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:
The Decline of Civilization
by Jeffrey Fischer
In downtown Washington, as in any tourist area, cameras are ubiquitous. Tourists snap away, taking home reminders of their trips. Back in the day, though, the expense of film made everyone consider carefully each click of the shutter.
Today, the horrible combination of digital cameras and human narcissism means that everyone takes selfies, invariably in stupid poses. You’ve seen them: the goofy grin, the peace sign, standing on one leg. The culmination of this terrible trend is the selfie stick. Only the fact that museums have started banning those abominations gives me a glimmer of hope for humanity.
by Jeffrey Fischer
Looking straight into the camera, Lieutenant Sheaffer began to read the propaganda script his captors had forced on him. He had considered resisting, but instead designed a better plan. He recalled Commander, later Admiral, Jeremiah Denton, who was taken prisoner during the Vietnam War and who used a series of eye blinks to spell out “torture” in Morse code as he read Viet Cong propaganda. Like Denton, the young Lieutenant used Morse code to blink out a message. This one simply read, “assholes.”
Back in the U.S., no one could agree whether Sheaffer was referring to his Iranian captors or the spineless politicians back home.
They say cameras don’t lie, but mine lied like a rug; like a cheap watch. I’d take a picture of a beautiful woman, and when I got home and looked at the photos, the light was wrong, the photo was blurred, or the top of her head was cut off. My camera was a prefabricator. It was a Leica M-3 and I suspected as much. I bought it in small shop in Bonn, Germany from an ex Nazi. I should have avoided the place, as it was frequented by skinheads and lots of older men with glasses and brown overcoats.
The ultra-miniature camera was cleverly integrated into the frame of my thick glasses. I could trigger the camera and microphone with a small, radio device in my pocket. I’d be markedly rude to someone just to get a close-up of their expected, enraged expression and their explosive reaction. Often, I went out of my way to be purposefully rude to the barista or the waitress at the cafe. This morning, the last image that was recorded was the fork approaching the center of my forehead as I made a particularly ugly remark to the obese server at Wo Lee’s Restaurant.
My new camera is the shit. It has a dozen modes, takes two flash chips, has built in Wi-Fi, accepts voice commands, prompts subjects to smile, to stay still, to move left or right, higher or lower, can take ultraviolet and infrared images, emits a signal if more than ten feet away from me, has gyro stabilization, ear and mic jacks, wireless charging capacity, and it can send a signal to outboard recording discs or to a cloud account. It features an ultrasonic sensor cleaning “motor”, etc., etc. I found the camera in the back seat of my landlord’s Lincoln.
By Christopher Munroe
I’ve bought a Polaroid camera.
And film, obviously. It would’ve been pointless without film.
I bought it just in case I meet a girl with brown hair and glasses, who loves The Smiths and wants to teach me to love life again the way a child does.
We’ll lay by the river, talking about our hopes and dreams while I snap Polaroids of the two of us, falling in love.
I don’t have a specific bespectacled brunette in mind, yet, I bought it just in case…
After all, if I ever DO meet her, I’d hate not to be ready…
#1 – Camera
You know all those moments when you just wish you had a camera with you, only you haven’t?
That’s the story of my life!
Those once in a lifetime opportunities to capture history in the making… But the camera’s still in the car.
Those freak occurrences, when you’re in the right place, at exactly the right time… And your camera isn’t.
Those iconic shots that get put on t-shirts and are recognisable the world over… If only you’d brought the camera.
Happens to me, time after time.
I’m beginning to think that press photographer was definitely the wrong career choice.
#2 – The Gospel According to Norman: The Parable of the Tourist
It so happened that a certain stranger to the country was separated from his family and found himself lost in the city.
It came to pass that good fortune led him to the temple square, where he gazed in wonderment at the great house of the Almighty, built by the toil of faithful men.
Wishing to preserve the moment, he brought forth his camera, calling upon a passer-by to assist. As he posed before the temple gates, the rogue made off with his camera, disappearing into the crowd.
Be not fooled – though the temple is holy, man is not.
Lillie was bored. Work, home, the occasional walk at the beach. It was during one of these walks that she spotted the camera. She looked around. The beach was practically deserted. A few surfers challenged the waves. She grabbed the camera and wiped the sand away. Then, she clicked the power button. And there it was, someone else’s life. The family get-together. A birthday and a wedding. The pregnant girlfriend and the beach, this beach. Suddenly, Lillie’s life wasn’t boring any more. She had to find these people. Yes, and in the meantime, she’d be the keeper of their past.
Hair, make-up, outfit perfect. Vultures, pixel whores, candid money-shot stalkers. Bounty sold to the highest bidder for gold and recognition. Not the halos-of-light and soft-shadows image. No, they covet that moment when the wind is angry and a memorable contortion belies natural grace.
Posture perfect, chin up, sparkle on and moving gingerly to the elevator, my eyes scan, anticipating the sneak attack. I smooth and position before the lobby doors open. Nothing. Stealth bastards.
Realization won’t deflate my outer calm. I move confidently into the spotlight of a chandelier and tap, smiling at my Verizon LG.
Most of the time when people see me wandering around with my nice camera, they figure I’m into photography.
I guess they’re not wrong, technically.
A part of me wonders if that would be better, maybe easier, than what I actually do.
Sitting in a car, outside a seedy motel or a bar isn’t exactly glamorous work. But catching people at their not-so-finest moments? It pays the bills.
I suppose maybe I am a photographer, the subjects just don’t know their secrets are no longer secrets. It’s not art, but it is lucrative. That will have to do for now.
That bright flash you saw out of the corner of your eye was sunlight catching my lens.
Foolish of me really – I should take more care – it would be such a shame to give the game away now.
I’ve been watching you for weeks: Camera documenting every movement and every moment as your life unfolds through my viewfinder.
I know your routines, what you do, where and when you go – there’s not a thing I don’t know about you.
Your own, personal, private camera shoot.
And, one of these days…
I’m going to shoot you for real!
I Am a Camera
Most kid’s first camera was a Kodak Box Brownie. Not yours truly. At the
tender act of 10 I was shooting with a twin lens Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex, a
camera my father had purchase in Japan, during the Korean War. Beautiful 2
Ľ inch negatives. By 12 I had an entire darkroom set up in the back bath
room. Over the years I have had a dozen LSR cameras. Shot 1000s of photos.
I got boxes of negatives shot over a half century. You would think I might
harbor a romantic longing for chemical photography. Screw that, give me
I have an aura camera. At least, that’s how I present my stall at Mind Body and Spirit shows. The camera’s loaded with UV-sensitive film, and with a few blacklights and cold reading, it turns a steady penny.
This this guy shows up, tall, elegant, a little odd.
“Would you like to *really* see auras?” he said.
“The camera works well enough,” I say, trying to figure his game.
“The gift chooses *you*,” he says, and walks off.
And now I do see everyone’s auras. I can’t see my own though. They don’t show up in mirrors. Or in cameras.
Tyler Perry mugged for the TV cameras as he walked up the red carpet, a late nominee to the Oscars.
A multiple nominee, Mr. Perry waited in vain for a win in the categories of script writing for his most recent offering in the Madea franchise, “Medea and Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure” and Costuming for his portrayal as Medea in “Medea and Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure”.
Ultimately, his greatest disappointment was not winning the category of “Man Dressed as an Old Fat Woman” which went to a high school drama class’s recording of their performance of “Mrs. Doubtfire”.
I’ve got one of those smartphones with a built-in camera.
I can’t remember the last time I used an actual camera.
I know that I’ve got a digital camera somewhere in my desk drawer.
Which might come in handy, if I ever need to snap a photo of my camera.
If nobody else with a smartphone is around.
Or I couldn’t manage to get a hold of someone, since it is a phone, after all.
Or text someone. Or facebook a meetup.
Although I could probably snap a photo of my smartphone with the camera in my laptop.