Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Time for another drabble already? Concoct your own 100 word story, and tag it with “friday drabble”.  Link to it in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble. Happy Drabbling!

The Fantasies of Youth

Did you ever want to run away and live in a museum?

Not me! Although I enjoyed “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” as much as the next kid, the MoMA always seemed like an impractical choice for a stowaway.

No, I’d run away to THE MALL.

Picture it: Spend all night playing the arcade games, stuffing yourself silly in the food court, reading in the bookstores until your eyes crossed, and finally, crashing on a Serta mattress.

What do you mean “You’d get caught”?

Why do you think I took this job as a night watchman?

How it works:
Write an entry of any length or style using five assigned words. Bold the five words. Tag your blog post with ’5wordchallenge’ and any other tags you wish to add. Feel free to pingback to this post or provide a link to your entry in comments.

This week’s challenge words were chosen by ME!:  monochrome, stilted, affluent, trestle, anachronism

I trudged along the edge of the road, always two steps away from the gravel-and-dirt embankment that loomed next to me.  It rose to twice my height as the road slowly sloped down towards the river. I knew that on top of that mound of packed earth and stone ran twin tracks – remnants from an era when travel by locomotive was the rage.

Back then, a train would have passed by this spot every hour, cars full of passengers awash with the novelty and decadance of travel by rail.  Affluent couples would dine in the epitome of sophistication, their every whim attended to by waiters dressed in monochrome uniforms, while those unable to afford such an expense would whisper enviously from their coach-class seats three cars back.   Young boys, playing out near the tracks after school, might have paused their game of Cowboys and Indians to watch the train pass by them in a rush of wind infused with hot metal and the clattering of many wheels.

Those gleaming steel tracks didn’t shine anymore; I had already climbed the embankment once just to check.   Rusted orange-brown, it was hard now to picture them ever looking new.   Like the junked engines slowly rusting away in the railroad graveyards, the railways were outmoded.  Outdated.  Relics too worthless to salvage and too expensive to restore.   Anachronisms overlooked and ignored by the millions who daily drove their automobiles over, under, or around the railways without a second glance.  Yes, that felt right – invisible anachronisms.

I knew it was so, but I knew more: I was an invisible anachronism, too.   Stuck in a dead-end job in an industry that itself was on the skids, I had nothing in my professional life to look forward to for the 15-or-so years until I could even think about retiring.  My strict adherence to a code of ethics and conduct that had been out of date for at least thirty years didn’t help to win me any friends, and the few times I had made an effort to hold conversations with my coworkers, everything I said came out stilted and shallow.   If I disappeared this afternoon, nobody would even think to look for me.  Or care.  Just like the railroad tracks.

I scrambled my way back up the embankment, clawing at the slope as the loose debris sheathing the hill shifted under my boots.   At the top, I clapped my hands against my jeans, brushing off the black dirt and ochre dust they had picked up in my short climb to the top of the tracks.   Ahead lay the old railroad bridge, spanning the stream that in wetter months might actually grow wide enough to earn its title of “river”.   Right now, however, it was only a trickle of water just barely too wide to leap across, and looked almost comical set in the middle of the wide gorge.  The top of the trestle bridge stood nearly thirty feet above the water’s slow-moving surface.  It looked sturdy enough to walk on, but I planned to go slowly and test my weight each step of the way.  Morbid thoughts from earlier aside, I wasn’t about to help the world forget about me and my solitary existence.

No, today, I just wanted to keep walking.  I might be alone, but then again, I was always alone.  So for this afternoon, at least, I chose simply to embrace my solitude.  Just a couple of invisible anachronisms, out in the middle of nowhere, doing nothing in particular, in the company of nobody.

Fridays are the days I post one or two “drabble“, the 100-word stories that test your ability to convey an entire story idea in an extremely brief format.  Feel free to join in and write your own 100 word stories on Fridays, and tag them with “friday drabble”.  Link to them in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

Funny Business

When Jeremy was 7, his grandfather told him “laughter is the best medicine.” Jeremy, being seven, believed him. When his sister got the chicken pox, he tickled her mercilessly. He only succeeded in catching it himself, but he wasn’t dissuaded.

When Jeremy was 17, he made an old widow laugh until tears streamed from her eyes. She thanked Jeremy for helping her come to terms with her husband’s death.

When Jeremy was 47, he successfully distilled the giggles into liquid form. Ten years later, his concentrated chuckles proved successful in curing AIDS.

Jeremy laughed all the way to the bank.

Fridays are the days I post one or two “drabble“, the 100-word stories that test your ability to convey an entire story idea in an extremely brief format.  Feel free to join in and write your own 100 word stories on Fridays, and tag them with “friday drabble”.  Link to them in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

ALSO! Some of the drabble I am writing are part of the 100 Word Stories Podcast Weekly Challenge! Because of this, I will also post an audio recording of my reading of any challenge submissions.  Hope you enjoy!

My Summer Vacation

My Summer Vacation
by Billy Jenkins

My summer vacation was neat. All 20 of my aunts and uncles came to stay with us. They were mad because they couldn’t live in their houses nomore. Uncle Steve said “Those goshdarn aliens should be shot back into space where they came from”. Momma told him “Hush”. Aunt Verna wanted to stay with us when everyone else caught the shuttle to New Montana, but she ended up going anyway. Mom and Dad and Janey went too, so now it’s just me and Xyzzybrax*CK living at my house. That’s ok with me.

The End

Today, I learned that the term for a 100 word story is a "drabble" (not to be confused with comic strip or the novelist). The term comes from Monty Python's 1971 Big Red Book. In this book, "Drabble" was a word game where the first participant to write a novel wins. In order to make the game possible in the real world, it was agreed that 100 words would suffice.

I thought it would be fun (and a good writing exercise) to try to do a weekly drabble attempt or two. Since Friday's usually the day I feel the least desire to get any writing done, I figured it would be a good day to schedule my weekly drabble attempt.  Feel free to join in and write your own 100 word stories on Fridays and tag them with "friday drabble".  Link to them in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble. Let's see if we can get a following going!

"Welcome to Hell," a voice growled from behind his back. Still groggy from the blow to his head, Mike didn't even attempt to turn around. His brain sloshed inside his skull with every minute movement, causing him to retch and collapse onto the hard packed dirt floor. The next blow arrived unseen and he descended into the depths of unconsciousness.

The lights snicked on, and he started peeling off the adhesive patches affixed to his forehead, scalp, and neck. "Damn, that was hardcore!" he told his friends, each anxiously awaiting their turn. "I'm only porting happy memories from now on."

I've always been a bookworm, but back in middle school, it was really pronounced.

In fact, it got me into trouble on more than a few occasions.

The most memorable time was in middle school, when the class bully was picking on me for reading The Hobbit during lunch.

I studiously ignored his insults and shoulder prodding. Finally, my temper grew short, I closed the tome, and swinging it like a tennis racket, slapped him silly upside his head.

I don't know if the pen is mightier than the sword, but a good hardcover book can definitely pack a wallop!

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This 5 word challenge: sliver, smear, chalk, asphyxiation, transcendent

And then they called her mother to the stand.  She plead for her daughter's freedom with a tremble of grief in her throat. 

She tried to explain the circumstances away.  How her daughter wasn't a bad seed, just curious for her age.  After all, when little June had killed the family guinea pig, it hadn't been malicious – she had merely wanted to see the effects of asphyxiation on a live animal.  She pointed out that her daughter had tried it with plants first, but didn't have the patience to wait days for the results.  And June had set up a stopwatch and video camera to record the slow demise of the animal, trapped within the thick plastic bag, all in the interests of science.

Her mother waxed enthusiastically about the transcendent curiosity of her eight-year old child.  How she had sliced her finger one day on a sliver of glass, and watched raptly as her life's essence oozed to the surface of the cut and slowly scabbed over.  How June had cut herself again, this time on purpose, before her mother could stop her.  She remembered how the smear of blood on the glass shard glowed in the sunlight like the finest stained-glass window at their church.  She recounted her daughter's resulting hypothesis that larger cuts would yield larger scabs.  June had thought they were pretty.  She had thought her father would like to have a pretty scab, too.

Her mother's eyes stared off into the distant corner of the courtroom as she thought of the chalk outline on the hardwood floor outside of the bedroom she shared, no, had shared, with her husband.  With him gone, all she had left was her daughter. 

Couldn't they all see that? 

Why couldn't they see that?

[NaBloPoMo 2008 – #19/30]

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For EF's most inappropriate holiday newsletter contest, I present a letter I "received" from Mrs. Judith Ozark, a 3rd cousin, twice-removed.  Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead just means I didn't disguise things well enough – pretend they're just coincidental resemblances instead, please.

Dear Loved Ones, Friends, Family, and anyone else who happens to read this letter,

Wow!  It's been another whole year already since my last Christmas letter to you all!  I was so happy last year to receive letters from 4 of you (Mom & Dad, Aunt Esme, Aunt Matilda, and Grandma Ruth).  Hopefully the rest of you are doing well!  Send me a note to let me know you're not dead!  Ha ha.

Things have been wonderful here in the Ozark household.  Mitch, Cassandra, Buddy, and little Rufus all send their love to you all.  (Rufus actually said "arf arf" and "grrrrufff ruff", but I translated doggy-talk into human for you all!)

Mitch is still the man of my dreams (even if I didn't dream about him having an affair with his secretary.  Ha ha).  But now that I found out about that, he's been well behaved and we've been going to regular counseling sessions.  The roleplaying has done wonders for us (especially in the bedroom, ROWR!).  The doctors say that ED is not very common in 35-year-old men, but since Mitch doesn't have any heart conditions (yet!) he's a suitable candidate for Viagra or Cialis.  He complains they give him headaches, but he's willing to "take one for the team", if you know what I mean.  Between his golf, tennis, and bridge games, I don't see a whole lot of Mitch on the weekends, but since his work forced him to cut back to part-time, I see enough of him during the week to make up for it!  Ha ha.

Cassie is your typical twelve year old, complete with mood swings and embarrassment to be seen with her mother.  I've tried to have "the talk" with her, since she's turning into a very pretty young woman, but she just keeps telling me she "knows all that stuff already."  It's a good thing I can trust her, because it seems all of her best friends are boys.  And she's assured me that their parents watch them like hawks whenever she's over at their houses studying, so I feel fine letting her hang out with them as long as her grades haven't dropped below the C+ average she needs to keep in order to keep her iPod and computer.

Buddy and Rufus are inseparable.  You'd think a three year old would lose interest in a puppy after a couple of months, but he just can't seem to get enough of him.  I did have to keep them apart for a while when Rufus got pinworms, but it didn't seem to help as Buddy got them just the same (did you know it takes up to a MONTH to get rid of pinworms, and you can be contagious for that whole time?)  I'm considering getting Rufus neutered, but Mitch is resisting.  (I think he is afraid that it will psychosomatically affect HIM, but I don't see how he can get any worse than he is now, ha ha).

As for me, I'm staying busy.  I just signed up to be considered as a candidate for becoming a surrogate mother.  Did you know you can earn up to $35,000 for a single pregnancy?  Plus, I just miss the feel of being pregnant (something you never have to worry about Allison, right? Ha ha).  Oh, and it helps a nice couple that can't have their own baby, so I feel like it would be the nice thing to do.  The only thing is the doctor I talked to said I would have to stop smoking first.  That's going to be awful tough, especially when I go out for drinks with the gals and everyone there is smoking.  But I think I can manage it if I just keep thinking about what I get out of the deal.

I hope everyone out there is happy and healthy and may you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (Except for you, Shannon – I hope you and your husband and kids have a good Hanukkah – eat some pancakes for me! Ha Ha.)  Until next year, everybody!


Judy (and Mitch, Cassie, Buddy, and Rufus) Ozark

P.S. We didn't have time to get a family portrait taken this year, so here's some pictures from our beach trip this summer.  I didn't get any good pictures of Mitch after his rash cleared up, so you'll just to imagine him without the blotchy face!

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Dolores Umbridge was not having a good day.  In fact, she hadn't had a thing to smile about ever since that hack J.K. Rowling had first named a character after her.  It wasn't HER fault that little Jo Murray had nearly failed her writing examination while in the sixth form at Wyedean School – why did she have to go and brutally besmirch her good name in those "Harry Potter" novels?

Nowadays, she couldn't introduce herself without evoking a snigger from the people around her.  She could almost see their brains making the connection between her and the prissy, toad-like woman in those trashy stories.  Children in her neighborhood made fun of her behind her back, imitating her walk and precise diction.

Just as a flare of disgust at this thought ran through her head once again, an errant gust tugged at the umbrella in Dolores Umbridge's hand, snapping the cheap metal struts and flipping the whole mess of an umbrella inside out.  Amidst jeers and catcalls from the children on a nearby football pitch, she increased her stride and continued the walk to her flat, where she could wrestle indignantly with the umbrella in the presence only of the kittens painted on her fine china plates.

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Click on the link above to view the full-size photo.  Here's my first attempt at a caption booth entry for the Caption Booth groupContest #1 is going on right now…why don't you go pick out your own picture to caption?

(Note: Mine is on the long side of the word count – most will be shorter than this).

Wolfgang Amadeus Hollabeck was the best trumpet player the world had ever known.  The world just didn't realize it yet.  The best gigs he could get were in seedy bars in downtown Zurich, with a bumbling trio that could barely carry a tune, let alone carry one of his Gillespie-like solos.  He had tried to save up enough money to cut a demo, but between his bar tab and bus fares, he was left with barely enough money to cover the rent.

Wolfgang took a day job to make ends meet.  Now, decked out in lederhosen, he puffed and blew his way through a bevy of traditional songs on the alpenhorn outside a little cafe every day.  He put up with the jeering catcalls of spoiled American tourists asking if he had a cough drop for them, but the ones that really hurt his pride were the locals who visited to eat on a regular basis.  As the days passed, their polite smiles faded to indifference as they studiously avoided eye contact every time they walked past.

Wolfgang Amadeus Hollabeck shifted from the slow melodic notes of his current song into the the upbeat tempo of "A Night in Tunisia".  A couple people glanced his way and smiled before he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.  The cafe manager was coming out to speak with him about his musical choices, once again.  He sighed and switched back to the traditional folk song he had been playing, counting the minutes until he could get home and cut loose with a jazz solo that would bring down the house, if only he could find people to listen to it.

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They say she can tell your fortune from the stars above, the status of your love life from the palm of your hand.

They say the spirits whisper in her ear about who you will meet and who you will marry.

They say that her tarot readings are touched by the divine, and that not since the time of Cassandra has someone been this accurate.

I, for one, am a little bit more skeptical.  After all, if she is really that good, why does she first run a credit check on you with that computer she hides behind the curtain?

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