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.
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Brand New Key
by Jeffrey Fischer
Another Christmas has passed. We compare gifts. I got a brand new pair of roller skates, I tell you. You don’t reply. I look over. You got a brand new key. You nod, but look a little sheepish about it.
I start thinking: why would you have a brand new key? What was wrong with your old one? Did you change the locks and not tell me? Then it hit me: it was a brand new key, all right, but not to your apartment. You replicated old man Smithers’ key when you helped him move his rare coin collection. One night you’ll sneak in and steal the coins.
“Dumb roller skates,” I mumble, and turn away.
They key to his serenity and contentment was reading his close relative’s Facebook posts each morning. She plastered her Facebook page with posters she forged, posters she made herself, and sophomoric posters her close group of enablers sent her.
She was full of hope, God, and the lives of her friends. Lenny learned how to avoid anything resembling the desperate life she was immersed in, and henceforth enjoyed a more interesting life of his own-free of the hype and precariousness she wallowed in. He was fascinated and drawn to her daily posts and failed to stop going to her pages.
He surmised that she was in a manic state of mind and figured she was bi-polar. After some time passed, he concluded she was just whack, and a person he wanted to avoid at all costs.
His behavior was key. If he saw her on the sidewalk ahead, he pretended he was consulting a map, unfolded it, and crossed to the other side of the street. If he spotted her in the produce section of the market, he dashed down the dairy aisle and stayed at the rear of the store.
He bumped into her at the damn self-help register.
‘Fatal error – press any key to continue’, said the message on my screen. So much for Windows 2017 being the ‘most stable release ever’!
I punched the nearest key, to be rewarded by a soft chime and a further dialogue:
‘I’m sorry – that was the wrong key’.
The screen started to flicker and blur at the edges; to my horror, the flat surface rippled and distorted – the vague forms of fingers, then hands, oozing outwards from the monitor.
It was only as they closed around my throat I realised just how fatal an error I had made!
The radio beeped. She’d missed her train.
She couldn’t find it. But she always put it in the same place. She retraced her steps from last night. Went through where she’d been, what she’d worn. Tipped her bag out for a third time.
It wasn’t in the house. She’d used it last night but where was it now?
She gave up then. Went to turn the radio off and stopped dead. A train derailment. More news as it happens.
She left the house in a daze.
And as she shut the door. Saw it there in the keyhole.
The law around here tends to be interpreted pretty literally. When the judge tells a criminal they’re going to lock them up and throw away the key, that’s exactly what they do.
Unfortunately for the law, I’m the one who’s supposed to throw them away; however I sell them on to the crime syndicates at a profit.
Of course, it means that our murderers, rapists and career criminals are usually out and back on the streets in a matter of days, but what do I care?
I’ve made a fast buck, and as long as I have the keys… I’m safe!
Do you remember Zork?
You are standing before a large iron door. Hanging on this door are 12 golden keys. Above the keys in silver letters are the words: Only Three Will Unlock Me. Your first thought is to make 3 group of 4 and chose one from each. Three 75% opportunities to fail.
On closer inspection you note an engraved balancing scale on each key. The meaning of the silver inscription becomes clear. You must find a single key by weighing them against each other.
Amongst the clutter of the room you find a scale. You remove the keys and ponder the problem.
So here is the riddle: 12 coins of which one is lighter or heavier than the remaining 11. In only three weighing you must locate the coin every time you attempt. And I offer a hint: you don’t need a scale to find the coin. Are you game? Post your solution.
“I have watched you, Danielle, insinuate yourself in more than one family, devoted, like Uriah Heep, to its utter destruction.”
She smiled her confidence, showing no fear, there on the platform above the tank of piranhas.
“When the lock lets go you will be plunged into the water and die a horrible death, as you deserve.”
“You haven’t got the guts,” she said smugly.
”Freude, shöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium…” he began to sing.
“What’s that you’re singing,” she asked, puzzled.
“The ‘Ode to Joy,” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” he said. “–In D Minor.”
By Christopher Munroe
I’ve never used the pickup line, “I am the Keymaster.”
Mainly because I don’t habitually use pickup lines.
I’m not a big “Pick somebody up at a bar…” person, over here. I’m too old for it, I’m a serial monogamist by nature, and anyway it would feel somehow tawdry. I’d rather get to know somebody before taking them home, ideally.
However, WERE I to require a pickup line, I suspect “I am the Keymaster” would work, in a small but statistically significant number of cases.
Anyone who responded, “I am the Gatekeeper,” I’d know right off the bat was quality…
The key to a delightfully horrid celebration is to get that special treat from the freezer and display it in the lounge at work.
At some point, his colleagues asked why the room was so cold.
All he did was point. And there it was.
“Is that… a real arm?” someone asked, disgusted.
He nodded enthusiastically, adding that he had chopped it off himself. And how he managed to work that middle finger into a perfect position!
But there was no time to brag.
“Happy New Year and all that,” he managed to yell as he escaped through the back-door.
Five dirhams for this bowl? An insult, esteemed sir, did you know its nature.
The greatest alchemical secret is the Miftah Almutaha, the Key to the Labyrinth. I spent one hundred years learning the secret, fragmented through the rarest volumes. The work itself took another hundred years. This is the Key: one becomes God, the Master of the labyrinth of this world.
But how can God enter into His creation? So sir, that is why you see a humble coppersmith. But my works are perfection, so how, esteemed sir, can I sell this bowl for less than a hundred dirhams?
It had taken weeks to find the ancient temple in the depths of the enchanted forest. The motley band paced along the one wall free from heavy foliage.
Fenestrashun the wizard pronounced an arcane incantation and the keystone appeared, glowing molten orange.
“That be the stone, but where be the key?” Karbunkle the dwarf asked.
“Only the hand of an innocent can press it without harm,” Fenestrashun said.
All eyes turned on the boy, Thurbing.
Suddenly panicked, Thurbing said, “I’m not that innocent. I’m sure I lied about something, sometime.”
“Innocent enough,” Beechbark, the elf, said. “Press the keystone, boy.”
They say that the key to a good relationship is honesty.
So, I tied my wife to a chair, injected her with truth serum, and asked her a list of questions.
I got the answers I expected to get.
When the truth serum wore off, I untied her from the chair.
And then she tied me to the chair, injected me with the truth serum, and asked me a list of questions.
I gave her the answers she expected me to give.
After the serum wore off, she untied me from the chair, and we went out for ice cream.