Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com.
This is the 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:
By Christopher Munroe
My town’s library system is bringing back the bookmobile!
I mean, they’re calling it “The Book Truck” now, rather than Bookmobile, which is NOT a good name, but that’s fine. It’s not FOR me, it’s for children in neighborhoods lacking easy library access, and I totally get that they don’t have to run the name by me for approval.
And anyway: Bookmobile! For the first time since 1991! Fun times, and a very useful service to the communities it will serve.
Mayor Nenshi is, once again, crushing it.
No punchline this week, gang, I’m just excited that it’s back.
The Street Library
by Jeffrey Fischer
I passed the bum every afternoon. He rattled a cup of change with one hand while keeping guard of a huge box with the other. One day, curiosity got the better of me. “I’ll give you five bucks if you tell me what’s so important in the box.”
The man replied, “It’s a lending library. Oh, you think we can’t read, just because we’re homeless? People donate books and I lend ’em out. Melville is popular, and I can’t keep Proust in stock.”
I gave the bum my five and walked on, impressed. Proust – who would have guessed?
The next bum said to me, “You met Tony? He told you about his library?” I nodded. “What a sucker! Tony is batshit crazy. Ain’t nothin’ in the box but his collection of soda cans.” I heard the bum’s mocking laughter for the next block.
by Jeffrey Fischer
I saw the library aide shelve the new Brad Thor novel. Excited that I wouldn’t have to wait months for the book, I grabbed the copy and tried to check it out. The librarian swiped my card and, with a stern look, said, “You have an overdue book on your account. Harriet the Spy, due June 16.” She paused. “1977.”
“Oh, come now, that was nearly forty years ago. You can’t hold me accountable for a book I checked out in seventh grade. Anyway, I’m sure I returned it.” The woman was resolute, so I went home empty-handed.
Back in my den, I selected a well-worn book from the top shelf and removed the old library card I kept as a bookmark. I began to read. “Harriet was trying to explain to Sport how to play Town….”
#1 – Community Spirit
We’ve got one of those tiny libraries at the end of our street – you know the sort of thing: It’s like a doll’s house on a pole containing a few well-thumbed trash novels and a note that reads: “To build our community spirit”.
That made me laugh – we haven’t been a community for years… But, I think it may be working.
Local drug dealers use it as a mailbox; school kids use it to stash illicit booze and smokes; and everyone likes to leave anonymous rude notes about their neighbours bad habits.
Community spirit? Yes!
Crappy books though!
#2 – Words
How many books do you reckon your local library has? A couple of hundred, a few thousand, half a million, or more?
And think of all the words between the covers of those books… Millions, upon millions of the things, pages teeming with stories, advice and a wealth of knowledge that is overwhelming in its abundance.
So many books, so many subjects, and oh so many words.
And yet, in a place so dedicated to the preservation and sharing of this wealth of words, has it ever struck you as ever so slightly odd, that you’re actively discouraged… from speaking?
More Than Words
In my youth despite having a galactic reading deficit I loved books and by proxy a love of libraries. In grammar school I volunteered to put Dewy decimal numbers on book spines. In high school I worked the circulation desk at our local community library. Throughout my college career I’ve worked at a number of university libraries. Everything from shelfing to Audio Visual. When I was on the Civil Grand Jury I wrote a number of reports dealing with unfair labor practices. One day I hope they name a library after me. Don’t think you can get Intermed in one.
Tried to get my kid to try LINK+, you know after I convinced him I wasn’t asking about how to use a Smash Brothers character. I said, “LINK+ is like OverDrive.”
He asked “OverDrive, the gear for a car?.”
“The website for borrowing ebooks.”
He responded “There’s a website for borrowing ebooks?”
I answered “Don’t you know anything? Who raised you? Nevermind that. You must have read about bittorrents on Boing Boing so imagine OverDrive as a legal bittorrent that works with your library card and Link+ like OverDrive for lending hard copies of things outside of local library system.”
There is a book – a very special book – that you won’t find listed in the library catalogue. Yet, it is there… Because that’s where I hid it.
You’d expect to find it under ‘Horror’, perhaps you might even think it should be labelled ‘fiction’, but I assure you every word is true.
You may stumble upon it amongst the autobiographies – you can’t miss it, it’s the only book bound in human skin.
And those pages, stuck tightly together?
It’s my life story.
And, if you like, I’ll write a whole new chapter…
All about you!
The Great Library
Our cloning facility in Singapore has a wonderful library of DNA samples of people from around the world.
They’re cataloged several ways, as an example, by region.
If you clone someone from Germany, there’s a 75% chance they will be an engineer.
98% of our Kwik Mart stores are staffed and run by clones made from Pakistani DNA.
Our protein providers prefer clones with DNA from New York City, which we call the “Stockyards”.
There’s a blending of all the regions, which balances the tastes.
While America may be the great melting pot, New York City is our Stew Pot.
The books shook on the shelves. At first, they got slightly roughed up. Then, the earthquake became stronger and they all ended up on the floor. Somehow, the Classics got mixed with the Sci-Fi which generated a rather electrifying commotion. The Gothics insisted on moving to the Horror section because they had a few relatives there. And the Mystery hardbacks sulked when they were temporarily lodged with the Crime paperbacks. The only ones thrilled with the uproar were the Erotica books. They had grown tired of being ostracized for years in the stuffy corner at the back of the library.
Mickey put chicken pieces into pots to marinate and headed to the front of the restaurant to see where Polecat was going. Mandy caught him by the shoulder as he passed her at the register.
“I didn’t mean to come down on you so hard,” she said, carressing his arm.
His heart stopped and his blood ran cold. Mandy could squeeze his arm till his fingers went numb and he wouldn’t stop her, but he needed to see what Polecat was doing.
“No worries,” he said, stumbling free to the front window. Across the street, Polecat slipped into the library.
The signs are clear to a hunter’s eye. A worn, illegible spine. No classmark. Shabby. Conspicuously inconspicuous. Suddenly, I snatch the book from the shelf, flick open the front cover, and slam my “WITHDRAWN” stamp onto the flyleaf, wetted with ink made from burned books. It convulses in my hand for a moment, then lies still. The forbidden teachings remain, but the evil spirit striving to download them into an unwary reader’s mind is no more.
The library pays me well to exorcise their stacks. The Black Librarians pay even better for the volumes that my official employers believe destroyed.
Libraries do so much more these days.
Digital archives. All the world’s information ever.
The flesh stacks. Great for a weekend body mod job.
Hit the fabricators for skin and clothes to fit.
Temporal projection systems.
You can look back through the harmonic impressions of atomic decay.
Every event in history ripples through the cosmos.
Justice researchers gathering evidence for trials, kids writing their term papers.
I like to watch the football.
Barbaric, sure, banned because of the brain damage.
But to watch Lynn Swann leap for a touchdown catch?
Let’s go print some fluffy tails now.