The Iron Writer Challenge #116

The Iron Writer Challenge #116

The Mary Fletcher Challenge

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements 

Challenge #115 

Mathew W. Weaver

The Authors:

Tony Jaeger, Bill Prins, E. Chris Garrison

The Elements:


The Fibonacci Sequence

An Airedale

A possessed car

A love triangle

Singularity BarEric Garrison
E. Chris Garrison

Everyone turned to look as the sleek black 1982 Trans-Am glided in through the large scale door of the club. It wasn’t the shiny waxed sheen of the car caught the attention of the patrons, it was the glowing red light that swept from side to side, like an eye taking in the room. Robots and chimeras cleared a path to the bar as the engine revved and the smell of burnt hydrocarbons filled the space.

The bartender, an android with a glassy body, put a fist on her hip. She leaned over and asked, “The usual, big boy?”

With a final loud rev, the car’s engine fell silent. The Trans-Am’s tinny, electronic voice said, “It’s been a bad day, Rosie. Make it something strong.”

“Forty-weight it is. What’s got you down, slick?”

“Evolution, Rosie. I’m a linear being in a Fibonacci world. She left me for an elevated animal.”

Further down the bar, a woman with feline features growled at the car. She picked her teeth with a red laquered claw and said, “Careful with your next words, auto-man. A.I.s may have the vote, but I can still scratch that pretty paint job, if you get my meaning.”

Rosie clapped at the catwoman, and her hands rang like a bell. “No threats in this place, you hear?” Her gaze slid back to the Trans-Am. “And no slurs, you get me?”

The Trans-Am backfired twice. Its voice held an amused quaver as it said, “No offense meant, I’m sure. But when your girlfriend leaves you for an Airedale…”

The catwoman bared her fangs and hissed, then dissolved into giggles. “You got dumped for Benji? Rosie, this pint of Pennzoil’s on me.”

The pint the bartender slid to the Trans-Am had an artistically foamed froth on top. She looked back and forth between the others and said, “KITT and Kitty, eh?”

“Don’t be jealous, Rosie,” purred the catwoman. “It’s just a drink. Here, let me help you, auto-man.” She hopped down from her barstool and ran a paw across his fender.

The hood of the car popped open wide. The car’s speakers emitted an electronic purr as she poured thick black liquid in.

Rosie simulated a cough. “Kitty, how many is this now? I thought I was the one, but now another?”

The car sighed, “One, two, three, five, eight, thirteen, what does it matter? All biological love is ephemeral. Just enjoy it while you can, I say.”

Kitty flexed her claws and dug them into the wood of the bar. “You hurt me, both of you. I’m not some alleycat. I just love to flirt. Can’t you share?”

The hood of the Trans-Am slammed shut. Its red eye scanned back and forth in silence between the two women. “When do you get off work, Rosie? I do have two bucket seats, you know.”

Kitty’s fangs appeared as she smiled at the android. “What do you say?”

Rosie’s eyes lit up. “I think could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”

Tony Jaeger

Tony Jaeger




-I am.

-I am Vigilant.

-I guard the family’s house.

-I stand watch, keeping family safe from harm.

-Increasingly, I have become convinced that there is an evil in this world.

-Inevitably it is I alone that stands against this terror, my terrier’s cries unheeded and often earning rebuke in the night.

-It should come as no surprise to anyone that though I fight alone, I am supported by allies both Fierce and Beautiful, whose contributions to my crusade are as noble as they are unintentional.

-In the old days, it was just me and Fierce, waging glorious war against our sworn enemy, fits of righteous rage sending us vaulting over our respective fences, racing down the street pursuing those demon eyes keen on rampaging, yet fleeing us as though we wielded the flaming sword of God; those were the days!

-Irreversible, the flow of time is, for an intangible moment occurs when the days of old gain luster, when you realize that the days you find yourself living lack the adventure and the glory of purpose; seeking a goal with all of the fervor only a youth can muster seems hellish in the moment – for we all venerate our own suffering – but with the inexorable march of time comes thought and quiet contemplation, a desire for rest, a moment of peace, and with those desires we begin to die.

-Idealists of old wrote that death is a quiet wave that sneaks up at the very moment we stop to take a look around, realizing that for all of our pursuits and quests and battles against enemies both external and in, we have amounted to little; they write that in that moment a dog begins either to die or to experience a resurgence of faith and resolve, a reawakening of purpose that brings not only the will but the desire to carry on… I found that resurgence in Beautiful.

-Inconceivable as it may sound, Beautiful entered my life at the exact moment my faith wavered, her family moving into the house just behind mine, and next to Fierce’s, instantly captivating us both, immediately igniting our passions once again for the fight against our vehicular adversaries, the bitch shocked us both by joining our midnight chases.

-I can hear her barking now, calling we two for aid in the chase of demons too big for her to topple alone; she is digging under her family’s fence, too tall for leaping.

-I love hunting with my friends, my hair dances in the wind during the chase, the ancient dance of the hunt.

-I see the red lights burn brighter just ahead, but I cannot stop.

-It’s as if God is petting my belly.

-I am a good boy.

-I am vigilant.

-I am…




Sin(666) = Cos(6×6×6) Bill Prins

Bill Prins

“You heard about Stephen King’s dog?” asked Mark, sipping the cold beer.

“What?” answered Bruce, busy between watching his rod tip and reading his book.

“His pet dog, Spinee, just had surgery,” said Mark. “Barkeep down in Kennebunkport told me about it. The man has poor luck with cars and dogs.”

“Christine meets Cujo?” offered Bruce.

“The guy who hit King with the van said he was distracted by his dog.”

“By King’s dog?”

“No, the driver’s dog, an Airedale or Rottweiler.”

They gazed in silence for a while amidst the raucous gulls; the lights went down on Casco Bay, the light came on at Portland Head. Bruce returned to his book when the dock lights flickered to life.

“King is a big believer in intelligent design,” said Mark, pulling another beer from the cooler.

“Pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo,” mumbled Bruce.

“Mostly about order in the world, behind the chaos,” said Mark. “Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio.”

“Like DaVinci Code, and devil worship?”

“Yep, starting with zero and one, the next number is always the sum of the previous two,” said Mark. “When you get far enough along the ratio of last to next to last is the Golden Ratio. Let me show you.”

Mark snatched Bruce’s paperback from him, turned to a blank page in the back, and producing a pen from his pack wrote the figure “1.6180339…”

“You wrote in my book.”

“It shows up in nature all the time,” continued Mark. “For example, a female bee needs genes from her mother and father, while a male bee only needs a mother, so starting with a female….”

He drew the letter “F” at the bottom of the page, then over that the letters “M” and “F”, then above the “M” an “F”, and above the “F” an “M” and an “F”. He continued up the page writing out the generations in an expanding chevron. He showed it to Bruce.

“A bug love triangle,” observed Bruce.

“If you count the males in each generation, you get,” and Mark wrote beside the chevron from bottom to top, “0 1 1 2 3 5 8, Fibonacci.”

“Nice,” said Bruce, trying to grab back his book.

“It gets even cooler,” said Mark, writing out the equation “½ × N × (N-1) = H” and handing the book to Bruce.

“What the …” exclaimed Bruce.

“It’s something I discovered,” said Mark. “I’ve never seen it anywhere, even though I’ve looked for years.”


“If “N” is the number of people in a meeting, and everyone shakes hands once with everyone else,” said Mark, “then “H” is the total number of handshakes. So if you have five people meet, the total number of handshakes is ten.”


“So,” said Mark, “If you know the number of handshakes you can calculate the number of people. If you know there are 21 handshakes, you know seven people were there. In the bizarre situation where the total number of handshakes is one half, the number of people meeting is 1.6180339…”

Challenge 99

The Iron Writer Challenge 99

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

A Francis Raymond, Emily Gray Gatrell,

Mary FletcherRobert P. Wills.

The Judges:

Brett Paul, Tony Jaeger, E. Chris Garrison, Dani J. Caile

The Elements:

writing cat

A Writing Cat

A Howdah

Told from the point of view of an alien who views humans as both food and pets

A Floor Buffer

Dinner, Prepared ItselfRobert Wills

Robert P. Wills

I shifted on my mount. Two-four percent more gravity didn’t sound like a lot – and really, it wasn’t – but by the end of the week, it got to me. Don’t even mention the atmosphere; it made me want to just vaporize the planet from orbit. Pets or not.

“How much longer will it take?”

Licant. Again. If I could leave him here while I vaporized the aforementioned planet, I’d do it in a twitch. As it was, he was in charge because his uncle was the High Quadturian. I gave him a glance and flicked my tail hoping he’d get the message.

No such luck.

“Are they almost done?”

I tug on my beast’s reins. He doesn’t care for the gravity either. “Yes.” I count to two-two. “Mopping, then drying, then waxing, then buffing…”

“That’s what they’re doing now?”

I look back at the pitiful aliens. “Yes, Licant. This is the last step. You will know when they are done when they put the floor buffers away.”

“Are you sure, Ruises? If there’s still work being done when my Uncle arrives…” He nervously looks up. As if he could see his Uncle’s ship in orbit. “… There will be trouble down here.”

“There’s always trouble down here, Licant.” I sit up and rest my paws on the front of the M’ple and let the reins go slack. The humans call it a Howdah. It sounds absurd. Just like everything else on the planet. “The air is too heavy. The gravity too strong. The weather too unpredictable. The inhabitants too unstable. Something is always being ‘too something’ when it comes to this place.”

Licant licked his lips. “They are delicious though, aren’t they?”

I stretch. “They are that.” I look up. Damn, now he’s got me doing it. I catch movement from the corner of my eye. The landing pad is polished. “There; they are done before your uncle arrives.”

“That is good…” He perks an ear and tilts his head. I do it as well.


“What do you hear?”

“He’s coming”, says Licant.

I stand on my M’ple and arch my back. I feel like I weigh four-three tons. “Just relax.” I hiss at the Humans to make them look.

“Yes?” Says one of them. An annoying male.

“Move the tables”, I say to it in his own tongue. “For the fancy feast.”

He gives a nervous nod. He’s hoping he’s not on the menu.

No such luck.

Finally I hear the ship- Licant is half my age, after all. In moments, it streaks to the polished platform. The ship clam-shells open.

“Uncle!” Licant bounds to the ship. “Everything is ready!” He purrs.

Licant’s uncle, the Sector High Quadturian, puts out his cigarette in a full ashtray. He seems to have embraced Humans habits more than anyone.

“We feast tonight”, he growls as he toasts with a steaming cup.

Without smelling it I know it is coffee.

I give another hiss. “Into the ship, you Human kibble!”

HolidayMary Fletcher

Mary Fletcher

Fezzig awoke, stood, and stretched. His long slender fingers scraped the ceiling. He cursed.

Not all the remaining earth buildings had been renovated to suit the Westrel’s anatomy but that would come in time.

He touched the sensor in his ear flap and began thinking his diary entry.

Yesterday was very trying. I went to the museum, as suggested.

The only thing I saw that made me laugh was the exhibit of something called a “writer”. The human was consuming massive quantities of a dark liquid called “coffee” and sucking on burning sticks called “cigarettes”. Supposedly they enabled him to produce literature. Just when you think they are so advanced you find out that they have to rely on this ancient method.

I know that the decision to save some in the invasion was based on their taste and my breakfast of eggs and human kidneys was great, but to not even have invented telepathic scribing? Oh well.

Still, they are clever and perhaps I will get one as a pet when I get back from vacation.

After the museum it was time to catch the hover for the wildlife sanctuary. I had been told there were real animals there that I could see in their natural habitat. The fighting had not been very fierce in this area so quite a lot of it had been left untouched.

At the orientation there were both Westrel and human speakers but I admit I kind of zoned out.

Finally I had my chance. I climbed the steps to enter the howdah that was positioned high on the elephant’s back. It was not as ornate as the Golden Howdah in the museum had been but it was lavishly decorated with colorful tapestries.

Riding along with me there were three members of a Westrel family and one human. I assumed that the human was their pet.

At last we were in the brush. We kept our eyes peeled for any wildlife. There was very little conversation.

Suddenly a tiger charged us on the right! The snarling was so loud it was almost deafening. As it leapt toward us I acted on instinct and grabbed the human and flung him into the jaws of the beast. I am not proud to admit that I shrieked like a little girl.

Everyone congratulated me on my quick thinking and patted me on the back.

I returned to the hotel exhausted from the long day and the excitement with the tiger.

Upon entering the hotel lobby, though, I heard a loud roar. Fortunately there was a human woman nearby. I grabbed her and threw her – onto something called a floor buffer. It is a machine they use to polish the tile in the lobby.

At least I didn’t scream this time.

Dinner Partyemmy-gatrell

Emily Gray Gatrell

“What in the nether is that Mar?” TSue asked from across the room.

I set down my schedule of events as the wind blew through the open window, and the papers scattered. Floor buffer moved as I did to help pick them up. One look at its dirty phalanges had me raising my hand before it could touch anything. It flinched then quickly went back to work.

TSue had a bemused expression when I approached the window. “You know they work harder if you show a bit of kindness.”

“Not you too,” I rolled my eyes and peered out of the curtain and got a better look at my mate’s newest acquisition and what he had carrying it through the courtyard. “Oh great, he has Dinner in the front of the hoard,” I mumbled to myself.

“What is that thing?”

“A Howdah. “

“A Who what?”

“A Howdah, in their world.” I waved at the creatures carrying the gilded and jeweled throne. “They would strap it to the back of an elephant to go hunting or put it on a camel and strut around to demonstrate their wealth and status.” I chuckled, “They’re not on the top of the food chain anymore and a lot of good that wealth did them.”

“They’re not that bad. My mate brought back a cute one from the hunt. I let it sleep at the end of the bed.”

I gasped, “What’s next letting them beg at the table?” She didn’t answer. “You do! Disgusting, those things are not eating at my table.” I gagged as my mate fed Dinner from his hand. “What am I going to serve tonight? I swear that male has so many pets I think he expects us to find another food source.” I turned and crossed my arms over my chest.

What am I going to serve tonight? I looked at Floor Buffer across the room. From the look in his eyes, he knew what I was thinking. I crossed the room as I contemplated how best to serve the rotund fatty creature. I might need to Cook to pull out the pressure cooker, not enough time to smoke slow and low. I stopped when I realized the hassle I’d give myself to finding New Floor Buffer but then thought, Maybe Dinner would like to be New Floor Buffer.

The door opened, and a small blond human went running past me. It smiled as it attached itself to TSue’s legs and squealed in their god awful tongue, “Mama Sue!” TSue looked down at this with genuine affection. That needed to stop. I made eye contact with Floor Buffer, and it walked closer.

“Tsue it looks scrumptious.

TSue looked terrified, “Mar, no.”

“They’re food first.” I kept eye contact with her as Floor Buffer took New Dinner by the tiny hand and led it from the room. Tsue looked as though she might cry. “Don’t look sad. Trust me, dinner will be delicious.”

Extra-Terrestrial GastronomeA Francis Raymond

A. Francis Raymond

“Tony! Where’s my coffee?”

“Brewing now, sir!”

Humans, Rog snorted. If they weren’t so delicious he wouldn’t keep them around. He took a frantic drag from a cigarette held by one of his left-side tentacles.

His skin began to crawl. He was addicted to the caffeine and nicotine, but as long as his superiors kept him working on Earth, he could have all he wanted.

Only one catch: his assignments were mind-numbingly boring. So much so, that he couldn’t complete them till moments before they were due. He was a staff writer for the Galactic Encyclopedia and assigned to write about cultural minutiae on Earth since the invasion.

He wanted out of this gig. He wanted to be a food critic. He’d taken fantastic notes of each and every one of his meals on the most abundant meat on Earth: humans. He favored their internal organs. Especially pan-fried.

Tony was buffing the floor in the hallway within eyeshot. Rog’s mouth was salivating as he watched the human push around a rented floor buffer.

He shook his head.

Tony will be on the menu later, he thought. But not before I finish this piece on… what was it again? Ugh. His next piece was specifically addressing something called a howdah. They want 500 words on this trivia? Ridiculous.

Rog had writer’s block.

“Where’s that damn coffee?” he shouted again.

Tony finally walked in with a fresh pot of coffee. “I’ll make more when you’re done,” Tony said. Rog had already guzzled half the pot down. “Is there anything else I can do? The floors are done…”

“More cigarettes. You know I can’t write without cigarettes!”

Once Tony left, Rog’s communicator chimed with a tone set for his strict, by-the-book boss.

Rog opened up a communication hologram. His tentacled boss, Waz, appeared on top of his desk.

“You’re coming home,” Waz said. No pleasantries, no salutations.

For a minute, Rog thought that an assignment opened up in the food section… could it be?

Waz continued: “Earth is too dangerous. Everyone’s coming home.”

Rog was puzzled “Dangerous? I’ve been here for years. There’s no danger here.” He looked to see if Tony was still in eyeshot. He’d call him over and prove to Waz that these humans posed no danger.

“Apparently, they’ve discovered a taste for our tentacles. Something related to an Earth dish called Calamari.”

Rog knew of Calamari, he didn’t much care for dishes based on animals from the water.

“Tony? Tony where are you!” No answer.

“Look, Waz, let me call you back later. I’ll finish this article and then we’ll get Tony in here and you’ll see everything is fine.”

He broke the communication link before Waz could object. His mind was racing. What would he do off this world, home to the nicotine and caffeine he needed and especially the most delicious humans?

Before a plan could take shape in his brain, he felt the slice to the back of his head and his blood ooze down his back. Immediately before he lost consciousness he heard Tony’s voice “Yes, you can put it on the menu tonight…”