The Iron Writer Challenge #151
2016 Winter Equinox Preliminary Round
Citizen Kane Bracket
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
An April Fools Joke
Steven L. Bergeron
Holding the monoscope to his eye, Billy complained, “I don’t see a chimp!”
Robert grabbed the scope back and laughed hysterically, “HA! Maybe not, but I see a chump!”
Billy wasn’t impressed. “You’re weird, Robert.”
Ignoring the black, sooty ring around Billy’s eye, Rob quickly turned serious.
“Hey, Billy, did you know that if you soak the absorbent pads from yellow highlighters in buttermilk they make a kick-ass energy drink?”
“Oh yeah. I made some the other day and was awake all night! I got all KINDS of stuff done.”
Billy was fascinated. “So, how did you do that, Robert?
Knowing he had Billy hooked, Rob continued, “Well, you cut the highlighter open with a utility knife and pull out the pad. It takes about, oh, ten or fifteen pads to a quart of buttermilk. Ya just soak ’em in buttermilk for an hour or so; maybe squeeze ’em a bit.”
“Is that plain buttermilk, or low-fat?”
“Jiminy Cricket, Billy, that don’t matter!”
Rob smirked at Billy’s gullibility as he thought, “April first was made for people like him!”
He slapped Billy on the back, saying “Hey, I gotta skedaddle, Bill. See ya around.”
Later that night, Robert was out walking through the neighborhood when he spotted an ambulance outside Billy’s house. Going closer, he could hear Billy’s sister in hysterics as she roamed from room to room. Billy’s father was talking to a police officer, and his mom was standing next to a gurney weeping as two paramedics administered CPR to Billy.
Rob was shocked.
“What happened, Mrs Hanson?”
Sobbing and barely able to speak, Mrs. Hanson somehow managed to tell how she found Billy in the basement amidst several disassembled highlighters and an empty bottle of buttermilk.
Realizing he was to blame for this tragedy, Robert came unglued. “NO! This can’t be happening! I mean, highlighters are supposed to be non-toxic! How could this happen? I didn’t know! How could I have known?!” He began to weep, too.
As the paramedics pulled the cover over Billy’s dead body, Robert crumpled against the gurney and wept bitterly. After about five minutes of Rob’s heart-wrenching remorse, the paramedics pulled him away from the gurney to load it into the ambulance. Rob surged forward and pleaded, “Let me look at him one last time.” Relenting, a paramedic stepped back, allowing Robert to gently fold the sheet back from Billy’s face. There in the midst of his placid expression of infinite serenity were the scars of Robert’s cruelty; Billy’s black-ringed eye, and his yellow-stained mouth.
Robert came unglued, “Billy! Oh Billy, I’m so sorry for taking advantage of you and treating you like a fool! I didn’t mean any harm! I didn’t know this would happen. Oh, Billy, I swear I’ll never pull another practical joke on anyone ever again.”
“Really?” Billy’s voice inquired.
Rob jumped back about five feet from the gurney in surprise.
Billy sat up and smiled. “Gotcha!”
At that, everyone at the scene burst out in hysterical laughter.
Three Men and a Basement
Cool, dank air filled the basement. Bill was slumped in the corner, unmoving.
“Hand me the highlighter,” Jason whispered, extending his hand behind his back.
The third man slid the yellow marker into Jason’s palm. “Is he out?”
“Yeah Chuck, he’s long gone.” Jason could barely suppress a laugh as he spoke.
Bill rolled to one side, taking in an enormous, snort filled gasp of air. The other men jumped back, Chuck stumbling slightly over a box of magazines. Deep, wet, retching sounds escaped Bill’s throat, followed closely by a gush of vomit that splashed against the concrete floor.
“Maybe we should move him,” Chuck said, his voice tilting slightly into an almost question.
“Yeah, good idea.” Jason grabbed Bill’s ankles, pulled him away from the wall, away from the pool of foul liquid. “Grab that blanket.”
Chuck quickly returned with a pink and yellow afghan. It smelled of mothballs and mold. Chuck raised Bill’s head from the floor, sliding the ancient linen under the unconscious man’s head. Jason spent the next few seconds drawing something on Bill’s forehead and cheeks. As he pulled away Chuck noticed the frown on his companion’s face.
“What’s the matter Jason?”
“Yellow highlighter, can’t hardly see what I drew.”
Chuck looked down at the unconscious man’s face. From four feet away he could barely see any of what Jason had drawn.
“Oh well,” Jason shrugged. “Still gonna be funny as hell when he wakes up down here.”
Chuck smiled. “Yeah, that’s one heck of an April Fool’s joke, slipping all that extra Jager into his Red Bull.”
Jason laughed. “Yeah, that lightweight didn’t know what hit him! Let’s finish up.”
The two men spent the next several minutes cleaning up the mess Bill had made on the floor. They then arranged various items from the basement around their unconscious friend. When they were finished the menagerie of collectibles; a three foot tall stuff bunny, four porcelain dolls, multiple handfuls of Beanie Babies and other assorted items surrounded Bill, created a surreal audience for Bill’s alcohol fueled nap.
Jason and Chuck stepped back to admire their work. They pulled phones from their pockets, taking multiple pictures from multiple angles, uploading them to multiple social media sites with the requisites tags and captions.
Jason smiled and turned to Chuck. “That ought to do it. When’s his wife get home?”
“Eight o’clock or so. It’s four now so we’re clear by four hours or so.”
Jason nodded and headed for the stairs. He laughed at his handiwork as he climbed the flight. He twisted the knob at the top, or tried to.
“Yeah,” Chuck replied. I locked it when we came down in case she got home early.”
“It had a lock twist on the other side?” Jason asked.
“Yeah, turned it when I shut the door.”
“You have the key right?” Jason asked.
There was silence for several seconds more than Jason would have liked.
“There’s a key?”
I’m Not Sorry
“It’s not your fault. I’m sorry,” he wrote with the fading yellow ink of a dying highlighter.
Jack stood in the middle of the entertainment room, which used to be the basement. Electronics and tabletop games were everywhere. The trashcan was overflowing with empty energy drink cans from his kids and their friends.
He left the note and his plain gold ring on the table before grabbing his car keys and heading outside. The warm sun hit his skin and a breeze floating through the air.
It wasn’t long before he pulled up to a heavily wooded park.
He wandered through the trees until he came to a weather-worn bench next to a creek. He sat down and listened to the flowing water and the small forest animals scurry amongst the trees.
“Hello there,” said someone behind jack, “mind if I join you?”
“Sure,” replied Jack.
An older man eased himself onto the bench next to Jack and sighed,
“This is my favorite spot in the whole park,” he said.
“Same here,” said Jack.
The two made small talk for a bit before silence fell between them.
“Ya know,” said the elderly man, “I think this is my favorite place because I feel closer to my wife here than anywhere else.”
“Why is that?” asked Jack.
“This is the last place she was alive. Ya know, she didn’t say goodbye? I mean, she said goodbye in the note she left behind, but that’s not the same. I always wonder if there’s anything I could’ve done.”
“I’m sure it had nothing to do with you.”
“She said it wasn’t my fault in her note, though I still can’t help but wonder. To this day, I hope she’ll pop out somewhere and say, ‘April Fools!’ She loved April Fool jokes.”
Silence fell again. After a while, Jack looked over at the other side of the bench, but the man was gone. His gaze returned to the brook for a moment before he got up and made his way back to his car.
Jack drove around the outskirts of town for a couple hours until he came to a bridge. He pulled over and walked out the bridge’s railing, gripping it so hard that his knuckles turned white. His eyes locked onto the river raging beneath him.
He reached into his coat and pulled out a small revolver. His gaze went skyward and his eyes searched the heavens.
“I miss you. So much. How can I keep doing this without you?”
His eyes clenched shut and his breath stuttered when he exhaled.
He inhaled deeply, cocked his arm back, and threw the revolver. It shot through the air and vanished beneath the white foam of the river below.
Jack slid back into his car and sat still for a moment. He filled his lungs and closed his eyes. His lip started to tremble. He slammed his fist into the passenger seat and bit his lip.
“I won’t be sorry today.”
With a shaking hand, he fit the key into the ignition and drove away.
“You know you are drinking bull semen, right?” Tom said to his friend.
The friend suddenly spat the energy drink from his mouth and asked, “What?”
“Bull semen. You didn’t know one of the ingredients of that energy drink is bull semen?”
“No,” the young man replied as he scanned the contents of the can.
After carefully reading them, he said, “There is nothing on here about bull semen.”
“Well, it’s not going to say bull semen, it will say something like hydrogenized caribeener.”
“Hydrogenized caribeener? What the hell is that?”
“It’s nothing. Just a name I made up that reads like an ingredient.”
“There is no bull semen in here.” He replied, still reading the can.
“Keep on drinking it and then when you have an urge to make love to a cow, you call me and tell me there is no bull semen in there.”
“Come on. You can’t be serious.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I can’t be serious.”
Finally, the other friend tossed the rest of the drink into a trash can.
“Wait…what? Today isn’t April Fool’s Day. It’s a couple of days off yet.”
“True, but if I told you that on April Fool’s Day, you wouldn’t have believed me.”
“You’re a dink Tom, you know that?”
When they arrived at the “prankster’s” house, they went down into the basement to play some video games, but on the wall was a piece of paper and written in yellow highlighter:
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, TOM!
YOU DIE ON APRIL FOOL’S DAY!
The two friends were shocked when they read this and Tom is a little scared.
“Tom, I told you those pranks were going to be the death of you and now you have someone after you.”
“Well, I just won’t leave the house until after April Fool’s Day.”
“Tom, whomever it was, walked into your basement to write this. You don’t think the killer will do the same thing to kill you? I am outta here. I don’t want to become a casualty.”
The friend hurried from the house and when he was out of sight, he called another friend and said, “Thanks for doing that for me, Jim. Hopefully, this will teach him a lesson.”
For the next two days, Tom worried about being killed. Finally, the day arrived, and a few minutes before the day ended at midnight, Tom heard the cellar door creak open. Scared, Tom pulled a hand gun from under the couch as the masked man appeared in front of him and said, “It’s time for you to die.”
Without a word, Tom raised the pistol and fired it at the man. Tom pulled the man’s mask off to reveal his friend and with his last dying breath, the friend said, “April…Fool’s…Tom. B-Boy, …I…really…got…you…this…time. You should see the look on your face.”
“Yeah, you damned idiot, you got me.”
With a smile on his face, the friend closed his eyes and the last of breath of air escaped from his body.
With tears in his eyes, Tom said, “You really got me with this one.”
Steven L Bergeron
The ground level to Herb Overkill lair was like any other basement dark and creepy. That didn’t bother Stuart Minion one bit. It gave Tim Minion the hives.
“Come on Stuart, let’s just grab Kevin and get our asses out of here?”
“Relax Tim, This is going to require a little patience and ingenuity to pull this off. Besides this is sure to make our enemy go nuts”
Stuart want ahead to extinguish his plan. Herb Overkill was never too fond of practice joke. This night was to drive him crazy. Stuart had replaced his Red bull as well as taken care of Kevin. They want to the closet to await their visitors. They finally arrived.
“Well my little green monster tomorrow shall be first day of the rest of our life. If everything goes to plan all your little friends shall be under my spell. Go fletch me a Red Bull I need all the energy I can get to full fill my evil plan to take over your miserable world.”
Stuart looked at his watch to calculate how long his Red Bull concoction would take into effect. Five minutes had passed when they heard a thunderous boom. They opened the closet door a bit only to see Herbs body lying down flat, and Kevin panicking as usual. Kevin looked in the direction of the closet door only to find a parade of Yellow highlighters stricking him on his noggin knocking himself over. Before he regained his footing he was bagged and brought to safety.
“Where on earth did you get that?”
“It’s simply another one of my many weapons. It sure did come in handy.”Stuart replied as they made their way back to their hideout.
It was now April 1 and Stuart Minion swore he could hear every little creature in their home land of Antartica laughing their heads off at the plan that Herb Overkill had fell for.
Meanwhile in Westminster Abbey the sun was so brilliant it could wake up anyone from a deep sleep. Herb Overkill woke up fresh with no recollection of what the minions had put him through. He glanced to find his little green monster was still asleep.
Herb had been up for hours now, and ready to complete his plan to make all of Kevin’s little friend part of his army. He waited patiently for Kevin’s arrival, they needed to put on end to the little minions that alluded him for the last time. His patience finally got the best of him.
“How can anyone sleep in a time like this? Kevin you get your sorry ass in here this once?” Finally after no response he decided the only way to wake him up was a good shaking. It was them that he discovered his monster was no more than a stuffed doll.
He suddenly realized it was April 1 there was only one solution to what had transpired.
“ Damn you minions all to hell! This is not over you shall all feel the wrath of an Overkill.”
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