Weekly Challenge #400 – Anything But Christmas

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 ANYTHING BUT CHRISTMAS.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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.

MICK
It was foretold – by Mick Bordet (http://mickbordet.com)

“You’ve never heard of the ‘Horn of Bantillambous’?” Baljak asked.

“Should I have?” said Mullin.

“Legend says that when it is blown, the great beast Amhaliog will descend from the mountains, killing anything that stands in its way.”

“Baljak, you must have a thousand warriors standing outside your gates right now. Why have you not already blown the horn?” asked Mullin.

“I blew it this morning, when the soldiers first appeared.”

“And?”

“The great beast descended from the mountains.”

“And?”

“It raced towards the gates, but fell dead from exhaustion before it reached them. It was quite an old legend.”

SINGH
22.9

A buffalo cart was passing when he woke.

The wheel-clunk on dirt, the cursing driver

made him sit up. Margot at the pump

was pre-dawn bucket-bathing. Yes, he knew

her gasping splashes in their cane enclosure;

her cups of cold reality doused him too.

Yesterday’s words slapped him with regret.

Had they come to India to fire potshots?

The bird and arrow dream he had re-cast

from the old epic. And the meaning? To aim

with single focus higher up the tree,

or pull on, buffalo-necked with pride

and blinded power? Just who was driving?

22.10

“We need to talk,” she said, while towelling

her grey-flecked hair and sliding in to perch

upon their bed. “Look, aren’t you bored with me?”

He rose to switch on gas and make the tea,

avoiding her eyes. He did not want a fuss.

“No honey, I am with you. Please believe me.”

I simply scraped my knee and missed the bus

and then got stuck at Barhai’s. They were kind.”

Time for truth. She knew she was in the right.

“So, he forced you sit cross-legged and hold court?

Admit it Yogi. You love your holy white.”

22.11

He felt her claws, soft bites.

“The school’s good for you,

setting the world to rights,

but what am I to do?

I think the kids like me,

not so Adele and Paul.

I strum under the tree,

but really, that’s about all.

When I play and sing

I feel I am alive.

You think it’s an ego thing?

I want others to arrive

at a place of peace,

bring them together,

improve, lift up, increase

good vibes in bad weather.

Barhai said we could earn

donations for the school.

I’ll go sing, then return.

It’ll work out really cool.”

22.12

He’d already planned to leave,

she thought. He’d made his call.

I’m meant to basket-weave,

throw the alphabet ball,

put off the school inspector

accreditation for kickback,

play teacher lie-detector,

and hold back parent attack?

There was little she could do.

There was no bud to nip,

First, the flower thief said moo,

now he was abandoning ship.

A woman needs a lookout

alone in a village hut.

Thought of his walkabout

tightened the spring in her gut.

“So what’ll I do?”

he asked, “I feel your doubt.”

“Yogi, I say to you

dig deeper or opt out.”

22.13

She had suffered through the whims of restless men

and feared the sari sirens, the gifts of silk

ready for undraping like Draupadi.

Indian Christmas? Circumstances would

put him high on a flower-sprinkled dais

before gold-bangled clapping gopi hands

like teens before a rock god. Sacred showtime.

There was nothing wrong with God-song. After all,

she’d seen him at her Himalaya Centre,

with golden Krishna dancing on his drum,

yet something about Barhai did not gel.

She feared mis-purpose. Yogi was naive.

The river span between their seven years

and the crocodile Ganges was too wide.

RICHARD
#1 – Not Christmas

“But mummy, how will Father Christmas get in without a chimney?”

“Don’t worry, George dear, he’ll climb in through the window.”

Sure enough, a scuffling noise that night revealed Santa leaving his bedroom, one leg over the window sill, weighed down by his great sack…

Emily’s screams swiftly roused George from his reverie. Damn! He’d fallen asleep on watch!

Too late, he awoke to see a shadowy figure, weighed down by a struggling Emily, clambering out through the window of the house they’d hidden in overnight.

Too terrified to give chase, her fading screams haunted him for days to come.

#2 – Anything but…

This is not a festive tale of peace and joy and love: a time to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus from above. It’s a tale about greed, profit margins and excess; of commercialism, gluttony and giving in to selfishness.

So ring out the bells, uncork the wine, indulge yourselves and have a good time; eat till you’re full and drink till you’re sick; let’s raise a glass to good old Saint Nick!

Grab the neighbour’s wife under the mistletoe and have a friendly grope, no-one need know.

A time for self-indulgent glut…. Christmas it ain’t; it’s anything but!

#3 – Scrooge

Scrooge’s evening was not going well – a mild case of food poisoning perhaps?

What else could account for the bizarre hallucination he’d earlier had of his ex-business partner, Jacob Marley?

Now his sleep was disturbed by another apparition:

“I am the ghost of..”

“Bugger off!”, said Scrooge and went straight back to sleep.

Next morning, after emptying his chamber pot over the snowball-throwing youth under his window, he made his way to work.

Bob Cratchett was late, as usual – Scrooge would dock the time from his wages.

Just like any other, it was another typical day at the office.

TURA
Anything But Christmas
——–
My brother was waiting for me in the airport arrivals hall. “Happy—” I managed, before he roared, “Happy Solstice!”, drowning my voice. “Come on, I’m parked just outside,” he said, then muttered urgently, “and don’t say the C word!”

“But–”

“Just DON’T!”, he hissed, hustling me into the car.

“It’s officially hate speech,” he explained on the road. “Oppresses minorities, see? Anything else is ok, although Happy Holidays is so safe it’s suspicious. And as an expatriate– not that I grudge you that– you’re under suspicion already.”

“Happy Pomegranites!” I said. “Happy… Ponies and Unicorns!”

He chuckled, “That’s the spirit!”

JEFFREY
The Ultimate Weapon
by Jeffrey Fischer

The six spheres sat in a neatly-aligned row. Two men stared at them, eyes flicking from one to another: New Year, Valentine, St. Pat, Independence, Halloween, and Christmas, each named for an ancient holiday of the North American continent.

“Anything but Christmas,” Stevens said. “We can’t take that again.” Each sphere could release a mood-altering chemical onto the population: Independence created nationalistic fervor. Valentine created feelings of passion.

“No, we can’t,” replied Hogan. He picked up St. Pat. “Here. Alert cleanup that the two-week bender starts tonight.”

Stevens thought of the last time the ultimate weapon was deployed. An entire month of shopping frenzy, resulting in hyperinflation and a shattered economy.

“Agreed,” he said. “Anything but Christmas.”

The Closer
by Jeffrey Fischer

Kris Kringle was a mountain of a man, tall and wide. To call him fat would be a disservice – mounds of flesh oozed from him. He wore a furry red suit in all weather, apparently never washing it, the stink nearly visibly rising. His breath reeked of pickled herring and mulled cider. “Father Christmas” he was called for obvious reasons, and he was the best interrogator in the Bureau. Just being in the same room caused prisoners’ eyes to water, their stomachs to revolt in disgust. They confessed to any crime in order to receive merciful release from his presence.

“Bring in the prisoner,” the guard said.

They dragged the man into the interrogation room. When he saw Kringle, the hardened criminal felt his heart sink. “No – anything but Christmas.”

JOHN MUSICO
Petting George

My stubborn childhood dog refused to let me pet him. Broke my heart.
He hated the groomers. His pride could not tolerate it. He’d arrive home with a bow in his hair. This indignity shamed him such that for days he’d barricade himself under a table unseen. Ultimately he got his way and spent his remaining years a hippie.
Years later, he seemed to be staggering and concerned. I dared to pat his back. For the first time he allowed it.
Just as my hand patted his back- he collapsed dead. Broke my heart. I had finally pet my dog.

JULIE
Anything But Christmas

We melted into the earth—

It’s all your fault.

I loved every moment;

I don’t blame you.

We were vagabonds,

Wanting everything,

Having nothing.

We were called back home,

For Christmas–

Dreading the lights,

Presents, the tree,

All that family—

We tried to escape

In the boxcar,

Together.

But we melted into the earth,

And it’s all my fault—

Your anathracite eyes

Staring down at the pier,

Down by the ferry landing–

I tuck my scarf,

around your neck.

Those eyes, hands on my hips

Pulling me closer—

Saying don’t you cry,

Don’t you sigh

I’ll be back again someday.

TOM
A Well Defined Relationship Part 28

Through the night the temperature dropped a light covering of snow settled
on the air ship. Alone with his thoughts Doc Proctor tried fervently to
think of anything but Christmas. When that failed he tried to think of
any Christmas, but that Christmas. He had been a bit younger then Master
Timmy, that Christmas. His Father a doctor of renown, the personal
physician to the emperor himself, has just opened the door and cried out
Merry Christmas. Young Proctor leaped up into his arms. Fate cut the
father’s thread, they fell to the floor. “Anything but Christmas” thought
the Doctor.

Bah

I came to the Golden State with a small cohort of Chicagoans. Over time
they all drifted back east. Separated from friends and family and quite
well aware of government stats on holiday suicide rates I took up a
personal campaign of Yule cleansing. “Anything But Christmas,” became my
my motto. To this day I don’t address cards. Raise or adorn a tree. No
shopping beginning, middle or end. Not a sprig of mistletoe or holly to be
found. I slipped once during my first marriage attended my in-laws
celebration. A regular “Who’s afraid of Virgins Wolff Christmas, that was.

Best Christmas Party Ever

Dan from accounting was sitting next to Phil from manufacturing. “Pretty
Cool Christmas Bonus!” Dan squirmed against the red velvet and replied, ”
I would have preferred cash.” “Come On. A plane tickets to Nevada, A limo
from the airport, We’re knee deep in Champagne. The Company has seriously
out done themselves this year.” True, thought Dan noting smiles on even
the grimmest of his coworkers, who were engaged in conversation with women
of a beauty way above his pay grade. A red head winked at him. He glances
at the gold embossed invitation card it read: “Anything Butt Christmas.”

Merry Corporate Tide

Anything but Christmas, is the spirit of Christmas. View from any vector,
a nice analyzation would led to a jumble of inconsistency, a harsher view
would be a hypocritic pile of lies. Firstly: The guy we celibate on that
day, wasn’t even born on that day. It is unlikely he spent a year laying
in hay so we could crowd enough figures to fill out cardboard nativity
scenes. Secondly: We have conflated the Moorish Arch Bishop of the Spanish
Netherlander with a Laplandish white dupe, who somehow embody’s the true
meaning of Christmas by swigging down a bottle of Coke-a-Cola

ZACKMANN
“Look what I got our son.” father says taking a ten inch cube out of a box.

“What is that, dear?”

“It is the greatest invention ever, the Anything Bot.”

“What does it do?”

“Well almost anything hence the name. Plays games, videos, plays most major disk formats and can stream through the television.

“Is that all?” she asks with the proper amount of snark.

“Well no, it is not only a media device. It’s a transformer.”

“Really?”

“Anything Bot Derpy”

Anything Bot folds into a grey pony

“Guess what prompt words makes it turn into a plastic evergreen tree?”

SPATE
Tales from the Navy (Completely Unrelated to Christmas)

Sometimes legends are born from shallow unassuming moments…

So it was: mid 70’s; Naval Air Station North Island. We were off duty, sitting around the dorm room table, smoking dope and drinking beer.

Denny Freeman starts drawing on the tabletop. Young Kerr, Pritchard, and I join in. We liberate a paint set from the rec center and do a half decent nearly pornographic rendition of “Venus on the Half Shell”.

We sign our spontaneous artwork with blood red lacquer fingerprints.

To this day, sailors come from afar to view the table and imagine the fate of the four unknown painters.

SERENDIPITY
We don’t use the ‘C’ word in our office, the boss has banned it. Instead we have ‘holiday’ decorations, ‘festive’ parties and ‘greetings’ cards.

He maintains it’s a politically correct and culturally sensitive attitude to the season, and anyone who wishes to take issue with him is bigoted, insensitive and possibly not suited to working for the company.

We put up with it, and get on with the job.

He’s not fooling anyone though.

We know the real reason he wants to avoid the ‘C’ word…

He’s too damn tight to pay us a bonus and give the extra holidays!

CLIFF
Do you remember the children’s book “Are you my mother?”? It’s a delightful book about a little bird that hatches while mother is away finding food. He wanders the land asking everyone he sees the title question. He finds animals and a boat and even a machine that snorts and puts him back in his nest before his mother returns. It’s a very sweet book.

Do not attempt to recreate it by dressing in a giant chicken costume and wandering around the Pinedale Shopping mall asking people “Are you my mother?”

That was absolutely my most embarrassing mug shot ever.
———

If you’re waiting for the universe to give you a sign that it’s finally time to try something new and terrifying, then I have some good news for you.
Here it is. You. Yes, you. You know who you are. It’s time. Today, take the first step, just one step, towards that thing you have wanted to do.
Want to write a novel? Learn Italian? Travel to the old country and find your roots?
Do something today in that direction.
Then, repeat daily.
Don’t worry. I’ll be doing it too.
The future is waiting for us. Let’s not disappoint it.
———

The Emperor Duk Qua Kang is thought to have ruled China in the early fifteenth century. He was followed on the throne by his son, his nephew, and a grandson. This was called the Duk Dynasty. Modern historians are divided about this age in history. Some believe that the Duk clan ruled worthless swamp land or that they were only a legend. However, archeologists have uncovered countless relics of the era including hats, shirts, toy ducks and one much worn ceremonial tea goblet. In the end, their rule ended because people were just sick to death of hearing about them.

DANNY
The rich, the poor, the strange, the stranger. Christmas was a bottom of the barrel hooker on the lower east side beyond the lower east side of Manhattan, just south of the south street seaport. in the middle of the Hudson river, which is where her pimp wished she was buried at. Worst hooker in Manhatten, according to the underground newspaper located under Rockefeller Center. One day, some big shot pulled up to her street pimp and asked, “I’m lookin’ for the hottest hooka’ in NYC, whatcha got?” The pimp responded, “I got what your looking for, Anything But Christmas.”

LIZZIE
The state of affairs called for immediate action. A man in a black suit stood outside Ronnie’s door. The festivities had been canceled, all of them. “No, please… You can cancel anything but Christmas. The children will be devastated. We’re so close,” pleaded the most famous Santa in the whole world. But the authorities were ruthless. Believing in non-existent entities like Santa was destroying future generations. It was destroying the potential for obedience. “We don’t want imaginative minds, we want them blind.” Ronnie disappeared a few days later and on TV, they announced that Santa had died. Christmas was gone.

JUSTIN

The writer, lets name him “Tace Spurtle, sent 100 word stories to a podcast that was all about 100 word stories. Back in those days, everyone (well, like 0.001% of the audience) voted on which stories they thought were the best, and whoever’s story won, a topic they choose would be the topic for the next weekly challenge.

Sometimes Tace Spurtle would vote using different browsers and vote at work to manipulate the polls. But not to win! When the results were particularly close, he would cause the votes to align causing many ties and multiple topics. Hilarity ensued!

*hides*

Figured I should admit to it someday.

NORVAL JOE

Monkey Boy sat on a branch, picking at the head of an adolescent female and watched Esmeralda Flinch and the Burgerslovegan hit man leave.
“Hoo, hoo, hoo?” The female asked sadly as the super hero dropped to the floor of the enclosure, pulled on a zoo keeper’s uniform and morphed back to his normal size.
“I’ll miss you, too,” he said to the monkey, locked the cage, and grabbed his phone. He punched the number for headquarters.
“What’s up doc?” A voice asked.
“Anything but Christmas.”
“What’s your report?”
“Fly Paper Boy is a known commodity. Tell him to abort.”

MUNSI

Eggnog!

By Christopher Munroe

Eggnog season’s upon us, and as such the time has come to drink.

Not in a “degenerate alcoholic” way, though the argument could absolutely be made that I’m that, but rather more festively. In spirit with the season.

I like my ‘nog with Kahlua, though a good spiced rum can also be delicious. But really, what you drink with your eggnog doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you do drink eggnog, and who you drink it with.

Because really, isn’t that the true meaning of the holiday?

I can drink to anything, but Christmas especially is a time for celebration…

PLANET Z

The North Pole isn’t what it used to be.

Santas are on every street corner and mall. And toys are made in China.

So the elves took classes in biochemistry, and they turned the workshop into a weapons lab.

Santa still wears a red and white suit. A red and white environment suit, with a breathing mask over his beard.

“Just sprinkle the white powder around, says his Head of R&D. “Especially on keyboards and machine controls.”

The Chinese factories are deathtraps now. Can’t keep up with demand.

Too bad Santa tracked the plague back home.

The snow fell quietly.

5 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #400 – Anything But Christmas”

  1. Some belated comments, including a belated Merry Christmas to everyone, because, well, it was a long week. A very long week. A very, very… yes, it included relatives, thanks for asking.

    Lots of good ones this week; the topic must have been inspiring. Serendipity is on a roll – I’m convinced that more than one person doesn’t want to use the C word because he’s cheap. But that monster Planet Z – you killed Santa, you cold, heartless bastard! And Hermie the Dentist Elf!

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