The Iron Writer Challenge #145
2016 Winter Solstice Challenge #3
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Marques Ware, Bernice Agyekwena, Dani J Caile, Vance Rowe
A drinking clown
Odd coinage from any nation in the world
The Food of the Gods
The storm had come on suddenly. Aduah had never experienced anything like that. Blinded by torrential rains with raindrops as big and strong as pebbles hitting hard on his skin, he paddled the canoe blindly not knowing where he was going. There was a big flash of lightening, and with the booming thunder that followed, Aduah begun to experience darkness in his mind until finally, everything in his being was obliterated and his being could not be felt anymore.
When he came to, he felt heaviness on top of his body and painfully made his way from under the overturned canoe that was partly resting on his lower body. What had happened to him? He wandered. A recollection of the storm dawned on him. He was injured. Fear descended on him as he dreaded the worst. Thankfully, his pain was again obliterated by sleep that overtook him as exhaustion and hopelessness set in.
He woke up again, not knowing how long he had been sleeping. He sat up and realised the pain in has waist and legs had subsided. He stood up. Was his canoe still in good shape? With superhuman strength, he upturned it. The metal container with the X-ray forms he had picked up was gone. So were the paddles. Then he saw the huge coin!
He picked it and knew immediately it was from a different era, perhaps from a ship wreck. Just then he heard the drums. Strange drumming that he had never heard before. He was lost on a strange inhabited island But by who, maybe cannibals, he thought and fear suddenly gripped him. Then he heard the drumming again, this time, much closer. He must look for a place to hide until he was sure of his safety, he thought. He searched, discovered a grove of trees close by and decided to hide inside. He sat inside, crouched inside some undergrowth’s around one of the biggest trees.
The drumming came closer and closer until he could hear the chanting that went alongside with it. He heard them pass by and make their way to the sea. Then he fell asleep and awoke, startled by the now familiar drumming and chanting which was quite close now. The footsteps were now coming towards the grove. His troubled mind fitted in the rest of the information; this was their sacred grove! They were coming to worship! He was right in their soup!
Now, they were inside the grove and their worship escalated, the drumming and dancing took on a feverish mood. Then it stopped. Someone pulled him out, forced open his palm and took away the coin with a loud shriek.
“The prophecy must be fulfilled. The gods said the stranger with the sacred coin in the shrine must eat the food of the gods”, he screamed.
He started to feed him with their catch from the sea. Aduah gulped it down, it tasted awful. Then he looked into the calabash and saw the sea monkeys!
The Enlightenment of Charlie Wilcox
Kids usually hate clowns, but I didn’t want my child traumatized by some clown; So I dressed up as one. I secretly walked downstairs He turned his head back toward the stairs as he was sitting on the couch eating breakfast “dad! You look funny!” Instantly I broke out of character and started laughing, Charlie always knew how to bring the kid out in me so we ran around outside, me in my ridiculous clown outfit, being chased by a 7 year old.
Before it happened, every week consist of some new adventure the three of us would all embark on as a family; everything from going on secret spy missions with X-Ray glasses; playing pirates in the yard; we even got a little creative with the treasure. I put my grandfather’s collection of Austrian aluminum-bronze 1 dollar coins in the treasure stash, I hid it in the back, still to this day it amazes me how fast he found it all. We even bought him an aquarium filled with unique fish like brine shrimp also known as sea monkeys, they kept him company at night so he wasn’t alone.
Those were good times, but nothing could compare to cedar point amusement park, it was the perfect plan, until Charlie collapsed after our first roller coaster ride, the nurse said it was nothing but to monitor occasionally for a few weeks. Nothing happened.
A month after cedar point- on July 5th Charlie died of stage 4 Brain cancer ..
After they informed us it was cancer, Natalie and I packed our bags and went to stay at my mother’s old house. it’s a dark place , full of cobwebs and some of the walls are falling apart. I grabbed a bottle of whiskey and went upstairs to sit down and smoke a a cig. I took another puff of my cig and checked my suitcase for my makeup and red nose, “Dad! I love you — you clown!” I applied it to my face, the nose, the red hair, everything just the way he liked it, I tried so hard not to cry so I didn’t mess up my makeup, I didn’t want Natalie to see me like this.
I soaked in my sadness.. But for some reason I could feel a gleam of light break through my mothers withered old dusty windows and touch my shoulders. I had been awake the whole night — up yet not aware — breathing yet not really living. The sun’s rays continued to make its way through all the little cracks and crevices of the house demanding my attention.
I couldn’t control the smile that was appearing on my face, Natalie ran upstairs and without saying a word, without doing anything, she stood there in the doorway of the room I was in and looked at me with a smile.. Not just any smile, no it was the same smile Charlie, Natalie and I shared last month when the sun was beaming down and Blessing us with warm weather, and right at that moment we knew That …
Charlie was there all along…
Sea Monkey Memories
“Dammit! I want these sea monkeys!” Johnny exclaimed, as he saw the ad for the creatures in his comic book.
Elizabeth looked at the ad and saw what looked to be a family of sea creatures sitting by a castle, and said, “They don’t look like any monkeys I have seen before.”
Johnny shot a look at her that could have frozen water.
“Oh yeah, Elizabeth? Just how many monkeys have you seen in your twelve whole years of living on this earth?”
“I seen plenty, Johnny McIntyre. I seen a whole lot more than you prob’ly. I have seen pictures of them and seen ‘em in the zoo. “Those there aren’t monkeys,” she said, as she touched her finger to the paper.
“Besides, do you remember those stupid x-ray glasses you ordered a couple of months ago? They didn’t even work right. You were so mad that you spent your allowance on that. Remember?”
Johnny hung his head and grumbled, “I remember.”
“Look! These are even more expensive than the x-ray glasses. One dollar and ninety-nine cents.”
She looked at Johnny and asked, “Do you even have one dollar and ninety-nine cents?”
“No,” Johnny replied pitifully.
“Come on, Johnny. I just got my allowance. Let’s walk down to the ice cream shop. I will buy you an ice cream sundae,” Elizabeth said as she offered him her hand.
Johnny remained motionless for a moment and then slowly reached out for her hand. She helped him up off of the stoop of the comic book store and they began their short trek down to the street to the ice cream store.
Then they passed a little store that had just about everything for sale in it. Right in the front window was a painting of a sad looking clown sitting in a chair and holding a bottle of whiskey.
“That is a really sad painting. I want it though. Maybe someday,” Elizabeth said and then resumed walking.
Later, when they finished their cold sweet treat, they left the ice cream shop and began walking home.
Moments later, his eyes grew wide.
Right there on the ground in front of him. He reached down and picked it up. “A TWO DOLLAR BILL! ELIZABETH, IT’S A SIGN! NOW, I CAN GET THOSE SEA MONKEYS!”
He gave Elizabeth a kiss on her cheek and ran home to get the order slip mailed.
Elizabeth rubbed her cheek and said softly, “Oh, Johnny. What am I going to do with you?”
Johnny just stood there with an ad for sea monkeys in his hand. His eyes welled up with tears as he remembered that day, about thirty years ago.
Finally, he tossed the ad down onto a coffin, just as the crew was getting ready to fill the grave with dirt.
He turned and walked away from her grave, with tears rolling down his cheeks.
Dani J Caile
The whiskey bottle, black eye and forlorn look said it all. Another failure. “How did it go, the birthday party?” she asked.
“Oh, that well.” She hung up her coat and went into the kitchen to make a coffee. “Did you do your song and dance thing with the water squirting flower?” He grunted and she heard him take a swig.
“It’s my opening act. Went down like a turd in a playground.”
“Did you do your $1 changing to a $2 trick and then back again? I like that one.” She put the kettle on and prepared her cup.
“The kid only had a $10, so when he saw it change, he got upset and ripped it up.”
“But that $2’s a collector’s item!” she said, getting out a spoon.
“Tell that to an eight year old.”
“Where did you get the eye?”
“From his dad.”
“I was strangling the git!”
If only he would go back to his street performing she loved so much and not do these cheesy, pathetic children’s parties. She remembered when they first met, her falling for his colourful baggy trousers, red nose and him juggling knives while blowing fire from his mouth. She swooned at his mixture of Chinese and Celtic tattoos and they went for a burger on his takings. He was such a man then, but now? Now he was a mere clown. “You can’t find the answer in a bottle.”
“I can try. This is the last one. Have we got any more?”
She looked around the kitchen; he’d drunk the whole place dry.
“I even drank that piss poor vodka in the jar.”
What vodka? They didn’t have any vodka. “Why didn’t you try your balloon animals, that’s always a winner.” Her water boiled and she made her drink.
“I did. They said my poodle looked more like a woman’s genitalia.”
“Eight year olds?”
“What about your X-ray glasses gag? That always gets the adults going. That’s half the fight.”
“Yep, did that one, too. I think I’m gonna be indicted for harrassment.”
“Oh. How about your joke cigars?”
A sip from her coffee took the edge off. “So, bad gig, then. But come on, you’ve gotta look ahead, try out new routines. Have you got any new things from that shop of yours?”
“Oh, ‘that’ shop? The one you said was full of crap?”
“Yes, that one.” Why did she even say that?
“Haven’t been there since we went. It was so embarrassing, you saying it was so lame. And then you bought Sea Monkeys. Sea Monkeys!”
“They looked interesting.”
“I’m sorry I let you see that shop now. Last time I went in they laughed at me. I’m quitting this clown act. I’ve had enough.”
“Maybe you should. Speaking of my Sea Monkeys, where are they?” She went into the room and held up the empty jar. Why was he now puking on the carpet? He could never hold his drink.
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