as if to ram its enemy. But it grew tired
and soon it was over. The fisherman reeled in
and scooped up his shining silver in the net.

4

“He caught it, Mummy!” said the fierce Pauline,

while Adele was silent. She was ever thoughtful,
while Yogi was remembering his father:

the fisherman, the outdoors sportsman chap

so deft and quick, unlike inadequate Yogi
who once went fishing up the Shoalhaven River
and never hooked a thing, while the Expert coaxed

a big brown trout from its hide-hole with a spinner
cast out and dropped below the spitting falls.

The fish was always himself thrashing against
superior Dad. He flinched, winding up the window.

“Let’s go driver,” he said, and soon the taxi

was puttering homebound into Dimple Lane.

PLANET Z

While Professor Walls works on the time machine, the rest of us deploy the emergency environment bubble.

There’s no telling what insects or bacteria are out there that could kill us all in a microsecond.

Or, I suppose, bacteria that we carry which could wipe out all life on the planet.

We’ve sent out a few drones to scout around and take pictures.

It’s mostly simple plants and pond scum around here. I think we overshot our mark by a few hundred million years.

Eventually, Professor Walls says we’re good to go.

I hope he doesn’t overshoot the mark again.

11 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #390 – River”

  1. Excellent selection and topic…the river of life as seen by many. Seems everyone has an interesting story to tell!

  2. Listening but didn’t write this week due to major house remodel project going on and trying to learn Audacity (yup, trying to fix my recording issues… does anyone have a voice they don’t need anymore?) Great stories! Great podcast! And hey, I saw Emmanuel fly fishing at the Red River Castle on Lake Winnipeg while he sang happy Norval Joeaversary to himself in between bites of celery dipped in Cholula sauce (he gave up the Balsamic vinegar and says Cholula works just as good at cleaning you out and has the added benefit of tasting great on Belgian cookies). See you next week… Spate…err, I mean Yogi

  3. Richard was my winner this week. His comment that politicians did not give a damn – rang true for me – especially with the standoff in Congress and the Senate. Kudos Richard!

  4. I think Jeffrey and I were writing about the same Clyde. My story just came earlier in his life of crime. :)

    I remember Emmanuel.

  5. Laurence, everyone who didn’t wish you a happy birthday, including me, just didn’t want to remind you that you were a year older (and one year closer to death, as Pink Floyd remind us).

    Cliff’s story may have inspired me… though if you hear of any incidents involving Christmas decorations, I’ll swear it wasn’t me.

  6. Every time I heard the words “Lake Winnipeg” on this episode I laughed a little harder!

    But seriously, DO NOT spend winter anywhere in Manitoba. I’ve lived there, trust me on this…

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