Weekly Challenge #672 – WORDY

Clingy cat

RICHARD

Wordy

After years of failing to succeed in business, with women, or even to build proper friendships, I decided to see an image consultant to try and change my luck.

After just one session, he said he had me all figured out. It was my body language, he said – “It’s just far too words – your voice says one thing but your body is all over the place”.

This, he said, was the root cause of my problem – and, with practice, I could fix it.

I protested, but he was having none of it.

That’s Tourette’s for you. Fuckwit!

SERENDIPIDY

“Any last thoughts?” I asked, then as he opened his mouth to speak, I gave him a hard stare, “Don’t make it too wordy, I haven’t got all day!”

He looked deflated, understandable really. Most of us would like to leave this world with something worthwhile quoting; but death tends to surprise us, making it tricky to prepare a fitting last utterance.

As for this guy, he knew exactly when his time was up, but having me telling him to get a move on certainly wouldn’t help his mood.

Like all of them, his last words would only be terrified screams.

TOM

Having Kissed the Stone — Wordy O’Brien had nearly graduated from Trinity College. Of course on one there called him that. He got that moniker when he ran with Mike Sullivan’s Dusters. T’was the blarney that caused his timely exit from Trinity. One might say pillow talk with the Chancellor’s daughter put the flame of fee to his feet. I think it t’was the result of a savage beating leveled during a school wide debate with the Marquis of Ravensguard. Pissing off semi-royalty while immensely satisfying is always costly in the end. Wordy was wordy cus his words had keep him from the multiple nooses.

JON

Why Kill a Mockingbird?

By

Jon DeCles

He sings like a bird, a loud bird, a bird on a branch in public, and because he is singing things that someone does not want to be heard by all those around, that someone thinks that he is being mocked, which is only marginally true: the bird cares not the content of his song, he only sings what he sees, what he discovers, what he roots out of the dirt at the base of every tree. Like any mockingbird, he repeats the songs that other birds have sung. Birds do not trumpet truth filtered by discretion, they just sing.

Politics Leads to Drink

By

Jon DeCles

Mark Twain said: “I am a political mugwump. My mug is on one side of the fence and my wump is on the other.”

The Queen of Hearts discovered an effective way of separating mugs from wumps, but that left a very wide aisle in parliament, with no possibility of a meeting ground between the two ruling parties (the Red Rose Party and the White Rose Party) and that inevitably led to the War of the Roses.

As for me, I tend to sit my wump down in a chair, put of mug of porter on the table, and drink.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert met Linoliumanda for lunch and could tell from her dark expression all had not gone well.

She frowned even deeper opening her lunch bag. “Can you believe Mr. Ziegler said my Harry Potter report was too wordy? It was an oral report. How can an oral report be too wordy?”

Billbert shrugged. “I don’t know. How did it compare in length to the other reports?”

“Other reports?” Linoliumanda asked. “There weren’t any others. I took the whole class time.”

Billbert bit the side of his cheek and nodded his head. “Yeah. I can’t see how he’d call that wordy.”

PLANET Z

Remember that old Twilight Zone episode where the Talking Tina doll says all kinds of scary things?
Well, my friend Tina talks a lot and she says all kinds of scary things, too.
I used to joke that they wrote that episode based on Tina.
But that’s absurd. That show was long before Tina was born.
Unless Tina is actually from the Twilight Zone, and she can travel in time and space.
Why is it a doll in the show?
Because back then, a person saying those things would have been too scary.
So they wrote her as a doll.

Weekly Challenge #671 – bob, stitch, eaten, pittance, delete, trumpet, ribcage, tickle, Ziegler

Boxcat

LIZZIE

Bob’s Ticket

Bob hated sitting at the tickets’ booth.
For some reason he couldn’t understand, whenever it was his turn to sell tickets, there was a drop in sales. He was so frustrated. It wasn’t his fault that half of his ribcage was showing, as a matter of fact, half of his whole skeleton.
When he joined the Side Show Carnival, everyone was amused because one side of him was kind of missing. It seemed fitting.
However, when sales dropped, they got angry and sent him abroad for plastic surgery. He never came back. He is now happily married to an osteologist.

RICHARD

Same old story

My finger hovered uncertainly over the ‘delete’ key: Did I want to keep it, maybe do some editing and make some changes, or did I really just want to send it to the recycle bin and start all over again?

I couldn’t make my mind up. Maybe I should go away, have a snack, and then come back and take another look?

And that’s exactly what I did.

Despite having eaten, what I’d written hadn’t changed – the concept and the words remained exactly the same as when I’d left them.

But, I sent the story off anyway!

SERENDIPIDY

I don’t normally like to blow my own trumpet, but I have to say that my latest dinner party had been a resounding success.

The company and conversation had been stimulating, the atmosphere warm and convivial, and the food – well, judging by the compliments I received, everybody loved it.

Following the meal, we retired to the lounge for drinks, where a toast was proposed to ‘the perfect hostess’:

“It’s been a wonderful evening, such a shame that your husband couldn’t be here to share in it.”

“Oh, but he was,” I responded.

“Who do you think you’ve just eaten?”

TURA

Trumpet, eaten
———
At first it looked like a satirical account. @trumpet on Twitter, posting a pastische of Trump’s characteristic style. “We’ve eaten the greatest cabbages, the greatest ever. Sad that little Turnip Man doesn’t agree.” From the volume of postings, I assumed it was generated by something like GPT-2. The names never matched any real person or place, but there was a coherence to it, that built up to a picture of an alternate reality. Millions tried decoding it. Who was Turnip Man? Where was Barubatu? What was Googlegong?

Then somehow, while we were all obsessing over the puzzle, Trump got re-elected.

TOM

In to the Mists of Time

Pittance Ziegler inherited the brick company from her father Moses Ziegler. A modern woman by all account she made swift changes that made the firm exceedingly profitable. When the firm was on sound footing she informed the board of directors she was mounting an all-woman exposition for the source of the Nile. This was a full five years before Sir Richard Burton. Correspondence broke down during a freakish rain season. She and none of her fellow exporters were ever heard from again. But a number of blonde hair African started appearing in the upper valley of the Nile.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert stepped back out of Linoliumanda’s house and with a bob of his head toward the road, he pointed out his mother’s car approaching.

She rolled down her window and waved a half eaten breakfast burrito toward the back seat, and said, “Climb in. We need to hurry to get you to school on time.”

When they got there, Roderick waited while Billbert and Linoliumanda ran to her first class.

Linoliumanda laughed. “Mr. Ziegler will be tickled to hear my Harry Potter report.”

“That’s fine.” Billbert wiped sweat from his forehead. “I’m just glad no one learned our little secret.”

LAIEANNA

The latest trend in women’s body modification was achieving the
trumpet shape. Medical technology had been making it possible for
years to become something else, something less natural, and boredom
created a need for a new unique look. It did, however, require
extensive surgery. Some bones were removed from the ribcage,
alterations made to gain the right shape, and many times the organs
had to be shifted to create the full affect. From a slim mouthpiece
neck down to the bell hips, the accomplished look did leave you with
some discomfort, but it isn’t really fashion if there isn’t
discomfort.

PLANET Z

Bob liked to go in the woods and tickle bears.
He liked to wear a feather boa.
So when the bears ate him, we said that he did end up tickling bears.
He probably tickled their insides with the feather from the boa.
He also tore them new assholes as they shat him out.
Bob liked to wear spurs, too.
Bob liked to dress up flamboyantly.
Totally wild.
And the bears, shitting feathers and blood.
Oh, and glitter. All of that glitter Bob wore.
Let’s go in the woods and see,
As long as we don’t try to tickle bears.

Weekly Challenge #670- SHARP

How to properly cat

LIZZIE

Someone said “To destroy is always the first step in any creation.”
So, he grabbed his sketchbook and drew. Whatever he drew, he destroyed.
The smile on his sister’s face for each time she made him look stupid. The ice-cream business of his friend who bullied him as a kid. The records his cruel cousin stored alphabetically. And he went on and on.
Then, he drew New York. He didn’t know why. He had nothing against New York.
So, he drew himself a pair of thick glasses and he never touched the sketchbook again.
New York survived with minor damages.

RICHARD

Parenting

When it comes to parenting, I’m a firm believer in the ‘short, sharp shock’ method for dealing with bad behaviour.

When my kids were toddlers, I wired up the high chair to a car battery to dispense the necessary treatment; then, as Tasers and stun guns became more readily available, dishing out discipline became a lot simpler.

Of course, for the most serious tantrums, the only solution is alligator clips, connected to the mains’ supply – works every time.

So what if my kids now spend most of the time drooling and rocking back and forth… they’re always impeccably behaved.

SERENDIPIDY

You need a carefully selected, exceptionally sharp, knife: one capable of slicing through skin and flesh in a single, smooth motion. Then the follow up of the sharp, acid touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice – so intense!

Finally, a Liberal application of salt completes the ritual.

Then… Sit and drink. Best enjoyed with a companion.

The perfect tequila slammer.

And afterwards, when the bottle is empty, it’s time to turn the knife on your companion: Slice them up nicely, then rub copious quantities of leftover lemon and salt into their wounds.

It’s well worth the hangover in the morning!

TOM

Left To Ones Own devices

Jack was a sharp dress man, but not in the way you would think of a fashionable man about town. True he was dress to the nines in his New York suit. What made Jack sharp was the vast assortment of sharped things he hand incorporated into said suit, his favorite a straight razor. Everyone wanted Jack dead, and he was having none of it. Now the universe, a truly funny external agent of fate. Had other plan for Jack. Few have gangster have ever been done in by a self-inflected paper cut. Bleed out all over that sharp suit.

DUANE

Sharp

Music: Cheery Monday by Kevin MacLeod

I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.  In boot camp I spent one week on chow hall duty.  My job was filling milk dispensers with boxes of fresh milk from the huge walk-in refrigerator behind the chow hall.

I walked out of the fridge one morning to a female petty officer blocking the door.

“Is that the meat locker?” she asked.

“Milk locker” I replied.

“Are you sure that’s not the meat locker?”

“Yes.”

“I was looking for some meat.”

“Nope.”  I was smiling and thinking how dumb she must be to not know where the meat locker was.

NORVAL JOE

When the three arrived at Linoliumanda’s house she ran inside and grabbed her butter beer mug. When she came out, it was clear something was wrong. “My parents are both gone. What do we do now?”
Roderick laughed. “Why don’t you fly?”
Billbert coughed. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Roderick folded his arms. “You’re as sharp as a tack, aren’t you Billbert. I know you can fly. If you want to get to school on time, you’re going to have to do it.”
Billbert scowled at Roderick but went inside the house and used the phone to call his mother.
LAIEANNA
Finding a pink slip in my locker after hand to hand combat was a
devastating discovery.  It was my third year at spy school and I had
been in the top ten for every class since I enrolled.  Year three was
more advanced, but I was a dedicated student and still scored high
with the exception of Interrogations and Torture. It was the receiving
not giving kind of class.  Yes, I struggled, but I just needed more
time to adapt.  I have to be resigned to my fate and take the notice.
Ow, that’s sharp!  Now I have a papercut.

PLANET Z

Milton Sharp.
Oldest man in the world.
Died at the age of…
Well, nobody’s quite sure.
Birth certificates weren’t a thing when he was born.
Which was a very long time ago.
We think he might have been a hundred and twenty.
Maybe a hundred and twenty-one.
There’s no way to be certain.
It’s not like we can hook him up to a polygraph.
Or inject him with truth serum.
Well, we could, but neither would do much good.
Because he’s dead.
Does it really matter?
What is it going to change?
And we all die in the end., right?

Weekly Challenge #669 – MUG

Pillow thief

LIZZIE

The mug was empty.
The cop sniffed it, after pulling it closer with a pen. He shook his head.
Then, they went through the whole house. Nothing looked out of place, except that one mug.
The cop sniffed it again.
“Whose drink was this?”
The old man shrugged, looking away.
“Your wife’s?”
He couldn’t remember, he said. Old age, you know.
When the police combed through the house again, they found it, the tin.
This was not a case of amnesia, but a case of death by hot chocolate, hot chocolate seasoned with a slight scent of almonds.

RICHARD

419

I’m no mug, so I tend to take junk mail with a large pinch of salt.

However, this latest one had all the hallmarks of being the real deal… For a start, he knew my name, and although I don’t make a habit of hobnobbing with Nigerian princes, I do work with a guy from Nigeria; so perhaps he passed my name on as a favour?

And yes, I am a trustworthy, kind and humble guy… Just like he said in his email.

Unfortunately, the wife is even less of a mug than me… and she controls the bank account.

SERENDIPIDY

The girls around here don’t like to go out after dark – there’s a story going around about some guy who will mug them in the shadows, abduct them without trace, and then dump their broken, lifeless bodies in the street.

That’s why I always offer to walk them home. It’s so much safer than going unaccompanied, and with my extensive experience in unarmed combat, I know they feel completely safe with me around.

Of course, that works very much to my advantage…

When the time comes for me to mug them in the shadows and abduct them, without trace!

TURA

Mug

———

Within its armored display case, it is traditionally titled “Lao-Tzu’s tea mug.” It much predates that sage, but it is said that he once held this vessel in his hands. Observe the random, fractally coloured glazes. If one stares intently, a picture slowly emerges, like a developing photograph.
The picture is always different.
Some viewers are struck with horror, and turn away. Others try to face it down, staring for hour after hour. These, it drives mad.
This is why Lao-Tzu’s tea mug is held in the secret collections, accessible only to members of the Fiends of the British Museum.

TOM

Forever a Sweet Tooth

Mug Root Beer was my go to carbonated drinking. I wasn’t much a cola fan. Mug was produced by the Belfast Beverage Company of San Francisco. The company’s mascot was a dog named Dog. Pretty creative those marking guys. Of course the target audience was pretty much under 10. Not the most sophisticated consumer group. As a rule it was had a lighter taste then Hires, it was way less sweet then A&W. My first root beer was actually Dad’s which was produce just down the street from where I grew up the near north side. Not available in California

JERRY

Mug
——————-

Sara knew what Bob wanted. The way he entered a room, the swagger of his hips as he walked toward her. The tilt of his head. The little boy smile on his lips. The sparkle in those deep blue eyes. The long blonde hair with just a little natural wave in it. Even the dimples in his cheeks were letting her know what was going on in Bob’s mind. Sara knew that she would give him what he wanted. She could do no less. 

A few inches away and the words come from his mouth.

A mug of decaf please.

DUANE

Mug

Music: El Mundo Submarino by The Mugris

The local police department has upgraded their mugshot camera.  It now includes portrait mode and automatically touches up the photos.  Been in a fight?  The camera sets the lighting to take the rough of edges off your scrapes and bruises.  Hair all awry from a three-day bender?  No problem.This initially caused a crisis at the station with arrests spiking up.  People would get arrested just to get a nice jailhouse photo for Facebook or Instagram.  In the end, the police started charging for the shots and were able to cut back hours on traffic details and parking meter patrols. 

NORVAL JOE

Linoliumanda turned to stare down the bully. “We’re going back to my house to get my mom to drive us to school. Besides, I forgot my butter beer mug for my Harry Potter report. I can pick that up on the way.“”Yup. That’s right,” Billbert chimed in. “Have to get that butter beer mug. See you at school, Roderick.”Roderick followed them. “I can’t wait for the back up bus either. You don’t mind if I catch a ride with your mom, too, do you?”Linoliumanda shook her head. “I can’t think of any reason to tell you no.”

LAIEANNA

Our new dog, Delphi, came to us with a mysterious past as they say she
was a stray.  Her face, though, might say it all.  A stern mug of
downturn corners, short muzzle, and a touch of an underbite, she could
have been into anything.  We like to think she was mob boss of some
local dog gang in the deep south, getting rich on stolen sausage
links, betting on squirrel races, and hiding a stash of toy offerings
from the minions she ruled over.  She spent her time in doggy jail and
now it’s the leisure life of rehabilitation.

PLANET Z

The janitor cleaned out Detective Jansen’s desk
Not bothering to empty the World’s Greatest Dad mug, spilling stale coffee all over the other meaningless trinkets.
One day until retirement, he was.
No, he didn’t die in the line of duty.
No Hollywood buddy cop action movie here.
Sure, his wife and kids were dead, but that was in a car crash years ago.
Not by the hand of some drug lord or terrorist kingpin that Janson would bring justice to.
Just a heart attack, nothing more.
A sergeant would be promoted to take his place.
And life would go on.

Weekly Challenge #668 – TRANSMISSION



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.



Snugs

RICHARD

Transmission

The Bay City Trans Mission is a charity foundation, set up to provide a safe place and resources for those who need additional support in coming to grips with, and being comfortable in, their gender.

At least, that’s what the application for funding from the city stated.

Now they have all the cash they need, The Mission has evolved into a radical gender-fluid nightclub and twenty four hour bar, and it’s raking in the profits.

The city is happy – they’ve done their bit for equality.

The Mission is happy, for obvious reasons.

And the trans community?

Absolutely ecstatic!

SERENDIPIDY

This is an official alert from the Emergency Broadcast System:

This is a notification to advise that the Zombie Apocalypse has commenced.

Do not stockpile food, water or fuel – this will only prolong the inevitable and provide a false sense of security.

You can run, you can hide, but they will always find you; and when they find you, they will eat your brains and you will become infected too.

Do not be misinformed: There is no escape. No happy endings. And absolutely no hope.

Prepare to meet your doom. The end of the world is nigh.

Transmission ends.

LIZZIE

The image on TV was broken. It went from color to black and white, and back to color again.
The master was saying “In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” And then, the TV went blank.
She hummed the sound of static, but there was only silence.
Suddenly, her dream started playing on TV, the exact same dream she had the night before, that sweet dream of revenge.
She looked at her hands. They were tinted red.
“What have I done?”
She sighed, stood up, and slammed her fist on the TV.
The master was still speaking.

TURA

How to write a self-improvement book.———Begin by telling the reader he’s a schmuck in need of The Answer. (Read chapter one of any self-help book ever!)
There’s two ways to go then. The rationalist atheist crowd are suckers for Science. Draw on psychology, neuroeconomics, game theory, machine learning, with a boatload of scientific references. You can crib them from people like Harari. And don’t mention the replication crisis! I did once, but I think I got away with it.
The newage market wants a Transmission of Ancient Wisdom. Splice your ideas onto some actual religious tradition, through an invented guru for deniable plausibility.
Then, profit!

TOM

A Slice From Another Planet

It was faint, but regular. The transmission has oddly random. After months of work the pattern became clear to Rudy. It was a long string of numeric values. It seems to be a representation in base three. When that was confirmed Rudy set about seeing if the pattern repeated. There were short hunks, but the more numbers recorded he found it didn’t repeat, and surely was terminating. Then it hit him it was irrational. A print out from a super computer working on a group of irrationals matched the first number they found with the 20 billionth digit of Pi.    

DUANE

Transmission

“That doesn’t sound very good,” Sherry said.  “You should get that looked at.”

After asking around about a good and cheap auto mechanic, I found Hank, of Hank’s Car Repair Place.

Hank motioned me into the garage as I drove up.  He was in mechanics coveralls that had a dark outline where you would normally see “Bill” or “Joe” or “Hank.”  He held out a greasy hand to introduce himself and fell into a mucus laden coughing fit. 

“Something I picked up from the kids” he said. 

“That doesn’t sound very good,” I said.  “You should get that looked at.”

JERRY

Deep in the desert a lone figure waits. He waits and he ponders the nature of the universe. During the heat of the day he waits in the shade of the Joshua tree and looks toward the blue mountains that form a vast circle around what is now his world. At night he waits and watches the stars, their movement stately and slow. Heat and cold mean little to him as he waits. He has but one driving need. That is to return home. The last transmission told him to wait and he will wait.

And he will wait forever.

LAIEANNA

Eric had just needed something for his hour long train commute and
grabbed from the magazine rack the first issue his fingers brushed
over.  It wasn’t until he was seated and in motion before he glanced
through it, finding it mostly full of ads, but one spoke to him.

Cherry Unicorn Emporium

If you want, we will get. We don’t judge.  Be it a lion in bed to
incense, your fetish is our delight
Popcorn delivery for every purchase over $250.

Incest was misspelled.  Disappointed, Eric moved on to the next page.
He couldn’t support a business with poor editing.

NORVAL JOE

The bus chugged to a stop. Billbert followed Linoliumanda to the first open seat. Roderick sat behind them to whisper insults.The driver shoved the bus into first gear. It lurched forward but immediately ground to a stop.The driver stood up. “Sorry kids. I’ll call for a backup bus, but it looks like you’re going to be late to school.””Oh, no!” Linoliumanda panicked. “I can’t be late. I have my Harry Potter report due in English, first period.”Billbert whispered. “I’ll fly you to class. Come on.”Roderick followed them off the bus. “Where are you two going?”

PLANET Z

No matter how hard I try, I always get something on me.Blood, mostly.They say that torture tortures the tortured and the torturer.But I, the torturer, sleep well at night.Those I torture do not.Well, those few who are still alive.If you could call it that.Why not just kill them?Is it retribution?Is it the extraction of information?I don’t know. And I don’t care.I am not a judge. Nor am I a killer.I am a torturer, and I torture.I don’t care what you’ve done. Or what you’ll do.Except scream.

Weekly Challenge #667 – Pick Two – judge, delivery, your, lion, unicorn, cherry, Incense, if

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.

Derp

LIZZIE

Your Lion
The family of sheep grazed placidly. Their life was simple. They slept, they ate, they slept, and everything in between. It was a normal sheep life.
Except for that black one. There’s always one who thinks he’s different.
The family rolled their eyes each time he tried to roar. The neighbor sheep laughed and called him “your little lion”. Mother sheep was absolutely furious.
The day the neighbor sheep were taken away to be slaughtered, begging for mercy, the little lion roared. The humans smiled and thought that was so cute, and spared the family’s life.
Who’s laughing now, huh?

RICHARD

Reality, not myth.

Don’t be too hard on me. It’s not like I’m that dentist who shot Cecil the lion.

In fact, I don’t endorse the needless killing of any animals – hell, if I didn’t enjoy eating meat so much, I’d even consider becoming vegetarian, (as long as I could still have bacon… And maybe, steak… And chicken).

But I’ll make an exception for unicorns.

Miserable, evil, smelly creatures: They deserve everything they get, and more besides.

Mythical is too good for them – I wish they were all extinct!

So yes, I shoot unicorns.

And dragons…

Don’t even get me started on dragons!

TOM

Raising The Dead

“Judging by the placement of the lion we know the lineage and judging by the unicorn we know the family but the present of the cherry gives us the royal personages king Author the Deliverer of lesser Britain in the year 2516. Lost in the incense and peppermint of time we call on your most noble name.”

“Did anything happen, Bruce?”

“Na.”

“Oh fuck, get me another parchment.”

Bruce tossed the pervious page in the corner and removed another from the gilded oak table. “Oh a three head squid and a marmot. This looks promising.” Chime the archbishop of Canterbury.

SERENDIPIDY

I signed up to Amazon Prime. I needed a service that would deliver on time, and according to my instructions.

I’d tried other options in the past, but the sort of things I order really can’t be left with a neighbour; not if you want to remain on good terms with them, or for that matter, still have neighbours. Neither could I afford to have parcels thrown over fences, or left unguarded on the porch.

Unfortunately, Amazon suspended my account.

Somehow, despite the ridiculous amount of packing materials, my lion escaped whilst in the van, and ate the delivery driver!

JON

Wonderland

By

Jon DeCles

The scent of the incense offered to nonsense was all that prevented Alice from being forced to judge between the Lion and the Unicorn in their fierce competition for the position of Laureate of the Kingdom of Hearts.

“The lovely breeze, your Majesty, provides a delivery of the scent of your cherry red roses exceeded only by the splendor of your Majesty’s presence!” Alice said, in the manner that her sister had taught her for kissing up to authority figures.

“Shall we have Cook make us some cherry tarts?” asked the King, timidly.

“Off to croquet!” cried the Queen.

JERRY

#667 Lion and Unicorn
——————————–

The lion and unicorn were playing in the field behind the house yesterday just before sunset. I know because that is when I take my evening walk around the two acre wood. I get to talk with my imaginary friends then. I don’t often see lions in this field and I must admit that I have never seen a unicorn. My friends agree. Pooh Bear, Piglet, Eeore, and Tigger tell me they have not seen a unicorn here before. I must go back now because if I don’t they will put me in that jacket that makes me hug myself.

DUANE

Pick two: judge & incense
Music by Aitua

The judge walked back and forth between the two pedestals.  On each stood a single stick of incense.  He had paced steadily for hours.  As he reached one stand the defense stiffened and their eyes would bulge.  As he approached the other, prosecutors would wipe the beads of sweat from their brow.  All eyes would follow the judge back and forth.

Back and forth.

Well after midnight the judge stopped, reached over and lit the incense before him.  The whole room sighed in relief that it had finally been decided.  It was the waiting and not knowing that was worst.

LAIEANNA

Just because you have one talent, one skill, something no one else
possesses doesn’t mean flaunt it.  When people thought I was crazy for
receiving alien messages directly to my brain, I was one in ten
thousand.  When they figured out it was true, I was a one and only.
The Buglorforbekup race had a lot to say to everyone, giving every
country advice and assignments, and the world followed orders, all to
make a safer, better place.  Our own utopia.  But in our desperation
for that improved life, we and really I, ultimately created
complacency for an easy invasion.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert waited for Roderick to leave before turning to Linoliumanda. “What? Are you mad at me?”
She shrugged and looked away. “No. Not mad. You shouldn’t judge what I’m going to say before I speak. If you’d given me a chance you’d see I wasn’t going to tell your secret.”
“I’m sorry. I guess I panicked.” He picked up Linoliumanda’s cherry red backpack, decorated with dancing unicorns and gryphons and handed it to her. “Thanks for standing up for me.”
She leaned close to him. “You can be sure. I’m not letting out the secret of my own private superhero.”

PLANET Z

The men could smack Jill around and say the most horrible things, but when it was time to fuck, she had to be on top.
“They can’t choke you that way,” she told her pimp.
The Russians came to town, looking for a party.
All of the girls were there.
One guy got a little carried away with the blonde kid from Omaha, his hands squeezing her throat, and Jill walked in on them.
He shot them both.
When the pimp buried their bodies in the woods, he threw in the kid, then Jill.
“Jill always on top,” he said.

Weekly Challenge #666 – THE DEVIL

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.

Bag Tinny

LIZZIE

There’s the Devil, on that cake!
She looked around to see if anyone saw him too.
The cheeky Devil went from the cake to a pot of jam.
Why, you little…
The Devil looked at her, motionless.
She couldn’t believe no one was freaking out.
The Devil took a few steps aside, enjoying the jam.
“Well, would you like some bread to go with that?” she exclaimed out loud.
Everyone looked at her and she pointed. They laughed and laughed. No bloody Devil.
But she could swear, she saw the Devil again, the next year, mocking her from afar.

RICHARD

Blurred vision

The devil is in the detail, or so they say; so I do whatever it takes to avoid running foul of that chap.

My life has been one long, paranoid round of glossing over details, although I can’t say it’s been a particularly pleasant experience.

I never check the small change, read the fine print or review agreements – you can imagine the problems that causes.

And – just in case – I wear spectacles of the wrong prescription, so I live in a blurry world, devoid of fine detail.

So even if I run into the devil, I won’t recognise him!

DUANE

Devil (Music by James Kibbie)

It isn’t easy being the Devil these days.  I can’t keep up anymore.  I was great at tempting people back in the day.  Remember Eve?   Now, when they say a person is evil, they call them Hitler or Stalin or Nicholas Cage.  Hell, even social media is better at tempting people.  I could never have gotten teenagers to eat Tide pods, or to back up just another step for that selfie.

I think it may be time to throw in the towel.  I thought about getting out of Hades and moving to Florida, but Hell, have you seen Florida lately?

JERRY

I know you all have heard about the Devil. 

You don’t even have to be a church going evangelistic to know who he is.

Bart Simson tells us “The Devil made me do it”.

The movies tell you all about him. Hellboy, Constantine, Little Nicky, and of course The Omen.

Lots of movies. 

In fact I challenge you to turn on cable, all 250 channels of it, and not find a movie about the Devil on somewhere.

I wonder how much stock the Devil owns in the entertainment industry?

And, yes I found Little Nicky to be a funny movie.

SERENDIPIDY

They say that I’m the devil in disguise.

The townspeople speak in hushed voices when I’m about; they lock their doors, and hide their children away, and whenever the worst occurs, it’s always at me that the finger of blame is pointed.

A death, disaster, injury or loss: It’s always my name on people’s lips as they seek to apportion blame.

You might think that I’d be bothered by what people think, but it’s no concern to me at all.

Because, in truth, they’re absolutely right!

They say that I’m the devil in disguise…

And they’ve seen right through it.

JON

In a Jam

By

Jon DeCles

I believe it was the Sheep who told Alice: “Jam every other day.  Jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today.”

Isn’t that the promise of both religion and politics?

Yesterday was wonderful, tomorrow will be better.  Ignore the fact that today is shit.  Whatever you do, don’t complain about how things are, or you won’t get any jam tomorrow and we may even take away your memory of the jam you had yesterday.  Or did you actually have any jam yesterday?

Theater is clearly different.  It is always jam today.  As for tomorrow: yesterday may yet be shit.

TOM

Memo #666

The Devil is in the details. Take the use of the terms accurate and precision. Most folk use them interchangeably trying to describe a state of closeness, an approximate if you will. In one case the fineness of the operation is in question. In the other it’s a matter of performing the same task exactly. It could be a quite raw procedure. The other is concerned with producing an outcome within the limits of some measurable tolerance. Your job young demons is to do both. Here are your tools, your clients await your due diligence.

Yours In Eternal Darkness

The Satan 

NORVAL JOE

Linliumanda stepped forward pointing her finger right up to the bully’s nose, and said, “You should leave Billbert alone, because,”
Billbert jumped in and cut her off. “Because, I might be a hemophiliac and if you hit me I might get a hematoma and bleed to death. You could be convicted of first degree manslaughter.”
Roderick stepped back and nodded his head slowly. He laughed while he said, “Yeah. I wouldn’t want that to happen.”
Billbert turned back to Linoliumanda who stood with her arms folded, scowling.

Weekly Challenge #665 – Adult



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.



Bananacat

LIZZIE

His first apartment was decorated in a simple, elegant way. The scent of vanilla welcomed her as she entered the living-room. A few books were scattered on the shelves, displayed to counterbalance the other objects. It looked like a setting, but he was proud of it, she could tell. A pot of white flowers and twin candles almost tricked her into believing he was a nice guy. He wasn’t. She had to run, screaming through the hallways. No one opened the door. No one helped her. And, at the hospital, she could still recall that sickening vanilla scent, welcoming her…

JIM

ADULT! Yes! That magic age of 18 when you no longer have to listen to anyone, especially your parents.
Okay, so now you can buy cigarettes and die for your country. But you can’t drink a beer. And all adults drink beer, right? So maybe you have to be 21 to be and “adult”.
So fine, you’re 21 and can get shitfaced legally. But wait, you’re male, and don’t get a break on auto insurance until you are 25.
So now you are 25, you are AULDTING! But are you married? Doesn’t being an adult include being able to commit adultery? But you can be married at an age as young as 14.
This is getting complicated. Peter Pan had the right idea.

RICHARD

Bookshop

It was a right of passage that we’d looked forward to for many furtive years: That sacred moment when, having come of age, we would finally see what lay behind the curtain at the bookshop.

On that fateful day, myself, Andy and Jack, waited with perspiration on our brows and proof of age in our sweaty hands.

No more for us the comic books and fairy stories of youth… Today we would finally gain access to the mysteries of the ‘Adult’ Section.

We entered reverently.

And discovered for the first time that grown up books are boring, dull and drab.

Grown up?

“You need to grow up”, said my dad, “if you want to be treated like an adult, it’s about time you acted like one!”

I took his words to heart, and as the years went by, I put aside my childish, ignorant ways, and became what I’d like to think is a grounded and mature member of society.

Now, I look around me…

At the celebrities, the movie stars, the politicians and the world leaders.

And the words of my dad come flooding back to me.

And I wonder what the hell their dads told them, when they were kids?

Seven Ages

My favourite bit of Shakespeare is his ‘Seven Ages of Man’; there’s such a simplicity and truth in the way he approaches the immutable, relentless and ultimately futile passage of life, from the mewling, puking baby, to the drooling, witless descent into oblivion at life’s end.

If there is an Almighty, you have admire his sense of humour as he watches us strive towards adulthood, only to be ultimately defeated by the inescapable descent into the second childhood of old age.

Where finally, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, we become babes once more.

At the end, pure, empty… Un-adulterated.

TURA

Adult

———

I love adult entertainment. Intellectual conversation over a dinner of impeccable good taste, with incidental music from a baroque chamber ensemble. Philosophical lectures delivered to enquiring minds. Performances of the latest improvised conceptions of an up and coming young pianist. A private opening at an art gallery, for a select group of connoisseurs. A stroll through one of the great museums of the world, accompanied by a fellow expert on some singular piece of history.

But judging by the garish flashing neon sign, and the unclad ladies standing within the red-lit doorway, I don’t think that’s what this establishment offers.

SERENDIPIDY

They never make it to become adult.

The vast majority flop about for a while, then quietly expire within a few hours – a few days at best – of entering this world.

But, I’m not dispirited, because every failure brings me one step closer to success.

And so the work continues: Fusing flesh and bone, organs and muscle in ever new and unique ways, seeking out the perfect combination that I can truly call my offspring.

Of course, I could take the traditional route for producing children, and just have sex.

But have you seen what that involves?

It’s disgusting!

 DUANE

When I was a kid, we had a big country fair every summer.  I would walk for hours looking at the endless farm exhibits and the huge barns full of show animals.  There was a big stage with bands playing music.  The midway was full of rides and games. There were tons of food booths too.  It took all night to get around it. 

The other day I came across the old fairgrounds on Google maps.  It was barely bigger than a football field.  I wish the world was still as big as it was when I was a kid.

JERRY

Yes, everyone tells us that we much grow up and be adult in all things. 

Religions tell us this.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Accordingly I attempted to emulate those people around me and I was very successful in mimicking the actions of those people.

I was accepted among them.

Now I have found, that by my own decision, I can eat chocolate cake for breakfast if I want.

And I do.

TOM

Covering the Bases

When I was in 2nd grade I was given a list of 10 commandments that I had the opportunity to sin at. Most made nominal sense, others none. Take Adultery, to the 8 year old mind it must have something to do will the state of Adultness. Which was? At the time no idea. So when I went into confess my sins for the first time I figure 6 was a good number of time for that sin. The Priest pointed out it was highly unlike I’d commit Adultery so it best in the future not to include that one.

JON

Adult Content

By

Jon DeCles

A place on the net called Tumblr made its fame, and sold its advertising, on the basis of pornography.  You don’t go to the grocery store to buy petrol. It made clear what it offered, but it also included other stuff that might be of interest to adults.  Lots of art, some politics, links to music. Children were not allowed to visit. Somebody hid some kiddie porn under the rug.  Apple decided to no longer offer the site on its store. Tumblr tumbled and banned adult content. It is now a site where adults are no longer allowed to visit.

NORVAL JOE

Linoliumanda frowned. “What’s a grocery bag have to do with flying?”
Billbert shrugged. “I don’t know. But my dad says when I’m an adult I should be able to fly without it.”
Linoliumanda folded her arms in front of her. “So, you’re not magic?” She sounded disappointed.
“Call it what you want,” Billbert said. “I can fly and someday I can do it whenever I want, with or without a grocery bag.”
She hugged him suddenly. “You’re right. Superpower, magic, it’s really all the same thing.”
“Well, isn’t this sweet. Two little love nerds,” Roderick’s derisive voice sounded behind them.

PLANET Z

I bought a plug-in hybrid car recently.For the past month, it has barely used any gasoline.My gas station credit card has been rendered completely useless.The 5% cashback period for Discover is moot.And I’ve changed my flexible bonus credit card to reward me for online shopping instead of gas.I stopped by my usual gas station for a car wash.After driving through the car wash, I looked over my car and saw that parts of it were still dirty.With all that I’m saving on gas, I’ll go to the fancy hand-wash place down the street.

Weekly Challenge #664 – Corner



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:

Needs a cat

LIZZIE

Corner

Go to your corner, they said. And I did. I went to my corner. I was only a child and I had to obey.
Today, I am not a child anymore.
When they say, go to your corner, I laugh and walk away.
Today, I am an adult and my corner is not their corner. My corner is my place and it’s my world and it’s my people. My corner is not obeying anymore, no.
When they say, why have you changed so much, I laugh and walk away.
Today, I choose my corners and smile and live and shine.

RICHARD

Life Lessons

On reflection most of my time at school was spent outside the classroom.

If I wasn’t doing penance by standing in the corridor, I was waiting in the secretary’s office, sent to see the head teacher.

That was when I actually got to school in the first place: Often I’d bunk off for the day, or hang around the bike sheds well after break times and lunch had ended.

Even when I was in class, I’d usually find myself stood in the corner for misbehaving.

Miraculously, somehow I became a teacher.

And none of my classes will ever make those same mistakes!

SERENDIPIDY

They gave me the corner plot, as far from ‘decent folk’ as they could put me.

If they’d had their way, they’d have burned me at the stake and scattered my ashes far and wide; but civic duty prevailed, and I received a proper burial, although those attending only did so to ensure I was buried deep.

Not that it matters.

Every night, I dig myself out and head off into the night to continue my unspeakable work.

And every morning, before sunrise, I return to the darkness of the earth.

They really should have burned me at the stake!

JERRY

The howls of the wolfs sounded around the snow covered mountains and through the valley. 
Leaving the sheltering cave with its warm fire had been a bad mistake but I had to have food.
It had been three days since I ate the last of the dried berries.
I needed to find meat before weakness overcame me.
The howls of the wolfs were growing nearer when I came on the dead squeaker.
I was freezing.
I needed a corner to hide in, eat the squeaker, and get warm.
If I remembered my school lessons a corner was always 90 degrees.

TOM

God Rest Yee

In the corner laden with a layer of dust rested Timmy’s crutch. When Timmy’s grandchildren came to visit he would tell the tale of a Christmas long ago when the spirits of the holiday had soften the heart of his mentor Ebenezer. The youngest, Cindy Loo, ask if her grandpa was really that tiny a child. He smile and told her if it had been for his father’s employer he would have likely never grew any big. Cindy look confused. Timmy picked her up and place her on this shoulder. “Let go find some mistletoe.” Merry Christmas Mr.  Lawrence   

JON

The Corner of the Year

 By

 Jon DeCles

I am so tired of people telling me Christmas is over, or trying to promote the buildup as the Twelve Days of Cashmas.The fact is, the Season of Christmas is defined as the time between the first Sunday of Advent (four weeks before Christmas Day) and the Epiphany, January Sixth.  The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days between Christmas and Epiphany.  We get this celebration, and the Christmas Carol, from England, so we can follow English practice. Twelfth Night is January Fifth.  The night when we turn the corner of the cycle and don’t party for a while.

NORVAL JOE

The following Monday morning, Billbert waited for the school bus. Things appeared almost back to normal. His dad had finally stopped freaking out and his mother seemed to just shrug off the fact that someone had seen his superpower.
Until Linoliumanda rounded the corner. The second she saw Billbert, she ran for him and grabbed his hand. “Come on. Let’s fly to school.”
“Slow down,” Billbert said, nervously looking around and relieved to find no one else had come to the bus stop yet. “No one’s supposed to know about my superpower. Besides, I don’t have my plastic grocery bag.”

DUANE

Corner 

It was hard to breathe. I stood with my back to the corner and tried to be invisible.  The urge for flight or fight was kicking in along with a big dose of adrenaline.  All I had was my guitar.  I could use it as a weapon if I needed to.  I hoped it wouldn’t come to that.  I started moving along the wall towards the hall. As I made the turn and started down the hall there was shouting.  Someone yelled my name. I heard a crowd roar. I turned back and started forward, doing what I’ve always done.

PLANET Z

I used to work in an office with no windows.
But I’m moving to a corner office.
It has a beautiful view of the city and the sunsets are gorgeous.
Lots of natural light, which my doctor says I need much more of.
There’s a lot more room in there, too.
Even though two of the office’s walls are used up by windows, there’s the same amount of wall space available.
It’s perfect… for someone who isn’t terrified of heights.
I’m worried that if I lean back to far… just like this…
Wait. Did you hear a cracking sound, too?

Weekly Challenge #663 – Irritation



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 got your back...

LIZZIE

Reflect and Engage

Life would never be the same. He was leaving everything behind. He wanted that, but he feared it as well.
As he approached the exit, he looked back and he saw the carnivore plants he had created and grown. They stood motionless and eerie behind the glass wall.
For a split second, he wished he could give up and go back to doing his magic and growing the most unusual plants. But he couldn’t. So, he left.
A week later, he received an urgent appeal. He had to go back. The plants, in a fit of anger, were eating everyone.

JERRY

Obsolete ideas still engage the mind.

To pounce on a new idea sometimes call for some mental gymnastics and some time to reflect.
When you engage in this sport it is required that you have a support group ready to catch you if you fail to consider all the possible consequences.
Especially those actions that could do permanent damage.
The girls had not considered what doing the hokey pokey could do to their body and mind.

Put your left foot in
Your left foot out
Your left foot in
And shake it all about

It is easier said than done. 

RICHARD

New Year Resolution

‘Engage With Girls Easier!’

The strapline emblazoned across the top of the flyer immediately caught my attention.

Normally, junk mail goes straight in the bin, but my luck with girls lately had been pretty appalling, mainly due to my social ineptitude.  Maybe, with the New Year, it was time to make a resolution to change.

‘Reflect on your chat up technique’, the flyer said, ‘Do you get tied up in mental gymnastics, then awkwardly pounce and scare girls off?’

Don’t cling to those obsolete practices, sign up now!

‘(Only £250 a session)’

I crumpled up the flyer… Maybe next year.

SERENDIPIDY

Girls who do gymnastics are so much more fun than regular folks.

Their general stamina and fitness keeps them going when others would give up and succumb to pain and exhaustion; and their flexibility and resilience lends itself to all sorts of interesting contortions.

Of course, when I snap your limbs at ninety degrees in the wrong direction, and twist your joints until they grind and pop, even the most accomplished gymnast is going to scream in pain.

But I like the pretty shapes they make so much…

And I think artistic impression scores far more highly, than technical ability.

TOM

My Own Private Health Plan

“Welcome to Reflect Engage your new totally immersive health plan. You can now tailor a health regiment to busy life style and questionable physical abilities. Your first step on the long road to optimum wellness starts with a mild pin-prick,” delivered the robotic voice. Bernie flexed against the five point restraints. “I just came in for an aspirin,” he addressed the glowing screen of the Med Tech 105. “Aspirin is a level one drug. A full admistrative implant will been needed.” A telescoping armature impacted his upper arm. “Thank you for choosing FC health solutions.” Bernie could feel the burn 

 JON

Higher, Faster, Stronger

By

Jon DeCles

It is an obsolete notion that females are not equal to males, but I must still reflect on the differences.

In gymnastics a female must pounce on her chance at competition because she reaches her peak of performance at an earlier age than a male. Girls must engage with the sport quickly and fiercely, and their careers may fly away when they are seventeen or eighteen.

It is easier for Boys, who can remain in top form at times until their mid-twenties.

I am hoping that will even out as athletes continue to push defiantly against the boundaries of age.

TURA

The Menunna-Qurud is the most ancient text known from the region that some thousands of years later would be called Sumer. Written in ophioglyphs believed to have been obsolete even at the time of writing, it describes either gymnastic exercises or religious devotions, or perhaps some hybrid (as evidenced in our own time by the practices the Hindoos call yoga). But they defy translation, unless one accepts Professor Challenger’s scarcely to be believed thesis, that they do not refer to the human figure, but to a loathsome and degenerate race of humanity, hybridised with monstrous creatures of the deep.

NORVAL JOE

Billbert’s father paced the room and then turned on him like he was about to pounce. “Tell me the truth, son. Did Linoliumanda see you fly?”
He tried to come up with a lie, but decided it would be easier to come clean. “I’m pretty sure she saw me.”
His father begged, “Can you convince her it was something else she saw? Maybe, that you were just practicing gymnastics.”
Billbert smiled, sheepishly. “That would be hard to do, Dad. She actually flew with me. She thought I had magic.”
“Girls?” Mr. Spankinflysher said. “They get us into so much trouble.”

PLANET Z

Romanov coached gymnastics somewhere on the other side of the Iron Curtain.Nobody’s sure of exactly where… he arrived without papers, and we’ve never figured out his accent.And he refuses to talk about his past..But what he’s able to get the girls to do, well, it’s amazing.The power, the balance, the speed, the grace, and the precision.Things beyond the capability of ordinary humans.”Just takes dedication and motivation,” says Romanov, and he claps his hands for the next routine.Did you see that? Did their eyes flash red?Nah, couldn’t be. I must be imagining things.