National Novel Writing Breakfast

For this year’s National Novel Writing Month, I stay in front of my computer and stared at the screen.
I didn’t write a word.
Until, at the very last minute, I went into the kitchen and pulled three strips of bacon from the refrigerator.
Then I stuck them to a sheet of paper.
“I’m finished!” I shouted.
I stuck the paper in an envelope and sent it to my publisher.
The publisher returned it with a few edits.
They replaced one of the strips of bacon with turkey bacon.
And added a dribble of mustard in one of the corners.

The Melting Girl

Elizabeth liked to construct wax replicas of herself, mount them in the heated pan, and then transfer her consciousness to the slowly melting figures.
Without sight or sound or thought, just the sensation of the warmth and slowly draining away from herself.
Her softening skin, flowing and dripping into the pan, coalescing into a growing puddle.
Her feet and legs and body descending into the mass, collapsing into the bubbling goo.
After ten minutes, her mind would return to her body, she’d open her eyes, and release a deep sigh.
And she’d pour the hot wax into the mold again.

Club 27

Jimi, Janiss, and Jim.
They all died at the age of twenty-seven.
Kurt Cobain, too. And Amy Winehouse.
So much young talent died at the age of twenty-seven.
They call it Club 27, a macabre hallmark of the price of drugs, hard living, and fame.
Music industry executives were worried that their biggest acts would die before their biggest hits.
Or, even worse, die without leaving a massive library of unreleased tracks to exploit after their deaths.
Like they did with Michael Jackson, Prince, and countless others they had killed.
I mean, countless others they had difficulty negotiating contracts with.

Halloween mob

For Halloween, kids would dress up as ghosts and vampires and other creatures.
Then came the cheap plastic masks and aprons with Marvel superheroes.
I didn’t put up with any of that crap.
So, I rallied the kids in the neighborhood to meet in the apple orchard, and we’d hand out pitchforks and lit torches.
Then, we’d go door to door as an angry mob.
When they said no, I’d unfold a map, and yell “IT MUST BE THE NEXT HOUSE!”
And we’d work the neighborhood, until the cops attacked us with riot gear.

Death Notice by Aspen

The Death Notice

The newspaper boy stood shouting EXTRA!! EXTRA!! read all about it!!! The town streets were quiet, hidden under a dark blanket of clouds, but this was nothing unusual for a sleepy haunted place such as Nightmare. For the last 500 years, the town had been governed by a young man named Authur Crypt. The day came and Mr. Crypt met his demise but what happened? The notice of death was written in secret tongues translated read…Now I lay me down to sleep…I pray the Lord, my soul, to take…shall I die before I wake, I’ve been salted at the stake.

Weekly Challenge #653 – PICK TWO Pagoda Winner Rustic Confusing Grinding Patience Arthur Crypt

Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at

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:

Baby panther


Smart Move

The winner would be announced later. It was obvious that the blue boat had won, but they’d announce it later.
To announce something obvious, with great pomp and circumstance, hours after the event ended was confusing. But Peter believed there was some sort of live event logistics that determined that, until… he saw the crew looking rather suspicious.
He stormed over to the mic.
“There’s a lot more than people in that boat…”
The police rushed to the stage. Peter was arrested. The crew of the blue boat hurried away.
Smart move to traffic dope right under everyone’s noses.


The architectural firm ran a worldwide design contest in Japan. The entrants were to design a new, three story, pagoda for Yamaguchi.

The winner would have to satisfy a couple of primary constraints. Among them, the requirement that a rustic, unassuming and non-confusing façade depict a modest image of a traditional sword maker hammering and grinding a katana sword blank.

Patience and diligence was required, but Arthur Codpeace won grand prize.

He didn’t follow the strict guidelines and the inducements the Yakuza demanded. He was deconstructed with a Stihl chainsaw and buried in a fifty gallon crypt beneath the pagoda.


‘In the eye of the beholder’

“Rustic and confusing” – that was the opinion of the so called art critics attending the opening of my latest exhibition.

I thought they were rather rude. After availing themselves of the rather good free wine and canapés, I expected a decent review… It’s only common courtesy, in my opinion.

Well, I wasn’t going to stand for it, and having cornered the art editor for the Evening Standard, blocking his escape path, with the Chardonnay tantalisingly just out of reach, I pressed him to explain.

“It’s the tractors” he said; “as religious iconography, they’re confusing.”

Maybe he had a point!


Cruel and unusual torture is a much misunderstood phrase. It irritates me that people always imagine the most dramatic and outlandish scenarios when the topic is mentioned. Cruel and unusual doesn’t always mean exotic devices, ridiculous settings, blood and gore. Real cruel and inhuman torture is about taking mundane, everyday circumstances and giving them a twist; subtly grinding down your victim, until you’re left with a pathetic husk of a person, with no hope, and no will to live.

It takes great patience, but it works.

Like sitting in a dentist’s waiting room, for hours…

Now that’s cruel, and unusual!


Changga Trot

Rustic Pagoda was a K-Pop girl’s band out of Seoul. Lead singer was Kimmy Kim Park. Serious set of pipes on that smurf girl. The bass player Pearl Dive ripped up the bottom end while lead guitarist Mindy Max pounded out Anthem Stadium Power cords. The band had more drummers than Spinal Tap. Got tired of reprinting press posters so the new sticks girl was just called X. Margret Wong doubled on Sax and keyboards. She wasn’t Korean, but it wasn’t like the audience was sentience enough to notice. First band from Korean to broke into Billboard’s top 10.


Rustic pagoda
A traveller occasionally notices my rustic pagoda and stops to pray at the shrine. I may then come out and speak with him. My priestly wisdom is but simple, for I have not put in the level-grinding to become a great sage. I prefer this relaxed life after my previous one as a mercenary captain in the Hundred Years War. I had a glorious run of things, although in the end I was hacked to death on an obscure battlefield. But every life ends in failure, which is to say, that it ends. I am already considering my next one.


Linoliumanda ran to the bedroom door, pressing her ear to it. “Silent as a crypt.”
A confusing evil grin spread across her face.
She locked the door.
Billbert gulped.
Linoliumanda turned on the radio to mask the grinding sound as she opened the bedroom window.
“Come on.” She climbed through, onto the eaves. “Let go flying.”
She wrapped her arms around him from behind and Billbert lifted off over the houses of the rustic neighborhood. Her body was warm against his back as the cool air rushed past.
“We have a half hour before dad comes to check on us.”


The Proposal
by Jeffrey Fischer

The restaurant had a certain rustic charm and a menu with enough French words to confuse the average diner. Add to that a pianist playing traditional French songs in the style of Liberace and prices that nearly required a home equity loan, and one had the perfect locale to pop the question. Between dessert and coffee, Bryan scooted back his chair, fumbled in his jacket pocket for the ring case, and dropped to one knee.

Jessica sat transfixed, a look of horror on her face. “Bryan, no…” Too late. Bryan ran through his well-rehearsed lines. The poor fool even took her shaking head as a sign of acceptance. She fled to the ladies’ room and called a cab to meet her at the restaurant’s rear entrance.


Unlike other crypts, Billy Arthur’s crypt was built in the style of a Japanese pagoda.
It was a delicate affair, surrounded by cherryblossoms and gardens and koi ponds and other fancery.
Billy had always dreamed of such tending such a beautiful garden.
But in his endless quest for money and power and fame, he never had the time to take a break and enjoy all he’d accumulated.
He died young, leaving instructions for he crypt and pagoda and gardens.
The people who come here to rest and relax and take photographs, to them, he’s just a name on a plaque.

Vampire Jack

Wolfman Jack, the famous deejay, was not a werewolf.
He was, in fact, a vampire.
In order to hide his true nature, he wore a scraggly wig and howled so people would think he was a werewolf.
This ruse worked, until a deranged fan tried to shoot him with a silver bullet.
Werewolves normally die from silver bullets, but vampires are immune to them, so Wolfman Jack staged his own death.
The next day, Mummy Jack showed up at the radio station looking for a job.
But walking around in bandages didn’t have the same appeal as a wolfman’s howl.

Master of Horror

They called Vincent Price the Master of Horror.
But his true calling was tapdance.
In between takes, Vincent Price would don a top hat, pick up a cane, and he’d do a little soft shoe to amuse the crew and other actors.
Then, once the cameras and lights were ready, he’d go back to acting.
Vincent tried to convince producers to cast him in musicals, but his agent insisted that he do horror.
“It’s what the audiences want and love… and the studios pay for,” he said.
Vincent sighed, hung up his tap shoes, and put on his black cloak.


Before Dr. Victor Frankenstein became obsessed with bringing dead tissue back to life, he was obsessed with bringing The Beatles back together.
Many experts agreed that getting rid of Yoko Ono would solve the problem, but Victor knew that the real problem was Linda McCartney.
Victor spent many nights trying to calculate the proper solution.
After ten years, he’d finally done it.
He ran to the local newspaper office with his findings, only to discover that John Lennon had been killed.
Victor sighed, went back to the drawing board, and began working on a solution to that even bigger problem.

Candy check

After every Halloween, Mom would take us to the airport where they’d offer to X-ray bags of candy to check for razors and tacks and other dangerous items.
The security people never found anything in the candy.
Then Mom would give us each some of the candy.
But then, some of it wasn’t what we’d actually gotten from the neighborhood.
Full-sized Snickers and Three Musketeers bars?
“I don’t remember getting these, do you?” I asked my brothers.
They didn’t care. Bigger was better.
I didn’t eat any. Which is why I survived.
Don’t take candy from strangers.
Or family, either.