Weekly Challenge #462 – After

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Twisty girl


Use Your Imagination
by Jeffrey Fischer

The lazy approach to writing a sex scene is to bypass the whole thing. The amorous couple heads to the bedroom, at which point the author simply starts a new paragraph with “Afterward,…” The comma signifies the entirety of the act, from carnal activity to cuddling, the author insisting that the reader carry the entire burden of lustful narrative in his imagination. The reader tries, but fails, to construct a fully-realized scene of rumpy-pumpy, nookie, the beast with two backs, et cetera. This is an author derelict in his duty. He’s the one with imagination – give us something to work with!

You Had One Job
by Jeffrey Fischer

The Washington Post recently ran several short pieces on the dating scene, including some personal experiences. One lady confessed to a remarkable 75 dates in a year. Seventy-five! Hard-working touring bands have fewer late nights than this woman.

Those 75 dates yielded exactly zero lasting relationships. She then explained that most of the dates were arranged through Tinder, the app where two people get together based on how well they like one another’s looks. I’m no expert in this, having been married since Mr. Mister and the Pet Shop Boys were popular, but maybe she’s doing it wrong.


#1 – George’s Story – Part 95: After all that

George found it hard to believe that everything he’d recently been through was all contrived – some sort of nightmare interview process that had completely turned his world upside down. And what was he supposed to do now, after all he’d been through?

The after-effects would stay with him forever.

The brusque woman was back: “Give me your arm”, she said, and quickly swabbed it before plunging a syringe into his vein.

“This will restore your suppressed memories”

After administering the drug, the woman waited, watching him quizzically… as his memories began to return, he slowly realised exactly who she was…

#2 – The letter

After receiving the letter, I flew into a blind rage.

I tore your clothes, doused them in petrol and burned them; I ripped your pictures from the album and shredded them; I poisoned your goldfish and threw all your plants in the bin.

After I’d calmed down a little, I emailed your naked pictures to your work colleagues and plastered them all over social media.

And, after that, I re-read the letter.

And realised it wasn’t from you.

It was addressed to next door.

And now, I’m waiting for the sound of your key in the door.

And, after that…?

#3 – You shall not pass!

After the wizard had gone, Laggins’ spoiled breakfast did nothing to lighten his mood and, straight after doing the washing-up, he made a large, intimidating sign and nailed it to his front gate:

‘NO WIZARDS! You shall not pass!’

To make his point absolutely clear, he scattered broken glass along the path, and daubed ‘WIZARDS GO HOME’ in foot-high letters across his front door.

If that doesn’t stop him, nothing will, he smirked.

Later that afternoon, he was disturbed by a discrete tap on the back door… it was the wizard!

“Thought I should use the tradesman’s entrance”, he smiled.


After dark, evil spirits haunted the town for weeks. “A warning against nuclear tests,” old people said. The Mayor called in all sorts of experts to solve the problem, to no avail. One day, a man showed up, claiming he could end the torture. He had a jar. “It’s magic,” he said. Everyone went home and waited. The next day, the man was gone. Under the jar, a note. “Done.” Inside, dozens of them; they looked like a cross between crickets and fireflies. They were nice to look at, but were they loud. Sometimes, things are simpler than we think.


“After you… ladies first”, you said – so charming, and even in our present circumstances, I had to admire your composure. Whilst those around us were shouting, screaming and fighting, you chose to remain calm and composed, with impeccable manners.

“Are you sure?”, I enquired, “We don’t need to stand on ceremony,”

You assured me you would be fine, nodding towards the remaining bag stuffed under the seat.

Such a polite man, I thought, as he helped me with mine.

“By the way”, I shouted over my shoulder, “That other bag is my luggage, it’s not a parachute!”

Then, I jumped.



By Christopher Munroe

There’s no such thing as after.

We look to the future, wonder what awaits us in a desperate, ultimately futile attempt to avoid what we already know to be true, but reality doesn’t care what we want, or what we believe, it simply is in spite of our wishes, and nothing we can do will change that.

We have no future, separately or together, because there is no future, only moment after moment of endless Now approaching us, unrelentingly.

There is no “After” and the future will never come.

And, as such, it’s our duty to live in the moment…


“Now that you have been elected we have requests for you to speak including one at a church but I don’t remember which sect you said you are.” said the adviser.

“Oh, never mind that. Now that the election is over, I can go back to my devout worship of Mammon instead of whichever religion we thought would get me elected. We will take the speaking engagements that pay” said the Public Servant.

“I think I might regret being such good campaign manager” Said the adviser.

“Considering your rates, there’s no pretending you don’t also serve the god of money.”


General Wei said, “An inferior general wins battles without winning the war. A mediocre general wins wars without winning the peace. A superior general is he who wins not only the peace, but all that follows after.”

Therefore before making war, he studied the condition of the enemy’s peoples. With his hidden hand he fomented rebellion, and when the people revolted, his armies assisted them. When he achieved victory, the conquered people said, “we have won freedom for ourselves!” Then they turned to those who had fled across the borders, and said to General Wei, “help us against our enemies!”


A Well Defined Relationship Part 95

Every time Timmy tried asking a question of the King, he would raise a hand the say “after we’re eaten.” After the orange stuffed peacock Timmy broke in “After is a luxury I don’t have in abundance.” “You’re a wise man Timothy Patrick Parsons. All things after a single choice define how much after you may have.” “You had held the key to every afters.” “Then the snake took it.” “Show me the Snake.” As Timmy correctly reasoned Babylon fade and he was face to face with the snake. “ Are you Tamerlane?” The Snake smiled. “What are my choices?”

Lost in Translation

You would think a mastery of prepositions would be pretty natural in a concert world. After all they describe temporal and spatial relationships. Not the case prepositions demand complex understanding of multiple forms of reference. A thing can have frontness, betweeness, underness, and overness, to itself. But all these attributes change when a second object is referenced. In front of one car is the behind of another, which is of course between the two. I can stand after Benny in line, But mother can tell me to go after Benny. Thank you for your kind indulgence have a good afternoon.



It is stifling warm in the underground bunker. We’re down to the last few packs of batteries for the flashlights. Based on the display of my watch, we have been down here 6 days. But gauging the tension in the air, we’ve been here an eternity.

Think it is safe to go out? I haven’t heard anything in the last 24 hours.

Josh, we said we’d wait 48 hours. If we don’t hear anything by tomorrow… Settle down, now. How much water is left?


It isn’t every day that Adolph Hitler is trending on Yahoo!, so I had find out why this sudden resurgence in Facism. It appears Mein Kampf is about to be republished 75 years after it’s first printing, with annotations and criticisms of the original text. Proponents call it a vital academic tool, while critics say it will fuel an already increasing rise in anti- semitism . Mel Brooks said it the best, “With Comedy, we can rob Hitler of his posthumous power.” On the other hand, when a book becomes labeled as too dangerous, the more powerful it rises from its grave.


“I’m sorry you cut your lip on your braces,” Dergle said. “Does that happen a lot?”
“I’m sorry the monkeys were on strike,” Bambi said. “Only when I’ve been eating caramel corn. Do you think Long John is okay in the van?”
“I would rather eat caramel corn than have straight teeth,” Dergle said, then felt stupid for it. “I mean, if I had to make a choice. Yeah. Long John’s fine.”
The dog stood on the driver’s seat, pressing his nose against the window.
“Do you want to come in for ice cream?” Bambi asked.
“Sure,” Dergle said, smiling.


There is no now.
Only before and after.
Once something happens, it’s over.
Does this mean that everything is just a memory?
If you can remember memories, can you remember what hasn’t happened yet?
The future is now.
And you can remember is, just like you remember the past.
Just as you’re remembering this.
Even though it hasn’t happened yet.
When will it happen?
When it happens, of course.
But that doesn’t matter.
You already know what will happen.
What are you going to do about it?
Good. Then you already know.
Accept it, and then remember.

3 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #462 – After”

  1. Oh dear, Richard – has that happened to you, too? She seemed somewhat upset after I posted… wait, this was fiction, right? Never mind.

    I also got a good laugh from Serendipity’s story.

    1. Jeffrey… Fiction, maybe – but it could have been oh so close to fact, and about that I’ll say nothing more!

  2. Sorry to hear you’ve gone down with the plague, Tom – I swear it wasn’t my fault (you did sterilise your headphones before listening last week, didn’t you?) Do you think launching a global offensive can ever really be the answer? Wait a minute, that gives me a great idea for a story…

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