The Iron Writer Challenge #149

lap giraffe

The Iron Writer Challenge #149

2016 Winter Solstice Challenge #7

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Wesley Kirk, Moira McArthur, Dami Lare, Danielle Lee Zwissler

The Elements:

A magical lap giraffe

Written in the form of an obituary. So the reader is reading an obit.

A despised relative (explain why)

An original Matisse painting

Sammy HawnsMoira McAtrthur

Moira McArthur

(15th February 1950 – 12 January 2010)

Sammy Hawns was born in the little village of Glenadrookit. Descended from a long line of wool gatherers, Sammy spent his time dogging school while keeping a wary eye out for the dominie. His  school books survive to this day. Pristine, untouched and no inky fingerprints in the margin. 

Sammy left school as uneducated in formal lessons as the farm dog, but his lessons in nature, the real world, were legendary. He would guddle a fish, clear a field of seed stealing crows and make daisy chains for the lassies.

No use for politics, it was a bad day when the local conservative candidate, a distant relative and thus despised the more, chapped on his door to enquire whether he could count on Sammy’s vote. We think the whole village heard Sammy bellow, ’Politics? Its all nonsensical self grandizing bollockology’.  The candidate was last seen beating a hasty retreat.

Sammy though, could be quite poetic in words. Describing a sunset as looking like a Matisse painting, let us into his favourite pastime. Visiting an Art Gallery. He’d stand and look at the paintings then go home and try to recreate in straw and mosaic-chipped wood. Several of his works are on display in Glenadrookit’s Museum of Rural Life.

His favourite work being the painting of the miniature giraffe of Frankelstide. To convey its apparent magical powers in cuts of straw and chips of wood, was a marvel they said.
It was this, more than anything else, that brought him to the wider audience of the art world. HIs tinkering in the woodshed, was seized upon as the next best artist and magazines ran articles, newspapers tried to get an interview and tv crews waited around for a glimpse of this man, Sammy. The single track road into the village was hilly and thus provided the means of spotting a vehicle approaching, at which, the bush telegraph would spring into action, to give Sammy and his family, enough warning to grab a couple of things and hare off up the hills out of reach, until the fuss died down and the ‘visitors’  departed.

Thus it is Sammy’s sense of the ridiculousness of humankind, that is left to us. HIs phrase to the conservative candidate will ring in our ears forever. RIP Sammy Hawns.

James Weatherby, 73Bello Oluwadamilare

Dami Lare

December 19, 1933 – March 9, 2016


Being a shrewd man would save you from a few losses: one of which is having to lie still in an Italian casket carved from the finest of oak, listening, if the dead actually can, to a prosaic connivance of untruths summed up as an Obit by someone like Uncle Sam, who ordinarily wouldn’t care jack about you until you’re well past forty and receiving fat sums as pension. That was the thought of my father until I discourage him from writing his own Obituary. Who does that?

James Weatherby, shrewd, introverted, foodie and a showman passed on to glory March 9, 2013, in Ababio’s Hospital, after sustaining terrible burns in a fire he entered to save Pedifree.

James, unlike most of his forebears, who believed the more the merrier, is survived by a single wife, Yasmine, and three children Fua’d, Nasir and me, Kasim. He was a staunch supporter of monogamy, who, yet, was accommodating enough to keep a circle of polygamists and the unmarried as friends. He would always say to me, underneath a starry sky, that friends are like stars: we are bland without them.

But unlike said friends, he preferred the daring call of peace keeping missions – although at a much late time of his life – to the simple life of retirement. A selfless service to which he lost a lot too – as if he cared less about himself than others – a kidney, a limb and an eye, and somehow had the fortuity to wish he could continue the campaign. James was that crazy.

Much wouldn’t be said about my father because he really a lover of it. But he would tell you over laughs, should you be fortunate enough, about his ordeal with “The Woman with the Hat”. He would confess he was naive, and distrusting, when Fola his art agent told him the artwork was both ugly, receiving terrible condemnations upon display, and a bad investment. But being the shrewd man he was, he would purchase it and be stunned at how particularly unattractive its ugliness was, as if ugliness somehow wielded the character of being attractive. He would laugh and tap the painting with an affectionate pat, and in that moment I realised James was one whose love for things surpassed the conventional fondness for aesthetics or quality. He looked beyond those things and saw the beauty hidden within.

The day he found Pedifree, the miniature giraffe that somehow completed him; I wasn’t at all shocked, or thought him crazy because I knew he was capable of love than the rest of us. And he was right to do so, for it brought the joy thousands of dollars couldn’t. Although it might not seem that way now, I think no other cause can one die that is nobler than love.

I think James Weatherby died for a good cause, and would want us to show love to those who need it.

James “Slim Jim” JohnsonWes Kirk

Wes Kirk

December 24, 1955 – March 6, 2016


James “Slim Jim” Johnson, gardener, capsaicin worshiper, and connoisseur of puns and dad jokes, died Sunday March 7, 2016.

Slim Jim was growing his own peppers and tending gardens long before “knowing where your food came from” became mainstream. He was proud of that fact, and elated when others actually began caring about the environment. Though he had many battles with the Board of Health and Zoning Commission over his massive gardens, the fruits of his labor were could never be questioned. Even if his sanity had been. Especially consider he sold his mother’s Matisse painting of fish to buy his greenhouse.

He met the love of his life, Margery (deceased), at a Marion County Fair chili cook off. He was the only one who could handle what she produced from her cauldron. They both routinely giggled about how he proposed to her on the spot, after eating half the pot, and through the spice induced coughing fits. The two shared a home on the south side of Indy to the end of their days. Their life was full of compromise, as she had domain over the house, and he was exiled to the garden, and green house (which he swore was tended to by a tiny magical giraffe), where most other humans found it hard to breathe through the pepper fumes.

Their two children, Harry and Jill, survive their parents. Surprising given Slim Jim’s love of bad puns and “dad jokes.” He delighted in making groups of people groan, or slam the palms of their hands across their faces. His crowning achievement, which he boasted about regularly, was making and entire room of his classmates groan in disbelief at one of his “dad joke level puns.” Out of courtesy, general public well-being, and in accordance with local legal action, the pun shall not be reprinted here.

His only regret in life was never being able to produce a world record contending spicy pepper. Which he always swore was because of his horrible cousin Larry constantly throwing cigarette butts over the fence.

His trademarked fashion look by designer “why-would-anyone-care-about-that-foolisness” will be missed around the local farmers markets. No longer will his worn yellow boater hat, with its collection of pepper eating trophy pins, float above the heads of visitors as he makes his way through the crowds. No more will police wonder if a Beverly Hillbilly’s relative got lost in the metro area while watching Slim Jim stand there brushing off the dust from his depression era ‘vintage’ overalls and combat boots.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Indiana Chapter of Future Farmers of America. He spent many years teaching youth, and evangelizing the gospel of tending a good garden, and the family would like to have his passion carry on for as long as possible.

Also, James “Slim Jim” Johnson’s final wish was for the gag order be removed from his memoirs of bad jokes, to allow them to finally be published. His family ask that you disregard the request for the betterment of mankind.

Author Writes Her Own Final Chapter

Danielle Lee ZwisslerDanielle Lee Zwissler

Author, Danielle Lee Zwissler of Mogadore, Ohio, died on March 3rd, 2016 from complications due to an over-active imagination, and large amounts of caffeine. Born in October of 1978, Danielle was the second child of the family, despised by many, including her own grandmother, whom has been dead for years now, and who, consequently, accused her of being too stuck-up and un-family-like for her taste, and an uncle that is currently serving a prison term for grand theft larceny. Danielle leaves behind her parents, her brother and his family, her husband, and two children, along with four pets, five if you count the magical lap giraffe that she always talked to at night just before putting her children to bed.

Throughout the years, Danielle has had many jobs as a teacher, tutor, a musician, a waitress, a barn rat, a nursing home worker, and she even had a paper route. Up until recently, Danielle wasn’t happy with her life. She felt sad about not sticking with her original idea of becoming a band director for a famous band, and was depressed for most of her twenties. She was also upset that she didn’t become famous overnight as many indie authors believe will happen. She figured out a tough lesson. She wasn’t special.

She leaves behind a legacy of boring romance novels, an original Matisse painting, and several love letters from her numerous teenage relationships. Calling hours will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Mogadore, Ohio, on March 10th, 2016 at 7 PM. Since Danielle’s family usually doesn’t accept birthday party invites, the ceremony will probably be less than twenty minutes long.

Also, Danielle wanted to let you all know that if you don’t show up to her funeral, she will haunt every last one of you for eternity.

to read, and a connoisseur of the arts. She owned several noteworthy works of art, notwithstanding an original of Henri Matisse. She wasn’t loved by many, but merely tolerated, had several relatives that despised her, including her own grandmother that often called her a miserable Mother … well, you get the drift. She also had an exemplary imagination. Several times she claimed to own a miniature magical giraffe, but under full disclosure, she only made those claims after getting the occasional high at the campground with her 80-year-old glaucoma suffering friends.
All in all, Danielle was creative, nuts, and couldn’t keep a job, but she leaves behind a legacy of barely opened first editions of her own novels (many of which will be used as kindling for Earl’s nightly fires) and several items that make absolutely no sense but gave her comfort from purchases at the local Goodwill.
Donations accepted in lieu of flowers as the Zwissler family can barely keep their gas and electricity turned on.
NO calling hours as Danielle preferred to be cremated, and spread around all sorts of different memorable places just in case she could split her soul in pieces, much like her favorite author’s villain, Lord Voldemort. In her own words, “I want to haunt the f*** out of people when I’m gone.”

#TIWC members, please vote here.

The Iron Writer Challenge #117

The Iron Writer Challenge #117

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements 

Challenge #116 

Tony Jaeger

The Authors:

Saloni Singla, Vance Rowe, Bello Oluwadamilare, Mamie Pound

The Elements:


Stone Arrowhead

A cracked china water pitcher

A star shaped opening

Sent back in time to teach a caveman to create a wheel or to start fire because (fill in the blank).

Story Saturday

Saloni Singla

Despite Jerome’s qualms owing to the caveman theme, his twin children’s tenth birthday party had been a success. Clara and Ralph, gossiping of their friends’ costumes, were refusing to go to bed. His wife fiddled with a stone arrowhead that had come loose from its stick.

To Jerome’s horror, Ralph asked, “Dad, can we have a caveman-themed story today?”

Jerome had forgotten that it was his turn for Story Saturday. Sarah created stories out of her head, but not he.

Sarah looked up, her expression torn in sympathy and amusement. She would have gladly taken over, but the children insisted on their parents’ following turns.

Setting down the arrowhead, she said, “Well, let me help daddy with the beginning. Once upon a time, there lived a caveman who invented the first language but didn’t share it with anyone…” She hoped that it would serve as a good prompt.

“Is that true?” Ralph blurted.

Clara frowned. “No silly. We can’t know what happened in past.”

Sarah interjected, “We can, because the caveman wrote on cave’s walls.”

“So what did he write?” asked Ralph.

Sarah began to answer, but Clara intervened, “Daddy will tell.”

“Oh! Umm,” Jerome fumbled, and then in a sudden burst of inspiration exclaimed, “You see, he was surrounded by hungry beasts, and he didn’t know how to light a fire, so he wrote his dying note.”

“But then, did he die?” Clara’s inquiry erased the smug look on Jerome’s face.

After a moment, Sarah came to the rescue, “Meanwhile, in the future, the time machine was invented, and the cave inscriptions being read, the authorities decided to send one of their men to save the caveman.”

Clara protested, muttering how it was dad’s story, not mom’s. She stood and began jumping up and down, flailing her arms. 

The hem of her dress hit the china water pitcher on the table behind her. It fell and broke into pieces. The fact that it had already been cracked was a small consolation to Sarah. Clara apologized sheepishly.

Before Sarah said something, Jerome forced a smile, “So the agent from future sat in his time machine and pushed some buttons.” He scrunched up his face and made bleating and yelping sounds in a pathetic attempt. Everyone erupted in laughter.

Gaining confidence, Jerome continued, “He entered a tunnel of blinding white light.”

Ralph squinted.

“There was a round opening at its end,” Jerome said.

“I hate round,” Ralph shouted.

“Which shape do you like then?”

“I like diamonds and stars.”

“A star shaped opening then,” Jerome sighed. “He taught the caveman how to light a fire which would scare away the beasts.” He made cackling sounds in the midst of laughter. “In return, the agent asked the caveman to share his language with the world, and that’s how, the first language came to be.”

After a polite applause, the children were taken upstairs by Sarah to put them to bed.

Newton’s theory of relativity, Jerome thought to himself, the future exists, the past is not gone.

“Is the story true, mamma?” Ralph’s voice floated down.

“It could be,” was the reply.

IDADABello Oluwadamilare

Bello Oluwadamilare

The sparse leaves bristle under a spell of echoes. It is raining hard; yet the greenness fades, receding gradually to the edges, leaving a sea of deep brown and you to trudge through the engulfing oblivion. 

Everyone had gathered like a roughly drawn arc in the hot afternoon air, debating how best to save the dying fire. You listened absent-mindedly as beaks tweeted how an elf had tied the clan’s fate to a fire whose glow wanes with each passing of time.  An hush fell on the group, a massive silhouette darkened the arc’s exterior as Initshe emerged from a dark skyline flustering at first, then with a hunched gait strode to its bull’s eye. Without words, he pointed at you with an enormous totem, covering half the arc with its shadow. Wings fluttered in protests, but the powers-that-be have weighed-in and chose you. You are  to travel the continuum and defy time, but pay heed to the sprite that deceives for only him could cause your failure. He handed over to you the totems, a stone arrow head, a pitcher and another heed against weariness. Posterity records:

The little Ingonyi, its wings and quiver

would wager

against some fury,

to save the flames in bravery

or folly, only to suffer a fate both weary 

and deadly  

Your steps betray your doubts as you traipse through the void and its vastness which swirls like a whirlpool of emptiness. Why should an entire clan be tied to the fate of flames and fumes? You question as the rhythm of uncertainty gives fatigue to your wings. 

With fate of many on his shoulders,

Idada forges on in this quest

weary and wobbling like the boulder,

which lie unrest 

in torment of him and his brothers.

You seek for respite, momentarily forgetting the heed, you had to reach him at all cost and pay the price: present him the spring of Styx in a pitcher. He alone could rekindle the fire of the land. You lie for a while with the totems by your side.  The world can wait.

 It caught his eyes, a trunk

 adorned but fallen,

 from which emerges a unicorn,

through a most celestial form,

a star shaped opening.

You leap up as it glides towards you; a hand relaxes on the arrow with a fastened stone head and the other a bow. You marvel at it, lost in its admiration you do not see it turn a Leprechaun till its wand hits you in the face. The arrow head and the pitcher drop. You drop too, into a strange emptiness.

Someone rudely nudges you. You find yourself standing in a bar with an empty tray.

“You’ve been at it again, Uche! This Insomnia is really a buzz kill”. She moves away and mutters before disappearing:

“This is the fourth water pitcher you have dropped this month and you know how much Austen hates cracked China wares. He would surely fire you this time”.

I Dream of Grog

Vance Rowe

John, an anthropology student, was on his way to the university when something hit him on top of his head quite hard and knocked him out. When he came to, he saw what seemed to be a beautifully decorated antique water pitcher made of china. It was cracked. He rubbed his head and felt a knot growing where he was hit. John looked up at the tall building but had no idea where the pitcher was dropped from and was very surprised that it wasn’t broken in shards. John slowly got up to his feet and carried the pitcher with him to have it checked out at the university.

As he walked on, he heard a strange noise in the street and wondered what the heck he was looking at. Vehicles had rubber triangle shaped wheels and made thumping noises as they turned. He wondered what was going on and also wondered if he was hit on the head harder than he thought. John still thought about the tires in disbelief as he continued walking. He then heard something move in the pitcher and saw an object when he looked inside. John dumped it out into his hand and was amazed at what he saw. It was a stone arrow head of sorts and it was oddly star shaped.

John was excited by this find, more so than the pitcher find. It is something that he has never seen before.  When he got to the Anthropology building, John saw words burned into the wall. 


“Grog? What’s a grog? Go back where?” John asked aloud.

Then a star shaped hole opened in the granite wall.  He looked in his hand and saw the arrow head. It was the same shape. Slowly, he placed it in the hole and the earth shook slightly as the wall opened up and a portal of light appeared. A beam of light pulled him in. He seemed to be in a strange land. He walked around and saw a caveman pulling a cart with stone wheels but the wheels were triangle shaped. Then it began to make sense to him. He had to go back in time to help a caveman make the wheel because he did it wrong. John saw that he was struggling with the cart so he stopped him.

Grog was startled by the strange man and the strange clothes. John looked in his cart and saw more triangle shaped wheels and his tools. He pulled a wheel out of the cart and set it down next to a large rock. He then grabbed the tools and used them to shape the wheel from triangle to round. When he finished, he rolled it and Grog was amazed. He smiled and grunted then did the same thing John did. Suddenly, the portal appeared and John was taken back to the present.

He woke up to the sound of people asking him if he was all right. He looked around and saw a shattered water pitcher on the ground and round tires on the vehicles.

Time ChangeMamie Pound

Mamie Pound

He pushed the thumb lock on the bathroom door, turned off the light and peeled back the shag rug.

A beam of star-shaped light shot to the ceiling. He lay his glasses on the sink and pressed an eye to the cold tile floor.

Through this hole he looked back 7,000 years.

They sat cross-legged, as always. A hollowed stone arrowhead pipe passed between them. 

Raucous laughter and pungent smoke filled the cave. A skinny man in an animal hide held a small fire to the pipe, while a rotund, unibrowed caveman held it to his lips. He then removed it and examined its end. No flame. The pipe was passed again. One after the other tried the pipe, with no luck. 

The boy peering across the space-time continuum, pushed himself up to his knees. He pulled open the drawer to his left, then the one above it, digging past Benadryl and Pepto Bismal, Q-tips and cotton balls, until he felt the baby blue Bic lighter. With a flick, a spear of orange flame shot up, casting odd shadows from the toothpaste, squeezed in its middle, lying on its side.

He drew back the shower curtain and set the lighter in the soap dish, kicked off his shoes, dropped his pants, shirt and underwear on the bathroom floor and jumped into the portal, sending an antique china pitcher to the floor.

“JImmy, what was that?” His mother’s voice was muffled through the door.

“The uh, flower thingy, but it’s okay,” he called back, held his breath.

 “Supper’s almost ready.” Her footsteps continued down the hall.

“Ok, Mom,” he yelled, and turned the time-travel dial into the “on” position. 

He braced himself. Ages of humanity washed over him as he sailed backward in time. Eyes closed, he felt the soap dish for the lighter. And before the water ran cold, he was there.

He grabbed an animal skin from the tree and wrapped it around himself. 

The cavemen were grumbling, scratching their head. One guy was grinding a stick into another stick between his palms.

“Guys,” he called. One by one they turned toward him, smiled.“I thought we talked about this, last time.”

They looked at each other, then at him.

“You need all-weather matches, or a lighter, a cave can be damp.” He walked to the center of the men and held up the tiny blue implement, sent up an enormous flame. A collective gasp echoed in the stone chambers. 

“Here you go,” he tossed the Bic to the big sooty guy, wearing a bone in his ear.

They all jibber-jabbered but he upheld his hands. 

“Can’t stay this time. Meatloaf and Mac n’cheese,” he said. They nodded in understanding and he waved goodbye. 

“…been in there for-ever, Jimmy!” His mom knocked again.

Lights on, rug back in place, he wiped steam from the bathroom mirror. Only a slight smell of smoke…and an imperceptible rumble beneath his feet. ”She’ll never suspect a thing,” he mumbled.

“Coming, Mom!”

And a scarcely audible cheer sounded in the distance.