Welcome to the fiftieth Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.
The topic this week was selected by Caleb Bullen of the Black Tie Martini Club Oddcast, and it’s Lithium.
Nine stories were submitted this week.
No rookies are in the mix… boo!
The excellent theme music is by Guy David
And, once again, some disturbing madness from Planet Z.
Go ahead and listen to them by clicking on the grammophone thingy there in the left column and then vote for your favorites (multiple selections are allowed):
WE GOTS PRIZES:
I will be sending the winner a prize… it’s a packet containing at least 1 refrigerator magnet and a CD with the archive of the entire 100 word stories podcast. (Well, minus promos and junk)
It is your voting that determines who wins. So listen, vote, and tune in next week to find out who won!
The full text of each story:
Hi, I’m Benjamin and I’m an addict.
I guess I came to the meeting today because I’m ready to try to kick the habit.
For my entire life, other people have made jokes at my expense. I guess I really can’t blame them. I mean, I *do* make a pretty easy target for humiliation.
You see, my mother was an /Ursus maritimus/ (that means “polar bear”), and my father was an Eskimo, so of course I’m biPOLAR.
And I’m also a bit confused about my sexuality…so I’m BIpolar.
Anyway, that’s how I came to be addicted to lithium, because I’m…well…bipolar.
“Caleb hand me that bottle of Diaka vodka,” said Tom
He poured out exactly two jiggers.
“The Sol Azul …. Laurence … please.”
Three jiggers swirled into the mixture.
Elisson tossed the G’Vine before
Tom could mouthed the words.
“Now for the pièce de resistance,” chortled Mr. Marquette.
Laieanna rolled a gas cylinder next to the bar.
Caleb, Laurence, and Elisson stared incredulsly.
“Dentist Office.” They all smiled.
Tom filled the cocktails with tiny bubbles of nitrous oxide.
After the third shot Caleb called from under the couch.
“What Frac you call this stuff?”
Dimly aware of the voice Tom mumbled.
We’ve already lost eight engineers and I’m going in next.
The recyclarobot was supposed to harvest junk like batteries and industrial lubricants for lithium to be oxidized and used in the pharmaceutical industry. It stopped working last Friday even though it’s still taking in junk.
We think it’s filling the air with so much lithium oxide that your brain gets starved for serotonin and oxygen simultaneously and you hallucinate wildly until death. It only takes a few minutes but all eight, died smiling and wide-eyed.
I’m going in with a SCUBA tank now.
My God! It’s full of stars.
Beads of sweat began to trickle down Ibrahim’s brow. This bothered him. He did not want to appear nervous, but it was stifling in the small room.
His next card skidded across the table. Four of spades, not much help there. He was in too deep to back out now, having jumped into the betting with his pair of pocket aces. Maybe they would be enough…
No, they weren’t. Fuad raised, confident as always. Ibrahim folded: no choice.
He was down to a grimy pair of boxer shorts and an explosive belt. Gaza Strip Poker was not for the faint-hearted.
I’m a freak of nature…mankind might be a better term. Super Sensitive
is just a lame way to categorize me, but I’m beyond that. Our modern
world is sensory overload for me. Anytime I come close to common
materials, the smells and sensations are overwhelming. Yay for all
day nausea! Worst part of my…condition is that most items cause a
highly allergic reaction. Lithium is almost deadly and goddamn if it
isn’t in all kinds of stuff. So here I am stuck in the woods, left by
my parents years ago like an unwanted cat. God, I’m lonely.
SISTER MARY EDITH
As a middle school Psychiatrist, I’m as much for teachers as for students.
“Ah, Ms. Silbernagel. What’s up?”
Her hands shook as she lit her cigarette. Mascara streaked her face. A colossal spitball matted her hair into a nasty snarl. She blew out smoke in a shuddering breath. “I’ve taught her for twenty years. But 8th graders now?/ I cant take it anymore!”
“Now Ms. Silbernagel, you hang in there!” I pulled out my prescription pad.
A month later I visited her classroom.
“Say hello, students!”
Dreamily they murmured, “Hello Dr. Greer.”
“Thanks again; it was just what they needed!”
At first, Humphry hid the pills under his tongue. Then, he tried stowing them between cheek and gums. But they always knew.
So after chasing the lithium with a sip of water, they began making him hook his fingers on either side of his mouth, pull wide, and move his tongue in a slow full circle. Humphry actually enjoyed doing this when the pretty young nurses were working the meds shift. The nurses did not enjoy this and began complaining.
So Rocky, the hairy male nurse, took over administering Humphry’s meds. Since then, Humphry’s moods had become surprisingly more stable.
Bill So have you heard the new Nirvana Song?
Ted Yeah. Lithium? Yeah Kurt Cobain can’t sing it sounds like he’s
Bill Yeah we had a lithium at my brother’s birthday party last
month. It was hilarious. You should have heard Big Ed with
that munchkin voice! And Dave passed out and hit his head on the tank
Ted You dork. That’s helium. Lithium slows you down
Ted cobain probably was on lithium it’s for treating people who’re bipolar
Bill so he has two poles? Why would you take medicine for that?
Ted um Yeah
The scientific community announced this week the successful use of sugar in batteries to replace lithium. No big surprise to us. Army’s been using them for years.
First time we went out on a secret mission we only had a small window of time to complete it. We were going to assassinate Saddam Hussein. We had all our equipment, stealth suits that operated on batteries, laptops, even our weapons needed those darn sugar batteries. So imagine my horror when I heard Private Johnston chewing.
“Ah hell,” I said. “Forget it. We’ll just start a war.”
Johnston stopped chewing.
Next Topic: Your mom!
Bobby loved going to the science museum.
He’d walk through the exhibit halls, eyes wide as saucers.
The Hall Of Chemistry was his favorite. A gigantic Periodic Table was up on the wall, and there were samples of every element next to their symbol.
One day, he tried to climb that wall to steal a sample.
The museum was used that that kind of thing, kids wanting to steal Gold and Platinum, or Arabs grabbing for Uranium and Plutonium.
What shocked the guards was that Bobby was climbing up the left side for Lithium.
“Weird kid,” they said, and watched.
Thanks to everyone for sending in their stories, and I look forward to what you’ve got to write (and say) next week.
The theme for next week’s Weekly Challenge will be posted shortly.