The Iron Writer Challenge #199 – 2017 Summer Equinox Challenge #5

The Iron Writer Challenge #199

 2017 Summer Equinox Challenge #5

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Vance Rowe, Elaine Johnson, Emma Crowley and Bethany Totten, Bertram  Allan Mullin

(Authors names will be posted to their stories next Thursday, after the voting is concluded.)

The Elements:

Gov’t processed cheese.

Coffee Grounds

Ice cream

Wealth

Think It

She dipped into her banana split, tapped the spoon so the hot fudge wouldn’t drip, flicked the tiniest bit of dazzling white whipped cream over the nuts, and paused with the spoon mid-air. “Did you know that the government issued cheese for those in need?”

He sniffed the coffee beans, nodded, set the machine to fine, and started the noise. After a moment, he dumped the grounds into the coffee maker and got the thing started. “You mean now or back in the day?”

“I’m sure they do it now, but in 1954,” she was quoting her cell phone, “government cheese was issued in a brown wrapper.”

He sat back from the granite counter in their new McMansion and studied the pool reflecting just inside their backyard, right next to the cabana and hot tub. “Cheese is cheese, if you get hungry enough.”

She finished the last of the delicacy and settled the glass container in the sink. The party would start in an hour or so, so she added some Brie and Gouda and Provolone to the groaning platter of fruits and muffins, and stuck in back in the cooler. “Hard to argue with that. It stinks to be poor.“

The coffee maker was just about done. He pulled his favorite mug, the one that said, “Wealth Starts Here”, added just the right amount of hazelnut flavoring, and moved back to his office. She hardly saw him anymore, and after this contract was signed, he had two more clients waiting.  She stared at the pristine granite counter, at the caterer scurrying around, and strolled through the place one more time to check that the decor matched the image she’d tried so hard to cultivate.

They went to that conference last year, the one that permeated all their plans. It was why they were in this house in this part of town.  “You have to imagine your goals if you want to achieve them.” That was one motto from the first speaker. “If you think it, you can have it” was another.  They needed to cultivate the Right Mindset, so the last speaker insisted.  So here they were, in a magnificent house with vaulted ceilings, far from their friends and family, but in the right side of town, with just the right decor. Their first party would be a magnificent celebration of what they were; of where they were going.  She’d eaten a minimal breakfast and lunch to splurge on that banana split so she’d be happy and sated during the party. She wasn’t sure who half the people were, but they certainly expected to eat well. She studied the groaning covered plates on the serving table. That website kept haunting her.  Imagine eating government issued cheese.  Imagine being that poor.  She shook her head.  What you think might come true. She needed to think prosperity and wealth. She studied the pristine golf course and smiled.  Just think it to make it happen.  Wealth was coming. She knew.

WARNING: THIS STORY HAS RACIAL SLURS AND OTHER “COLORFUL” LANGUAGE!

Monopoly in the Hood

“You ‘bout to be bankrupt Tariq,” Big T said to his friend with a laugh.

“She-e-e-e-t nigga, you talkin’ crazy. I’m gettin’ mines. I got dem houses on the BW, man.”

“Yeah but you fittin’ to lose that shit too though.”

“Big T, man, you smokin’ that rock? I’m ‘bout to get my wealth on. As soon as you niggas start landing on that shit, you all done. It will be back to eating dat gov’ment cheese for alla y’all. Yo Luke, roll the damn dice man. It’s your turn, nigga.”

Luke rolled. Landing on a Chance card spot, he picked it up and read it, “Advance token to…shit.”

“Yeah, bitch. I tol’ you. Put that shit right on thereon Boardwalk and gimme my fo’teen hunnit dollars.”

Luke counted out the money and handed it to Tariq and Tariq said, “Now Imma put a hotel on that bitch and alla y’all goin’ to pay me.”

“Tariq, dat’s about all da money you gots. You better not be blowing that cheddar so soon.”

“Yo Cheezy, tell your moms that and mind yo’ bidness. You goin’ to be turnin’ dat corner up there on your next roll and will be comin’ down here to pay me too. Only you will forking over 2 G’s when you do,” Tariq laughed and picked up the dice. He landed on the “Go to Jail” spot.

“Here are some words you will be getting’ used to, Tariq. Go to jail, bitch,” Big T said with a laugh.

“Yo T, you want me to say hi to your pops while I’m there?” Tariq laughed in reply.

The three boys laughed at Big T’s expense and he said, “Dat’s okay. You all goin’ to be bankrupt soon and will have to use dem old coffee grounds over and over.”

Big T’s grandmother called out to him and asked, “Tulane? Do you and your friends want some ice cream?”

The three other boys looked at each other and in unison asked, “Tulane?”

They laughed and T pointed at them with an angry look on his face. Then he shouted, “No Gramma. Nobody wants ice cream.”

“I want some ice cream,” Tariq said with a smile.

“Nigga shut up. We ain’t got no ice cream. Gramma’s a little crazy in her old age. And alla y’all keep on calling me T. If I hear my name being mentioned by any y’all, I will bust a cap in yo’ asses. You feel me? Now, someone roll the damn dice.”

“It’s your turn Tul…er…T,” Tariq said with a chuckle.

T growled a bit, picked up the dice and rolled them.

“Boardwalk, bitch. Pay me.” Tariq said with a laugh.

Angered by being picked on a little too much, Big T said, “Know what? Alla y’all niggas need to get up from my crib. Take ya narra asses home.”

T flipped the game board and stormed out of his room.

“Geez, what’s eatin’ him?” Luke asked.

“He’s mad because he lost his money and has to wait for the truck to deliver his gov’ment cheese now,” Tariq said.

The three boys laughed and left Big T’s house.

The Barrel

No one wanted to approach the barrel now. Instead they leave it alone in the center of the darkened bunker, watching with bated breath as a cloudy white liquid began to creep across the ground. My heart still pounds as I kneel next to Meecah. In the crowded room, he was the only one npt watching the barrel; instead he stared down at his shaking fingers.

He had been the only person brave enough to approach the barrel after the search team had brought it underground. We had been waiting eagerly; every so often they’d return with arms full of food, but today, they dragged in a metal barrel, something that they had proudly stolen from a rebel convoy. The rest of the underground colony did not see the barrel as a sign of wealth as the search team did; to us it was nothing more than another three days of eating only government processed cheese. Nothing more than a disappointment

Until they opened it, that is.

Few brave souls dared to approach it after the lid was removed; Meecah one of them. He traded his swagger for cautions steps as he neared the barrel, hand pressed over his mouth and nose.

“It’s filled with white stuff,” his shout echoed around the packed bunker. Slowly he reaches a hand out over the open barrel, drawing a collective gasp from the room.

“Don’t touch it Meecah! It’s not worth it!”

Voices filled the air as Meecah’s hand begins to shake over the barrel. I pushed my way to the front of the crowd, getting a glimpse of the fear in his face. He lowered his hand into the barrel.

He let out a blood curdling scream as soon as his skin touched the white substance inside. Meecah dropped to the ground before me, letting out a wail as he curled his body around his hand. Screams echoed in my ears as the room erupts into chaos.

I force Meecah’s hand open and squint down at his shaking fingers.

“It burned me,” he whimpers, “I just brushed against it, and it burned me!”

I turn his hand over. His fingers are pristine. There’s no sign of a bruise, a burn, anything–

“What is going on here?” The whole room turns as Janice, the bunker’s oldest survivor, wanders into the room.

“Nothing, Janice, just a strange find from the search team,” I reach up to grab the sleeve of her nightdress, but somehow she slips away, leaving only the bitter scent of coffee grounds behind her.

Twist around, I stare into the crowd. Why is nobody stopping her?

A shout startles me, but it’s not full of pain–

Janice is laughing.

“It’s ice cream! I haven’t felt anything this cold in decades!” She scoops it from the barrel onto her shaking fingers. “Hurry, before it melts!”

Soon it’s my turn to scoop from the barrel, the feeling is incredible. The strange liquid fills my body with the most delightful chills.

Janice laughs as she watches us eat..

“One would think you have never been cold before!”

I glance at Meecah; as children of the apocalypse, we hadn’t.

Two Differences from Japan and America

Before moving to Japan, I noticed a problem with wealth in America. Not to say everyone’s rich. There were poor snobs. This created a big problem in the service industry: employees believed because they got paid little they could say whatever they wanted and get away with their behavior because rich owners were afraid to fire and get sued.

I had lived with my dad, who was sick with diabetes. He needed someone around. I’d spend several hours at night working on my novels and helping him. Sometimes I spent days without sleep. Often this would take me to Starbucks.

Better than sugary ice cream.

Obviously sleep wasn’t an option during the daytime because I had good ideas to be written and deleted during edits. Plus, there was no point in sleeping throughout the day.

An afternoon like any other, I walked into Starbucks nearby. The smell of the coffee grounds alone were enough to give me a slight jolt. Yet, I was pretty much a zombie to the world.

The girl at the counter asked for my order outright, not very welcoming.

No big deal.

Figured she was living off government processed cheese and whatnot. Decided to be nice and feigned my best smile to cheer her up, which was actually an exhausted line.

She grimaced. “What would you like to order, sir?”

“Caramel macchiato. Large.”

“Um, did you mean venti?” she asked with a judgmental undertone. I understood. Grande meant large and the former equaled twenty ounces in Italian. She likely assumed I didn’t see that movie too.

Venti.”

She sighed to imply I did something wrong. “Anything else, sir?”

“That’s all.” I could have said, “Thank you.”

Nope.

People should earn such words. I still felt bad for her. She had to deal with tired assholes such as myself all day and I’d bet worked a double-shift tonight. So I tossed my change in the tip jar.

While I walked out, she yelled, “Good luck with that attitude—” in Texas, the equivalent of: “Go fuck yourself.”

I almost turned, said something.

My decision was to leave with my beverage in hand, pretend to not hear. What bothered me most was I tipped. 

The situation could have ended there. Instead, the thought of whether to call her boss and district manager juggled in my mind for the day. My concern was the stuck up employee would speak this way to another customer. “Do you realize baristas like her hurt your business?” Had to be said.

To my reluctance the district manager convinced me to have them send two free drinks my way. I received a formal apology from the company. Gave the freebies to my dad before moving to Japan.

When I walked into a Starbucks there tired out of my mind, the cashier’s joyful smile makes me forget any of my troubles each time. Moreover, there’s usually a happy face, and “Thank you,” with a cute cartoon drawn on my cup. I love the customer service where I live now. Another difference is Japan uses real cheese, not government processed junk.

Trash

The house had certainly seen better days.  The paint was chipping and starting to peel, the shingles were starting to fall off the roof, and the plants were over grown and dying.

Of course the inside was far worse.  Piles of old newspapers and unwashed clothes were piled ceiling-high in nearly every room of the small three bedroom house, leaving only enough room for a tiny walkway throughout.  Old food wrappers, some several years old, take out containers, unopened mail, and various books and magazines dotted the area as well.  To be blunt, it looked like a landfill.  No sane person would ever dare go inside let alone live there.

Yet, it was someone’s home, least it had been.  The former inhabitant was now sadly deceased; years of smoking coupled with undiagnosed cancer had taken their toll and unfortunately caused their end.  While the death was expected, the details weren’t as easy to deal with.  The bulk of it was finished yet the worse remained, cleaning out the house.  The one thing the family was dreading.

“I can’t believe she lived like this,” Margo commented as she walked through the house followed by her husband Craig and her nephew, Daniel.

Craig grimly nodded in agreement.

The trio made their way into the kitchen.  Suddenly, the smell of rotting food hit them.  Margo and Craig covered their noses while Daniel hurried out of the house.  He sat down on the front steps and rested his head in his hands.  He was beside himself that his mother lived like that.  Hells, he was beside himself anyone could live like that.

He had hoped that his mother would have tried to get her hoard somewhat under control years ago when Daniel went to live with his aunt and uncle but she seemed to get worse, especially mentally.  She had started to get paranoid and was convinced she was being spied on by the government, first by them going through her garbage then with her food.

“I don’t want that darn government food,” Janet, Daniel’s mother, used to say.  “They spy on you with that processed cheese.  That’s how they know what you’re thinking.”
Daniel had been beside himself with what to do with her the last years of her life.  He had tried to get her house cleaned up somewhat before he went off to college but she fought him every step of the way.  He eventually gave up, secretly hoping she would do it on her own but she got sick before that happened and now, well, she was gone.

Margo came out and sat next to Daniel, placing her hand on his shoulder.  “You want to come back tomorrow and try again?” she asked.

Daniel shook his head.  “No, let’s just get it over with.”

He stood up and went back inside.  Before long, they had managed to get one room somewhat cleaned, throwing out a pile of trash.  Including some darn government processed cheese.

Beer and Cheese

Bud Hankins sat down at the bar with a heavy sigh and ordered a beer. “Hey, Dave! Lager!” Dave smiled and replied, “Bud, you already owe me. I told you you don’t get served here until you pay your tab!” Bud’s shoulders dropped as a frown spread across his face. “Aw, come on, Dave, you know I’m good for it.” Dave rolled his eyes, “Yeah, right. I know your game. Now pay up, or shut up. You can sit here as long as you like. I ain’t gonna throw you out, but all you’re gonna get to drink is water; all you want.” Bud looked down at the floor to avoid eye contact and seemed to retreat into a little pity party. Without looking up he moaned, “Dang it! I wish I were rich. Dave, how come I ain’t rich? I meet all kinds of rich people. I know there’s plenty of money out there. How come I ain’t got any of it?”

Dave smiled as he wiped the counter with a damp cloth. “Bud, you ain’t got any money ‘cuz you come in here and drink it all. You ain’t looking far enough down the road.”

Bud looked confused. “What?”

Dave went on, “Besides, you don’t wanna be rich, Bud. You wanna be wealthy.”

Bud looked puzzled.

Dave continued, “ See, rich people have money, but they have expenses, too. They can’t stop working because all that money they have will get used up too soon, and they’ll be broke. But if you were wealthy, you could live a long time on the money that comes in without you working.”

Bud squinted in confusion.

“Let’s say you owned a $1000 of ice cream. Would you think you were wealthy?” “Yeah, I could sell it all and make a lot of money.”

“But could you sell it all before it melted?”

“Well, no.”

“Okay, then you’d have to go right back to work, so that’s not wealth. What if you owned $1000 of Coffee grounds? That stuff is useful to a lot of people.”

Bud smiled, “And it doesn’t go bad nearly as fast as ice cream.”

“Yes, Bud, but you’d still have to keep going out to collect more, and the supply could become short.” “So … that’s not wealth either?”

“No, you’re still having to work in order to keep up your standard of living. But what if you owned all the surplus government processed cheese in the world? That stuff lasts forever.”

“I’d get old and die before I sold all of it.”

“And you’d get someone else to sell it for you, so you don’t have to work. Now that’s wealth.”

“But, Dave, I still wouldn’t have piles of cash sitting around, just piles of cheese.”

“Probably not. You wouldn’t be rich, but you’d be wealthy; you could live pretty well and not have to work.”

Bud smiled, “Hey, Dave?”

“Yeah.”

“Where can I find me some of that cheese?”

“Not in here, Bud. Not in here.”

The Iron Writer Challenge #170, 2016 Summer Open Challenge #7

The Iron Writer Challenge #170 

2016 Summer Open Challenge #7

The Paul Arden Lidberg Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

  Authors:

Dani J. Caile, C. S. E. Greenberg, Megan Cypress, Kenneth Lawson, Katie Clark

The Elements:

A man shoveling water

A dragon

Ice cream

A cloud that looks like something.

A Place to Sit

Kenneth Lawson

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

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.

“Arthur.”

“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)

Katie Clark

WHOOSH… SPLITTER-SPLATTER…CRASH

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.

“SHOVEL FASTER!”

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.

“Save us!”

“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.

“Help us!”

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.

“Drake?”

“Freya!”

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

Megan Cypress

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?”

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The Iron Writer Challenge #118 – 2015 Summer Solstice Preliminary Round

The Iron Writer Challenge #118

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements 

Challenge #117

Bello Oluwadamilare

The Brackets:

PD-Eastman

P. D. Eastman

The Authors:

Alis Van Doorn, Tina Biscuit, E. Chris GarrisonMathew W. Weaver

Eric Carle

Eric Carle

The Authors:

Jaclyn Wilson, Richard Russell, Danielle Lee ZwisslerDaniel J. Sanz

Margret-and-HA-Rey

H. A. Rey

The Authors:

Matthew BarronTony Jaeger,  Kara Kahnke, Dwight Wade

The Elements:

timeclock

A time clock
Ice cream
A Parachute
Told from POV of an alien on the planet Nibiru, as the Nibiru enters our solar system.

Nibiru technology is no greater or worse than Earth’s.

Stories are posted

on the bracket author’s image and name.

Just click the link and remember to vote!