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 EDGE.
We’ve got stories by:
- Ruth Bavousett
- Steven the Nuclear Man
- Cliff – Uncle Monster
- Bonchance and Redgoddess
- Norval Joe
- Tura Brezoianu
- Planet Z
The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of STAB.
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:
Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.
The year is 1976. David Howell Evans stands at the very edge of the roof of the Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland, contemplating his future from his precarious perch. David and his mates just formed a band called U2, and now, he needed a stage name just like Paul. He looked down at the parking lot 3 stories down, realizing how all of his dreams would quickly end if he fell off the edge. Of course, The Edge! David screamed at the top of his lungs, “I am The Edge!” Brilliant! Now, try not to trip and fall over yourself.
The edge of the knife was rough and dull. Henry worked at cutting his “birthday steak”. For the last ten birthdays, Henry treated himself to a big, sirloin steak for lunch to celebrate his birthday. As he shopped, he pictured his dogs at home. What the heck – a nice, inexpensive cut for the furry kids. Don’t spend more than six bucks. Roast it or grill it, cut it in bite-sized cubes for their lunch, and sit, watch, and listen to the grateful pooches scarf up their treat. Good for my heart, good for my spirit, at ten times the price.
Always on edge, a wreck; Nancy had trouble with her stomach and her skin. She blamed it on her work with the bomb disposal unit of the city police department. Two years of community college and ten weeks training with the U.S. Army, followed by graduation from the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. She found her first disposal job with the Cape May Police Department in Southern New Jersey. Her first assignment was at the city pier to examine a suspicious parcel. An alarm clock sounded an alarm inside the suitcase and Nancy pooped her Kevlar suit.
We moved along the trail in the bus, coming so close to the edge of the trail, we dislodged rocks and soil lining the outer edge. We watched as rocks bounced down the cliff, 700 feet to the river at the bottom. The driver carried on a conversation with the woman sitting behind him. Each time he made a point in his story, he turned around, gesturing wildly, ignoring the road. Some moved to the side of the bus away from the precipice, believing they would be able to jump out the window if the bus slipped over the side.
His heavy watch was edged with diamonds and green rubies. He was a retired manager with General Motors, living off his investments and his company retirement and stock. At 96, he still drove his Lexus SUV, although unsteadily, and with liberal use of brakes and horn. He was a nice man, in spite of being responsible for covering up unsafe production practices and faulty suspension and brake parts in the Olds and Cadillac lines during the 1950’s. The almighty took him one morning at home, when his wife backed over him in the driveway as he consulted his fancy watch.
Darryl Gripp, a fellow I knew who lived on the edge. Darryl’s life style, and his alcohol and drug habit finally caught up to him. He grew more depressed each day, not seeking any help and planning his solo demise. He weighed the different ways of cashing out and decided on “taking the gas”, as he heard it was painless, and you just went to sleep. He visited his mother for the last time in her New York apartment. Not remembering his mother had an all-electric kitchen, he suffered needlessly when he plunged his head far into her red-hot oven.
A Well Defined Relationship
“We need a edge,” said Banister. The jade waters of the Arno rushing
beneath his feet. “What did you have in mind?” ask Dino Mod reaching the
eastern banks of the Mea Cupa. “What is the must questionable aspect of
the Pastafarite dogma, where is the chink in their spiritual armor.
“They’re a pretty eclectic lot. shotgun belief system. Core believes on
the weak side. Their strong suit is a near manic level of skepticism
“Paradox or dilemma?” “Not much help with either.” Priest from neighboring
temples skirted the edge of FSM sanctuary. Banister and Dino melted into
You Had to Be a Big Shot
They called him the Edge. A German sniper recently hired by the Agency to
attempt the impossible, a mile long shot. The Edge thoroughly consider all
possibilities. In the end he presented the Agency with the following: A 12
foot rail gun with a Schmidt & Bender MKIV. At the half mile mark a pulse
magnetic field the size of a softball which would drive the bullet to its
target. The Edge fired the shot into the zone, a few beats later the
bullet exploded in his brain. The idiots at YO YO DINE had crossed the
It was the 80s the air waves were thick with euro syntho pop. Aghast
bands were all the rage. No love songs just proto Emo droning. When New
Years day hit M-Tv it was no big deal, but no repeated re-listens you
started to pick up on the driving lead guitar. Fast forward to Live Aid U2
takes the stage and the Edge just rips up the landscape with a drive
version of Bad. At the time I thought these guys are going to be mega
stars. Joshua Tree sealed the deal with Where the Streets Have No Name
by Jeffrey Fischer
Alan rolled his wheelchair to the edge of the crowd. He couldn’t lift a barricade and carry it several blocks, the way his fellow protesters did, not with the pair of stumps he called legs these days, but he could be there in front of the White House, shouting at its mean-spirited occupant, and adding to the number of veterans angry at what was happening.
It was one thing to refuse to negotiate with House Republicans to end the government shutdown. Alan figured there was enough blame to go around that all sides could have their fill. But closing down open-air memorials – paying the police to be on duty to arrest veterans who just wanted to see the place, for God’s sake – was merely spiteful, and the blame lay squarely at 1600 Pennsylvania. Days like this one made Alan wonder why he bothered to protect the country from foreign enemies, when the biggest threats seemed to be in power.
Coming into Focus
by Jeffrey Fischer
Jason looked at the label: Namenda. He shook the bottle until four blue pills landed in his hand. He was fairly sure his grandmother wouldn’t miss them.
Tomorrow was the city-wide Math Bowl, and Jason needed any edge he could get. He knew athletes took steroids to boost performance, so he thought about what might give him a comparable edge until it hit him: he would borrow some of his grandmother’s Alzheimer’s medication. He figured four would be enough to sharpen his memory.
Jason realized his mistake in the middle of round two: his grandfather liked to keep his Viagra in other pill bottles to pretend he didn’t need the drug. Jason only hoped he could remain seated for the rest of the competition.
#1 – Edge of reason
Emily’s take on reality may have been esoteric, but to George, it was simply another way of rationalising the situation he and the others now found themselves in.
During the past days, George himself had experienced circumstances that took him far beyond the edge of reason and had, at times, made him question his own sanity – anything that even remotely worked as a coping mechanism was just fine by him.
Besides, there was something about Emily he found very attractive and – in the name of survival of the species – he was quite prepared to do whatever duty required of him!
#2 – The Final Frontier
The edge of the universe isn’t what you’d expect – far from a tenuous, nebulous mass of loosely connected atoms, streaming outwards towards eternity, it’s actually a lot more defined.
It’s more like a vast rubberised wall – you should approach it carefully, sneak up on it even, because any faster than a brisk walk, you’re in for a shock.
If you hit the edge at any great speed, it’ll expand outwards, sucking you along, then at it’s furthest point, it’ll snap like a bungee cord, slinging you backwards at several times the speed of light…
Right back, to where you started.
#3 – Danger!
The sign was pretty straightforward – ‘Dangerous Cliff – keep away from the edge’ – but, boys will be boys, and a mix of bravado, a decent measure of foolishness and a youthful conviction that the normal rules didn’t apply to us, led to taking risks we should never have considered.
We’d walk perilously close to the edge to prove our boldness; we’d even sit, with feet dangling over the chasm, seemingly unimpressed by the drop below us.
Then, one fateful day, as we were larking about, Dangerous Cliff appeared, running towards us, and pushed my unfortunate companions to their death, far below.
#4 – Snip
It was said that Bernard cared more about his garden than people. Certainly his neighbour, Mrs Crump, thought so – every time she popped up with a cheery hello over the privet, he’d scowl back at her, before returning to his weeding.
Nobody thought he’d take things quite so far…
Mrs Crump’s body was found in her back garden, minus her head – which was eventually discovered lying in the middle of Bernard’s prize dahlias.
“I never meant to kill ‘er”, he told the police, “It’s not my fault her ‘ead ‘appened to pop up, right when I was trimming the ‘edge!”
I worked for the Agency back in the eighties, before the War on Terror made being an Agent really dangerous. Back then, it wasn’t mad bombers, but more subtle, crafty foreign spies that we tracked down and “neutralized.” I was seeking a rogue MI-6 cell that had gone over the edge and was working for Stasi. The cell members were laying low in a British Literature research society, and I was close to finding the ringleader, someone known only as “The Professor.”
Silly me. I was expecting a dapper gentleman in a waist-coat; I was wrong. She was stunningly beautiful.
Rebecca liked Jimmy. Then Jimmy didn’t like Rebecca and liked some other girl, so those girls decided they didn’t like Rebecca.
After a year of having her lunch thrown on the floor, and being pushed headfirst into the bathroom wall, Rebecca’s mother transferred her to another school.
In 1978, that would have fixed things, but it isn’t 1978.
Rebecca is on Facebook, and Twitter.
“Die, you bitch. Drink bleach. Jump.” #dieyoubitchandjumpnow.
Rebecca was pushed to the edge. She climbed the ladder to the top of the abandoned tower at the concrete factory and walked over the edge.
Bullies were arrested.
When would it end? Once over the edge; seconds became hours. The sound was at first the rush of a breeze, then wind, then that of a jet engine.
A slideshow of my entire life rolled like a nightmarish carnival mixing images of joy with pain at an accelerating rate.
It was the constant pain of the latter scenes which had brought me to this crux- to the rooftop’s edge and then jumping.
Then, a deafening clap and a blackness that felt wet. The passerby’s on the sidewalk stared down abhorred at the splattered last of me. It was over.
There’ll come a time when you’ll feel pushed to the edge, when you can take no more, and you’ll be faced with a decision.
Back away, or stand your ground and fight.
I urge you, do not fight.
It’s not a fight you can win, I repeat: You. Will. Not. Win. That. Fight.
All you’ll do is destroy yourself, destroy everything you’ve worked for here, and for nothing, to no benefit.
So when the time comes, and it will, back away. Just back away.
Waiting tables is a bitch, dude. We’ve all been there. But seriously, don’t punch a customer…
He walked past the woman sitting on the edge of the stone wall by the old road. She didn’t look at him; she stared at the floor. Something he couldn’t explain made him stop and go back. He sat beside her; she still didn’t look at him. He wanted to ask her why, but he just sat there looking at the same spot on the floor. They sat on that wall for a long time. Suddenly, she looked up. “Thank you,” she whispered. Later, she told him she decided to kill herself. She didn’t and never thought of it again.
I peered through the crowd at the approaching vehicles – it was all going perfectly to plan.
Everybody’s attention was focussed away from me, no-one was looking my way, and why would anybody take any notice? I was just a nameless, faceless individual, barely perceptible, far away from the masses, on the very edge of the crowd.
On the very edge… but today, I would not go totally unnoticed.
Closer they came. I took aim, and pulled the trigger.
Then screams, and panic, while I – a solitary figure, on the edge of perception – walked quietly away from the grassy knoll.
Title: Just another day of headlines in America: 10-18-2013
Goverment reopens after Congress passes budget deal, raises debt limit
Conservative Republicans still fighting health care law
Colo. shooting lawyers tussle over sanity evidence
Suspected Victoria’s Secret shoplifters found with fetus
Blackwater guards face new charges in Iraq shootings
Man with knife forces way onto Ark. school bus
Panel: Discharge Marine captain in urination case
2 arrested in death of bullied Florida girl
Ohio trooper who gave murder suspects ride demoted
Bias alleged in Naval Academy sex assault case
Man charged with trying to carjack Cal Ripken Jr.’s mom
Couple who died holding hands ‘were always together,’ son says
STEVEN THE NUCLEAR MAN
“Answer me,” I repeat, hating my voice.
In the chair, he struggles against the ropes, grunts, but doesn’t speak.
I extend my fifth arm. The scalpel at the end glints in the flickering fluorescents. My servos whine in the quiet room.
He glances at them, at my camera, then down to his scuffed leather shoes.
I synthesize more words, the blades sliding closer to him. “Why did you make me into an ugly robot?”
My third arm reaches from behind, grasps his soft human hair, pulls his head back.
“You’re beautiful,” he says as the scalpel slides across his throat.
Madam’s lesson – a tennis ball –
round as a planet, yellow as the sun,
could not orbit this circle of hands.
“Come on Jyoti – catch and say the word.”
The girl student stunned and speechless;
dropped the ball. Madam retrieved it,
threw another playful chance
round as a planet, yellow as the sun.
Again, the young brown girl
with pink ribbon snaking through her plait
was not so clear: is this work or play,
her face was saying: do I, do I, do I have to?
She dropped the ball, bright with future prospects –
round as a planet, yellow as the sun.
Margaret took the photo from her purse, –
her old life in a crumpled print:
she snatched quick glances between the classes –
two girls plucking Packham pears
from Adelaide backyard sunlight shining
through Grandma-hands of branches, where
roots would never die in this still-life,
leaves surviving their yellow frost-spots;
mulch remained her vegetal foothold,
although the restlessness had quit
that winter pear for these papayas.
Guilt was the spasm in the chest –
her girls were back now with their Papa:
this hard fact still goaded, till
annunciation, a voice spoke up:
bow to your path, just drop it all.
In town, at the restaurant they cleared his dishes
diced cabbage, white radish, onion slices
left on a thali of jeera rice and raajma.
His belly full, he sipped a glass of chai
and shuffled now the Bhagavad Gita cards
One flipped out and stood there on its edge
before toppling face-up on the table:
Holy role-play rescues, while black acts end in bondage;
don’t worry, O Arjuna, the light is written in you.
This was a cue to change his shirt and pants!
So obvious. Just reach for a local look.
“Dress for success,” the Western mantra shouted.
Reborn arse-about in time-pass India
‘role-play’ just meant “fake it till you make it.”
If you look like a yogi you will act like one,
he told himself. And so went off to the tailor
dodging cars and scooters, the diesel buses,
peanut-stacked and banana-mountain pushcarts
for plain white colour — a universal makeover
in tera-rubiya, thin washable acrylic.
In blissful ignorance he chose to self-bestow
the spotless look as if could be bought,
not kowtowing to monastic rules,
yet might be double-edged, a tougher standard
hard to live by, not to mention washing.
He spent some days coming and going
to the local tailor, Ram Prakash
getting some white pleated cholas, shirts
and stitching lengths of cotton
with gold edging – his snappy
yogic garb, along with leather sandals.
His hair and beard were growing
and there were beads around his neck
bought at a Delhi emporium
before they left. Yogi was a yogi
by all appearances.
Passing villagers upon the roads
now bowed or stared, astonished
at the sadhu, a White,
those envied in foreign countries.
Now one walking from the mandir,
and suddenly arriving at the village school
peering through the papaya trees.
At first she did know what to think at all,
his coming and going off secretly to the town,
then appearing back here like a holy joe,
reborn in white. It wasn’t so much the colour
as the style — the calf-length pleated robe
that spread out wide as a dress around the bottom
with sandals and white shawl over shoulder.
It was not what most men around here wore
who went modern with plain Western pants and shirt.
The women still wore Punjabi suits or saris,
last bastions of the double-standard fashion,
where women were supposed to stay demure.
The women here were expected to uphold tradition.
Perhaps it was unfair. She should let him
pass without a comment, or correction.
Anyway, their skin would always stick out here.
She was, after all, in a Punjabi suit
trying to blend in with the other women, yet
her radicalism was read here in reverse.
“We’ll, what do you think?” He asked, upon arriving.
The children tittered on their dusty mats
as he cat-walked up the centre to the tree
before her, queen-like on a cane-backed throne.
“Impressive,” she said, and nodded, and that was that.
Kuldeep! Gunti vajao! Gunti vajao!
Madam told again the monitor to bang
the shard of resonant brass –
the ‘school bell’ hanging from a tree
on its sharp ‘j’ of wire.
Let the bell sound out from the past.
This would end the cricket match
on the field beyond the hand-pump
and old brick toilet.
Ploughed just yesterday
into clumsy clods,
it had since been picked clean
thanks to the bagalas –
grey water herons with heads like wedges
and deft beaks that drill
the soil for worms.
Today, the one-day-acolytes of cricket,
who throw the red leather ball
rather than bowl it
were clomping, laughing, falling over
in the clod field.
Madam gave the cricket set
from her meagre savings
along with tennis balls and skipping ropes.
All were deposited now
in the tea chest of memory –
a magician’s trick
going back into the hat,
along with the cricket bat
wearing fresh scars.
Gunti vajao! Gunti vajao!
He heard her door bell
beyond the circling crows
and passing buffaloes.
As math class chimed its numbers,
as wind played snare drum with the pipal leaves
the Adelaide Hills bell ding-donged
as he had placed his hand, sweaty as a frog’s
upon the fly-screen mesh.
It was that first time
now how many months ago?
Were they old together already?
He’d come for dinner
gravel-crunching her drive,
a newborn crowning
through the foliage of the weeping elm
of a dry-season country
and pressed the door bell
to light up a girlish head
seven years his senior.
He was somewhere else
she was somewhere else
now that he had come
and she had her job
he was nowhere nowhere
meanwhile he sat
under the pipal
glad to be here
looking straight up
where green leaves
hid the hive
first like upthrust
then buzzed his head
and raced for sky
they too had their work
to search out and destroy
intruders at the gate
he got up now to go
the wasps followed him
was he some Pied Piper?
She thought of Yogi gone to the edge of the river
that once flowed through Heaven –
Ganga Ma, channelled by King Bhagiratha
in deep and rolling meditation.
Starting from the Gangotri Glacier,
She unbraids like Shiva’s matted locks
through the Gangetic flood plain
to the Bay of Bengal, 2,500 miles south.
Foreign Madam thought of her Yogi
clinging to the edge
where herons pecked
a living like one half of India.
She saw him in his white robe
sitting on a mound of dust beside
a mother, a goddess, an epic, a tradition –
one white dot against the vast blue sky.
He sat upon the mud bank, feeling the edge
of the wind like a hot knife to his spine.
Sweat trickled as he tried to come to terms
with the job of having no job. Yet, he had
come to India carrying suitcases. There
was suddenly no rhyme or reason, yet
he was jobless here just as he was at home,
wandering the continent with a guitar,
Mr Part-time. Overnight she’d become
a career option. Marriage with light duties.
He felt the hot knife of the wind dig in harder
and truly wondered if the river edge was safe.
Evening back at their hut,
after washing up
plates in a plastic bucket
squatting at the hand pump.
he came back, sat and breathed.
Squirrels were curious and came
to swipe any scraps, crumbs.
She sat on a cane chair,
he – on the earth-dung ground.
One climbed onto his knee,
onto the edge of him without fear
twitching paws and whiskers.
The creature could read him better
This was the real white Yogi,
not the holy joe,
The one who listened,
who carried the bags,
whose tranquility attracted
a fearless squirrel.
She saw had something special
when he didn’t try.
The sun was down, a kerosene lamp burning.
Cross-legged on a grass mat
he was chanting with his drum
like a long boat rowing to God.
Aum the current, a river that floated all
downstream like a thousand lights.
Rishis, munis, orange-styled swamis,
sadhus in loin cloths, digambers – naked:
she saw the place fill up with
holy ghosts, a congregation:
robes, shawls, head-dresses, beatific smiles
“What are they doing, what are saying?” he asked.
“They come to hear the Name
like waves rolling into shore
from the blurred horizon edge
that joins this world to the next one.”
River Edge Nursing Home
Hello. Here to visit? That’s nice. It seems like Mrs. Baronoffsky is away from her desk. I’m a resident here, maybe I can help …
Or maybe you can help me. This is not a good place. It’s all about profit, profit, profit! They just keep us alive at the lowest possible cost; and when you get close to dying, God… the worst! See that river? Well, they wheel you over to the edge and plop, Davy Jones’ locker for you.
Who are you visiting?
Her?! ahhh… she’s busy feeding the fish right now.
There’s Mrs. Baronoffsky…
Mrs. Baronoffsky! Visitors!
His name came from a mis-remembered quote. “It’s the edge of the blade that does the cutting.” So, he became The Edge. He was to be a solitary figure ridding the streets of crime. No one knew his secret. He knew that only he was above the corruption that infested the city. Only he was worthy to be this city’s protector. Naturally, he was broken within a month. As he lay in the hospital, he remembered the rest of the quote. “It’s the edge of the blade that does the cutting but without steel behind it, it chips and shatters.
The great explorer addressed the assembled men.
Today, we stand at the edge of the map. Behind us is civilization. Ahead of us is adventure. Ahead of us is glory. Out there, beyond the borders, we will find our destinies, our dreams and our passions. We will find out who we truly are. Out there, my friends, is immortality. Out there, we will burn our names in the sky. Now tell me what the towns and villages behind us can offer you compared to that.
One lone voice called out, “They’ve got beer!”
The expedition fell apart quickly after that.
REDGODDESS AND BONCHANCE
In relationships, just like work, it’s good to have an edge. Lola’s lover has simple tastes in food but a refined palate for good wines. He told stories of wining and dining clients to close big contracts. He’s quiet yet quite the chatterbox when relaxed. Lola has a congenial personality at the hotel and has had feelings of being out of her element with management. She soaks in his wine lists and the dishes to pair them with. She imagines the two of them traveling tasting life together. Their pairing seems to have given her that extra edge she needed.
Long John Silver cowered beneath the junipers in Widow Finklestien’s front hard. The puppies’ hysterical yapping from the back yard drove him closer to the edge of canine sanity.
Collie dockles, dolly cockles, long-haired screaming rats. Call them what you want, to Long John they were fiends from hell.
And Missy. While she was pregnant she was a bitch by every definition of the word, but she should have mellowed since the little maniacs were born. Missy’s whine, rising from the back yard was the last straw.
Long John dashed to the sidewalk and down the street to his home.
Sam and Max, freelance police, careened across the desert landscape, car catching air and kicking dust into the sky. Dodging tumbleweeds and lizard-festooned rocks, they came to their destination and did a power slide to stop near a cliff.
They hopped out of the car and Max pointed out the tentacled cactus dangling Flint Paper over the edge of the precipice. “Can I shoot it Sam?” “Hold on little buddy, he might drop Flint.” “That’s right, he still owes five bucks!”
Max walked up and grabbed the cactus and ate it, then spit Flint Paper out. “Where’s my five bucks?”
Only one tree grows in the semi-arid margins of the Sahara desert, the amberzand. Its branches make such twisted, tortured shapes that staring too long at them might drive one mad. The punctuation sign is named after it.
Its fruits resemble blueberries, but are hard as wood, as if in mockery of a traveller’s hunger. The desert Arabs suck them as a palliative against thirst, and perhaps against their harsh lives, for they are mildly hallucinogenic. In the nineteenth century, a French explorer brewed a liqueur of them, but was horribly overcome by the fumes. None have repeated his experiment.
“I hear we live our lives on the razor’s edge” Said Jake
Joe responded “I thought we lived our lives on the edge of a zombie breakout. You don’t think Chris Saint just made that stuff up for On The Edge of Darkness do yah?”
Jake answers “That’s just crazy. You know that’s fiction, right?”
“How can it be fiction when Canadian Parliament has made a zombie plan for when thousands of Ford Edges return to their birthplace of Canada filled with panicked Americans on their way to the edge of Lake Winnipeg hoping zombies won’t like ten month winters.”
We live on the edge of town.
No, not on the West Side. Or East Side.
Or at the river’s edge.
And we don’t live under the town, either. That doesn’t make any sense.
The Mole People’s Empire is down there. Do we look like Mole People?
We are the Sky Lords. We live on our sky platform at the edge of the atmosphere, where the air is thin.
Too thin. We pass out a lot because of the lack of oxygen.
Perhaps we should lower the platform?
And install guardrails, too. Lost my grandmother that way. And my dog.