Weekly Challenge #401 – Coast

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 COAST.

We’ve got stories by:

(The song is “Texas In The Spring” – buy it on CD Baby)

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

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:

Huggy Tinny

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

JOHN

John Musico, “Valhalla Beckons”

As every time before, the Norseman wondered; “Would this be the last voyage?”
For such men there was only conquest or the warm afterlife, both were good.
He sat in the lodge with a far off gaze, leaning over a wooden plate and horn of mead.
The wind outside was icy, as always.
The other journeymen sat spattered at the table, postured much the same, bearing the same distant stare.
As if signaled, they rose nearly in unison; it was time to go back to the ship.
Again the wind blew; it was an odd warm wind. The Norseman smiled.

JEFFREY

Drive
by Jeffrey Fischer

When others think of Christmas, they may think of the birth of Jesus, or gifts, or the aromas of cooking. Not me. Every Christmas I find myself on the road, driving up the coast, en route to visit my mother. She doesn’t recognize me. We exchange pleasantries, as if two strangers met. I press a gift into her hands and kiss her on the cheek, wishing her a merry Christmas as she gives me a bewildered look. Then I’m back in my car, tuning the radio to a station that promises to play anything but Christmas music.

Flying
by Jeffrey Fischer

Growing up, when snow fell, the big kids would take their sleds and coasters to Doom Hill. I could hear their screams of excitement and terror. I wished I could join them, but my parents refused to allow me.

The year I was fourteen, snow came early. I told my parents I would be at Jimmy’s house, the took my sled to Doom Hill. As I gathered speed, I coasted for a minute then launched into space, flying for a second. I was free. Then I crashed and broke my arm in two places.

ZACKMANN

“A gift for your husband, The Ramen Noodle himself. Coast deodorant soap.”

“Where is he? I heard the pickup coasting into the driveway.”

“Yeah, hypermiling isn’t safe but you know how he can get all Sargent Packet when he wants to try something. Like when he says “That’s a Sugar Glider? That isn’t what a sugar glider should be” then drags me to Costco to buy enough Corn Syrup to build a sugar glider to launch himself off the barn hopefully coasting safely to the ground.”

“Why Coast?”

“The ad said it’s the Eye Opener and we can always hope.”

RICHARD

Coast

I remember the last family trip we took to the coast – unaware that we’d never again have the opportunity. The sand, the sun, and – most of all – the sea remain forever etched in my memories… but I can no longer look upon the sea, or the coast with any fondness.

The world grew warmer; the ice-caps melted, and the seas rose: flooding inland, taking towns, cities, homes and lives indiscriminately and without mercy.

We are the ‘fortunate’ ones – those who survived: those who remember the world as it once was.

Today, there is no coast – only the endless sea.

SPATE

Christmas 1982

——————————-

Regret is a heavy burden.

Take it from me:

If you find yourself living on the coast in a cheap drafty apartment that is more like a shack meant for summer rental but you’re there in the dead of winter trying to save a few bucks.

And if you’ve stretched out those few bucks to put as many presents under the tree as possible for your family but your five year old gets up before anyone else and opens every present by herself.

Then just laugh. Laugh like a drunken sailor.

Then you will have one less regret to carry.

SINGH

An idea catches the bus,

a desire to do and please

a bumpy plan gets down

takes chai at the workshop

chatter and more chai

the sound of whittling wood

a call to Brijpaal Chauhaan

the white car, pulling up

“Yes glad to serve”

talk and wobbling heads

eyebrows twitching with code

a favour called in by Barhai

a phone dialled to the depot

“the day after, coming”

be ready, arriving early

the bright idea says thank you

“No mention it is our duty”

the bright idea nods and runs

to ride the manic bus

happily back to the village

23.2

“So you agreed to this without first telling me?
What about the parents?” She was not pleased.
They were in the office. It was after lunch.

The children were all lying under the pipal,

a collective unconscious snooze, with rapid squirrels

running up and down the trunk. “But it’s fine.

They will love it, surely, and there’s no cost at all.”

There was nothing she good do, the bus was booked.

“Trust me, honey. I was thinking of the kids.
When the rains begin we won’t be able to move,

The roads they say will be tractor tread and bog.”

23.3

The requests ran home, returning orally
next day, as girls with pink and yellow ribbons,

plus shorts and fresh shirts whirling leather satchels

like slings collecting heads. “Ow!” said Atul.

Big-boned Kuldeep, a growing Bhima wrestled

with another boy, until their Madam scolded,

trying her best with hands and crippled Hindi.

“Are you sure it’s coming?” said Margot.

“Eight o’clock,”

Yogi had made the plan and had full faith,

in IST, that unreliable god.

Excitement was a fever hard to cure.
Yogi waited, peering down the road

for a cloud of dust and proof of his faith in Barhai.

23.4

At nine forty five in Indian Standard Time

the bus pulled up, growling like a tiger.

Kids piled headfirst through the hissing door

and fought for front row seats, but were expelled

from Madam and Yogi’s first class privileges

on cracked upholstery and a bad spring

like a jack-in-the-box poking through white fibre.

Thank God for that, thought Yogi. It would have been

bad with a no-show. A lady leopard

might have taken him apart all day and night.
But Barhai had come through. And so the bus

now turned and steered head on to Hastinapur.

23.5

Passing a tall swastika shrine

they dodged depressions and decay,

gears clunked down a snaking spine,

horn trumpeting: get out of my way!

The modern Ganges’ river of tar —

of wobbly cycles, motor bikes,

tempo, truck, three-wheeler, car

went short distance, or on long hikes

while women sat and spread out grain

and husked it via the tyres’ zoom,

or farm boys snatched stray culms of cane

from a bouncing tractor trolley’s boom

hitting a pothole. The school kids shoved,

pushing harder with each bus swerve.

Around some bend awaits the beloved,

the angel of death, eager to serve.

25.6

Yogi remembered the coasts of long white sand

taking greyhound buses up Coffs’ Harbour way,

those long stretches of straight road, then a turn

revealing coastal blue, some sweeping cliff

with seabirds like confetti above the spume.

Such road-days, going it alone were gone.

A wife was here and now new tension grew,

bumping into the other with each mad swerve

of the betel-chewing driver. Chauhaan was to come

to Hastinapur soon enough and then to tell

its Mahabharat story and then Jain.

Margot sat in silence slipping the beads

of a sandalwood mala between her patient fingers.

CLIFF

When the virus hit, it hit fast. If people didn’t fall to the bug, they fell to what was left. Zombies. It wasn’t like the movies. They were fast, tough, and worst of all, they were smart. They didn’t shamble. They hunted. Eventually, we realized that the only safe place was near the ocean. Salt water drove them back. Soon, the last remnants of mankind all lived within a few miles of the shore. Eventually, we’ll take back the interior but for now, this is all we have. The land of the dead surrounded by the coast of the living.

We used to go up to the top of the hill on Fourth Street on our bikes. The steep hill made for a tough ride, but when we got to the top, it was worth it. We’d line up and push off, our feet stuck out to the side as we flew down the hill. We blasted through the stop sign at Rush Street and ended up at the bridge. Now that I’m an adult, I like to think I’m pedaling up that hill. I just wonder if I’ll ever get to the point where I get to coast again.

MAGGY

Evie could just see the coast. She didn’t realise the little fishing boat
had carried her so far. There was no sign of Jack. She started towards
the line of thick bushes. She soon reached the other side. Plain white
sand then more trees and bushes.
“Jack!” she called, “Jack!” There was no response.
The scene was very familiar. His sketches, his paintings,
even his prints all had the scene included somewhere.
Suddenly, there was a rustling of leaves. “Jack,” she said,
dumbfounded. He was wearing an apron, dripping with red…paint?
Jack collapsed on the sand. “Oh!My god!”

TOM

A Well Defined Relationship Part 29
Timmy turned to Dino Mod, “Mr. Martin why are you here?” “Call me Dino. I
am an old friend of Mr. Banister. When he heard one of his last passengers
was in trouble he leaped straight into the thick, I am just in tow.”
“Sorry sir Sparky says your ID beckon is popping up all over Coast Net,
which means your a Troll Monkey from low places, or DX agent from rather
high places.” “Do I look likely to have a Coast pay grade. I’m just … ”
“Matt Helm. Seems Coast isn’t as secure as it uses to be.”

Professional Curtsey
“The coast is clear,” whispered Jack. “Doesn’t appear so, I would say the
coast is quite overcast,” return Frank. “Idiot, it’s a figure of speech. ”
Could have said something a bit less colorful, less chance to misinterpret
your intent.” “Shut the Fuck up. Can we get on with this?” “Don’t have to
get all defensive, you might seek out some anger management help when …”
“BLAM” Jack deftly stepped over Frank, eyeballed the remainder of his
second story crew. “The coast is clear.” Everyone’s heads vibrated in
recognition. Too bad Ralph took that moment to clear his throat. BLAM

Never Were a Red Uniform
Ivory sand was being lapped by cobalt waves. The horizon glowed with a
mixture of violent and vermillion. The twin suns dipped in the sea. Zax
PinderZal reclined on a beach chair a mere 20 yards from the Grand
Coastal. A regular circuit of cabana boys delivered Romulian Ale to his
up turned hand. Being the weapons officer on a starship did have its
perks. When your Coastal Ferengi resort has phasers lock on you, customer
satisfaction becomes paramount. When the twin Adorian hospitality hostess
arrive with the coco butter, Zax lowered his Ray Bans and said, “Make it
so.”

Not Pawnable
It’s odd the things we collect. In most cases the monetary value have a
inverse relationship to it sentiment value. Where I grew up was nearly as
far from any ocean as a person could be. So on my first trip to New York I
filled a glass aspirin bottle with water. During that same year I visited
San Francisco and armed with the same bottle fill it with water. When I
return to Chicago I mixed both oceans into a single jar. It sat in my
parents house for the next 20 years. Mom took it with to Phoenix.

SERENDIPITY

Clearing the reef, the lookout spied an unknown coast, not recorded upon our charts. We set to and launched a rowboat to the shore and, on making landfall, I claimed the new land in the name of king and country.

It was not long before we were surrounded by curious natives: we bartered beads and trinkets and were persuaded to visit their village, where it transpired a great feast was to be held in our honour.

Whilst we awaited the meal, the crew debated amongst themselves what delicacy might appear upon the menu…

The delicacy turned out to be us!

LIZZIE

The lighthouse swept the darkness of the sea and the vastness of the coast, alive in the distance, sparkling with tiny glow-worms. Being a tormented diva was hard work. So, when Millie ran up the stairs of the lighthouse with the intention of pretending to jump off, she didn’t really expect to see a man, struggling to swim ashore. Much to her surprise, Millie forgot about the diva plans and ran down the stairs. She jumped into the dark tormented waters and saved the dying man. That’s how she went from diva to angel. And somehow, she enjoyed the change!

JULIE

From my beach,

I see that coast—

The planes,

Circling, and returning again,

Waiting to land—

To the West.

The lights, the bridge

And in that dream–

The mushroom cloud imploding,

That shook me from sleep.

From my pier,

I remember

The smoky hole in the ground—

The fighter jets

Shaking the crystal in the case—

You and I, taking bets

On when the world would end.

Preaching your apocalypse

While I grilled fish.

I wish—

To be taken to the cliffs,

And scattered when I am gone—

Thousands of chalk tons melting

Into the sea

Crumbling my malaise away.

TURA

On an old map of Africa, you can read the names: Ivory Coast, Gold Coast, Slave Coast. Others appear only in the traders’ records. The Sweltering Boils Coast was to be avoided. The Angry Birds Coast was populated only by an alarmingly intelligent species of ostrich. On the Giant Hats Coast, it was absolutely taboo to go bare-headed, and the natives expressed their respectability by the size of their hat.

When the first European ship landed there, the captain doffed his hat to the local chief and bowed. The penalty for this deadly insult deterred all further attempts at trade.

MUNSI

Die Hard

By Christopher Munroe

I get that the premise eventually wore thin.

Guy trapped in place deals with whatever, with no outside aid. It was never the sort of premise that, however much Hollywood tried, was going to remain fresh. And yes, by the end of the ‘90s we were tired of the formula.

Nonetheless, man, Die Hard. It’s basically the perfect movie. Sharp, tight and witty, with just the right number of explosions.

If you’ve seen the film recently, you already understand what I mean.

If not, watch it with me!

Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…

NORVAL JOE

I heard a guy justify sexual promiscuity by saying 100,000 years ago we had to spread our seed wherever we could to make sure our race would survive. By that same rationale, then, men should be allowed to rape teenage girls, since girls have no value to the tribe until proven they can bare children.
We litter because we used to live in trees. Out of site, out of mind. At least the tree was clean. Now, if you litter, you’re bad.
I choose monogamy because a hundred-thousand years of evolution should mean acting less like a monkey, not more.

PLANET Z

My friends in New York say that the East Coast is the best.
My friends in California say that the West Coast is the best.
My friends in Chicago say that the Lakefront is the best, but fuck those losers… that isn’t a coast.

If you want a coast, come down to Texas and enjoy the Gulf Coast.
No income tax, and low real estate costs. What’s not to like?
Hurricanes? When I last checked, the East Coast gets hit worse than the Gulf Coast.
Sure, it’s hot. But that’s what air conditioning is for.
And beer. Lots of beer.

One thought on “Weekly Challenge #401 – Coast”

  1. I loved Jeff’s “Drive”. Another reminder that Christmas is not always the season of joy, no matter how much they try to cram it down your throat.

    I liked Zack Mann’s story but it reminds me why I don’t write female dialogue for the challenge.

    And as for Munsi’s story, does anyone else think Kat has Munsi locked up somewhere, forcing him to write stories for her and telling him that she’s his biggest fan? I don’t KNOW that’s what is happening but it’s certainly a possibility.

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