Weekly Challenge #418 – Run

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 RUN.

We’ve got stories by:

The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of STAR WARS (May the Fours be with you!)

Bunny vs Tinny

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

NORVAL JOE

To become a truly well rounded snob, most of the self-professed initiates agree, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain is essential. Attending the Metropolitan opera, claiming relationship to a signer of the Declaration of Independence or to the owner of a 1920’s Speak Easy are also good.
Riding a BMW motorcycle, eating only foods with names unpronounceable in English, and reading LGBTQ romances written in Chinese by Tibetan Monks will work in a pinch.
If you can’t get to Spain to run with the bulls, an acceptable substitute is to run with the wiener dogs in Burbank, California.

Suggested prompt…………..Brownies.

JOHN MUSICO

“Run”
by John Musico

Seems like every expression using the word “run” makes no sense-
“Run an errand”. “Running late”. “Run its course”…
When you run an errand- who says you’re rushing? Further, typically you’re driving; you’re not even on foot.
“Running late”. If you really were running- you wouldn’t be late at all.
“Run its course”. This means to be patient for a sickness that seems endless. Implicitly the pace is not fast. So, the pace is far from running here as well. Not that I’ve done so rapidly but; I’ve been “running off at the mouth”. Gotta run (but I’ll be walkin).

JEFFREY

Experience
by Jeffrey Fischer

Bob worked his way up the corporate ladder for 30 years, until he finally got his shot to run the bank. Those were the happiest five years of his life, before he ran the bank into the ground. The government orchestrated an orderly liquidation of the remaining assets and Bob became unemployed.

The business world being what it is, a second bank hired Bob as its CEO, and, sure enough, he ran that one into bankruptcy as well.

When the third bank hired Bob, the Board defended its decision on the grounds that Bob had experience.

Bygone Days
by Jeffrey Fischer

The neighborhood was seedy, even a little scary, during daylight hours. Run-down porches on run-down houses provided shade for unemployed men to sit and drink beer. Narrow alleyways provided cover for violence and the drug trade after dark.

Sam walked the streets nervously, looking for his father, who had gone missing from the nursing home. Years ago, when his father lived here with his young family, the houses were well-kept, the men were employed, and crime was rare. This bygone age was what his father, now frail and suffering from dementia, remembered as his neighborhood, his house.

Sam hoped he found his father before darkness fell.

JEFF

A Gargantuan Stubbornness

By Jeff Hema

She likes chick flicks and I didn’t want a run-of-the-mill movie, so we had to do a toss-up. We finally settled on ‘Avengers’, a collection of super heroes who are going to save the planet Earth from an alien outbreak.

I could feel her bad vibes. I let her choose the day and the time, and kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want her to blow up at me.

We got there on Thursday an hour earlier. Why that early? Because she was afraid of a long line.

If only she could listen to me once in a while!

RICHARD

#1 – George’s Story: Part 54 – On the run

Emily had a point – nothing about his experiences so far suggested in any way that the world had succumbed to a zombie apocalypse.

He pondered recent events, allowing them to run through his mind, one after the other, realising that – apart from the strange and inexplicable catastrophe that seemed to have crippled society – there was little else he’d experienced that couldn’t be accounted for by fear or desperation.

The realisation hit him that he’d been on the run, but for no apparent reason, and from no apparent threat.

It was high time to get a grip, and to stop running!

#2 – Winner!

I’ve never been the sporty kind – hardly surprising considering the affliction I’ve had to cope with all my life.

As a school kid, my teachers went to great lengths to be ‘inclusive’, but I was always hopeless at most ‘proper’ sports – it was never going to work out… except for once a year, on school sports day.

As expected, I was too uncoordinated to win the egg and spoon and far too awkward to do well in the sack race, but when it came to the three-legged race, I’d win every time.

And I didn’t even need a partner!

#3 – Curtain Call

Jealousy is a terrible thing.

‘Norman Franklin’s King Lear is a triumph!’, critics proclaimed; ‘This production will run, and run!’

Good news for the show, and Franklin, but not so great for me. It’s a pretty rotten job being an understudy anyway, but living in the shadow of one of theatre’s greats, it can be unbearable.

All that hard work and dedication, only to see somebody else receive the applause.

I deserved a break!

Last night’s death scene was majestic – Franklin slumped theatrically over Cordelia’s body, as the curtain fell.

Only this time, it was me taking the final bow!

#4 – Three Blind Mice

Nursery rhymes are often sanitised versions of horrifying facts – take ‘Ring a ring o’ roses’, for example – a commentary on the ‘Black Death’.

Few people know that ‘Three blind mice: see how they run’, is a fanciful rendition of a rather appalling lab experiment.

There were other candidates, but you can’t dress up ‘three cancer-ridden beagles: see how they cough’ as anything more palatable, and ‘three lobotomised chimps: see how they gibber’, doesn’t scan well.

As for the farmer’s wife cutting off their tails with a carving knife…

That was Doreen, the lab technician, and it was a scalpel.

CLIFF

I was sitting in a diner eavesdropping on some tough young braggarts. My favorite was the mullet topped fellow who brawled to preserve a bottle of whiskey.
“This guy tried to take it, but I’m a man. I told him I’d kick his ass,” he bragged.
An elderly man sitting at a nearby table couldn’t resist.
“Did you win?”
“Nah, he beat me up.”
“Did you at least get to keep the whiskey?”
“No, he took it.”
“Then you a damn fool, boy. A good run beats a bad fight every time.”
I nearly fell out of my seat laughing.

“Listen, you’ve had a good run. People really loved you at first but these things have a limited lifespan.”
“But I’m having so much fun,” he said. “This is the best gig I’ve ever had.”
“Don’t worry. Relax for a few years and we’ll get you a spot on a sitcom.”
“I guess. But playing a politician has been the best, even if it was pretty unrealistic.”
I sent him home with the script for his final performance, the resignation. I just hope he never realizes that he was a real U.S. congressman for all those seasons… I mean terms.

MUNSI

You Can’t Run From Your Problems

By Christopher Munroe

Run as hard as you want, you’ll never escape your problems.

Unless we’re talking health problems, in which case chardio would do you good, and I heartily recommend you do take up running. You’ll lose weight, feel better, and have more energy going into your day.

But other than that, your problems can’t be escaped, and there’s no use running away.

Unless your problem is an angry dude with a knife, or a pack of hungry wolves, in which case, run.

In retrospect, “you can’t run from your problems” is pretty terrible advice, now that I think about it.

Huh…

CHELSEA

Run.

There are some things in life that you run from. A terrible job, you stupid ex, and your thesis advisor when you’re way behind.

There are things you should never run from. Wild animals and rabid dogs. Back away slowly and keep eye contact.

And then there are the things that you should run towards. A child’s outstretched arms, the hand of a long lost friend, the waiting embrace of a lover.

Life’s full of all kinds of running, for my money, run towards the good things and forget about the rest. You’ll live a longer happier life for it.

SERENDIPITY

“Don’t play with your food!”

Every mealtime, my mother uttered that phrase – it’s a phase most of us grow out of, eventually.

Everyone, except me.

You see, I still play with my food, even as an adult. It’s not as much fun if I treat it seriously, and although others might find it offensive, strange or childish, I take no notice of them.

I still play with my food – always will.

After all, it’s not about the eating; it’s all about the thrill of the chase.

And I do like to see my victims run, before I tear into them!

JULIE

Earth Day

For Holly Maddox, 1947-1977

From ashes I came–

And to the earth,

I did not return.

You beat the life from me–

Stuffed me

In a steamer trunk,

Left me to rot

In your sun porch.

I tried to run, tried to leave–

But you were quicker,

With that ceramic lamp.

They still plant trees and sing peace chants.

Earth Day.

My sulfur stench alarmed our neighbors,

Worse than any exhaust fumes.

The police find me,

Plaid flannel shirt, my mummified hand,

Reaching–

For a butterfly,

For the freedom, almost in my grasp.

My last, and only shot back at you.

Charlatan.

Hypocrite.

Beast.

DIONYSIS

Stillness

since one must be perfectly still, with a stillness only I, perhaps, since the moment I stopped and put down my feet in the snow on this shelf of ice, alone these centuries (if it is centuries, time has very little meaning to one with my millennial stillness) have been able — no, I’m sure I am the only one, in which case how could you possibly grasp what — to grasp is to recollect, and to recollect is to hope, and — hope suggests time, which is the point as you must have grasped, unlike myself in this river of ice that goes on flowing despite everything who hoped to stop

Still Running

we are right under the ridge, me and Crazy Davy, you remember that song, except you wouldn’t say Davy is here at the moment, since a part of him is running down the slope that brought us here, he’s not conscious anyway, so there’s that, never will be, while I am, but my mind isn’t sitting here either, I’m not, running like that part of him to a terminal where people are staring at a beer, waiting, already running to catch that time when it was, though even I’m only running there now sitting now when I saw this girl

ZACKMANN

“I’m looking for the race organizers.” said the reporter.

The hotel attendant answered “Oh that would be that horses hind end over there.”

“We are not a horse.” refuted Charlie. “John and I are the Centaur of Attention.”

John said “This the Other Half Marathon Pun Run so named because we’re tired of people asking when we run the other half of half Marathons .”

Charlie added “We have worked hard to make the Pun Run a fun run.”

“Isn’t two person centaur Cosplay hard to run in?” asked the reporter.
“If John can place, I can really show” replied Charlie.

LIZZIE

He spent his whole life running away, from school colleagues, from girlfriends, even from his wife. However, nothing compared to that night when he woke up in a strange bedroom. The evening had been amazing, and filled with good conversation and plenty of alcohol. He met a few people from the old days, back when he listened to that song incessantly. Running Wild? Well, the bizarre fire, burning the curtains and the furniture did make him run fast. They could never explain what happened, but the time he spent in jail sure cured him of that unflinching need to run.

TOM

When the Fix Was In

Benny had had a pretty good run. Ten years as Boss of the Addison Street
Grifters. He never dreamed in a million years the city would actually hire
him to run the scam right out of the Department of Parks and Monuments.
That had been a pretty good run too. The perks of respectability lulled
Benny into a fat happy complacence. The money rolled in, until the reform
party took city hall. Ben swiftly took flight down to Miami. His golden
years would have been gold if he had just let the scam go. His luck
finally ran out.

A Well Defined Relationship Part 46

By the time the Reverends reached the Doctor he’d quickly made his case to
Mrs. Parsons, who in turn laid it out to the women of the gear guild. Soon
the plan as it stood ran like wildfire through the community. The plan
produced pistol packing practitioners. Getting a fourth handed account of
said plan the Senator, Banister, and Sparky gravitated to the porch. “Dino
get your butt over here. Looks like we’re going to have to get our OK
Corral on.” “Where’s Timmy?” asked mother. Running as if he’d seen a
ghost breathless Timmy said, “I got a plan.”

Grammatically Correct

I never met a run on sentence I didn’t like, in spite of the corporal
punishment of the good Sisters of Mercy, I loved the flow and meandering
of a string of words running gently across bleached college ruled loose
leaf paper. Les Misérables has one that’s 824 words. Hunk Finn logs in at
236. My friend states a long sentence is a contrite condition unless it
unfolds as natural speech. I believe this to be true as contrapositive, in
a word, I am striving for the unnatural, something to cause the brain
itself to take a long internal breath.

Huffing

The last time I ran it took six weeks for my shoulder to regain 80 percent
functionality. This pain brought a stinging prospective to my life. As a
child I started out running, then biking, then decades of driving. Time in
cars vastly outnumbered the time running. My life is now run by a giant
academic clock. I stand lecturing, review mountains of paper, meetings
pile on meetings. I remember running so hard my heart beat like a Robert
Palmer drum kit. Now a trip up the driveway will produces the same effect.
I hear a distance voice calling, “RUN.”

TURA

“Well,” he said, “that’s a, erm, very interesting question, and, and, I need to take a bit of a, a run-up to it if you don’t mind, a, yes, a long run-up, and, because the context, that’s so important, don’t you think? It’s so complicated, and, well, it could be very misleading if you, ah, one might run to all sorts of conclusions, and, ha, a conclusion is the place you stopped thinking, as someone said, but actually I’d have to say that in this case it’s exactly what it looks like, I’m running off with your wife,” he said.

BLUE

Double Crossed
by Blue Myanamotu (a.k.a. Vang Yen)

Nyx shook her pretty kitty paw and splashed blood all over the white curtains. She licked it clean and purred, quite pleased at the copper aftertaste.

“You know,” she said, “The guy didn’t even have a chance.”

“Nonsense,” I replied, as I pulled my dagger from the base of the dead man’s skull. Together, we searched his body and retrieved the lost artifact from his pocket.

“I told him to run.” I said to Nyx when she collapsed. She looked deathly pale and was struggling to breath.

“I didn’t tell you, however, that I had poisoned his blood.”

SPATE

Hash – Part 3

Chaplain’s eyes were running all around the cell just to avoid looking at
the man with no clothes that was beating the crap out of him in poker.

Davidson unselfconsciously scratched his testicles. “Chaplain, do you really
think that with only nine days left God gives a damn if I’m wearing any
clothes? He’s seen me naked before.”

Chaplain turned cardinal red realizing he was about to be had again.

Davidson farted and laid down his cards: full boat; ladies over deuces.
Another three cigarettes won from the unlucky Chaplain.

Davidson slyly smirked, “it’s been one hell of a run!”

SINGH

Ch 32.1

They joined the bus on time. It kept on revving

overlong for India’s perennial latecomers —

men well-turbaned — beards dyed, pressed and primped,

and women in salwar kamiz, timelessly-chosen.

Amrik’s beard was still just half an artwork,

stuck with fixer and squeezed in a sling of cotton,

compressing the chin and jowls till whiskers dried.

In this bandana he might have been an outlaw

in a well-cut suit about to rob a bank.

There were others like him also running on time,

sporting the chin bandana with one more strip

across top lip to glue a twirled moustache.

Ch 32.2

They entered two-by-two and in groups.

None came sadhu-solo like roaming Yogi.

Grisht ashram, household life and their ideal

followed Guru Nanak. He had two sons.

The Founder said: get married, to nine more Nanaks.

Amrik chuckled, “Fire and ashes, Yogi?

“Family is the toughest yoga school.”

Amrik further elaborated how

among the Vedic sages – rishis wed

and munis were only married to themselves.

“Guru ji said: “Stay home. Make your ashram.

You are the temple, you are priest of it.”

Yogi remembered the paper in his pocket.

“Can we stop? I need to post a letter.”

Ch 32.3

They stopped at Industrial Area Phase 2.

While Yogi debouched, others went for snacks.

Amrik send a boy to bring a paper

and soon was reading between The Tribune’s lines.

Yogi was ever a source for staring eyes—

a white, a gaura, a foreigner in white chola

with his rakish rishi locks and ragged beard.

They rarely saw outsiders in Punjab,

except at the Golden Temple, hours north-west.

Perhaps one day he’d also go to visit.

Soon the Hemkund Travel Tours coach

was skirting the edge of Chandigarh and charging

three hours or so away to Paonta Sahib.

Ch 32.4

Amrik was done, so Yogi flicked through the paper:

Waist-high in wheat on Page 1, Surdev Singh’s hands are praising the monsoon;

Election Feature Page 5: see the double V-for-Victory fingers — the Opposition BJP;

the ad below: Government Congress Party symbol – a palmistry hand or Buddha’s fronting the Indian flag;

and tucked Corner Right: Mohan Singh Khalistani is slain today, a police encounter.

On Page 11, Punjabi Tourism bhangra dancers goat-skip with photo smiles;

Ravi Shankar plays to standing ovation at the Tagore Theatre last night;

Bridal Highlights have been Brought to You by Mehndi Fashions;

and a model shows off earrings, chin soft as faun, propped on her palm.

Chapatti mothers are cooking dough rounds in the Ludhiana Regional Section;

and singing women throw up wheat chaff to dispatch the Evil Eye;

Lakhsman Singh, home from England wears Manchester United tee-shirt to milk his childhood buffalo;

while a Big Red Mahindra Tractor is shifting gears into New Era Punjab agriculture – full page advertorial.

After the Classifieds, thin labourers from Bihar are still weeding padi in Amritsar,

a Dalit woman steadies on her head a fertiliser sack with dermatitis hands;

a farmer with cancer, hides head in palms as tube well sucks up uranium and mercury;

and Sachin Tendulkar, double-century cricket god on the Back Page, waves bat like Durga’s victory sword.

Ch 32.5

The bus moved fast heading across farmlands

through Zirakpur, Naraingarh to Kala Amb

meaning “Black Mango,” a village on the slopes.

In these Shivalik Hills just on past Nahaan

the bus began to pull hard up the road

winding python-esque through the terrain.

“Look there! Quick!” Yogi pointed to Amrik.

It was a spotted deer and wet-nosed faun.

They’d stopped to nibble grass outside the tree-line

and blinked a timeless moment at the bus

until it shifted through its clunk of gears

the fleet-footed two evaporated back

into the soul-shadows of a Never Was.

32.6
The bus took dare-devil chances on the down-bends
to test Punjabi courage. No one flinched.
Yogi gripped his armrests, forcing a smile
each time they switched direction on the slalom.
Then, bhangra pop attacked through the loudspeakers.
A family with teens said: Ballé! Ballé!*
pointing exuberant digits to the ceiling
as swaying bodies squeaked on vinyl seats.
Finally, one grave Sardar with flowing beard
across the aisle, asked for Shabad Kirtan*.
“This is a yatra, Brother,” he ratonalised
the toff-like Londoner. An N.R.I.*, thought Yogi.
“Teek hai,* Uncle,” yelled the turbaned driver.

The kids kept quiet. An elder can’t be challenged.

––––––
Notes:
*Bhangra – popular folk music/dance of Punjab
*Ballé! Ballé! energetic call during folk dance and song
* Sardar – Honouric title for a Sikh i.e. Mr, Sir
*Shabad Kirtan – Sikh devotional singing
*N.R.I. Non Resident Indian
*Teek Hai – multi-purpose phrase meaning – okay or alright with innumerable inflected meanings – positive and negative.

32.7
Mellifluous voices climbed the raga ladder,
matching sound with sense. London Singh
kept beating time. Yogi tried to follow
as if drinking rare liqueur in the darkness.
Heart had quaffed; intellect needed to join
molecules of meaning: words bring ownership.
As Amrik dozed, he leaned across the aisle.
“Hi, I’m from Australia. Could you translate?”

He sniffed the hippy sadhu up and down.
London Singh was no longer from here.

A math professor he’d done well abroad
and deigned to teach the straggly foreigner.

Yogi jotted the translation in his journal,
then shaped them into verse, passing the time:

You read with your mouth, not with your mind,
Ram hasn’t set up home in there.
You tell the people: “Be firm, have faith!”
But come on, be honest, do you Practise?

Hey pundit, it’s time – dive into the Vedas*,
busy yourself – house-clean your anger.

You’ve put down the stone god in front,
but your mind wanders in ten directions;
you put the tilak* paste on his forehead,
then bow and scrape at the idol’s feet.

You try to fool the people, but are blind,
giving lectures on the Six Systems*,
spreading out your cute white cloth
wearing a dhoti, colour of a lion-skin.

In rich houses, you are always busy
reciting scriptures, telling your beads,
then asking for your fee. Wake up friend!
You can’t save yourself, or save another.

A real scholar? He takes up the Shabad*:
then the Three Gunas* can leave the building.
Nanak looks for the sanctuary of the One,
inside whose Name the Vedas still reside.

–––––––––––––
Notes
Ram – generic name for the Divine Being, not Rama the Vishnu avatar
Vedas – ancient scriptures of India
tilak – Hindu forehead symbol
dhoti – Indian male sarong worn by Brahmin priests
Six Systems: of Indian philosophy: Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Pūrvamīmāṃsā and Vedānta.
Shabad – Divine Text or Word,
3 Gunas: 3 tendencies of nature – associated with creation (sattva), preservation (rajas), and destruction/transformation (tamas)

32.8

His version was new moss greening the stone.
Not bad, thought Yogi, passing it over the aisle
for Prof’s approval.
He read. “Yes, very good.”

but it can hardly match how Guru sang it.
Gurbani* is a piece of the Formlessness,
a hummingbird shard split off from the Truth.
It was cognised through the Guru’s pen,
not expounded by some follower.
Sounding his Word turns lead minds to gold.
We recite and listen daily to Become.
Your’s isn’t bad. You have caught some basics.”

There was praise here, but the praise was faint.

___________
Note
*Gurbani – poems of Guru Nanak (lineage of 10) taking the non-de-plume of Nanak the founder Guru.

32.9
Yogi let the Professor attend his wife
and hunted about the bus with dingo eyes.
More Sikhs from Canada, Singapore and Malaysia
were chattering in the patois of diasporas.
Citified, they looked down on the rustics.
Half wore turbans; others were shorn goats
with beards shaved-off, avoiding the Guru’s code.
Most men were Western-dressed like Amrik Singh;
farmers wore cotton kurta pajamas
virtuous for old age, or the born again.
Families, picnic-packed, with rowdy kids
proved the Indian tolerance for whiners.
A Sikh masala — the middle-aged and zealous
were clubbed in groups, pining for mild adventure.

32.10
Amrik woke up. “Sant ji. How are you?”
There was a hidden sarcasm in his tone
using that name. It’d been there all along,
but naivety had kept the Yogi blinkered.
The Sikhs that he had met were serious men.
Their Mahabharata was the daily battle
for bread, remembering Guru, doing some good.
Ideas were dead on the vine. They needed land.
The more he saw, they seemed volatile
ready to bhangra now, or to be stern.
clearly measuring others by their works.
Flowing hair and joblessness? Just weakness.

Yes, holy men in robes were mostly bogus.
“I’m fine,” he said. So why had Amrik brought him?
Yogi felt cornered. A battle was beginning.

32.11
To see the jobs just close your eyes
and shrug off paths you didn’t take.
So many ways to fall, not rise.

He’d thought the office jobs unwise.
Boredom feared some big mistake.
To classifieds, he’d closed his eyes.

He thought investment paths were lies.
The cycle of earn to eat more cake
was a dead-man route to fall, not rise.

Having no debts, you have no ties.
Avoid the shackles, avoid what’s fake.
He’d hit the road, but shut both eyes.

He’d learned to drift and improvise.
Her love for him forced him awake,
but she had to let him fall to rise.

The promise of insight was the prize
like trekking to the snowy lake.
Would glacial glare now blind the eyes?
His way ahead might fall, or rise.

DANNY

“Hey, AJ, I hear your going to run for Congress.” “That’s right, Fred.” AJ replied. “Just got back from my meeting with Sheldon Adelson in Vegas last week. All I have to do is make a public apology for calling Clive Bundy a freeloading racist, and Adelson will give me a $5,000,000.00 campaign contribution.” Fred, in shock, responded. “But Clive Bundy clearly is a racist, he stated an entire segment of people would be better off as slaves.” ““I know, but if I want to get elected in our district, I must run as a Republican, and that’s who we cater to.”

PLANET Z

Madness when the season is coming to a close. November rivalries, conference championships, bowl games.

Dumping the Gatorade on the head coach and the team hoisting the quarterback on their shoulders is cliche. Where’s the spirit in that?

Look across the field. The mascara on the cheerleaders’ faces runs down their cheeks. No sleeves to wipe it away, so the trainer brings them towels.

Or the star player, sitting alone, exhausted and defeated for all the scouts to see. He won’t even be a third-rounder now.

The goalposts come down, and someone will have to put them back up again.

1 thought on “Weekly Challenge #418 – Run”

  1. There really were a lot of stories by a lot of authors!

    What I took from Julie’s story was that murder is not environmentally sensitive. On the other hand, the dead don’t consume any more resources… it’s all so complicated, trying to be a good steward of the planet. To kill or not to kill, that is the question.

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