Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com.
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.
We’ve got stories by:
- John Musico
- Anima Zabaleta
- Norval Joe
- Danny Dwyer
- Tura Brezoianu
- Planet Z
There’s one story I left out. It’s by Thomas Pitre.
Yes, I’ve been saying that it’s okay for folks to take a break, and do other things. If they come back, that’s cool, and if they don’t, that’s cool too. As long as they’re creating and exploring their imagination and all of that neat artsy stuff. Do something somewhere, just as long as you’re doing something.
However, Thomas had some opinions on how I should run this thing, some of which I agreed with, but some of which I disagreed with, and some of which required levels of effort that I felt should be on the participants and not the host. It escalated to the point where I told him to “go eat a bag of dicks” and that was that.
When I got that email, for a moment, I thought “This is an opportunity to forgive and forget for both of us.” Then, I thought “Go fuck yourself.”
And that was that. Click click delete, and done.
Yeah, I know. The world needs love and forgiveness and peace. But everybody’s got their limits, and I’ve been on a hair-trigger since some doctor slapped me.
Sometimes, I wonder why I do this. What’s the point of the weekly challenges, or even the writing? With my temper and my hypocrisy, I’m probably the most ill-suited person to host anything.
I don’t know why. But if I keep doing it, maybe I’ll figure it out. Or, someone will figure it out for me, and tell me.
Not that I’ll listen to anybody about anything, right?
Besides the whole “Do it only when you feel like doing it, as long as you do something somewhere” attitude, one other thing I’ve said over the years is that if you don’t like how I do things (or, I suppose, even if you do like how I run things), you’re welcome to send stuff to other podcasts, such as the Drabblecast fan-run Dribblecast. Or, you could start your own podcast. It’s easy, inexpensive, and fun to do. (Well, fun at first. Until someone annoys you to the point where you start telling people to eat a bag of dicks.)
So, let’s all encourage him to start his own podcast, with his own guidelines and rules (or lack thereof) and to share and encourage and inspire. And if he does end up starting one, I strongly encourage you to consider participating in it, if you’ve got the time and the creative energy for it.
What’s the next Weekly Challenge? Come to the website and subscribe to the feed to find out!
by John Musico, MD
The old man stumbled out of the bar and plodded onward by foot. It rained heavily and was very dark. He slid down the roadside mud and tumbled into a trench. He flashed back to his army days in such trenches and drifted off to sleep.
At dawn, he awoke to multiple rounds of gunfire. Was he dreaming of the war? No, he was on the shooting range of an army base. A voiced called out; “Cease fire, man on the range!” The M.P.’s dragged him to the nearest clinic- mine. I asked; “Exposure?” They replied; “and also quite drunk”.
Freedom of Speech
by Jeffrey Fischer
Once there was a king who ruled with an iron fist. He worried about his image, however, so he frequently proclaimed that, unlike neighboring kingdoms, he tolerated dissent.
What the king didn’t mention was that anyone who wanted to speak against the regime could do so only in the royal park. True to his word, the king allowed everyone to say his piece. Then he gave the signal to his guards, who killed the dissenters to the last man, rolled the bodies in a trench, and refilled the trench with dirt.
Freedom of speech was important, the king thought, but so was a peaceful rule.
In the Trenches
by Jeffrey Fischer
The Andersons had been married for a quarter-century, and most of those years had been unhappy ones. She nagged him to do more around the house. He nagged her to learn to cook better. She complained he needed to find a higher-paying job. He responded she needed to find a job that paid anything and perhaps she wouldn’t nag him about money as often. And so on.
Witnessing another skirmish in the eternal trench warfare between the couple, Mrs. Anderson’s mother asked why they didn’t simply divorce. The pair replied in unison: “What? And ruin the happiness of two other people?”
#1 – George’s Story – Part 96: Rude awakening
George felt as if he was slowly surfacing from a deep and murky trench. As the drug took effect his memories came flooding back… The application he’d filled out; the acceptance letter; the medical; and the last words spoken by the doctor: “When you wake up, you won’t remember a thing”
Now he remembered everything.
“Hello Julie”, he mumbled to the woman – or rather, as he now realised rather foolishly, his wife – stood in front of him, “What are you doing here?”
“George Attwell!” she frowned at him – “Before we even go there, you have some serious explaining to do!”
#2 – Entrenched
Dad’s vegetable plot was his pride and joy, so you can imagine his dismay when the local population of rabbits moved in.
After a week of nibbled and ruined vegetables he’d had enough – with murder in his eyes, he headed out to the patch, armed with a shovel.
A week later, I gingerly approached the now massive trench he’d dug.
He challenged me: “Who goes there, friend or foe?”
“It’s me dad… What’s going on?”
“You don’t understand, son, This is war!”
His head suddenly appeared above the trench wall, then he lobbed a loaded carrot straight at me!
The Line Must Hold
Lionel Atwater leaned against the earthen wall of Bond Street. He took out the letter from Mary not so much to reread the words but to touch one thing separated from the carnage about him. The paper nearly transparent and the edge of each letter ringing in a random run of ink. It would now survive the war. The sky was the color of aged cellophane as he made his way along the main trench. There was work to be done at The Chessboard. Signal corpsmen Atwater return to his wireless. All dispatch ended with the same line off: TLMH
A Well Defined Relationship Part 96
When Doctor Proctor materialize he was standing ankle deep in brackish water, in an earthen trench that disappeared into a red horizon. A young solider greeted him. “Timmy?” “Yes Doctor Proctor, or at least one of the possible Timmies. He hasn’t made up his mind, so I may not be here very long.” “I don’t understand” “Do you know what the Tamerlane is?” “I was told it was atomic recombinator.” “Well you got the last part right, but it’s not atomic.” Everything shifted to green, the walls of the Imperial capital emerged, a different Timmy said “It Recombines Reality. ”
Pitch darkness, freezing temperatures and pressure that would pulp you in an instant… Welcome to my world.
There’s a reason I choose this hell as my home – it keeps you tiresome humans out of my way. The deep ocean trenches are one of the few remaining places you’ve yet to invade.
But you don’t stop trying.
Those creaks you hear are not just stressed metal under intense pressure, and that tapping isn’t the sound of cabling against the hull.
What you hear is me: Slowly unscrewing the bolts that hold your fragile lives in the balance.
Welcome to my world!
“Oh dearest, I’ve come all this way. Now there’s a trench between us.”
“Yes my love, that’s the Marinara Trench”
“Isn’t that Marianas Trench and I thought that was in the ocean?”
“It’s still in the Pacific but this is definitely the Marinara Trench. After we discovered these zombies hate tomato sauce, we dug a giant trench around the city then filled it with spaghetti sauce to quarantine them and us”
“Oh Dearest, this trip will be worth it if only I can hear those three special words”
“I’m not infected!”
“Dearest that sounds even better than I love you,”
My love for you is truer than a compass pointing North. It is surer than a snow white mountain goat, and tastier than spinach feta pie.
My love, dearheart, is deeper than the Marianas Trench, and as unending as the Rose Bowl parade. It defies gravity like Cirque d’Soliel acrobats. I am more faithful than a black Labrador, more loving than a 12 year old tabby. I will cherish you until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
But if you eat the last of the oreo ice cream, I will eviscerate you and move on.
Words trenched into the stone. They could be seen clearly, even forty years later. The excitement of revisiting this secret place made him recall the pact of silence with his sister. He knelt to greet her. Her blond hair had grown thin. “I came back.” She smiled continuously, half of her teeth missing. “Yes, they don’t know you’re here. They never will.” As he slid the stone back in place to hide the entrance to the cave, he read those words one last time. “I hate you.” He had written them himself with great effort back when he was ten.
“Do you want vanilla or Rocky Road?” Bambi asked, opening the freezer door.
“Depends. Do you have anything to put on it?” Dergle asked.
“I have chocolate syrup and chopped almonds?”
“Okay. Vanilla, then,” Dergle said.
They sat across the dining room table. Dergle flattened his ice cream with his spoon, dug a trench down the middle, and filled it with chocolate syrup and nuts. “I’ve never met a boy named Bambi.”
“Well, yeah,” Bambi said, putting her spoon down and scrunching her eyebrows at Dergle. “It’s a girl’s name.”
“Not in the movie,” Dergle said. “Bambi was a boy.”
I’ve dug myself into a trench, and I do not know how to get out. Laying the foundation for your house isn’t as easy as it looks when your watching skilled professionals do all the work. Feels like something out of World War One, but I don’t think they dug trenches nine feet deep. At least the cement truck won’t arrive for another hour. Wait, they are already here? Damn Daylight savings time, I forgot to set the clocks forward. Can’t they hear me screaming, “Help!? I can’t die now! Whose going to water all my plants when I’m gone?”
“In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit,” Tolkien famously wrote. He claimed the word was Anglo-Saxon, but he was at the Somme, and every soldier in the trenches knew about hobbits. Little creatures, like men, you’d glimpse from the corner of your eye.
Some said, if you saw a hobbit’s face, you’d die soon. Others, if you saw one running away, you’d die. Or if you didn’t see one, you weren’t long for it.
Graveyard humour, y’see? We were all going to die. Until the War ended.
But they liked holes in the ground, everyone agreed on that.
My mother warned me about school.
If I skipped too many classes or blew off my homework, I’d end up digging ditches.
Well, I skipped a lot of classes, and I don’t remember turning in a single bit of homework.
And I didn’t end up digging a single ditch.
I dig trenches, not ditches.
A ditch is something you dig along the side of a road. It’s wider and longer than it is deep.
A trench is deeper than it is long or wide.
What? The power’s out? You smell gas?
Better stop the backhoe and check the map again.