The Iron Writer Challenge #170
2016 Summer Open Challenge #7
The Paul Arden Lidberg Challenge
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Dani J. Caile, C. S. E. Greenberg, Megan Cypress, Kenneth Lawson, Katie Clark
A man shoveling water
A cloud that looks like something.
A Place to Sit
All he wanted to do was find an original Eames Lounge Chair. Was that too much to ask? Copies were plentiful. Bad copies, good copies, The better ones had the dimensions right but were off by some other details. The really bad ones had the basic shape and concept, and that was about all. Cheap vinyl, that stuck to you like melting ice cream on a hot summer’s day. The really bad ones felt like sitting on a 1940’s vinyl couch. You know, the kind that sticks to you when you try to get up.
Finding an original Eames Lounge Chair was like looking for the elusive Dragon of old. His search was starting to take his toll on him. He swore he saw clouds that looked like that chair. His quest had been compared to the man shoveling water out of the fast filling tub. He was beginning to think there were no more original Eames Lounge Chairs in existence. He knows he could go and buy a new chair identical to the ones made in the 1950’s. But he didn’t want a modern version. He wanted the original.
After many years of searching, he had finally given up on his dream.
One day he walked into a little shop in a town he never heard of. He was killing time between trains and had a couple of hours to kill. He reverted to his usual habit of cruising antique shops and thrift stores. The shop was overflowing with pieces from every period. After talking to the owner, he asked if he had any Mid Century Modern furniture. Yes, he did have a couple of pieces he thought might be what he was looking for. The owner pointed him to a back room. There in a corner it sat. An Eames Lounge Chair. His heart stopped beating for a second. But was it real? He carefully made his way through the sea of chairs and tables piled various items that had long outlived their usefulness. He got close enough to really see it. His hand went into shock at touching real leather, not plastic. He looked it over more carefully. After a half hour’s examination, and doing research on his phone.
It was an original Eames Lounge chair, in brown leather, with the ottoman.
Hiding his excitement as he returned to the owner. He asked about where it had come from, and, how much. It was clear he had no idea what it was.
The price 500.00. He knew the ottoman alone was worth far more than that.
He made a call. He wrote out a check and handed it to the old man. Telling him, His wife would be by later to pick it up.
After the man had left, the old shop owner looked at the check more carefully. It had been made out to 5,000.00 dollars. There was a note attached to it.
He told him the chair was worth far more than the 500 he had been asking for, and he couldn’t in good conscience only give that to him.
His quest was over. He had his place to sit.
Care for Lunch?
Dani J Caile
“I can’t believe they put me on this,” said Apprendice Knight Arthur Legg (Second Class), complaining to his pet chicken Tina while shovelling water from the drainage ditch out of sight of the castle. “Why don’t I ever get battlements duty or jousting or bodyguard to the princess?”
“Buk buk,” said Tina.
Arthur had been emptying the ditch for hours but it always seemed to be full… a sound of thunder filled the bright blue sky. “What’s that?” He looked up to see a small, black cloud, moving with speed towards them. “Funny, I can’t feel any wind today, and that’s going at a hell of a speed… and it’s losing height?” The cloud was getting closer. “Looks like a bird. Or is that…” It dissipated to reveal a… “Dragon!” Before he could duck for cover, it landed in the ditch, covering him, Tina and itself, with mud.
“Excuse me,” said the dragon as they all picked themselves up. “No good with landings.”
“Dragon!” screamed Arthur.
“Buk buk!” clucked Tina.
They both tried to escape from the ditch but failed miserably. Arthur saw that their green, winged intruder was crying. “Nobody loves me!” cried the dragon. “Because I’m no ‘F’ dragon, they say go away!” It took out a handkerchief and blew it’s long, freckled, smoking nose.
Arthur, against his better judgement, slowly moved over to the dragon. Tina gingerly followed. “There, there, it can’t all be that bad,” he said.
“Bad? Bad? My family said ‘go’! I no have ice cream or cake!” said the dragon.
“Ice cream?” asked Arthur. What had ice cream got to do with a dragon?
“Yes, family ask, ‘How many scoops?’ and I say…” The dragon held up two fingers.
“And?” asked Arthur. He was perilously close to the monster. And seeing as he was an Apprendice Knight (Second Class), they hadn’t given him a sword for protection.
“I’m a…” The dragon put his hands together to show a ‘T’. “…dragon. Rare, and dangerous. And dumb!” It started crying again. The ditch began to fill up with more water.
“You’re a…’T’ dragon?” asked Arthur. The dragon nodded. “What does that mean?”
“Whenever I say…” It showed a ‘T’ again. “…I make fire. I use the Hungarian word for fire. See? Túz!” Flames gushed from the dragon’s mouth and the water in the ditch evaporated around them, leaving only solid earth.
“Wow!” said Arthur.
“Yes, but I’m one in a million. Dragons make fire using ‘F’ words. Me, no. I’m dumb!” moaned the dragon.
“So what if you use ‘T’ words instead of ‘F’! Who cares?” smiled Arthur, happy that his work was done. Maybe now he could relax a little, go back to the castle, have a few beers…
“Really?” smiled the dragon. “My name’s Shagwee. Yours?” He offered his claw.
“Arfur. And the small bird?”
“Tina,” replied Arthur.
“Tina.” When the flames subsided, a lovely roast chicken rolled to a halt on the ground. “Sorry, my bad,” blushed Shagwee. “Care for lunch?”
The Mighty Dragon(fly)
Drake the dragonfly struggled with the storm, two legs clutched to grass, two entwined with Freya’s.
With a mighty FLASH and ZWOSH the wind wrested Drake from the grass.
They were tossed asunder, until one of Freya’s slender hands slipped.
“Don’t let go!” Her wings beat fast as his heart.
“Never!” His wings matched her wings beat for beat.
But the storm snatched Freya’s other hand. Her silver face and scarlet eyes receded in the distance as she was thrown away from him. His head slammed into a swirling leaf and he lost consciousness.
Drake startled awake. He’d landed on top a golden water lily in a pond.
“HELP!” Drake saw a group of ants stranded on a maple-leaf boat.
“SHOVEL FASTER!” a large-mouth bass belched, but the rain refilled the boat.
“Hail, fellow storm survivors!”
“The mighty dragonfly will save us!”
“Have you seen another dragonfly?” he asked. “Her name’s Freya.”
“Only you, our savior.”
“I can’t save you; I must find Freya,” he said. “Why are you here?”
“Captain Halle at your service,” a large red ant bowed, “We’re tricked, we listened to this bass.”
“NONSENSE! I told you that the white sweet frozen treat dropped at the edge of the pond was to DIE for.“ he nudged the leaf.
“I don’t understand,” said Drake.
“Alas,” said Halle, “we ate it all, and then the rain carried us away.”
“It’s our shame.”
“Come on in little ants, the water is fine!” said the bass.
Drake looked out across the pond for Freya, but didn’t see her. “How can I help?”
“You can help them swim with me!” laughed the bass.
“Oh no, we can’t swim!”
“Can you push us to shore with your powerful wings?” asked Halle.
“I shall try.” Drake thrashed his wings and pushed as hard as he could.
“Look, it’s working!”
The wind pushed back.
“HA! Look at the MIGHTY dragonfly,” said the bass.
Out of breath and sore of heart, Drake stopped his fluttering. “He’s right; I couldn’t even save my love.”
“Don’t give up!”
“I just can’t”
“All is not lost!” said Helle. “The great NIDO, the storm sprite, rewards all that show strength in spite of sorrow. Try again.”
Drake breathed deeply and once more heaved against the wind. The air around them became still and the water calmed.
Drake’s reflection transformed; dark clouds extended in all directions. As his reflection changed, his strength surged.
“NIDO has come; the mighty Dragon is with us!”
“HA! I see only a fly,” mocked the bass.
Suddenly, an osprey swooped down, captured the bass, and flew away.
“We are saved!”
Drake gave one last push and the leaf struck the sandy bank.
“All hail the Dragonfly!” chanted the ants as they crawled to shore.
Drake’s wings drooped as he watched the ants wind their way through the grass jungle.
They flew towards each other and landed the bahiagrass.
“I shall never leave you again,” said Drake.
“You have found your Freya,” said Halle. “The great NIDO rewards those that persevere; you are indeed a MIGHTY dragonfly.”
There Must Be Something in the Water
Doug paced around his tiny efficiency apartment as he talked to his lawyer on his government-issued cell phone. “So you’re saying I need to do something to benefit the community to convince the judge not to send me to jail?”
“Yep,” Mr. Lawson replied.
“Like what? People don’t like working with thieves.”
“I’m sure you can come up with something.”
Doug looked out the window at a puddle of water that lay in a ditch. “I got just the thing.”
Doug grabbed a shovel out of his closet that he had previously stolen from the Home Depot.
He ran outside and jumped into the puddle and started shoveling. He scooped shovelful after shovelful….right back into the puddle. He worked on it for a half-hour. “Why won’t this water go down any further?” He tossed down his shovel and lay down on the muddy ground. He looked up at the clouds above him as they passed. He pointed to one. “A dragon! That’s what I need. Come here, Dragon!”
The dragon-looking cloud transformed into an actual dragon and came down to earth and blew the puddle away with a big gust of his fiery breath.
Doug gave the dragon a thumbs up. “Good job, Dragon!”
The dragon flew up to the sky and blended back in with the clouds.
Doug grinned. “I’m going to take credit for the dragon’s hard work.” He snapped a picture of the puddle with his phone. He got distracted though before he looked to see how it turned out because he heard the ice cream truck playing “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”
Doug ran to the truck, his wet jeans weighing him down, but he was determined to get ice cream for his job well done.
Doug caught up to the truck and ordered an ice cream cone and licked the soft clouds of vanilla soft serve off the cone.
When he was finished his ice cream, he looked at the picture on his phone. The puddle was full again in the picture. “I don’t get it. The dragon took care of this.”
“No, he didn’t,” a voice whispered from the sky.
Doug looked up to see the face of the dragon form in the cloud. “I’m only a figment of your imagination. If you want to shovel that puddle away, you better get to work.”
Doug shrugged. “Well, it was the thought that counted anyway.”
When Doug went back to court for his sentencing date, he told the judge all about his attempt to clear a puddle out of a ditch to protect the the neighborhood kids who might fall in it or the cars that might get stuck in it. He even showed him the picture on his phone and told the judge about his efforts. The judge was unamused and sentenced him to spend a month in jail.
When Doug entered his jail cell, he lay his head down on his pillow. “Oh, well,” he said to himself before he fell asleep, “at least I got some ice cream before serving my time.”
A Dragon’s Weakness
C. S. E. Greenberg
Dark clouds spread like ribbons across the sky. An old man looked up from his fields. The scaly black skull burst forth from behind the ribbons, the dragon tangling its gleaming black body in vapor and thunder. The dragon roared, and the old man dropped his rake and ran towards the castle.
“The dragon must be stopped!”
The elder’s face reddened, his voice too loud to be addressing his lord. Sir Maron’s face contorted, and the elder blanched. “I mean, sir, we need your help!”
A stranger approached. “Sir, if you need help with a Dragon, I’d be more than willing to assist you.” The knight’s eyes brightened, and looked at the stranger. He was dressed in the style of an tinker, his pack bulging, a shovel fastened on the back.
“How can you help?” the knight demanded.
“I can get the dragon to leave. But I’d require as much ice cream as could fill my wagon as pay.”
Sir Maron of Bluebell stiffened. “That’s a knight’s ransom in ice cream—a full week’s production from the dairy!”
The tinker shrugged. “Sir, my methods require much risk. If you’d rather handle it yourself, that’s fine. But the dragon may keep your cows off their feed, and when cows aren’t eating, they don’t make milk.”
The elder looked towards the knight, his concern for the cows evident. The knight grumbled. “This is highway robbery!” He sighed. “The guards will get you what you need.”
The tinker set up at the edge of a nearby lake, spitting a slaughtered sheep it over the fire. He took off his pack, and set aside his shovel. A slight line of black smoke crept skyward. The tinker looked towards the clouds, fluffy loaves of bread obscuring the sky, and frowned. The dragon’s head appeared through the clouds. It descended and began feasting on the sheep. The tinker picked the shovel from the ground, and filled it with water from the lake, then slung the water into the dragon’s face. Steam rose from the dragon’s scales as the dragon flinched. The tinker hurriedly filled his shovel again, and flung the water straight into the dragon’s eyes. The dragon hissed, then fled, spouting flames into the air as it repeatedly shook its head.
As the tinker prepared to leave, his cart filled with his delicious reward, the elder came scurrying up. “Why would the dragon fear being covered in water?”
The tinker laughed. “Dragons die if their fires are extinguished.. Besides, what creature likes getting water flung into its’ eyes?”
The tinker departed, heading past the boundary of the Knight’s holdings. He turned off the road, heading toward a strange, black hill in an empty pasture. The hill blinked at the tinkerer. “Took you long enough,” the dragon mumbled to his accomplice. “And why did you have to spray me directly in the eyes?”
The tinker grimaced back at the dragon. “They wouldn’t believe it unless you made it obvious, which you wouldn’t do. I knew you’d react regularly to that.”
The dragon changed the subject. “Enough about business, let’s get down to dessert. Did they give you any Rocky Road?”