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The topic this week was AN UNPUBLISHED LABOR OF HERCULES.
We’ve got stories by:
- Tura Brezoianu
- Dionysis Clowes
- Norval Joe
- Singh – Available in separate post
- Planet Z
The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of COLD.
Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.
An Unpublished Labor of Hercules, John Musico
The Iliad told us of the 12 labors of Hercules.
Zeus had a mean sense of humor. He chose not to make public the 13th and final task for Hercules. That final morning, Hercules awoke with a belly like a watermelon. Yes, he was quite pregnant and ready for delivery. 24 hours of agony followed. To inspire bravery, Hercules called from his memory the Herculian feats he had surmounted. He strained till his bones nearly broke. The saltiest of sweat beading into his eyes blinding him. Zeus could stomach watching this no more and ended it. Hercules’s humiliation ensured secrecy.
The Last Labor of Hercules
by Jeffrey Fischer
Hercules had completed a dozen tasks for King Eurystheus, from slaying the Nemean lion to capturing the monster Cerberus, using his considerable strength, his wits, and, on occasion, some timely help. When he returned the three-headed monster to Hades, the king, as promised, released him from his labors.
As he left Hades, preparing to join the search for the Golden Fleece, the goddess Athena appeared to him. She said, “Mighty Hercules, you have one more task to perform before you can truly be free: rid yourself of your guilt from your terrible deeds.”
Though Hercules lived for many years, taking other wives and lovers, and having many adventures, his mortal form died with this labor yet unfinished.
Labor 13i: Eliminating the National Debt
By Jeffrey Fischer
Hercules looked at the big sign displaying the national debt: $17 trillion and counting. He wasn’t a learned man; to him, that total was unfathomable. And that didn’t count all the off-the-books stuff, such as Social Security and Medicare obligations. He sighed and flexed his muscles.
First step: empty all personal savings and investment accounts: deposits, CDs, IRAs, and 401(k)s. When that didn’t help, he removed the funds from all business accounts. Still not close.
Hercules shrugged his massive shoulders and gave up. Some labors were simply too much.
#1 – George’s Story: Part 60 – Hercules
George often slipped into fantasy when feeling dispirited, imagining himself a hero, facing insurmountable obstacles, overcoming them, against all the odds.
Trudging along the road, he imagined himself a latter-day Hercules, labouring to achieve the impossible – the single-handed rebuilding of society!
He called up Rasputin’s monster and his own imagined zombies – slaying them victoriously in hand-to-hand combat, to emerge battered, bleeding but triumphant!
Getting into the mood, he picked up a stone, hurling it contemptuously at a large pile of rubbish, then watched in horror as a large, and angry lion emerged snarling, from behind it!
#2 – An unpublished labour of Hercules
It was fun to get Hercules drunk: alcohol always loosened his tongue!
Everyone knew about his heroism, but only those who drank with him knew there were other, somewhat unexpected, tasks he’d performed for the king.
After one night on the beer, swearing us to secrecy, he revealed to us what he described as ‘the most difficult labour of all’.
Astonished, we listened as he told us how the king demanded he flaunt nature… and give birth!
“It’s not that I wasn’t ‘equipped’ for the task”, he said, “it was the ten hours I spent in labour almost finished me!”
#3 – Lifetime ambition
Hercules dreamed of success, so he hatched his great plan – vowing to commit himself to writing, even if only a hundred words a day: every day until the day he died. He would be successful, as the author of the greatest novel ever written, even if was only posthumously!
And that’s exactly what he did: day by day, word by word, page by page.
Sadly, Hercules died young.
Having never made a will, his family completely failed to appreciate the worth of the hundreds of notebooks left when he died, throwing them in the trash.
His life’s labour… unpublished.
Provides coverage at a fixed rate of payments
“Labor 13,” intoned the Mycenaean king. “Wait a second the agreement was 12, 12 labors. What’s this 13 thing? Do you take me for a fool?” “Did you read the fine print? “I don’t read, I’m a hero.” “Iolaus do tell the hero what he put his X to.” “Herk, bad news it reads 12 plus another.” “Now if I may, Labor 13, the Hero know as Heracles, will bring the protection of term life insurance to all Minoans.”
“Times like these who can know the will of Zeus, but with Mutual of Omaha your family is in good hands.”
A Well Defined Relationship Part 53
Le Cid Caesar was a very literate bandit. Just before he swiped out a rustic niche of humanity he liked to read a passage from the current book he was reading. So on the edge of Funky Town Le Cid halted and opened a tattered copy of Kilgore Trout’s Unpublished Labor of Hercules
“What just happened,” cried Banister, “one minute a stampede of desperados, the next minute a bloody feel-good kumbaya ring?”
“Maybe they’re having a pray circle,” said Sparky
“Highly unlikely,” said Smith
“Whatever it was its over, they are hell bent for leather now.”
Sparky hit the switch.
The dragon of Serpho
Hercules was once again sent on a task. To slay the dragon off Serpho.
After he arrived at the island he asked for directions from the innkeeper.
“She resides in a cave two miles North from here. You can hear her roaring
from far away. And you will know when you see her, She is the biggest red
dragon you’ll ever see.”
Hercules thanks the innkeeper and starts walking.
The ever-present patron asks, “So how long do you reckon before the poor
hero returns?” “My lovely redhead of a wife will scare him off before
nightfall.” Chuckles the innkeeper.
This is an old Greek SciFi story about Hercules a Nephilim who was required to perform a dozen Labors for King E. You have likely heard the first twelve but not that King E was a baker so that include one more. The Quest for the Golden Monkey. E gave Hercules a rope, telling him the Poet Lariat would be his guide. The rope said “Winds will blow, winds will gust to attain the golden monkey more than a hundred drabbles write you, you must.”
“Is it that easy?” asked Hercules
“Do not hesitate. Narration is part of your fate.”
The 13th Labour of Hercules by Botgirl Questi
After finishing his twelfth Labor, Hercules sat by the river Styxx and wept unconsolably.
“You paid your debt,” spoke Hades. “Why do you still weep?”
“Pity me, oh Lord, Hercules moaned. For although I have served the sentence for slaying my wife and children, the agony of their loss has not been extinguished.
“You cannot escape torment within your soul through action in the outer world,” said Hades. “Your final Labor is to sit with your pain in full awareness until you find peace.”
Hercules sat. Eons passed. The Gods became myth. Civilizations rose and fell. He sits there today.
“Tell me,” the detective uttered.
“I don’t know, sir… She was already dead,” whispered the beggar.
“What? Speak up, man.”
The beggar got closer and whispered a bit more.
As always, the detective stroked his mustache pensively. The beggar did have a point. The victim bore a remarkable resemblance to that writer, something Christa, Christine.
“She was just there…I almost tripped.”
The detective tried talking to the local police, but they went around, scratching their heads, not knowing what to think or say.
“We are doomed,” he mumbled.
It became obvious that now the darn thing would never be finished.
The case of the 13th labour
Hercule Poirot was ennuyé. “No-one is doing any mysterious meurdeurz! Ze leetle grey cells, zey decay without work!” He toyed with a syringe of 7% cocaine.
Zen ze doorbell rang.
“A most urgent and discreet matter,” said his visitor. “A diplomatic ball to be given, and assassination plots against almost all the invitees!”
“I ‘am but an ‘umble detectif,” said Poirot, “not un ‘SWAT’ operatif.”
“Of course, we will have security operatifs, er, operatives, but we wish to engage you in advance, to speedily apprehend any murderers too clever for our precautions.”
“Ah, zis is a labour worthy of Hercule!”
By Christopher Munroe
He did NaNoWriMo, you know.
Yes, he was there, writing 50k words, crafting his novel.
He finished, too. Finished, and was pleased. His story was everything he hoped it would be, yet even after edits he couldn’t figure out what to do with it.
Every publishing house said no, called it unrealistic in spite of every word being true, and that was when he realized his autobiography had no home in the literary world.
He’d wait for somebody else to write his story, however they might change it.
And so, his real life went unread.
The unpublished labor of Hercules…
Professor Ahmed dusted off the shard of pottery and gasped in amazement: he squinted at the faded Greek lettering in the torchlight.
“Gentlemen, this speaks of a legend that has remained secret for centuries… an unpublished labour of Hercules!”
He read to us, turning the fragment to catch the light…
“King Eurystheus summoned Hercules, commanding him with an impossible labour: You are to reach through time itself and steal a soul from the distant future, to placate the gods”
“How remarkable!”, exclaimed the professor, failing to notice the great, bronze-encased, arms reaching through time from the shadows of the tomb, towards him.
Hash – Part 10
The buzz clang of the bolt release jolted Davidson from another daydream.
The solid steel cell door opened. It was Hercules.
Davidson curled his lip. “Shower again. already? Got soap this time?”
“No, just want to talk to you.”
“I’m not putting pants on.”
“Don’t want you to.”
“Personal gain; I’ve got ten grand riding on this. You don’t wear clothes
and you’re gonna eat that whole damn can of hash, in one sitting without
puking or shitting.”
“I’ll never get to shit again?”
“Not until you’re dead.”
Davidson frowned. “Hash makes the best shit. I’ll miss that.”
Hash – Part 11
Hercules paused while a single tear left a shiny trail on the permanent five
o’clock shadow of his cheek. “Do it for me. Please! I need the money. bad.
for a sex change”
Davidson’s eyes widened.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Hercules said looking himself over, “but when
you live your whole life denying who you really are, you go overboard in the
“But why tell me?”
“Cause I just gotta tell someone. and you’ll be dead pretty soon.”
“Call me Tiffany please”
“Tiffany, I think you’re gonna need a lot more money.”
“Not in Greece.”
Hash – Part 12
Davidson pondered Greece, and for a moment Tiffany thought she saw regret on
She changed the subject, “Hey, did you know that Warden is spiking your food
with Viagra? I think he thinks you’ll get embarrassed and put pants on.”
“An erection?! Hah! I’d be damned proud! Why ain’t it working? They mix it
up with saltpeter?”
They looked in each other’s eyes and knew they would both be alright;
experiencing a connection that only a man who is about to be put to death
and a woman who lived her whole life in a man’s body could.
Hercules Looks in the Mirror
So let’s talk about what you can do to get better, said the therapist.
Hercules felt a surge of anger, a desire to kill the man, but he had already learned that these urges came from issues with his step-mother, along with traditional cultural values inherited mostly from his father, and he controlled it.
The shrink pressed his luck: Failed marriages, untold lovers, both male and female, children you haven’t provided for — that you couldn’t provide for, honestly — orgies of fifty girls in one night — my God, man! And violence …. His voice trailed off. Do you really think that’s healthy for Hercules?
As Hercules left the bloody office, he realized the inept therapist was right about one thing, he faced his greatest labor ever.
Last Lost Labor
We’d never seen that look. His hero’s visage was transformed, as if asking, How is this happening?
He spoke in a low voice, introspective and mourning, questioning, “We are immortal.” His eyes turned to the club for a moment.
“At last she is getting what she wanted. Tell her I meant no harm.”
Later, “There were so many, each beautiful, each with a part. Tell them … ” A flicker of recognition passed over the tired face.
He rested his hand on the pelt. “Children clung to me, imagining I was the lion immortal.”
The penultimate transformation was something none of us expected. “Now the penance must be complete.”
I hadn’t noticed him before. He’d been sitting in the back row, off to the side, a big hulking guy, but good looking.
The prof, it was a fictional discourse class, completely ignored him. Why? For the rest of us, he became the center of attention. By midterm, we were turning our chairs his way.
Still the prof rambled on, oblivious — the guy hadn’t gotten through to him. The class was a mess, man. The prof was lost in … whatever. We were all obsessing with no idea why.
Then, one morning, the prof freezes in mid-sentence, strikes this muscleman pose and yells, HERKALEEZE!!!!
Changed my life.
We’ve all heard endless stories of beheaded monsters and rescued damsels, plans of Gods carried out or thwarted. The countless endeavors of Hercules.
But what about the every day? Hercules was a father and a husband. Where are the stories of teaching his sons to throw discus, or taking one of his wives for a night out?
Is it because these things were not heroic enough? Were they just too common place of events to bother with? In an era of absentee parenting and children running wild, maybe a few more of the “boring” story’s would’ve been a good thing.
Herecules heard a commotion descending the amphitheater and guessed Megara had finally arrived. She sat beside him and asked, “Why didn’t you get seats closer to the front?”
He clenched his teeth. “When we agreed I’d stay home with the kids while you continued working, I thought you would support me in activities like this. You’ve nearly missed Hurculeena’s dance.”
“How could I tell. I have the Minotaur and Medusa sitting in front of me.”
Hercules growled, “Buying tickets from Hera is like fighting a hydra. She about drove me crazy.”
Megara hugged his arm. “You know you love me.”
Hercules saw the blood and gore on his hands and screamed.
His wife. His daughters.
“Go to The Oracle!” hissed Antikyreus.
So, he did. He raced from Thebes to Delphi.
“What can I do?” begged Hercules, clutching the wise woman’s robes.
The Oracle looked down at Hercules and scowled.
“You killed your family, and the first thing you did was come to me?”
“The least you could have done is wash your hands first,” said The Oracle. “I hope for your sake this washes out of my robes.”
Hercules went robe-shopping the next day.