Challenge 87 – The Pitman/Caile Challenge

The Iron Writer Challenge 87

The Pitman/Caile Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Glen Bahde, Bill Prins, April Morehouse, Lindsey Elaine Cooperider

The Judges:

M. D. Pitman, Dani J Caile, DL Zwissler, Emily Gatrell

The Elements:


Gloustershire annual cheese rolling competition

Ping Pong

A group of Old West cowboys sitting around a campfire

An inept hitman

Why He Decided To Go On a DietLindsey Cooperider

Lindsey Cooperrider

The fact that this was an elementary school made him even more on edge. What if there was a casualty that was not the intended? Scanning over the instructions one more time, he let out a hesitant sigh and entered the festival.

Every year, the schools around the city put on a festival of learning. The elementary students had all agreed on learning about hobbies and special events from around the world. The playground was decorated and sectioned off for different activities.

The kindergarten classes were only observers for being so young, but had decided it would be a great idea to dress the opposing classes as cowboys against Indians. The teachers even dressed respectively. The children had suction cup guns or bows and arrows. The parents had adored them immensely.

The fourth graders were teaching small groups of students and parents how to cook foods from around the world. The third graders had agreed on karaoke, and it sure was echoing across the playground. The second graders wanted to express art in many different medias, so they had art supplies strew about their area. Lastly, the first grade students voted on ping pong.

The parents, however, had wanted something to do for entertainment for their children. The faculty had arranged a mock Cheese Rolling Competition down the steepest and biggest hill nearby. It began soon.

The man from earlier wandered around the festival with the biggest lack of a smile, and in fact was the very embodiment of nervous and sketchy. He was being watched carefully by everyone. Teachers and parents had kept a close eye on him from around a bonfire going in the middle of the grounds. They were all dressed in intricate costumes, each portraying a cowboy. It looked like a scene straight from an old Western.

The adults started to cheer from atop the hill, and it gathered everyone to the sidelines. The competition was about to begin! Once everyone seemed present, someone with a wheel of cheese stepped forward and called out the rules. The cheese was then rolled down the hill, and then not a moment later, the adults started to give chase. The cheers and laughter grew so loud that no one could seem to distinguish what the other was saying, but they didn’t care. It was too fun.

In the highest tree not but a few feet away, the nervous man was perched. He had a gun in his hand, and he was very unstable. The branch was creaking under his weight. His target was the man in front of the race, and he had him in his sights. He aimed.

“Steady… steady… fir—”

The branch broke from underneath him just as his gun rang out loudly, but not loud enough to be heard over the cheers. There was a collected gasp and scream of surprise as the wheel of cheese suddenly burst from the impact of the bullet. The racers all started to tumble down the hill.

This is why hit men can’t have nice things.

It’s Safe

April Morehouse

The stars matted the sky over four lone cowboys. The campfire could be seen for miles, and the twine if a harmonica echoed off nearby mesa walls. The fire held everyone’s gaze. Even Zax was memorized by the dancing flame as his mouth jerked back and forth on the tin in his hand. The others held tin cups full of cold coffee, and thought only one thought, well, all except George.

Critter sighed, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, lifted his cup, and then lowered it.

“Need more coffee?” Bill offered.

Critter stared into his cup. “You think he’s-” he let out another sigh.

“Son, don’t take it so hard, it was bound to happen.”

George tossed his coffee into the fire. “I’ll take some more of that.”

Bill poured out the black sludge. “I know you and him were like brothers.”

“A brother I never had.” Critter said.

George ground his molars. He wanted to fling his coffee at Critter. All Nines had to do….

“Now, you know what to do?” George looked Nines right in the eye, and knew no one was home.

“Ya, George, I got it, I got it.”

“You want me to go along?” Critter was always tagging along.

“No, I need you to cover the teller. Zax, you got what you need for the safe?” Zax nodded. “Then let’s go.”

George had a gut feeling he should have sent Bill. Zax went around to the back of the bank while Bill tipped his hat, lit a smoke, and waited. George and Critter patted their horses. Once Zax whistled, Bill coughed, tossed his smoke to the ground, and went around back while George and Critter went in the front.

“This is a hold up.” George hollered waving his gun. “You, open those bars.”

Bill, who came in from the back, shoved his gun into the teller’s side, and over to the bars in front of the walk-in safe. Once opened, Zax went up to the safe, and began turning the tumbler.


“Hold it right there boys.” The Sheriff held Nines by the collar. “You’re boy here was asking around for me.” George cringed. “Asking where the sheriff might be so he can kill him.” George’s trigger finger ached to kill Nines, and the sheriff. “Think you might want to change his name to Nines and Tens.”

“Why’s that Sheriff?” Critter asked.

“Because those are the only eight cards he has in his deck, not the ones that are missing.”

The safe was open. There, sitting in all its glory, was the great cheese roll of the Gloustershire Annual Cheese Rolling competition. George could feel it in his hands if it weren’t for Nines. His eyes bounced to his men, the teller, and the sheriff like a ping-pong ball as he sized up his options. There was only one.

“They’re probably dead by now,” Critter moaned. “I mean, after eating all that cheese, and no air vents in the safe.”

Bill chuckled at the thought.

George smiled as he gulped back his cold sludge. “Probably.”

The Cody Stampede Liars ClubBill Prins

Bill Prins

“Sorry to hear about your dad, Clay,” I said, shaking the young man’s hand. “I’m just glad they caught it early, and that he sent you up this year.”

“Thanks Mr. Burgess,” he said, with a laugh. “That’s what those colonoscopies are good for I guess. This has been a long time coming for me; my grandfather once told me it’s my destiny to compete.”

“Your grandfather sure could string a yarn,” I said. “Imagine this starting fifty-odd years before the first Cody Stampede Rodeo, not long after the Civil War ended, with some old west cowboys sitting around a campfire swapping stories. Heck, there’s a gal over at Fire Number Six saying she’s seventh generation.”

Glib McLaughlin was holding forth loudly in his incongruous Boston accent by Fire Number One, so we stopped to admire his artistry.

“….. there I was by the church, and these guys in white with red bandanas came running by me screaming something in Basque, and out of the dust and crowd ran a half dozen bulls all bucking and slashing. I would’ve got clear, but stopped to save some drunken skinny guy (pretty sure it was Brad Pitt) and was slightly gored, when out of nowhere comes this gorgeous nurse ……”

“Tongue like a jai alai basket,” I observed.

“Slinging turds,” added Clay.

We walked around for a while, smelling the not too distant stables and sampling the high art of BS in its myriad forms.

“Hold on a bit Clay,” I said. “Buster Vreeland’s up at Number Three and I want to see if he still brings it.”

“….. so instead of hot queso cheese, I mistakenly poured off-white latex paint all over the nachos, and given our condition nobody even noticed. The weird thing was, and I don’t know the chemistry of it, later, when we passed gas from the black beans, out popped perfect little spheres of plastic. I’m not complaining; I mean, I made a small fortune selling ping pong balls …”

“These folks will be at it all night,” I said. “Then they’ll be up early to catch the first rodeo go-round, and start it all over again. Straw polling begins on day three, and we’ll be down to finals by Friday. Hey, there’s Red Rabinowich getting warmed up.”

“ … then in 2010 I was helping with rules for the next year’s Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling and Wake when we started getting these crazy death threats. I thought it was hooey until this Indian, the turbaned kind, tried to run our car off the road with his motorcycle. So we left him in the ditch, and the next night he threatens us at the pub with kung fu, until Alicia floors him with a stiff left jab. We heard he was arrested after asking the Irish team if he could buy a bomb.”

“Well Clay, I’ve got you starting down at Number Four in about an hour. And here’s a few free words of advice: Class-action paternity suit.”

A Cheesy Opportunity

Glen Badhe

A creek of a door tuned the heads in the room. With a hurried step towards the crowd he walked in and slammed it down on the table.

“There it is ladies and gents.”

The crowd around the table was like a group of Old West cowboys sitting around a campfire staring at the paper with confusion as to the excitement?
A large deep voice said “I understand”

The rest of the crowd then looked at the paper again trying to figure out what it meant to the two.

A small squeaky voice in the dark said “what does it say Momma?” and then she read it to the rest of them

“Gloustershire Annual cheese rolling competition to be held at the recreation center this weekend”   Everyone was even more perplexed.

The deep voice said one word.


Silence was maintained and then heads began to nod one by one another voice said “Cheeeeeeeese” and the word cheese began to be chanted. The young voice asked “Momma? Cheese?” The others became quiet knowing that this was an important lesson for the youngster.

A soft reassuring voice said “Yes dear, cheese. What eats cheese my love?”

“Mice? Rats?”   A pause and then the young voice purred with delight “CHEEESE!”

So now the messenger said “They should be setting things up tonight at the rec center. I cruised by, the Ping Pong table had cases of cheese on it, there were decorations hung. I don’t know how it happened but a few of these newspaper articles seemed to be laying around outside the feed store warehouse barn today.” He smiled.

The feed store had guard dogs in a fence and was locked up tight. For the cats, it had been a citadel that couldn’t be taken. But the lure of cheese for the mice and rats was going to be too much for them to bare.

Not one of these cats was an inept hitman, they were natural born killers frustrated at security measures made by humans, to stop humans. It just so happened these security measures had stopped this band of feline hunters, but not this Friday. Each knew deep down years of frustration would end.

The deep voice said “Gather up. I want two look outs on each of the rec center. We need to get positions early on the inside. I need four hunters scouting all exits for the rodents. We need to make sure they get in and aren’t spooked. I need some messengers from the scouts and three hunters positioned for attack near the pool tables. Keep an eye out for the sewer openings.”

About that time a voice in the distance could be heard. “Mittens…….Here Kitty Kitty…….Mittens time for your din din”. All the cats looked around. Who was Mittens? The large black cat barking orders headed for the door.

“Be there tomorrow at 1800 hours and the first one of you that calls me Mittens will have more to worry about then cheese starved rats.”

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.

Challenge 88

The Iron Writer Challenge 88

The Richard Russell Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Marie Rossiter, Sarah Thomas, Wes Kirk,

Maureen Larter, Mathew W. Weaver

The Judges:

Richard Russell, DL Zwissler, Tony Jaeger, Suzann Smith

The Elements:

flowers in trash can


A bouquet of flowers in a trash can

Draw inspiration from “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne

A critically important secret military message

Encroaching storm clouds



Stories will be posted

November 6, 2014

Weekend Quickie #64 (Sunday Edition)

The song “Born in the USA”


Russian hat dance


250 words