Challenge 94

The Iron Writer Challenge 94

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

E. Chris Garrison, Danielle Lee Zwissler, Beth Casey, Peter Lusher

The Judges:

Dani J Caile, Briege Havern, Steven L. Bergeron, Richard Russell

The Elements:


Han Solo refrigerator

A jury summons

A tame dinosaur

The story must begin OR end with: “Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?”


I Hate Meat LoafEric Garrison

E. Chris Garrison 

“Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?” 

I punched the off button on the car radio with an abrupt motion that startled Jimmy. I didn’t need him getting any ideas; his eyes had run up and down my body tonight more times than The Flash on a pogo stick. I’d never have gone on this date except as a favor to his ex, my bestie Mona. She wanted to know what he’d spent the Powerball winnings on. Probably worthless toys, she’d said. Me, I just wanted to know how much my finder’s fee would be after she took him to the cleaners at the divorce hearing. 

“What’s wrong?” he asked, wringing his pudgy little hands. 

“Nothing, I just hate Meat Loaf,” I said with a slow smile. Guys are suckers for the slow smile, especially with eye contact. I had to keep Jimmy distracted. Just not too distracted, if you catch my meaning. At worst, I’d beg off on the old “jury duty in the morning” excuse and report back to Mona. 

We pulled up to his place. People throw around the term ‘mansion’ so much, it could mean any house made of ticky-tacky in the ‘burbs with more than three bedrooms. Not this place. I wouldn’t have been shocked to know that the W on the wrought iron, remote controlled car gates had been for stately Wayne Manor. 

I might have let out a highly unprofessional little noise. I’d best be careful, I’ll blow my cover. 

We were met by a valet, who opened the door for me first. That earned someone points, I just didn’t know who yet. He let himself out and tossed the keys to the valet. Jimmy’s chubby grin lit up the evening like a sliver of moonlight from behind unseen clouds. The electric car whooshed off with no more sound than an owl’s wings upon the breeze. 

Still a gentleman, he took my arm and led me up the walk, down the hall. I bit back a yell as a lion-sized velociraptor, straight out of Jurassic Park, trotted up to us. He patted it on the head and reassured me that it was only a tame robotic replica. I marveled at its movements.

On into a dining room fit for a banquet. Along the way to our seats, we passed a stainless steel fridge impressed with Harrison Ford’s body in agonized relief. A petite woman in butler’s attire opened Han’s midsection to withdraw a bottle of champagne.

“You sure know how to show a girl a good time,” I said, as he pushed my seat in under my bottom.

He took a seat and shrugged. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it, I say. Sorry about dinner, though, I didn’t know.”

I blinked at him. Then the butler revealed the entrée of the evening: meatloaf.

Jimmy and I laughed together, and when our eyes met again, I knew I’d need to drop the case. One woman’s worthless toys were another’s treasure.

Han Solo Entombed

Beth Casey

Han Solo had been entombed in his refrigerator’s door by his once lovely and voluptuous wife Princess Leia.  She’d warned him many times that if he went to the Mos Eisley Cantina one more time that he’d experience a cold day like none other he’d ever experienced before, and today she’d made good on her promise.  Barndino, Leia’s pet dinosaur, who unlike other dinosaurs in the neighborhood, was quite tame and stood vigil in front of the fridge mourning the loss of his master.

“Barndino, I know you’re upset, but Han broke his promise to me for the last time,” she said matter-of-factly. “I’m going to the Cantina. Must be someone there that he found more attractive, but for the life of me, I haven’t a clue who that might be.”

She walked outside to her shiny red cloud car. Reaching the car door, she was stopped by an officer of the local arm of the Jedi Order that she didn’t recognize.

“Ma’m, turn around and go back inside your house,” said the officer.

“I don’t know who you think you’re talking to, but I’m ‘Princess Leia’, and talking to me in that tone of voice is punishable by death,” she said.

“Says right here on this signed complaint by your neighbor that your name is Leia Solo, married to one Han Solo who has not been seen by anyone in the last twelve hours.  So I’m asking you respectfully if I may come in and check Mr. Solo’s welfare.”

Leia turned around, ushering the officer inside, closing the door into the kitchen.

The officer moved furniture around as he searched the living room, bedroom, and bathroom.  “Mrs. Solo, my order is to search every room. Please show me the kitchen.”

“I don’t think you should look in the kitchen, officer. You see, that’s where our pet dinosaur lives.  He’s quite tame and friendly with people he knows, but not so much with strangers.”

The officer opened the kitchen door finding Han Solo entombed in the refrigerator.  “Mrs. Solo, you’re under arrest.”

“Officer, you don’t understand, I had no choice!  My husband was cheating on me, and when you arrived I was on my way to confront her.”

“Well, I guess it was a good thing I was dispatched here. Otherwise I might be investigating a second missing person.”

Across town, Lando Calrissian had just retrieved his mail and found a summons for jury duty which he would normally try to get out of, but this summons was from the highest court in the land, two days from now. Intrigued, he decided to go even if he wasn’t chosen as a juror.

Leia waited in a holding cell, guarded by two menacing looking characters.  Surely they had committed some crime in their lives, she thought.

“Prisoner 0142, get up! It’s your turn to meet the judge!”

She stood, shuffling her feet, coming to grips with the severity of her crime.  Entering the court chamber, her eyes scanned the jury box, recognizing Lando Calrissian, believing that only he could save her. “Lando, will you take me away and will you make me your wife???”

The Ignoble End to a Nerf-HerderPeter Lusher

Peter Lusher

“Oh me.   Oh carbonite enshelled me.” Said Han Solo, or more accurately thought Han Solo. The carbonite had frozen his jaw stiff long-long ago in a galaxy far-far away. “Frozen for debts owed to a mobster, which I would have had the money to clear if those freedom-fighter cheap-skates had come through on their end.” Han tried to stifle a sigh, but was unable to even get the sigh started. Carbonite, remember?

“For millenia no one could find me. I was just a block of carbonite floating through space and time. Nothing to do but stare and think. And hum every single tune I’d ever heard until they all began to annoy me. All until this jerk, art snob that he is, decided that I would make a grand conversation piece in his kitchen.” Han tried to shake with frustration, but was only able to be frustrated. “He turned me into his refrigerator door!” He tried to shake his head, and his frozen lungs screamed with an urge to holler to the world about the indignities visited upon him. “ Me! I am a refrigerator door! No, no, its ok. I only helped save the galaxy and the known universe, only made it possible for this yahoo to have his ‘fridge in the first place. No, no. I’m fine.” Han would have shaken his head ruefully if he could. But all he was able to manage was to shake some ice-cubes loose and ramp up the RPMs on the compressor. Not as satisfying as kicking something but it would do for the moment.

As a refrigerator it hadn’t been one hundred percent bad. He had gotten to hold art projects, grade cards, reports, notes, birthday and holiday cards, the first jury summons to ever be delivered to the house. A jury summons that the art-snob wasn’t quite slick enough to duck out of. But one does one expect when the man’s calendar was of cute cats stuffed into mugs? Not quite in Han’s idiom, but survivable.

“Oh the indignities and the lack of humanity! It was horrible. But never so bad,” here Han’s internal monologue chokes itself up, “never so bad as the pet.” The art-snob that had, in his mind at least, rescued Han Solo also wanted a pet. And since a puppy or kitten was too mundane and fish too boring, he went and found himself a compsognathus, and was determined to tame him. And by goodness he was eventually tamed and trained. “But not before we had the housebreaking incidents. How many times would you let your tame dinosaur pee on your ‘fridge? Come on!” Han’s outburst made more ice jump out of his refrigerator body.

Han tried to think about something truly positive throughout this whole experience and couldn’t. Just couldn’t seem to come up with anything but one event, a note left by the art-snob’s friend. Left in such a way that Han handed it to the man, “Will you take me away and make me your wife?”

A Match Made in TatooineDanielle Lee Zwissler

Danielle Lee Zwissler

“Will you take me away, and will you make me your wife?” Shey Storm asked. Her beautiful, silver-like eyes twinkled back at me.


“Oh, come on, you had to know that I’d ask, Jonathon. We’ve been together for…”

“Eight months and thirteen days, but it’s too soon.”

Shey frowned, looked down at her hands and then away toward a streetlamp across the way from the airport. “You can’t be serious…” We were sitting on a park bench, saying our goodbyes when she had asked the question.

“Y…you haven’t seen my place yet.”

Shey grinned. “What does that have to do with anything? I will love you no matter what.”

I swallowed, thinking back to a few years ago with the last girl I had brought there. I shook my head, and then looked at Shey. “I won’t ask you to be my wife until you see my place. I come with baggage.”

Shey tilted her head and looked directly into my eyes. “Do you have kids?”
“No, no kids…it’s…”

Shey took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’m sure whatever it is will be just fine.”

“I would love more than anything to make you my wife, but first I need you to see my place. If you are okay with…it…then, yes, I will marry you. In a heartbeat, Shey, I will marry you.”

“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go to your place!” Shey exclaimed. She stood up from the bench and threw herself into my arms.

“But what about seeing your parents?”

“I can always postpone the trip a few days. I would love to be able to tell them something…and, besides, you can come with me.” Shey smiled and winked at me, and then grabbed my hand. “I’m ready.”

I looked down at our joined hands, and swallowed. This was it.

When we got in the car, Shey reminisced about how we met. The day that we both got the jury summons had changed our lives forever. The murder of Nicole Brown Simpson was one that was heard across the nation, and we were lucky enough to get several months of lockdown while the trial was taking place. That’s how Shey and I fell in love—seclusion—and now the honeymoon was over…

When we finally pulled up to my house, I decided that it was now or never. We walked in, and she gasped. I closed my eyes, and wanted the wretched moment to end.

“Oh, Jonathon! I can’t believe this!” Shey shrieked.

“I’ll take you back to the airport now.” I put my head down and started to go back outside when Shey grabbed my hand and forcefully turned me toward her.

“You remind me of that tame dinosaur from Toy Story when you look down like that. It’s like you are ashamed of something.”

“You mean you are okay with my…hobby?”

Shey looked at the Hans Solo refrigerator in my kitchen and her smile widened. “Are you kidding me? That will go perfectly with my R2D2 cooler and my Chewbacca Salt and Pepper shakers.”

I grinned and took Shey into my arms.



Challenge 90

The Iron Writer Challenge 90

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

(For a variety of reasons, four of the five writers in this challenge withdrew.

Leaving Steven L Bergeron standing alone on the battlefield in the morning mist.)

The Judges:

(The Judges all went to Starbucks. You might still find them there.)

The Elements:

snail cherry kiss

The Drake Equation

Guy Fawkes Day

A Fried Bologna Sandwich Cookoff


London No MoreSteven Bergeron

Steven Bergeron

Nebulon 4 the eternity prison of our galaxy


“Now look what you done. They will definitely be blamed us for this one.”

“Whatever are you talking about?”

“Well for starters all the streets in London are ablaze. How do you think Dr Drake is going to react.”

“For starters it is November 5. Ever since the Guy Fawkes event some 400 years ago people has been doing it. As far as Dr Drake leave him to me, there are hundred aliens in the milky way, he will never miss two lost souls in his equation.”

“True people do walk the streets with torches on the anniversary, but they don’t torch the buildings.”

“Oh you worry body. Besides think about it, two snails torching an entire city how preposterous is that.”

“Preposterous you say what do you think of that?”

Looking up from over the hill a mob of Britain’s where heading in our direction. Quickly our lips locked as we began kissing as they passed right by us.

“Boy that was close.”

“What did I tell you no one suspects the snail. It is for that particular reason we took their form. Now let’s get back to our ship to report back our findings.”

As we reached the nearby river our cherry shaped space ship was waiting. Upon entering our commanders image was waiting for us angrily.

“Where have you two been up to?” proclaimed his voice of authority.

“Whatever do you mean? We were in town down by the arena enjoying free sampling of fried bologna sandwiches from the good folks annual cook off.”

“Oh really well Dr Drake could have sworn he spotted two snails fitting your description torching the town. Never mind save it for the tribunal.”

November 6 and here we are sitting hand in hand in front of the high court determining our faith. It still puzzled me why we are here. We did as we were ordered and still they are not satisfied. The commander sternly eyed down on us as we had to plead our case.

“My dear friends we are gathered to determine the faith of Kune and Tane. Gentleman what have you to say for your actions?”

“Well dear friends we are still in shamble as to why we are sequestered here. We did as we were told. London is nothing but a rumble ready to be taken over.”

“Yes but your mission was to simply turn the town folks against each other and get them to do the damage.”

“That is preposterous. Londoners are stupid, that would never happen. It is for that reason we took matters in our own hand.”

“How dare you defy our order’s. If you don’t have anything more to say on your defence we have no choice but to sentence you to an eternity on Nabulon 4.”

“It is what it is.”

So here we are standing in Nebulon 4 trapped like Adam and Eve.




Challenge 85 – Autumn Equinox Final Round

The Iron Writer Challenge 85

The 2014 Autumn Equinox Final Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Dani J Caile, A Francis Raymond, Mathew W. Weaver, Danielle Lee Zwissler

The Elements:



Learn to train your wife in 5 easy lessons

If you are male, you must write your story from the wife’s negative point of view.

    If you are female, you must write the story from the husband’s positive point of view.

Main Character suffers from Pseudobulbar Affect

Breast Cancer

Please vote!

The poll is below.

To Kill A Marketing BidMathew W Weaver

Mathew W. Weaver

“Call 555-T-R-A-I-N-H-E-R right now!”

The advertiser’s voice was getting on my nerves. I walked into the living room, broom in hand, and just as I expected, there sat Jim, glued to the screen like the cap on your day old tube of glue.

“Mind turning that down?” I yelled, “I can’t hear myself think in here!”

“Go away, honey,” Jim said sweetly.

I breathed in and held it. With one good whack of that old broom, I could have sent him flying out the door right then, like I should have done all those years ago. He used to be a David Hasselhoff lookalike, but ever since his breast cancer, he resembled a rag doll that had been run over by a garbage truck.

And smelled like it, too.

And for crying out loud, how many men got breast cancer, anyway?

“Just 5 easy lessons, and you’re done! Train your wife today!” the male voice bragged.

“Turn tha… wait, what was that?”

“Nothing dear, nothing!” Jim said weakly, scrabbling at the remote before switching to the game. I marched over to him, and he cowered as I yanked it out of his feeble grasp and switched it back.

Jim sank into the cushions as I watched the obscene commercial. There, in all comfort, a typical man stretched out while a harlot dressed in nothing but cellophane fetched him everything from slippers to pie and jumped up with every snap of his fingers. And all the while, the voice promised that “your wife could be the same… in five easy lessons!”

“What,” I turned around, “is this?”

“Infomercial?” he offered.

I balled my fists and he shrank even further into the upholstery.

“You want me to jump at your snapping fingers?!” I exploded, “Of all the lazy…”

“Don’t yell!” Jim whimpered, his voice ending in a shuddering gasp.

“It’s always about you, isn’t it?” I threw the down the broom in disgust.

The Pseudobulbar Affect kicked in, and I threw up my hands and walked away. Ten minutes into the sobbing was, surprisingly, enough time for me to calm down. I bit my lip, sighed, and turned around.

“Alright, dear,” I said, “I’ll take your training. I’ll be the wife you always wanted me to be.”

Now, the thing about Pseudobulbar’s is that you can’t ever control the crying. So, even as the once masculine, now very effeminate Jim beamed at me in startled, elated confusion, tears continued to roll down his cheeks and his chest still heaved with emotion.

“You’d do that for me?” he stammered, the disbelief so palpable, you could have spread it on bread.

It wasn’t easy, but I had to give in. I sighed, set my jaw, and then nodded.

“I would,” I said, “Call them.”

As he reached for the phone and stared after me with adoring eyes, I turned around and walked back to the kitchen. Reaching into my pocket, I brought out my well-thumbed, dog-eared copy of “Essential Steps To Have Your Man At Your Mercy,” (pocket edition), and flipped over to chapter seventeen.

“To Deal With The ‘Train Your Wife’ Routine,” I read, “Step one…”

Gone to a Better PlaceDani-J-Caile

Dani J. Caile

“Would you like a cup of tea?”

There were only two of them left in the room, with a woman taking a position by the sofa and a man by the window, speaking into his walkie talkie.

“Where did the others go?”

“They have something to do, Mrs. Worthing,” said the woman.

“Oh, I see. I’ll put these cups back, then.”

“No, no, that’s okay. Please, sit down, rest yourself.”

“Yes, right, that’s best. One lump or two?”

“One, thank you.” The woman sat down and took the cup. The man standing ignored her and looked out of the window, now holding his walkie talkie to his ear and listening to crackles and voices.

“Would you like a Bourbon Cream?”

“No, thank you. Mrs. Worthing. Could you please tell us a little about yourself?” asked the woman.

She laughed uncontrollably, embarrassing herself.

“Me? Little old me? I’m Jon’s wife. Are you friends of Jon?”

“Well, we’re looking after his…welfare,” smiled the woman.

“Oh, good, I’m happy about that. He’s such a good man.”

“Really? Please, tell me more. Perhaps you can tell me something about your life together?”

“Of course, yes, I’d be happy to. He was always good to me, I…I have trouble, you see, I’m…I’m not very good in company.”

Another sudden unexpected laugh. Her face blushed.

“Don’t worry yourself. Please, continue.”

“Well…we’re a model couple, Jon and I. Every day when he opens the door I greet him the way he likes…”



“Go on.”

“…well…in my best lingerie, in a simple black silk loose fitting sheath dress with thin spaghetti straps.”


“And I have his pipe and slippers all ready, too…”

The man from the window whispered something to the woman and she nodded.

“It sounds like you’re an excellent wife, Mrs. Worthing,” said the woman, smiling.

“Thank you. Yes, I make sure his TV remote control is sitting on the side of his favourite armchair so he can watch his football matches, along with a beer the way he likes it, chilled.”

“Wonderful, Mrs. Worthing.”

“When he snaps his fingers, that tells me he’s ready for dinner, and I serve him immediately. After all, he is the breadwinner of the household. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be on the street. He tells me that every day. Every day…”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Worthing,” said the woman, “…but we need to take you down to the station now.”

She laughed again, uncontrollably, and tried to keep a smile on her face. The man at the window took out some handcuffs.

“Of course, of course.” He put them on her and led her past the bloody corpse and into the hallway. She overheard the man whispering again to the woman.

“Her doctor said she’s riddled with cancer, recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and has suspected breast cancer. She also suffers from PBA. The doctor pushed her to tell her husband the good news tonight.”

“Would’ve loved to have been a fly on that wall…”

“Trained”Danielle Lee Zwissler

Danielle Lee Zwissler

Clyde stood at the podium wearing a grin. “Before I begin, I would like to let you know that I have a condition that causes uncontrollable bouts of laughter or crying at times.”

Uneasy murmurs traveled through the crowd before Clyde continued. “I want to thank all of you for coming to my lecture tonight on How to Train Your Wife in Five Easy Lessons. I would like to show you the subject of my book, my wife, Elaine Evershaw.”

“Stand up, Elaine.”

“Yes, Dear,” Elaine said, then stood. She was the only woman in the hall. Her shoulders were up, back and down, breasts out, back straight—posture perfect. She wore a sexy, pinup-type dress with polka dots. She was beautiful.

The men in the audience smiled, and Clyde knew that they appreciated her appearance.

“As you can see, she is trained to please, as all women should be. She is perfectly coifed, and ready to serve her man. Elaine, sit.” Clyde started to laugh.

“Yes, Dear.”

The audience watched, pleased at how “the wife” was following commands.

“I will outline a few of the steps for you, that way you can understand the process. I won’t give everything away tonight, because you need to read the book and apply the steps to your own relationships.”

“Teach your wife how to fetch.” Clyde laughed. The audience looked at him curiously, as he continued. “Folks, don’t be put out by lazy wives. You can train them to do the things that you want them to do. It isn’t hard; if you would like warm feet at night, tell your wife to fetch your slippers, but don’t forget, just like a dog you have to reward your bitch with a treat, perhaps a trinket. Sooner than later you will have her at your feet with your slippers, and she will wear a smile on her face as she awaits her prize. Don’t forget to praise her. Positive reinforcement is the key. Say things like, atta girl, or great job! This will only get things going faster.”

The men in the audience were eating up Clyde’s instruction, even though it was a little unorthodox.

“I know what many of you may be thinking, that this will not work for you, that your wife may not be susceptible to the steps. Fear not, brave men, these steps work!”

Clyde held up a copy of his book. “Today you can get this for only $19.99! This also includes a chapter on how to get your wife to follow non-verbal commands, and how to serve you ice cold beer and snacks! And because you are here today, I will throw in a free Breast Cancer Apron! There is nothing sexier than an obedient wife at the stove wearing an apron. So step right up and get your copy!”


The night had been a success, and Clyde felt satisfied as he walked with his wife to the train station. As the train approached, Elaine pushed her husband onto the tracks, killing him instantly.

Elaine smiled and said, “And that’s how you train a husband!”

 Careful What You Wish ForA Francis Raymond

A. Francis Raymond

“You followed the steps in the booklet?” asked Mr. Stumpbottom.

John looked at the image on the cover. It was part of his welcome kit when he joined the very secretive Men’s Associative Committee for a Better America (MACABA). The club, and the booklet, ‘Train Your Wife in 5 Easy Steps’ promised solutions to his problems.

“Yes. The only thing I managed out of her was a ‘Yes, dear” to my requests – none were actually followed through.”

“If you read the details on our warranty,” said Mr. Stumpbottom, “You’ll remember we don’t offer a traditional refund.”

John skimmed the details when he joined. At the time, he never believed he’d need to file a claim. Things usually went his way, and when they didn’t, he didn’t worry much. It took a lot to bring this naturally upbeat man into Mr. Stumpbottom’s office this morning.

“Mr. Stumpbottom,” said John, “I simply want my wife to be happy, like me. Her smile is beautiful; I want to see it more. Her laugh is infectious; I want to hear it more. Is that too much to ask?”

“Not at all.” Mr. Stumpbottom took out a large book and plopped it down on his desk in front of John. He started flipping through it.

He clearly had a specific page in mind. While Mr. Stumpbottom was looking for it, John continued: “I really never needed her to obey my every command or anything like that.”

“I understand. Ah! Here we are!” He tapped his finger on the page and made sure John could see. “Our warranty specifies that if you’re not satisfied, we’ll try something else. We of course wouldn’t want to lose you as a member, you see.”

John followed Mr. Stumpsbottom’s finger to the text on the middle of the page in front of him. “Turn tears into laughter, laughter into tears.” That sounded about right to him.

“You can do that? That would be a miracle! How do you do it?”

“Oh, we have our ways. You needn’t worry about it. But there could be side effects, some pretty severe…”

John cut him off, smiling. “Let’s do it. Where do I sign?”

Mr. Stumpbottom replied “My secretary will draw up papers and you’ll be on your way. You’ll start seeing the change in a few days.”

* * *

As promised, John’s wife, Nancy, became the laughing queen as her naturally negative reactions to everything turned positive. For three months, she laughed at everything. Anything that would have put a normal person in tears, Nancy was laughing. Hysterically and often. She laughed right through her sudden and unexpected breast cancer diagnosis, much to the surprise of the oncologist.

John suspected the cancer was the side effect Mr. Stumpbottom mentioned, but never said anything about it.

He was at a MACABA meeting and ran into Mr. Stumpbottom.

“How’s your wife?”

“In remission,” John said. “I presume the original ‘treatment’ has worn off.”

“Oh, no no,” Mr. Stumpbottom chuckled. “That was a permanent alternation.”

“But she’s getting better! Why is she still laughing?” John said to no one since Mr. Stumpbottom had disappeared into the crowd.

2014 Winter Soltice Open

The Iron Writer

2014 Winter Solstice Open

Preliminary Round

*** Participants TBD/TBA ***

The Donna Tartt Bracket

Donna Tartt: 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction with “The Goldfinch”

The Adam Johnson Bracket

Adam Johnson: 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction with “The Orphan Master’s Son”

The Paul Harding Bracket

Paul Harding: 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction with “Tinkers”

The Jennifer Egan Bracket

Jennifer Egan: 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction with “A Visit from the Goon Squad”