The Iron Writer Challenge #129
The 2015 Autumn Equinox Challenge
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
The Edward Abbey Bracket:
A worldwide holiday celebrating a fictional character ( you must name the character)
Testing the first bullet-proof vest
The first mosquito of the season
Mathew W. Weaver
Radio Transcript, October 17th, 1768, New Calendar.
“Good morning, folks, and a beeeee–eeeeeeig 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…”
“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.”
“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 heeeeyyy–llllooooooh!”
“<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,”
“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!”
“And… it looks like… the President… Lenny, is that blood?”
“Uh oh, I don’t think… oh <CENSORED>”
“Jim… the President… he’s…”
“Shut up, Lenny, I can see that.”
“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.”
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?”
“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?”
“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.”
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.
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?”
“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
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.