Weekly Challenge #409 – Formula

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 FORMULA.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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:

Tinnyversary

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

JOHN MUSICO

“A Cool Formula” by John Musico

My favorite molecule is PABA found in sunscreen.
Its core is a hexagon of 6 carbons; termed benzene. In chemistry, carbons must bind to 4 atoms. Here, each binds to the adjacent 2 carbons in the hexagon plus to a hydrogen at the corners. The 4th bond is achieved by a shared orbital amongst the 6 carbons. The sun’s UV energy makes electrons jump to the next carbon via this shared path. This movement absorbs the damaging UV rays. The PABA film thus shields the underlying skin. I do wish I could hear those electrons whirling around the PABA ring.

RYAN

He has a secret formula. He keeps it in his house. He’s never told a single soul. Not even his new spouse. He puts it in his famous steak, and in his soup as well. No one knows just what it is that makes it taste so swell.

He used it in the flower bed, and poured some on the grass. His lawn grew green and lush, and no one’s could surpass.

One day his spouse exclaimed with excited glee, “I’ve found his secret recipe!”

His face grew red as he got hotter. She revealed his secret was only water.

JEFFREY

The Ultimate Formula
by Jeffrey Fischer

Professor Schweinstein started at the whiteboard, which was filled with mathematical notations. He was *that* close to a unified theory of physics, he could feel it. He was one insight away from explaining the mysteries of the universe, but he couldn’t see the last step. In frustration, he left his office for the evening.

Mrs. Klotz was a dutiful cleaning lady, even if her vision was not what it used to be. She reached for the professor’s trash can and brushed against the whiteboard. One formula changed slightly, unlocking the last key.

As the universe began to collapse, Mrs. Klotz shuffled to the next office, unaware of her cosmic importance.

Oscar Time
by Jeffrey Fischer

The studio executives sat around a large table, smoking cigars and talking about the movies they would green-light. An action film, a period drama, a comedy with a cross-dressing black man, a rom-com, and a weepy chick movie. Stanley sighed. He said, “Come on, guys, this is so formulaic. Sure, they’re all proven money-makers, but is this what we got into pictures for?” The others shook their heads. No, cocaine was what they got into pictures for.

“Get this,” Stanley continued. “Weepy chick movie, but both stars are hot girls. Genius, right? The female audience will go for the tissue factor, the boyfriends have something to look at, and it gets those gay rights assholes off our backs. I smell multiple Oscars.”

RICHARD

#1 – George’s Story, Part 46: Custard creams

George had a sneaking suspicion that whimpering like a baby and admitting to being a coward wouldn’t go down well with Rasputin – it wasn’t exactly a winning formula!

Rasputin snorted in disgust and turned away.

Miserably, George shrank further into the pew and prayed… for the service to be over.

Eventually, the last hymn was sung and George found himself surrounded by a group of rather intense new friends, drinking tea and munching custard cream biscuits.

It wasn’t so bad and – if the world was about to end – he could think of worse ways to be spending his last hours.

#2 – Formula

‘e=mc2’ – I never really understood what it was supposed to mean… something to do with the gravity of relatives, I think, or is it to do with circles and acceleration?

Whatever it means, I’ve managed to bluff my way through life pretty well so far, giving knowledgeable smiles and understanding nods whenever it enters the conversation.

That is, until today, when I realised that I know even less about Einstein’s work that even I imagined.

Yes… it’s taken me all eighty-one words of this story so far, before realising that it’s an equation, and not a formula at all!

TURA

Formula, or, Sherlock to his dark lady

To everything there is a formula
Cigar ash, muddy boots, the Channel tides;
Perceive the hidden clockwork clearly and
Its present, past, and future are implied.

These lovers gazing on each others’ face
With blind regard, who see yet never see:
One minute’s observation tells me all
That their love is, and was, and e’er shall be.

But when I watch upon your watching eye
My usual methods exercise in vain;
My thoughts reach no conclusion but a sigh
And all my reasoning rebounds again.

I must, yet must not, find thy hidden heart
Discover love by taking it apart.
——–

TOM

A Well Defined Relationship Part 37

The story goes Archibald Morehouse divined the formula that allowed
perpetual motion to be. Rev Sackbe knew better having been told the actual
events leading up to the foundation of their faith. Archie a third year
student at Rutherford Poly-tech was playing poke with a Gnome, a shaman,
and the prioress of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, on an inside
straight he won the formula. Because same said formula was causing the
bell tower to turn, and by proxie the steeple, Sackbee had to invoke the
counter-formula. All he had to do was type it into the spreadsheet cell,
hit F9

Up The Rabbit Hole Part 6
He moved pass shelves that read: Algebra II. Laying out in plain view was
his Junior year final. The page was nearly totally blank, but for the
following formula: Y squared divided by A squared minus X squared divided
by B squared equals One. An unearthed memory of Wittleton Moggsly cross
his mind. “What the hell did he call thous dotted line that hugged the
edge of the … you know the curve parts?” Not have the ability to
describe a thing with out its name was getting damn irritating “OH you
mean the not falling together lines” said He.

LIZZIE

I stayed at the hospital for a week to undergo a routine treatment. Unexpectedly, the treatment provided had a new formula. Despite my heated protests, that’s what I was given. It’s more effective, they insisted stubbornly. However, I felt different. I tried to keep things under control, but my vision got blurred and I started seeing people’s insides as if they were being scanned by a 3D x-ray machine. I looked away. I closed my eyes. I couldn’t stand it. Yet, their intestines, their stomachs, their lungs almost jumped out of them. Curiously enough, I didn’t see one single heart…

SERENDIPITY

Science lessons always bored me to tears – the teacher would show us a formula, and all I saw were letters and numbers… it made no sense at all.

I wasn’t the only one who struggled – most of us in the class didn’t have a clue. Eventually, we hit on a plan which was to make lessons far more interesting than we could ever have imagined.

You see, one white powder looks very like another, and the average bottle of clear liquid resembles pretty much any other bottle of clear liquid… but swap the labels and that’s when the magic happens!

MUNSI

A Formula for a Successful Life

By Christopher Munroe

One: Figure out who you are and what you want from this world, then do things that help you toward that.

Two: Enjoy your body, whatever its shape, size or type. It’s yours, you own it, and it serves you. It’s not enough to love your body, use it every day and appreciate it.

Three: With regard to your mind, see point two.

Four: Regret what you’ve done when necessary, but never regret who you are for even a moment.

…this advice is good.

I’m still working on following it.

I’m working on me.

It’s a process.

I’ll get there…

SINGH

26.11

Young Atul was waiting just over the water —

her little man, the dark-skinned casteless boy

whiplash quick, smarter than all the lumps

of farmer lads and daughters, buffalo-thick.

Her gambolling lamb spoke up when she appeared

“Madam, Madam! Careful of the water.

Very soggy: gobar-mud with potholes!”

He was her lookout and reward for kindness

who gave more back by learning all he could,

dwarfing bullies. She was his mother partridge.

Margot was glad some little men are true

and wise despite short legs and know of troubles.

If only Paul and Adele could be like him.

26.12

Proudly he steered his Madam village-wards.

They sloshed and slipped and laughed as last drops glopped

upon their heads. Now close to Madam’s hut

Atul whispered: “We are being followed.”

A yellow lolloping puppy was behind them.

They stopped. It paddled and panted closer

through clear puddles where bits of sun now shimmered

before the next storm shower. The puppy barked

and nosed a fallen stick from water, tossing

and catching and dropping it at her feet.

“He likes you Madam,” Atul the sage kid said.

“But whose is he?” She asked. His English was

improving day by day.

26.13

“No one’s, Madam.”

Such kutas live on rotten scrap or bone.
Madam, he likes you. Take the kuta home.

Otherwise, he soon will be biting and fighting.”

It was as if the boy had voiced his own

true wish — to live with her. His own mother

bashed him nightly with no husband present.

He’d gone to labour somewhere in Punjab,

menially for those who sleep through seasons.

“If I do, you’ll have to help,” she said.

“He came along behind us both today

and wants a proper master as well as a madam.”

He giggled then, charmed by her witticism.

26.14

“He needs a name,” she said. “You choose.”

“Yudhi?”

“Is that an Indian doggy kind of a name?”

“Nehi Ji, Madam. No one keeps such a pet.”

Everyone thinks that a dog is worse than the dirt.”

“Ah, Yudhisthira. The Mahabharata!”

At last she got it. “You remembered from the story.”

His bright teeth gleamed, happy with himself.

“Yudhi it is,” she nodded. “You’d better go.”

“Madam ji. I will be helping you both later.”

And her little man strode tall on past the last

thatch hut. Beyond, the caste pariahs

lived as shitcan cleaners near the roaming dogs.

26.15 again

The little mutt called Yudhi

followed through her gate

around the side to the pump

where she grabbed and held him down,

then worked the water lever.

He bit the gushing stream

and growled and bit again

at the clean, cold aquifer

as she pumped and caught his neck,

lathering with soap

to lose the mongrel crust

and make of him a prince,

a shining yellow god,

trimmed and groomed and fed.

Was he a proxy dog,

four-legged life in need?

Today she did not care

forgetting her woman woe.

One puppy was enough

to salve her aching love.

26. 16

And perhaps he was not able to get home:

the storms, the roads, the lack of telephone

to make report. These wet days changed things fast.

The rhythm of the season bogged them down.

Atul would come. She gave him English lessons

and Yudhi yapped and did his doggy dirt.

The little man would bring her buffalo milk,

and the little dog would lap it up, then snore.

And perhaps he was not able to come home

and wanted to, was waiting for the rains?

And perhaps she’d find some Yogi-formula.

She hoped and prayed for him by candlelight.

ZACKMANN

“Dearest, have you seen the baby’s formula?”

“Honey, we weaned him months ago and gave the leftover to your sister for her baby”

“No, not that formula” he said handing her a piece of paper marked in crayon

“Look what my son did”

She picked it up and saw x plus x equals two x.

“That does seem a simple formula.” she said

He replied “You can’t expect too much from formula one, he’s only is a toddler. After all it is only a baby formula.”

“Of course Dearest, no doubt he will eventually discover the equation for quantum mechanics.”

SPATE

Hairy Situation

After the lawsuits he was destitute. Sad fate for the chemist who effectively eliminated baldness.

When applied, his formula instantly created follicles that immediately produced hair. Not that monoxadil wispy new down stuff but thick, rich, lavish, permanent, very fast growing hair.

Just a drop of it on any human skin… and that was the problem… any skin. The stupidity of man was terribly underestimated.

And he cursed himself by testing it on his own palm.

Has to carry an electric razor and shave it three times a day and he still gets the odd look whenever he shakes hands.

NEIL

Ingredients

A small tesla coil.

Garden shears.

A shovel.

A large array of glassware: test tubes, petri dishes and vats, some with live culture.

A jar of formaldehyde.

A tank of water, and smaller containers of phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and hydrocarbon derivatives, as well as a range of trace elements.

A large work surface, brushed and sterilised.

A book of names.

Two cigarettes.

When her husband came home, she kissed him on the cheek and proudly showed him the equipment.

“Sweetie,” he said, “that’s not quite what I meant when I asked if you’d like to make a baby with me.”

CHELSEA

She always wanted to know what it was that made it all work. If only she could just figure it out, and then everything would become clear. She would be able to fill in all the holes in the world. She would be able to make them all see what they had been missing all this time.
There had to be one. A formula. A simple equation to the intricacies of the human mind. Then she would finally have the world at her feet. Now, where did she leave that cattle prod, this subject was going to need some persuading.

CLIFF

The world was panicked and rightly so. No one had been able to stop the invaders. The president looked over the list of names the Pentagon had forwarded to him. Finally, he spoke to the assembled generals.
“Ok, here’s your team. Get this guy. He’s an alcoholic burnout who once was the greatest xenobiologist alive until aliens killed his family. Get the loose cannon Colonel to handle the military end of things. Then we’ll need a hot blonde, a handsome ne’er do well, and a couple of nerdy geniuses.” The generals stared at him. “What? I’ve seen science fiction movies.”

You’re too young to remember the Cola Wars. Folks were divided and pretty diehard in their choices. Being a root beer man, I wasn’t welcome in either camp. There were advertisement, taste tests, industrial sabotage, and a couple of deaths that were just a bit suspicious. Then Coke threw everyone for a loop by changing the formula. Coke fans who’d been soft in supporting their cola suddenly protested until the company changed the formula back. After that, Coke was back on top. Only a few of us knew that all they’d done was put Pepsi in Coke bottles.

NORVAL JOE

Dergle pulled up to his house.
Two mini-vans filled the driveway.
Walking to the front porch, he could see there were no dachshunds in the kennel, only poodles.
A family answered the door.
“No. We’ve always lived here,” a young man said with a smile.
As Dergle walked away, bewildered, a little girl said, “Remember. You can do anything, if you just believe.”
He turned to Long John Silver and asked, “If the formula for everything is just to believe, do you think the converse is true?”
Dergle realized, by not believing in himself he’d accidentally erased himself from existence.

PLANET Z

Sally’s having a baby.

Who’s the father?

She never knew his name. “But he was one handsome devil,” she said.

The doctor advised Sally to breastfeed her baby.

“It’s better for the baby than formula,” he said. And he handed her a pamphlet.

Sally suddenly felt severe pain a month before the due date. She called the paramedics, and then collapsed

The baby clawed its way out during the ambulance ride to the emergency room.

They couldn’t save her. But the baby’s doing great.

Sure, he’s got horns and a tail.

But he’s a healthy little devil, despite drinking formula.

10 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #409 – Formula”

  1. Great job, everyone. Loved the stories. I especially enjoyed Ryan’s secret formula being “just water”. I liked Jeffrey’s Mrs. Klotz who was totally oblivious of her cosmic importance, Serendipity’s explosive magic; Spate’s hairy handshake and Chelsea’s cattle prod… ouch!
    A word of welcome to the new participants. And… there’s was something really strange about our host’s accent today, did anyone else notice that? ;) Thank you, Crap for the podcast. Hugs to all!

  2. Yay, people new to the podcast! Welcome all. (And Chelsea is making an early bid to be the new Serendipity – I like that.)

    And, yes, Lizzie, noticed that something was a little off. Then I realized Crap had taken things to its logical conclusion and just taken the week off, replacing himself with a robot. Maybe Obamacare gave him more choices, so he was freed from the need to continue working on the podcast.

    1. There’s a new me? Hope it’s more reliable than the old model!

      Welcome Ryan, (or is it Matt?), Neil and Chelsea – great stories… hope to hear more from you. Spate and Panet Z definitely appealled to my sense of humour this week, but all the stories were fun – enjoyed them.
      s. x

  3. Thanks, Lizzie – and I enjoyed your story as well. (I was a little sad, though, that no one had a heart. Or maybe it’s not true that only the good die young and that those people just don’t get hospitalized. Well, something for me to cogitate on.) Lots of good ones this week, including Planet Z, Serendipity, and Chelsea, all of whom have deliciously sick minds, and Neil, who had an enjoyable twist to his story.

Leave a Reply