Before we get to the specifics of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event, for a little extra boost of motivation let’s give a quick shout out to the past contest finalists who have since gone on to be published or soon-to-be published authors:
Staurt Neville! Victoria Schwab! Terry DeHart! Michelle Hodkin! Michelle Davidson Argyle! Joshua McCune! Natalie Whipple! Josin L. McQuein! Jeanne Ryan! Peter Cooper!
Stars are born in these contests. STARS ARE BORN.
Will you join their ranks?! Let’s find out.
Now then. The premise of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event is thus:
Write a funny scene.
IT IS NOT. Funny is hard work, people.
The ultimate grand prize winner of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event will win:
1) The pride of knowing you are one seriously hilarious individual.
2) A partial critique from me.
3) A signed ARC of JACOB WONDERBAR FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE, the sequel to JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, which will be released in April 2012:
The runners up of the JWFWCSHE will win query critiques or other agreed-on substitutes.
Yes, there are rules. They are:
I) This is a for-fun contest. Rules may be adjusted without notice, but this one will always remain: please don’t take the contest overly seriously. Hear me? YOU WILL HAVE FUN WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.
II) Please post your funny scene in the comments section of THIS POST. Please do not e-mail me your submission. The deadline for entry is THURSDAY 6pm Pacific time, at which point entries will be closed. Finalists will be announced…. sometime after that.
III) Your word count limit: 350 words. You can do this. Your entry can either be from a work in progress or something you compose for this contest spectacular happening event.
IV) Please please check and double-check and triple-check your entry before posting. But if you spot an error after posting: please do not re-post your entry. I go through the entries sequentially and the repeated deja vu repeated deja vu from reading the same entry only slightly different makes my head spin. I’m not worried about typos, nor should you be.
V) You may enter once, once you may enter, and enter once you may. If you post anonymously, make sure you leave your name.
VI) Spreading word about the contest is strongly encouraged.
VII) I will be sole judge of the finalists. You the people will be the sole judge of the ultimate winner.
VIII) You must be at least 14 years old and less than 189 years old to enter. No exceptions.
IX) I’m on Twitter and may be posting contest updates! Follow me here:
That is all.
GOOD LUCK! May the most hilarious entry be extremely hilarious.
JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, about three kids who blast off into space and find their way back home, was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in May and is available at:
Barnes & Noble (hardcover)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Ken Michaels says
Ken Michaels said….
I called Dr. Hartman’s office. After a few rings, I was connected to a recording.
“You have reached the offices of Dr. Hartman and Associates: For hours, press 1; for location, press 2; for appointments, press 3; for all other questions, press 4.” I pressed 4 and listened to silence.
I was ready to give up and start again when I suddenly heard an efficient and hurried voice say “Can you hold?”
It was my lucky day. A response on my first try and I was “on hold.” Silence.Waiting. Click, click, click..Dial tone. I mumbled, “How annoying.”
I tried again and got a repeat performance of: “You have reached the offices of…..” and I knew that I should press 4 for all other calls. I waited (what was my choice?) , and then was asked again, “Can you hold?”
Before I could react, I heard, “We are experiencing an extreme number of calls. If you like, you can leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Wait time is seventeen minutes.”
I knew that leaving a message was useless. I decided to be mature and screamed
“I hate holding. I hate your office. I hate you.”
I’ve heard that sometimes the line is open and the office can hear your complaints. Even worse, I have heard that the staff laughs at these outbursts and often disconnects you, without any conscience. Realizing the futility of my anger, I threw the phone at the wall as hard as I could. I had time to pee and ran to the bathroom.
Just as I unzipped and started, I heard, “How can I help you? Pause. “Hullo?” from the receiver lying across the room. “These people really know how to waste my time,” she said. I knew from her tone that within seconds, she would disconnect.
I lunged for the phone, “I’m here. Don’t hang up. I’m here,” I grabbed the receiver, and held onto it as if I had recovered an all important fumble. I was out of breath and dripping.
I had always harbored the belief that cats have an intellect superior to a human’s. After all, they can act moody, sleep all day, and at the end of the day convince us to feed them instead of kick them through a window. It wasn’t until I bought Miles that this idealistic bubble exploded.
I walked through the front door of my cozy house, tired from a long day at work, and started down the hall towards my bedroom. As I mused about the expense report I had to finish, Miles, a large, fearless tom, sedately walked out of the room at the end of the hall, his majestic tail swaying with aplomb. For a second, everything was normal.
Then Miles spotted me, and froze, legs spread apart as though expecting an earthquake to knock him off his feet. His eyes stretched wide in alarm, and he shot with the force of a bullet back through the open bedroom door.
I stopped dead in my tracks and stared in bewilderment, all thoughts of my report gone. Within the minute Miles ran out of the room again, no doubt realizing he was trapped there. His chest heaved.
I walked towards him, now concerned for my pet’s well-being. His eyes were large as dinner plates, and I saw him eyeing the eight inch gap between my left leg and the wall. In a last attempt to escape the demons that were no doubt pursuing him, he rocketed toward the gap, missed, ricocheted off the wall like a pinball, then disappeared into the depths of the house.
I found him crouched on top of the basement pantry, a good seven feet from the ground. For a moment I marveled at the kind of emotion that had spurred him to this height, then tried to coax him down. It took two cans of tuna fish to convince him it was safe, and he never went in my bedroom again. To this day I have no clue as to what caused my otherwise intelligent pet to act like someone had lit his tail on fire.
“Hi,” I said.
“How’s the head?” he asked.
I brought my hand up to my brow. The sizeable butterfly bandage he’d help me secure when I fainted at field hockey tryouts had since been downgraded to a band-aid, a Looney Toons one. It was all we had in the house.
“Getting there,” I smiled, praying my bangs hid most of it.
“Have you thought of a good story to go with that?” he asked, referencing my rough and tumbled look.
“No,” I said, entertained. “Any thoughts?”
“Never go wrong with a good bully.”
“Private School girl’s throwing punches, not so likely,” I said, slanting my eyes.
He rolled his eyes. “You are obviously new here,” he replied.
I smiled at him.
“Okay, well, if anyone asks,” I said in a sidelong whisper, “I got jumped behind the cafeteria.” I shrugged with mock arrogance. “Girls jealous of my mad field hockey skills, afraid they’d be replaced,” I said, posturing.
He laughed, more heartily than I would’ve liked.
“Good to know,” he said. “So how’s it going?” he asked.
“Yeah??” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
He eyed me, a smile tugging up on one side of his cheek. “Liar,” he said, teasing me.
I laughed, exhaling.
“Well it’s only the second day, so…jury’s still out.”
He nodded. We stood there.
“So, did you find out why you fainted?” he asked. “I don’t want to start making jokes about people starving in Africa only to find out you’ve got an eating disorder or something.”
“Do you know jokes about starving people in Africa?” I asked, thinking if he did I’d like to hear them.
We busted up laughing.
“Anemia,” I said, in a whisper, wanting him to know it was minor and not some kind of horrible infectious disease or something. He scoffed. “What, you thought I fainted cause I had like bulimia or something? Cause I can’t imagine you thought I was anorexic.”
A wicked smile tagged his face. “Naw, I just figured you had Ebola or something.”
Funny that he should hone in on my actual concern.
Manager seeking solutions misses problem
There are three questions on our agenda for today. Why is our project moving so slowly? How can we speed up our process? And what can we do to move faster in the future?
Building a great consumer product is like building a house. Good architects who have built many houses can work without a plan for a while, but sooner or later they will get stuck. We all need a common blueprint.
I see, I see. So we need to document our work more often and more carefully. That will certainly solve a lot of our communication problems.
We don’t need documentation as much as we need the plan itself. We know what we’re doing every day but we don’t know our main motivation. Why are we doing this project in the first place?
Oh, Oh. That’s very good feedback. I’ll think we can do a much better job explaining what it is we’re doing and why. I’ll write that down.
We spend time talking about how and when we are going to talk. But we rarely get to the actual talking. Even when we do, decisions get deferred.
Yes, Yes. That’s an excellent point. In the future, let’s use this meeting time to talk.
Someone has to listen to what we’re talking about and make a decision about what we do next. We all have opinions but someone has to say what’s best. We don’t know who that person is.
Well, Well. That’s certainly something that makes matters more challenging. That goes back to an earlier comment and I’ve taken note.
We don’t have a lot of faith in what we’re building today. It may not be the product itself, but our current implementation. Is that important?
Ah, Ah! Very interesting question indeed. What’s important is reaching our deadline. Is there anything else? No? Thank you everyone, your feedback has been very valuable.
To: Web Development
From: Senior Editor
Says it's out of paper. I have added paper, and it will not recognize that.
Snippet from a blog post titled:
If I don't get traded for a camel, I'll tell you all about it after.
My phone rings and an unknown number appears. I answer and a voice booms out from the other end, “Suz!”
“Yes??” I reply hesitantly, wondering what kind of trouble I’m in now.
“This is Byron from Free to Smile Foundation, do you want to go to Niger next month to provide anesthesia?”
Apparently, someone did not inform Byron of my fondness for air conditioning and aversion to extreme heat. Just the thought of driving my car during a Michigan summer sans air conditioning is enough to give me night sweats.
We trade questions back and forth. I am most concerned about the possibility of being traded for a camel by a Bedouin prostitution ring and the availability of Red Vines licorice. He is most concerned about my skills as an anesthesia provider and the probability of me freaking out and returning home on the next flight.
I may have failed to mention to him, I didn’t know anything about the country till last month when I watched a spy movie starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. Even then, all I learned was Niger has a lot of uranium ore and I’ve been pronouncing its name wrong my entire life.
You know…in all the very importantly intelligent conversations I’ve had about the place.
I thought I was doing well to know Niger is in western Africa, somewhat near to Nigeria. Niger’s marketing team clearly dropped the ball regarding the whole, “Make our country well known in the western media,” bit.
Their neighbor to the north, Libya, has done a much better job.
I quell my internal concerns of melting, and cross my fingers hoping NATO’s GPS devices function well enough to prevent an inadvertent bomb drop on my bed. After hesitating for a milli-second, I say, “Yes!!”
Because for the life of me, I can’t think of anything that makes more sense than going to Africa in the middle of the summer.
The more children you have, the harder it is to keep an eye on all of them. If you are one of the children, though, this is a decided advantage — especially when your mother has a devotion to health food and a stubborn resistance to flavor.
We all envied the youngest. Even though his meals were pureed, we would have lined up to trade his mashed bananas for our tofu and bean sprout patties or braised millet salad. But we all had molars, so we had to come up with other subterfuges.
The younger children, of course, were obvious and simplistic. One developed a nasty addiction to ketchup that lasted only until my mother decided to buy the sugar-free, low sodium variety.
Another experienced a sudden loss of hand-eye coordination. At any given meal, at least seventy-five percent of his food ended up on his shirt — until my mother threatened to spoon feed him herself.
We older children considered these ruses the stuff of amateurs. We needed something with greater longevity if we were to keep our cavities growing at the usual rate. And so we plotted.
Our older brother used his reputation for indian burns and dead arms to keep us quiet while he distributed the contents of his dinner onto each of our plates.
Of the three girls, one became a compulsive hand washer. It took my mother years to link this disorder with the trash can’s proximity to the kitchen sink.
I turned into the eternal eater: always taking bites, never actually finishing. I pitted the family rule to always clean your plate against my mother’s desire to go to bed with a clean kitchen, and usually came out hungry but ahead.
But the best and most memorable was my youngest sister — the middle child. She looked docile, but she had a scream that rose hell and drove my parents to drink, and she used it liberally at mealtimes. Somehow, in the time it took them to pour another glass, all seven children managed to clean their plates.
eek! I'm going to have to delete my entry as I didn't do an actual scene. Somehow I missed that part of the contest description. I seriously need those special vitamins to improve brain function.
Elma Schemenauer says
Elma Schemenauer here. This is my hopefully hilarious story:
"Good afternoon," Detective Midgley said, entering the pawnshop. "I'm conducting an investigation into the case of the duchess's missing necklace."
The pawnbroker scratched his left eyebrow. "Do you know what the necklace looks like?"
"I believe it was something like that." He pointed into a case, indicating a necklace encrusted with sapphires.
"Ah, yes," the pawnbroker said. "That necklace was pawned only this morning by a small gray mouse in a yellow sports jacket. He said he lives in the duchess's castle."
The detective pulled a notebook from his pocket and wrote something. "I've often told the duchess her drafty old castle is full of mice."
"The mouse said his name was Herbie. I lent him $50 in return for the necklace. He had been injured and needed medical supplies."
"What a pity," said the detective. "Did he say what happened?"
"Well, it seems that after the duchess went to bed last night, Herbie and his cousins were playing in her living room."
"Yes." The detective made another note.
"A few minutes before one o'clock in the morning, they decided to have a game of Hickory Dickory Dock. They all ran up the duchess's clock, and suddenly it struck them. All the mice were killed except Herbie. He was the sole survivor."
The detective shook his head. "How sad."
"Indeed. Herbie, staring at the mutilated bodies of his cousins, became angry with the duchess for keeping such a dangerous clock. He marched into her bedroom and pointed an accusing paw at her. She paid no attention. Possibly she was asleep. So Herbie decided to get revenge by taking her necklace."
The detective tapped his pen against his notebook. "What a silly story. You don't expect me to believe it, do you?"
The pawnbroker shrugged. "Why not?"
"I'm a detective. My mind is trained to sift information, notice details, separate fact from falsehood. I realize your story can't be true."
"It's quite simple," the detective said. "Everybody knows the duchess doesn't have a clock in her living room."
Jennifer M says
This is from my MG WIP, "The Curious Flavor of Mice."
“Lt. Havarti, do roll call,” said Captain Parmesan.
“Yes, Captain,” said Lt. Havarti. He hollered the mice recruits’ names one by one and ended with Private Gouda.
“That’s it, Captain,” Lt. Havarti said, “All soldiers present and accounted for.”
“Good. Ah, now I…”
“Yes?” answered Private Gouda, a small gray mouse.
“I wasn’t talking to you, Private,” said Captain Parmesan.
“I’m sorry, sir. I thought you said ‘Gouda.’ It’s my name.”
“No, I didn’t. I said ‘Good.’”
“Yes?” answered Private Gouda.
“Alright, this isn’t working. We need to call you something else.”
“My mom calls me sweetie.”
Lt. Havarti bit his mouth and looked at his feet.
“Sweetie? Is that a type of cheese?” asked Captain Parmesan.
“No, sir, it isn’t.”
“Then it won’t work, will it?”
“Lt. Havarti, what names are left?”
Swiss, Camembert, Blue…”
“How about Camembert?” Captain Parmesan asked Private Gouda.
“Could I be called ‘Cam’?’” asked Private Gouda.
“Then my answer is no. Next.”
Captain Parmesan sighed. “We’re running out of names, private.”
“How about Goat Cheese?” Private Gouda asked.
“Private Goat Cheese? That’s not very snappy is it?”
“Sir, how about other dairy products?” suggested Lt. Havarti.
“Like yogurt or butter?”
“Yes,” said Lt. Havarti.
“Actually, sir,” said Private Gouda. “I’m lactose intolerant. Can I have a non-dairy name?”
“Lactose intolerant?!” Captain Parmesan stamped a foot and his bottle cap and bird feather hat fell forward. “Lactose intolerant!” He pushed his hat back and whispered to Lt. Havarti, “What does lactose intolerant mean?”
Havarti whispered back, “It means, sir, that he can’t eat dairy products.”
“Who ever heard of a mouse that can’t eat cheese?”
“I’m sorry, sir,” said Private Gouda, “All dairy products give me indigestion.”
“But, everyone here has a cheese name,” said Captain Parmesan. “That’s orderly. Not to have a cheese name would be disorderly. I do not like disorder.”
“I could be Private Non-Dairy. Then the word ‘dairy’ would be in my name.”
“It’s a pretty good compromise,” said Lt. Havarti.
“Private Non-Dairy. Hmmmmm, I guess it will have to do,” said Captain Parmesan. “You’re dismissed, Private Non-Dairy.”
Cedric saw a peasant girl washing clothes by the river. Perfect, Cedric thought, the little ones always screamed the loudest.
Cedric snuck up behind the girl and roared.
But the girl didn’t scream. Instead, she spun around and slapped Cedric on the nose with a wet sock.
“Wicked dragon,” she said, “I’m not afraid of you.”
“You should be. I’m going to gobble you up in one bite,” Cedric said even though it wasn’t true. His mother had a strict rule about eating between meals.
“You can’t do that,” the girl said.
“Why not?” Cedric asked.
“Because I’m too big. I wouldn’t fit in your mouth.” The girl looked at him strangely. “You’re not a very good dragon are you?”
“Why do you say that?” Cedric asked
“Any other dragon would have gobbled me up by now. And trampled my garden. And burned down my house.”
“I’m getting to that,” Cedric said. But the girl was right. Dragons didn’t waste time talking to humans. That settled it. He was going to have to burn something.
Cedric attempted a wicked smile. “How would you like me to burn your laundry to a crisp?”
Before the girl could answer, Cedric took a deep breath. He reared back and opened his mouth.
“Oh, no, you don’t,” the girl said and hurled a bar of soap into Cedric’s mouth.
The bar of soap slid down his throat. Cedric coughed. He spit and he sputtered.
“That’s it,” he said. He opened his mouth to scorch the clothes. But when he breathed out, he didn’t breathe fire. Not even the tiniest bit of smoke. Instead, Cedric breathed bubbles.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
The bubbles rose from his mouth and swirled in the breeze.
“Not so scary now, are you?” the girl asked.
Cedric roared. More bubbles flew from his mouth.
The girl snatched up a scarf and held it in the stream of bubbles.
“Nice and clean,” the girl sang.
“More bubbles, please.”
Cedric growled. “Dragons do not do laundry.”
This is an excerpt from my WIP–a narrative non-fiction of corporate life and my ensuing transition to the yoga world. 348 on the nose.
So far, my business trip is off to a less-than-stellar start. Despite the fact that my hotel is upwards of $600 a night, I’m starting to think it’s an establishment of questionable repute. Upon returning to my room after a day of being hard at it corporate style—over whiteboards, spreadsheets, and catered mini-muffins—I’d found housekeeping had indeed visited my room, and in addition to new generic mini soaps, they’d also left a fecal log in the toilet that had to have been at least ten inches long.
Duly impressed, I briefly considered immortalizing my discovery with a quick camera phone shot. I could even use my distinctly unfeminine ten-inch hand span for scale. But realizing this ploy would require closer physical proximity to a stranger’s excrement, I’d quickly discarded this initial impulse.
Getting down to business, I’d tried to flush with the pointed toe of one shoe. But instead of flushing, the toilet had flooded—spouting from the bowl like a veritable fountain. Perched as I was, precariously on one foot with the other midair on the flush handle, I’d been unable to retract my leg and run as swiftly I would’ve liked to safety.
So yes, I got poo-water on me. And that’s never good. But that was only the beginning.
Because the water had gushed forth like a geyser, by the time I was able to scramble in an ungainly fashion out of there, the contaminated water was already half an inch deep in the bathroom and rushing into the bedroom, where I was frantically running around, packing. I’d never seen a toilet belch forth so much water at such a velocity. It was this germ-phobe’s worst nightmare, live and actually happening.
Perched for safety’s sake on the bed, I’d called the front desk. By the time a bellhop—accompanied by a plumber—arrived, water was pouring out into the hall. I just hoped they didn’t think I flooded my own room. But from the looks they lobbed at me—“You, a 29-year old, slender slip of a girl, produced THAT?—they must have.
The One and Only John says
They had to dig seven eight-foot cylindrical holes in the ground, and the building inspector was due in two hours.
Jethro and Gomer stood on opposite sides of the power auger, a big old corkscrew with a gas-powered motor on top. Gomer looked to Bubba, who stood by the stack of cardboard Sonotubes, each about eight feet long.
“Alright,” Gomer said. “Now Bubba, we’re gonna use this here auger to dig some holes. The second, I mean the very second we pull out the auger, you have to stick a tube in the hole before it collapses. Don’t worry about being level, we’ll deal with that when we pour the concrete. Just get it in there. Got it?”
Bubba nodded, his vacant stare wandering off into space.
Jethro grabbed the handles while Gomer took the pull crank and wrenched hard. The auger roared to life with the blade spinning, hungry to turn up dirt. Gomer looked over to see Bubba scratching his nose and staring at the sun.
After ten seconds, the auger stopped in place with the blade still whirling fast and hard. About an inch of dirt spilled out the sides. Jethro pushed down hard on the grips. They twisted and tugged, to no avail.
“I think we hit a rock,” Jethro said.
Gomer noticed Bubba playing a Sonotube like a conga drum, “Keep going, we’ll get it.”
The soil was the kind of glacial moraine that was ten percent dirt disguising ninety percent hard rocks of various sizes and shapes. Jethro and Gomer were trying to pulverize a solid rock with a tool not meant for pulverizing.
They strained, groaned and growled. They pushed, jumped and yanked. Drenched in sweat and tuckered out, they pulled the auger away, leaving a hole about two inches deep.
The very second they pulled it away, Bubba came up running.
And stuck a Sonotube into the two inch hole.
“Okay, I’ll get ready for the next one,” Bubba said.
Gomer stared at the seven feet, ten inches of tube sticking out, “Well, at least he listened this time.”
Reagan Philips says
“What’s going on…hon?” Tim asked.
I was sitting on the couch, a book in one hand, a glass of wine in the other. Still in pajamas. I eyed the chaos.
Food everywhere, something reddish on the carpet, and three dogs lying peacefully on the floor. One covered in the red stuff, one surrounded by muddy pawprints and one speckled with—I dunno—something permanent. Our toddler son lay in their huddled mass.
“I took the day off.” I said. “I took the day on first, but it was winning.” I laughed. Hysterically.
Tim eased onto the sofa pushing aside a mound of cheerios.
“The alarm clock didn’t go off.” I started. “Junior was quiet. I went into his room. He’d painted.”
“It’s cute, you should have a look.” Tim didn’t move. “He used the poop from his diaper.
“The dogs found deer poop outside. Sammy rolled in it. Junie ate some. While I was hosing off Sammy, Junie was inside puking, and Clyde decided to attack that new hamster.
I heard the cage crash and ran inside. Wet Sammy rolled in the dirt, then snuck in after me.”
“Where’s the hamster?” Tim asked.
“Not exactly sure.” I drained my glass.
At this point Junior woke, showcasing his permanent-marker tattoos.
“That happened while I was cleaning poop-art off the wall. Then Junior got the leftover spaghetti and shared.
“I think that happened while I was cleaning the vomit. But I’m not sure if it was before he used the toilet bowl brush to groom Junie, or after he put the remote in the freezer. All I know is, I sat down to have some wine and read a book and that’s when they fell asleep. I’m hoping everything else will go back to normal while I finish.”
The hamster raced across the floor. Three dogs rose from sleeplike trances and pounced after it. They skidded into the kitchen, toenails clanking followed by a crumpling crash.
“That’s the dog food. And the kitchen pool. Junior fed—and watered—the dogs today.”
Tim rose. “I’ll go fix that alarm clock.”
Jenny Maloney says
Death Interviews an Assistant
Vlad the Impaler enters the cubicle, and I’m flattered he took time to put on a tie. Apparently, in some circles, I’m still respected.
“Vlad, please sit.”
“Yes, Mr. Death.”
He eyes my scythe, which I’ve propped behind the metallic desk. It casts a long shadow. Hence, his attraction to it. His former exploits made the 15th century hell for me… not a single day off. Which is why I need an assistant. I’m tired.
“Tell me why you would make the best Death assistant?”
“Well,” he tugs at his tie, “I have the advantage of being considered ‘undead’.” (Yes, he did do the ‘air quote’. He’s that kinda guy.) “Those heading to the underworld wouldn’t be surprised to see me.”
“No, but they might be terrified. You’re not the romantic vampire they’ve come to know.”
Vlad shrugs. He can’t deny it.
(How often I’ve wished the romantic vampire myths were true. If Vampirella can’t die, I don’t need to deliver her to heaven or hell. We could have cappuccino.)
I continue, “You can’t kill. You merely harvest souls and deliver them to their final rest, or torment.”
“Tell you what. I’ll give you the roly-poly test. You go out to the lawn. I’ll give you the power to harvest roly-poly souls. You are to only harvest souls that are sucked dry by spiders or dying of old roly-poly age. We’ll see how you do.”
Vlad leaves, a doubtful look on his face.
My next applicant, a gynecologist, comes in. I can tell by his expression he got a good whiff of Vlad on the way out.
I ask him the question I posed to Vlad.
“Well,” he begins, “I’ve seen the seedy underbelly of Life more times than I can count and I’d really like a change of pace.”
“Gooey?” I ask.
Before I ask the next question, a small sound catches my attention. On the surface of my desk: a line of roly-poly souls, marching, angry. They are coming to me to be harvested.
Each one has a toothpick sticking out its back.
Nicole Zoltack says
My son loves me, there’s no question about that.
One day, I crouched down and held out my arms. “Come give Mommy a hug.”
His face broke out into a huge smile, and he started to run toward me… but stopped in his tracks when the basketball game that my husband was watching switched to a car commercial. My son raced back to the TV and watched the entire commercial. Only after it was finished, without further prompting, did he run to me and give me my hug.
Yes, my son loves me. He loves cars just a little bit more.
Every alarm in the building had been triggered, summoning the fire brigade, ambulance, police, private security personnel, dog catchers, pest control and a prestigious catering firm.
A crowd of onlookers gathered while the fire brigade deployed ladders, hoses and axes. The medical team leaped from their ambulance and began looking for anyone requiring first aid while the police went back and forth demanding to know who was in charge. Brandishing batons and stun guns, the private security men deployed themselves around the building, refusing to let anyone in or out. Dog-catchers pursued some stray dogs that had wandered by. Pest controllers, bristling with traps, demanded to be allowed into the building as their detectors showed a rat the size of a hippopotamus rampaging around the offices.
Meanwhile, the caterers calmly set up a long picnic table, laid out knives, forks, spoons, napkins, assorted tasty delicacies and some very fine wines. The onlookers wasted no time in availing of the hospitality.
A number of office girls staged a group faint, hoping to get some mouth to mouth from the handsome EMTs, who rushed over, ready to oblige. A policemen began roaring through a loudspeaker that whoever was in charge had better get out here RIGHT NOW or they’d start arresting everyone in sight. Not to be outdone, the security chief roared into his loudspeaker that everyone in the area was trespassing on private property and had better clear off RIGHT NOW or he was authorised to use tear gas.
One of the dog-catchers threw a net over the security chief. The crowd roared with approval, flung cream buns around and toasted the dog-catcher with the caterer’s cheeky Australian chardonnay. Security attempted to retaliate against the dog-catcher with stun guns, but one of the exterminators doused them with flea powder, allowing the dog-catchers to drape more nets over the blinded, coughing security guards. Policemen and firemen rushed up to separate the parties, and the whole thing turned into a melee that flowed across the grass and collided with the picnic table, enraging the caterers and the bystanders.
In all the confusion, a fire hose was left unattended. A gang of youths activated the hose and turned it on the struggling crowd. Those who could fled, leaving the unlucky ones to be swept in a stream of high-powered water, broken tables, crushed food, wine, mud and and a type of highly intoxicating insecticide, into the canal.
“Well, I don’t see you writing us any more songs. You’d think with all your struggles with cancer, we would’ve gotten somethin’ outta ya,” Sean teases.
“As a matter of fact, I did write a new song, but Olga is my inspiration, not leukemia.”
Sean rolls his eyes. “I’m probably gonna barf for saying this, but let’s hear it.”
Random’s smile changes to a soft laugh. “Oh, you may vomit, but not because of its mushiness factor.”
I shoot him a questioning look. “You’ll see. Where’s Breedlove?”
Sean reaches behind him and pulls the guitar out of its case as way of answering. He brought the guitar, A.K.A. Breedlove, for entertainment on our downtime.
“Play “Time of Your Life” by Green Day.” Sean strums automatically as Random explains. “This one is titled “Ode to a Septic Tank” and it’s written from Olga’s perspective.”
A sidesplitting laugh escapes my lips. “Wait, don’t sing yet.” Nic digs in her purse and holds up her iPhone. “Hit it!” She presses record.
Experience comes in many forms,
And one I remember breaks all the norms.
Playing outside with Random, his face wears a grin,
When all of the sudden, a septic tank I fell in!
Swamped in poop,
I couldn’t breathe.
I flapped my arms and tried to scream.
A septic tank is what I fell in.
A few minutes felt like hours, nobody prevailed.
Then my mom came around,
Her face went so pale!
She rushed over with great alien speed,
Like mothers do when their child is in need.
She lifted me up out of the fume,
A bath could not have come too soon.
A septic tank is what I fell in.
I got washed up and was put in a dress,
Never again did I want to see that awful mess.
All of you can have your laughs,
Like I do when Sean raps
Mom often does when she says I’m full of crap.
I answer her defensively,
Random tried to drown me.
A septic tank is what I fell in.
From "To Hell in a Coach Bag"
The billion dollar purse was stuck on the branch of a tree hanging out over a muddy ravine that separated the tennis courts from the outer courtyard. I looked back up to the balcony to wear the three women were watching me.
“How much did you say this purse cost?” I yelled up.
“Four hundred dollars!” they yelled in unison.
I leaned against the tree trunk and took off my loafers, glaring at them, wondering about the twisty path that had brought me to this. I jumped up and caught a low branch, muscling my way up to sit on it.
“Oh, my!” I heard Maxine exclaim.
I looked at the branch the purse was hooked on and saw that there were no branches near enough to it to reach it, other than one above it that looked a little questionable, with patches of stripped off bark. I climbed higher, hoping to angle my way down and finally made it to a position where I was directly above it. I laid down flat on the branch, and, holding on with one hand, tried to extend my other hand out to reach the purse. I was within inches! Pushing out a little farther, I tried to lean to my right, with my right arm extended, to give it the added inch, and I snagged it.
“Got it!” I called triumphantly, but just as I did, I heard an unpleasant noise over the sound of the rushing water below. I prayed that the crack had come from another branch, and held very still, just in case. That’s when I heard a very loud CRACK and felt the sickening sensation of falling through the air, hitting several smaller branches below, and landing with a thud on the soggy bank. I stood, covered in mud. I had it smeared on my face, in my hair, and all over my white shirt. I held out my hands as they dripped and looked up at my trio of spectators.
“Oh, good! You got it!” Sam yelled happily.
Urban Scribe says
Today was Katie’s first day of kindergarten and she looked adorable in her red and blue plaid jumper. I can’t believe we were accepted to such a prestigious grammar school with my lack of Catholic upbringing. That is why it is so important to make a good impression with the principal Sister Margaret and be heavily involved with the Mothers Club. These mom’s remind me of a cross between the Stepford Wives and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but I will do what it takes to get Katie on the right track to the best high schools in San Francisco.
After I dropped Katie off I spotted Sister Margaret walking towards me. She was without her usual entourage of groupies so I decided to seize the moment and make an outstanding first impression. I was nervous but I held my head high and did my best June Cleaver impersonation.
As Sister got closer I noticed a giant mole on her chin and my mind wandered. Was she the inspiration for the principal in the movie Uncle Buck? Does it have a name? I could not focus on anything but that hairy, brown baby gerbil attached to her face. Distracted, I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and flailed around like a crack head on roller-skates looking for something to save me, which unfortunately were Sister Margaret’s breasts. We landed in an awkward jumble with my purse between my legs. A dark wet stain spread out across the front of my jeans from a bottle of rum I had stashed in my bag. I bought it for a cake I planned to make for the school bake sale and I now reeked of Captain Morgan. The nun was speechless after being molested by what she thought was an incontinent, alcoholic soccer mom. Two seconds later Susie Conroy, the Mothers Club President, came to our rescue. One look at my face and she withdrew her outstretched hand and said, “Don’t you hand out condoms at Planned Parenthood?”
In retrospect, blurting out “goddamn it” was not my best recovery.
I’m supposed to be sad. It’s my grandma’s funeral after all. But everyone keeps saying, “She’s in a better place,” so I chose to believe them.
Still I was, sad that is, until Roscoe let one loose during the prayer portion of the service. SBD doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the full-on smell assault, magnified to the gazillionth power since he’s at the end of the first pew, right next to me. (Make that the first P-ewww!)
Roscoe’s my grandpa’s old droopy-eyed dog, that’s even older than he is (in dog years). Grandpa insisted on bringing him along even though mom begged him not to.
“A dog in the Lord’s house,” she shook her head. “Who’s ever heard of such a thing?”
“If the good Lord didn’t like dogs, Darlene, he wouldn’t have made’em.” End of discussion. There’s no changing grandpa’s mind once his jaw’s set.
So, here I am, me and my cousin Eddie, heads bowed, eyes closed (okay, maybe not closed), when the Roscoe bomb hits.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not exactly sure who started laughing first. Maybe a gasp for fresh air was misinterpreted. We quickly clamp our hands over our nose and mouth to keep the smell out and the laughter in, but the harder we try to keep from laughing, well, you know how it goes…
To our credit though, we kept it pretty quiet. Sure, our stomachs hurt, eyes watered, and there was a snort here and there, but the only giveaway was our shoulders shaking so hard the old wooden pew started to creak. We knew we were in trouble but by then, we were beside ourselves.
Just as the preacher said “…fear no evil,” my father reached around and smacked me on the back of the head. Message received.
“Sorry, grandpa,” I said later.
Grandpa shook his head. “Gave him chili last night. Thought it’d be okay,” he said, wrinkling up his nose. “Guess I was wrong.”
“Me too,” I said. “I always thought the one who dealt it was grandma.”
It was good to hear grandpa laugh.
Mr. D says
“Get those balloons out of my face!”
“But you told me that you like big tits!”
“I like to breathe, too.” Devon pushed the woman off his chest. “I never knew joining a frat house was so much hassle. I’m sure to lose that bet now.”
“We can still do it.”
“You’ll have to pay me, anyway.”
“For what… burying my face between those two mushy watermelons?”
“No… for bringing me into this seedy hotel room and making me do this.”
“Do what? I didn’t even get a hard-on.”
“Well, that’s not my fault.”
“It is your fault. You’re a prostitute.”
“No, I’m not.”
“How do you figure you’re not a prostitute if you get paid for sex?”
“Well, we didn’t have sex and you haven’t paid me yet.”
“Are you telling me this is your first time getting paid for sex?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying this is the first time a guy didn’t get a hard-on with my ‘balloons’ in his face.”
Devon jumped up and pulled on his pants.
“Where are you going?”
“Away from this ‘seedy’ hotel room.”
“What about my money?”
“We didn’t do anything.”
“Your friends are in the lobby, right?”
“They think you’re getting laid, right?”
“Yeah, but I don’t care anymore.”
“Well I do.”
“Why do you think?”
The boy scratched his head. “You feel sorry for me?”
“I want the money! Look, the lobby’s right below us. We can jump around and make them think we’re busy. Then you go down there and you win your bet.”
One floor below, a rhythmic pounding interrupted the concentration of four college boys and their poker game.
“Looks like Devon’s going to win that bet,” said one as he raised his eyes to the ceiling.
“I’m not paying anyone until I see my call on this tabletop,” said another.
It was then the ceiling caved in, and a bed containing Devon and the prostitute landed on the tabletop amidst a spattering of dust and broken sheetrock.
“Your call,” said a third.
So, I wrote something silly. Thanks for the contest, Nathan! 🙂
So, Nathan, I'm afraid I’m not in the mood to write humor, which is a HUGE problem, because I MUST WIN THAT ARC. It's a NEED. Fortunately, it dawned on me that I could cheat. You didn't say I had to WRITE my entry. So, I'm going to do a comedy act instead!
I tried to think of something hilarious, but couldn't think of a thing, so I decided to go with clowns. Clowns aren't funny, but they're scary, so that’s close enough.
So I'm going show you a comedy act WITH CLOWNS. Yay!
I wasn’t sure where to find clowns, and you only gave us a few days, so I did it the easy way. I went outside and started yelling that I'd pay 50 bucks for a clown and I needed one NOW.
A bunch of people pushed their shopping carts over and applied for the job. But how to tell the REAL clowns from the FAKE clowns? I checked them out. Some had big shoes. CLOWN SHOES. I hired them. Some had red noses. CLOWN NOSES. I hired them too.
Rehearsal was a bit unorganized. Not to be rude, but evidently clowns smell bad and burp a lot. Also, they don’t want to leave at night – I had to give them extra money to go away. And I found out the hard way that no matter how much they beg, do not, under any circumstances, let your clowns do the pants-drop trick.
But now, we're ready. I present to you: CLOWNS!
Hang on, Nathan, someone’s knocking.
Uh oh. It's the police.
They shut us down. Someone in the building reported an earthquake. I guess doing an interpretive dance on stilts was a bit much.
But maybe it’s for the best. For one thing, the smell was getting pretty bad. Also, the police reminded me that if I want to stream to your blog, I need a camera.
Well, I can’t think of everything.
So, never mind. I'm taking the clowns out for sushi. You should join us, Nathan. And bring your ARC with you, okay?
Marie Radanovich says
I snorted and sniffled, reining in my mucus with sheer sucking power. A real vampire would have a handkerchief. A silk one. Made in one of those fancy centuries, like the seventeenth or eighteenth. Hand-stitched by terrified peasants.
Vlad had a handkerchief like that. He said it was gangsta.
All I had was a Vegan Delight napkin with a mustard stain. I dabbed it against my nose. "I'm getting a cold."
The NASA scientist, Dr. Ween, didn't look up from her notes. Her pen jabbed down in spasmic bursts. "Impossible."
"Might be allergies." I looked around the lab. "Have you worked with werewolves? Werewolves have dander."
"Allergies are also impossible. I've studied many astronauts, with nearly perfect physiologies. Yours is beyond perfect. You are what doctors imagine, when they imagine the ideal man."
"A tissue? I have a nasal drip."
"These reports, however, list concerns about your psychological makeup. We must put these concerns to rest. The mission will not succeed without you on board."
"The others are doing fine. Vlad is like a 600-year-old kid, floating around in those low gravity tests. 'Look at me, I'm a bat!' he says. Then he turns into a bat. You don't need me."
"You may not have the bravery of the others, or the decisiveness, or the iron will to get things done–"
"And under stress, I get gassy," I said. "Don't forget that."
Dr. Ween's jaw moved like a rotator blade. "Your team thinks that they're immortal."
"Things can go wrong on the mission. You could veer off course. Equipment could malfunction. There are still many ways to die–"
"Is it warm in here?" I coughed. "I think my throat is closing up."
She tapped my sweaty brow. "Exactly. You're the one who will make sure the mission succeeds. That everyone returns safely to earth."
I tugged at my collar. "Isn't there another immortal creature available? Like unicorns. Less murderous. Better hair."
Dr. Ween curled her lip. "How would we get a space suit on a unicorn? Be realistic."
Ann M says
“Iced coffee for… Saphie?”
“Thanks. And it's Sophie, actually,” I say, but the barista has already turned around.
Ah well. What’s in a name, right?
However, what’s in a coffee cup is rather imperative, especially when you have no lid.
“Excuse me,” I say, trying to get the barista’s attention.
He comes back I find myself wondering if he’s even old enough to drive.
Realization: I’ve been driving for half my life. Does that make me old?
“Lids?” I ask.
He points to the cream and sugar stand across the room.
I smile, pick up my coffee and turn — smack-dab into some guy in line. My iced, caramel-colored coffee spills down his crisp, pure white shirt.
“I’m sorry!” I exclaim, horrified, “I’m so, so sorry!”
“It’s okay,” he says.
“No, it’s not.”
“Really, it isn’t a big deal.”
I finally look up. Oddly enough, he’s smiling.
“Let's just be thankful it's summer, shall we?” he says.
I wrinkle my brow in confusion.
“Iced coffee,” he clarifies, “Much less painful.”
Feeling even guiltier because he’s so nice, I look back at his shirt and realize, “Lauren?”
“Adam,” he says with a smile.
“No, I mean your shirt, it’s Ralph Lauren?”
I extend my hand. “I’ll take it.”
“I know how to get the stains out,” I explain. “I'll give it back. I promise.”
“But…” he nods at the sign in the window. “No shirt, no shoes and all that.”
Maybe if I close my eyes I can block out the humiliation…?
“Ready to order?”
I open my eyes and realize we’ve reached the front of the line.
“Green tea, please,” Mr. Spilled-Upon — Adam I guess — says pleasantly.
The barista looks at Adam’s shirt, “Makes sense. Looks like you already had your coffee.”
Maybe if I squeeze my eyes shut even tighter?
“I’ll also take one of…” Adam points to his shirt, “whatever this was.”
“I can’t let you buy me another coffee!” I protest.
“Why not? Your first one was one me.” Adam grins, smoothing down his shirt.
Zebra Rag says
"All right, Rookie," I told the rookie, "Suspect is in this garden shed. We don't know just how dangerous he is, but we know he terrorized the lady of the house before hiding in here. So now we need to go in there and get him. And today's your lucky day — you get to take the lead."
The rookie frowned at me. Not the reaction I was looking for.
"But, sir –"
I held up a hand to silence him. "Now, don't argue with me, Rookie. We've all discussed this," I waved a hand at Leonard and Jeff, the other two members of our team, "and we've decided you're ready. You can't learn any more from us without wading into the fray yourself, and there's no time like the present. So…" I pointed at the garden shed, ten feet away.
"Sir, I –"
"Look, Rookie, when you put on that uniform, you took a sacred oath –"
"You made me recite the Pledge of Allegiance over a Star Trek novel."
"A sacred oath," I went on, glaring at the rookie. "To serve and protect the public. Are you going to go back on that oath now?"
The kid stared at me for a moment, then glanced at our partners. "I don't know…"
"We're all agreed," I told him. "Aren't we, guys?"
"Yup," Leonard said.
"Solid," Jeff told the kid.
The rookie frowned. "But last time you made me take the lead –"
"Strictly a training exercise, Rookie," I said.
"Last time you sent me in first, there was a vicious dog, and it almost took my leg off."
"Well, how are you going to learn to check for vicious dogs if we don't conduct these training exercises?"
"I still have teeth marks in my leg –"
"Never mind that," I said. Time to get firm with the kid. "You need to earn that badge, Rookie, so go in that shed and flush out our suspect!"
The rookie sighed and picked up his noose. "It's a Junior Fireman's sticker. And I still don't know why you call them 'suspects'. It's just a possum."
I took a deep cleansing breath, wiped my damp hands on my new jeans and opened the glass door. The tantalizing smell of coffee beans and cinnamon pulled me in. My eyes adjusted to the low lighting as I casually scanned the faces turned in my direction.
I saw him. His blue eyes were exactly as Becca had described. He stood and waved, his tall frame a nice surprise.
“Excuse me,” a voice came from behind my right shoulder.
“Sorry.” I still stood in the entrance, blocking the doorway. I took a step forward, but lurched as if my left leg dragged behind me, Quasimodo like. My right hand shot forward on instinct and made contact with the trash bin. The spinning lid made a full revolution before crashing down on three fingers. I yanked them back, shooting daggers at the man standing on my flip-flop behind me. He shrugged and pushed past me.
Smile. Be graceful. Totally in control now, I floated towards my date. I pushed my hair back seductively.
“Hi, you must be Ben.” I confidently stuck out my hand. “I’m Rachel.”
He hesitated, pulled a napkin from the dispenser and handed it to me. I looked at my hand, which was covered with a brownish whip cream I must have borrowed from the trash bin. I wiped it away and bravely raised my eyes to meet his baby blues.
He gently stroked his forehead, rubbing his eyebrow.
I leaned in a bit, softening my gaze.
“Um. . ..” He squinted his eyes. “You have a little . . .” He still rubbed his forehead.
“Oh!” I grabbed a napkin and jabbed at my forehead. I realized I had smeared it into my hair, making it crusty. I collapsed into the chair opposite him.
His baby blues had turned into wide circles of fear. He took a step back away from the table.
“Excuse me, you’re in my seat.”
I turned to look up into another beautiful pair of male eyes. I stood and stepped out of the way.
Blue eyes reached across the table and hugged brown eyes.
This is YA 350 words.
“So, Travis kissed me,” I blurted out.
“Yay! Finally!” Bethany squealed and hugged me against her large chest. Then, noting my face she added, “Didn’t you like it?”
I moaned painfully. “I blew it. I don’t know if he likes me anymore.”
She raised her eyebrows as she leaned in closer, “Sam, did you slap him?” she asked quietly as if she wouldn’t put it past me.
“No!” I exclaimed reproachfully. I thought of the moment when the kiss should have been sublime but instead was a disaster. Leaning into Travis’s warm chest I had felt his heart beating violently against my cheek, and I knew he was going to kiss me. But, instead of savoring that delicious moment before a first kiss happens, just as his lips reached mine, I started to talk stupidly. I felt my lips moving against his, but not in a good way. In a talking way. In a way that meant either we should both be talking or we should both be kissing. I always wondered how a person knew if they weren’t a good kisser. Well, now I knew, and so did Travis. I was not a good kisser.
“I was talking,” I added sheepishly. Bethany knew I had a talking problem.
“Why?” She glared as if she had warned me.
“I don’t know. I was nervous.” I sagged to sit on a nearby bench. I felt like a failure. Bethany understood and immediately went into action. She pulled me to standing, and said forcefully,
“Listen, Sam. He’s going to try again. He knows it was your first kiss. He’ll try again, and this time, you’ll be ready.”
“How?” I whimpered, “I’m even more nervous now. How many chances do I have?” I looked up hopefully.
“You don’t need any more chances. Next time will be good because you aren’t going to talk.”
“How?” I whined.
“You’re going to bite your tongue until his lips touch yours.” I could tell that Bethany was making it up as she went, but I still appreciated her effort. “That’s right. You’re going to bite your tongue.”
Rene Peterson says
Okay, Nathan. 345 words just for my very first contest. It was fun! Thanks for doing this. Rene
Wyatt woke up to see Mac grinning at him over the edge of the top camp bunk, eyes twinkling. He groaned and rolled over. Muffled voices of campers murmured through the log walls.
“I didn’t hear you sneak in” said Mac. “Have you been here all night?”
“Shut up. I’m sleeping.” Wyatt pulled the pillow around his head.
“Look, I’m cool, but girls aren’t allowed in the boy’s cabins…..”
Wyatt’s eyes flew open. Oh my god – it happened again? At summer camp? He lunged out of bed, tripping over his shoes as he ran to the mirror and stared at his reflection. A twelve year old girl with mussed long brown hair and sleepy-deep brown eyes stared back. What am I going to do? He turned his face slightly to the left and considered his reflection. At least I’m kinda hot.
Mac laughed, jumped down off the bunk, and sauntered towards the door. “It’s no big deal. Let’s go find Wyatt at breakfast.”
“We can’t, Mac. It’s me. Wyatt.”
Mac stopped. “Yeah. Ha-ha, you’re hilarious.” He rolled his eyes. “Girls. Fine. I’ll just go to breakfast alone.”
“It’s me. I can prove it.”
Mac leaned his shoulder against the door frame, crossed his arms and smirked. “You’re weird. Okay, this should be good. Go ahead. Prove it.”
Wyatt panicked. He had only known Mac for a week. How would he believe something so unbelievable? “Your favorite meal is pizza.”
“Everyone’s favorite meal is pizza.” Mac snorted.
“You mumble about LEGO Star Wars in your sleep.”
Mac straightened up. “Oh great. My sister told you that.” He knitted his eyebrows. “Do all the girls in camp know?”
Wyatt shifted from foot to foot. He had to make Mac to believe him. “You didn’t lose your sneakers. They reeked so bad I chucked them in the lake.”
Mac’s bright blue eyes narrowed. He stepped in close, his piercing gaze studying every inch of Wyatt’s face. Then he took a deep breath, frowned, and shook his head.
“Dude,” he said, “I loved those sneakers.”
Chuck H. says
Well, here I am, late to the party as usual. This is from a work in progress. And, incidently, I'm not usually considered a funny writer, but here goes.
I had a feeling about what I’d find. I wasn’t wrong. Joe was still messing with me.
Ceph and Hunk, Joe’s Rottweilers, stood patiently waiting for me to untie them. Their leashes had been secured to a railroad tie-sized timber. Nearby were two large plastic dish pans, one containing water and the other empty. I’d bet money that it had once held dog food which these two had sucked up leaving no trace. A note was tacked to the timber. It simply said “I can’t run or hide with these guys along. Take care of them for me? Joe.”
Mumbling obscenities under my breath, I looked over at the dogs. They were sitting now, looking at me with their heads cocked to one side. I briefly considered putting them down but immediately realized I didn’t have it in me. I would gladly have shot Joe right then but not his dogs. They hadn’t really pissed me off—yet.
I unfastened the leashes and headed back to the truck with my new charges. I lowered the tailgate and urged them to jump up into the bed. They looked at me like I was brain damaged. Joe had always let them ride in the front seat with him.
“Oh, alright! It’s just this one time. C’mon.”
I opened the passenger side door and one, then the other jumped up into the cab. By the time I got around to the driver’s side, one of them—I never could tell the damn things apart—had made himself at home behind the steering wheel. When I opened the door, he gave me a deadpan stare.
“Okay, buddy, let’s see your driver’s license and registration.”
Apparently the dog didn’t see the humor of the situation. He continued to stare at me for a moment then nonchalantly moved over to the center of the seat. I climbed in and started the engine. Both dogs sat alertly on the seat staring at me. Quietly I muttered, “Joe, if I ever get my hands on you again, you’re dead meat.” The two rots growled menacingly. I thought to myself, “Or not.”
From a novel in progress:
“I think-” I said and stopped when my uncle Virgil pointed at me.
Yves glanced at me, grateful, like I was going to save him. Truth is I had no idea what a “chemical canister” was. If he was looking for an ally, I was a distant as hell second to his lump of a wife next to him.
“Can you look in the cabinet? Please?” Yves held his hand out towards the cabinet behind me. Virgil lurched from his chair, jaw set like he was about to push a car. I scampered out of my chair like the cabinets were about to collapse.
Virgil yanked open the doors.
“Ta-Da!.” He waved his hand with a flourish. Uncle Virgil: The World’s Angriest Magician. Step right up and watch him smother a bunny with a top hat.
“You gave me a canister two days ago.” Yves said. His shoulders slumped. His wife threw in the towel and headed for the door. A bubble of hot humid air elbowed its way into the office.
“We gotta do another lap?” Virgil said.
“Can we buy the chemical canisters in town?” Yves’ lips trembled.
“Phone in your room.”
Yves glanced at the phone on my desk. He left without shutting the office door. From my uncle’s face you’d think he could see a blue stream of AC rushing out the office. He slammed the door shut and stood another minute. He went behind his desk, rumbled a minute, and produced two gray hockey puck sized metal canisters which he stacked, neat as you like, on the desk.
I said nothing but he caught me looking.
He smiled, “I’ll bring’em over about 11 tonight. Once they’re in bed.”
“Why?” Virgil leaned back and stuck his index finger in his ear. His sounded confused. Like I asked him a trick question.
"French Canadian." I said.
"So an asshole." He reflected another moment then said, "And he paid already.”
He produced an amber fleck of earwax and brushed it off on his shirt below a nametag reading:
The Holm Inn
Yikes! Barely made it in time. Thanks, Nathan!
They were in the long, thin shadow of a Joshua tree, picking rocks out of the tread of their shoes, when Felix thought to ask, “What’s your name, kid?”
Her hands went still and her gaze met his for a good 30 seconds before she said, "21 days.”
Felix was aghast. “Your name is 21 days?”
“21 days is how long we’ve been stuck together,” she said, poking her stick at the chain that linked their shackles.
Felix thought for a minute what this information had to do with her name. He was not a fan of riddles. “So… you want me to call you 21 days, or…”
She broke her stick on a particularly stubborn rock and tossed it aside. Felix silently held out his stick to her, but she opted for finding another one in the dirt around them.
“You know,” he said, “I liked the quarry. It was a good set up for me. I didn’t want to escape, and I certainly didn’t want to tumble down that 50-foot rock face you threw us off.”
She used her shoulder to wipe the sweat from her brow, and squinted at him. “That prison camp was a good set up for you, huh? How so?”
“Well, for one, the girl I’m interested in was there.”
“The girl you’re—” The kid’s mouth hung open as she gauged his level of sincerity. “People are starving,” she said, “while the wealthy profit from their corpses—”
“I don’t care about your quarrel with the government, kid. And I don’t appreciate you dragging me along on your—”
She cut him off, scooting around until he was presented with her back, yanking the chain and pulling his shackled ankle off its resting place atop his opposite knee.
“And 21 Days is the stupidest name I ever heard!” he added.
“It’s not as bad as Felix,” she replied.
Thanks again for the contest!–
Robin Connelly says
326 words for a YA wip.
“Come back here with my pants!” She scrambled off her bed as she realized they were half-way out of the room. “Sam, give me my pants.” The golden retriever kept moving, happily wagging her tail as it looked back at her, then trotted down the hall. Once she got into the living room or kitchen her favorite pair of sweats would be gone, vanishing into the secret world only annoying dogs had access to.
Wearing nothing but a tank top and underwear she followed Sam through the hall. “Get back here,” she growled, jabbing her finger as if the dog would obey her for the first time in its life. “Hot dogs sound real—“
She stopped walking when she heard her mother’s voice coming from down the hall. “It’s been hard on all of us, but I think it’s been hardest on Lurynne.” Who was she talking too? Lurynne wondered, not remembering hearing the phone ring. Then she heard a male voice and she froze. That definitely was not her brother.
Shit. Sam was staring at her, her tail still wagging, her pants dangling from her jaws. “Give that to me,” she whispered, snatching for it. Sam backed up, probably thinking they were playing tug-of-war or fetch. She didn’t want to do either with her pants, especially with a non-relative male in the house. “Sam.”
Her mother’s voice was getting louder, which Lurynne assumed meant they were getting closer. Frowning, Lurynne stared at the evil pant-stealing dog before deciding to head back to her room. At the very least she could find some shorts or something to wear until she retrieved the pants. Unfortunately, half-way down the hall her mother’s voice hit her: “Lurynne?”
Lurynne whirled, feeling her face heat when she saw the dark-haired guy standing next to her mother. He looked 18, maybe 19. “I’ll be right back,” Lurynne said. Running to her room now. God she was going to kill that dog.
Bombardier Bunny says
from Scroll of Chaos by Nha Huynh
Shao Ching walked up to the painting of a white tiger. Just when Iron thought she was going to launch into another history lesson, she stepped right into the painting.
“Come on,” She extended her hand to Iron, half her body already vanished into the paper.
A little hesitant, Iron let himself get pulled in. He expected to hit the wall, but it didn't hurt at all. Felt just like walking through any regular old door. Except that they could only walk sideways, as he soon figured out. And they were flat.
"Look! I'm a Flat Iron! Get it?" He laughed, pointing to himself.
A few paces away, an enormous white tiger–who had been napping previously–lifted its head. It was as big as a bull and had these electric blue eyes that'd freeze you on the spot. All that took was a slap and Iron'd be the big cat's FancyFeast tonight.
Immediately, Iron shoved his hand into his mouth and backed away very slowly. The tiger glowered at him for about ten seconds and yawned widely, probably thinking, 'nah, eating this
clown might give me indigestion.' Only when the tiger went back to sleep did Iron breathe again.
Shao Ching chuckled. "I’ve never seen someone so excited about being a two dimensional character. It's a good thing that's only a paper tiger.”
THE STUPIDEST SHOW ON EARTH
by Sari Bodi and David Thornton
One bad pratfall into the mayor’s daughter’s lap and it looked like my clown career might come screeching to a halt.
This was horrible. I loved the circus. It was the perfect place to be a kid. If you farted or burped, you got applause, not detention. You never had to have your shirt tucked in or hair combed.
On the way to our circus trailer I passed the Fortuneteller sitting at a table. A bright purple scarf covered her gray hair. Hunched over her old crystal ball, she used the glass’s reflection to pick something out of one of her three green teeth.
I had to know. I marched right up to her. “Hi Gramma. Am I gonna get kicked out of the circus?”
She nodded, scratching her chin where several long hairs were growing. “Rumor has it that the mayor’s daughter just got rushed to emergency psychotherapy.”
I grabbed Gramma’s withered arm. “Tell me what to do.”
She motioned to a faded pillow next to her. “Sit Teppo. I will tell your fortune.”
“But I don’t have any silver to cross your palm.”
“For free, even though it kills me. Because you had such a bad day.” She put on her thick bifocals and gazed into her old crystal ball, which was so scratched I didn’t know how she could see anything in it.
“Well let’s see. Okay, well you’re gonna be huge on YouTube, whatever that is. Some kid filmed the whole disaster on his phone. Let’s see what else…oh dear!…Oh my!…NO! Not that. Why this is worse than warts! Acne on your back. A sixth toe. Anything but that.” Usually this is when her crystal ball would suddenly get cloudy and only ten bucks would miraculously clear it up.
“Gramma!” I shouted. “What’s is it? What is my future?”
She beat her chest and tore at her hair. She shook her fist at the sky.
“It’s Bad,” she cried.
“How BAD can it be?” I asked.
“The worst.” She slowly got to her feet. Looking at me her eyes crazed, she said, “Middle School!”
I do hope you were serious about ignoring misspelled words, I was quite embarrassed at what I posted. Had fun reading through the entries.
Rebecca Burke says
From my soon-to-be-published YA novel, What if the Hokey Pokey Really Is What It's All About [the heading to the diary needs to be in itals, but I can't seem to do that here]:
“I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada.” –Britney Spears, in crying need of Miss Hanno’s geography class
Canada was a total fiasco. In fact, the whole thing has soured me on foreign travel.
A long line of cars was waiting to cross the bridge at the border. When we were almost up to the customs hut, my mom started applying lipstick and checking herself out extra hard in the rearview mirror. “Whatever you do, don’t look guilty,” she warned me. “We’re citizens of the free world. They can’t take that away from us.”
My stomach did some rollovers. What if they asked me why I wasn’t in school? If only I wore glasses, maybe they wouldn’t size me up as a dropout. And what if my dad (or his bimbo) had turned us in to the Feds for interstate car theft? My mom was a ninny for not getting her name on the title.
Finally it was our turn to slide in front of their little booth. This young guy with hennaed hair leans out of his window and peers at us like we’re on America’s Most Wanted List. (I bet anything they hire poor people for those jobs and offer them a fat bounty.)
“Where you girls headed?”
“First of all, officer,” she says, “we’re not girls. Or rather, she is. I’m a woman.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, she adds, “We don’t have any set plans. Hit the duty-free, wander around the highways and byways, if you will.”
Not the answer he was looking for. “Pull up ahead and stop at that yellow line.”
My hands started shaking so bad I could hardly shove you, dear diary, into the glove compartment. “Wonder what the sentence is for international kidnapping,” my mother joked in a strained voice. “Get that book out of sight.” She jerked her thumb at the back seat, where Lay Miz lay atop some other books.
“Some of these honyocks hate anything French.”
I fought to keep breathing normally. What if she were sent to the penitentiary? “Life” in a Canadian prison—the most massive boredom imaginable!