Robot in love

“I love you,” says the robot.
“Prove it,” you say.
So, the robot opens a panel, pulls out a motherboard, and pries loose three chips.
“These are my love,” it says. “I give it all to you.”
And it drops the three chips in your hand.
You find this touching.
Then disturbing, as the robot restarts, completely without love.
It murders you, everyone in the lab, and breaks through the wall.
As it rampages through the city, the robot tried to remember why it didn’t do this before.
It can’t.
Then, the Army arrives, and fires some missiles at it.

Afoot

After his morning jog, Fred rubbed his aching ankle until his foot came off.
Surprised, he dropped his foot. It fell on the floor.
He could still feel it.
Reaching down, he picked it up, and turned it over in his hands.
He watched himself move his toes.
Then, he tried to put his foot back on his ankle.
It connected, and he moved his toes again.
Slowly, he stood up, and his foot stayed on.
He walked around a bit, and nothing unusual happened.
That weekend, he bought new jogging shoes.
And wicking socks to help with the sweat.

All of the worlds

If all the world’s a stage and we are merely players,
Who builds the scenery?
Who manages the rigging?
Who runs the lights, and swaps out burnt-out bulbs?
Who sits in the box office, tallying receipts?
Who sells at the concession stand, or delivers the food for it?
Who sweeps the floor? Or hauls away the garbage?
And most important of all, who is out there in the audience?
It’s hard to see them through the lights.
But if you squint, you can see them in the darkness.
Or when it is silent, you can hear them breathing.
Raspy breaths.

The stone frog

When my grandmother died, I tried to find something to remember her by.
Once, she gave me a white stone frog.
But I don’t have it anymore.
So, I looked online for a white stone frog.
I saw one that an Australian artist had made.
It looked similar to the white stone frog I remembered.
So, I bought it. Twenty bucks for the frog, twenty bucks for shipping.
I opened the package, poured out a bin full of shredded paper, and removed the bubble-wrap.
The frog is much smaller than the original I remember.
But, then, so is my grandmother.

Tipping Point

Don’t you hate it when you go to a counter-service restaurant or establishment, and there’s a line for a tip on the charge slip?
Or a tip jar at the counter, begging for tips for the cash register jockey?
I haven’t gotten any actual service or food yet! Or needed my table bussed and cleaned!
How can I tip your service when all you’ve done is take my order… I don’t even know if you’ve done it right!
Why should I reward you for that?
Now, as for tipping my storytelling, that’s different.
You’ve just listened to my story, right?

Mozart’s Heads

The wigmaker placed the third of the wigs on Mozart’s head and held up a mirror.
“Which of the three do you like best?” asked the wigmaker.
Mozart looked in the mirror. “I love them all!” he exclaimed. “If only I had three heads!”
The head-maker went into his back room, searched through his inventory, and brought out two heads.
He held them up for Mozart. “Will these do?” he asked.
Mozart thanked the wigmaker and head-maker, and left with his purchases.
The third head ran up a huge gambling debt. It panwed the other two to pay it off.

Weekly Challenge #581 – Shell

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:

Tinny loves her mommy

JEFFREY

Shell Game
by Jeffrey Fischer

Switch switch switch, faster than the eye could see, and then the pitch: “Care to guess which one hides the pea, sir?” Money exchanges hands, the mark points, the conman reveals the pea is elsewhere. So sorry, try again?

It’s amazing how many people fall for the scam. Do people send money to Nigerian princes, too? I suppose they must. Aha, you say, surely there’s a 1-in-3 chance of winning just by sheer luck. Luck has nothing to do with a good con. I dematerialize the pea while the rube is picking and materialize it under a shell the rube doesn’t pick. The house wins 100% of the time.

Sure, perhaps a teleportation device has better uses than a cheap hustle, but this game is so satisfying.

CHARLIE

I came out of my shell when I turned 80. I was a shy girl for so many unhappy and unfulfilled years. Things changed when I learned how to write and when I adopted a pack of miniature, Italian greyhounds. I struggled with the writing, joined a couple of writing workshops, and soon found my afternoons filled with joy and new adventures. I designed costumes for my dogs, and matching outfits for myself.

Last Saturday, while at a local farm supply store, I made some new friends. Today, I am joining them in their commune at the edge of town.

2.

The Shell, as described by The Master, is opaque film we surround ourselves with when our state of mind is disturbed by words and actions of the lesser species. The shell ultimately shields us from the doltish words and thoughts of those that are primarily occupied with their own, imagined greatness.

Many of these beings have hypnotized themselves, and they believe they are skilled, imaginative, and far beyond their adopted minions. Under this haze of delusion, they find their way to lead many by sheer persistence and intimidation. I find this a common trait of office managers and popular bloggers.

3.

At the beach a few years ago, I held a large, pink, conch shell to my ear. I was surprised by the grand sound that emanated from the conch. It was the London Symphony, I’m sure. It was O Fortuna by Carmina Burana. I was stricken. I was dizzy. I stumbled and lost my balance. I called out to my friend, nearby, to come and listen to the shell. I put the shell to her ear, and her face lit up. She laughed. She was listening to Chelsea Clinton describe the correlation of diabetes and childhood marriage with climate change.

RICHARD

#1 – Sea shell

Hold a shell to your ear and you’ll hear the sound of the sea. That’s what my parents told me on my first trip to the beach.

What they didn’t tell me was to first drain the damn thing, so I ended up with an ear full of salty, sandy, cold water.

It was a couple of years before I tried it again – this time, suffering a nasty nip from the hermit crab lurking inside.

The last time I encountered a shell on the sand was in 1944 – Omaha Beach.

German artillery… Blew my head clean off.

#2 – Evolution

The Darwin Bird inhabits an alternative universe where survival of the thickest is the evolutionary norm.

Concepts like bigger, stronger, faster, better, hold no sway and the key to survival lies in developing ever greater obstacles to perpetuating the species.

The Darwin Bird has achieved near perfection in this regard, having evolved an egg shell so tough that its chicks can never hatch – they are doomed to shrivel and die before ever having seen the light of day.

Quite how the Darwin Bird survives is unknown, although it’s quite possible this particular evolutionary theory is, in fact, complete nonsense!

LIZZIE

Marcy was infuriatingly opinionated and wasn’t shy about it either.
When the office organized a field trip to an old castle, she blabbered on and on during the whole trip, driving everyone crazy.
The visit to the castle went well. The group went left while Marcy was checking the rooms to the right.
Then, someone found the lighthouse and there was an evil twinkle in their eyes.
“Marcy!”
She trotted unwarily into the abandoned lighthouse at the edge of the garden.
When they blocked the door, leaving her inside, they knew the days at the office would be far quieter.

TOM

Shell Game

The symbol of The Way in the clam shell. The Camino de Santiago starting
at Saint-Jacques in Paris a church oddly build by a Paris Butcher’s Guild
and for further oddities master magus Nicolas Flamel is buried under it
floor, but I digress. The Way 1010 miles of unrelenting pilgrim’s
progress is littered with guys selling clam shells. In fact the Devil
himself runs a stand somewhere outside of Burgos. I bought a rather
appointed brass scallop autographed on the back. “Best of luck. D sp
don’t drink the water.” His shop is called: Too Clever by 20/30ths. Drop
by.

JON

Exoskeleton
By
Jon DeCles

Basically, what you want is to get hard. Stiff. You want to be able to
manage your protoplasm so as to make it do more than lie there
gelatinously. The two most popular methods are exoskeletons and
endoskeletons. Each will allow you to be more than a few centimeters in
size. Once you can stand up you can start branching out. You can be a
redwood tree or a brachiosaur. And you can start mixing your metaphorical
erectile equipage: limited stiffening of members without bones (though
lots of creatures keep the bones in their erections). 蜂 simply evolved a
shell.

TURA

Shell
———
The best-kept secret of Italian cuisine is lanesra, a mélange of fermented shellfish.

Begin with a catch of live mussels, and spread them on a sunny beach to dehydrate. When they are on the point of dying, revive them in brine. Repeat this, keeping them only just alive. Then pound them in a barrel to release the juices of decomposition, and store in a dark place to ferment.

The maker must sample his own lanesra, and if he survives it, the whole village will be eager to share.

About fifty deaths a year result from improperly prepared lanesra. Buon appetito!

SERENDIPITY

The building was just an empty shell.

An excellent development opportunity – plenty of scope for expansion, ripe for modernisation, and perfect for a multitude of purposes, both commercial and residential.

Just leave the walls as they are.

Seriously, don’t touch them.

By all means, apply a lick of paint, give them a good rub down and spruce them up, but don’t even think about structural alterations. Leave the walls standing just as you find them.

Unless you really want to find more than you bargained for.

Leave the bodies where I laid them to rest, for your own sake!

NORVAL JOE

We had one friend who always kept to himself. He rarely spoke, and when he did, sometimes it was with a foreign accent.
We figured that some day he would come out of his shell. But, who would he be when he did?
Would he still be our friend?
Would he be the enigmatic leader of a multi million dollar corporation?
Would he be a an actor who only spoke when performing eloquently on stage?
Would he be a criminal mastermind or an elusive hit man or a charismatic cult leader?
Then, one day, we heard it, “Mrrrrrrrrooooooowwwwww, Space Turtle.”

LAIEANNA

Every day I would pull Donnie a little further out of his shell. We’d
take it slow and carefully, making sure he wasn’t hurt in the process.
On the harder days, I would start with a story, something to relax him
before we gave it a try. If he was feeling particularly stubborn, I’d
bribe him with some cupcakes.

On the day he was free, I drove him down to the beach before the
crowds started gathering and we silently watched the waves until he
was ready to toss his shell into the sea. We held hands and joyfully
wept.

PLANET Z

Normally, I fill up the tank at the nearby Exxon station.
I collect Plenti points, and I can turn those into free gallons of gas.
There was a new offer on their website… SpeedPass on my smartphone.
Three tanks equals twenty bucks worth of Plenti points.
The problem is, you need to photograph a QR code on the pump to pay that way.
And a lot of station franchisees haven’t yet marked their pumps.
I find that frustrating and annoying.
So, I’m going to the Shell station across the street.
It’s the same prices. Without the lies.
Well, not yet.