Weekly Challenge #417 – Cool

Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com. I’m your host, Laurence Simon.

This is Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.

The topic this week was COOL.

We’ve got stories by:

The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of RUN

Bag of Squeakies Tinny

Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.


“NJ Physician Loses His Mind” by John Musico M.D.

I Ran my garaged summer convertible on the driveway to maintain the battery.
The removable hardtop is too heavy to put back on during winters.
I fell asleep. Snowed that night. Ran out of gas; key turned- the battery died.
After AAA’s gallon and jump, I had to get more gas, quick. I dug out a hole in the driver’s seat. Drove to the gas station; top off, car and hair full of snow. The gas station attendant’s only conclusion is I’d totally lost my mind: top down, drove till I ran low on gas. He approached the car cautiously…


by Jeffrey Fischer

“I’m the boss man, I’m the epitome of cool.” Frank leaned back in his chair and fiddled with the lever to no avail. “You can call me Li’l E-Z Daddy Puffy, ’cause I’m da bomb.” He made several hand motions that had no apparent meaning.

Megan stared at her father. “Daddy, I’m eight, not stupid. Daddies are *not* cool, and you can’t come with us to see Hunter Hayes. Caitlin’s mom is driving, and *she’s* cool.”

“I didn’t really want to go anyway. You and Caitlin have a good time.” Inwardly, however, Frank pouted.

Too Cool
by Jeffrey Fischer

For years, Alan complained he was too hot in his office at the cryogenic storage firm. His boss tried to accommodate Alan by turning down the thermostat, but that just made everyone else cranky and didn’t satisfy Alan, who demanded further drops in the temperature.

Fed up with the complaints and lawsuit threats, Alan’s boss took matters into his own hands. He dragged Alan from his office to the cryogenic chamber, throwing the protesting employee inside and bolting shut the door.

“I hope that’s cool enough for you!” he bellowed, twisting the thermostat as far to the left as it would go.

Drinking the Kool-Aid
by Jeffrey Fischer

They promised health insurance to all, at low cost, despite mandating all sorts of goodies that drove up cost and despite higher demand. To that end, they cancelled millions of policies, dumped millions more into Medicaid – not an insurance plan – and imposed penalties on those who did not comply.

Unsurprisingly, rates rose and will rise still further as adverse selection becomes evident. Net enrollment barely changed despite the millions spent and the threats and scolding. Individuals lost long-term relationships with their doctors.

They called it a resounding success.

The spirit of Jim Jones lives on.


#1 – George’s Story: Part 54 – Uncool

George frowned at Emily, waving away the proffered reefer.

“That’s not cool you know!”

“What’s the harm in it”, she countered, “Society is crumbling around us, I hardly think smoking a little weed is that big a deal right now.”

George sighed. She had a point, but he couldn’t help feeling they should keep their wits about them, considering the circumstances. The last thing they wanted was to be stoned if they were about to be attacked by zombies. He told her as much.

“What zombies?”, she asked truculently, blew smoke in his face and walked out of the room.

#2 – Cool

How do you measure cool?

It was an interesting question – possibly one of the most entertaining the sociology class had faced. If nothing else, it gave an excuse to undertake some rather questionable activities in dubious locations, and mix with some fairly radical characters, all in the name of ‘research’.

Eventually, we settled – for no real reason, other than it was a cool thing to do – on using the Celsius scale.

Paradoxically, the hotter we rated something, the cooler it was considered.

The teacher thought our idea was a good eighty-five degrees Celsius… pretty damn cool, I reckon!

#3 – Defrosted

When the freezers fused, all hell broke loose. It seems no-one had realised the backup generators were on the same circuit. Typically, it happened over the holiday, so the first we knew about it was on the Tuesday morning after the long weekend.

The smell warned us something had gone badly wrong, and when we checked the instruments, our worst fears were realized.

At best, the cryo-chambers could be described as ‘cool’ – they should have been frozen solid. As for the bodies inside, preserved for future re-awakening… mush.

“Such a shame”, I thought, pouring Walt Disney’s remains down the toilet.


“Cool”, or, “Last in, first out”.
Nowadays, we can easily freeze and revive someone. But before Quantum Entanglement Cooling was invented, cryonicists would infuse every cell of the body with toxic antifreeze, then store it in liquid nitrogen. We’ve just got to where we can revive mice frozen that way. Maybe in ten years we can start reviving the people.

Back in the early 21st century, they just pumped antifreeze into the bloodstream and hoped. Every cell membrane shattered when they froze the bodies. In theory they’re still revivable, but in practice it’s a century away. As it has been for the three centuries since then.


Yeah …That Wasn’t Cool

A neighbor living two blocks away, strangely started to strike up a conversation whenever our paths crossed.

“Can you get me an appointment on the internet at the prefecture?”

“Sure, swing by my house in the evening.”

Later, he wanted me to order a book on Amazon. I said I didn’t have a credit card, so he gave me his.

A week later I called him. “Did you get the book?”

“Yes. By the way, can you come along with me to the prefecture because my English is poor. “

“Sorry, I can’t hear you…Do you hear me? … Bye.”


Cool Dad (Story #1)

A photograph shows my father staring at the camera, interested but cool, about six months old.

My mother found this attitude toward her and the world romantic and wise at first, then intolerable. She decided to make her man over from the ground up. When he responded with the same affectlessness, her suggestions became vituperative rants — but these were observed and catalogued with the same curious stare.

When he approached death, after a short illness, we observed him in the same way. How would he react? Oddly, I now find that the world often looks on me with the same indifference, and I find it soothing.

Loocing (Cool Story #2)

Coomoistle darkenesse far as wee couldna see. It was the sound of time lapping at our snores.

“This way.”

“And what way uis that, my dear?”

“The way we’ve just come from now, by its looks.”

“And yet the way we must likely go now, by its.”

‘We must or another,” I said.

We stood with the unseeable look of the lack of deciding on each dark face until unreasonably we stumbled off.

It was some small dark object that brought me down to my surprise. But upon contact, my smear unoccluded went through the dark ground and light from there shone.

We had!


Her skin was cool to the touch.

Certainly not feverishly hot, but neither did it have that warm, comforting feel of health and vitality. It was distinctly unwelcoming, unpleasant and very disconcerting.

You wouldn’t want to hold her hand, or hold her closely, skin against skin – you would shrink from her pallid fingers and feel a compulsion to pull away from her embrace; your instincts compelling you to avoid the other-worldly coolness of her touch.

I looked into her eyes, gently resting my hand against the softness of her cold cheek.

Time of death? Somewhere around three hours ago.


I was never one of the cool kids. I spent my life on the outside looking in wondering what it meant to be “cool”.

I looked for some quantifiable “thing” that connected all the cool kids and set them apart from kids like me.

It took me into my late twenties to figure it out, the cool people were the ones who were uncomfortable with who they were. The ones who felt the need to belong in one way or another and that was never me.

Oh well, guess I’ll never be cool. But that’s okay, because I like me.


Crisis in Education

By Christopher Munroe

He was too cool for school.

But too legit to quit.

And this, in a nutshell, was the crux of his dilemma.

Would he stay, and lose the cool he’d worked so hard to cultivate, or quit, and in quitting be delegitimized in front of his peers? Quitters never win, but would caring about such victory damage his unflappable personae?

Somebody had to let him know.

Should he stay, or should he go?

In the end, he made no choice at all, and was expelled in a hail of scandal and bitter recrimination.

No longer cool, nor legit.

Merely unwanted.


A Well Defined Relationship Part 45
For the first time since he had begun this journey with his mother Timmy
was totally alone, which lasted all of 15 minutes. “Hello there Pilgrim,”
said the voice. “Oh, great, “thought Timmy,” another spontaneous acolytes
cozying up to their reluctant profit. Timmy turned, gasped, fell to his
knees. “ITS YOU!” Radiant as a burning bush the Duke smiled. “Timothy.”
“Yes Duke.” “Call me Marion.” How about Mr. Morrison?” “That’ll due Kid.
Shit is about to hit the fan. 40 pistol wheeling desperadoes mean to turn
this place into a ghost town.” “What can I do?” asked Timmy “Stay Cool.”

My My Hey Hey [it’s better to burn out then fade away]

Rath Waxman was the coolest kid in my high school. In four years I never
saw a single word exchanged in his presences. Just the slightest of nods,
a 2 degrees tip and a reserve expression of all knowing. Rath was the lead
singer in the school’s house band, a rock and roll Sartre god. At my 40th
high school reunion this rather wrinkled and crumpled guy dusted in
graying age was promoting his self-published CD. In the class bio it read:
Rath Waxman high school councilor 25 years of service. How age takes us
all from cool to cold.



The station cab set them down in Mohali,

a satellite city flanking Chandigarh

outside a red-brick house. A gate sign read:

Guru ki Sharan Home.

“Come, Sant ji.

I have some work. We will stay tonight.”

Amrik knocked on the door. A young girl opened

in white Punjabi suit and dark-blue turban.

“Uncle Ji!” She said with folded palms:

“Waheguru ji ka Khalsa.”


added “Waheguru ji ki Fateh!”

Is Bibi ji here? I have brought a friend.”

“This way Uncle. She is sitting in office.”

“Very good Betay*. Your English is improving.”

Yogi smiling, followed on behind.


A host of little turbans peeped from rooms.

“Uncle Ji!” chorused girlish giggles. Led

to Bibi ji,* they both shared the Khalsa

greeting (spoken Singh to Singh) originating

from the Tenth Sikh master.

“Sant ji, meet my sister,

Amar Kaur. She cares for widows, daughters

and the orphans.”

“Sat Sri Akal,” said Yogi.

Amrik had coached him in the Sikh hello-goodbye,

their ‘Namaste’ suitable for anyone to use

and also meaning: The Truth lives on forever.

“I’m very happy to meet you, Bibi ji.

I didn’t know Amrik had a sister.”

Both of them laughed, sharing a private joke.


She wore the same white clothes and ladies’ turban

draped with chiffon, along with a curved knife

on shoulder baldric.

“She’s a pukka Sikh.

Bibi ji follows to the letter the Guru’s code;

while I dye my beard, tie and primp it up

neat for business, or so I tell myself.

I should keep a lion-mane look like yours.”

Yogi had forgotten his bearded locks, and felt

more mock-hippy with his shin-length robe.

Just then, they heard a baby.

“Please wait,” said Amar.

She then returned, nursing an infant — another

moonshine doorstep baby, left in the cool night.


It was time. Amrik explained their visit:

The refuge housed 65 ruined lives —

widows and daughters, orphans of separatists

killed in armed police encounters after

Indira Gandhi attacked the Golden Temple

with troops and tanks in 1984

and other leading Sikh shrines of the country.

Thousands died through army massacres.

The pogroms led to angered insurrection

calling for creation of Khalistan,

a buffer country next to Pakistan.

A decade of guerrilla war ensued

dividing Sikh from Hindu, once close-knit

communities who inter-married,

with the eldest son often becoming Sikh.

Guru ki Sharan meant ‘The Guru’s Shelter’.


As Amar Kaur bottle-fed the child

Amrik Singh went on with his history

the residual grievances about Punjab,

and Nehru’s broken pledges after Partition.

“Who can think we are not Indian?”

Yogi was lost. India should mean shantih,

not loggerhead minorities at war.

The mooting of a land-locked Khalistan

seemed pure fan fiction.

“Now our boys

have been led astray. With “lakhs* now dead.”

Amar said: “Waheguru!”

Amrik described

Punjab as a lone woman in white dress

lying sideways with a gaping stomach wound,

her soul-blood history leaking away like oil.

“Now we have a generation of orphans.”

Lakh – 100,000


“Our girls are trying to rebuild lives from nothing.”

“So are there only girls and widows here?”

“Yes,” continued Amrik. “Men burn and fight,

fight and die, but women are our ghee-lamps.

They keep alight the flame and pass it on.”

Amar broke in: “He is right. India has

long believed the fiction that a woman

hasn’t a soul. We are helping her find it.

One day she will be the best guru

of her children and life’s storyteller.

I see you play an instrument, Yogiji.

Later on, will you play for us?

Our girls are talented with shabad kirtan.” *

Sikh sacred devotional song


It was expected, but he wanted to stay silent.

After Amrik, he knew this was another

house of music and felt less ‘the star’.

He should let hostesses lead the way.

With classical Hindustani he was an infant.

The corridor Singhni,* who had greeted them

sat at the harmonium, and another lass

in dark-blue turban, white suit, stocky body

tuned the tablas with some chunky whacks

touching the treble head with silver hammer

to meet the fundamental of the singer.

Another bowed a sitar-neck-like object

with the mournfulness of a dying swan.

Amrik said: “it’s called the dilbruba.”

*Singhni, a female Singh, a woman of the Sikh faith


“Guru ki Sharan” was chorused again and again.

He thought it was the Home’s well-chosen theme song.

Their angelic voices overwrote life’s pain,

and lifted them to the plane past right and wrong.

Closing eyes he submitted without understanding

inside this singing garden, this fragrant psalm.

The tight rose of the heart began expanding

pushing to sun, then grounding him in calm.

His music by the look of it reached out,

yet this shabad kirtan performed the opposite,

and it did not seem to have one shred of doubt,

and sang without ambition as singing reached It.


He was lifted

from peaks to clouds

and further on

to the end of place

distant and wide

it made him feel

how small he was

on an aural bridge

built from the nothing

sound voice-printing

bricks in the air

instruments playing

with no musicians

expanding him further

stepping up notes

lifting with heart

and moving en masse

they walked across

then bounced on air

and bounced again

until an earth voice

was calling him down

it was Amrik Singh

riding above

the refrain of girls

joining together

no one bigger

no one smaller

asking him

to unzip and play

his cracked guitar


The guitar is longing for the tablas

the tablas are longing for the voice

the voice is longing for the breath

and the breath is longing for the ether

the ether is longing for the spark

the spark is longing for the skin

the skin is longing for the touch

and the touch is waiting for the touch

the touch is hoping for the cheek

the cheek is planning for the hand

the hand is reaching for the lips

and the lips are closing on the lips

the lips are running with the salt

the salt is smarting in the mouth

the mouth is reaching for the word

and the word is gasping in the sea


Yogi remembered a shelly beach with Margot.

They picnicked near Cape Jarvis for the day,

a tartan rug with the girls beyond sand tussocks

where wind creeps up and whispers in the ear:

don’t forget what you saw along the way–

blonde paddocks creeping to the hills,

orchard plots and grids of vineyard green,

the highway hugging your car along the coast,

the blue-green seagull surf-line lapping land

to the fingertip of a peninsular.

The ocean calls to reach with one desire.

Remember you are part of something vast.

A day of family, whale-watching and much peace.


Does faith alone open through the forehead

to feel and see things beyond a sitting room?

He had sat down humbled by some little girls

with purer hearts, and let go of his pride.

So far, he had always gone it alone,

flittering from the shifting ordinals —

from birth, from book to book, from state to state

without clear purpose, except an urge to find

some place or person who might be a home.

These orphans of militants had been forced

to ask the question: how to make a stand?

To sit down here and now and sing, just sing.

31.13 Firefly

It was getting dark. Yogi felt the need

for fresh air. The sun was setting fast:

an orange sea with drifting swan of cloud

passed over the epiball of sunset;

and here were golden fireflies in the dusk

dancing in circular sweeps from shrub to fence.

Yogi had only seen them once before

in a Queensland rainforest, dossing in a shack

of Rasta friends, the most-part stoned and dull

to luminous bugs flying outside their door.

Now golden clouds lit the way ahead

yet connecting him to that rainforest past,

Then he saw the parked car with two shadows.


“Santi ji. You had better come inside.”

There was a seriousness in Amrik’s tone.

Yogi complied. The door crack closed behind.

“What’s going on?” Asked Yogi.

Amrik led him

to Bibi’s office.”I need to tell you, Yogi

this shelter is a victim of surveillance.”

He explained that plainclothes officers

sat lookout to clock their spy shift. “Maybe

they think a terrorist, believed alive

will turn up trying to see his wife or child.

It is a game that Bibi is forced to play.”

“And do they come?” Yogi had to ask,

but Amrik did not answer. And voices called.

31.15 Torch

Dinner was served in lines upon the floor.

The girls came round with dahl and vegetable,

another with curd and cucumber. Amrik dropped

hot chapatis directly into hands.

This was langar, the community kitchen feast

served on steel talis in Sikh temples.

Perhaps the shock of surveillance cops outside

made Yogi eat too fast. Or maybe his stomach

was better spiked with spicy food, not fear.

They were leaving early, and they bid goodnight.

The shelter was tight, so both the men were sharing.

Yogi on top bunk shined his torch and wrote —

his heart running swiftly to the village.



Why aren’t we both going to the mountains? I came with Amrik Singh from Garhmukhteswar — the brother of the woman in charge of this girl’s shelter we’re staying at. Leaving early. Back in ten days. Are you coping with the mud?

Love you.


For Margot

Go talk with mountains. Go away.


She said it in the dream last night.


Can mountains really stand and talk?


In snow and cold with a leopard’s eye.


Who can do this? I’m weak and faint.

“A saint.”

He would ask Barhai to pass this on to Margot.


The early morning rose for recitation.
Turbaned Singhni’s sat in rows, cross-legged

before the Granth, following their eldest

ensconced behind the holy book, intoning.

Then came the flowing hour of kirtan,

one long poem set to rhythmic ragas.

Effulgence sat deep down into his chest.

After, a nervous woman brought them paronthas.

Yogi said thanks. Her pained look spoke out hope.

Amrik passed his wad of stapled hundreds

and Bibi passed a quarto envelope.

“Can you carry, Sant ji,” Amrik asked.

“Keep it flat…in your guitar case.”

“My pleasure.”

Their taxi zoomed them onward to the bus-stand.


“Woe is me. I am freezing and think I am going to die. Why are you are wearing a Tee Shirt.”

“Oh Charles, in October 50 Fahrenheit is tee shirt weather. If you are already wearing a parka to keep warm what are you going to do to keep warm when it really gets cool?”

“It gets colder than this?”

“Really cold.”

“What is it that keeps you warm when it gets really cold?”
“Admittedly, I have too big a layer of fat but what really keeps me warm is watching people who moved here from more mild climates squirm.”

“Rafael, I would like you to see one for my favorite shows and then I will watch Todd and the Book of Pure Evil like you advised.”

“I am not sure if I am the target audience for this television show.” Said Rafael

“Well you liked Firefly, right? “


“You like Animaniacs and Red Dwarf?”

“Yes, but I do not see how that is related”

“Since we both like those you should like this show I like too.”


“What do you think?


These Days, I Am Cool

The days pass and weeks fade—

My climate does not depend on season.

I know—

I can get fresh lavender roses.

There is always a reason,

They are ripe for the buying,

30 dollars a bunch,

Free vase included.

The days pass, the weeks fade–

The house is frozen,

The climate and mood controlled

Open the windows and rattle the doors

Make the chill go away.

What’s left of me inside

Is still warm and thinking—

Feeling, even.

I spend my days and nights


Dancing in swirls around

The moods of those who depend

On me to keep my cool.
“Okay, Okay, I like the show but I think Rainbow Dash could be about twenty percent cooler.”


Ronnie knew nothing about card games and his buddies made sure they let him know exactly that each time they met for beers and Poker.

So, one night, he tried to look cool and threw his cards onto the table, solemnly saying “Here, the dead man’s hand.”

His buddies roared laughing. “What a loser!”

He chuckled. “I was thinking… The fifth card is a two of clubs and not the nine of diamonds.”

His buddies saw Ronnie swinging a club at them, but they never made out Ronnie’s buddy from the gym, hiding in the darkest corner of the room.


Davidson refused to wear clothes, choosing to remain naked like an ape in a
cage. Ten days from execution, what the fuck were they going to do to him?

Well he didn’t think they’d turn on the damned air conditioning. Hell, he
didn’t even know they had air conditioning.

He’d shiver but when his mind was set he was a rusted bolt.

Talk of Davidson’s nude stand spread throughout the pen with excitement.
This was not some ear hustling chin music. This was real.

To them, he was the coolest of cool staring down the big jab of Warden’s


They said that Davis was cool under fire. When the enemy had his company pinned down, he held his position. While the rest of his men returned fire blindly at their hidden foe, he stayed still. Low on ammo, out of contact with anyone in authority, his comrades were close to panicking. They were encouraged by his calm patience. When the enemy commander strutted into the street to demand their surrender, Davis stood up and killed him with one shot. He never told anyone that he’d actually fallen asleep and only woke up in time to take the fateful shot.

Fairmount, Indiana proclaims itself as being “Where Cool Was Born”. The billboard also shows an iconic image of James Dean, native son. I’m sure the marketing guru who created this thought it was a great way to create tourist appeal. After all, with an aging population, a shrinking tax base, and the exodus of each graduating class for better opportunities, the town needs all the help it can get. So if they can make a buck off of a dead actor, more power to them. Besides, we all know who the truly cool Fairmount native really is, don’t we? Right?


A boy came to his mother and said, “I dreamed I was a dragon. Can I be a dragon?”
“That would be cool, but not possible,” she said.
Another day he said, “I dreamed I was a girl. Can I be a girl?”
“You can dress like a girl,” She said.
“Will clothes make me a girl?”
“There are operations and drugs to make you look like a girl?”
“Will I have babies?”
“No. You would still be a girl’s spirit in a boy’s body.”
“Ok, then,” the boy said, “I’d rather be a dragon’s spirit in a boy’s body.”


Cool, whispers the bartender.
The bar is crowded, and there’s no way I could hear them, but it’s easy to read his lips.
Look in the mirror and say cool without speaking.
Can you see it?
Can you hear it in your head?
Just imagine it.
How the front teeth drag across the rolling lower lip.
What? That’s not a C? That’s an F?
So, the bartender called me a fool?
He’s been calling me a fool all this time?
That’s not cool at all.
Then what the shit have I been tipping him for?
I’m going to Taco Bell.

2 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #417 – Cool”

  1. When will I ever learn not to try to listen to the podcast on the train? The sound of metal wheels on the tracks, echoing underground, overwhelms the sweet tones of the authors. I shut it off and finished listening when I got to the office. Heck with all that official business.

    And it was worth the wait. Lots of stuff to like, including but not limited to the always-creepy Serendipity (gee, that didn’t come out like a compliment, the way I intended it) and Norval Joe’s story, both with punch lines I didn’t see coming. Several stories about cryogenic chambers… I certainly wonder about the wisdom of storing one’s head for the foreseeable future, and, thanks to Richard, I now have something else to think about.

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