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:
- Tura Brezoianu
- Norval Joe
- Planet Z
What’s the next Weekly Challenge? Come to the website and subscribe to the feed to find out!
Have Pen, Will Travel
by Jeffrey Fischer
The authorial imagination often soars when the author is removed from familiar surroundings. We take that for granted now, but few remember that it was the fountain pen that freed the wordsmith from being chained to his inkwell. Carrying enough ink for many pages of prose allowed him to write anywhere. Thus, the invention of the fountain pen was the second most important development in the creation of the modern writer.
Nevertheless, another hundred and fifty years or so would have to pass before the invention of the writing surface outside the home, also known as Starbucks.
by Jeffrey Fischer
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. I know mine is. When I say that, I often get a condescending reply about the metaphorical power of the written word. I can see that reply forming in your mouth as well, sir.
But I assure you that I’m not speaking metaphorically. Take a look at this pen. To be sure, it will write a few lines, but this is also – wait a moment while I push this button – a fully-functioning light saber, capable of slicing through metal like… well, a laser device through metal. I have a pen, but I’m not that good with similes.
So put down that sword before you get hurt, sir.
#1 – George’s Story – Part 100: The End
George pulled up to the guard’s cabin, signed out, and drove away from ‘Connect Protect Solutions’… maybe now he could get back to the world he understood – pipes, washers and drainage. He couldn’t have felt happier!
Pausing at the junction, he glanced in his rear view mirror and was surprised to see the security guard running after him – he leaned out of the window.
“You’ve still got my pen!”, the guard was shouting.
George didn’t care – he floored the accelerator, without looking, and ploughed straight into a passing truck!
George opened his eyes… the hospital seemed strangely quiet.
#2 – Monkeys
If an unlimited number of monkeys with typewriters could theoretically write the complete works of Shakespeare, just imagine what they could do with a decent word processing package… Neatly formatted paragraphs, properly spellchecked and justified – although I bet they’d use Comic Sans!
Personally, I wouldn’t trust a monkey with anything more advanced than a pen – and I can’t imagine they’d do anything particularly creative with it. Probably stick it up their bum, I imagine.
If you’re going to write Shakespeare, monkeys simply aren’t up to the job, no matter how many you might have handy.
Try dolphins instead.
#3 – Petition
Laggins was enjoying his third helping of bacon and coffee, when the doorbell rang. Grumpily muttering to himself, he opened the front door, to be confronted by that perishing wizard again!
“What?”, he barked.
The wizard smiled… “Would you be willing to sign a petition outlawing door to door recruitment for magical quests?”, he enquired, proffering a large quill pen.
Without hesitation, Laggins grabbed the pen, signing his name on the wizard’s scroll, with a flourish.
“Oops!”, said the wizard, “Wrong scroll… you’ve just signed up to join the ‘Infernal and Horrific Ultimate Treasure Quest'”
“See you tomorrow, first thing!”
#4 – Livestock
We keep them in the pen until they’re ready to move on – that way we can watch their diet and there’s no chance of them running off.
Of course, they need to keep fit and healthy in such a confined space, so we give them the treadmills and the exercise bikes – they get an hour in the middle of the day, and another couple of hours in the evening: Keeps them at their peak and gives them a better quality of life, you see.
Then, after forty years, we let them go… with a carriage clock.
“When we were kids, we had pen-pals. This was when people used pens and paper. To open the mailbox and find a letter from some exotic location was beyond words. Sometimes, we received letters from places we had never heard of. We would dream of going there to meet our new friends!”
The kids looked at their great-grandfather, a puzzled look in their eyes. “Is that why you got stuck up here in Colony800?”
The old man sighed. How could he explain that there had been a life before the Colonies, a life at a place everyone called “the World”?
They told me that the pen is mightier than the sword – I didn’t believe them: A sword is clearly a far superior weapon to a ballpoint, but then I got thinking.
A sword is such an obvious weapon, difficult to conceal, and takes training to wield efficiently… whereas a pen can go anywhere, and nobody would ever suspect evil intent.
My plan was simple: neurotoxin carefully applied in just the right place: Hundreds of victims – simple and deadly.
Mightier than any bladed weapon, any day.
Because everybody chews on their pen, even you, perhaps even right this minute?
Whether one writes a poem, a letter, or just a shopping list, always there is the perfect pen for the task. For this letter, I selected my 1851 Montserré fountain, with a nib of meteoric steel and a hand-chequered mahogany barrel. I would use a North Indian ink, its forthright blackness tempered with a regretful hint of sepia.
Of course, she would appreciate none of this.
“O light of my heart,” I wrote.
“After deep consideration, I have decided to terminate our relationship. How can I share my life wth someone who writes to me only with a ballpoint pen?”
After supplies ran low, I wound up dueling with the old Captain over which of us was most capable of feeding our crew.
I asked the Captain if he would bet his life on the pen being mightier than the sword. He told me he would so I stabbed him. Luckily, our cook came from a cannibal tribe so the captain was better able than I to feed the crew after all.
Why the eye patch you might ask. Well, just because I find the sword mightier than the pen that doesn’t mean the pen is useless in a fight.
THE END IS NEAR
Folks: Penmanship has gone into hospice, and the end is near.
Not long ago, Penmanship was taught in primary school, and a part of the foundation of the education system. This skill was honed through the simple task of writing untold numbers of thank you notes to distant relatives; social rapport and empathy were developed. The reward? Smiling grandparents, and five dollar bills delivered on birthdays.
Now, the clatter of keyboards and tapping of touch screens have usurped Penmanship. The hopeful walk to the mailbox has been replaced with the Pavlovian response to a message alert.
It makes me cry.
A Well Defined Relationship Part 100
As I lay pen to paper I can scarily believe it’s been 50 years since the death of Timmy, which in itself tests the limits of a rational world. Normally a still birth document lists gender, baby boy or baby girl, but the officiating nurse swears I clearly said Timmy. Magnanimously the Parsons did not question my oversight, for the rest of their lives they referred to that lost son as Timmy. I can’t explain my change of heart. I can’t tell you why I did it, I might will be insane to tell you Timmy told me “Do it.”
The pen is mightier than the sword. I know it’s an overused expression and one others of my fellow drabblers are likely to quote.
It’s a stupid expression as well. While it made seeing difficult for my adversary, once I’d shoved my pen in his eye, he had quite the reach on my with his sword.
I lost my pen. It protrudes from his face. And I’m about to lose my life, as I’m unable to hold me entrails in from the gaping sword wound across my abdomen.
So, don’t believe it. The pen is not mightier than the sword.
By Christopher Munroe
You can’t OWN a pen.
They’re like butterflies that way. Or disposable lighters. They don’t BELONG to anyone, they simply are. They’re out in the world, existing, and while one might stay with you for a while, the time will inevitably come when it must move on.
Somebody will borrow your pen and, thoughtlessly, it will be put in that person’s pocket, never to be seen again.
And, when that comes, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. It’s pointless to try.
Just say goodbye to your pen, remember the time you and it shared fondly, and move on…
Weekly Challenge 467: Pen
I don’t use a pen anymore, I type everything now, averaging 110 words per minute. Even if I were inclined to use a pen to write this, I don’t know if I could hold it right now after hearing a friend from High School died suddenly this past week, prior to his 50th birthday. It is stunning that someone healthy, with no medical history, could die so suddenly. He leaves behind a wife, who is in remission from a terminal illness and unemployed, plus two teenage son’s. This just prior to Easter. I doubt even Shakespeare could pen such a tragedy.
The ink wasn’t quite dry on the parchment. Satan carefully blotted the markings. He admired the beautiful script, the perfectly spaced letters. He picked up the sheet and blew softly on it, not having the virtue of patience. He set the document down before him on the desk. He meant only to flick a fleck of something off the page, but he ended up smearing a wet globule of ink through the signature , obscuring the name.
Sighing, Satan cast the raven feather quill and snowglobe inkwell into outer darkness. Wistfully, he pocketed a shiny Bic retractable pen. It clicked loudly.
It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword, but in a zombie apocalypse, you really ought to arm yourself with a sword.
Or a machete. Or, at the very least, a knife with a strong grip.
A gun might be handy if you need to deal with other humans, but guns require ammo, and ammo eventually runs out.
Yes, you can bluff with an empty gun. You can’t bluff zombies, though.
Well, maybe. You can stand behind a chainlink fence. Then, when the zombies rush the fence, stab them through the fence with a long metal pole.