Weekly Challenge #410 – Again

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 AGAIN.

We’ve got stories by:

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

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:

nardo in the sun

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

JOHN MUSICO

“Ain’t No Sunshine”
by John Musico

The song; “Ain’t no sunshine” nearly ruined my start in college. During the very first exam- that song came to mind. I had to let it cycle through, in its entirety that was so long. “Wella I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know. Leave that girl alone. And a house just ain’t no home. Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone”. Then it started its cycle again, over and over. I failed. I shared my dilemma with my best friends father. He was a physician. He prescribed valium.

JEFFREY

Perfect Practice
by Jeffrey Fischer

I once had a high school teacher who doubled as a football coach. He enjoyed repetitive drills both on the field and in the classroom. Each year he would give the same motivational speech to his classes: “People say that practice makes perfect, but that’s wrong. *Perfect* practice makes perfect.” Then he would make us do the drill again.

“But sir,” I asked, “if perfection belongs only to God, then we can never practice perfectly. Shouldn’t we just go home?”

By that time in my academic career, my parents recognized the principal’s telephone number when she called.

Forecast
by Jeffrey Fischer

I use the MacBook to check the weather forecast. The snow continues to fall, and the forecast still calls for a foot of the stuff by tomorrow. I angrily slam the cover shut.

The cat walks to the front door, sees the snow, and meows, striding back to the warm couch with a disdainful look. This is the fourth time today she has made such a check. I turn to the cat and tell her, “They say that madness is doing the same thing again and again while expecting different results. You, cat, are definitely mad.”

The cat stares back as I open the MacBook and refresh the forecast. Still predicting a foot of snow. Dammit. I slam the top back down. Again.

RICHARD

#1 – George’s Story, Part 47: Time to change

Tea and biscuits aside, George was acutely aware that he seemed to have lost control of his life.

Up until his accident, he’d been a control freak; knew exactly what he was doing, and tended to be the one calling the shots. Since then, things had gone downhill, and he wasn’t enjoying being pushed around by circumstance.

He thought back to how he’d overcome his fears to break out of the hospital, and then risen to the challenge at Fort Hope… It was time to take charge again of his life, and maybe those of these helpless victims around him.

#2 – The same old story

So, here I am, once again – facing the same old challenge, in exactly the same way, as I face it every single time.

And every single time it’s like this, again, and again, and again – my mind goes blank, my thoughts wander, distractions creep in and the clock ticks incessantly onwards…

Here I am, once again – bereft of ideas, lacking inspiration, frustrated, annoyed and perplexed; wondering why I’m putting myself through this, yet again.

And then, without warning or fanfare, I start to write the words, and as always happens, despite all expectations, a story is finally written, once again.

TOM

He almost missed it. He had been able to retain in memory a proper name.
Sure, not one of truly significant personal impact, or was that true. Mr.
Moggly, earnest presenter of mathematical principles to hyper
disinterested pupils was in fact the seed of his future stoicism. A life
time of explaining the complex to the perplexed. “My name is Adam,” he
said. “Good by sir,” said He. Back at his desk Adam X mentally listed off
possible explanations for this bizarre experience. Tried as he may what
filled his mind was a deep desire to do is all again.

“Again!” cried Father Tony. He and Banister pulled the widow to the edge
of the bell tower floor. All were safely untethered from the hydrogen bag
that now floated gently away from the twin churches. Despite lacking
bravery the dual congregation made up for it in Enthusiasm. Song and
dance broke out below. When things settled down everyone’s eyes were
trained on Tim waiting for some sage pronouncement. All the disheveled lad
could think to say, “God bless us one and all.” Generations later would
nod as they read thous words on the Plaque below the Statue of the Seven

t’was one of thous stupid affirmatic graphics. A poster in the office
with the letter “A” in red and the letters g-a-i-n in black in a proper
lacquered frame. Just the insipid sub proses a paper-pusher would lock his
black heart on. Danny moved gold, Danny moved junk. Danny pushed pork
bellies Danny trolled tech. Danny chopped up mortgages ground them down to
dust, sifted through the pile, cleared his book by lunch. He promised the
world as the stocks fell through the floor. But what hit the floor under
that poster was Danny who’s heart would not beat again.

“Again,” demanded Madame Duperey. “No, Stop, Once again. First position,
Second position, arm curved.” The sound of the staff marked the time less
audible to the wobbling notes that squeaked from the Victoria. Tiny units
of equal time. It’s all about, again, mused Sabrina. The randomness of
childhood ended at the tender age of seven. Not the dance, death had
changed all things. She try to recall it again. The last thing Poppa said
to her was so uninformed, it tended to float away. It took continuous
focus to keep it firm in her head, close to her heart. “AGAIN.”

MUNSI

Persistence

By Christopher Munroe

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

If you still don’t succeed, stop.

Just stop.

You can’t be good at everything, there will always be things where no matter how hard you try, you’ll fail, and fail spectacularly.

And that’s okay.

Nobody’s expected to be good at everything, if you fail over and over, maybe it’s time to quit.

Not popular advice, but good advice.

It’s about opportunity cost, after all.

So yes, try, and try again. But past that point don’t be fanatical. Quit while you’re ahead.

Because quitters do win. They just win at something different…

CHELSEA

She looked up at him and said “You have such beautiful eyes.”

“No,” he said, cowering and trying to hide his face from her.

“Yes!” she replied, slowly tracing her fingers up his back and curling them into his soft, thick hair.

“No,” he replied again.

This time when he tried to hide she pulled back on his hair to bring his face back up to hers.

“Yes!” She said and leaned in to kiss him softly and passionately before releasing his hair.
“And don’t even get me started on that smile.” she said, kissing him before he hid again.

LIZZIE

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Who is the fairest one of all?

She had a toolbox full of aids,

And these were shinny little blades.

Mirror, mirror blocking the way,

Who will jump and who will slay?

He tried to run as fast as the wind,

But she was faster and got his skin.

Mirror, mirror playing tricks,

Who forgets and who forgives?

She looked around for more.

All she got was a funky door.

“Mirror, mirror full of shades,

I’ll stay away,” she uttered, twisting her braids

In her own little private hell,

A cell, again a lonely cell.

JULIE

You did it to me,

Again

Each night I swear you will not.

But it happens,

Again.

I am called many things.

Drunk.

Emotional.

Crazy.

I am none of those.

You will not goad me into tears.

I will not nibble the bait.

But I do.

Again.

Some days

You did it to me,

Again

Each night I swear you will not.

But it happens,

Again.

I am called many things.

Drunk.

Emotional.

Crazy.

I am none of those.

You will not goad me into tears.

I will not nibble the bait.

But I do.

Again.

Some days

It goes OK

And other days not.

You did it tonight.

Again.

I will not feed you and fuck you.

I take things from my closets and dressers

The cabinet near my sink,

Toss them into the trash.

Slowly, over time winnow it away.

I will strive to travel lightly.

SERENDIPITY

He lay in a rapidly expanding pool of his own blood; his life ebbing away as I watched him dying.

It was unfortunate for me there were witnesses – two of them – a young man and a woman, both of them now cowering in the corner of the room… and, as luck would have it, I only had one bullet remaining.

Who should I shoot – the guy or the girl? Either way, I was inevitably going to get caught – there was no escaping it.

I sighed and I placed the gun barrel to my temple, before softly squeezing the trigger, once again.

ZACKMANN

“Dylan, for the sake of whatever you hold Holy, stop playing that album. It has been on constantly. You know if I wanted to hear the same songs over and over repeatedly, I would turn on a top forty station.”

“But I love this CD.”

“I used to love that band too but in the way your mother used to love snow before she spent a few winters in the upper midwest.”

“Since you’re my favorite roommate you know what I will do?”

“No, Dylan but I hope it involves returning your mother’s CD and never playing it another time.”

NEIL

— Out of Date —

It had been an ill-timed jump, and Dirk was about to die.

He’d been told there was a bright white light. Then maybe he’d be taken to stand in front of Saint Peter, or watch as his heart was weighed against a feather.

But instead of his life flashing before him, two words appeared as his world went dark.

Continue Y/N?

And a countdown. Ten. Nine. Eight.

“Yes!” he said, as the numbers ticked lower. “Yes, yes!”

On the edge of hearing, he caught ‘not that interesting…’ ‘meh, old crap…’ ‘let’s play Street Fighter instead…’

Then silence.

Three. Two. One.

TURA

Again
——–
When I died, it ruined all my plans, except one. Time to practice my studies of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Tunnel of light: ignore it, it’s just the random sparkings of my brain shutting down. Now the clear and smoky lights of the heavens and hells. Avoid them all, I intend doing better than that.

Mild and fierce deities, just say boo.

Rebirth options coming up. This is the trickiest part, not just getting a human rebirth, but a fortunate one. And… and… this one!

Oops, third daughter of a Mongolian yak herder. Life on hard mode again.

SPATE

Mostly True Tales from the Navy

Part 4

Between Two Worlds

Again she appeared, the girl with the flaxen hair and the sky blue eyes, imploring me to understand: the bear had come, his strong arms offering comfort in the uncertainty of the storm.

Where was she to turn? What decision was hers? All sides had hidden intent.

I reached for her but she backed away and began sinking into the opaqueness of the sea.

That’s when I awoke, somewhere in the western Pacific, fighter jets scrambling on the flight deck above the enlisted quarters rack where I lay clinging to the recurring dream, holding my breath between two worlds again.

CLIFF

The master died yesterday and we burned him today. I laid his body in the shed and sat with him as the house robots filled and surrounded the building with wood. The fire burned for hours and, in the end, I sat next to charred bones. We carefully loaded them into a sturdy case for the journey. He believed that all life came from the sea and wanted his bones returned there. He felt that, once in the sea, he would be a part of life again. It was good to have a purpose even if my master was gone.

SINGH

27.1

The whale of a house was first to call Yogi for satsang

some District belly of Works, who ensures nothing will happen

without eating his weekly ‘hafta’, a fad wad of hundreds, stapled.

Impressario Barhai gave White Yogi a make-over:

elegant cream, quilt shoulders, some silk to snake the neck with.

Chauhaan lugged the guitar case, grey and sleek as a dolphin,

nosing passed people waiting seated on white linen.

A tabla player came with the entourage of Yogi guitarfish

sitting to tune both treble and bass, then dive down under.

Yogi strummed and sang in a scale pelagic and solemn.

27.2

Next day, it was a house behind the college.

Mrs Malholtra greeted at the door.

The satsang started in her livingroom.

Yogi sang his mish-mash nonsense chant

based on Sanskrit names for baby Krishna

go-pa-la go-pa-la

de-va-ki nun-dana go-pa-la

lah lah lah lah go far lah lah

lah lah lah lah go-go very far

No one said a word and clapped along.

He was a foreigner. He went unquestioned.

After, they dropped rupees at his feet

that Barhai later grabbed. Then onto the next:

another home of Mrs Middle-class.

27.3

Barhai sold the emperor’s new clothes

till day and nightly satsangs were the rage.

Wealth and status tasted the first cream

and lapped it up, meowing to the neighbours.

Fame makes rings that spread across a town.

All wanted to touch the robed and shoeless saint

gracing divans and nibbling their pakoras.

Some even took his leavings as prashad.*

Yogi’s azure eyes played their foreign part.

He came and sat and smiled and sang, just

glad that funds would flow back to the school.

For most, he was every centimetre holy

while Barhai hid his cheshire pleasure smirk.

*blessed food.

27.4

S.P. Agarwaal, a high-ranking cop

invited Yogi inside. “Aiyay, Sir.”

Someone was waving a tray with burning ghee-lamp,

while others avalanched him with their ropes

of cream and crimson flower-headed garlands.

Yogi sang, then tried some smatter of Hindi.

Then Agarwaal came half-sobbing. “Yogi ji,

my daughter is having bad pneumonia.

Please, you come to the hospital and bless her.”

Yogi felt awkward and glanced across to Barhai

whose simply said: “Certainly, Agarwaal Sahib!”

Approval murmured through the gathering

like wings of fluttering pigeons in a coop.

Thus Yogi was driven to the medical centre.

27.5 Chimera

As soon as passing through the swing-bang doors

Yogi did not want to be there. Phenol

pinched his nose, flooding him with childhood’s

asthma stints that gasped in hospital.

But he could not say as Agarwaal charged ahead.

His feverish three-year-old and fraught wife

were in the children’s ward. He implored.

Nurse Whitecap nodded to Dr Whitecoat

glancing at White Yogi– practitioners

of priestcraft – different schools. “Doctor

says go in,” Nurse Whitecap said. “She is

in Jesus’ hands.”

An Indian Christian. Barhai

steered Yogi through the breezy porthole doors

and the phenol odour made him retch again.

27.6

“Baba bless my little girl,” the mother said

bobbing to touch his feet. But Yogi felt

fraudulent as that day beside the Ganges

when a villager humbly kneeled for blessing

as if he was a meditating sadhu.

Belief in holiness he hoped would be enough,

not in him; and prayed to God to save her.

He felt it wrong, but touched the fontanelle.

The baby murmured, surprising him. Was this

gurgle, proof he was a conduit? “Please,”

Nurse Whitecap said. “She must be resting now.”

The khaki Superintendent was overcome

and thrust a wad of notes in Barhai’s hand.

27.7

Within one day the Agarwaal baby lungs

were suddenly clear of noctilucous blotches.

Whitecoat blinked. Nurse Whitecap said, “Praise Jesus.”

No phosphor specks shined in the x-ray dark.

Barhai went to Yogi. “The God has blessed you.”

“Look. I’m glad that she has pulled through, but

she was lucky, Barhai.”

“Why to doubt?

You may have healing hands and the God knows only.”

Yogi listened. The idea of having a gift

was pleasing vanity, although the ego shrugged.

“If you are praying for the people with a pure heart

where is the wrong in it. The God bestows.”

27.8

Word spread fast of Yogi, the singing saint

with the healer’s touch. Barhai’s phone kept

ringing, while Chauhaan turned secretary.

Calls for home satsangs went ballistic.

So they invented the fifteen minute stop.

Yogi did his job, listening to requests

for better health, jobs, or having a son.

Barhai advised to nod and smile and touch

bowed lady heads, or pat the backs of men.

With the wish-stream came the flow of cash.

It was clear transaction: blessings for money.

Embarrassed first, Yogi then rationalised

how Barhai was collecting for the school.

and kept aloof from any money-handling.

27.9 Dystopia

The monsoon rains kept the campaign going —

short cold bursts shifting to rising steam.

Overly busy, Yogi neglected Margaret,

and wondered if she was coping in the village.

He thought to write and asked Barhai to send it

somehow. The roads were still deep ruts of mud.

“Of course,” said Barhai with all confidence

salving Yogi’s conscience on the surface.

He missed her badly, thinking of her at night,

now a past life friend. With thoughts disturbed

his head became a guilty chatroom; so drew

a Gita Card for calm — ‘Divine Descent’

the avatar call coming from age to age:

27.10

When wickedness consumes the ways of humankind
I descend to end dystopia with Dharma saving the pious.

The card evoked discord —apocalypse,

a dynasty’s royal end of noble days.

Krishna the Eighth Avatar from Vishnu

walks the knife-edge Copper Age and Iron,

the maintenance man of cosmic renovation.

The godhead warhead unleashes annihilation,

a fire machine’s scorched earth policy.

It was a cleansing card, a reality check.

He wondered how it weighed upon his marriage.

Timed with cold-and-hot-tap running weather,

these monsoons and the so-humid steam baths

might somehow cleanse the dirt pores of his life.

27.11

Darling,

So we are apart for now to start again with new leaves coming on the tree. You wanted me to go and do and be someone you could be proud of. But without you here or me returning are we moving with one map? It’s hard to see the way through mud and rain. It’s hard to hold onto the hope we’re still viable. I long for you each night and miss your neck, your arms, your legs. My hands are lost. I miss the nest where we end all our questioning. And want to be at rest.

Yogi.

27.12

Yogi told just how things were.

Margot, his darling other half

Shouldn’t feel he did not love her.

Yes, he was her moon-calf.

Maybe he did not know himself.

Words too often try to hide

what should be simple, off-the-shelf,

private and bone-fide.

If roads were blocked with mud and grime

and kept him in this town,

he would now write from time to time

about what was going down.

Sealing his letter, he went to Barhai.

“Can you get this sent today?”

Barhai took it. “I will try ji.”

Then he locked it away.

NORVAL JOE

Dergle held open the driver’s door to his Volkswagon Microvan and waited for Long Jong Silver to hop onto the bench seat and crawl toward the opposite door. The weiner dog waited for his master to climb in and close the door before he lay his muzzle on Dergle’s leg.
“I don’t know boy,” he said, scratching the dog’s head. “I don’t think I can start over again, from the beginning. No place to live, no money, and no job.”
“What options do we have?” Long John asked.
Dergle just shook his head and said, “I sure hope I’m dreaming.”

DANNY

Please say hello to Tara for me. I swear, if flying from Tampa to Newark was half the cost of a bus ticket from NY Port Authority to Chicago, and the flight time was only 1/10 of the time it takes to gets from Manhattan to the New Jersey during peak rush hour traffic, I swear I would totally be there within 73 hours, but only if my math is correct. I’ve always noticed that people who can’t drive worth a shit are always smiling at me while they run me off the road. But their smiles… again they were so convincing.

RICK

She paused at his door … again.
Her friends said he was too old … they were right.
He wasn’t an attractive man.
He didn’t have much money.
He lived in a small apartment.
No one seemed to understand …
… in that small apartment …
She could talk … and someone would listen.
She could cry … and someone would comfort her.
She could be wrong … and there was someone who would forgive.
She could sing, laugh, and dance … and someone was there to sing, laugh, and dance with her.

She could just be who she was!

With a smile she knocked on the door … again.

PLANET Z

Ah, Ocean Base One. You were once a grand and majestic city, afloat on the Pacific.

Such good times we had.

They say you can never go home again, but this doesn’t stop me from trying.

The Russians sank Ocean Base One during The Putin Wars. But seven thousand feet is child’s play these days. We started a Kickstarter to raise it back up, and we’re nearly funded.

The radiation, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to fix. But I’ve got a good radiation suit, and when I find my old teddy bear, I’ll encase it in lead shielding.

2 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #410 – Again”

  1. Lots of goodies this week. It’s interesting how the simplest topics often generate a wide range of ideas. This wrecking cube enjoyed Munsi’s story – good advice, too – and Neil’s. And a special chuckle at Tura’s story.

    Serendipity – Oh dear. Next time (should you believe in reincarnation), line up the two witnesses and shoot, killing both with one shot.

    I’m eagerly awaiting for the rendition of “Islands in the Stream” next week.

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