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.

Weekly Challenge #560 – Party

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 shame

CHARLIE

The party lasted a full year. It only broke up after all the drugs were depleted. Three party goers passed away over the year, four couples were married, two babies were born, two children left home, and four declared their wish to transgender AND quit drinking and binging on psychedelics. Oh, and one auburn-haired woman was beamed up on some kind of blue tractor beam into a big spaceship.

Right before this happened, several of us swore we saw Carrie Fisher laughing, in among the faces pointing and looking out of the ports of the craft. I hope it’s true.

MUNSI

The Party Bus: Volume I
By Christopher Munroe

Every bus is a party bus, if approached with the right attitude.

You simply need to believe. In yourself, in the bus and, most importantly, in getting this party started.

Because truly, starting this party is your responsibility, nobody else is going to start it for you. It is your party, just as it is your bus, and it is up to you to start them.

And every moment you put this task off is a moment spent not partying.

You have a responsibility, take it seriously.

Just ask yourself; What would Andrew W. K. do?

And then: Party Hard.

JEFFREY

Office Holiday Party
by Jeffrey Fischer

Every year was the same: Frank, the regional manager, organized the office “holiday” party. Caterers brought food, but the real draw was the open bar. The company paid for everyone to get so drunk that the next morning was lucky to have a skeleton crew at work. Over the years, punches were thrown, friendships among colleagues ended, and several marriages went under.

In 2016, Frank decided to cut down on the mayhem and regrets by having a dry party. It turned out that his employees didn’t much like one another. Everyone left early. Frank’s resolution for 2017 was to bring back the booze.

LISA

What Remains
In a matches strike it started and a slow lick of flame over cedar lit them.

Naked and goosebumped. Together at last, they didn’t notice the dark cold room, their sanctuary. Couldn’t see the wrong in what they did. Led by desire, rather than logic.

And as their eyes met so too did their lips; in a rush of heat as the flames leapt higher beside them. Kindling dried over a long hot summer.

It burnt to almost nothing.

A mess of ash the next day in the fireplace.

Easily swept away although of course dust floats and clings forever.

ZACKMANN

I hate to interrupt since you would make a cute couple. I know I am a killjoy. Being a parent who works security I have been informed of being a killjoy more than once.
You two are so into your conversation that you maybe didn’t notice me walking past every ten minutes for the last hour since the band packed up after playing “Closing Time”.
Do you need directions to the freeway?
The rest of you part left over ninety minutes ago and the clean up crew is waiting to finish this room so you really need to leave now.

LIZZIE

The party was scheduled for ten.
Lucia stressed over everything, the lights, the music, the food, the lights.
“What’s wrong with the lights?”
“Honey, they are crooked.”
“The lights are fine.”
She shrugged and walked away to stress over the food again.
Eleven and no one had arrived.
“Where is everyone?”
Midnight and nothing.
The next morning, Lucia received an email signed by everyone, claiming they had orchestrated that revenge for some obscure reason she couldn’t understand.
She didn’t care. She was still fixated on the crooked lights.
“The lights were fine!” yelled Peter from the kitchen, reading her mind.

SERENDIPITY

I like to let my hair down, in fact you could say I’m something of a party animal.

Although there’s a good chance that you and I may have rather different ideas about what that means.

Because, when I hit the dance floor, strut my stuff and entice you closer; willingly accepting your offer of a drink, laughing at your jokes and suggesting we find a quiet, dark alleyway somewhere, where we can have our own little ‘party’…

You’d be well advised to refuse and walk away.

Because that’s when I become an animal… Although only during a full moon!

RICHARD

Party

Political party – now there’s an oxymoron, if ever I saw one.

Politics around these parts is certainly no party, neither is it a game.

Unless your idea of fun is dirty tactics, foul play, backstabbing, backhanders, spin and lies.

Of course nobody ever admits the truth, even though we all know it. Instead we smile, pretend it’s all above board and correct, and turn a blind eye. We dress up politics to look like something it patently is not.

But, no amount of cupcakes, funny hats and silly games will ever convince me that politics is anything remotely, a party!

TOM

Hail To The Thief
I am a RINO. A member of the party for 45 years. I cannot tell you how many time this party has been hi-jacked. How many time it has abandon its core beliefs. Been led to folly and beyond. I thought I had seen it all, but what is about to happen is truly beyond the pale. I long for a time when conservative meant best use of recourses and not a banner for denying others access to the bounty this country produces. I can only hope my party passes quickly through the gathering darkness and return to the light.

JON

The Party’s Over

By Jon DeCles

It was a great party, or so people thought. Winter nights give way to bright lights, a little too much to drink, the conviction that the cold air will disperse the buzz and bring sobriety. Sometimes it’s true,but it should never be taken for granted.

The canyon is narrow, and even late in the afternoon the sun has not reached the blacktop, and the ice, like the shattered glass of windshields, remains thick.

You can hurry too much, or nod off early. Either mistake is ultimately agricultural. A little twist, a slide. The canyon grows thick with plastic flowers.

NORVAL JOE

The exploration party lit torches and crept into the temple, the wizard leading the way.
Fenestration raised a hand to stop the group and held his torch up to the wall.
Gold symbols flashed to life in the reflected firelight.
Karbunkle growled, “What be the meaning of these inscriptions?”
The wizard hummed tunelessly for a moment, then said, “It is an ancient script. From what I make out it says, ‘All may enter. Only the worthy may leave.'”
With a rumble that shook the ground, a stone slab dropped from the ceiling behind them, blocking the exit from the cave.

TURA

Party
———
An official decided to hold a celebration, following his appointment to a high office. He sent an invitation to General Wei.

General Wei responded, “The inferior man hopes for an invitation. The mediocre man solicits an invitation. The superior man needs no invitation. Therefore to those of inferior rank one must send invitations, to those of one’s own rank one should make the event known, but one may merely hope that persons of superior rank elevate the event by their presence.”

Then he removed the official from his post, and ordered that he be invited to his successor’s inaugural celebration.

PLANET Z

Commander Toschlog organized the first Super Bowl party on the moon.
The hydroponic units produced tofu with sequenced buffalo wing flavoring.
The distiller and reclamators produced plenty of beer and vodka.
And they scheduled plenty of satellite time to handle the video feed.
Technically, gambling’s illegal on the base, but friendly bets that involve covering someone else’s shift or other favors were permitted.
Well, overlooked.
A lot of cheering. A lot of noise.
But best of all, everybody could watch the commercials and laugh.
Because nobody was going to special-order anything on a supply flight for at least two years.

Weekly Challenge #559 – Fun

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:

Occupied by cat

CHARLIE

I always order Chow Fun as takeout. I love the lard varnish on the noodles, and how they slide so quickly down my throat. The other foods I like slathered in lard are tongue, shark fin, spleen, tripe and pig’s knuckles.

I grew up in a family of big people…big people that worked with their hands, and during wine grape harvesting, worked with their big, gnarly feet to crush the grapes in the traditional way.

Most of my family had their stomachs stapled by the time I finished vocational school. I stayed slim by eating rancid oil and mung beans.

JEFFREY

The Job
by Jeffrey Fischer

Hank was the town executioner. He carried out the ultimate punishment when the jury imposed it and had done so with professionalism and enthusiasm for years. The problem was that the job just wasn’t fun any more. Read the warrant, throw the switch, repeat. Eight hours a day, five days a week. (This was a tough town. At least the benefits were good.) Hank told his boss, “The job has no growth potential. I feel creatively stifled.”

His boss nodded. “I understand what you’re saying. Back in my day, it was ‘Read the warrant, chop off the head’ all day long. It’s the nature of the job. But I have an idea…”

After that, Hank got to choose the method of execution: hanging, blade, gun… he especially liked some of the more creative methods. The fun was back.

MUNSI

Fun
By Christopher Munroe

In the morning, in the evening, ain’t we got fun?

Well?

Ain’t we?

I work so fucking hard, I do my job every day, without complaint, and I ask for so little in return. A little fun, in the morning, and perhaps a little in the evening when I get home, and I don’t think, considering everything I put up with, that this is an unreasonable thing for me to expect.

So, I’ll ask again, and this time really consider your answer before you give it.

In the morning, in the evening, ain’t we got fun?

Well?

Ain’t we, punk?

TOM

Bluestocking to Barbie

Girl just want to have fun. Does this rule out real estate, 401K-s, Gold, Diamonds? What exactly constitutes being a Girl? Shouldn’t being over 30 make one suspect of having an elderly agenda? The song seems to be a slap in the face at pay equity, sending the women’s movement new marching orders.

On the other hand it might be a cautionary anthem. The dominate female pleas with the protagonist. “When you gonna live your life right.” The paterfamilias voices a vailed Cassandric concern. “What you gonna do with your life.” What’s the big deal about walking in the sun?

It is a tale. Told by an idiot

Tom you Trotskyite Darwinian Tree-Hugging Papist you’ve totally missed the meaning of the song. Failing to note the sub-text of how the masculation of the fair sex has produced ball-busting Valkyrie. “You say this as if it were a bad thing?” Well the song does. What cost freedom without joy?

Get over the fact that the song was sung by a mid-aged-waif-wanta-be. She was 30, you were 30, get over it. The Boomers failed to change the world. The least we can do is leave songs of hope. In a post Trump world perhaps the best defense is having fun.

JON

It Depends on What You Like

By

Jon DeCles

It’s not much fun being a God in a badly designed universe. For one thing, you have to share it with the other Gods: and believe me, there will be other Gods!

Some of them are pretty nice deities, but most of them resent having to share..

For my part, I enjoy trying to set up my Creatures with the possibility of, within their limits, reasonably happy lives. But some Gods: well, they like to watch Creatures suffer and fight and make war and die horribly. So—

If you don’t like your life: you may be worshipping the wrong God.

TURA

Fun
———
After the gods had created the universe, and the multiverse, and Man, they wondered what to do.

“Consider Man,” said one. “Man invents obstacles, then overcomes them. This he calls ‘fun’.”

“What is an obstacle to the gods?” said another.

“This!” said one, and split into a billion stars, each a fragment of the whole.

“This!” said another, setting to study what was, before the gods.

“This!” said a third, and placed a sliver of himself into a Man.

One day they will end their fun and return to themselves, and their creations will vanish like a dream upon waking.

LISA

Follow the Rainbow
She’d slept with the light on.
It was pink. A metallic glittered hue. It sparkled from across the room.

A girls dream come true. A scooter. The one that chalked as you rode. Painting a rainbow behind you in the city streets.

Pom-poms from the handlebars shed glitter on her floor next to a discarded shoe.

Mum calling from downstairs broke the morning silence.

“I don’t know what time you got in last night my girl. Or what drunken state you were in. But you’re gunna be late for work. And you need to take that fucking scooter back.”

RICHARD

Fun

“Let’s do it”, she said, “it’ll be fun!”

And that’s how I ended up going on my first, and quite definitely my last ‘Mystery Trip’.

Four hours on a bus, with a load of elderly idiots whose own idea of fun was singing endlessly throughout the journey: To be deposited in a depressing historical town, in the pouring rain, whilst a bored guide took us on a whistle-stop tour of the sights, then abandoned us to shopping all afternoon.

Then four hours back on the bus.

The only mystery to me, is how anyone can call this fun!

SERENDIPITY

You know what they say – girls just wanna have fun – and, when it comes to men, I can’t deny that it’s true.

We’ll break your hearts, take over your lives, destroy your dreams and take you for a ride. You’ll pander to our needs, fulfil all our desires and worship us with your mind, soul and body.

Then, once we’ve tired of you and feel like moving on, we’ll take you for everything you have and leave you empty, destitute and helpless.

And all this, sanctioned and supported by the law.

Around these parts, we call it ‘marriage’!

LIZZIE

Her last wish was to have the room filled with balloons.
While she was sleeping, they brought them in.
The look on her face when she woke up was extraordinary.
She smiled, her eyes sparkling with excitement, mesmerized by the soft swaying of a multitude of colors.
Suddenly, she reached for the cord of one of the balloons and frowned.
“What is it, sweetheart?”
“Mommy, we must free them now. They won’t be happy locked in here.”
So, they opened the window and, one by one, the balloons were set free, as was her young tired heart later that night.

NORVAL JOE

Thurbing reached toward the glowing keystone, but withdrew his finger before touching it,
“That’s hot. I can’t touch that. I’ll burn myself.”
“Aye, Son. Ye can,” Karbunkle said. “Ye weren’t brought on this quest for fun.”
Thurbing took another step back. “I’m not talking about fun, Dwarf. I’m talking about permanently maiming myself.”
“Enough foolishness,” Beechbark said, took Thurbing’s arm by the elbow and wrist, and pushed his hand against the keystone.
To Thurbing’s surprise, the keystone pushed into the wall of the temple without his hand bursting into flame.
With a rumble, a passage opened in the temple wall.

PLANET Z

My T-shirt says: We put the “FUN” in “Fungus!”
Why?
Because I went to The Mushroom Museum in Zagreb.
Where is Zagreb?
It’s in Croatia. It’s the largest city and capital of Croatia.
They have many museums there, but I liked The Mushroom Museum the best.
It’s a nice place.
Plus, you can take home as many samples as you want.
I filled my pockets with the “special” mushrooms.
But Customs stopped me at the airport, and they seized my entire haul.
Except for this T-shirt.
Which is made out of “special” mushroom fibers.
Let’s eat it and get stoned!

Weekly Challenge #558 – Key

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:

Too damn cute

JEFFREY

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.

CHARLIE

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.

~~

2.
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.

RICHARD

Any key

‘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!

LISA

Key
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.

Her train.

She left the house in a daze.
And as she shut the door. Saw it there in the keyhole.

SERENDIPITY

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!

TOM

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.

JON

“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.”

MUNSI

The Keymaster
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…

LIZZIE

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.

TURA
Key
———
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?

NORVAL JOE

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.”

PLANET Z

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.

Weekly Challenge #557 – Christmas Special

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

Homecoming
by Jeffrey Fischer

Billy wanted only one thing for Christmas: his Dad. You see, Billy’s Dad was deployed in Afghanistan, and Billy had not seen him for a long time. Billy’s Dad decided to surprise his son by arriving at the boy’s school dressed as Santa. Santa read the class a story, then the teacher asked Billy what he wanted for Christmas. “An X Box One,” he replied. “Anything else?” the teacher prompted. “Oh yeah, my Dad home.”

Santa took his cue. He removed his white beard and eyebrows, and the rest of the class gasped. Santa was really someone else? Then Billy’s Dad kept going, removing his nose, his cheeks, and his jaw. The bony face stared at Billy, who screamed in terror. Billy’s Dad might have been killed in action six months before, but there was no way he would miss Christmas with his son.

CHARLIE

The Grand Christmas or Christmastide Special was the yearly service and favor Eddie administered to Judi around Yuletide. Eddie always supplemented his gift each passing Christmas. He planned to introduce technology into this year’s favor, along with the customary, beefy, Yuletide Log, and a few odds and ends from the technology and electro-mechanical realms.

Eddie started with a few items he hid in the pantry. He began with the special ingredients. Imported chocolate and truffles where the components of the salted almond truffle tart.

He ground the beans, measured and heated the water and brewed a carafe of hand-poured coffee.

MUNSI

Christmas Movies
By Christopher Munroe

Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie. This isn’t controversial.

It takes place during Christmas, at a Christmas party, and as the film unfolds Bruce Willis learns lessons about family in true, if atypical, holiday fashion.

My second favorite Christmas movie? Gremlins. A whole town coming together over Christmas, working as one in the spirit of community.

Third favorite? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

This one’s slightly questionable, but it DOES begin and end during Christmas, even if what happens between isn’t particularly festive.

And, in terms of “Most Nazi Sex Dungeons,” it’s the greatest Christmas movie ever made…

RICHARD

Festive

There’s a factory near me that makes Christmas decorations – ‘Festive Productions’.

You’d think it’s a seasonal thing, but production lines are open all year – it takes that long to amass enough stock for the holidays, and you’d be surprised how many Christmas trees and fake snow are sold out of season too.

I was offered a job there, but turned it down – can you imagine a whole year of tinsel, fairy lights and Christmas ornaments?

It must drive the employees mad, especially at Christmas, when there’s no escape.

The last thing they’d want to be, is festive!

TOM

Little Lies allow you believe Big Lies

If a liar tell you he is lying is he telling the truth? If an honest parent tell you they have lied could they be lying about lying? Case in point: Santa is real. Verified by highest local authority your parents. Time passes the story changes. Santa isn’t real. Has a parent lying about lying? Where in this chain does truth fall? I for one believe parents have indeed lied about lying and Santa is real. Where would Christmas be without Santa? A cold dark winter night without presents. When’s the last time you got gifts on someone else birthday?

JON

And to All a Good Night!
By
Jon DeCles

Our nest has never been empty. Some live at home, some come for the holidays. Last year one of the little no-neck monsters let out my prize python and the whole of Christmas Eve was a snake hunt. This year will be different.

In England people come home and tell horror stories around the hearth. I have some great stories prepared. They will all be ready to rush off to bed, ready to let Santa come and save them.

A fellow herpetologist has loaned me enough vipers for all the beds. Next year the nest will, at last, be empty.

SERENDIPITY

You shouldn’t believe the rumours that I don’t exist – that’s just a bunch of spoilsports, determined to ruin the fun of Christmas!

So, if you keep your side of the deal, I’ll keep mine. So, don’t forget to hang up your stocking, leave out that mince pie and a tot of brandy, and don’t forget to go to bed early.

Then I promise I will come down your chimney and eat and drink the goodies.

Then I’ll stuff your stocking in your mouth, put my hands around your throat, and squeeze until you’re dead.

Ho, ho, ho…

Merry Christmas!

LISA

Behind You
Christmas windows like stage sets line my icy walk home as I button up tighter.

I come out like the gritter lorries.
The Santa suits crumpled at the far end of a boarding house clothes rail.
I’m eggnog and a mince pie.

I miss the lights in shops that twinkle like stars through misty mornings. I pass as shoes are dropped and princes piss against bins.

Every year the lines the same. The joke almost, at the end of the pier Christmas show. The once famous. The has beens. And the nearly made its.

Christmas to me, just means work.

LIZZIE

Sit down and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds of the season. They’ll ask questions, many questions. The glitter on your nose? DIY presents. The wound on your thumb? Damn sharp box cutter. The red on your hands? Painting stuff red. There should be some green somewhere. The purple bite on your lower lip? An over-excited kisser who spotted mistletoe and plunged into your arms. The ripped Rudolph-sweater? An over-zealous security guard at the entrance of the building. Nothing much. You’re not even angry that he destroyed your favorite Christmas sweater. But, remember, whatever they say, deny it all.

TURA

Christmas among the Desert Fathers
———
Abba Jerome went to visit Abba Macarius. “A young monk has told me of a new custom in the cities,” said Abba Macarius. “They call it ‘Christmas’, but I cannot say how it concerns our Lord.”

“Show me this celebration,” said Abba Jerome.

“I shall give you this rock,” said Abba Macarius, “for at Christmas people give things to each other.”

“Then I shall give you this rock also,” said Abba Jerome.

“They they have a meal together,” said Abba Macarius, and in silence they ate their daily fragment of dry bread dipped in olive oil.

So they celebrated Christmas.
———

NORVAL JOE

Long John followed his master up the stairs to the woman’s apartment. The jangling bells on his collar were as embarrassing as the reindeer antlers protruding from behind his head.
His master knocked on the door and waited only a moment before the woman opened it. She bared her teeth. Barking, she picked up Long John. He assumed it wasn’t an aggressive move, as she had never attacked him in the past.
The woman squeezed him to her chest. Then, still barking, she put him on the ground.
She turned to his master, kissed him and said, “Merry Christmas, Dergle.”

ZACKMANN

I remember sitting by the radio with my father listening to rebroadcasts of Old Time Radio featuring Murphy Brown and her famous father. Their jokes were often wooden. Then hearing songs like I’m Jimmy Durante-claus. Also watching Charlie Brown and Claymation specials. When the kids were young we would watch my video of The Toy That Saved Christmas or borrow Christmas specials from the library. Now my wife finds so many dull shows on OnDemand and Netflix to watch instead of holiday specials that I’m in the other room listening to Bell’s in the Batfry and Teknikal Diffikulties Christmas shows.

PLANET Z

Looking out the window, there’s a Coca-Cola billboard with a Santa in a red pickup truck, looking out the passenger window with a Coke bottle in his white mitt and a creepy stare on his face.
Everyone on this side of the building has to look out at this creepy Santa billboard, and they can’t wait for Christmas to be over.
Me, I don’t mind.
I don’t work on that side of the building, so I don’t see it.
And because of my kidney stones, I can’t drink Coke anymore.
So, stare all you want, fat bastard. I ain’t buying.

Weekly Challenge #556 – Dark

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

MUNSI

The Darkness
By Christopher Munroe

Whatever you do, in this life, the Darkness will always be there, waiting for you. Always.

The band, I mean.

I’m not in any manner of existential crisis at the moment, and while I do live with mild depression I’m in a fairly stable emotional headspace as I write this. I’m just listening to a lot of The Darkness, lately, because I’ve been in a throwback ‘80s metal kind of mood.

So yes, whatever you do, The Darkness will be there, waiting for you.

Because they believe in a thing called love.

Just listen to the rhythm of their hearts….

JEFFREY

Brought to You by Allstate
by Jeffrey Fischer

For a while, I drove home with the sun directly in my eyes. My fault for living west of the Metro station, I know. But I got used to it, and slowly the sun dipped a little lower, a few minutes each day. Finally, I could see again, and so could the crazy home-bound drivers surrounding me.

Then the insane invention known as Daylight Savings Time ended in early November, and, as I left the Metro car that first Monday evening, it was pitch-dark outside. It turns out everyone thinks he can drive well in the dark but no one actually can.

And, in the morning, driving east, the sun is directly in my eyes. Who invented this concept? The insurance industry?

RICHARD

#1 – The Writer (Part 1)

It was a dark and stormy night… The wind rattled the window panes, and the rain hammered against the glass.

Irritably, the writer tore the paper from his typewriter, throwing it onto the growing pile on the floor.

It was shocking that after all these years, the best he could manage was clichéd ramblings and stock prose. He may as well be writing greetings cards, not novels!

In a sudden burst of rage, he kicked out at the pile of wastepaper, scattering sheets everywhere in a flurry of crumpled pages, before storming off to bed.

Maybe sleep would bring inspiration?

#2 – The Writer (Part 2)

It was a dark and stormy night, and strange things were afoot in the writer’s study.

Fluttering papers shifted in unexplained motion, discarded pages moving, as if captured in eddies and gusts, and unseen whispers of wind.

As night marched onwards, the pages fluttered and floated upwards, gravitating towards the writer’s bedroom, to hover above his face.

Imperceptibly at first, then with gathering momentum, ink ran from the paper in thick, dark, drops. Trickling over his face, seeking out his eyes, his mouth, oozing into his ears and nose.

The writer awoke, screaming, as the first light of dawn broke!

#3 – The Writer (Part 3)

The writer sat in the morning sunlight – the dark thoughts of last night, just a faded memory.

Feeling strangely inspired, he began typing – fingers moving of their own volition, as words and ideas poured unbidden onto the pages.

All day, he continued until finally, it was finished. Quite the easiest novel he’d ever written!

Retiring to his bed, he congratulated himself on a job well done.

In the darkness, the words seethed… Who did he think he was taking credit for their work?

Silently, slowly, the dark ink ran, and the pages returned to their pristine blank state.

CHARLIE

He was short, dark, and butt-ugly. His mother had eaten too much candy containing Aspartame when she carried him.

As a mature man, he didn’t spend much on his wardrobe, as he felt it wouldn’t make a lick of difference in the acceptance he would get in the community. He also saved a lot on housing, prophylactics, automobiles, theater tickets, and restaurant dining.

Lenny did invest his money in entrepreneurship, and made a fortune by opening unique and popular businesses in his area.

Soon, as his bank account grew, many realized Lenny’s idiosyncratic looks worthy of attention and their friendship.

WILL

“Study hard, or you won’t get a good job,” threatened his teachers.

“Behave, or you won’t get any Xmas presents,” nagged his mother.

But Sambo didn’t care about an ordinary job. He couldn’t give tuppence about pleasing Santa, Nick, or Father Christmas. Sinterklaas was the one that he aimed to impress.

His plan worked beautifully. Sambo was kidnapped on Christmas Eve, never to be seen again. Now he lives in Northern Scandinavia, works one day a year, and lives it up from January to November with the other naughty boys. With their darkened skin, their own mothers wouldn’t recognize them.

LIZZIE

Passports, check. Boarding time, check. “Here we go!” Flying wasn’t always an easy endeavor but the enthusiasm was big. A small group united in their will to win, as they had so many times in a recent past. They kept their eyes on their future, as they should. Then, a horrifying twist of fate put an end to everything. It put an end to lives… Children lost their fathers, wives lost their husbands. Mothers and fathers, families, friends, had to mourn their loved ones. It was raining. The pages of the passport fluttered in the strong wind amongst the wreckage.

LISA

Snow Globe
It was unexpected. As it always was.
Took us all by surprise. As it always did.
No logic to when.

A darkness that swept us up, followed by almost an upturning although none of us ever fell.

A shake rocked our world.

Frozen in time the snow flurried round us, drifted, stopped the traffic although even the elders could never remember it moving.

Almost as soon as it began the quaking stopped. As if we were on solid ground again. A stability as the snow swirled down rebounding against a solid sky.

Rested over our scene.

And calm was restored.

TOM

Against the Tide

Jack Dark was a most interesting man. A vast intellect and soul of unparalleled depth. The council to the powerful and rich, but at the same time an advocate for those with little or no voice. No less of a man who knew well his short comings and failings. Kept his darker demons at bay and let the angels of better his nature wheeled the flame sword of justice. Quick in action, slow to anger. In a time of darkness he shown like a black light and all who following in his shadow found their way thru this endless night.

JON

Dark Ties

By Jon DeCles

Dark is not the absence of light; it is the absence of usable light. If you are in a tunnel underground, your eyes will find a tiny candle adequate. But someone standing between you and the Sunwill be Dark, invisible to your vision.

In our Dark house all the lighting is wrong. You cannot see your face in a mirror if the light comes from behind. Worse, lights above a mirror, rather than at the sides, shine down and make dark shadows on your face. The place you cannot see to knot your tie is the definition of Dark.

SERENDIPITY

Don’t be afraid of the dark… There’s nothing lurking in the shadows to be fearful about. Neither are there monsters hiding under the bed, waiting to grab your leg as you vault the gap between floor and blanket.

These are all illusions: Creations of an overactive mind, and deprived senses.

They’re not real, and they certainly cannot harm you.

Old Nietzsche had it right – the true darkness lies in the mind; and if you do gaze into that abyss, it will gaze right back at you…

Now, look into my eyes…

And see what really lurks in the dark!

TURA

Dark
———
I got up from my desk and answered the doorbell. “Come in, Janet,” I said. I turned on the hallway light, it being a gloomy midwinter afternoon.

Janet, my research student, had spent the last month visiting European libraries and archives to examine some original documents from the Middle Ages, many never translated.

We discussed what she had found, and she left me a copy of her digital transcriptions and audio notes. It was well into the evening before I saw her out.

I closed the door and turned out the light. For it is always light, where I am.

NORVAL JOE

Though it was dark, simple deduction told them that the five cars ahead of them blocked the highway completely, and they weren’t getting past in that direction.
“Can we turn around and go back?” Ferret asked Mickey without taking her eyes from the blockade.
In answer, the four by four appeared over the rise behind them.
Ferret waited until the the truck bore down on them and then gunned the minivan, spinning a doughnut in the median between lanes of the highway. Less maneuverable than the van, the truck had to jam on the breaks to try to follow them.

PLANET Z

Dr. Odd found abortion to be morally repugnant, so he invented a new form of birth control.
He called it The Dark. It moved the fetus to the dark space between space and time, an endless timeless nothing.
It was perfectly safe for the mother and the fetus. And it was completely reversible, where a fetus could be moved back from The Dark to the mother.
People asked him what happened if the fetus were never retrieved.
“Nothing,” he said. It simply doesn’t exist.
Unless he accidentally pulled it back out while trying to retrieve his Winter wardrobe from storage.