Weekly Challenge #404 – NOT FOUND

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 NOT FOUND.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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:

Sleepy splotchy cat

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

JOHN MUSICO

The Land of the Lost
by John Musico

Losing something is maddening. All that is lost fills an invisible secret world called the ÒLand of the LostÓ. In this hidden land there are all things lost as airplane pilots, key rings, minds seeking to return their original body, and much more.
The occupants are not always permanent residents.
Items appear in the Land of the Lost and then return back to our world. They call our world the Land of the Lost. One day, after losing a sock I lost the remaining sock as well. I did not lament; I saw that that sock had finally gone home.

JEFFREY

Lost and Found
by Jeffrey Fischer

Suzanne wanted to look her best for her 20th wedding anniversary. She lost 20 pounds and dropped two sizes. Unfortunately, this made her wedding ring loose around her finger. At the bathroom sink at work, the ring fell into the toilet, which then automatically flushed.

At a romantic restaurant on their anniversary, Ray said, “Dear, you look fantastic. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.”

“Haven’t you wondered why I don’t have on my wedding ring?” Suzanne asked.

“Aren’t you? I’ve been so busy admiring your figure that I hadn’t noticed.”

Stunned that he didn’t notice, Suzanne stormed out of the restaurant and later filed for divorce.

Close Enough for Government Work
by Jeffrey Fischer

Space exploration had become routine, but this launch was something special: the first manned trip to a planet outside our solar system, orbiting Alpha Centauri B, about four light-years away.

The trip was uneventful, with the crew in a state of suspended animation until the ship was nearly ready to land. As the crew awakened, Captain Morton opened the view screen to see… nothing. No planetary mass of any kind.

The communications officer said, “Captain, there’s a message from Earth that caught up to us. It reads, ‘Sorry, small calculation error in the course, but hey, it was only by a tenth of a degree. Pretty good, right?'”

“Dammit,” the captain replied. “I told NASA to stop hiring liberal arts majors.”

TURA

Not Found
——–
Marley’s web pages were dead: to begin with. No sooner had Scrooge returned from the funeral than he had deleted every page of Marley’s “blog”, for which he grudged every kilobyte.

That night he dreamed that a voice commanded: “The Library of Alexandria!” and Scrooge found himself amidst its burning. “404!”

“Plays and poetry!” retorted Scrooge. “Stuff and nonsense!”

“The archives of the Medici Bank!” it spoke, and Scrooge saw workmen carting away piles of ledgers as waste paper. “404!”

Scrooge shivered with fear.

Finally, it said, “Ebenezer Scrooge!” and there was nothing but “404! 404! 404!” and Scrooge awoke.

SERENDIPITY

It was months after the crash that the rescue team finally discovered the plane’s wreckage, and along with it, myself – unconscious and barely alive. As for the others – despite an extensive search in the area, they were officially recorded as ‘Not found’.

When I became well enough, I explained how the others had gone off into the woods in search of civilisation, and how I had remained alone at the crash site.

I knew they would never find the others, no matter how far the search extended.

After I’d eaten them, I made sure to bury the bones… very carefully!

TOM

Up the Rabbit Hole Part 1

The screen mocked him. Big old 404. He had multipul confirmations of the
page’s existence. Further the Shanghai Guy swore there was an Umber Easter
Egg on that page. The URI port number 808080 was correct, but all he got
was a 90’s code error page, not a single link or pointing hand cursor to
be found. Then it appeared at y314 x314. The cursor color changed by the
sublimest shade of off white. He Clicked and lost conscientious. Upon
awakening he found himself in a gigantic pink room with a giant sign:
Welcome to Fort Meade Lost and Found.

A Well Defined Relationship Part 32

The Voyage banked hard. For the briefest of moments it looked like they
wouldn’t impact the lemon. Sadly the keel clipped the edge of the peal
creating a 144 meter slice. Worst yet the same lead counterweight banged
into the stem of the Lemon snapping the ship backwards and at a reverse
angle of descent. As quick as you can say: yes we have no bananas, the
Voyage plowed into the pulpy part of the lemon. The ship took on lemon
juice, the monitors flickered and error code 404 flash on the screen.
Smith state, “May well be our epitaph.”

ZACKMANN

I can barely find anything because my wife hides everything from me. I mean puts things away carefully. Normally not a problem because I just ask her before she goes to work or call her on her way home. It’s okay she has bluetooth in her car stereo. Normally that is finew but she is visiting her mother for three weeks in Manila and I don’t want to bother her just to find out where a backpack is to take to the booksigning at Borderlands. I may just have to use a grocery bag.

All is lost until she returns .

CLIFF

The mystery of flight 404 has never been solved. It vanished from radar and radio contact on April 14th, 2004 between London and New York. The flight recorders were recovered in a pawn shop in Mayor’s Income, Tennessee three years later. They showed a normal flight up until the time of the disappearance and then go blank. The pilot was found in a nursing home in Toronto, suffering from Alzheimer’s. Several people from the passenger list have been located but all of them swear they were never on that flight. And where is the plane itself? It’s never been found.

She spent her youth dreaming of true love. She had a mental picture of the perfect man. He would be kind, caring, ambitious, and most of all, he would love her more than anyone in the world. We’d been friends since childhood and I heard all about Mr. Right. At her request, I introduced her to co-workers, some college friends, and one fortune 500 CEO. None of them were him. She finally married Oscar. He was good to her, but she confessed that she never found her dream man. Somehow, she never noticed me, the coward who loved her.

“Where is my pudding cup?” I demand of my dog. He looks at me with his soulful brown eyes and says nothing. He seldom does. I look everywhere for my pudding cup. It’s butterscotch pudding, my favorite, and I had just opened it. Max, my golden retriever, simply watches as I search the house. He doesn’t help me look. I check the kitchen counter, the refrigerator, the shower, the couch cushions, even the attic. I can’t find it. Max is laying in the living room licking something from his lips. Strange, I haven’t fed him yet. Where’s my damn pudding?

JULIE

You can have your little fits,

And turn them against me–

It does not bother me just one bit

They show your frailties.

I no longer look for you at night,

Or give you further thought–

You tantrums have become a blight,

And in that trap you’re caught.

You once were lost, and now you’re found,

And now you’re lost again

But if you come again around

I shall not call you friend.

******

I’ve grown

Tired of your tantrums,

Your narcisscism,

The insecurity.

Your moods and jealousy—

And quite frankly darling girl

You are quite dead to me.

JUSTIN

I dialed the number, area code 404. It could not be completed as dialed. I didn’t know it at the time, but Atlanta was gone.

Yes, the building were there, except the ones that burned. It wasn’t nuked by Korea, or shattered by an earthquake.

I don’t know still for sure what happened. I never got there to find out. I saw the smoke from a distance, and met some people who had come from there. What they said, I didn’t believe it.

At least until I saw them myself, when first nearly died.

When I first saw the Walkers.

NORVAL JOE

Long John Silver pushed through the doggie door at the back of the house.
Dirgle, sitting in front of the TV, heard the click of toenails crossing the kitchen before the wiener dog appeared at his knee and dropped his food dish on the floor.
Pouring the last of the bag and barely filling the dog’s bowl, Dirgle hurried off to the grocery store.
As the cashier scanned four large bags of dog food, he slid his card and punched in his PIN. The little window read, ‘Account Not Found’.
Apparently, Wiener Dog Man had pissed off the wrong people.

LIZZIE

The waves hit the side of the small fishing boat while the men tried to put on their life jackets. It came out of nowhere, one of the survivors would say to the media later on. When the boat capsized, they struggled to stay together until the helicopters came for them. Happy to have survived, surrounded by their families and love ones, they went back home after a few days in the hospital. One man stood at the pier though, waiting. He had to file a report and write the words he hated the most… One man was not found.
VINCE

I hear the sounds of silence are quite noisy if you turn them all the way up to level eleven.

Can you hear them too? Can you understand what the sonance is trying to say by not saying anything at all?

When we close our eyes, our ears become more aware of the melody around us.

When we still our lives and find a place of meditation, we can focus on that melody and the harmony of sounds not found in our everyday thoughts.

Take the time to listen to your silence and you’ll find it has plenty to say.

REZWERD

The astronauts neared their destination, Mars. The lifeless red planet grew in front of them until it stretched from end to end of the spaceship’s bridge viewport. Rusty spires rose up around them as they descended increasingly fast through the thin Martian atmosphere. The rocky surface loomed below. It was a new milestone for humanity, and it was all very beautiful, except for one fateful blemish: three dirty words flashed on the landing controller’s computer screen, where the digital map file had been programmed for a safe touchdown. Three fatal words: FILE NOT FOUND.

DANNY

Today I received the following letter from the N.S.A. “Dear Mr. Dwyer; We regret to inform you that your entry for this week’s 100 Word Story challenge has been classified as “not found.” Our agency has searched all of your internet and phone records, and cannot find any trace of your story. We apologize for your loss, yet we disavow any wrongdoing for the loss of your story. Do not make any inquiry’s, or you risk your entire WordPress page being classified as “not found”. Yours truly, the N.S.A.” Unfortunately, I will not be submitting a story on this week’s topic.

MUNSI

The Body

By Christopher Munroe

The body was never found.

I know, because I still have it.

I keep it in my walk-in freezer, hanging from a meat hook. Nobody questioned me buying the meat hook, which is weird since I followed it up by not buying meat at any point.

Vegetarian, don’t you know.

You’d think that would be suspicious, wouldn’t you? Buying a walk-in freezer, a meat hook and zero meat? I’d find that suspicious…

But nobody else did, nobody came around to search my walk-in freezer, and thus the body was never found.

But I digress: You wanna buy a human corpse?

SINGH

24.1

yet she suffered half-awake elephant skeletons
night in the village Yogi asleep
trumpeting pachyderms mountains moving
houses of moonlit bones trapped in her head
unable to bathe Ganga seven flooded kilometres
from Hastinapur Chauhaan’s report
at old Ganga Budia Ganga one lane bridge
last trickle leaving the city of elephants her bus load
responsibility trapped in her head Chauhaan’s cruel
parting shot Pity Madam you could not go
Draupadi’s Well below Pandheswar Fort
jungle track married women visit many snakes
in this season draw bucket of water
and feed the earth with barley
to bless marriages Pity Next time

24.2
“When are you leaving?” She said to him next morning.
“Yes, get an early start. You may as well.”
“Why are saying that Margaret?” Using this name
to peak her hard sarcasm, turn the arrow.
Yes, it had started, a micro Mahabharata.
A war brings out the best or worst in family
through disagreement, combat of pride with love,
arrows shot from the bow, the curving sneer
aimed to nail the eye of the bird, or hack off a thumb
when love demands it’s tribute. “I’ll pack your things?”
She would shoot true and kill the boy in the man.

24.3
“What about the school?” He tried to counter.
“That is the point. Everyday you’re lost
in marble temples. Wearing white is just
a step from nakedness. Listen, Yogi,
you cannot give up the kingdom you do not own.
And the kids? They’re no excuse. I had to handle
the lot without your help, while you and Chauhaan…”
She broke off there, not wanting to jab more.
“I won’t cling to you. I’m not so weak.
Anyway, you have your music gig.”
There wasn’t much he could add, hang-dogging his head.
“Find out Yogi. The thing that you don’t know.”

24.4
He did not know this tough tongue in command.
What could he add, except a neutered nod?
He felt the cold of a club, not touch of a hand
cupping his cheek. Pity? He felt a chill

and pulled away. “Please, hands off, will you?
I’m dead weight, it seems.” He felt the cleave
of steel-cold reality — were they through?
Too numb to know exactly how to leave

she tactfully wandered out back to the hand-pump.
It coughed, spewing its guts onto the concrete.
He stuffed backpack, straightened up his slump.
He and guitar left carrying their defeat.

24.5
Squatting naked
a slimy slab
head under spout
to block out sound
trying to crank
so he’ll just leave
the one-armed bandit
squeaking crying
downspout trunk
the idea of nature
reborn as machine
no baby elephant
dribbling mucous
this isn’t bathing
with your river herd
they’ve long gone
she’s trying to crank
and revive inside
a pillar of water
feebly pumping
it will not stand
her houses fall
eyes go to wate
what’s wrong with me
the pump is crying
another man leaving
another pillar down
nothing to hang onto
no one to draw water
for a lousy bath

24.6
She waited till he had gone, then towelled and dressed.
The air smelled musty. Yesterday had laid
its dusty paw on everything. The concrete floor
wore grittiness like a tray of beach sand.
Sri Ganga changed her mind and course providing
silts, but shifting fortunes. With time before school
she wet a rag and wiped down all her things
and consecrated the floor before the battle
armed with a hand-broom, whipping up her own
vendetta against the demon in the dust,
coaxing it over the threshold, a lame attempt
to sweep him like an old cough from her lungs.

24.7
The things that she then found were the old things:
past-life Australian clothes still in the suitcase,
most of his books picked up in Delhi stores,
aftershave left, acquiring his beard,
a fold-up chess set they had never played,
elephant Ganesh carved from sandalwood.
On his lined yellow pad beside the bed
She did not find a note, just some song verse:

“Take me in a boat to the river mouth
take me beyond all storms on out to sea,
be my compass East to West and North to South.
You are my true companion on the journey.”

24.8
Had he written it for her?
She hadn’t seen it there before.
He scribbled things from time to time.
She hoped it wasn’t de rigueur.

She’d sent him off. Was she glad?
Her dust devil was no longer mad.
The hut clean, she made some tea,
but drinking it alone felt bad.

Truth should not be oversold.
Anger blurts out over bold.
He had believed her at her word.
Yogi had done what he was told.

The gate squeaked. Her heart shone.
He was back! They’d carry on.
Atul was calling “Madam! School!”
Her heart sank. Yes, he was gone.

24.9
Walking the sugar cane road, the bad morning
didn’t release it’s swallows. Where were they hiding?
Girls balancing cow fodder on the heads
crossed to the other side, staring and giggling.
The jamun-wallah rang his bicycle bell,
swerved away, spilling some purple bullets,
then attacked her with unforgiving words.
He’d curse bad-luck as a woman, local or foreign.
“Crazy man, Madam,” said her little Atul,
bending to retrieve the spill of jamuns —
the colour of Krishna and this low-caste boy
with shining whites of eyes and brighter teeth.
He wiped a jube with his shirt, offering comfort.

PLANET Z

One day, The Internet and The Phone Company got their wires crossed, and 404 error codes got mixed up with the 404 area code.

Instead of being told that the web document you were looking for didn’t exist on the server, you were connected with Atlanta, Georgia.

Which wasn’t all that bad, considering how friendly most Atlantans are.

But every now and then, you get a drunk fuckhead in a Buckhead bar.

Once, I looked for a document at The Carter Center website, failed, and got The Carter Center.

They told me to paint my finger purple and hung up.

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