The Iron Writer Challenge #129, 2015 Autumn Equinox Open, Doug Adams Bracket

The Iron Writer Challenge #129

The 2015 Autumn Equinox Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Doug Adams Bracket

The Authors:

Richard Russell, Geoff Gore, Megan Cypress, Mamie Pound

The Elements:

vest

worldwide holiday celebrating a fictional character ( you must name the character)

Testing the first bullet-proof vest

The first mosquito of the season

Pancake batter

A Long, Low WhistleMamie Pound

Mamie Pound

The peep hole was nothing more than a pine knot that had taken leave of its surroundings, fallen to the cellar.

George pressed his eye to it.

He saw a man’s boot, part of the Birmingham News and flashes of her apron.

Toenails clicked across the wood floor above. A nose snorted into the hole. He drew back and held his breath.

The dog whined, wagged his tail.

“Outside, boy,” she called. The screened door slammed.

“We got mice again, down in the cellar,” she said. “And the screen door’s torn. It’ll keep out those first couple of mosquitos, but we’re gonna have to get a new one. Buford keeps scratching to get inside and…,” she started.

“Stupid dog should live outside,” the Trooper said, without taking his eyes from his newspaper.

“It was that bad thunderstorm…,” she explained.

“You ever gonna make breakfast?” he asked without looking at her.

“Pancakes are almost done,” she said, stirring the buttermilk into the flour and sugar. .

Pans clanked. Water ran.

George shifted his weight to get a better look at them.

Outside, the dog sniffed the basement window, barked.

“Says here that your ex-boyfriend is on the run,” he said.

“What?” she faced him.

“Half the state of Alabama is looking for him. You seen him around here?” He watched her as closely as he would a convict.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she turned away, lifting pieces of sizzling bacon from the iron skillet.

“One thing’s for sure, if George shows up here, it’ll be a shame for him,” he sneered.

“Why’s that?” she asked, as if she were hardly interested in his answer.

“State Troopers have these new bullet-proof vests. He doesn’t stand a chance,” he said.

Her stomach knotted. “What if they aim for your head?”

“It’ll never happen. These guys shoot from a distance, they ain’t gonna aim for a head.”

She remembered the day George got caught. That was three years ago. He shot a man over a card game and took the money. They packed everything they could fit into a 1983 Toyota Corolla and drove all night, almost made it to the border. But less than a mile from Nuevo Laredo, there was a road block. They were looking for him.

George shot the Trooper six times before they apprehended him.

She’d done just as George planned and claimed she was his hostage. That way, she’d go free, instead of being an accomplice to murder.

The Trooper “rescued” her that night, asked her to marry him 6 months later. He didn’t know she took out a 250,000 life insurance policy on him.

“Says he escaped during the Bacchus Festival, down in New Orleans. Killed two guards on his way out. They lost him in the Bayou,” the Trooper read.

George removed the safety, slipped his gun into the knot hole, aimed for the balding head above him.

“Never was a patient man…,” she said.

Then, there was the faintest, “click”.

The last thing the Trooper heard was the train as it thundered over the mountain. Its long, low whistle cried out again and again.

And the dog howled in sympathy.

 

Shooting for the HeartRichard Russell

Richard Russell

Jack sat, slumped over at the kitchen table and stared out the window.   He was still dressed up like Clint Eastwood, complete with poncho, hat, steel plates under his poncho, and six-shooters on his side. But these were real guns with real bullets. His head pounded as he took a swig from the “hair of the dog that had bitten him” last night. Feeling sick to his stomach, it was all he could do just to sit and re-run all that had happened the day before on International Man-With-No-Name Day. It was a new world-wide event celebrating the invention of the bullet-proof vest. The special day was the latest “brilliant” idea launched by world leaders to help release pent-up aggression and reduce violent crime in the public sector.

Everyone the world over was to wear bullet-proof vests and meet up in the streets with the handguns of their choice. They were to fire upon each other until they had used up all their aggression or ran out of bullets, whichever came first.

In theory it made sense, but what actually transpired was more like mayhem. Not only were there men and women standing face-to-face firing rounds at each other in turn, but people would just be walking down the street, and someone would fire from a doorway or a window.   Of course, return fire was made: It soon became a free-for-all.

A man walked into the bar, pulled a 45 and shot the bartender. He promptly pulled a nine millimeter and shot the customer; who then ordered a beer, and the bartender served it to him.

A woman went into the bakery and fired on the salesclerk as well as two other women who were leaving with a birthday cake. They, of course, returned fire and then went on about their business.

A husband was preparing breakfast for the family when his wife snuck up behind him and shot him in the back. Naturally, he spun around and shot her in the stomach. Then they kissed and sat down together to eat.

This went on ALL DAY LONG and well into the night.

It was actually quite exhausting and not just a little nerve-wracking.

Jack had come through virtually unscathed. Well, he had some bruising, but there was no external blood.

Convalescing there in the kitchen, Jack thought about how people “shoot” each other all the time – verbally and metaphorically – and then act as if nothing happened. He was surprised society was as congenial as it was.

Jack’s wife began whipping up a batch of pancake batter rather loudly.

He glared at her, “Do you HAVE to DO that?!”

She “threw daggers” at him, slammed the bowl down, and exploded, “Yeah! What do YOU ever do around here, ‘cept drink?! Ya lazy GIT!”

Jack shouted back, “Aw, shut up, you blood-sucking nag!”

Jack looked down and spotted what must be the first mosquito of the season on his arm.   Reaching over, he squashed it, leaving a red smear.

The DealGeoff Gore

Geoff Gore

“Place is quiet today.” Lou gestured to the empty booths.

“That’s cos it’s Saint Sherlock’s day,” Tony replied. “You think I’d invite Jonas to a deal if it was gonna be crowded?”

The waitress arrived and deposited two towers of pancakes in front of them.

“So tell me this,” said Lou, tapping at the Rolex on his wrist. “How come he aint here already?”

“He’ll be here.”

“He’d better be.” Lou dug his fork into the stack in front of him.

Tony glanced around the diner toward the door.

“How come yours are like that?” Lou said through a mouthful of pancake. Fine flecks of batter spat across the table as he spoke.

“They’re supposed to be like that. They’re gluten free, I’m intolerant.”

“You got that right.”

The small bell above the door jangled. Underneath Jonas searched around until his eyes came to rest on the two of them sitting in the gloom at the back of the diner.

“Gentlemen.” He approached and sidled across the seat on Tony’s side. “Happy St Sherlock’s.”

“Hey Jonas,” said Lou, “you been working out, or just eating out? Looks like you’ve put on a few pounds since last time.”

Jonas leaned forward across the table. “Check it out.” He undid a button mid-way down his shirt.

“You wearin a bra Jonas?”

“It’s a bulletproof vest dumbass. In case one of you idiots tries anything, capiche?”

“Bulletproof? You sure?”

“Sure as I’m sitting here, just tested. Anyway, enough pleasantries, you got my stuff?”

“You got the cash?”

Jonas swung a briefcase onto the table top, flipped back the latches and opened the lid enough to reveal the green of the notes inside, then shut it again.

“Okay.” Tony reached down beside him and pulled up his own case.

Across the table Lou placed down his fork. One hand rested on the counter next to his meal. The other had slipped below the table and gripped the 9mm trained on Jonas, sitting across from him.

Tony opened the case and turned it so that Jonas could see the contents.

Jonas smiled.

“Alright I’ve seen enough, let’s do this. Nice and slow.”

Jonas and Tony placed the cases down alongside each other, where nobody would notice that they had swapped them around.

There was a high pitched thwap. The table top splintered around a small hole in the Formica.

Jonas’ head fell forward onto the counter, a small raspberry stain seeping across the table.

“What the hell was that?”

“Sorry.” Lou pulled his arm from beneath the table. A red welt was forming on his forearm. “I think I got bit by a mosquito.” He rubbed it. “First one of the season, dammit. I’m allergic.”

Tony picked up both cases and tried to shift past Jonas’ corpse without drawing attention. “I guess they haven’t come up with a bullet proof helmet yet.”

“You gonna eat those?” Lou said, pointing in the direction of Tony’s pancakes.

Tony shook his head. “Come on let’s get outta here.”

Marty McFly DayMegan Cypress

Megan Cypress

“Can you believe we’re already in the future?” Sally asks her husband Dale while whipping together pancake batter in their kitchen.

Dale gives her a quizzical look. “What do you mean? The future? We’re always in the present.”

“You know, 2015, the year Marty McFly flew into the future.”

“We’re in the present, my Dear Sally. 2015 was Marty’s future 30 years ago. You hadn’t even been born yet.”

“Yes, I had. I was one when that movie came out, and we had it on VHS when I was a kid.”

“Oh, excuse me,” he says in a mocking tone.

“If only I could go back to the past and meet Marty McFly.”

“You do realize he’s a fictional character, right?”

Sally ignores his question and poses her own. “Did you know today is Marty’s birthday?”

“What?” Dale asks in disbelief.

“Yeah. June 9, 1968.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because he is my density — I mean — destiny.” Sally laughs at her own joke, which Dale doesn’t get. He gives her a puzzled look instead.

Sally envisions herself standing in front of the 1985 Hill Valley Clock Tower.

The DeLorean speeds around the corner and pulls up in front of her. The door swings open.

“Get in,” a young Marty McFly shouts.

Sally hops into the passenger seat.

“So where’d you like to go?”

“How about the old west? I loved the Old West Hill Valley in the third movie.”

“You got it.”

Marty types September 7, 1885 on the keypad and speeds up to 88 mph. Cars fade from around them, and horses take their place.

The car comes to a stop.

“Here we are,” Marty says. “Good old 1885. The day the first bulletproof vest was tested in Hill Valley. Wanna watch?”

“Do I?” she says emphatically.

A mosquito flies in through the window and buzzes around her ear. The DeLorean fades away, and she finds herself back in her kitchen with Dale.

“Damn, looks like mosquitoes are out already. I hate this time of year.”

Sally sighs. “I don’t know. I kind of like summertime. Besides, it’s Marty’s birthday, so today’s going to be a good day.”

“Right,” he says in a sarcastic tone that Sally doesn’t pick up on.

“I’m declaring today the first ever International Marty McFly Day. Wanna watch the Back to the Future movies with me tonight? They’re on Netflix, and I need to prepare myself for the 30th anniversary party that Bob’s throwing.”

“You’re not taking me to that,” Dale says in an annoyed tone.

“Fine. Then I’m not making you breakfast.”

“Oh, come on,” he says.

She gives him an annoyed look.

He huffs. “Fine. I’ll go with you. Now will you make me my pancakes already?”

Sally cooks the pancakes, daydreaming about her and Dale going to the party dressed as the older Marty and Jennifer from 2015, while Dale tries to come up with an excuse he can use later to get out of going to the party.

The Iron Writer Challenge #129 – 2015 Autumn Equinox Open

The Iron Writer Challenge #129

The 2015 Autumn Equinox Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Brackets:

 Homer_British_Museum

Homer


Doug Adams

Edward Abbey

Edward Abbey

(Please click on bracket image to read stories)

The Elements:

vest

A worldwide holiday celebrating a fictional character ( you must name the character)

Testing the first bullet-proof vest

The first mosquito of the season

Pancake batter

Stories will be posted

October 1, 2015

The Iron Writer Challenge #129 – 2015 Autumn Equinox Open, Edward Abbey Bracket

The Iron Writer Challenge #129

The 2015 Autumn Equinox Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Edward Abbey Bracket:

Edward Abbey

The Authors:

Bobby Salomons, Mathew W. Weaver, Danielle Lee Zwissler,  Tina Biscuit

The Elements:

vest

worldwide holiday celebrating a fictional character ( you must name the character)

Testing the first bullet-proof vest

The first mosquito of the season

Pancake batter

Bullet Man DayMathew W Weaver

Mathew W. Weaver

Radio Transcript, October 17th, 1768, New Calendar.

“Good morning, folks, and a beeeeeeeeeeeig happy BULLET MAN DAY to you!”

“We all love Bullet Man, and today is THAT DAY! HIS day!”

“That’s right, Jim. Welcome back, folks, you’re with Lenny Jimster,”

“And Jim Lennyman,”

“And today is all about… you guessed it…”

“BULLET MAN!”

“On YOUR favorite radio station, <static>.”

“Whoo-whee, oh man, Jim, am I excited.”

“So am I, Lenny. It’s already been a century, yes, a CENTURY since the first Bullet Man comic.”

“Say whaaat?”

“Believe it or not! And after all, he was the world’s first ever comic book superhero, precursor to all other great superheroes.”

“Darn right, Jim. Whizzed out at the world like the first mosquito of the season, and took us down like malaria.”

“We didn’t stand a chance. Lenny, I tell you, Bullet Man hits me right here. Know what it reminds me of? The smell of my mother’s pancake batter in the morning,”

“Mmm-hmm, pancakes and Bullet Man at breakfast.”

“Nothing beats that.”

“Nothing at all. And what about you folks listening in? Call in with YOUR Bullet Man memories, on <static>.”

“And if you’ve just joined us, we’ve been here, live, at the Bullet Plaza, Speed Avenue for the past four hours, and we’re NOW MOMENTS AWAY from the newest Bullet Man memorial unveiling.”

“That’s right, Fibrelabs Inc. are showing off the world’s FIRST EVER BULLET PROOF VEST. It’s finally here.”

“And, for those of you at home who can’t make it to Bullet plaza today, Jim and I’ve got you covered.”

“LENNY, I’M SO EXCITED.”

“So am I, Jim, and it looks like we have our first caller, and a heeeeyyyllllooooooh!”

“<static> Hi, I’m <static> and I want to say that Bullet Man is one of my <static> and Riflegirl too.”

“Definitely, Sarah, you can’t have Bulletman without Riflegirl.”

“Like bread and butter, eh, Lenny?”

“Like pudding and pie,”

“Cookies and milk,”

<static>

“And don’t look now, I think we’re getting started.”

“I may be wrong, but it looks like… President <static> is walking onto the stage. And… Jim, is he…?”

“I… I do believe he is! Folks, the PRESIDENT is, get this, WEARING Fibrelabs’ newest invention!”

<off mic> “Are they? They are?”

“Jim, they tell me that they’re going to, get this, TEST IT on HIM!”

“GOL-LEEE, on the PRESIDENT?”

“Folks, you heard it here first. They’re taking their positions, the President is ready, and might I say, that vest looks gorgeous. Alright, that’s Fibrelabs’ CEO Nate Stunham with the gun. He’s aiming, and the crowd’s gone quiet.”

“It’s so quiet you could tiptoe and still be heard, folks!”

“Tension here’s higher than a tight rope!”

“Lenny, HE’S DOING IT!”

“HE’S DOING IT!”

<explosion>

<pause>

“And… it looks like… the President… Lenny, is that blood?”

“Uh oh, I don’t think… oh <CENSORED>”

<long pause>

“Jim… the President… he’s…”

“Shut up, Lenny, I can see that.”

<long pause>

“Is he?”

“He’s dead, Jim.”

<long pause, static>

“Um. Um. It, uh, looks like the uh… we’re going take a commercial break.”

“Uh, yeah. Stay tuned on the other side with… uh… Lenny and… oh <CENSORED> it, cut to the commercials already.”

“<CENSORED>”

<end>

Bang BangDanielle Lee Zwissler

Danielle Lee Zwissler

Herald Carlson dug deep into the earth for the past three hours now, his captor behind him with a gun pointed to his head. Sweat beaded off his forehead, eliciting the first mosquitos of spring to bite his itching flesh. He was just a regular guy that morning, making pancakes in the kitchen with his wife, trying out a new batter, when the backdoor of their condo opened, and a gun was pointed at Herald’s wife, making a begging Herald’s decision easy.
He went with the gunman.

He didn’t know who the man was, he didn’t know the location of where he was now, only that it was on a large piece of land, surrounded by woods.

“A few more inches,” the gunman said.

“Why are you doing this?”

“I need to know if it works.” The man had sweat pouring off his forehead and his eye twitched.

Herald looked at the ground around him; there were small plaques sticking out of the dirt with addresses on them. Herald swallowed. “What’s in those…?”

“Don’t you already know?”

“I…”

“You’re digging your grave, 266 Fenton.”

Herald felt a lump in the back of his throat when he heard his address being called. “W-why?”

“In case you don’t make it.”

“So there’s a chance that I might?”

“Maybe,” the man said, scratching his chin.

“So, what do I have to do?”

“Put down the shovel, and come with me.”

Herald put the shovel down slowly and the man followed him, gun to Herald’s temple. They approached a home, and the gunman gestured toward the door. “Open it.”

Herald did, and then the gunman led him down to the basement. It wasn’t enough to make him dig his own grave, no…there were creepy looking Santas and Jack Frost statues everywhere. “W-what’s happening?”

“Haven’t you ever seen Christmas decorations before?”

“I…uh…”

“Pick up the silk.”

Herald looked to the ground and picked up the cloth. “What do I…?”

“Put it on.” Needless to say, Herald was terrified. He swallowed, put on the silk vest and zipped it up after the gunman gestured for him to do so.

“What is this…?”

“You don’t need to know. Now, go back up the steps, slowly.”

Herald did as he was told. When they got outside, the man told him to go ahead and make a run for it.

“I…I don’t understand.”

The gunman smiled. “Run.”

Herald didn’t hesitate; if this was his only chance, he’d go for broke. He ran.

Then, he heard the penetrating sound of the gun going off. Then he felt an impact. And then another, and another.

Herald screamed, and the sound filled the air. He lay on his stomach in the dirt just near the hole that he had dug earlier.

The man kicked at his side, and rolled Herald over. “You okay?”

Herald’s eyes were wide, and adrenaline ran through his veins. “What just happened?” Harold panicked.

“I just invented the very first workable bulletproof vest.”

“W-what?”

The gunman grinned, and then punched Herald in the face.

***

Three hours later, Herald awoke outside the El in downtown Chicago, dirty, covered in mosquito bites, but still alive.

Between Crooks and CopsBobby Salomons

 Bobby Salomons

Just the humming of high voltage lines. By now the officers were done waiting, after an endless explanation on the vest that no lawman had time for. In front of them Mr. Murphy strapped on the vest with the help of his assistant.

“You know what annoys me?” One broke the silence with a Chicago accent.
“That snake oil salesman with his vest?” A New York deputy replied, “Bet you that thing turns to pancake batter once the first bullet hits. I’m just here for the carnage.”

“Uh – I meant ‘International Robin Hood Day’ – I mean we’ve got enough gangster problems since prohibition, now we’re glorifying one?”
“Robin Hood was no gangster.” Another officer said.
“Oh come on! You don’t think guys like Capone and the Gambinos are going to use this to their advantage? Please – what department did they send you in from?”
“Fredrick County.” He said, shining his badge.
“Oh, so you’re a local? Good for you. Try policing in Chicago for a week, might change your views on what’s good for the people.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know what bugs me?”
“What?”
“It’s already spring and I haven’t seen a single bug. Not a mosquito, nothing.”
“This is what bothers you? You Washington boys…”
“If there’s no bugs what are all the birds and bats going to eat?”
“I don’t know – you. How’s it matter?”
“I’m just saying there’s a delicate balance to things. Between birds and bugs; between crooks and cops.”
“Just the what hell are you trying to imply there, pal?” The Chicago cop growled.
“Boys, boys. Take it easy!” The New York officer stepped in.

“Gentlemen! May I have your attention, please!” Mr. Murphy was ready, in front stood his assistant with a .38 revolver. “Go ahead, John.”

A loud bang and large plume of smoke. The men waited.

“Nothing! Hardly even felt it!” Murphy smiled.
“That was it?” The New York officer said disappointed.
“Would you care to try it with your own weapon?”
“Alright.” The officer said, pulling out a .45, “Can your vest handle this?”
Lets try and see.”

Another shot, Murphy flinched but smiled after a cough.

“Freeze!” Said the Fredrick County officer, aiming at the New York cop, “Bureau of Investigation!”
“Ah, crap. How’d you know?” The impostor said.
“That Colt 1911. We baited your crew to steal a crate – thinking you got your hands on bright new police weapons, we knew you’d be interested to see if they’d go through vests. We haven’t issued 1911s yet.”
“And it didn’t go through!” Murphy rubbed his chest, “But it did hurt…”
“Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Murphy.” The agent said cuffing the mobster.
“Glad to be of service, sir!” He said presenting the deflected bullet as a souvenir.

The federal agent’s eyes twinkled as he pulled something tiny from the piece of flattened lead.
“Well, what do you know? He shot the first mosquito of the season! Balance restored!”

I Want Blood

Tina Biscuit 

Confused by my Kafkaesque reincarnation, I perch on a lightshade. My spindly legs are stronger than I would have thought. With all my might I bend and push, and suddenly I am airborne. I turn my head to admire my magnificent wings, and crash, headfirst, into an invisible barrier. I used to think that insects were stupid – crashing into windows and flying around light bulbs; now I am realising it’s not so easy. I fly around to get my bearings: I am in a kitchen, and there’s someone here with me. He looks like a man, but pixelated. I go in closer, to get a better look, and he lashes out – slowly. I dodge him with ease, and then I remember my entomology: I am fast; I see at five times the speed that humans see. I catch my reflection in the bowl he is stirring: a mosquito – probably the first one of the year, and he wants to kill me. He stirs the mixture. I smell it now – sweet. I swoop down, and have a taste. Pancake batter. I was hoping for cake-mix, which used to be my favourite, but now it doesn’t seem so appealing: I want blood. I struggle out of the gooey bowl, just in time as he swipes again with a spatula. 

Twice he has tried to kill me. I sit on his collar, and prepare to bite. It feels wrong, but every part of me is craving for blood. I resist the temptation. He will surely kill me, and I haven’t even had a proper look around at my new world. A woman walks in, puts an arm around his neck, almost squashing me, and kisses him.

‘You remembered,’ she coos.

‘I remembered what, dear?’ he asks in a deep, muffled voice.

‘Peter Pan Day.’ She dips a finger and licks it coyly. ‘You’re having the day off with the rest of the world. Good for you.’

‘I was making them for Easter,’ he said, pouring some into the hot skillet.

‘Peter Pancake Day, then. Are you going to flip them?’

‘Yep. Stand back.’

I jump up, flying back to the lightshade. She grabs his sides. He flinches and flips the pancake, which splats onto the ceiling… and sticks.

‘I don’t think that one’s coming down,’ he predicts.

‘How appropriate. We’ll call that one “Neverland” then.’

A plume of smoke curls up from the neglected pan. 

She opens the window, and I fly outside. The street is unfamiliar to me. A gust of wind catapults me high in the air. A huge bird flies past me. I look around. I need a safe place. I look down. In a field are two men; one is pointing a gun at the other. This is my chance. I descend at frightening speed, and land on the man’s neck. He is about to be shot anyway, I rationalise. I pierce his neck to have a sup of the red nectar. He flinches… and then the bang. The bullet grazes my leg and embeds in the man’s neck. I drink deeply. That was lucky, I almost made him miss.