Weekly Challenge #649 – PICK TWO: Minefield, Fountain, Angle, Craft, Sodium, Salute, Engine, Candle, Case

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:

Huggytinny

CHARLIE

The minefield skirted the fountain. If the careless crossed at the wrong angle, the chemistry and the genius behind the craft of the sodium incendiary would remove anything above two feet off the ground.

The giant salute would drive the engine that extinguished each candle in the troop.

In case anyone survived the blast, the entrenched squad would take them out with fifties.

The war started because two idiots disagreed about the demarcation between the two countries.

In reality it was a simple fence line that was at the basis of the war that killed thousands and maimed thousands more.

#2

The case held the candle that was used to start the kindling in the boiler. The boiler produced the steam that drove the engine. As the operator steered the heavy device, he would salute the officers in the stand. He’d throw a pinch of sodium in the boiler.

The heavy machine would later evolve into a seagoing craft. The angle of the bow could slice through the seas, leaving a fountain of spray in its wake, and a veritable minefield of surf at the stern.

Surfers would cheer any time the craft put out to sea or circled the bay.

-Music: Crazy Glue by Josh Woodward

LIZZIE

The train left the station. It was empty. No passengers.
Halfway, the engine exploded. There was only one casualty.
No one knew that the train was packed with cases of secret files, the kind of files that would have been talked about for weeks.
The explosion was not reported in the media.
When John, the farmer, picked up a bunch of bits and pieces of paper off his land, a reporter showed up.
The reporter was told to get the hell off his property.
John packed it all in a box and burnt it.
He knew when to shut up.

RICHARD

Journey’s end?

After many days of trekking through this God-forsaken rainforest, half eaten by biting insects and fearful of the ever present threat of venomous snakes, scorpions and who knows what other terrors lurk in the shadows, we finally attained our goal.

Too late for Robinson, lost to the rapids and crocodiles; but it has been worth the cost, and we salute him for his sacrifice.

There before us: The Fountain of Youth.

The only problem – the map for our journey home had been lost with Robinson.

But at least we now have a lifetime in which to retrace our steps!

TOM

BOOOM
He was a most creative child. Built these Mindfield Fountains. Started out with strings of buried firecrackers, made his way up to rings of TNT. Finally with the help of the Turkish government he cover an area about the size of Rhode Island. It was pretty hard getting volunteers for the project, but the Turks were more than happy to help with that one. Good to the last Kurd. Last I heard of him he was working closely with a sleeper cell in South Africa. Or maybe it was Angola. Some call him gifted, I call him a fuck.

SERENDIPITY

I stood beneath the amber glow of the sodium streetlamp, lit up another cigarette and drew upon it contentedly.

In the darkness across the street, a body lay, rapidly cooling, lifeblood draining thick and warm, into the gutter.

It’s these moment’s I live for: The quiet, reflective peace that comes in the aftermath of violence. Time to dwell upon a job well done.

Finishing my cigarette, I made the call.

The Police would be arriving soon.

And I’d be back too… Only in my official capacity, as detective inspector of homicide.

Although this is one case that will remain unsolved.

JEFFREY

The Art of the Spiel
by Jeffrey Fischer

Kirsten uncapped the fountain pen and tapped the barrel against her teeth as she stared at the blank page. Slowly, word by word, the draft of her speech emerged. This was to be the most important talk of her career and she wanted to craft every sentence perfectly, highlighting her thoughts and avoiding the subject’s minefields.

Unfortunately, Kirsten was a bad writer with incoherent ideas. Even the most exquisitely crafted pen could do nothing to improve the quality of the words on the page. The definitive word on “Sodium Chloride: A Salute to Salt” would have to wait for another day.

TURA

The test for the Controlled Variable
———
The spacecraft, pretending to be an asteroid, drifted on a path calculated to cross the asteroid belt.

The minefield watched the incoming asteroid and calculated its path. It had a nearby mine send a puff from its ion engines that would nudge it into a very slightly different path, that in half a million miles would crash into another asteroid.

The spacecraft sensed the impulse. It puffed gently with a thruster, to avoid the predicted collision.

The mine observed the change of course. Coincidence? It puffed again.

The spacecraft corrected its course again.

The mine exploded. Twice is enemy action.

EVA

Anchovies and Extra Cheese

The candle in the window was a ruse, you know. Men in pristine dark suits following the book by rote crouched behind bushes. Step one, have you rebooted? Step two, is it plugged in? No deviation, ever.

The flame quivered as she laughed, allowing a quick glimpse of the case through the window. Like a scamper of rats they were as she made her way downstairs.

Ding dong and a quick exchange. Moments later a scuffle and the empty pizza bag lay shredded. Domino’s delivers, she thinks.

The documents? On the cat of course, sliding unnoticed into the storm drain.

ASPEN

Held Inside the Magical Craft Case

Bits N Bobs, tacks and threads contained within a tiny space.

Sitting by a fireplace the aged lady, nearing the end of life, had but one enjoyment left. Though the task heavier an ordeal to complete, the mere happiness from within it created was magical. A pin here, a stitch there, buttons for eyes and locks of golden yarn for hair. A doll is born from contents within, to be passed to a child to comfort N love, grow with and hold dear.

A forever friend to hold secrets unbearable to share, created from the contents inside Grannys Craft Case.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert walked toward his home. When it occurred to him he should fly–it was dark and no one would see him–the sound of an engine approaching stopped him in his tracks. He turned to see a car angle toward him.

Though the driver rolled down the window, glare from a sodium-vapor street lamp obscured Billbert’s vision. He raised his hand to his forehead like a salute, blocking the light, and asked, “Do you want something?”

Mr. Withybottom growled, “Yes. I want you to come talk to Linny. She won’t stop crying.” In a much softer, gentler tone he added, “Please.”

PLANET Z

I love floating candles.
My cat Piper loved them, too.
She’d drink the water from the floating candle bowl.
So, I took out the candles and she used them as water bowls.
I needed a place to float my candles.
So, I opened the back of the toilet and floated them in there.
But they’d capsize and go out when the toilet was flushed.
Or clog the pipe if they got past the flapper.
Finally, I’d float them in the spare bathroom’s bathtub.
And they looked really cool in there.
But I rarely went in there to enjoy the lights.

Weekly Challenge #648 – Chaos

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:

Dark

LIZZIE

“A bear. Run.”
A bear? In the house?
He stood up and opened the door. The house was quiet.
At the end of the corridor, he looked down. The stairs were clear.
A step. Then another.
When he turned to enter the living-room…
“A bear. Run,” he yelled.
He’d never run up the stairs so quickly.
He locked the door and hid under the bed, as if that’d help him.
For weeks, social media was flooded with photos of his horrified face when he saw the embalmed bear.
Life became difficult while everyone else was having a laugh.

TURA

Chaos
———
General Wei surveyed the battlefield that portended final victory over all the Empire’s enemies, but his spirit grew uneasy. He sent for the monk Bakun. “Always have I striven to defeat chaos with order,” said General Wei. “Why should I not at last complete this task?”

Bakun replied, “A crystal exhibits perfect order. A fulminating volcano exhibits perfect chaos. Life is to be found in neither state, but in the flux between them.”

General Wei was enlightened. Thereafter, with hidden hands he always cultivated new enemies to replace those he defeated, and so maintained the vigour of the Middle Kingdom.

RICHARD

Chaos!

Chaos reigned.

And throughout the kingdom, the land was at peace; wars ceased and the economy prospered.

These were the good times when the people flourished in prosperity and happiness.

All the nations around were perplexed. ‘Surely’ they mused, ‘with Chaos on the throne, the country should be a mess?’

However, we knew better.

Chaos was a puppet king – all the power in the kingdom lay in his advisors, the wise men and the sages.

Indeed, it was they who had insisted he be crowned.

Far better to have Chaos under our control, than running amok amongst the people!

CHARLIE

Chaos theory is applied to fields as diverse as mathematics, physics, biology and psychology. In the discussion of chaos, The Butterfly Effect is described. A butterfly flapping its’ wings in China affects the weather in the Southern U.S.

My ex, flapping her lips, affected the normally stable state of my mental health. I was chastised for a number of things. Scratching my head, watching junk T V, eating too fast, being too fat, etc.

My wife was a family therapist. This included counseling of married couples. I was her second husband, and after our marriage, she married a third time.

SERENDIPITY

In the beginning, chaos filled the void, and it was formless and without order.

In time, the world was created and the ancient rules and laws of nature were laid down, in perpetuity.

Mankind arose and subdued the world, making it bend to his will and supply all his needs.

The world and everything in it became man’s property: The fields and the mountains, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. And man looked upon it, and it was good.

But man forgot one thing.

Chaos still lurks beneath the surface.

And I’m coming back… Soon!

JEFFREY

The Suicide of the West
by Jeffrey Fischer

When the first bomb detonated, panic ruled the streets. Subsequent explosions only added to the chaos and carnage. Would this time be different? Would this attack on civilians finally be the one to bring together politicians and voters, Left and Right, to call for an end to meek acceptance of terrorism on our shores? Or would it be more of the same: empty platitudes, prayers for the dead, calls for even more tolerance toward those who do not share our values, calls for opening the gates even wider to admit more sick minds, all in the name of “diversity”?

The question is largely rhetorical. The West is dead, a victim of self-destruction, even if parts of the body still twitch, a reflex from those who cannot yet see what has happened.

NORVAL JOE

With the words, “I’m in love, Dad”, two lives were suddenly in chaos.
Billbert and Mr. Withybottom looked at each other and shook their heads.
“I think I’d better go, now.” Billbert handed Linoliumanda the broom.
“Not yet,” she begged.
“No, Linny. He’s right. It’s getting late,” her father said.
Her face turned red and tears filled her eyes. “Dad. You can’t chase all my friends away. I’m thirteen and I won’t be your little girl forever.”
“But, you are right now. Go to your room,” Mr. Withybottom pointed up the stairs, turned, and closed the door in Billbert’s face.

TOM

Today I cleaned out my Desk

My TA would shake her head and say, “The room is in total chaos.” I never liked it much when it was too quiet, always felt things were real buzzing when the under current in the room started to rumble. When voices run and bounced about. I could always talk above the din. Some folk didn’t care for this type of instruction. This is why my year review tended to be split between “fire this guy” and “the best teacher I’ve had.” The dean would shake his head and say “Total chaos.” I say, “one day you’re going to have to fire me.”

ASPEN

Story from Aspen Gwen Womack-Odonda

Wired to think or Wired to feel? One world, consisting of both that are very different, creating a separate planet for each to live on. One and the other incapable of knowledge and understanding of how each part works creating a disconnect of isolation for the emotional being that makes the world they are forced to sit in and endure, unbearable.

Engulfed in flames of feeling that burn to the core, all the while, trying their best to navigate a world of logic that has no commonplace within an emotional being forced to learn logic to exist in Chaos.

PLANET Z

To the media, he is The Lord of Chaos.
But to me, he’s just Steve.
Steve’s a patient of mine.
Comes in every two months for a cleaning and checkup.
His insurance covers only two cleanings a year, so he pays out of pocket for the others.
“I swear, it’s in one of these pockets,” he says, fumbling around his cargo pants and shirt and jacket.
He checks his backpack, then his laptop bag.
I’m about to tell him to settle up next time, but he says “Ah, found it!” and hands me a few bills. “See you in April!”

Weekly Challenge #647 – Addictive

NOTE: I ramble for a bit. Skip ahead to 8 minutes if you don’t want to listen to the ramble.


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:

Cat in face

LIZZIE

She was supposed to read those damn books. She did pick one of them up once. Don’t do this, don’t do that.
She looked out the window. It looked bleak. Pollution, you see. And they were worried because she smoked. She was one of the last few who did. Smoking had been banned.
The door opened.
“Ready?”
She nodded.
“What did you read?”
“That one.”
“Good. You may go. Tomorrow, more.”
She nodded meekly.
Now I need a cigarette, she thought.
She wasn’t sure what she was addicted to, whether the cigarettes or just being subversive.

RICHARD

Addictive

This topic comes at a really bad time for me.

At the weekend, someone I’m very close to, and whose odd behaviour I’d been becoming increasingly concerned about, told me they were on the verge of alcoholism. Currently to the tune of three litres of vodka a week.

You do what you can: You counsel, advise, provide a shoulder to cry on, nag, bully and console.

Then sit at home, worrying if they’re OK and whether they’ve given in again to their demons… Because you can’t be there all the time.

And write pointless words that don’t help at all.

CHARLIE

My addictive personality includes several favorite, known addictions of the modern world. Number one is food, two, the bombardment of the nucleus accumbens with a tidal wave of dopamine, and three is gazing upon the sprawling, audacious, naked body of a puppy at playtime.

Addictions are to be refined and honed once they have been narrowed to those that supply the most satisfaction. Some can be refined to the point that they, too, become addictions themselves. A love of food is one thing, but a love of sweets or salty things is another.

You can be addicted to addictions.

#2

Watching Ramsay’s show, Hell’s Kitchen is addictive. I’ve watched four seasons, comprising over fifty or so episodes. I’ve learned many new dishes, made some new “friends” and
“enemies” of those show contestants, and laughed at the antics of the Maitre’d and the Wedding cum Party planner they chose for a couple of the episodes.

I’m fascinated by the assemblage of personalities that are accepted by the show’s producers. There are very short men that have been stunted by organ birth defects, gorgeous, tall blond women that are not shy about showing off their rounder bits in the dorm hot tub, and mouthy black women that shun authority and team cooperation.

TURA

Addictive
———
People complain that computer games are addictive, but that just means that people want to play them. What are we supposed to do, make games no-one wants to play? Apparently so, because we got commissioned to make a game about the dangers of gaming. Of course none of the kids want to play this lead balloon. That’s what non-addictive means, dum-dums.

But it’s popular with parents, teachers, and the whole educational system, because it’s another thing they can make the kids do that they don’t want to do. Like Orwell said, the purpose of power is power, the final addiction.

JEFFREY

Chick-fil-A
by Jeffrey Fischer

A staunch liberal, Nelson boycotted Chick-fil-A over its founders’ views on homosexuality. Then it occurred to him a lot of people seemed to like the chain, and they couldn’t all be right-wing crazies. He ate there to find out why. The long line moved quickly and the friendly cashier wished him a pleasant day. As soon as he bit into his sandwich, he felt warm and content. He returned every day for lunch that week. Surely the evil chain added something addictive to its food. A chemist analyzed the ingredients but found nothing.

Summoning all his willpower, Nelson avoided Chick-fil-A on his next lunch break, stopping instead at a trendy salad place. “Whaddya want?” asked the surly clerk. “Hurry up, I don’t have all day.” Nelson realized what the addictive ingredient was: pleasant, polite staff who treated all customers well.

SERENDIPITY

You can’t blame me for the things that I do. Just because they may be unpleasant, antisocial, immoral and illegal doesn’t automatically make me a bad person.

I have an addictive personality, you see – I can’t help myself – it’s no different to smoking, drugs or porn. Only in my case, I’m addicted to torture and killing.

And there’s nothing you can do about it anyway, because thanks to political correctness gone mad, I can express myself in any way I want. It’s my right and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Try it… And I’ll see you in court!

ASPEN

written by Aspen Gwen Womack-Odanda

Addictive? Many things are known, seen, and recognized as addictive. The un-noticed addictions left from scarred past experience are the worst.

Painfully lived and experienced from a place within unseen by those around you but burn like a brush fire to the very core.

All consuming friends and enemies intertwined that make up an image that gets presented to you, a mere shell, acceptable to the world in a space of unwillingness and unforgiving making it unbearable to breathe.

Outward standards set beyond our means and control creating an addiction to please that traps you in the hamster’s wheel of…Existence!!!!

TOM

Too Cute to Kill
If you’re going to a have an addiction a hand-held video game isn’t a bad
choice. How much money can you really spend through google games? Wear and
tear on the body? Pretty minimal. Loss of family and friends, not likely.
With all that said, I did actually hit bottom on Panda Pop. I was slumped
in a chair in a Panda Pop Den and this ancient magus taps me on the
shoulder to inform me that 1000 new level had been add. I scrolled down to
delete and never looked back. “Hey Mac pour me other red bull and
schnaaps.”

NORVAL JOE

The policeman closed his notebook. “I can see there has been no kidnapping.”

Mr. Withybotham watched the officer leave before scowling his way back into the house.

Linoliumanda grabbed the broom. “Let’s go again. I can’t get enough.”

“I know. It’s addictive,” Billbert said. “But it’s not the broom. It’s me. Hold my hand.”

Tentatively, she took his hand. Like Peter Pan and Wendy they flew up around the maple tree. They landed on the porch just before Mr. Withybotham opened the door to call them in. He frowned. “Why are you holding hands?”

“I’m in Love, Dad,” Linoliumanda gasped.

PLANET Z

the vet found a mass under my cat’s skin.
then another. and two more.
the surgery went well.
stitches and staples on the incisions.
and a protective collar.
we got home and i let her out.
she ate and drank just fine.
kibble, wet food, treats, and a plate with a dollop of whipped cream.
she ate it all up.
she slept on me for a bit.
then it was time for her pain medication.
she took that just fine, too.
and i had a drop of it.
and another. and another.
so. nice.
maybe she needs some more surgery?

Weekly Challenge #646 – Driver Error

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:

Flump

TURA

Driver error
———
In a traffic accident between a robot and a human, it’s always “driver error”, That is, human driver error. Or if all the vehicles were automatics, it will be “passenger error”. If there’s a human anywhere on the scene, it’s “human error”. “Programmer error” used to be a thing, but there are no human programmers any more. The AIs design each other and learn from the entire lottayottabytes of everything that has happened everywhere since their inception, so of course they must be infallible.

At least, that’s what the robolawyers and robojudges say, and what human can argue with them?

RICHARD

Driver Error

I recently came across an article about how a dodgy graphics driver caused Second Life to wreck printers.

Personally, I doubted a simple driver error could destroy hardware, but it intrigued me enough to want to try.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to write malicious code on my own system, but tech support at work had been giving me hassle lately, so…

It worked.

Too well!

Not only did it fry the printers, it destroyed hard drives, backup servers and – to my horror – the missile launch safety devices.

Now, before Russia retaliates, I’ll just print out a quick apology!

CHARLIE

I was the key driver in the campaign to reveal key, driver errors in many of the millions of Tweets posted. I comment on blatant bullshitery and skanks posting close ups of their belly buttons, or twee twinks posting selfies while holding their shirts up with the other hand.
I began with the obvious. Neon signs reading “OPEN” are usually left on because the person charged with shutting them off at closing forgets, or they turn them on and they burn brightly in the night until they cease to function.

My lesson is: ignore all of them, all the time.

#2

The driver error began with the tray, attached to the steering wheel. It was compounded by the purchase of a double Reuben sandwich, with a large dill pickle on the side.

Moving onto the on ramp and getting up to highway speed was a cinch, since Bob had a new Challenger.

Bob dropped half his sandwich into his lap. The dill slipped out of his grip and shot across the center console into the bucket seat next to him.

He unbuckled and stretched across the seats, just as the semi in front of him braked hard to avoid another truck.

#3

The new order of sex dolls came in, and we started to check them out. The boss wanted to open his new Sex Doll Brothel on Labor Day.

Adjustments were necessary and some touch ups of wigs, makeup, and software. The new models had a glitch and the manufacturer was scheduled to push out some updated code and a new firmware patch.

The firmware patch was installed, and the prepped doll was the first put on line. Unfortunately, a driver error caused the doll to squeeze with a 2 ton force, removing the client’s neither region with an ugly consequence.

JEFFREY

Fore!
by Jeffrey Fischer

Reuben stepped up to the first tee and waggled his new driver. A Callaway Epic Star, this piece of titanium set him back $700 but he was going to blow away his playing partners. He hit the ball with a mighty wallop and shanked it, spinning the ball off the fairway and into a sand trap. The process repeated itself on subsequent holes with minor variations: a slice here, a hook there. In other words, golf as usual. At the Nineteenth Hole bar, Reuben, who had bragged about the new club, now blamed his purchase. “Driver error,” he muttered by way of explanation.

Life in the Fast Lane
by Jeffrey Fischer

The foursome, now thoroughly lubricated after 90 minutes in the bar, climbed into Reuben’s Jaguar. He punched on the satellite radio, tuned to a classic rock station, and sped out of the country club, leaving a small dust cloud behind him from the gravel road. Turning on to the highway, he accelerated until the big car was cruising at 80 miles per hour. Given his state of inebriation, Reuben required all three lanes to keep the car on the pavement as his terrified passengers tried to get him to slow down. When the car crashed through a barrier and sailed off an overpass, Reuben’s last thought on Earth was, “Another driver error.”

SERENDIPITY

They say driver error is one of the main causes of accidents.

Taking unnecessary risks; pulling out, without looking; driving with excess alcohol and drugs…

Those are the assumptions that they’ll make, when they find your mangled body in the equally mangled wreckage of your car, scattered across the interchange.

When they smell the alcohol and find the trace amphetamines in your system, they won’t have to look any further: It’ll be pretty obvious what led to your demise.

Which is probably just as well.

Because I wouldn’t like them investigating any further and finding I severed the brake pipes!

TOM

The monitor of the car kept flashing “DRIVER ERROR.” This didn’t stop the vehicle from climbing to 135 mph. “Look who’s talking, we just past a hospital, a grade school and a graveyard entrance. And I might clearly point out the 25 mph speed limits signs. The screen when blank for a second, then flashed “Fuck You.” Jack press the manual over ride button. The car slowed to a stop, but then started rolling in reverse upto the lychgate. “Driver error” flash once, then the car exploded, but not before the on board speakers wailed, “That mean’s you monkey boy.”

JON

Travelogue

By

Jon DeCles

Eight horses galloped together down the steep and rocky dirt road that descended from the Sierra on the last real mountain leg of the trip from Virginia City to San Francisco. The lady passengers inside the stage coach were grateful for the ample padding of their fashionable clothes, while the men who could afford decent hotel accommodations looked forward to the luxury of hot water in a tub to ease the bumps and bruises that are part and parcel of stage coach travel in the West.

Nobody expected any fallen tree, any driver error, nor steep cliff, nor sudden death.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert and Linoliumanda reached the police officers at the same time as Mr. Withybotham.
The man gasped, “My wife was in the backyard with my daughter and this boy when they suddenly dissappeared.”
Billbert said, “We were playing ‘Broom Races’. Maybe we got carried away. We ran down the street.”
Linoliumanda nodded enthusiastically.
Her dad shook his head. “Mallodora said you two were on a single broom, running around the backyard. She turned her back for a moment, and you were gone. How did you get into the front yard so fast?”
Billbert grinned and shrugged.”Would you believe Driver Error?”

EVA HARLEY

Upgrade

Falling to my knees I gaze upon the trunk before me. Aged, forgotten, as the layers of dust attest. Uncertain fingers find the keyhole in the waning light and I insert the brass key.

Never again, not me, not me…tumbles in a rush from my lips in fear, yet the compulsion is unabated. An onslaught of memories and emotions torment me, yet still I must..

Within…is me, what I once was. Now? A simple data transfer, new external shell, bits, bytes, and processors. Voila. Me. 2.0.

Lies, I think, another advertisement obstructing my view. Then…

Driver error. Upgrade required.

ASPEN

Aspen Gwen Womack-Odanda submission

A tiny being climbs upon the mouse and scrolls the wheel across the long slender keyboard. The adventure awaits in a world of her design.

Approaching a pixelated swirling screen she clicks the button and LIFTOFF!!! into a swirling tunnel of color, magic, and wonderment. Still filled with the vibrations of the fear-filled life shes left behind, yet buzzing with the excitement of the world approaching.

Safety gained lightyears away from reality where love exists and harm an unknown. Guided only by heart, a deep voice within screams ABANDON!!! Suddenly her mouse vanishes into thin air….spinning, driver error, failure CRASH!!!!

PLANET Z

Hospitals can cure anything, really.
Just upload the consciousness to a storage facility, take a DNA sample, make the necessary changes, speedgrow a clone, and inject the consciousness into the new body.
While the clone grows, there are mechanical bodies available for use.
Some people don’t like to wait in the white noise of the mainframe, so a mech lets them keep busy.
Usually, installation is smooth and painless, but sometimes things go wrong.
Families don’t deal well with those.
So, the doctors return the body to demo mode, and it sits and smiles and blinks and remains peacefully silent.

Weekly Challenge #645 – Win

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:

Pillow thief

TURA

Win
———
General Wei addressed an cadre of aspirants to the Supreme Guard, saying, No kingdom can stand without warriors, but if there is even one worthy of the name, then the kingdom may be preserved.

A student asked, What is a warrior?

General Wei answered, A warrior is someone who wins. In everything that a warrior does, every thought and action cuts through to winning. Death is the only thing that can defeats a warrior.

The student asked, Shall one day, even death itself yield?

General Wei drew his sword and sliced the student’s head off. The other students were enlightened.

RICHARD

#1 – You win some…

“Some you win… And some you lose!”, smiled the croupier as he turned his cards over to reveal a full house.

It was a rough night.

I was out of cash; my credit limit had been extended – twice – and, unless I could win my car back, I’d be walking home tonight.

I scribbled a note on a napkin, signing it with a flourish – “All in. I stake my soul!”

He smiled again and dealt my cards.

He wasn’t smiling when I revealed I held a royal flush!

And that, my friends, is how I won Satan’s soul.

#2 – Win, win

I’ve never believed in the concept of a ‘win-win’ situation. I don’t care what the outcome may look like, there’s always going to be a loser, somewhere along the line.

It’s basic physics: You can’t make something out of nothing; every positive has to have a negative, and; every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Some may believe the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, some may talk about The Butterfly Effect, some will always look for hidden strings attached.

As for me: I just assume somebody is always a loser.

I know, because it’s almost always me!

#3 – Winner!

If my numbers should ever come up and I win big time, I’ve already decided that I’ll tell no-one.

I’ll just quietly quit my job and head off to see the world on the premise of being offered a fabulous job opportunity abroad, or something along those lines.

I’ll probably write a few anonymous cheques for good friends and family, and they’ll never know their benefactor, or where it’s come from.

And whatever’s left over…

Will keep me secure and happy, for the rest of my life.

So, if I suddenly go missing.

Promise me, you won’t tell anyone why!

CHARLIE

What’s the criteria? How could he win the devotion of his listeners? Would he have to do calisthenics in the radio studio while some listeners tuned in to the live, video feed? Would he have to go on for a five minute rant about his personal “journey”?

His journey included going on a plant based diet, running the trails in the woods, riding his bike on marathons, writing letters to his young son, or reminding us daily that he was entering the eighth month of his personal journey.

I prefer solo ministries. The one in my head suits me fine.

#2

Most of his evening news show is tedious, as there is a lot of boring and repetitious discussion about the current news and way too much news about Seattle politics, including the amount of money being wasted on managing drugs, the homeless, bicycle trails, automobile traffic and sports stadiums.

I like it when he talks about his old girlfriends in Texas. He always reminisces about Stacy. Stacy never asked questions, never said no to anything new, always had her own money, always smelled like fresh flowers, and had a good vocabulary.

Stacy was the girl that would win his heart.

LIZZIE

At the end of the year, everyone who had turned 18 received an envelope in the mail. It contained a ticket and a note. The note had instructions about what they had to do – go to the Orange Plaza, place yourself within 10 meters of the Beam to travel through time, and wait.
And they waited.
Suddenly, the beam buzzed.
All the kids were turned into mush.
No one had told them that every 18th group had to be sacrificed to feed the Beam.
The tickets were scattered on the floor, a sad reminder of what they could’ve won.

TOM

Third Best Moment in my Life

I’m a gamer. If I listed the games I’ve played it would be way longer the ten, one hundred stories. My favorite was Tempest, but that one wasn’t the one that I consider my best personal win. The 1985 Gauntlet on the home computer was a transient experience. The last level of the game was an open field edged with cave openings you could run into for safety. And what was I running from. A giant winged devil that with a mere touch sucked 1000 hit points a second. Dead in seconds. So how did you win the game Tom?

JEFFREY

The High-Tech Train
by Jeffrey Fischer

Washington’s Metro system touts its new 7000-series cars as the latest and greatest in subway transit. Maps can change dynamically, showing the next stop and each subsequent stop on the line. Announcements are made via a robot voice instead of the driver, so passengers have a fighting chance to understand the content. Each car is outfitted with a small monitor that shows ads touting the Metro system – although it’s far from clear that this is an improvement in anyone’s life – along with specific information about the next stop: whether the stop has a parking garage, car sharing, and so on. One day the monitor displayed a box in the middle of the screen and everything, including the ads, froze. Sure enough, a closer inspection of the screen showed an error message and a suggestion to reboot the system in an oddly-familiar font and format. Good ol’ Windows XP – don’t ever change!

Winner Take All
by Jeffrey Fischer

Zach and Tommy decided to play a game. “Whoever can hurt himself the most without crying wins. We’ll take turns,” Zach said.

Even stoned, Tommy thought this was a bad idea, but he didn’t want to lose face in front of much-cooler Zach. “Okay, I guess. I’ll go first.” Tommy scraped his knuckles until they bled across a rock.

“You call that hurting yourself?” Zach took out a pen knife and stabbed himself in the palm. Tommy ripped off a fingernail. Zach used the knife to cut off the tip of his pinkie. Tommy jumped off a small cliff, onto the rocks below, ripping up his knee and spraining his ankle. Zach thought for a moment, then reached in his backpack for a gun. He shot himself in the chest. With his last breath, he said, “What do you have to say to that, Tommy?”

Tommy looked at the corpse. “I win.”

SERENDIPITY

I call it The Paradox Game – something to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon, to stave off boredom.

It’s very simple – you pedal, to generate the charge that keeps the electromagnet, holding you suspended and safe. Stop pedalling, and you’ll fall to your death.

The faster you pedal, the stronger the charge, the safer you are.

But your body completes the circuit.

And the faster you pedal, the stronger the charge, and the greater the agony.

You might say it’s a no-win situation.

But surely, if you survive, you win?

Either way, I am the real winner here.

JON

Winning Is Everything

By

Jon DeCles

The only good win is the long term win, the one that doesn’t require you to keep looking over your shoulder to see if the relatives of the Viking you slew last fall are coming to get you in springtime, or if the team that you defeated at the end of the season has been training a hundred times harder than you to topple you from first place.

That means the best win is the win/win, where everybody feels like a winner and nobody feels like a loser.

Why bother winning if everybody wins?

Well, it’s a lot tougher game.

NORVAL JOE

Acting like the broom did all the work, Billbert leaned in and shot forward like he wanted to win a race.
Linoliumanda squeeled with excitement and squeezed her arms tighter around his chest.
Billbert had never had a girl hold him so tight, and he liked it. He flew above the trees then doubled back over the houses, invisible in the moonless night sky.
As they approached Linoliumanda’s home, a police car pulled up.
They landed two houses away and walked toward the policeman as Mr. Withybotham ran out of the house, shouting, “There’s the boy who kidnapped my daughter.”

PLANET Z

When Ted was a kid, he was a fan of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Minnesota Vikings have never won the Super Bowl.
Still, every year, he prayed for the Vikings to go to the Super Bowl and win.
But they never did.
Ted played football in high school. And he was good.
Good enough to get a college scholarship.
And then drafted into the NFL.
By the Browns. A team other than the Vikings.
“TRADE ME TO THE VIKINGS!” screamed Ted at his agent.
He refused to play for the Browns.
And shot himself.
He was given a Viking funeral.

Weekly Challenge #644 – PICK TWO Mask, Pinprick, Out of sync, Grapes, Rose, Drive, Print, Darling, Terminal

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:

Clogged sink

LIZZIE

Darling Terminal
She checked her ticket for the tenth time. Stop it! Yes, you have it. She wanted to start a new life without any recollections of the past.
The monitors showed line after line, sometimes too quickly for her to read. Good thing they also used the artificial voice system blaring out information. The flights went out one after the other. And then the system had a burnout moment.
Her flight was called out but to a different destination. She didn’t care. That was her best decision ever. Many years later, she still remembered how he looked, standing at the terminal.

TURA

The train departs from Centraal, a triple-expansion iron colossus drawing a line of three-storey carriages on a double railway track. When it reaches Mitteweg, it has reduced to a single-track engine, racing as if to compensate with speed for its former magnificence. At last the conductor announces, “Terminal, Eindstation. Tout changer, alles overstappen.” Here, the train is a poor thing of more smoke than steam, for at Terminal the steam engine has only just been invented. You may hire a carter to drive onwards, but tourists mostly sightsee around the neighbourhood, then take the train back to the present day.

JEFFREY

The Faces of Intolerance
by Jeffrey Fischer

When masked Antifa thugs smash windows, taunt cops, and assault others, they feel smug and act invincible. Unmask them, however, and the swagger turns to sour grapes about how losing their anonymity is “unfair.” Take a good look at those faces: they’re the brown shirts of the political left, uneducated and gullible, the ground troops of an ideological war that others run for money and power. The puppet masters in the media and political offices pronounce that country borders are racist, that the police are racist, that conservatives are racist. This justifies assaults on those who don’t share the group’s extreme philosophy. When arrested and unmasked, however, their anger turns to confusion. They failed to understand the consequences of accepting lies as truth.

RICHARD

Undated

The older I get, the more chaotic my life becomes.

There’s nothing wrong with my body clock – I know perfectly well when it’s time to sleep, eat and deal with the other necessities of life – my faculties haven’t faded quite that much.

However, my body calendar is a different matter altogether – it’s completely out of sync with reality.

I’ve no idea what day it is, I get confused about when to put the rubbish out, and, to my shame, I never know my wife’s birthday.

She, of course complains like hell.

But it’s really just sour grapes.

SERENDIPITY

It’s the little things that matter the most.

Even the smallest of things: The most inconspicuous, infinitesimal and insignificant occurrences in life can have devastating outcomes.

Take that pinprick, for example… The one you barely felt and almost instantly put out of your mind, dismissing it as ‘nothing much at all’.

You really shouldn’t ignore it.

And if you understood the dire consequences of inaction, I can guarantee you wouldn’t be quite so dismissive.

There are all sorts of nasty things that can be delivered by means of a hypodermic needle; and in your case, I’m afraid that it’s terminal.

TOM

No Name
They’d been all but forgotten by the young queen and her prince. Of course they’d attended the grand wedding. Each had been given a golden pick during the reception, but that was long ago. One by one as each of the original seven had passed-on a black velvet cover was placed over the axe head. Happy, the number two dwarf, was gone. When word reached Snow White she made her way to the humble home of her youth. Since no one way left to cover the pick, it fell to the queen to place the velvet cover over pick two.

JON

A Lady’s Regret

By

Jon DeCles

She was beautiful in her mask covered in roses, but it was the pinprick of a rose thorn, given to her unknowing by her darling prince, that delivered the poison that put her in this terminal condition.

The print on the page of her book went blurry as her weakened eyes went out of sync. She knew she could not drive her little trap through the fields of grapes to his chateau as she had planned. She had dressed as the Specter of the Rose to surprise him. He made such fine rose wine.

But she had made fine enemies.

NORVAL JOE

A Lady’s Regret

By

Jon DeCles

She was beautiful in her mask covered in roses, but it was the pinprick of a rose thorn, given to her unknowing by her darling prince, that delivered the poison that put her in this terminal condition.

The print on the page of her book went blurry as her weakened eyes went out of sync. She knew she could not drive her little trap through the fields of grapes to his chateau as she had planned. She had dressed as the Specter of the Rose to surprise him. He made such fine rose wine.

But she had made fine enemies.

PLANET Z

They took me to a room.
Rose was there with a mask over her whole face to help her with her breathing.
The diagnosis was terminal.
Day after day, I came to see her and bring fresh flowers.
But she was fading, and one day, she was gone.
“So, Mr. Melvin, what arrangements do you have planned for Betty?”
“Melvin? My name is Smith. And this is Rose. Isn’t it?”
They took off the mask. Not Rose.
“Oh, um… I think there’s been a mistake… didn’t they tell you…”
The hospital’s attorneys worked quickly to find where they’d sent Rose.

Weekly Challenge #643 – Flay

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:

Toilet nap

LIZZIE

Roam the land and watch them hanging from a branch, flayed alive by animals with a human face. Kneel. Show them you are inferior. Take a risk and play the game. They will smile and disrespect you. They shaved your head and made you walk naked. They will take your submission for granted. With time, they will believe you. They will get distracted. Then, you will strike back, smiling, holding a whip in each hand. They too will hang, and they’ll struggle to breathe as you did. And they will die, swinging from that branch to never hurt anyone again.

CHARLIE

Bobby Flay taught me how to make a proper, clear broth. You had to be able to read the mint date of a dime at the bottom of a six quart pan of broth in order to pass his initial unit on mother sauces and broths.
His full course was eleven thousand dollars. The courses supplemented his income as a chef, fitness “guru”, merchandiser, and blogger. He was friendly, but thinking of a grown man in a striped jersey as Bobby was silly and childish.
I worked for Flay at the Mesa Grill in Las Vegas plating baby Romaine salads.

#2

Social media advocates decided they would flay me for my Tweets that attempted humor. None of my Tweets were retweeted or liked. Some people messaged me, directly, and browbeat me for being silly and inconsequential. Others made remarks about my lowbrow tastes and occasional indecency.

Lately, I tried my best with proposed names for pop up eating spots. I thought that a name for a sandwich shop could be The Mayo Clinic, and a little soup spot might be called Pho Pa.

I can see you are not laughing, and you are smirking. Well, please kiss my big, Portuguese ass.

——-

*Pho is pronounced “fo” by gringos.

RICHARD

Uncle Bob

Uncle Bob was renowned for being tight. We joked, ‘he’d flay a fly for its hide’.

He never bought a round of drinks, gave to charity, or said, ‘keep the change’; and Christmas was like any other day: He neither gave, nor expected gifts, nevertheless I’d always visit him, with a bottle of whisky; although I never got to drink any. The bottle sat unopened, for the duration of my visit.

I was his only friend.

So, when he died, I had high hopes of being his sole beneficiary.

Guess what the old bastard left me?

The bottle of whisky!

JEFFREY

A Simple Misunderstanding
by Jeffrey Fischer

Vinny patted his back pocket to reassure himself he had his favorite set of brass knuckles. This wasn’t his usual kind of job, but the guy was practically begging for a beating. He left for the studio with a jaunty step. When the studio lights came up, the audience clapped enthusiastically. The emcee introduced Vinny and some bimbo in an apron. When the emcee reached the end of his spiel, Vinny made his move. He whipped out the brass knuckles and thrashed the smirk off his target’s face. The audience gasped and booed but Vinny remained defiant. “Da sign says to Beat Bobby Flay, so youse can stick it.”

In an ironic twist, Vinny’s prison block turned out to be huge fans of celebrity cooking shows, so he spent many quality hours hoping for others to beat Bobby again.

SERENDIPITY

Welcome to the Church of the Broken Soul.

Here, we make no empty promises of salvation and eternal life, we offer no messages of joy, and show no mercy or compassion.

We do, however, preach the truth, and whilst it may not set you free, we are at least honest about it.

And the One Truth we hold sacred, is that life is pain, and suffering; loss, and despair.

Our rituals and ceremonies celebrate and consecrate this simple truth, permitting our followers to glimpse the reality of true suffering, through personal experience.

Now, let us bow our heads, and flay.

TOM

Over Nights for Peoria

The Head of Programing had just fired the entire Creative Dept. The only man standing was Rudy, who somehow made it through the last three purges. He always had one project he kept to himself. Si Reynolds was counting on him. “Ok, kid,” said SR, “What ya got?”

“Marketing ran the numbers on a sub-sub group with 5 digit incomes previously untapped. We have designated them the “Flayers” “More,” enquired the VP. “What we had in mind is a cross between Texas Hold Em, Iron Chef, and An Evening With Marquis De Sade.” “And?” FLAY TO PLAY.

“I love it.”

JON

To Flay

By

Jon DeCles

Flensing knives are used to flay, which is to say to cut off the skin, as when you flay off the hide of a deer before you butcher it. You want to carefully remove the skin intact, so that it can be tanned and made into leather of various qualities, depending on the animal. Cattle and bison produce heavy, tough leathers. Smaller creatures produce more delicate kinds. Kid skin gloves are soft and considered very elegant by many. Delicate knives are needed for mouse skin gloves for ladies.

Flaying alive is a torture popular with a number of human cultures

TURA

Marsyas and Apollo
———
There was never a piper like Marsh. When he played, the birds would swoon off their perches.

One day, Polly shows up.

“Marsh, I hear you’re a mighty fine piper,” he drawls. “Think you’re as good as me?”

Marsh plays, and soon it’s like every crow for miles is coming to mob Polly. Polly whips out a pair of razor knives and he’s dancing, cutting crows out of the air. Marsh pipes harder and Polly dances faster, and we’re thinking what happens when Marsh runs out of crows?

Well, I saw, but I’d rather keep my skin on than say.

NORVAL JOE

A minute later, Linoliumanda was back, wearing her new tee shirt.
“Come on.” She dragged Billbert toward the backyard.
Billbert hefted his broom. “I don’t think this is a very good idea.”
“Don’t be silly. On the command ‘Go’, you shout ‘Fly’ and we’ll race down to the apple tree and back.”
Just the thought of that word made Billbert’s underwear rustle.
They straddled their brooms and Mrs. Withybotham called, “On your marks, get set, go.”
“Fly!” Linoliumanda shouted and ran for the apple tree.
He shouldn’t stand there like an idiot.
“Ffffffffffffflay,” Billbert shouted and chased after his friend.

PLANET Z

There are so many chefs on television these days.
Wandering the world, looking for new cuisines, and yelling at junior chefs in reality shows.
Meanwhile, in my own kitchen, all I need is a cutting board and a ceramic knife.
Raw vegetables are my thing these days.
Just slice up some celery, cucumber, green peppers… dump in baby carrots and sugar snap peas, and I’ve got a meal.
Okay, so I need hummus as a dip, but that comes in a tub at the store.
I take my veggie bowl and hummus to the sofa, and watch the television chefs.

Weekly Challenge #642 – When the lights went out…

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:

Derp

TOM

Always Just Out of Reach

When the lights went out I found a girl under my beach blanket. “Who are you,” I asked. “River Moon Beam,” came the breathy reply. The darkness was drenched with Patchouli and Maui Wowie is was the 70s and sexual revolution was entering its death spiral and I had no idea on that starry night I was about to be become the last M.I.A. Moon Beam hand me bottle of Jack. I took a swallow, she drained it. It’s hard to make purchase in sand, but youth if nothing else is resourceful. Sadly there is no resource for alcohol unconsciousness.

LIZZIE

Late at night, no-one cared. A slow slumber took over and everyone was fast asleep quickly.
During the day, things collapsed. The lamps that had existed for several decades inside the underground survival units were vital. They illuminated every corridor, every room.
When the lights went out, Rachael desperately wanted to leave. They didn’t let her. The air, the ground, you can’t.
She managed to escape and went to the old hut in the middle of nowhere where she had grown up.
Only the ones who left the units survived.
When she flipped a switch again, she felt ridiculously alive.

CHARLIE

As the sedan hit the tower, he heard her scream and the ear-piercing crash when the lights went out.

He rushed to find her on the route home. When he spotted the crash, he leapt out, finding her in the car. She was burned to a smoldering pile of steaming Kimchi, and was still holding the cell phone.

The impact of the car took down the fifty foot steel tower when her car veered off the road.

When the thirty kilovolt lines broke away from the crumpled crossbars, they started a large grassfire that consumed her car and poor Leoliana.

#2

When the lights went out, I fumbled around for the flashlight. Beverly had removed her bra and exposed her giant bosom. “No, no. Put those away! I can’t handle those now!” She teased me a bit, and folded them up and put them inside her top.

Beverly was my love robot. Arriving from the factory in California in a crate, customized to my specifications, she was soon the envy of my friends in the local tech club.

She was self-charging, five nine, had double hinged apertures, blond hair and was green-eyed.

She liked to tease me and play practical jokes.

RICHARD

When the lights went out

I did what everybody does when the lights went out: I blundered about in the darkness, bruising my shins and stubbing toes, wondering why the hell I couldn’t find my way around my own house in the dark.

“Where’s the candles?”, I shouted, “In the basement!” came the reply, and it struck me at that moment what a profoundly idiotic place the basement was to keep candles.

It was also where I stupidly kept the torch!

Cautiously, I felt for the top step, missed my footing and went crashing to the floor below.

And the lights went out again.

Permanently!

Permanently!

JON

The Absolute

By

Jon DeCles

Power is easier to abuse than women’s bodies, or men’s bodies, or children’s helpless flesh. It is also more insidiously attractive than sex or food or fast cars.

She knew that, and she had contemplated it from her earliest realization. She had never for a moment rejected even the shadow of her desire to gain power, and to abuse it to the fullest. That future was, for her, the most delicious.

Politics, Law, and Medicine had all offered opportunities, but she had carefully chosen her arena to provide the fullest range of possibilities.

She smiled, looking out over her students.

What You Can’t See

By

Jon DeCles

When the lights went out we all giggled a little and made dumb jokes about what you could do in the dark. When they stayed out we started to get nervous, being high up in a skyscraper.

Things can go wrong. Many things.

Should we stay put and wait, or try to walk down the aching flights of stairs?

People grow fearful of what people can become under cover of the dark. People talk, and talk starts to breed terror. Our imaginations fueled pictures of horror in our frightened minds.

It was much worse when the lights came back on.

SERENDIPITY

At first you were afraid, when the lights went out.

And the fear grew as you became aware that you were looking down on your own lifeless body; the doctor, frantically pounding your chest; the machines sounding an unbroken, single tone.

That’s when fear turned to absolute terror.

And that’s when you heard my voice, reassuring and calm: “Walk towards the light. Walk towards the light”

You turned and took one tentative step, then another, until you were running towards the light, and into my arms.

And that’s when I turned out the light.

And plunged you into eternal darkness.

NORVAL JOE

Unable to control his thoughts, Billbert rose toward the ceiling.
Fortunately that was when the lights went out.
Linoliumanda’s mother marched in with an snowy owl shaped birthday cake.
“It’s time to sing to the birthday girl.”
The distraction was enough to settle Billbert back to the floor before anyone noticed his levitation.
They sang “Happy Birthday” and ate pumpkin ice cream with the cake.
Billbert gave Linoliumanda, a tee shirt that said, “Twilight Sparkle is my Patronus”.
She hugged it to her and said, “This is so cute. I want to wear it for our broom races.”
Billbert gulped.

JEFFREY

Party Games
by Jeffrey Fischer

McKenzie’s latest party was in its full drunken glory by midnight. I stifled a yawn. Mac was a good guy, if a bit touched in the head, but I was too old for his nonsense and made my preparations to leave. “Not just yet, my friend,” Mac said. “Stay a few minutes. I promise you won’t be sorry.”

When the lights went out, everyone in motion stumbled across a piece of furniture and the room was filled with expletives. I shook my head at Mac’s childish antics and thumbed the flashlight app on my iPhone to navigate safely out of the house. Mac called to the remaining guests, “Who’s up for a game of blind Twister?” and laughed manically.

PLANET Z

And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.
God looked at the heavens and the earth.
“What a mess!” he said. “I should have made light before I made the heavens and the earth.”
God tried to fix his mistakes, but he was hoping to get finished with his project before the weekend, so he rushed things.
“Shit,” muttered God, as he looked at the calendar. “It’s Saturday, and I’m not done yet.”
So, God threw together man and woman, dropped them in Eden, and headed for the airport.
“Watch these idiots, please,” God told the serpent.

Weekly Challenge #641 – POWER

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:

Pot cat

TOM

Eroica

Power is over-rated. Not the stuff that squirts out the wall sockets to fire up your cell phones. That stuff is way cool. No, I’m talking about the force to direct the will of the masses. Raw, of times, evil actions who sole purpose it to show who’s on top. A reminder that there are big people and little people. Not talking brownies and fairies. Talking the folk who walk in marble halls. Funny thing is, in the end, even if you’ve walked in the marble hall, the last marble will reduce all your accomplishments to a hand full of words

LIZZIE

Walk forward. Don’t give up. Even when they say you are not worth it. Power. Even if they… Power… Pow…
The robot stopped its roaming and blabbering. We all stared at it, expecting it to return to life as unexpectedly as it had started to move and talk.
“Perhaps if we walk away and come back, it’ll start again,” someone suggested.
But the robot didn’t move when we all did that, its arms awkwardly stretched back. We shrugged and walked away. The museum was big enough.
The robot rotated its head slowly and reprogrammed the data in everyone’s chips.

RICHARD

#1 – Knowledge

I’ve always been told knowledge is power, so I thought I’d try and prove it, and I’m ready to reveal my invention to the world.

The first knowledge-powered vehicle!

It was surprisingly simple to develop.

There was no need to devise exotic new technologies; no messing about with dangerous chemicals or nuclear fuel cells; and the raw materials are all around us.

It’s essentially a variation of the steam engine, using collected knowledge as combustible fuel.

A couple of encyclopaedias will get you to work and back, whilst a university library will keep you going for a year or more!

#2 – Super?

I was a latecomer to the Marvel Universe… A minor character, written in to fill a gap on a storyboard.

By the time they got to me, they were scraping the barrel for new superpowers: All the good ones had already gone to the X-Men, the Hulk, Deadpool, and all the rest of those A-listers.

I suppose a minor, unremarkable character doesn’t deserve anything particularly special anyway, but I do think they might have made a little more effort for me.

But here I am: Doctor Boring… And my super power?

The ability to make paint dry, very slowly indeed.

CHARLIE

Power was delivered to the wheels through the Casemont confabulator. The spiral downdraft tube assembly provided the high octane oxidant to the Belkins oval-throat chambers at the side of the main assembly. We took our chances when we cooled and boosted both of the Merrymount thrust bobbins containing the spindle head valve jacks.

We installed a dozen, brass, hand formed whipple cups for better lubrication, hoping to stabilize redundant lifter spin at high revolutions.

The zenith of measureable output came the day we readjusted the Neiki spinners in the flux field, allowing more ribbons of plasma to enter the Merrymounts.

#2

Normally I don’t talk about my power…my powers. I read minds, heal the sick, see the future, and I make an earthshaking smoothie.

I keep a low profile, having been pestered by “friends”, relatives, and hangers-on. I exercise my powers inconspicuously and privately. Yesterday, I rode my bicycle past the clinic and cured eleven cases of skin rash and nervous leg. Today, I am buying winning lottery tickets and passing the winnings on to the local Vets Support Dogs club.

Everything is anonymous, but I clip all the news articles and copy the Twitter posts and other social media posts.

SERENDIPITY

During the nineteenth century, the infamous – well, infamous if you happen to be a physicist – ‘War of the Currents’ raged.

An epic battle between Edison’s direct current, which he argued was far safer than the alternating current favoured by Tesla, and championed by Westinghouse.

It’s really all academic to most of us now: We just plug in, and play, and it matters little to us what form our electricity takes.

I’m not bothered either.

I just crank up the power as high as I can.

Because agonised screams and burning flesh don’t care if it’s AC or DC!

JEFFREY

Home Renovations
by Jeffrey Fischer

Frank and Jillian’s house already had some years on it when they moved in a decade ago. Jillian wanted to update the kitchen. “New cabinets and countertops, new floors, maybe an island. Oh, and a higher ceiling.”

Frank said, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”

“Really, Frank? What do you know about home repair? Let’s just hire a contractor.”

But Frank insisted had had seen enough house-flipping shows to tackle the job. He removed the old cabinets, got a friend to help with the heavy lifting, and took down the tiled ceiling. Several electrical wires dropped from the space.

“Hey, I wonder if these are connected to power.” Frank prodded the bare wire with his screwdriver.

Jillian used the life insurance money to hire a reputable contractor to finish the job.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert stood up and set down his butter beer.
“Wow. You’re really pretty”
“Thanks.” Linoliumanda curtsied in her ballerina princess dress. “Here’s your magic wand. It has special power.”
“Really?” Billbert took the wand and waved it.
“Yes, really. Watch this.” She waved her wand at Billbert and said, “Windgardium Leviosa.”
“No. Don’t,” Billbert cried. He knew that the only real power the wand had was the power of suggestion. In his case, the suggestion was enough. He knew the meaning of windardium leviosa. Though he fought to remain on the floor, his grocery bag began to lift him up.

PLANET Z

Dieting and exercise require a lot of willpower.
To eat the right things, in the right amounts.
And not to eat the bad things in any amount at all.
Also, to find ways to burn those calories.
If you don’t, then the problem solves itself, doesn’t it?
You get sick and you die.
Sometimes quickly, from a heart attack or a stroke.
Sometimes slowly, from diabetes or some other disease.
It doesn’t matter, really. When you gotta go, you gotta go, right?
I know a guy who died from eating carrots and celery.
Never mind that he choked to death.

Weekly Challenge #640 – 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:

Derp

TOM

You Never Know

Timmy was an Unfortunate Elephant. He never got the knack of marching in line with the other elephant in the circus. So regrettable the circus owner had to find someone willing to take him off his hand. In a small town in Iowa an elderly farmer spent a considerable time sizing Timmy up. After a fashion an agreement was reached, a fair amount of corn feed in exchange for Timmy. As the circus train pull out, Timmy shed a tear. When news of the circus train’s deadly destruction just outside of Chicago arrived Timmy was no longer an unfortunate elephant.

CHARLIE

My mug was the result of an unfortunate accident. There was an profusion of global grime and chemicals in the atmosphere. My poor, expectant mother was exposed to such pollution, as the official elephant tender at the town zoo in Cape May. This was determined to be the most significant cause for my deformity.

My nose did not grow nor form naturally from the center of my face. It was more of a careless splat of flesh and gristle that “the dread designer” chose for me .

I survived as a bit player in off-off Broadway productions of Russian playwrights.

#2

I came to dread the splat I would often hear on the walk outside my tent. They would parade the elephant by every morning on the grime covered walk, as they strove to raise funds for the global unfortunate that were addicted to drugs and were usually gathered on corners in the city to beg for change with an undernourished dog and a Starbuck’s Mug in their laps.

My time in Seattle as a volunteer was frustrating, as most of the homeless, drug addicted, and mentally deranged refused housing and counseling, preferring to get an airplane ticket home to Kansas.

RICHARD

Muck

Okay, I know it isn’t going to go away… Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

I dread people asking how I became what Time Magazine called ‘The Self Made King of Dirt, Splat and Gunk’; because frankly, it was all down to an embarrassing mistake.

I’d planned to go into organised criminal activity – a mob to rival, if not better, the Mafia. I even had millions worth of promotional material made up, like this mug.

However, thanks to an unfortunate typo that wasn’t picked up by the proofreader…

Well, read it for yourself:

Richard’s Global Grime Syndicate’

LIZZIE

Unfortunate Mug

The fast plane took off with ahhs and ohhs of exhilaration. It was the inaugural flight of a new model. Heads of state, ministers, members of parliament, journalists, an array of dubious reality TV personalities, even football players were invited. Each received a commemorative mug to display at home for curious visitors. When the plane crashed, a few miles short of the airport, the horror was only surpassed by the relief that there were no casualties. Except for the mugs. Nobody cared for the mugs. And no one noticed that each mug had a little spying device. Close call, huh?

JEFFREY

Part 1: Battle Zone
by Jeffrey Fischer

The line “don’t take a knife to a gun fight” was never more accurate than the time I was robbed during the night shift at the convenience store. The guy sauntered in, asked for a pack of Kools, then pulled a knife on me. I handed him the contents of the till, but he had a surprise coming as I pulled my elephant gun from behind the counter. I say elephant gun, but it was really a toy modified to shoot elephant dung over the unfortunate victim. The police had to hose him off before taking him to the station.

Part 2: Cleanup
by Jeffrey Fischer

I’m no idiot: I chased the robber out of the store and waited until firing the dung gun. Splat! It was a very satisfying sound. I knew I’d have to wash away the grime before the morning shift arrived, but hosing down the parking lot was much easier than washing any affected merchandise inside. Our customers weren’t the pickiest. Nonetheless, even they would have objected to dung-covered malt liquor cans and snack food bags. I made a mental note to gather more ammunition from my contact at the zoo before my next shift. I love the global economy!

SERENDIPITY

Two hundred years ago, there were around twenty six million elephants on the planet.

The total alive today, is around one point nine percent of that figure.

The majority: Hunted down, and killed for their ivory.

Let’s turn that on its head and imagine that elephants hunted people for their teeth, instead.

You, your family, friends and acquaintances would all, almost certainly have been killed, and this world of six billion human beings would number less than the population of Japan.

Twenty years, and the last elephant will be gone.

Far more sickening than any story I could make up.

Music credit: Louis Gordon – “The Anatomy of Melancholy – No Beginning and No End”

JON DE CLES

Swifter and Swifter Justice

By

Jon DeCles

It was unfortunate they had decided to show his ugly mug on the global feed one last time. There was dread on his face, and grime, and he was as gray as an elephant. He knew what was coming.

Yet he had persisted in his gross political crimes, opposing the rightful government of the unimaginably rich. What could he expect?

The planet watched in fascination as he stood under the lights atop the tallest tower of the city. They watched as he was pitched into the pit, and watched in flashes as he accelerated downward ever faster, and then..

Splat!

NORVAL JOE

Dressed in a bathrobe, round rimmed eyeglasses and a mascara lightning bolt drawn on his forehead, Billbert approached the door, his stomach filled with dread. He checked the address, 36 Dancing Elephant lane, as the door opened.
Mr. Withybotham glared at him.
“I’m here for Linoliumanda’s party. It’s tonight isn’t it?” He held up the handwritten invitation.
The man handed him a large mug of yellowish liquid, said, “Butter Beer”, and waved Billbert into the living room.
He sat to the crinkling of his hidden plastic bag.
Linoniumanda entered smiling like a myopic fairy princess wearing a single tennis shoe.

TURA

Global Dread
———
We used to call them terrorists. Violence from nowhere, to sow terror. They would be simple things. Set off bombs. Fly planes into skyscrapers. Drive trucks into people. Mail anthrax to politicians.

But that was before. Before smart contracts, decentralised crypto, autonomous vehicles, and not-quite-human AI. Now, anything can happen, anywhere. Mysterious outbreaks of deadly plagues. Random assassinations. Rogue vehicles. Some say that terrorists give missions to autonomous AIs, and they spiral out of control. Others blame secret government agencies. But nobody knows. All they know is we no longer have shocks of terror, but pervasive, global dread.

PLANET Z

The global ivory trade is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of elephants a year.
That ivory mug you’re drinking from? Yes, Dave, that’s illegal.
The unfortunate grime you call coffee should be illegal, too.
I dread drinking this swill. Tastes like the reeking splat from the back of an elephant.
I’d throw it out, but I’d be cited for contaminating the water supply.
Why can’t you just get a pod coffee maker like everyone else?
Sure, brewing a whole pot traditionally is less expensive, but when nobody wants to drink this swill, it all goes to waste anyway, right?