Weekly Challenge #707 – BOOM

Tin

RICHARD

Boom Town

It’s amazing what you can do with clever advertising.

Dingo Gulch was a dead end, no hope, washed out hovel in the back end of nowhere, but the mayor hired a top notch PR company, whose glossy brochures and slick ads sold us as a boom town… And, before you know it, we had prospectors, speculators, investors and entrepreneurs beating down our doors to get a piece of the action.

It didn’t last long, of course, when people realised what a dump Dingo Gulch was, they pulled out sharpish – but not before they’d spent all their cash!

Boom town!

LIZZIE

Boom, and the moon was gone. No one believed it could happen, but it did. The so-called brotherly neighbors from next door, meaning the next galaxy or wherever they came from, threatened to do it and everyone laughed, not a care in the world. Then, it happened. Those damn little green jerks. Ever since they moved in with all that scientific progress, new ideas, new concepts, new gadgets, life was a lot more complicated. That resonant boom was only outmatched by the roaring sound of space ships exploding as they left Earth. Oops! “Should we prepare for war?” someone asked.

SERENDIPIDY

I still hear the boom of artillery, even though the war is done.

I can still smell the acrid tang of napalm, even on the freshest of breezes.

The insistent thud of choppers; the whine and thud of missiles; the staccato clatter of machine gun fire pervades my waking hours, and stirs me from my sleep.

And, over it all, the screams and cries of my fallen comrades; the pungent smell of cordite, sweat and blood.

Even now.

Even after all these years.

And, somehow, I have been forgotten.

For although I was a soldier.

I was also Viet Cong.


TOM

Boom

The second best thing to a controlled fire is, wait for it … things that go BOOM. Yup from M80s to Bikini Atoll, boom just can’t help but put a smile on ones face. Of course being on the business end of boom, not so good. As a rule landmines not of the top ten boom list. That’s boom bad. What I’m talking about is a deep pre-adolescent desire to see thing fly apart with sufficient amount of loudness. I still have a boom scar from my gas pool plastic Bismarck explosion. It was a teachable moment for damage radius

NORVAL JOE

Whatever had been used to cause such a boom in the corner of the cafeteria also produced a large amount of smoke.

The smoke continued to rise toward the ceiling, even while Ms. Frunsio ranted about how much trouble all the boys would be in when she found out who had caused the explosion.

As it reached the ceiling it set off the smoke detectors and the sprinklers kicked on.

Boys and girls ran from the cafeteria, screaming and covering their heads, except for Billbert who stayed to watch Linoliumanda dancing to music only she could hear, water raining down.

PLANET Z

Every time Ricky Ka sacks a quarterback, he gets down on one knee and waits for the crowd to shout KA-BOOM!
And he jumps up with his arms raised.
He racked up a dozen sacks in his rookie year, twenty in his next year.
Defensive player of the year award.
Again and again.
KA-BOOM! KA-BOOM! KA-BOOM!
Playoff wins, two Super Bowl rings.
Then came the injuries.
Knee surgery. Shoulder surgery.
Back from rehab, and then done for good.
Hall of Fame ceremony, he got down on one knee.
KA-BOOM.
He held his chest, fell over, and never got back up.

Weekly Challenge #706 – PICK TWO saucy, holidays, turtle, boom, cluster, chainsaw, breast

Someone missed me

LIZZIE

The regulars at the bar took sneaky glances at the blonde woman who had just walked in. Her long hair swayed as she conquered the room, an aura of certainty about her. The tight turtleneck made her perky breasts tease risky thoughts into everyone’s minds. She pulled up a chair and sat down, facing the room, her feet up on the table in front of her. Wasn’t it such a pleasant little coincidence that the chair had a heart on its back? She smiled. Everyone smiled back. A few waved with enthusiasm. No one knew she had the chainsaw ready.

RICHARD

Saucy

Almost as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realised my mistake.

I’d just announced to a room of friends and relatives, “I do like saucy holidays!”

You could have heard a pin drop, as they processed what they’d heard. A few embarrassed giggles and stifled coughs broke the silence.

“No, you’ve got me wrong”, I blustered; “We were talking about my last trip, and the amazing Italian food I had: Pasta, pizza, ragu… All those lovely sauces.”

The mood lightened, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I’d actually been discussing my sex tourism in Thailand!

SERENDIPIDY

There’s nothing like a cluster of serial killings to excite the press and to instil fear into the populace – so much more fun than isolated murders that barely make the front pages.

And, I always say, if you’re going to hit the headlines, you may as well do it in style, which is why my favoured weapon is the chainsaw – It really grabs the collective imagination.

There’s something special about the execution too. The sound of metal against bone; the smell of oil and blood; the feel of steel cleaving flesh!

Unconvinced?

Come here… And let me demonstrate!

TOM

All Four OnE – “A job is a job,” mused Rudy as he donned his turtle neck and giant head piece. It took three people to get him into the fiberglass shell. “I am the star after all …” “What a sec amigo. Last time I looked there were four of us.” “Yaa, second banana from the right.” “Stop grossing dude and get into character. We are the Holiday Turtles and kids are counting on us.” “To get hit in the face with pies and rock back and forth on our shells. Not exactly Shakespeare in the Park.” “Ok. Ready. On Four. Cowabunga”

NORVAL JOE

Billbert didn’t have to think twice. Linoliumanda had never burned him like Marrissa had. “No. I’m sorry, but I’m here with Linoliumanda. I’m dancing with her.”

He felt guilty when she didn’t have a saucy comeback, but sniffled and said, “Okay.” She seemed to draw into herself like a turtle and sat in a chair by the window.

There was a sudden boom and a cluster of boys in the corner scattered.

“That’s enough,” Ms. Frunsio screamed. She stood on the stage, her breast heaving with emotion. “This dance is over. And there may be no holiday dance next month.”

PLANET Z

For the holidays, we’d take a chainsaw down to the beach and hunt for turtles.
Turkey may be your thing, but a big turtle roast is our thing.
Soak it in the bathtub with grandma’s secret marinade for a day.
We’d dig a pit, throw in a bunch of wood, and get a fire going.
Then we’d throw the grating over it, and as the wood turned to ash, that’s when you throw the turtle on.
Cover it all up, sing a few songs, and breathe in that smoke.
It’s all about family, being together, and eating a large animal.

Weekly Challenge #705 – TOOL

Baby Panther

LIZZIE

“Useless,” said Reggie.
“It’s good for our plans,” said Ronnie.
“The tractor’s rusty.”
“No, look.”
And Ronnie grabbed a rusty wrench.
“And what is that?”
“Reggie, please. I have no clue.”
Reggie sighed.
“You’re so negative. We’ll lift it in the air and everyone will be horrified.”
“I bet they will and we’ll have a concussion too.”
“Ghosts don’t have concussions, silly.”
“Really?”
Reggie grabbed a random part of the tractor and threw it at Ronnie’s head.
Meanwhile, a few meters away, the farmer and his son were watching, amused.
“They are at it again! They should get a life!”

RICHARD

And a corkscrew!

I’ll never forget being given a Swiss Army Penknife for my birthday – it’s one of those rites of passage every boy goes through in order to become a man.

From that moment, life will be spent attempting to whittle sticks, employ the hopelessly inadequate screwdriver, and snipping anything to hand with the tiny scissors.

And then there’s the bragging…

“It even has a tool to remove stones from a horse’s hoof!”

Yeah right.

Because every boy needs one of those.

Although it’s a safe bet, no-one has ever removed a stone from a hoof using a Swiss Army Penknife.

SERENDIPIDY

They say humanity’s rise is due to the opposable thumb and our ability to employ tools; the most remarkable of which, is our brain.

I disagree.

You can’t use a brain to saw wood, or turn a screw. A brain cannot be used to draw a straight line, or measure distance accurately, and it’s useless for holding anything firmly in place.

I know this, because I’ve tried – the end result is always a handful of slimy mush.

You can however use a brain to hammer a nail. Although, you do need to keep it inside the skull to succeed!

TOM

Shinny is Good

I’ve been making the most impractical tool for the last four years. It is in consort with a bay area Steampunk Con. I call it a Spunk Sonic Screwdriver. The idea comes directly from the British sci-fi show Dr. Who. Lots of brass, lots of copper. I’ve got pretty good with a tube cutter. It takes a bunch of filing, sanding, and buffing, but in the end: shinny. I make about 10 sets of parts that I give out at the workshop early the first morning of the Con. The part of done this is people come away smiling.

NORVAL JOE

While the adults searched for a wrench or other tool to repair the broken table, Billbert and linoliumanda went to the refreshment table to get a glass of punch.

Billbert looked into his cup, but he didn’t drink. “I’m sorry about wanting to come to the dance with Marrissa. I was a real fool to believe she wanted to dance with me.”

Linoliumanda nodded her head. “Yea. That was pretty stupid. And her boyfriend is such a tool.”

Billbert felt a light tap on his shoulder. It was Marrissa and she’d been crying. “Do you want to dance?” she asked.

PLANET Z

Whenever there was a problem in our apartment, we’d call Morty.
He’d been fixing things in the building forever.
Miss Jenkins had lived in 3C for seventy years, and she said Morty had always been the maintenance man.
Morty had a sturdy door and lock on his basement unit.
And the windows were blacked out and barred, so I couldn’t see in.
I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“I keep things running good, yeah?” said Morty. “Why question?”
I nodded.
He patted the hinges on the lobby door, muttered “Good as new”, and shuffled his way down the stairs.

Weekly Challenge #704 – STURDY

Sleepy

NORVAL JOE

Just as Billbert thought the principal was going to come unglued on him, he was saved by the girl’s PE coach.

Ms. Gastrock climbed onto a small table and shouted, “Okay boys and girls. It’s time for a little game I like to call, ‘Mix and Match’.”

The students never found out what the game entailed because, as the coach drew in a breath, the table, obviously less sturdy than the coach believed, collapsed beneath her weight.

The principal rushed to where Ms. Gastrock lay on her back.

Billbert took advantage of the distraction and slipped away to find Linoliumanda.

TOM

Balance is a Bitch –

Sam grew up on the north-side of Chicago. No sane parent was about to let a kid bike through those streets. Wasn’t going to happen. One of the selling points of this parent’s move to the south subs was he could final have a bike. “Here,” proudly presented Dad. A red Swing fit for a six year old. “What are those?” protested Sam. “Training wheels. They’ll make the bike sturdy.” Ok, thought Sam and took off with dad’s left hand on his shoulder. When dad let go, Sam listed hard right then did plowed into the sidewalk. “Done think so.”

LIZZIE

The cave hideout stank of bacon. Whoever was there had cooked himself a hearty meal.
The treasure, however, had to be moved.
He tiptoed inside. A lamp sat by the side of the entrance and lit the way.
When he reached the spot, he shoved a few chests aside.
“It’s not here.” In a frenzy, he dug through the sand. “It’s not here.”
That’s when a sturdy little man waltzed in.
“You want the cave? You can have it. I bought myself a new crib.” And he waltzed away.
Throwing a pebble at his head didn’t do a thing, unfortunately.

TURA

Sturdy
———
Her proper name was Amélienne, but when she grew up to be a heavy-set little girl, and not the delicate, wispy aristocratic ideal of a daughter, everyone mocked her with a commoner’s name. “Sturdy Jane! Sturdy Jane!” the other high-born children jeered, while imitating her stumpy gait, until her parents hid her away in the servants’ quarters.

She learnt a great many things among the servants, who became as friendly to her as if she were one of them, and not Amélienne de Coucy-Sancièremont et Carabonne.

Her parents were the first up against the wall when she led the revolution.

SERENDIPIDY

You should always pick a sturdy beam, from which to suspend the hooks. Too often, people under estimate just how heavy a dead human body is, and the last thing you want to happen is to have your ceiling brought crashing down, due to an insubstantial fixture.

Why hang them in the first place? I hear you ask. Which shows how little you know!

The best flavour comes with air drying and a curing process that can’t be rushed.

If you want second rate meat, by all means, throw it straight in the freezer.

But I have more refined tastes.

PLANET Z

Arthur was a furniture designer, and he insisted on making sturdy furniture.
When Arthur was young, his father died in an earthquake, when some flimsy bookshelves fell on him.
So, he was obsessed with bracing everything and sturdiness.
He came up with the perfect balance of strength and portability.
It wasn’t pretty, and some of it was downright ugly.
The military bought some of his designs, and he became very rich
He built a mansion, and filled it with fancy furniture.
None of it used his practical, ugly designs.
So, when an earthquake hit, Arthur died under a flimsy bookshelf.

Weekly Challenge #703 – SMUTTY

Exhausted from having too much happy

RICHARD

Chatty

Back in the Second World War, in Britain we used to have posters, sternly advising that ‘Careless talk costs lives!’

I’ve no idea whether they were successful in preventing German spies from gaining sensitive information – that’s something I’ve never been able to find out.

A life is a high price to pay for careless talk.

And yet, these days, people keep telling me that ‘talk is cheap’.

And, trust me, I can also tell you from personal experience that is absolutely not true… These premium rate sex lines charge crazy rates.

Smutty talk, it seems, costs a bloody fortune!

TOM

Banned In Boston –

In more genteel times books such as “God’s Little Acre” and “Peyton Place” were lumped under the pejorative heading of “Smutty”. Wild people doing wild things wildly. Not what respectable folk should be reading, well actually they did, and a lot. Still it was more a guilty pleasure that didn’t get spoke about in respectable company. Forward the clock during a UU Sunday service a member gave a glow recommendation for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” OK. Then my mom, my mom tell me she just finished “50 Shady of Gray”. I so didn’t want to know that. Smutty

LIZZIE

“So, here is where he writes his smutty books.”
“He writes smutty books, the vicar?!”
“You didn’t know?!”
“No!”
Silence took over the whole room. They crossed their arms in sync and tilted their heads.
“The desk is huge.”
“It is.”
More silence ensued.
“I wonder how long it would take to destroy it?”
“A few minutes?”
They nodded.
“We need to find a creaky window.”
“Boring.”
“So… What then?”
Silence.
“OK, grab his books. We can read them out loud during mass.”
And the two glided on to the next room, sneering. This Halloween promised to be great fun.

SERENDIPIDY

Smutty, Salacious, Kinky, Stinky, Buggery, Thuggery and Cock: The seven alternative dwarves that somehow never made into the story books.

Forced to scratch a living from the seamier side of life, they finally found employment as key players in my crime syndicate, doing my dirty work and – no doubt – enjoying a few carnal pleasures along the way.

And, speaking of carnal pleasures, I have needs too.

Needs that are well attended to by my seven minions, and trust me, their stature isn’t replicated where it matters!

Don’t look so shocked – after all, I’m no Snow White!

NORVAL JOE

Ms. Frunsio’s mouth dropped open. “You boy’s with your smutty thoughts and behavior. And you admit that you took advantage of that innocent girl.”

Billbert blinked and shook his head. “No. I didn’t take advantage of Linoliumanda. I took advantage of the situation. She wanted me to kiss her.”

The principal shook her finger at him. “Don’t try to justify your behavior. You can’t know what she wanted, unless you can read minds.”

Billbert couldn’t help himself. “I did know what she wanted. She kissed me first.”

Frunsio gasped in shock. “How dare you cast aspersions on that poor girl.”

KRISTIN

he secret to happiness?

Suffering. Gotta suffer before you smile.

Me? It started with a cough. Mucus, then blood.

Next day, I barely breathed. Doctors said it grew up my windpipe in threads.

Week later, it swelled into white, hard buds on my neck.

Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. Wanted to die.

Then one morning, I felt threads growing, spinning webs under my skull. A flash. Then, the pain in my head disappeared.

Now? I feel good. Only my smile hurts. The whole world should feel this way.

So come on, nurse. Open up. Let’s spread a little happiness.

PLANET Z

Jim Jackson was the greatest comedian.
He would have made for a great sitcom guy. Or even a talk show host.
But the mouth on him! The shit he’d say!
Sure, Carlin went from his curseword-filled act to Shining Time station, a kids show, but Jim? He was toxic.
Even the streaming services gave him a pass, too. Maybe they’d shoot his act for a special, but a sitcom or a talk show?
No, not Jim. They’d never get him off tof he road
“Fine,” said Jim. “If I can’t have the pussy come to me, I’ll go to it.”

Weekly Challenge #702 – PICK TWO avoid, intertwine, den, get, fudged, meltdown, tan

Flump Friday

TURA

Void; intertwine
———
Planet Nine turned out to be a black hole. Too far away for a robot probe, so we sent a manned mission. I was the man, in cold sleep most of the way out to the Void.

As I finally approached, the Void looked into me, tendrils of thought intertwining with mine. Suddenly, I was sucked out of my body, while the entity exultantly vanished.

I see my dead body on the ship. I see the entire Solar System, down to the smallest sparrow in the skies of Earth. I seem to have replaced God. Until the next expedition arrives.

TOM

The Weather Out Side Is Frightful

Second Sub Commander Zod sprinted down Deck 42. The inner hull temp was climbing dangerously high. Time was running out. Three Miltrons from the escape hatch was a large transparent aluminum frame. Within read the following in Siduble, “To Avoid Meltdown brake glass.” Lacking any object of sufficient mass to brake said glass Zod pulled off his center combat boot and gave the glass his all. Shards tumble inward as the void outside pulled everything not nailed down into deep space. This include Second Sub Commander Zod. While space is cold mistress a meltdown is far worst for a Space Snowman.

SERENDIPIDY

Avoid the widow’s den,

For she will lure you in;

And once she has you there

Her scheming will begin.

She’ll turn your thoughts to lust,

And then she bends your will;

And having gained your trust.

She moves in, for the kill.

As blissfully unaware

You fall into her arms;

Enraptured by her stare,

Succumbing to her charms.

She stabs you in the back

Then poison floods your veins

She’ll suck the life from you

Till nothing more remains

So, beware the widow’s den

And never stray within

For the spider lies in wait

For the mating to begin

RICHARD

Intertwined

Part 1

When the reactor went into meltdown, all hell broke loose. Not just in the way you might think – all that was to be expected, and very much in the public eye.

But, behind the scenes, there was a massive cover up being orchestrated. Reports were fudged, witnesses paid to keep silent, and evidence shredded. We knew it was wrong and that the public deserved the truth, but the personal cost to us was just too great.

So, the great lie somehow became, the great truth.

The cleanup began. Things were put right. And nobody suffered.

Well, none of us.

Part 2

So, the gang hatched this crazy plan to build a new den, and the crazy part was that we was gonna build it down in the woods, inside the Exclusion Zone!

I didn’t wanna do it, but Jake was callin’ me chicken, and I wasn’t gonna stand for that! So’s, that’s how we ended up that Saturday, where we’d no rights to be…

Jake was first to get sick… Started pukin’ all over the place. Then, next few days, Tom, Sid and Blue all went down with it bad.

Jake died.

I was lucky, just got an all over tan.

Part 3

Those lads were poking around again, seems that some people just can’t avoid the place; doesn’t matter how many signs you put up, how many times you tell them to get the hell out of here, get lost and get back home, they still come back for more.

Mind you, I can’t see the harm in it. I mean, look at me, been guarding the place for a year now, and fit as a fiddle.

Well, sort of. I grant you, my hair’s been falling out of late, and there’s the bleeding gums, and the rash.

But, nothing much, really.

NORVAL JOE

Being one who always wanted to avoid a confrontatoin, Billbert searched for a way to get out of this interrogation with the principal. He’d always heard that if you want adults to leave you alone, just act dumb. He cracked a stupid smile. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Ms. Frunsio’s face went red, clearly headed for a nuclear meltdown. Through gritted teeth she snarled, “Then why did you look so guilty?”

Not wanting to intertwine Linoliumanda in the inquisition, he told a white lie. “When the lights went down, I took advantage of he situation and kissed Linoliumanda.”

LIZZIE

The page of her diary stared back at her, empty, looking for comfort. The meltdown drained her energy and got a hold of her willingness to fight back. The diary would always bring her some comfort. Not today. The past would never change and she was too tired to change the present so her future could make more sense. Smile, she thought. And what she saw was a distorted and pathetic face. Don’t smile. It’s better. Just keep calm. She took a deep breath and sat back. The page of her diary stared back at her, empty, looking for comfort.

PLANET Z

Weekly Challenge #701 – NET

Yawn

NORVAL JOE

Surprised by Ms. Frunsio’s request, Billbert could only shrug. “Okay. I guess.”

When Linoliumanda started to follow, the principal held up her hand like a traffic cop and said, “No. Just the boy.”

At the side of the dance floor, Funsio turned on Billbert. “I saw that guilty look on your face when the lights came on. Tell me what you had to do with this fiasco, and don’t lie. You could easily be caught in the web of your own deception.”

“My what?” Billbert was truly confused.

“Don’t toy with me, boy. I know you’re guilty,” Ms. Frunsio said.

TOM

Wife and Three Kids

It was the mid-80s and the river of money was running deep in Bay area. Unfortunately my oldest friend had moved to the center of dying America. Farming communities in the Midwest were being depopulated by the effect of the Clean Water Act. He had bought a failing cake shop and gave it his all for 3 years. With a wife and three kids Dan was always on the edge of going under. On one late night call he told me he would measure the level of gas in his car to compute his current net worth. Times were tough.

SERENDIPIDY

He sat on the edge of the bed, transfixed, as I slowly removed, first my blouse, then slipped out of my skirt.

I swear he was drooling as I snapped off my suspender belt straps, then slowly and sensuously began to roll my fish net stockings down, and off, dropping them carelessly on the floor at his feet.

His eyes filled with lust as I teased off my lingerie.

Then lust became horror, and disgust, as I produced a scalpel, and began peeling away my skin, exposing the muscle and sinew beneath.

I beckoned to him…

“Your turn, lover boy”

LIZZIE

No one had ever seen such a gigantic bug. The Mayor met with the police to come up with a plan. There was panic in town. And then came the models. The bug’s wings flapped and flapped, creating a swoosh that made every aspiring model in town shake their manes. The others looked perplexed. The town was on the verge of collapse and they struck poses? Suddenly, the bug flapped its wings faster and everyone ran for shelter. Well, not the models. The bug flapped away, while the models waved their arms in the air. No one saw them again!

RICHARD

The Gospel According to Norman – The Parable of the Fisherman

Verily I say unto you, there was once a fisherman who spent his entire day casting his net over the left side of his boat, yet caught no fish.

His companions sat at the lakeside laughing at his fruitless efforts. Later that day, the Master came walking towards him upon the surface of the water.

“My son, you must have faith – cast your net over the other side, and believe”

The Master returned to the shore, where the disciples were waiting with pizza, fries and cold beer.

“Can you believe that guy?”, said the master, cracking opening a bottle.

PLANET Z

My Uncle Bob said if you cast your net wide enough, you can catch pretty much anything.
My Uncle Steve said that using a net to catch anything wasn’t very sporting.
Use a hook and bait. Now that takes skill.
Neither Uncle Bob nor Uncle Steve would catch any fish.
So, Uncle Jerry would pull out a stick of dynamite, light it, and toss it over the side.
A whole lot of dead fish would float to the surface.
He’d scoop them out with Uncle Bob’s wide net.
Uncle Steve shook his head. “Dynamite’s not very sporting, either,” he said.

Weekly Challenge #700 – VOID

Tinnyface

LIZZIE

“Tell us a story.”
They shifted in their seats. The idea was to listen to stories at the beach, not tell stories, people thought.
“Just any story.”
People tiptoed away.
The host waited. It was such a nice day.
“Come, have a seat here.”
Everyone left except for a little girl.
“Do you have a story to tell?”
The little kid nodded and pointed at a scar on her chest. It was huge.
She smiled and said “But I still have my heart in here!”
“That’s a great story,” said the host, thinking it was all worth it after all.

RICHARD

Floating in a tin can

I peered into the inky void; far off, further than I could comprehend, the small blue planet – the place I knew as home – receded into the distance. Soon, it would be indistinguishable from the other pinpricks of light that studded the darkness.

As I hurtled through space, with only the thinnest of foil to protect me from the vacuum outside, I slowly, inevitably became insane.

When Mission Control realised the awful truth, they abandoned me, cutting my communications, leaving me to my fate.

They also made fat profit from the sale of ‘Major Tom – Space Hero’ T-shirts.

TOM

Last Chance

The sign said Last Chance Lemonade Stand. It sets at the very edge of the void. Technically not in the void, cause you could actually see the damn thing. Moreover it was actually the only thing on either side of the void. As you took a stool at the counter one could see the light fading to black. Well actually it wasn’t exactly black, it was more the absent of tangible form. Since most folk are light on cash, I’m pretty liberal with credit. Some folk have been here an eon or two. Can I get you a refill Adam?

SERENDIPIDY

All final appeals have to come through me.

I only deal with the serious stuff – last ditch stays of execution on death row; last minute repeals of death sentences; pardons at the eleventh hour… That sort of thing.

I’m thorough. These things have to be done properly – no loopholes or errors.

You’d be surprised just how often they manage to screw up the legalities: A missing signature, insufficient copy documents, or simply completing the forms in blue, rather than black, ink.

So, I stamp them ‘VOID’ in big red letters, and they have to start all over again!

NORVAL JOE

True, Billbert’s white t-shirt wasn’t fancy and Linoliumanda’s dress looked more like a wizard’s robe than a ball gown, but they weren’t much different than most of the other kids who milled around wondering what was going to happen next.

Then the DJ’s voice blared enthusiastically, filling the void in activity, “Until we can find our culprit, let’s dance.”

A popular fast paced song rattled the cafeteria’s windows. The formerly shy students filled the dance floor.

Billbert felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to find Ms. Frunsio, scowling behind him. “May I have a word with you, please?”

PLANET Z

I stared into the void.
It stared back at me.
I made faces at the void.
It made faces back at me.
I put my thumbs in my ears and wiggled my fingers.
The void stuck its thumbs in its ears and wiggled its fingers.
We kept this up all night.
I’d do something. And the void did it right back.
I know it’s not very mature to do this to the void, but how often do you get to stare into the void?
Or maybe I drank too much and got locked in a Forever 21 changing room again.

Weekly Challenge #699 – DRESSER

Zzzzzzz

LIZZIE

“This is not a dresser. It’s a cupboard.”
The seller tried to convince her that it was a dresser, a modern dresser, a modern looking dresser. The seller talked a lot. He also smiled a lot. No, he sneered. That made her uncomfortable. He tried to convince her that the shelf standing next to the supposed dresser belonged to the package although it looked completely different. In fact, it wasn’t a shelf at all. It was a coat rack.
She didn’t appreciate being tricked.
It was difficult to stuff all the pieces of the seller inside his stupid modern dresser.

TOM

When Left With a Single Course of Action

With a furrowed brow he pondered the ruin of all things. The deepest furrow newly added to the rows of ancient weights was for his niece Amada Longbridge. A girl with infinite inspection and little else. Was this the third or the fourth time ransom to Barbary Pirates had been transmitted to his agents on the continent? No matter it was this or rounding up rowers for a foray up the Amazon.

“Your Lord,” quietly spoke Arnfleck “Yes.” “A wire from the Americas.” As he read a new furrow settle in above the last. “Seems we’ll need more than Lawyers, Guns, and Money this time.

And there it Sits

It caught my eye as I rounded the corner to the bathroom. In the room forever referend to as the sewing room, a good thirty years after any sewing was done, sat the dresser. I forgot it was there. I had given it to our intentional niece Zen when she had made the sewing room, her room. That was before she became wife and mother. I never cared for the green paint job and at the time of purchase planned to strip it down and leave the raw wood exposed. That was fourth year ago. I’ll get around to it.

RICHARD

Set dresser

I always wanted to work in the movies, but it’s a tough industry to get a foot in the door, and you have to work from the bottom up if you’re serious about making it to the top.

I started in low budget porn flicks, working as a set dresser for such classics as ‘Dyking Miss Daisy’ and ‘Ocean Does Eleven’, but my big break came in ‘Every Which Way, Butt-Loose’, when a cast member dropped out and I was asked to be an anal stunt double.

It brought a whole new meaning to ‘working from the bottom up’!

NORVAL JOE

When the lights came on, the dancers separated. Linoliumanda held tightly to Billbert’s hand.

The principal, Ms. Frunsio scowled at the assembled youth. “If we find out who turned off the lights, you will be suspended.”

Tony stepped in front of Billbert and looked down at him with a sneer. “Well, aren’t you the fancy dresser.”

Marrissa giggled. With his arm around her waist, and hers around his, they shuffled away like a pair of drunks.

Billbert looked at his white t-shirt and new blue jeans and compared himself.

He looked the same as most of the boys his age.

SERENDIPITY

I’m not unusual in wanting to keep alive the last memories of dead relatives; I just have a few more than usual.

When so many of your family die in unusual circumstances, leaving no immediate next of kin, I’ve always been there to take the ashes and give them a new home.

I have so many urns, I bought a dresser to keep them all together.

All, that is, except Aunt Maude.

She always hated the heat, and cremation just didn’t seem appropriate.

So I chopped her up and keep her in the freezer.

Handy for the occasional Sunday roast.

PLANET Z

i don’t own a dresser.
Instead, I own a large armoire and a rolltop desk.
I put my socks, underwear, and shorts in the armoire.
And lay my pants along the top of the rolltop desk.
I hang my undershirts up in the closet.
And then hang them paired with button-down overshirts.
All black, mind you. Because I look good in black.
One of the cats likes to pull out the armoire drawers and crawl in them to sleep.
They shed all over my clothes. Sometimes, they vomit, too.
Then she goes back to sleep.
In another drawer, of course.

Weekly Challenge #698 – FURROW

Derp

LIZZIE

Something was different. She could feel it. She turned the pages slowly, trying to figure out what was going on. She couldn’t see any difference, but she knew something had changed. Then, suddenly, she turned to page 22 and there it was. A whole paragraph was different. It had nothing to do with the rest of the story. She frowned. She turned to page 23. Everything looked fine. She turned back to page 22. The paragraph was gone. She slammed the book shut and put it back on the shelf. The writing demons were out again. And so it started.

RICHARD

Furrow

Furrow is such a difficult word to insert into a story, unless you happen to be speaking to a farmer, buying a tractor or writing a novel about a struggling writer whose brow was furrowed with frustration about his inability to use the word ‘furrow’ in a creative manner.

Halfway through, and the writer’s brow furrowed as he pondered what to do with the next fifty words.

“Why can’t we write about pirates?” he uttered in frustration.

“Because”, said the kindly librarian, “what would we write about for ‘Talk like a pirate day?”

“Now, knuckle down, and write about furrows!”

SERENDIPIDY

The rabbits at Appleby Farm were better organised than most. Rather than take pot luck at finding a worthwhile meal, they organised a foraging council and planned to burrow beneath a furrow and purloin the carrot harvest from below.

The first year was a resounding success, and the council resolved to extend the burrow beneath the freshly planted parsnips the following season.

Farmer Brown was not a rabbit, and was infinitely more intelligent. After losing his entire carrot crop, he laced the second planting with strychnine.

It worked better than expected…

The following year’s rabbit crop was the best ever!

TURA

Furrow
———
The scholar-cleric with his furrowed brow
That labours long to pierce the ancients’ thought
Whose learning’s but a library of scrolls
And never once the truth of things has sought;
Who reads one argument and sets it by
Another passage arguing against,
Then other fragments brings from other books
And writes a new work patch’d from all the old,
Yet never steps outside to see the things
Of which these authors wrote — such dullards all
Know nothing of entangling with the Real:
Such is the only road to knowledge sure.

Better to make one observation new
Than endlessly debate about the True.

J RADIMUS

Jay held his breath, stifling the giggling for all he was worth. He felt Trish doing the same, lying next to him in the furrow between rows of cornstalks. They were still as statues as the white beams of flashlights crisscrossed above them, red and blue flashes painting the landscape. Amid the radio squawks, and clamor from the deputies’ fruitless searching, Jay stole a glance to his right, and saw Trish grinning back, felt her squeezing his hand, her eyes sparkling with excitement and police lights. He didn’t know what he’d been thinking, but he knew what he was feeling.

NORVAL JOE

With the power off, the only lights shown from the distant admin building and did little to illuminate the crowded room. Most of the kids chattered and laughed, others let out artificially high-pitched screams to add to the confusion.

Linoliumanda kissed Billbert. This was good. It took him back to the quick kiss in Linolumanda’s bedroom and the sensations he had wanted to experience again.

Unfortunately, the lights came on. Billbert and Linoliumanda floated head and shoulders above the crowd. They quickly dropped to the floor.

The principal stood on a riser, a frown furrowing her brow, scanning the room.

PLANET Z

When we planned the music festival, we made a list of the things we needed.
Food, water, electricity, stages, and so on.
We worked up plans for everything.
We went to other music concerts and sports events with stopwatches and clipboards, estimating the traffic to the bathrooms.
Then, we set up the budgets, and sold tickets to raise funds.
Across the city… across the state… across the country…the money rolled in.
And the people came from all over, setting up their camps and tents.
On the first day… nothing.
We’d forgotten to book acts.
Or budgeted for an escape plan.