Weekly Challenge #655 – Brace

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:

Home is where the Tinny is


“Brace yourselves for the worst storm you have ever experienced. The winds will be cyclonic, the rain torrential. You may want to get these raincoats on. The waterproof boots will be extremely helpful too. Oh, and I advise you to wear these glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris. You’ll never forget this experience, I assure you.”
The group was skeptical, considering how beautiful and peaceful everything looked.
“It better be epic. We paid a lot of money for this.”
After a long wait, the only thing that flew was Steven, the guide of the weather-themed park.



I am what you might call a very frequent flyer. Almost every working day, and most weekends, will see me on a plane to some far flung destination.

There’s only so much you can do on a flight: Once you’ve seen all the in-flight movies, read the brochures from cover to cover, and spent far too much time sleeping, boredom becomes a huge problem.

Being something of an artist, I’ve taken to altering the emergency procedure cards.

Then, mid-flight, when no-one’s looking, I shout ‘Brace, brace!’ and laugh at the ridiculous and obscene poses I’ve instructed everyone to assume!


I’m a great believer in transparency and openness: It can make such a refreshing change from the nonsense that’s constantly peddled as fact, every day, in every situation.

We all know politicians lie, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and no bargain is too good to be true. There are always strings attached and when we say, ‘with the greatest respect’, respect it couldn’t be further from the truth.

So why mess about and lie? Let’s be honest and tell it like it is.

That’s why I’m warning you…

This is going to hurt.

A lot!

Brace yourself.


A world at war…bombs, shootings, death surrounded the soldier. Much unknown to the family at home with little communications and the few that there was were weeks even months between. Nothing left but to wait and wonder if the dear loved one was wounded, captured, dead or alive.

The mother gazed down the dirt road day after day waiting for her son to return many of which she would turn in at night after not seeing her son walk the path. Finally, the day came, out the window, she saw her son but a different version limping wearing a brace.


Winking at Your Discords

“Have lost a brace of kinsmen,” said the Prince, “All are punished.” I was just 14, I’d like to have called it my first date, but it was actually a hook-up, decades before the term moved into modern American English. A brace of kinsmen, the language was somewhat fun, when we read it in freshmen English class, but when it was delivered on the wide silver screen it hammer home, lost, folly, and how damning social conventions can be. Before Zeffirelli I had mild interest in words, after 1968, a deep devotion. If words lose their meaning, all are punished.




Jon DeCles

Nomily braced the door open with Kevin’s body. She could not risk the growing wind blowing it closed and trapping her in the little bunker once she had finished.

She took out the small notebook in which she had written down Dr. Winslow’s instructions and began to carefully enter the complex pattern of numbers on the several keypads, breathing slowly and focusing her attention as completely as she could, despite the danger. In the back of her mind she retained the thought of how preposterous it was that she was, perhaps, going to be the savior of all of Humankind.



Jon DeCles

No dispute was possible about the matter. The young upstart had rebelled against the crown and he must die before he did England any more damage. Moreover, he must not be allowed into the presence of the Queen. If once they were together he would look at her with those exquisite eyes, give her that smile, and she would commute his sentence of death. He held in thrall the heart of the most intelligent woman alive.

Therefore, the ring, which she had given Essex as final pleading against his pride, must not reach her. Stealing the salvatory ring, he fled.


“Brace yourself,” Billbert told Linoliumanda as they landed on the eves. They crawled back through her bedroom window.
Billbert looked at the turtle clock by Linoliumanda’s bed. “We’ve been gone forty-five minutes. Your dad is going to freak out.”
As if on cue, a knock came at the door.
Linoliumanda said, “Brace yourself.”
She grabbed Billbert by the head and planted a kiss on his lips and held it until Billbert ran out of breath. She mussed his hair and then her own before she opened the door.
Her father took in the scene and demanded, “What’s going on here?”


FDR’s legs were paralyzed by a bout of Polio.
So, he wore braces, and learned to drive a car by using hand controls.
He challenged himself to walk with braces and canes from his front door, down the road, to the mailbox at the front gate.
It was a quarter of a mile.
Despite trying day after day, putting himself through the grueling and painful exercise, he never managed to make it all the way there.
Oh, he pushed himself hard, but he never made it before finally giving up.
And even if he did, how would he get back?

Weekly Challenge #654 – Dispute

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:



I can’t recall a dispute I was ever engaged in. For my whole life, property, creative design ideas, legal issues, etc., were never anything I was concerned, nor enmeshed, in.

I’m afraid the day I am in a real dispute with someone, I will pick up a shovel, and smack the one I am in dispute with in the back of the head, dragging me into a manslaughter case.

Disputes hurt them more than they hurt me, but the effect on me is extreme. I dislike shouting, and spittle in the corners of an opponent’s mouth, and high blood pressure.


The four men sat at the table surrounded by birds chirping.
“This racket is driving me crazy.”
The others shrugged and continued to talk about the plan.
“All weapons on deck?” he asked.
The others nodded.
A map appeared out of nowhere.
“What if he’s dead already?”
“Then, that’s it.”
And he thought, no, that’s not it. First, I’ll come back and kill these damn birds. Then, I’ll get rid of you cretins. And finally… Why not?
He pulled out two guns and shot the others right there and then.
Sometimes, there’s no point in waiting.


Insurance policy

I’ve been in dispute with my insurance company for the last few months. They maintain that being struck by lightning is an act of god, and therefore I can’t claim under my policy.

I, on the other hand, maintain that they’re just hiding behind a legal loophole and are unreasonably withholding the compensation I’m entitled to.

I won’t win though – I’ve made enough claims and seen enough refusals to know that the ‘act of god’ clause can cover pretty much anything they want it to.

So, I’m moving from Mount Olympus… Too many gods, and too many wild parties!


I’ve always been a fan of the old fashioned methods of settling disputes – talking things through and getting counselling are all well and good, but they take too much time, and both sides always come away feeling they’ve had to give something up.

It’s much better to have a proper old fist fight, or if you’re feeling civilised, the traditional duel with pistols at dawn.

But, in my mind, you can’t beat the old ways: Trial by ordeal, fire and ducking stool.

Of course, even if you’re innocent, the chances you’ll survive are slim.

But, then again…

I survived!


Civility take a holiday

Oh for the days of civil dispute, when everything was dial back to a 4 at best. Reasonable voices voicing reasonable points of view. Who’d thought that the loudest screams would be coming from the black and white pixels that makeup computer text? If an army of moms where hovering just behind their recalcitrant off-spring I can assure you a snap to the back of the head would clear up a considerable amount of this rage-a-roma. It is sad we so easily confuse fighting for arguing. That winning is everything and at all costs mentality is norm. Too much red-meat.


A Happy Ending
by Jeffrey Fischer

When Marty got through to a customer service rep, he explained in no uncertain terms why he was disputing the charge to the Happy Endings massage parlor. “But the business has your card number and code,” said the rep. “Has the card been out of your control?”

“Not that I know,” Marty said. “I’m just telling you the charge isn’t mine.” When the conversation was done, Marty turned to his wife, who had been listening to his end, and said, “See? It was all a mistake.” She nodded, though her icy expression didn’t change.

Marty made a mental note to be more careful with his credit cards in the future. He had to remember to use the card his wife didn’t know about.


Billbert flew low over the houses of the neighborhood with Linoliumanda clinging to his back. He checked his watch. She had said they had a half hour before her father checked on them. He couldn’t dispute that. He didn’t know her father like she did.

Regardless. He would not have her back a minute late. He didn’t want to find himself in the middle of a family dispute.

By the time they returned to her room, the only part of him that wasn’t frozen was his back.

But it was worth it to see the smile frozen on her face.


Dispute is the name of the fragrance.
The scent of anger.
To some, it’s a putoff. But to others, it’s a turnon.
The heat pours off of them like water in the shower over their body.
It’s hard to resist, but you have to try.
Fight it. Fight it with all you can.
That’s where the dispute happens.
Within you.
Fighting against yourself. Your instincts.
What you want… what you desire most.
But you know you shouldn’t have.
What you don’t deserve… don’t you?
Stop resisting. Stop punishing yourself.
Take it. Take it now.
And end the dispute, won’t you?

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

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:

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.

Weekly Challenge #652 – Turtle

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 golden rule

Danny ‘Fries With That’ McDonaldson had earned a break; and now that his burger business was making a profit, he felt comfortable with taking some time off and leaving his brother, Dilbert, in charge.

Dilbert wasn’t the brightest, so Danny kept his instructions to a mere hundred words, and headed off to the beach.

When he returned, after two weeks, the business was failing. Dilbert in his wisdom had done away with steak, and was now selling turtle burgers instead!

“For crying out loud!” Danny ranted, “I can’t believe you broke the golden rule of burgers…”

“Always… Keep it beef!”


“Pirates are turtles.”
The others at the table frowned. Most of them were pirates.
“Yes, turtles.”
“You drank too much, mate.”
“No, no. Turtles, they are.”
“Why turtles?”
The man prepared to stand up and walk away.
“Wait, wait. Have a seat. Explain why we’re turtles.”
The others frowned.
“Turtles or parrots?”
The man raised his beer mug and laughed.
“Another round for the boys!”
Everyone forgot about the turtle story.
When the man walked away he had several pouches of coins in his pocket.
“Slow blabbers,” he whispered.


The turtle, as unique and well designed as it is, has never been employed as a means of mass transport. A quick bimble around the garden or across the river may suffice for the turtle, but once the scorpion is introduced into the story you know this did not turn out well for the turtle nor the scorpion.

I’ve never ridden a turtle, but I did take a ride on the back of a large, green, seat turtle while in the Galapagos on a vacation.

The turtle took me for a spin, as we dodged tour boats and scuba divers.


We don’t know how it happened. The bottom of the shell was cracked and the plates were loose. Jimminy, the box turtle that lived in the garden, needed help, now. He had to stop dragging his shell across the ground. It was hurting him and it could do more damage to his organs if we didn’t do something.

Lani had some popsicle sticks, string, some rubber wheels, some cotton packing, and Leggo pieces.

We cobbled together a contraption that Jimminy could wear. It would keep his shell off the ground allowing him to pull himself along until his shell healed.


Fear the Turtle
by Jeffrey Fischer

Sports team mascots tend to emphasize their ferocity: the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Michigan Wolverines. Political correctness has forced some teams to replace mascots with watered-down versions: William and Mary is still the Tribe but can’t use the Indian logo. Similarly, the Atlanta Braves dropped long-time mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa. Fairfax High School, in Virginia, ditched Johnny Reb in the 1980s, opting to do without a mascot.

Here’s to the Maryland Terrapins, then. A school so splendidly confident that its mascot is the very definition of slowness combined with a knack for avoiding fights by hiding in its shell. A bold decision.


Someone asked what my spirit animal might be. I suggested snapping turtle, because there’s much I have in common with that creature.

I hide away, only coming out of my shell if provoked, I’ve a thick impervious skin, and I’ll attack without warning. Like the turtle, once you’re in my grasp, I’ll draw blood and I’ll not let go.

And yet, I seem so inoffensive, you might even think I’m cute.

So, why don’t you come a little closer… Try to give me a cuddle. No need to be afraid.

But don’t be surprised when I tear your fingers off!


All the way down

Mitch was a turtle’s turtle. Totally hard sheller. Quick to snap at any dissent in the rank and file. He ran the race so slowly it was easy to miss the infinite course corrections. That reptile was will to given up any conservative creed to gain the greater goal. If is took 100 years, the Mitch, would make it the law of Turledom all turtle eggs will come to term. Well it didn’t quite work out the way Mitch had planned. The Turtle Two movement took him out of office, and a Mack truck took him out on the road.




Jon DeCles

Leonardo’s tank was based on his observations of a turtle in a pond near his home. Many of his inventions were based on natural phenomena, like the set of wings he designed to allow a man to fly like a bird. He noticed, on an outing at the seashore, that seals could swim underwater for a very long time while hunting fish and other delicacies, and so he designed a submersible ship that could do the same.

The sun heated stones and the stones held the heat, but that was not worth jotting down: even a fool could understand that.



By Jon DeCles

Chaos was what there was before the Big Bang. That’s an important part of Greek Cosmology. It is not Nothingness, it is a lack of Somethingness. What you might call substance without spiritual definition. A stage of complete lack of any kind of organization on any level.

The Tower of Babel is a Biblical depiction of Chaos brought about by linguistic disintigration. If Nobody can speak a common language Nobody can communicate. If even part of the people can speak more than one language then the Chaos begins to come under control. The more commonality, the less Chaos.

Speak Broadly!


Linoliumanda pulled Billbert toward her bed.
“Um. I really don’t think,” Billbert began.
“What? Oh.” Linoliumanda blushed. “I just want to talk.”
Billbert perched on the edge of the bed, his hands in his lap. Linoliumanda sat next to him.
He looked around expecting to find decorations of unicorns or something magic related. To his surprise, everything was turtles — pink turtles.
There were turtle pillows on the bed, a pink and purple turtle pattern bedspread, turtle wallpaper, turtle posters and turtle ornaments.
“You like turtles?” Billbert asked.
“Yes. How did you know?” she asked, apparently surprised by his observation.


Back when I could eat candy, I loved those turtle candies.
Chocolate, caramel, pralines, and…
Oh, I miss them so.
Now that I can’t eat them, I miss them that much more.
For a while, I’d put one in my mouth, chew it up, and spit it out.
But I was too tempted to swallow them, and I had to stop.
I’d try to breathe them in, or get turtle-flavored coffee, but I can’t have coffee, either.
Now, I just walk past the candy shop, not even looking in the window.
“Enjoy it while you can, kids,” I whisper quietly.

Weekly Challenge #651 – Mystery

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:



Scooby Don’t

It’s a mystery to me how Scooby Doo managed to stay so popular for so long.

Sure, I could understand the attraction of the geeky Velma, delectable Daphne and dependable Fred, but Shaggy didn’t have a lot going for him, even as a cartoon character.

And who wouldn’t be impressed by a talking dog?

But the stories themselves… Rubbish!

Dark spooky building, apparently haunted; Mystery Machine rolls up; much running around, screaming, and colossal sandwiches; fatal error by ghostly presence; cops arrive; janitor unmasked.

And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for them pesky kids!


The mystery oil applied to her face was advertised as removing wrinkles deep in her cheeks, over her lips and on her neck. She had no idea what it was, but it costs as much as her car payment for a sixty day supply. She assumed it would work.

It worked. It tightened the skin so much on her face, that in order to appear curious, she had to raise her eyebrows with her fingers.

The oil seemed to dissolve her skin to the point that cosmetic fillers would not be necessary. Botox, of course, was out of the question.


Chef Thomas drizzled the mystery sauce on the grilled steak. The sauce was his secret. Even the sous chefs had no idea what constituted the sauce.

Thomas learned about the sauce when he traveled in the orient, visiting various villages.

He was introduced to the sauce by an old woman. He slipped her three thousand Baht, and placed jars of sauce into his bag.

On the trail back, he noticed that there were dogs following him, sniffing and pawing his bag.

He had only seen this behavior once before. It was the day he cut his hand in the kitchen.


I’m no fan of cop shows.

The plot twists and turns required to keep the final outcome a mystery irritate me. That’s not how it works in real life, where the cops usually know what they’ve got at the start and, spend the rest of the investigation gathering supporting evidence.

However, I do enjoy watching old episodes of Columbo, because unlike every other cop show, you see the crime being committed right at the beginning, you know who did it and how, right away.

So, for any cops listening, I’ll make it simple…

It was me: With my bare hands!


The Lost Episode
by Jeffrey Fischer

“Crikey, it’s not a ghost at all, it’s Mr. Smithers!” cried Velma, pointing at the running man, his mask having slipped from his face.

“Rister Rithers?” Scooby said, confused as usual.

“Make sure he doesn’t get away!” Daphne said. Always the sharp one, that Daphne.

“Radical, man.” That was Shaggy’s contribution.

“Don’t worry, gang, we’ve got him. Get in the Mystery Machine,” Fred said. The fivesome piled into the van, slamming the doors shut. Flakes of rust rained on the pavement. Fred cranked the ignition a half-dozen times before the engine caught with a mighty backfire. He pushed down hard on the accelerator and the van… went nowhere. He adjusted the side mirror and saw a bright red boot clamped on the rear wheel of the van.

“Shaggy, did you pay those parking tickets that you said you would?” Fred asked.

Shaggy gave Fred a big, stoned smile and said, “I would have, but I had the munchies and spent the dough on a bag of hamburgers and fries.”



Mystery – An Ekphrasis
In a certain undistinguished town in Argentina lies the Plaza del Infinidad.

You must enter it on a deserted summer afternoon, from the alley at the corner of the Curiñanca. Stare to the clock tower on the far side. It must be three o’clock. As you make toward it, it recedes, for after walking half way, always half the distance remains. The clock stands still at three o’clock. Here, in the mystery of the hour, somewhere there lies a mirror reflecting the entire universe, but only one has ever found it. The others wander still, lost in this infinite space.


My First Mystery

When I was a kid I uses to watch the Mickey Mouse Club on TV. Late 50’s stuff. They had this on goes section called The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure. It was Hardy Boys knock-off, but I was way too young to be able write, so the story was classic TV mind candy. There are this recurring scene in the series that never left me. A tight shoot of a gloved had tapping out a message on a phone so the boys could get this coded message. In the end it turn out to be the young female led.


Billbert followed Mr. Withybottom up to Linoliumanda’s door.
Everything about the situation was a mystery.
Linoliumanda said she would only speak to him and Mr. and Mrs. Withybottom believed her.
“Go ahead.” Mr. Withybottom pointed to the door.
When Billbert reached for the doorknob Mr. Withybottom grabbed him by the wrist and growled, “Knock.”
“Oh. Sorry.” Billbert raised his hand to pound on the door.
Before he could, the door opened and Linoliumanda pulled him inside.
Billbert had never seen so much pink in his life.
“Um. What do we do now?” Billbert asked.
Linoliumanda pulled him toward the bed.


When Inspector Fred arrived at the scene, he couldn’t help but mutter “This is such a cliche.”
A remote mansion, a long road and drive to the front door, a butler waiting at the front steps.
And a once-innocent dinner party had become a murder mystery.
The guests and staff were, of course, all suspects.
Inspector Fred interviewed all of them
They had reasons to kill the victim. But they also had alibis or reasons why they couldn’t have murdered the victim.
So, Fred chalked it up to suicide and let them all go.
“Asshole had it coming,” he said.

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


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

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:



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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.

Weekly Challenge #648 – Chaos

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:



“A bear. Run.”
A bear? In the house?
He stood up and opened the door. The house was quiet.
At the end of the corridor, he looked down. The stairs were clear.
A step. Then another.
When he turned to enter the living-room…
“A bear. Run,” he yelled.
He’d never run up the stairs so quickly.
He locked the door and hid under the bed, as if that’d help him.
For weeks, social media was flooded with photos of his horrified face when he saw the embalmed bear.
Life became difficult while everyone else was having a laugh.


General Wei surveyed the battlefield that portended final victory over all the Empire’s enemies, but his spirit grew uneasy. He sent for the monk Bakun. “Always have I striven to defeat chaos with order,” said General Wei. “Why should I not at last complete this task?”

Bakun replied, “A crystal exhibits perfect order. A fulminating volcano exhibits perfect chaos. Life is to be found in neither state, but in the flux between them.”

General Wei was enlightened. Thereafter, with hidden hands he always cultivated new enemies to replace those he defeated, and so maintained the vigour of the Middle Kingdom.



Chaos reigned.

And throughout the kingdom, the land was at peace; wars ceased and the economy prospered.

These were the good times when the people flourished in prosperity and happiness.

All the nations around were perplexed. ‘Surely’ they mused, ‘with Chaos on the throne, the country should be a mess?’

However, we knew better.

Chaos was a puppet king – all the power in the kingdom lay in his advisors, the wise men and the sages.

Indeed, it was they who had insisted he be crowned.

Far better to have Chaos under our control, than running amok amongst the people!


Chaos theory is applied to fields as diverse as mathematics, physics, biology and psychology. In the discussion of chaos, The Butterfly Effect is described. A butterfly flapping its’ wings in China affects the weather in the Southern U.S.

My ex, flapping her lips, affected the normally stable state of my mental health. I was chastised for a number of things. Scratching my head, watching junk T V, eating too fast, being too fat, etc.

My wife was a family therapist. This included counseling of married couples. I was her second husband, and after our marriage, she married a third time.


In the beginning, chaos filled the void, and it was formless and without order.

In time, the world was created and the ancient rules and laws of nature were laid down, in perpetuity.

Mankind arose and subdued the world, making it bend to his will and supply all his needs.

The world and everything in it became man’s property: The fields and the mountains, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. And man looked upon it, and it was good.

But man forgot one thing.

Chaos still lurks beneath the surface.

And I’m coming back… Soon!


The Suicide of the West
by Jeffrey Fischer

When the first bomb detonated, panic ruled the streets. Subsequent explosions only added to the chaos and carnage. Would this time be different? Would this attack on civilians finally be the one to bring together politicians and voters, Left and Right, to call for an end to meek acceptance of terrorism on our shores? Or would it be more of the same: empty platitudes, prayers for the dead, calls for even more tolerance toward those who do not share our values, calls for opening the gates even wider to admit more sick minds, all in the name of “diversity”?

The question is largely rhetorical. The West is dead, a victim of self-destruction, even if parts of the body still twitch, a reflex from those who cannot yet see what has happened.


With the words, “I’m in love, Dad”, two lives were suddenly in chaos.
Billbert and Mr. Withybottom looked at each other and shook their heads.
“I think I’d better go, now.” Billbert handed Linoliumanda the broom.
“Not yet,” she begged.
“No, Linny. He’s right. It’s getting late,” her father said.
Her face turned red and tears filled her eyes. “Dad. You can’t chase all my friends away. I’m thirteen and I won’t be your little girl forever.”
“But, you are right now. Go to your room,” Mr. Withybottom pointed up the stairs, turned, and closed the door in Billbert’s face.


Today I cleaned out my Desk

My TA would shake her head and say, “The room is in total chaos.” I never liked it much when it was too quiet, always felt things were real buzzing when the under current in the room started to rumble. When voices run and bounced about. I could always talk above the din. Some folk didn’t care for this type of instruction. This is why my year review tended to be split between “fire this guy” and “the best teacher I’ve had.” The dean would shake his head and say “Total chaos.” I say, “one day you’re going to have to fire me.”


Story from Aspen Gwen Womack-Odonda

Wired to think or Wired to feel? One world, consisting of both that are very different, creating a separate planet for each to live on. One and the other incapable of knowledge and understanding of how each part works creating a disconnect of isolation for the emotional being that makes the world they are forced to sit in and endure, unbearable.

Engulfed in flames of feeling that burn to the core, all the while, trying their best to navigate a world of logic that has no commonplace within an emotional being forced to learn logic to exist in Chaos.


To the media, he is The Lord of Chaos.
But to me, he’s just Steve.
Steve’s a patient of mine.
Comes in every two months for a cleaning and checkup.
His insurance covers only two cleanings a year, so he pays out of pocket for the others.
“I swear, it’s in one of these pockets,” he says, fumbling around his cargo pants and shirt and jacket.
He checks his backpack, then his laptop bag.
I’m about to tell him to settle up next time, but he says “Ah, found it!” and hands me a few bills. “See you in April!”

Weekly Challenge #647 – Addictive

NOTE: I ramble for a bit. Skip ahead to 8 minutes if you don’t want to listen to the ramble.

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:

Cat in face


She was supposed to read those damn books. She did pick one of them up once. Don’t do this, don’t do that.
She looked out the window. It looked bleak. Pollution, you see. And they were worried because she smoked. She was one of the last few who did. Smoking had been banned.
The door opened.
She nodded.
“What did you read?”
“That one.”
“Good. You may go. Tomorrow, more.”
She nodded meekly.
Now I need a cigarette, she thought.
She wasn’t sure what she was addicted to, whether the cigarettes or just being subversive.



This topic comes at a really bad time for me.

At the weekend, someone I’m very close to, and whose odd behaviour I’d been becoming increasingly concerned about, told me they were on the verge of alcoholism. Currently to the tune of three litres of vodka a week.

You do what you can: You counsel, advise, provide a shoulder to cry on, nag, bully and console.

Then sit at home, worrying if they’re OK and whether they’ve given in again to their demons… Because you can’t be there all the time.

And write pointless words that don’t help at all.


My addictive personality includes several favorite, known addictions of the modern world. Number one is food, two, the bombardment of the nucleus accumbens with a tidal wave of dopamine, and three is gazing upon the sprawling, audacious, naked body of a puppy at playtime.

Addictions are to be refined and honed once they have been narrowed to those that supply the most satisfaction. Some can be refined to the point that they, too, become addictions themselves. A love of food is one thing, but a love of sweets or salty things is another.

You can be addicted to addictions.


Watching Ramsay’s show, Hell’s Kitchen is addictive. I’ve watched four seasons, comprising over fifty or so episodes. I’ve learned many new dishes, made some new “friends” and
“enemies” of those show contestants, and laughed at the antics of the Maitre’d and the Wedding cum Party planner they chose for a couple of the episodes.

I’m fascinated by the assemblage of personalities that are accepted by the show’s producers. There are very short men that have been stunted by organ birth defects, gorgeous, tall blond women that are not shy about showing off their rounder bits in the dorm hot tub, and mouthy black women that shun authority and team cooperation.


People complain that computer games are addictive, but that just means that people want to play them. What are we supposed to do, make games no-one wants to play? Apparently so, because we got commissioned to make a game about the dangers of gaming. Of course none of the kids want to play this lead balloon. That’s what non-addictive means, dum-dums.

But it’s popular with parents, teachers, and the whole educational system, because it’s another thing they can make the kids do that they don’t want to do. Like Orwell said, the purpose of power is power, the final addiction.


by Jeffrey Fischer

A staunch liberal, Nelson boycotted Chick-fil-A over its founders’ views on homosexuality. Then it occurred to him a lot of people seemed to like the chain, and they couldn’t all be right-wing crazies. He ate there to find out why. The long line moved quickly and the friendly cashier wished him a pleasant day. As soon as he bit into his sandwich, he felt warm and content. He returned every day for lunch that week. Surely the evil chain added something addictive to its food. A chemist analyzed the ingredients but found nothing.

Summoning all his willpower, Nelson avoided Chick-fil-A on his next lunch break, stopping instead at a trendy salad place. “Whaddya want?” asked the surly clerk. “Hurry up, I don’t have all day.” Nelson realized what the addictive ingredient was: pleasant, polite staff who treated all customers well.


You can’t blame me for the things that I do. Just because they may be unpleasant, antisocial, immoral and illegal doesn’t automatically make me a bad person.

I have an addictive personality, you see – I can’t help myself – it’s no different to smoking, drugs or porn. Only in my case, I’m addicted to torture and killing.

And there’s nothing you can do about it anyway, because thanks to political correctness gone mad, I can express myself in any way I want. It’s my right and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Try it… And I’ll see you in court!


written by Aspen Gwen Womack-Odanda

Addictive? Many things are known, seen, and recognized as addictive. The un-noticed addictions left from scarred past experience are the worst.

Painfully lived and experienced from a place within unseen by those around you but burn like a brush fire to the very core.

All consuming friends and enemies intertwined that make up an image that gets presented to you, a mere shell, acceptable to the world in a space of unwillingness and unforgiving making it unbearable to breathe.

Outward standards set beyond our means and control creating an addiction to please that traps you in the hamster’s wheel of…Existence!!!!


Too Cute to Kill
If you’re going to a have an addiction a hand-held video game isn’t a bad
choice. How much money can you really spend through google games? Wear and
tear on the body? Pretty minimal. Loss of family and friends, not likely.
With all that said, I did actually hit bottom on Panda Pop. I was slumped
in a chair in a Panda Pop Den and this ancient magus taps me on the
shoulder to inform me that 1000 new level had been add. I scrolled down to
delete and never looked back. “Hey Mac pour me other red bull and


The policeman closed his notebook. “I can see there has been no kidnapping.”

Mr. Withybotham watched the officer leave before scowling his way back into the house.

Linoliumanda grabbed the broom. “Let’s go again. I can’t get enough.”

“I know. It’s addictive,” Billbert said. “But it’s not the broom. It’s me. Hold my hand.”

Tentatively, she took his hand. Like Peter Pan and Wendy they flew up around the maple tree. They landed on the porch just before Mr. Withybotham opened the door to call them in. He frowned. “Why are you holding hands?”

“I’m in Love, Dad,” Linoliumanda gasped.


the vet found a mass under my cat’s skin.
then another. and two more.
the surgery went well.
stitches and staples on the incisions.
and a protective collar.
we got home and i let her out.
she ate and drank just fine.
kibble, wet food, treats, and a plate with a dollop of whipped cream.
she ate it all up.
she slept on me for a bit.
then it was time for her pain medication.
she took that just fine, too.
and i had a drop of it.
and another. and another.
so. nice.
maybe she needs some more surgery?

Weekly Challenge #646 – Driver Error

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:



Driver error
In a traffic accident between a robot and a human, it’s always “driver error”, That is, human driver error. Or if all the vehicles were automatics, it will be “passenger error”. If there’s a human anywhere on the scene, it’s “human error”. “Programmer error” used to be a thing, but there are no human programmers any more. The AIs design each other and learn from the entire lottayottabytes of everything that has happened everywhere since their inception, so of course they must be infallible.

At least, that’s what the robolawyers and robojudges say, and what human can argue with them?


Driver Error

I recently came across an article about how a dodgy graphics driver caused Second Life to wreck printers.

Personally, I doubted a simple driver error could destroy hardware, but it intrigued me enough to want to try.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to write malicious code on my own system, but tech support at work had been giving me hassle lately, so…

It worked.

Too well!

Not only did it fry the printers, it destroyed hard drives, backup servers and – to my horror – the missile launch safety devices.

Now, before Russia retaliates, I’ll just print out a quick apology!


I was the key driver in the campaign to reveal key, driver errors in many of the millions of Tweets posted. I comment on blatant bullshitery and skanks posting close ups of their belly buttons, or twee twinks posting selfies while holding their shirts up with the other hand.
I began with the obvious. Neon signs reading “OPEN” are usually left on because the person charged with shutting them off at closing forgets, or they turn them on and they burn brightly in the night until they cease to function.

My lesson is: ignore all of them, all the time.


The driver error began with the tray, attached to the steering wheel. It was compounded by the purchase of a double Reuben sandwich, with a large dill pickle on the side.

Moving onto the on ramp and getting up to highway speed was a cinch, since Bob had a new Challenger.

Bob dropped half his sandwich into his lap. The dill slipped out of his grip and shot across the center console into the bucket seat next to him.

He unbuckled and stretched across the seats, just as the semi in front of him braked hard to avoid another truck.


The new order of sex dolls came in, and we started to check them out. The boss wanted to open his new Sex Doll Brothel on Labor Day.

Adjustments were necessary and some touch ups of wigs, makeup, and software. The new models had a glitch and the manufacturer was scheduled to push out some updated code and a new firmware patch.

The firmware patch was installed, and the prepped doll was the first put on line. Unfortunately, a driver error caused the doll to squeeze with a 2 ton force, removing the client’s neither region with an ugly consequence.


by Jeffrey Fischer

Reuben stepped up to the first tee and waggled his new driver. A Callaway Epic Star, this piece of titanium set him back $700 but he was going to blow away his playing partners. He hit the ball with a mighty wallop and shanked it, spinning the ball off the fairway and into a sand trap. The process repeated itself on subsequent holes with minor variations: a slice here, a hook there. In other words, golf as usual. At the Nineteenth Hole bar, Reuben, who had bragged about the new club, now blamed his purchase. “Driver error,” he muttered by way of explanation.

Life in the Fast Lane
by Jeffrey Fischer

The foursome, now thoroughly lubricated after 90 minutes in the bar, climbed into Reuben’s Jaguar. He punched on the satellite radio, tuned to a classic rock station, and sped out of the country club, leaving a small dust cloud behind him from the gravel road. Turning on to the highway, he accelerated until the big car was cruising at 80 miles per hour. Given his state of inebriation, Reuben required all three lanes to keep the car on the pavement as his terrified passengers tried to get him to slow down. When the car crashed through a barrier and sailed off an overpass, Reuben’s last thought on Earth was, “Another driver error.”


They say driver error is one of the main causes of accidents.

Taking unnecessary risks; pulling out, without looking; driving with excess alcohol and drugs…

Those are the assumptions that they’ll make, when they find your mangled body in the equally mangled wreckage of your car, scattered across the interchange.

When they smell the alcohol and find the trace amphetamines in your system, they won’t have to look any further: It’ll be pretty obvious what led to your demise.

Which is probably just as well.

Because I wouldn’t like them investigating any further and finding I severed the brake pipes!


The monitor of the car kept flashing “DRIVER ERROR.” This didn’t stop the vehicle from climbing to 135 mph. “Look who’s talking, we just past a hospital, a grade school and a graveyard entrance. And I might clearly point out the 25 mph speed limits signs. The screen when blank for a second, then flashed “Fuck You.” Jack press the manual over ride button. The car slowed to a stop, but then started rolling in reverse upto the lychgate. “Driver error” flash once, then the car exploded, but not before the on board speakers wailed, “That mean’s you monkey boy.”




Jon DeCles

Eight horses galloped together down the steep and rocky dirt road that descended from the Sierra on the last real mountain leg of the trip from Virginia City to San Francisco. The lady passengers inside the stage coach were grateful for the ample padding of their fashionable clothes, while the men who could afford decent hotel accommodations looked forward to the luxury of hot water in a tub to ease the bumps and bruises that are part and parcel of stage coach travel in the West.

Nobody expected any fallen tree, any driver error, nor steep cliff, nor sudden death.


Billbert and Linoliumanda reached the police officers at the same time as Mr. Withybotham.
The man gasped, “My wife was in the backyard with my daughter and this boy when they suddenly dissappeared.”
Billbert said, “We were playing ‘Broom Races’. Maybe we got carried away. We ran down the street.”
Linoliumanda nodded enthusiastically.
Her dad shook his head. “Mallodora said you two were on a single broom, running around the backyard. She turned her back for a moment, and you were gone. How did you get into the front yard so fast?”
Billbert grinned and shrugged.”Would you believe Driver Error?”



Falling to my knees I gaze upon the trunk before me. Aged, forgotten, as the layers of dust attest. Uncertain fingers find the keyhole in the waning light and I insert the brass key.

Never again, not me, not me…tumbles in a rush from my lips in fear, yet the compulsion is unabated. An onslaught of memories and emotions torment me, yet still I must..

Within…is me, what I once was. Now? A simple data transfer, new external shell, bits, bytes, and processors. Voila. Me. 2.0.

Lies, I think, another advertisement obstructing my view. Then…

Driver error. Upgrade required.


Aspen Gwen Womack-Odanda submission

A tiny being climbs upon the mouse and scrolls the wheel across the long slender keyboard. The adventure awaits in a world of her design.

Approaching a pixelated swirling screen she clicks the button and LIFTOFF!!! into a swirling tunnel of color, magic, and wonderment. Still filled with the vibrations of the fear-filled life shes left behind, yet buzzing with the excitement of the world approaching.

Safety gained lightyears away from reality where love exists and harm an unknown. Guided only by heart, a deep voice within screams ABANDON!!! Suddenly her mouse vanishes into thin air….spinning, driver error, failure CRASH!!!!


Hospitals can cure anything, really.
Just upload the consciousness to a storage facility, take a DNA sample, make the necessary changes, speedgrow a clone, and inject the consciousness into the new body.
While the clone grows, there are mechanical bodies available for use.
Some people don’t like to wait in the white noise of the mainframe, so a mech lets them keep busy.
Usually, installation is smooth and painless, but sometimes things go wrong.
Families don’t deal well with those.
So, the doctors return the body to demo mode, and it sits and smiles and blinks and remains peacefully silent.