Weekly Challenge #650 – Dug

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:

Shelf life

NORVAL JOE

Linoliumanda was crying and Mr. Withybottom thought Billbert could do something about it.
In the luminescence of the street light, he dug his hands into the pockets of his hoodie as if he would find a solution among the bits of lint.
He wasn’t used to talking to girls.
“Sure. Okay, but, what am I supposed to say. Shouldn’t she talk to her mom, or something? I mean, she is a girl and everything.”
“Don’t you think we’ve tried that?” Mr. Withybottom began, then softened his words again. “Linny won’t open her door. She says she’ll only talk to you.”

RICHARD

Rite of Passage

‘He had a good life’, I said to myself, and now his body had been laid to rest, the time had come to celebrate that life.

As always on these occasions, I reached into the depths of my drinks’ cabinet and dug out the familiar bottle reserved for these sombre moments.

I poured a generous measure of the twelve year old Macallan and drank a toast to his memory. Just a single tot – this bottle was saved only to mark a death.

I swatted dead yet another irritating fly.

‘He had a good life’, I murmured, pouring another measure.

LIZZIE

The hole must be big enough, he thought.
But he wasn’t sure he wanted to do it.
He wasn’t sure he wanted another flower or worse, another task to take care of every day. Water the plant and add fertilizer, and all that.
But he continued.
Just a bit more, he thought. The hole was big enough for him to fit in it.
This should do.
He turned to stare at her horrified eyes.
“Don’t worry my treasure, you’ll bloom like all the rest.” And he waved his arm around to show her dozens of mounds with beautiful flowers.

CHARLIE

I dug the vibes at Frank’s house. He always had a cigar box full of stems and seeds that needed cleaning, and as a reward there was plenty of good weed to roll up.

He invited Mississippi Blind Lemon to play as a half dozen of us sat around the big living room, leaning on the walls and listening to Lemon sing and play funky blues.

We drank Gallo Burgundy, and nibbled on apples and chips. Those were the days. No pretensions, no angry words, no one bumming anyone out and harshing anyone’s vibe.

My ego dissolved away that summer.

#2

I used a large auger on the post hole digger, and dug a hole in the back yard. I filled the hole with water, and tied a bucket to my feet. I jumped into the hole, pulling the bucket over my feet.

I drowned in the tight hole, unable to move my limbs. The bucket covered me and hid me from anyone looking over the fence.

The dogs left me alone, afraid of the bucket.

A full year passed before someone came by, kicking the bucket, and exposing the skeleton in the post hole.

The police ruled it an accident.

JEFFREY

Tomb Raider
by Jeffrey Fischer

The archaeology team stared at the dusty sarcophagus. Over the past months they had painstakingly burrowed their way into the burial chamber and carefully dug out the final resting place of the so-called Black Pharaoh, who was rumored to control the spirit world as well as all of Egypt. Now the team waited for Professor Bilson to open the object. Bilson hung back, reluctant to break the seals. Bilson could see no way of avoiding the honor while still saving face before his team and so, crowbar in hand, he pried open the heavy lid. The Black Pharaoh stared at Bilson, the ruler’s eyes full of life. As the pharaoh’s consciousness forced its way into Bilson’s mind, the professor screamed.

SERENDIPITY

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dug graves.

As a child, I became something of an expert in digging them for expired pets; first my own, then as I developed an aptitude for the task, I started to offer my services to the neighbourhood children too.

I’ve never been a professional gravedigger, despite keeping my hand in well into the present day… Let’s just say, I dig graves on an ‘informal’ basis, as the need arises.

Only these days, I dig them vertical: There’s simply not enough space left in the garden to do it the traditional way!

TOM

It Was The 80s

In past 100 word stories I have copped to the fact I have been a heavy video gamer. So it will come as no surprise I have dumped a bunch of coin into a “DIG DUG” arcade machine. Basic game play is you dig a number of vertical tunnels, get the monster to follow you up said tunnels that has a rock directly above, move out way of the falling rock, smash monster. The main strategy was to go deep, wait for monsters to combine at the bottom, led a line up tunnel to falling rock. Not exactly rocket science.

PLANET Z

Go ahead. Dig your own grave.
Here’s a shovel.
Don’t feel like digging with a shovel?
Then here’s the address of a place you can rent a backhoe.
You might need some lessons, though.
I’m sure there’s a contractor you can hire.
But that’s cheating.
That’s someone else digging your grave.
You’re supposed to dig your own grave.
Maybe if you tried to dig in softer ground?
You could use a pickaxe to break things up a big before you dig.
Oh, and did you call the gas company to make sure it’s safe to dig?
Safety first, you know.

I don’t feel like talking

You send me messages, you bang on the door, but I don’t feel like talking.
Most people say “I don’t feel like talking” but that’s talking.
And I don’t feel like talking. At all.
So, I don’t respond at all.
More messages. More screams. “Why aren’t you talking to me?”
I know why, and I could tell you, boy, could I tell you.
But, once again, I don’t feel like talking.
So, I say nothing.
For days… weeks…
The nights are colder, quieter.
And I reach for the door to the basement.
But you’ve probably starved to death by now.

Doctor Odd and Killbot

They say that if you love something, set it free, and if the love is true, it will come back.
Doctor Odd loved Killbot, his finest creation.
“Go,” said Doctor Odd, pushing Killbot out the door. “Be free.”
Killbot downloaded maps and calculated the most efficient route through the city.
For three weeks, Doctor Odd sat on the porch, watching the carnage.
And then, he saw the red glow of Killbot’s eyes.
It was back!
“You really love me!” shouted Doctor Odd.
Then he remotely turned Killbot off.
Love may be blind, but sometimes facial recognition algorithms can be unreliable.

Jason and the soup

It’s not a good idea to get between Jason and his vegetable soup.
Jason really likes vegetable soup, and he’ll do anything to get it.
Sure, Jason is in a wheelchair, and he has a robot that spoons vegetable soup to his mouth, but that robot arm can do some nasty things.
Once, this nurse got between Jason and his vegetable soup.
She isn’t his nurse anymore.
She barely survived, and ended up in a wheelchair, also being fed soup by a robotic arm.
Jason likes to park his wheelchair between her and her soup, just to rub it in.

Costume Crafting

Popular culture moves so quickly these days.
It’s hard to manufacture relevant and topical Halloween costumes in time to reach the market.
By the time something hits the shelves, it’s already passe and out of date.
Sure, you could make your own, but that takes effort.
And, once again, by the time you finish sewing and gluing, it’s already out of date.
That’s why Melvin uses his 3D printer to manufacture his costumes.
He uses a series of colored resins to fabricate the suit and mask and gloves.
Directly on to his body.
That way, the painful screams are genuine.

Edgar the Whacker

They called him Roger the Butcher.
Never mind that he went by his middle name “Edgar.”
Or that he wasn’t a butcher. He was a plumber.
Nor was he butchering his victims.
He preferred to just whack them on the back of the head with a pipe.
But the papers didn’t like the name “Edgar the Whacker.”
So they call him “Roger the Butcher” because that sounded better.
Edgar had already picked out a domain name, registered a trademark, and established a social media presence.
So he started whacking reporters.
“WHAT’S MY NAME?” he shouted.
“EDGAR THE WHACKER!” they screamed.

Witch Hunt

Teddy got his first witch hunting license when he was thirteen.
Before that, Teddy’s dad would bring him along, but wouldn’t let him do more than carry an equipment bag.
“Thirteen is old enough,” said Teddy’s dad, handing Teddy a torch and pitchfork. “These were your grandfather’s, and now they’re yours.”
They set up a blind in the old creepy woods by a growth of deadly nightshade.
The witches came to harvest under the full moon.
Teddy bagged two sorceresses, and his dad tied them to the roof of the jeep.
They burned them at the stake in the backyard.

Weekly Challenge #649 – PICK TWO: Minefield, Fountain, Angle, Craft, Sodium, Salute, Engine, Candle, Case

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:

Huggytinny

CHARLIE

The minefield skirted the fountain. If the careless crossed at the wrong angle, the chemistry and the genius behind the craft of the sodium incendiary would remove anything above two feet off the ground.

The giant salute would drive the engine that extinguished each candle in the troop.

In case anyone survived the blast, the entrenched squad would take them out with fifties.

The war started because two idiots disagreed about the demarcation between the two countries.

In reality it was a simple fence line that was at the basis of the war that killed thousands and maimed thousands more.

#2

The case held the candle that was used to start the kindling in the boiler. The boiler produced the steam that drove the engine. As the operator steered the heavy device, he would salute the officers in the stand. He’d throw a pinch of sodium in the boiler.

The heavy machine would later evolve into a seagoing craft. The angle of the bow could slice through the seas, leaving a fountain of spray in its wake, and a veritable minefield of surf at the stern.

Surfers would cheer any time the craft put out to sea or circled the bay.

-Music: Crazy Glue by Josh Woodward

LIZZIE

The train left the station. It was empty. No passengers.
Halfway, the engine exploded. There was only one casualty.
No one knew that the train was packed with cases of secret files, the kind of files that would have been talked about for weeks.
The explosion was not reported in the media.
When John, the farmer, picked up a bunch of bits and pieces of paper off his land, a reporter showed up.
The reporter was told to get the hell off his property.
John packed it all in a box and burnt it.
He knew when to shut up.

RICHARD

Journey’s end?

After many days of trekking through this God-forsaken rainforest, half eaten by biting insects and fearful of the ever present threat of venomous snakes, scorpions and who knows what other terrors lurk in the shadows, we finally attained our goal.

Too late for Robinson, lost to the rapids and crocodiles; but it has been worth the cost, and we salute him for his sacrifice.

There before us: The Fountain of Youth.

The only problem – the map for our journey home had been lost with Robinson.

But at least we now have a lifetime in which to retrace our steps!

TOM

BOOOM
He was a most creative child. Built these Mindfield Fountains. Started out with strings of buried firecrackers, made his way up to rings of TNT. Finally with the help of the Turkish government he cover an area about the size of Rhode Island. It was pretty hard getting volunteers for the project, but the Turks were more than happy to help with that one. Good to the last Kurd. Last I heard of him he was working closely with a sleeper cell in South Africa. Or maybe it was Angola. Some call him gifted, I call him a fuck.

SERENDIPITY

I stood beneath the amber glow of the sodium streetlamp, lit up another cigarette and drew upon it contentedly.

In the darkness across the street, a body lay, rapidly cooling, lifeblood draining thick and warm, into the gutter.

It’s these moment’s I live for: The quiet, reflective peace that comes in the aftermath of violence. Time to dwell upon a job well done.

Finishing my cigarette, I made the call.

The Police would be arriving soon.

And I’d be back too… Only in my official capacity, as detective inspector of homicide.

Although this is one case that will remain unsolved.

JEFFREY

The Art of the Spiel
by Jeffrey Fischer

Kirsten uncapped the fountain pen and tapped the barrel against her teeth as she stared at the blank page. Slowly, word by word, the draft of her speech emerged. This was to be the most important talk of her career and she wanted to craft every sentence perfectly, highlighting her thoughts and avoiding the subject’s minefields.

Unfortunately, Kirsten was a bad writer with incoherent ideas. Even the most exquisitely crafted pen could do nothing to improve the quality of the words on the page. The definitive word on “Sodium Chloride: A Salute to Salt” would have to wait for another day.

TURA

The test for the Controlled Variable
———
The spacecraft, pretending to be an asteroid, drifted on a path calculated to cross the asteroid belt.

The minefield watched the incoming asteroid and calculated its path. It had a nearby mine send a puff from its ion engines that would nudge it into a very slightly different path, that in half a million miles would crash into another asteroid.

The spacecraft sensed the impulse. It puffed gently with a thruster, to avoid the predicted collision.

The mine observed the change of course. Coincidence? It puffed again.

The spacecraft corrected its course again.

The mine exploded. Twice is enemy action.

EVA

Anchovies and Extra Cheese

The candle in the window was a ruse, you know. Men in pristine dark suits following the book by rote crouched behind bushes. Step one, have you rebooted? Step two, is it plugged in? No deviation, ever.

The flame quivered as she laughed, allowing a quick glimpse of the case through the window. Like a scamper of rats they were as she made her way downstairs.

Ding dong and a quick exchange. Moments later a scuffle and the empty pizza bag lay shredded. Domino’s delivers, she thinks.

The documents? On the cat of course, sliding unnoticed into the storm drain.

ASPEN

Held Inside the Magical Craft Case

Bits N Bobs, tacks and threads contained within a tiny space.

Sitting by a fireplace the aged lady, nearing the end of life, had but one enjoyment left. Though the task heavier an ordeal to complete, the mere happiness from within it created was magical. A pin here, a stitch there, buttons for eyes and locks of golden yarn for hair. A doll is born from contents within, to be passed to a child to comfort N love, grow with and hold dear.

A forever friend to hold secrets unbearable to share, created from the contents inside Grannys Craft Case.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert walked toward his home. When it occurred to him he should fly–it was dark and no one would see him–the sound of an engine approaching stopped him in his tracks. He turned to see a car angle toward him.

Though the driver rolled down the window, glare from a sodium-vapor street lamp obscured Billbert’s vision. He raised his hand to his forehead like a salute, blocking the light, and asked, “Do you want something?”

Mr. Withybottom growled, “Yes. I want you to come talk to Linny. She won’t stop crying.” In a much softer, gentler tone he added, “Please.”

PLANET Z

I love floating candles.
My cat Piper loved them, too.
She’d drink the water from the floating candle bowl.
So, I took out the candles and she used them as water bowls.
I needed a place to float my candles.
So, I opened the back of the toilet and floated them in there.
But they’d capsize and go out when the toilet was flushed.
Or clog the pipe if they got past the flapper.
Finally, I’d float them in the spare bathroom’s bathtub.
And they looked really cool in there.
But I rarely went in there to enjoy the lights.

Four legged friend

Most people are referring to their dog or cat when they talk about a four-legged friend, or maybe something exotic like a pony, but when I say it, I’m talking about my pal Murray.
Look, Murray’s had a hard life, having four legs.
When he was born, his parents gave him up for adoption.
His dad was a gambler, and everybody thought he was weird when he’d say “Baby needs two pairs of shoes.”
And instead of getting a decent education, he spent most of his childhood in carnival sideshows.
So, back off, or Murray will kick your ass. Twice.

Ukraine

The Western Ukranians want closer ties to Europe and to have a Western democracy.
The Eastern Ukranians want closer ties to Russia and to have an Eastern democracy, which is really just a socialist autocracy.
Both point their fingers at each other and accuse them of being servants of the money-grubbing Jews.
Me, I want them both to fuck themselves and die.
Let them have their wars. Their massacres. Their war crimes.
The more, the better.
My people can move on to Spain or Israel or wherever they want.
And leave these Jew-hating scum to their mutual prison and cemetery.