Weekly Challenge #567 – Suggestion

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:

Stripey

JEFFREY

Suggestion Box
by Jeffrey Fischer

My company’s new CEO installed a suggestion box outside the executive suite. He emailed the staff, informing us of its existence and assuring us that anonymous suggestions were perfectly acceptable. He wanted us to feel part of the organization. And, after all, who better to understand where the firm could improve but its current employees?

I dropped my suggestion in the box early one morning, so no one could see me do it. “How about cut your obscene salary and give us a raise for once?” it read. My termination notice pointed out the ceiling camera just above the box.

CHARLIE

I made a suggestion. I suggested we go for a walk on the cliffs near the old mill. The old mill was closed down due to the pollution it produced.

The cleanup promised by the local tribe and the former mill operators was long overdue.

We walked close to the edge, and took photographs.

I hated her for the last eight years, and when she slipped on the loose rock close to the edge, I closed my eyes tight and covered my ears to block the sights and sounds of her head bouncing off the rocks on the way down.

RICHARD

Sommelier

“If I might make a suggestion, Sir, the Chablis would make an excellent accompaniment for the trout.”

I looked disdainfully over my menu at the waiter. Of course he’d suggest the Chablis – it was one of the most expensive bottles on the list! Did I look like I’m made of money?

“If I want your opinion on our meal, I’ll ask for it – until then, I rather think that the choice of wine is entirely ours!”

“Don’t you think I should ask the old trout herself what she would like?”, I continued, handing the menu to my wife.

LIZZIE

“Try looking under the bed, he says … Why didn’t he come upstairs himself and look under the bed? Why did I have to be the one looking under the bed? On my knees, getting my best clothes dirty… Yeah, like the dude is going to hide under the bed. What if I find him? What then? I’ll just say, hello, you. All good?”
Silence.
“Oh, damn. What’s this?”
More silence.
“Hey, Patrick. He’s not under the bed. But I found that hand we lost track of. The one we chopped off of the… what’s his name? The other millionaire.”

SERENDIPITY

The secret is to show no fear.

Not the slightest quiver of the lip, not the merest suggestion of nervousness, nor any sign of concern.

Just breeze through, eyes front, unconcerned about the situation and without any hesitation.

Because I can tell.

I know when you’re hiding something, and I can spot the signs – the way you fumble with your passport; the bead of sweat on your forehead; and your nervous looks across the desk as I check your visa.

Then, for you, I’m afraid it’s far too late…

And I smile as I pull on the latex gloves!

TOM

Top Down
“I’m tell ya boss this Suggestion Box thing, great idea,” said Baxster Beelzebub. “I’m still not sure this sends the right messages to our permanent guess. You know all that hope stuff. We do not want another outbreak of that.” Said the Big Man. “No prob boss. I got a plan.” “Like the republican congress?” “No bigger.” “Cell Phone Video game?“ “Bigger.” I’m listening, Beelzebub.” “We install Two Suggestion boxes.” “Wizard, Baxster. Write up a proposal and submit it to Eve in accounting. Who came up that idea?” Guy down in ring eight called Dante. “What’s in for?” “Indeterminable prose.”

JON

Only a Suggestion

By

Jon DeCles

“That shape has the suggestion of Humpty Trumpty,’ Alice thought as she approached the high wall…

“When I use a word,” Humpty Trumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean…”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Trumpty, “which is to be the master ¾ that’s all. They’ve a temper, some of them… Impenetrability, that’s what I say!”

“Would you tell me, please,” said Alice, “what that means?”

“Do you like my new wall? Mexico will pay for it!”

TURA

Suggestions
———
Recommendation engines have come a long way since Amazon’s “If you liked that book, try these.” They’re embedded in everything. “If you liked that holiday, try these.” “If you liked that person, meet these.” They even make suggestions about what to get suggestions about. “If you liked those holidays, try my job suggestions.” You can get conversational assistants, suggesting things to say into your ear in real time.

Some people follow the suggestion bots for everything. The brains of suggestion drones actually shrink from disuse.

So maybe you should start ignoring anything that begins, “If you liked…” Just a suggestion.

NORVAL JOE

“Just smile. It will make you feel better,” his girlfriend said, displaying her own broad set of pearly white teeth.
He smiled back.
Her suggestion didn’t work.
Jack didn’t feel better.
In fact, his feelings of inadequacy and frustration grew until they took shape. Not the shape of a square or circle or a wiener dog, but into the shape of a ten pound hammer that he brought down on her head.
Jack’s transformation was so sudden and unexpected that his girlfriend’s smile remained on her face, even in death.
“Did that make you feel better?” Jack, ‘The Hammer’, asked.

LAIEANNA

Jason has ever been my only friend. He was more of the scheming
leader and me the follower who did the tasks. I never hesitated when
he made suggestions.

“Why don’t you steal that golf cart?” I did.

“You should grab the cash Ms Pennely is always bragging about.” I did.

“How about you take this bat to that man’s head?” I did.

Nowadays it’s harder to keep up with the barriers between us, but we
manage. Just now got another one of his notes. “Why don’t you write
about me in a 100 word story.” So here I am.

CHRIS

The Suggestion
By Christopher Munroe

This is not a demand.

I have no power over you, no leverage, and even if I did it would be wrong of me to use that leverage to make demands of you.

You are a human being, with thoughts and feelings just as important and valid as my own, who has the right to exercise your own best judgment and preserve your own sense of moral agency, and I completely respect that and would never infringe upon it.

So no, this isn’t a demand.

This is merely a suggestion:

Get on the Party Bus. We’re all going to Vegas…

PLANET Z

George was a pirate, but he wasn’t a very good pirate.
He was clumsy and made lots of mistakes, and the rest of the crew had to make up for them.
So, they filled the Captain’s suggestion box with complaints.
Every week, the Captain emptied the box and read the notes.
“Make George walk the plank!”
“Keel haul George!”
“Feed George to the sharks!”
Some were just drawings of horrible things happening to a stick figure, presumably George.
He then read the note his dear departed sister had left him.
“Keep an eye on my son George.”
And he sighed.

Weekly Challenge #566 – PICK TWO

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:

Myst

LIZZIE

Lightning or Not

“To control the uncontrollable…” Diane sighed.
Annie shook her head. “What is that suppose to mean?!”
“That thing’s stumbling out.”
“What thing?” Annie turned around and tentacles were sliding out of the show’s chest.
“What is that?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“Looks like an octopus.”
Suddenly, the wannabe octopus slammed the lid open and turned into a giant green lightning.
“Nice effect. Is it for the show?”
That was the last thing Diane said.
“Octopus… At least now you’re fed. I told you a million times it was not the time yet. We’ll get them all, but not yet.”

JEFFREY

Read See Scrolls
by Jeffrey Fischer

Lightning flashed nearby as Clyde and Wayne approached the cave, hidden in a nook on the Spanish coast near Valencia. “They’d better be there,” said Wayne, stumbling on the rocks.

“They will,” replied Clyde. “I tell you, I seen ’em. Hundreds of – whadya call them? – fragments, just like them up in Is-Real. And these ain’t paper, they’re what that Moses guy had, you know, tablets. As long as we can beat them other guys looking – them Italics, from Italy – we’ll be rich and famous.”

Wayne was still skeptical, but he looked into the cave. Sure enough, there were hundreds of fragments – of iPads. Someone had used the cave to dump rather than recycle them.

RICHARD

#1 – Tofu

Tofu… Foul stuff. No taste, nasty texture and comes with that universal disclaimer used for the disgusting: ‘It’s good for you’.

I beg to disagree. It’s not good for me: The tiniest fragment of the awful stuff, no matter how artfully disguised or masked by other, more palatable ingredients, is guaranteed to send me running for the bathroom!

Trust me, after one of my tofu related ‘incidents’, you really don’t want to be following me in there.

If you are unfortunate enough to do so, there’s one thing of which I’m sure: That tofu won’t do you any good either!

#2 – Comic Sans

I always sign my name in italics, using Comic Sans, and in ochre ink.

It irritates the hell out of my boss – he says it’s unprofessional and doesn’t reflect company values. I think my boss talks a load of crap – since when did how you sign your name speak about professionalism or values? If that’s the case, doctors would have to spend half their medical training learning to write legibly!

So, why do I do it?

Partly for a little individualism and uniqueness; partly because I can; but mostly, because it annoys the hell out of my boss!

#3 – Lightning

After being banned from his self-appointed role of bus conductor, dad decided to try his hand at being a lightning conductor.

We tried to dissuade him, warning him about the perils of getting cold and wet, the risk of pneumonia and the dangers of slipping in wet mud, but he was having none of it. He’d made his mind up to become a lightning conductor, and a lightning conductor he would be!

Actually, he’s doing rather well. Last I heard, he was touring in Spain – where the rain stays mainly in the plain, and the lightning is rather frightening!

TOM

Truth is Over Rated
Sally entered the Oval office with all the trepidation of a French royal on their way to the square in a cart. “Well not so bad so far,” she mused. He didn’t look up at first. Then asked her if she wanted to share one of his tofu burgers. She decline. He laughed, “Like I’m going to eat tofu.” “Here’s the deal.” The irony of the statement wasn’t lost on her. “I’ve got the greatest hair of anyone who ever sat behind this desk. How would you describe the color?” “Spanish Ochre.” “You really don’t want this job?” “You’re Fired.”

JOM

Rabid Response

By

Jon DeCles

Jethro stumbled across the dirty ochre carpet to the table where his pad sat ringing at him. The flashing italics on the screen affected his vision like close up lightning on the plain in Spain, but he didn’t let that stop him. There was still a fragment of tofu on the bottom of the screen from last night’s inadequate supper, but he knew he had to answer the call. She’d demand it.

“Genevieve?” he queried when he knew that he had her. “Why are you communicating at four in the morning? The heroin hasn’t even come on yet! Genevieve? Genevieve?”

SERENDIPITY

They say the night I was born, a lightning bolt pierced the skies at the moment of my birth.

Fact or not, it is true lightning struck an ancient yew in the local churchyard that night: A fragment of its charred remains hangs on a cord around my neck – testament to the violence accompanying my first drawn breath.

Like that tree, I am broken, withered and scarred, and I strike fear into those of a superstitious nature. Yet, despite our infirmities, we both survive, against all odds.

And whilst I survive, my life remains as twisted as my body!

MUNSI

To Make a Thing Your Own
By Christopher Munroe

There comes a time when you must customize your Party Bus.

I mean, I’ve had the thing for weeks, it needs to be done.

Trick out the engine, replace the disco ball and stripper poles, re-stock the bar with higher-end liquor, that sort of thing.

And, naturally, airbrush a delicate pattern of lightning bolts across the thing, with “Munsi” down one size in italics, and “Rockz” down the other.

Let the whole world know who’s bus this is.

Let the whole world know who likes to party.

Let them know who has two thumbs and likes to party…

…this guy!!!

TURA

Ochre is a soft, yellowish rock, consisting basically of rust. But in this limestone cave there shouldn’t be fragments just lying around. I shone my lamp further forward. More ochre, lumps sized to fit a hand. The cave walls were covered with orangey scratchings.

The lettering was crude, and I lost track of time as I deciphered it. It described tunnels deeper within the cave, with fragmentary sketches of maps.

I realised, too late, that my lamp was growing dim. The last sentence I read said, “You are about to be eaten by a grue.” And the lamp went out.

LAIEANNA

I was a very clumsy kid who only got worse as an adult. How could I
go backwards? I don’t know, but head trauma was my life. That is
until they came out with the Stumble Pad. Spring loaded with a 360
degree swivel from the belt, a small cushion shoots up to protect my
head from any angle when sensors read I’m taking a tumble. Still a
few scrapes and bruises but the noggin is good. The best part is it
doubles as an emergency pillow, seat cushion, and flotation device.
I’m thinking about getting the full body version.

NORVAL JOE

The saying goes that you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to win the lottery. The other saying is that lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice.
Arthur Bunkmaker doesn’t believe either of those sayings, because he’s never been hit by lightning and he’s won the lottery three times. He found his lucky numbers on the inside wrapper from a box of tofu. He used the same numbers each time.
He never won the megamillions, but he did win enough to buy a villa in Southern Spain and he never has to eat tofu again.

PLANET Z

Fred liked to play games on his computer pad.
He played them all day long.
Even in school, he played games.
But the games in school weren’t the bird games or the maze games or the games he liked to play.
These were math and word games.
Adding numbers, dividing numbers.
Piecing together fragments into whole sentences.
The geography games were kinda boring.
Shapes of countries that no longer existed, like Italy… Spain… Texas…
He looked out the window, down at the poisoned Earth.
“Play your games, Fred,” admonished the holoteacher.
Fred went back to the math and word games.

Weekly Challenge #565 – NORMAL

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:

Sleepy Tin

JEFFREY

Higher Education
by Jeffrey Fischer

Back in the day, a Normal School was essentially a training school for teachers. In the United States, they date back to the 19th century, while Europe had even older examples. These days, many of the Normal Schools have been transformed into typical universities. You may not even know the background of these schools; UCLA started as one, for example.

Lesser-known are the country’s Abnormal Schools. These have always been secretive, and that secrecy continues to this day. No one brags about graduating from an Abnormal School, no matter how prestigious the institution. And yet, here’s something you might not know… every national politician since the days of Millard Fillmore graduated from one of these schools. It explains a lot.

LIZZIE

A normal day always started with a nice cup of coffee. This wasn’t a normal day.
When she picked up the cup, the stain of lipstick on the brim glared back at her, a mocking slap on the face.
The stupid ass had forgotten to clean the cup right.
She walked to the bedroom and looked around carefully. Everything was in its rightful place. Except…
An earring had rolled under the bed. Silver. A loop, how fitting.
She picked up the phone.
“Go for it.”
Two days later, he was found by the river, wearing a shiny silver loop earring.

RICHARD

#1 – Abnormal Norman

Norman was far from normal – nothing to do with the odd socks with holes in the heels, the plant pot he wore on his head, or the stuffed pet fish he’d take for walks in the park.

It wasn’t the toasted marshmallows he insisted on for breakfast, or the dinner parties for dogs that he loved to host.

And it wasn’t his habit of bathing in malt vinegar and chocolate sauce.

None of these set him apart.

Norman was far from normal because he was the last king of England, and a perfect example of the folly of inbreeding.

#2 – SNAFU

Got up, fell out of bed, got a bruise on my forehead.

Made a brew; milk was off, burned the toast – smoke made me cough.

Running late, I lost my hat, made the bus in seconds flat. Wrong bus: I ended up lost, now I’m really counting the cost.

When I finally got to work, the boss chewed me out and called me a jerk.

Phone rang – it was my wife – got into a bit of strife. So no fun tonight, it’s always the same.

What a day, but can’t complain; every one is just the same…

JON

It’s Not Normal

By Jon DeCles

“It’s not normal for a dog to behave that way!” Paul said.

“You’re right,” said Ruth.

“I hope she’s not sick,” said Paul.

“I hope it’s not rabies!” said Ruth, with alarm.

They backed away.

The Collie danced around, ran off toward the gate in the fence surrounding the farm house, then came bounding back. She barked, ran off again, came back again.

“I’d take her to the vet, but if it’s rabies I don’t dare touch her,” said Ruth.

The dog did her best, but the humans didn’t understand that Timmy had fallen down a well. Thus Timmy drowned.

TOM

école normale

The tradition of teaching colleges goes back to the 1680s. Jean-Baptiste La Salle founded it in Champagne, France, given the amount of liquor the average teacher need to carry on, quite appropriate. The First normal school in America was founded in 1839 my Samuel Hall in Concord, Vermont. Not the one with shoot heard round the world. Southern Illinois, and UCLA were both normal school. Norman school were laboratory school. Providing a model school with model classrooms to teach model teaching practices to its student teachers. Children, teachers, and the teachers of the teachers were often together in the same building.

SERENDIPITY

Don’t try to tell me what’s normal!

Just because I don’t fit into your stereotypical definitions of acceptable behaviour and societal standards doesn’t mean that I’m wrong, or that you’re right.

I’m different. Live with it, and if you can’t, then keep your mouth shut and stay out of my way. You have no right to tell me how to live my life simply because I don’t happen to obey your arbitrary rules.

I don’t care that you’re a judge, and I’m guilty.

I’ll still hunt you down when I get out.

And my revenge will be far from normal!

MUNSI

Normalized
By Christopher Munroe

This is normal.

This has always been normal, and it’s the way things have always been.

Things have never been any different than this, and when people tell you “We can not allow this to be normalized!” you can safely pay them no mind.

We can normalize this.

And we will.

Although there is no need.

Because all of this is already perfectly normal, perfectly ordinary, reliable and predictable and well in keeping with what has gone before, and requires no more thought than that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a story to write.

About a Party Bus…

TURA

Normal
———
Everything adds up to normality, they say. When physicists discovered that solid matter is mostly empty space, people weren’t suddenly able to walk through walls. The physicists could even explain why.

So why did people turn into zombies when neuroscientists finally explained consciousness? People read about it and the lights go out in their head. A fundamentalist militant Buddhism that denies the self is sweeping the world.

The zombies get suspicious of the conscious ones, immune to the basilisk. There are lynchings. There’s talk of pogroms.

Everything may add up to normality, but the calculation could take a long time.

NORVAL JOE

I heard one guy say that alternate lifestyles are the new normal. Unfortunately, something alternate can never be considered normal by the very definitions of the words. Normal means, the norm. You know, average, the most common. Alternate means, not the most common, not the norm. Ab–normal.
There’s nothing wrong with being ab–normal.
There’s nothing wrong with being normal.
Alternate lifestyles are the new acceptable.
The normal lifestyle is for a man and woman to marry, endure one another for three to ten years, then get divorced.
Therefore, any relationship that lasts a lifetime is abnormal.
I think that’s great.

LAIEANNA

PLANET Z

I like to buy minor league baseball caps.
The sillier the team name, mascot, or logo, the better.
The Normal, Illinois baseball team asked their fans to vote on a name, but due to a security flaw on their website, the vote was rigged by hackers.
They ran it again with the CornBelters, the Nutz, the Coal Bears, the Fellers, and the CamelBacks.
Eventually, the fans settled on the CornBelters, and their logo is a confused ear of corn.
I added the ballcap’s store page to my bookmarks list for consideration.
Maybe I’ll buy it someday.
But I doubt it.

Weekly Challenge #564 – LICK

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 cupboard

CHARLIE

Faster than a cat can lick it’s behind. That’s fast, not too fast, not half fast, just fast enough to be efficient, I suppose.

It’s the speed that I assign to my piece-work employees. As they extract the piece from the mold, remove the flashing, and inspect the body of device. I ask that they do it at speed, and that they are consistent with the speed at which they perform the action. If they do not do this, they are removed from the line, beaten, fined a week’s wage, and forced to live in less comfortable housing.

A second offence is a death sentence, or they are exiled to a small island off the coast.

JEFFREY

Reaching the Pinnacle
by Jeffrey Fischer

Steve wasn’t a bright bulb. Everyone knew this – even his mother said he didn’t have a lick of sense. His personality did nothing to overcome his lack of intelligence. He had a volatile temper that, when it erupted, was directed toward anyone who disagreed with him.

Mysteriously, these handicaps did nothing to hinder his career. He became a business tycoon, with almost unimaginable wealth. True, that career had its ups and downs, and the downs were embarrassing. The press loves a winner, but it loves picking on a loser even more.

In the end, despite his limitations, he became president… of a huge software company. Go figure.

RICHARD

Lick

“It’s mostly cosmetic, only needs a lick of paint! “.

I couldn’t agree – the place was clearly riddled with damp, there was a huge structural crack in the back wall and the spongy feel underfoot definitely hinted at woodworm.

Still, the defects gave me a distinct buyer’s advantage and most of the other bidders dropped out pretty early, rather than throw away their cash.

After the deal was sealed, the vendor laughed: “It’ll take more than a lick of paint before moving in!”

“It’s not for me… And I don’t care about the tenants, as long as they pay the rent!”

MUNSI

…on Pub Games
By Christopher Munroe

“Betcha won’t lick that!”

It’s the disgusting game that anyone can play, you simply need to point to a thing, and utter the phrase.

Your opponent, now roped in, must lick, or concede defeat, which for some is nearly impossible, especially after a few drinks.

And trust me, this is not a game anyone plays sober.

I’m good at it, I have almost no impulse control, so to most I’m a formidable opponent.

Though I admit, I’ve lost more than once.

When asked to lick the FLOOR of the party bus, for example, I got while the getting was good…

JON

The Late, Great…

By

Jon DeCles

America needed her Conservatives. They reined things in, kept her Liberals from going too far. They maintained the balance.

Enter the Neo-Con-Artists. They made Conservatism flashy and fashionable: but they also outspent the Liberals thousands to one. They undermined the principals of Conservatism, and left the true Conservatives looking dusty and dowdy.

Barnum said there’s a fool born every minute, and two crooks to take him.

Barnum and Bailey has folded, unable to compete with the Circus in Washington.

Ronald Reagan is best remembered for taking down a wall.

Donald Trump may be best remembered for putting up a wall.

**

You Can’t Lick Our Dick

By

Jon DeCles

Well, that was not officially Nixon’s slogan, and it certainly was belied by his loss to John F. Kennedy in a race for the presidency, and his loss for the governorship of California to Pat Brown. But the man had resilience!

He ran for president again in ’68 and won. He ended the draft. He opened trade with China. He initiated an anti-ballistic missile treaty. He transferred power from the central control of Washington back to the States. He enforced desegregation and established the Environmental Protection Agency. He was president when we landed on the moon.

He was a Republican.

TOM

Lick

Being a child of the 50s I am bracketed between Elvis and the Beatles. I wish I could say the Stones, but alas I didn’t get a vote in the meme. By the time KISS showed up it was way to indecorous to lay a musical claim on the band. So in the passing days and nights I never heard a single KISS song until … Lick it Up. Well what can I say? Brilliant, the high-water mark in Western Civilization. Everything that went before just silly little love songs. Please pass the white grease paint. Black Shamrock what’ya think?

SERENDIPITY

I watched the flames lick the coals in the grate, painting their flickering, insubstantial images in the darkness, like a story unfolding before me.

It seemed to me they were speaking to me, the crackle of the flames whispering secrets in my mind and compelling me to respond.

“Burn!” They seemed to say; “Burn it all… Burn everything to the ground”

It was a voice that could not be ignored; one that I simply had to obey.

I’m sorry about your house, but really I’m afraid that it’s all your fault. I always said you should have fitted central heating!

LIZZIE

Late, as always.
Her pathetic little assistant, buzzing with enthusiasm for his new job and who had the annoying habit of licking his fingers to turn every page of every report, had proven to be quite the slacker.
When she entered her office, nothing was done. Unacceptable. The problem was that the eccentric middle-aged man now owned half the company. She’d have to get rid of him, but how?
Pushing him down the stairs? Too obvious. Hiring someone to get rid of him? Too expensive.
Then, mysteriously, he became quite ill.
They say reading reports is hazardous to your health.

NORVAL JOE

When Wanda accepted the position of Tiger Trainer at the Morganstern Brother’s Circus, she assured the Ring Master, that she had an almost telepathic empathy with animals, and that she wouldn’t need to use a whip on the large cats, as the previous trainer had.
“Watch this,” she said and walked fearlessly into the cage with the tigers and held out her bare arms for them to lick. “Seeee? They’re showing me how much they love me.”
And they did love her. Every ounce. The three tigers ate everything but her sequined costume and the red ribbon in her hair.

LAIEANNA

“If they say jump off a bridge, will you?” his mother asked, “or stand in front of an oncoming train? And if they dare you to stick your finger in the mouth of a snapping turtle, are you going to do that?” Max only offered up a shrug she was too furious to notice. “Why would you lick a metal pole in winter?”

Stuck lying in the hospital bed after his incident, Max snuck a hand down to shake his pocket. Three quarters and a Snickers weren’t bad rewards. If they upped the ante, he would consider the other stunts.

TURA

Lick
———
On the plains of Audhumla, a shower of rain is rare and passes in minutes, hardly more than dampening the ground. But the petrichor brings creatures from far and wide to lick the minerals leached from the broken grey slabs. The glabbeeks come first, lizards no larger than a finger, that can travel miles to reach the lick. Then the girondelles, nervous of predators, but hungry for the minerals they need. And certainly the feloids will arrive and pick off one or two of the herd, and the scavengers will have their share.

Thus life on Earth continues, after Man.

PLANET Z

I knew a girl who hired herself out as an assassin.
She got the job done, and got out. Nothing fancy.
Usually, she’d pay some homeless guy to shoot her target, or shove them under a bus.
Walk into a public restroom, stuff the wig into a purse, wipe off the makeup, turn her jacket inside-out, and she’d walk out a different person.
She didn’t do anything fancy or sexy, like licking her gun.
“That’s a great way to shoot off your tongue,” she said.
One day, she’ll kill me to cover her tracks.
“Free of charge,” she says, smiling.

Weekly Challenge #563 – LATE

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:

Curled Tinny

CHARLIE

Sorry I’m late all the time. You wait for me, regardless of my habitual tardiness. It is the least you can do, since I’m superior to the whole frigging bunch of you. After all, you are, undoubtedly, a bunch of sleaze balls and miscreants, hell bent on causing any number of problems and harm to the good people of the county-just as I am.

Of course, I have to iron my sheet and touch up the edges on my Bowie knife in addition to gathering matches and small bottles of flammables for our nightly foray into the outskirts of town.

JEFFREY

Teen Angel
by Jeffrey Fischer

Sara snuck out of her bedroom window, scrambling onto the porch roof and lowering herself to the ground. It was late at night. Her parents were assuredly sleeping, but they seemed to have an uncanny sense for waking just as she passed their door, hence the dangerous exit.

A boy was involved; of course a boy was involved. She had met this one at a house party, a long-haired, heavily-tattooed interloper. No one seemed to know him, making Sara all the more smitten. She instantly agreed when he suggested the tryst.

Her parents tried not to worry when they noticed her missing the next morning. Soon Sara’s body was discovered. She had earned the title of the late Sara.

RICHARD

#1 – Late

I’ve never been particularly good when it comes to being on time, I’m invariably the last to arrive at parties, regularly miss trains, and frequently arrive late for important appointments.

I’m always being told off: It’s disrespectful, they say, you really should make the effort to be on time, especially considering your profession.

And what is my profession?

I’m an undertaker, and yes, I’m never on time, (the dead don’t really care!)

My friends have always laughed at me for about my timekeeping and say I’d be late for my own funeral.

Probably… I’ve been late for everybody else’s!

#2 – Shirley: Him

Shirley was late.

It was unlike her. She always finished at six, took the same bus home and her key would turn in the lock twenty minutes later.

He sat uncomfortably, as the tea he’d made her grew cold and undrinkable in its cup.

By eleven, he was frantic.

He’d called her friends and mother: None had heard from her. Now he was phoning around the local hospitals, but drawing a complete blank.

It was early hours the following morning when he finally dialled the police and heard himself say the fateful words: “I need to report a missing person.”

#3 – Shirley: The Other

Shirley was late.

It was unlike her. She always arrived at five, and it was worrying – considering the circumstances – that she hadn’t turned up.

He tried to relax, she’d be here shortly. He breathed deeply waiting for her key to turn in the lock.

By eleven, he was frantic.

He had a severe cramp, and could barely breathe. Things were not looking good.

It was the early hours of the following morning that the heart attack came.

When they found him, bound and chained in the gimp suit, it seemed hardly worth holding the inquest.

Death: by misadventure.

#4 – Shirley: Her

Shirley was late.

It was unlike her. But life was unpredictable, and hers was such a tangled mess it scarcely mattered if she missed the bus, or never turned up at all.

Sure, people were waiting for her; relying on her, but she felt no connection – only pain, anger and self-loathing.

So, it had come to this.

By eleven she’d arrived – a second rate motel in a backwater town. Calmly she ran the bath and reached for the razor blade.

By the early hours the following morning, it was over.

She was late… The late Shirley Elizabeth Swinton.

TOM

Just a Matter of Scope

Later that evening Sam and Lenny rolled the body bag into the river. “Don’t be late, now,” they laughed. Later that week Benny and Max drove Lenny and Sam’s car into the same river. “Don’t be late, now,” they laughed. Later that month Jimmy and Sal sent Lenny’s piper cub into the west river. “Don’t be late, now,” they laughed. Later that year Don Vito Demonte pored sixty ton of concrete into the same river “Don’t be late, Jimmy,” he laughed. The mushroom cloud pretty much vaporized the river. “Don’t be late, Vito,” said the old man in the wheelchair.

MUNSI

The Meeting
By Christopher Munroe

John, welcome, I’m glad you could finally join us, and you’re fired.

What do you mean: Why?

First of all, you’re fifty-five minutes late after I’d made it perfectly clear that our foreign investors were visiting today, and that I wanted to give the best possible impression.

Secondly, you reek of whiskey.

And finally, perhaps most damningly, I’m assuming you arrived in the “Party Bus” parked outside, blaring Dubstep as we speak.

Obviously there’s no place for this kind of behavior in…

…sorry, what?

ALL your lotto numbers hit?

Oh!

Well, in that event I suppose congratulations are in order!

SERENDIPITY

It is late.

Almost midnight now; just a minute or two remaining.

Then it is too late.

And afterwards?

All that has gone before, all the striving and endeavour will come to nothing. The hope, the joy; all that is great and good will turn to terror and pain, horror and despair.

Almost midnight now, just seconds away.

What have we achieved? What is our legacy? What epitaph will be spoken over our funeral pyre… And who will mourn our passing?

It is late.

And the hands of the Doomsday clock march relentlessly towards the midnight hour.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

NORVAL JOE

Bill slipped into the chapel and sat on the back pew, not wanting to disturb any of the family and friends who were considerate enough to arrive on time.
The eulogy was already in progress. He’d missed his niece’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art”. She was only sixteen but her voice had the maturity and depth of a much older singer.
The minister completed his thoughts. The organist began to play and, as the pall bearers carried the coffin passed his wife, she placed a bouquet of roses cut from his own garden on it; just as he’d asked.

LIZZIE

They were late.
“What now?” Ron sat on a rock.
Peter kicked the grass. He was furious.
“We keep looking.”
“Where? In there?” Ron stood up.
Peter walked up to the small cabin and kicked the door open.
“They didn’t take the jewel box with them. It’d be too dangerous. Look, a trap door.”
It was barely covered by some debris.
“Let’s get it and take off.”
A bright pair of green eyes stared back at them.
“Damn… Didn’t they say it was a box?”
The jewel was the 10 year old heir of the biggest fortune in the country.

TURA

Late
———
Travelling with Jim was a nightmare. I’d say, come on, we’ve a train to catch, and he’d say, we still have time. That’s right, I’d say, so we go now, and we catch the train. And he’d say, what’s the hurry, we’ve time.

He always had time, so he never had time.

He once got cancer, and he was in a pretty bad way. When the doctors said he wouldn’t make it, someone jumped the gun and put a death notice in the local paper. In the end he recovered. I guess you can be late to your own funeral.

PLANET Z

Fred worked at an office equipment company.
His job title was Punchclock Quality Control.
So, even when he was late to work, he was actually on time.
He was just testing the punchclock’s tardy algorithms.
He also took a lot of vacations to test the Time Management Application.
It was important to confirm that the system reported employees who ran out of vacation time, but still took time off.
One day, he showed up for work on time.
The system crashed.
“FAIL” he marked on the case, and sent it back to Development.
And he left for an early lunch.

Weekly Challenge #562 – PICK TWO: Lead, Floppy, Argon, Purple, Brunch, Taffy, Worried, Venerable

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

JEFFREY

The Club
by Jeffrey Fischer

Brunch at the club was always a tedious affair. I would be surrounded by elderly women in floppy hats and purple flowery dresses, and even more ancient, venerable-looking men in threadbare suits that were the height of fashion in 1972. The maitre d’ would invariably lead me to the worst table in the club, as though he was worried I would do something shameful. Perhaps he was right. The service was indifferent and the food nearly inedible.

So why did I continue going to the club, week after week, despite what sounds like an all-around unpleasant experience? Two words: bottomless mimosas.

MUNSI

Upon being invited to Brunch
By Christopher Munroe

Yes, I’d love to join you for brunch.

It’s a good meal, after all, and you’re a good person, at least everything I’ve learned about you has led me to believe you are, and I suspect that the two of us could very much enjoy one another’s company over food.

Just pick the place, and I’ll be there with a smile on my face. I’m already looking forward to it!

However, I’ll offer fair warning, don’t be shocked if I arrive via party bus.

It’s been a long couple of weeks for me, I don’t want to get into it…

RICHARD

#1 – Medical Advice

The doctor told me I really shouldn’t be worried: “Everyone gets a little floppy now and again – maybe work is a little stressful, or you’re just tired… Or could be one of those signs that you’re simply not as young as you used to be. Worrying yourself about it isn’t really going to help matters”.

I asked him if there was anything he could prescribe, but he was reluctant to go down that route.

“See how things work out”, he said.

Actually, everything worked out just fine. Turns out the girls just can’t resist a rabbit… with floppy ears!

#2 – Purple

It was one of those unfortunate accidents – working late in the lab one night, a freak combination of a leaky reactor, a spilled test tube, and a small explosion combined to subtly alter Professor Argon’s body chemistry in a totally unexpected manner.

Sadly, for the professor, his resulting super-power, although Interesting, appeared in practical terms, to be useless.

No incredible strength, invisibility, x-Ray vision or fantastic speed for him – instead, he gloried in bright purple skin during daylight hours.

He did, however make a fortune from copyrighting his colour and selling the international retail rights to paint manufacturers.

TOM

Y’all Come Back Now

Purple Brunch, Purple Brunch I only wanted to see you do is eating purple brunch. One of Prince’s last songs. It was going on the last album he was working on, oddly titled: I would die 4 U. All the songs were about food. It was part of a tie-in to the launching of Purple Rain Burger Shacks the home of the Purple Burger. No more singing and dancing, just an old black guy in a white suite. It worked for KFC why not PRBS. Prince even lay down serious coin for an office Kentucky Colonel proclamation. Tongue wagin good

LIZZIE

Blindfold

“Wear a blindfold and follow the hordes. Blindness is liberating. Not even the venerable elders will lead us through. Don’t fight it. That growing lightness cradles a fading uncertainty, a state of alluring oblivion, of complete exemption, it will free us.”

“Turn it off. That’s depressing.”
The silence invaded the darkest corners of the room as the two friends sat side by side in front of the TV.
“Did you notice she was pregnant?”
“I don’t want to think about it.”
“Did you notice…”
“No.”
“You’re wearing your blindfold already… You’re doing what they want.”
“Just shut the hell up.”

JON

Your Skin Color Wasn’t Relevant On The Radio

By

Jon DeCles

“Taniwa, Fury! It is I, Straight Arrow!”

The bus driver is old. He remembers World War II. He is also aware that you need passwords to do anything after the Millenium.

“Come on, what’s that from?”

“Radio,” says my friend Bruce. “He is a White Rancher by day, but when danger threatens he is the Heroic Indian, Straight Arrow. That’s how he greets his horse, who he keeps in a secret cave. First Native American radio hero I can remember.”

Bruce grins at me.

“It is I, Straight Arrow: and my friend, Not-So-Straight Arrow!”

“Come on aboard!” the driver smiles.

***

In Modern Washington

By

Jon DeCles

The venerable Taffy worried that the brunch she had planned would be heavy as lead. She wanted it to be as light as argon, and she hoped as inert. She was tired of parties that disintegrated into brawls. She hoped for parties where everyone was cheerful, happy, non-corrosive: but she would settle for simple good manners and pleasant conversation.

Lobbying had always been done by women. At least the best of it. She longed for the days when Elsa had seated General Eisenhower next to Marilyn Monroe. She put on her floppy purple hat, sighed, and headed for the garden.

***

SERENDIPITY

The Venerable Reverend Albert Shuttlestone closed and locked his vestry door, threw his purple robe carelessly over a chair, and poured himself a large scotch.
Sinking into a battered leather chair, he pondered, over his position.

Had selling his soul to Satan been a bad thing? He wasn’t sure. Certainly, he had a massive and loyal congregation now, none of whom suspected they were on their way to the eternal fire, but there was still one constant irritation that troubled him.

Being the devil’s disciple was definitely cool…

But those bloody black masses were boring the hell out of him!

TURA

Lead; venerable
———
There were lead shot sewn into the hem, to make the robes hang better, enhancing their gravity to enhance the gravitas of the Venerable Primate. Hah! He had never felt less venerable, with the new king openly contemptuous of everyone outside his coterie.

“These robes,” he said to his dresser, “do not meet the moment.”

“Yes, the times are changed,” said the dresser discreetly. “Ex officio, you can wear a military coat, but perhaps something ambassadorial would suit.”

“An excellent idea,” said the Archibishop. “Expressing intent on constructive accommodation.”

But he feared that he might not long survive the coronation.
———

DANNY

Venerable Captain Spaulding of the Taffy industry woke up one day to realize he could not get any lead in his pencil. Suffering from Floppy penis, aka, erectile dysfunction, off to the Urologist he went. “Good News!” the urologist exclaimed, “We have just invented a purple Argon therapy that will make Viagra obsolete! All we have to do is shove a fluorescent tube up your urethra in what can only be described as a painful operation!” Worried, Spaulding replied, “are there any side effects?” “Only if you get an erection,” Doc retorted. “OK, doc, I’m convinced. One prescription for Viagra!”

NORVAL JOE

As the dust settled around the startled exploring party, Thurbing worried that their adventure had come to an end. When the ringing finally faded from his ears, he discovered that an unusual crunching sound was actually the venerable wizard’s laughter.
“What find ye so blasted humorous, old man?” Karbunkle asked. “We be in our tomb.”
“Not to be worried, my worthy companion. Follow my lead and you, like the rest of us, will be free of this crypt, forthwith,” Fenestration said.
A purple glow surrounded the wizard from his boots to his floppy black hat. Still cackling, he strode forward.

PLANET Z

Purple Argon topped the charts for weeks with their Venerable Taffy album.
Not that the charts meant much anymore.
When was the last time you went to a record store? Or bought an album?
Sure, the charts take into account online stores, like iTunes and Amazon Music.
But the record companies and recording industry get all the money anyway.
Bands get nothing.
This is why bands tour so much. Ticket sales that pay the bills. Or don’t.
They’ll break up, reform as Lead Brunch, and go out on tour again.
But the cool kids will still wear Purple Argon shirts.

Weekly Challenge #561 – Bus

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:

Myst

JEFFREY

The Wheels on the Bus
by Jeffrey Fischer

Phil’s son was eight, and Phil loved him very much. This is why, against his better judgment, Phil volunteered to be a parent chaperone for the class field trip to the science museum in Middleburg, the nearest big town. Thirty eight-year-olds, two parents, a teacher, and one frazzled bus driver in a single vehicle. Phil had also forgotten that the science museum was about 50 miles from the school.

After the fifteenth round of “the wheels on the bus go round and round,” Phil snapped. He remained in a catatonic state until delivered home. Only then did he come around, revived by copious quantities of beer. As a result of the trip, Phil never boarded a bus again.

MUNSI

The Party Bus: Volume II

There will come a day when you’ll want off the party bus.

Not forever, of course not, but for a while. You’ll realize you’re not as young as you were, and that the party bus lifestyle is no longer something you can live full time.

There’s no need to feel ashamed.

It’s part of growing up, and when the time comes accept it with grace.

Pull over, get off, and don’t look back as it drives away.

Feel neither guilt nor shame.

Cuz while there ain’t no party like a party bus party, still, a party bus party must stop.

CHARLIE

Uncle Ralph dug the hole with his Cat 416 backhoe. After the hole was dug, an old, 61 passenger bus was slid into the hole.

We used the bus as a clubhouse through middle and high school. A large hatch and a ladder was constructed under a disguised trap door on the forest floor, and several vents were neatly and cleverly hidden inside hollow trees.

We opened up membership to our exclusive club and sold time inside the bus to locals that wanted a private, secure place to partake of their dalliances and drug use.

The bus is still there.

RICHARD

Bus

My father was a bus conductor. He wasn’t employed by the bus company, neither did he inspect tickets. In fact, it’s true that he never boarded a bus in any official capacity.

Neither, for that matter, did the rest of the band.

The percussionists sat on the back seat; brass and woodwind on the left; strings to the right, and dad would stand by the luggage rack holding on to the straps for dear life!

In the end. The bus company banned them, of course. Not because of the noise, but because there was never any room to carry passengers!

LIZZIE

Right by the bus stop, Roger noticed a strange flower. It seemed to have grown exponentially overnight.
He walked closer and noticed the flower was panting. Suddenly, it spat out some bones.
Roger jumped back, alarmed, hiding behind the glass of the bus stop. Those looked like fingers, he thought.
“Where’s the damn bus?”
The following morning, the reports on TV were slightly intriguing. A whole bus and a young man waiting at the bus stop had mysteriously vanished.

“I think we have finally developed it right. We are ready to take over that miserable planet. Start the count down.”

TOM

In the Long Haul
Jack had been wedged into the Greyhound seat between the window and an 80 years old farmer for the last two days. Said farmer was only going as far as Omaha, but he had spent hour upon hour describing all the places he had visited in Chicago in 1917 always ending with the punctuation, “probably tore down.” When the seat became empty in Nebraska the Gods of Crappy Bus Trips didn’t fail to deliver. An ex-grade school teacher from Omaha who remembered the name of every single student she had taught, and was quite happy to share with Jack

SERENDIPITY

We used to sing songs on the bus… A happy bunch of kids, without a care in the world, heading off to school.

Or should I say, a happy bunch of kids, and one crazy, disturbed bus driver.
He hated those songs, and he hated us kids. Hated us with a passion defying reason, which ultimately caused him to snap. That fateful day the school bus, with all on board, plummeted from the cliff road… The school run finally silenced.

But not quite…

We still sing our songs tormenting the driver.

Only now he must suffer them for all eternity!

JON

Your Skin Color Wasn’t Relevant On The Radio

By

Jon DeCles

“Taniwa, Fury! It is I, Straight Arrow!”

The bus driver is old. He remembers World War II. He is also aware that you need passwords to do anything after the Millenium.

“Come on, what’s that from?”

“Radio,” says my friend Bruce. “He is a White Rancher by day, but when danger threatens he is the Heroic Indian, Straight Arrow. That’s how he greets his horse, who he keeps in a secret cave. First Native American radio hero I can remember.”

Bruce grins at me.

“It is I, Straight Arrow: and my friend, Not-So-Straight Arrow!”

“Come on aboard!” the driver smiles.

NORVAL JOE

My plan for when I finally lose my mind is that I’ll use my social security check to get a small apartment downtown and a monthly bus pass.
Everyday, I’ll ride the bus to the shopping mall wearing swimming goggles, a speedo, and a beach towel wrapped around my shoulders for my super hero cape. I’ll spend my day eating mall food, assisting the mall cops apprehend criminals, walking around the mall addressing all the shoppers as “Citizen”, and other super hero activities.
Just because I’m crazy doesn’t mean I can’t have fun or spend my time doing something worthwhile.

TURA

Bus
———
“The Routemaster was the best bus ever made,” he said, with a gleam in his eyes. “Built for efficient maintenance, did you know it only takes twenty minutes to swap out the engine? But people say it’s old-fashioned, they go for fads like bendy buses and driver-only, no romance.

“Bradford City Council still uses the Routemaster, and not only do I know the bus manager there, he knows me, and sometimes I can help him get hold of spare parts. You just try finding an original stainless steel throckle bracket these days!”

That’s the last time I date a bus-spotter.

Z

Organizers fill the schoolbus, and hand out signs as the driver carries the group across the city to the protest.
As the passengers exit, the organizers tell each: “You’ll get your fifty bucks when the protest is over and you hand back your sign.”
They join the others, and the organizers send the bus back to the pickup point to get more.
Twenty schoolbuses running a circuit, all morning long, until they run out of fuel.
“We’ll be back,” the organizers say, and they abandon the bus.
At the end of the day, the organizers watch the news, and laugh.