The Iron Writer Challenge #56
2014 Iron Writer Spring Equinox Challenge #6
Grudge Match #4
The Great Tie Breaking Write Off
Grudge Match #4 concluded in a tie. The original stories, along with the authors are below. The two grudgers, Jordan Bell and Tony Jaeger agreed to a 24 hour write off challenge, consisting of 3 elements with a 300 word limit. Apologies to Margaret Wise Brown and Shel Silverstein
Jordan Bell, Tony Jaeger
“la bala de plata”
(spanish for the silver bullet)
“must parody classic children’s story”
The title must come from this image and the story must be written to match the title
The tie breaking stories follow.
Goodnight life, and goodnight sun,
See you when the dancings done.
Goodnight mother and goodnight father,
I will not ever have another.
Goodnight self, and goodnight dreams,
Hopefully I’ll get used to the screams.
Beware the cross, and beware the sun,
From darkness deep we draw our fun.
Beware our shadow, and beware our bite,
The disco vampires come out at night.
A good night to us, is a bad night for most,
It’s a good night tonight so raise a toast.
To nightlife eternal, and no more fear,
Goodnight worry our minds are clear.
We can be stopped, we can be killed,
But chances are your blood we’ll spill.
“La bala de plata”, the surest course,
Are proverbial stakes shoved through our hearts.
Goodnight courageousness, and goodnight too,
To those who would try but fail to do.
Vulnerable times, are those times when,
Under spells of slumber we rest from sin.
Goodnight to you, or goodnight to us,
Do as you do and we’ll do as we must.
First let’s dance, and to music sing,
Vampires of the disco doing our thing.
Our music is lust, and our moves lithe,
Let’s show you how to have a good night.
Let us help you, and be free at last,
Goodnight inhibitions we’ll put those to rest.
Goodnight willpower, and goodnight self-control,
Invite us in and turn over your soul.
Decadent sensation, and bewitching desires,
Spark from within and stoke the fires.
Goodnight unknowing, and goodnight regret,
Experience it all at our behest.
Who are we really, and where are we from,
Realization has struck that the end has begun.
We are the youth, and we are your young,
We are the future and you say my God.
Goodnight daughters, and goodnight sons,
Goodnight and beware for tonight we come.
Once there was a tree. Every day, after the multi-colored neon sun rose, the boy would come, and climb up her trunk, and swing from her branches, and when he was tired he would sleep, shaded from the dancing beams of pink and green and blue light.
The tree loved the little boy, and the tree was happy.
But the boy grew older, and as he grew, his interests included more than just the tree. But the tree loved the boy, and gave him what she could. She sheltered the boy and his lovers from prying eyes, and gave him a place to cry when they dumped him. The tree was happy that the boy came into her sheltering branches when he was hurting, glad she could help.
The tree loved the no-longer-little boy.
But then the muffins attacked, dressed in blue suede shoes, boogying up the lane. The boy, running away, climbed the tree and hid. The tree gave the boy an m-60 machine gun, loaded with silver bullets, and the boy was happy. Confused, but happy.
The boy fought, but was overcome. He died from Disco Fever in the shade of the tree, who wept sap for the boy. Nobody came for the boy, killed by the fever as well.
The boy decomposed and seeped into the soil. The tree soaked up those nutrients, taking the boy into herself so they could be together forever.
And the tree was happy.
No “to be” verbs
Dying in a Dream
One character must have a secret crush
Four days before the 1977 Andrew Jackson Middle-School Valentine’s Day Dance, Ricky Frank Edwards waited for his ride.
The Pontiac rumbled to the curb. Inside, his sister dragged a Virginia Slim, pink-beige Oscar De la Rentas covered a third of her face; “Dream Weaver” played on the radio.
He threw in his books and slammed the door. The scent of Aqua Velva filled the car.
“You smell nice.” She said. He fastened his seatbelt.
Up ahead, Janice Pendleton’s long blonde hair ducked into her mother’s wood-paneled station wagon.
His heart beat quickened.
“That your girlfriend?” Evelyn asked.
“What? No!” He said and cranked the window down. Afternoon blew in, science notebooks fluttered. Pages of planets and space ships flipped and folded like a stop action cartoon.
“…Dream Weaver…” Janice Pendleton danced barefoot in his mind, long hair swaying.
“Going to that school dance?” Evelyn watched him, waiting for the car ahead to turn left.
“Nah.” He flicked the cigarette lighter and passed his palm over the flame; spaceship exhaust.
“Take me away to the dark side of the moon…”
“I bet she’d go, if you asked her.” Evelyn kept her eyes on the road this time.
A fence running parallel to the blacktop separated weeds from a pasture, completely enclosed except one small section, where barbed wire untwisted itself and lay like a welcome mat.
In his dream last night, he and Janice danced, so close he crushed her pink Carnation. Then somehow, Judy, crooked nose and all, looked in his eyes. Punch ran in, saw him holding Judy. Hit him. Right before he died in the dream, he saw the real Janice Pendleton, by the refreshments, laughing at him.
“You alright?” Evelyn asked. The car idled in their driveway.
“Yeah.” He said, getting out.
“Ricky”, she called. “Just ask her. Trust me. Show her the amazing in you.”
He made his way to the front porch.
“Tell Mom I work until 7.” Evelyn yelled. “Hey, you forgot to roll up the window!”
Their little brother stood on the top step.” Your turn to take out the garbage. Mom said. And some girl called you.”
“What?” he said, eyes big.
“Psyche!” his little brother yelled.
Ricky brushed past him, knocking him off-balance. “Hey! You smell like Dad!”
That night, another dream. His sister played music from the D.J. booth. Janice Pendleton stood alone. A disco ball strew silver across the dance floor. He walked right up to her. “Hey, did you know that all the elements in the universe came from the same dying star?”
“Amazing”, she said, as he led her to the dance floor. Sparkly stars and planets hung from the gymnasium ceiling.
Next morning, he sat eye-to-eye with a 24 inch Darth Vader and peeled cellophane from a box of Valentines.
He chose, “Out of this world…Valentine,” with a drawing of Saturn.
Inside he wrote, “Want to go to the dance with me on Friday?”
He dropped in three Conversation Hearts;
Five minutes ‘til Homeroom, star dust raced through his veins. His heart waited in a small white envelope; his hair combed over, Travolta style.
They say that no one ever knows the timing of their own death. It would seem that I prove yet again too unconventional for my own good. You see, every night culminates with my death. Each evening as I lay my head onto my pillow, I know with a certainty that once I find sleep, death begins his hunt for me. They also say that to die in a dream translates into dying in the waking world as well. Nonsense. Night after night I witness my own mortality and yet I continue to wake to the shrill of the alarm clock.
Recently, I dreamt of marrying my high school crush. Her parents named her Briana, but she preferred the nickname Breezy. We never dated. I never even told her how I felt, Briana gave not the time of day to geeks like me. I thought to tell her once, but her upturned lip at seeing me approach warded me off. It seems my injured heart coupled with its vindictive yearnings conjured her into a dream mimicking the slapstick domestic violence of Mr. Punch and his wife Judy.
Oh we lived and loved, and somewhere in there I think I smothered the wretched girl. This happened just prior to knocking out a policeman, beating a clown with a stick, and tricking the hangman into his own noose. Good fun all around. Except, as with Mr. Punch and myself, no good deed goes unpunished and soon I stood face to face with Beelzebub himself. He sang me a song of my sins and then challenged me to a game for my soul.
“Enjoying your little rampage?” the Prince of Darkness asked.
“A lover’s quarrel,”I said with a dismissive wave. “…with a side of disturbing the peace.”
“Play a game with me,” he suggested as smoke curled from his nostrils.
“To what end?” I asked.
He considered this and said,“Perhaps to your own end unless of course you win.”
“If you mean to tempt me, perhaps telling me what I stand to win, not that which I stand to surely loose, lends to better results,” I said.
“Your heart’s deepest desires,”he promised.
“Alright,”I said, “let’s play.”
The devil smiled and drew from his pocket a deck of cards. He shuffled the deck and then spread it out before me. He told me to pick a card and I complied. He then drew a card and placed it face down in front of me.
“Tell me,”Satan said, “which is the higher card. The one in your hand or the one in front of you?”
In my hand I held the ten of hearts. Not the strongest card, but only a fool thinks the devil deals fair.
“Mine,” I said.
The card in front of me flipped to reveal a nine of clubs. I won.
“Name your prize,” he spat.
“I wish to never die in another dream,” I lamented.
“Granted,” said the devil with a smile.
True to his word, I never woke up and instead now remain permanently comatose, thus unable to ever die in another dream. With that, I suppose convention finally caught up with me.
K. A. DaVur
“Judy. Tonight, Judy.” The heat begins in the pit of my stomach and winds its way down. I need him. Only he can fill this emptiness. My dream man. My secret crush. I don’t know how I know this, but I have since the first night he visited me. I clench my eyes, fight to stay asleep, but lose the battle. Angrily, I return to the real world.
“Well, hullo” says my husband. He slurs, weaving on the edge of the bed. The clock reads 2:30. “Fancy a dance?” He drags me, protesting, out of bed into a desperate drunken waltz. I try to pull away to no avail; his arms, thickly muscled underneath their coating of fat hold me close. His thick fingers dig into my arms. Desperate, I swat at his shoulders. Hair grows from his ears. Disgusting. Inevitably we trip, sprawling onto the bed, and he grinds his hips against my own.
I know what to do. He told me. “You waste our time,” I say, craning to look at the clock. Time remains, if only I can sleep. I look into the bloodshot eyes only inches from my own. I must turn his anger into my weapon.
“Who you lookin’ for” my husband slurs. “You got someone in here?” I roll my eyes. “You caught me,” I say. “Now find him.” The ploy works better than I anticipated, and he flies into a rage, overturning furniture, punching holes through the thin plaster walls. “Not there,” I taunt. “Not there. Not there.”
“Where did he go?” my husband roars.
I cross my arms across my chest, raise one eyebrow. “I threw him out the window.”
He starts towards me, his hands grasping for my throat. I step back again and then again, until my back is pressed against the wall. I close my eyes and wait for a blow that never comes. Instead, his drunken feet tangle and the floor rattles with the force of his fall. His snores begin before the shaking ends. My hands tremble as I reach for my green-scaled purse, unzip the pocket hidden on the side, and pull out my gun. I press it against his nose and pull the trigger. “Take that,” I say.
I pull off the blood-spattered nightgown and the cool breeze caresses my skin. I run my fingers lightly over my nipples and climb into bed.
Finally, finally, he comes to me. I can see him through the mist. “My love,” I call. He comes close, and I can see his face, his beautiful face. I can see, too, the sparks as his hooves strike the cobblestones.
“Not you.” I say, horrified. “I didn’t send for you.”
“No,” he says, setting up the gallows, “but I was sent for you.”
I remember the words he had whispered to me in the place between sleep and wakefulness. The promises.
“But, I thought. . .” I say as he leads me, powerlessly, to the noose.
“They all do, the way I give it ‘em” he replies, and pulls the knot tight behind my ear. The trapdoor opens.
“Punch?” Judy offered me.
“Thank you,” still a little weirded out by the puppet getting me drunk. Draped in gaudy fabrics, her apartment seemed resplendent, if you like Opium-Den Chic. I do. I downed the single shot of rum and acrid punch, and asked for more.
She obliged with a squeaky, eager voice, and sat close to me on the velvety red couch. Close. Her breathing quickened as she edged closer to me on the couch.
Just then, the south wall of the apartment blew outward in a deafening roar of shattering stone and shrieking metal. Judy screamed, fell backward. I stood, suddenly shirtless, and wielding two wickedly curved swords. Three heartbeats passed, and I dashed toward the gaping hole, dodging around the gigantic hand reaching for me. I screamed and hurled myself toward an enormous wooden face, not looking down the twenty stories to the ground. Falling fast, I held the swords out before me, hoping to rake them down the giant puppet, dressed like an opium den, but in blue.
Velvet and silk ripped. The male doll howled in pain and rage. Blood and puppet ichor cascaded down his body, soaking me and bringing an odor I was sure would never wash out. “I just wanted a quiet, romantic night with my ladylove. This always happens!” Alternating left and right, I stabbed upward, creating handholds to climb higher on his chest.
A bloody hand groped for me. I clung to one sword embedded in its chest and swung wildly, cleaving off one of its fingers – as long as I stand tall. It fell, and splattered on the street below. I continued to climb. My arms burned, every muscle in my body caught fire with the exertion. Almost there, I thought, praying that the monstrous puppet died when I stabbed it’s throat.
Ready to plunge the sword at last into its neck, a hand grabbed me.
“NOOO!” I was thrown high into the air, arced perfectly to fall into the puppet’s gaping maw. His makeup-slathered face and oaken teeth smiled menacingly up at me as I fell toward it. Desperately, I pointed one sword down, and gripped it between my feet, adding my body weight to the downward stab.
The eagle has landed.
Hot liquid exploded upward, showering me with all manner of gore. Again, I was thrown upward. I crashed against a wall, and slid wetly down, coming to rest on the floor.
A huge crash shook whatever flat surface I rested on, and fell quiet.
“Oh, my hero!” It was Judy’s voice. Aflame with pain, I could do nothing more than lay there, drenched in blood. Tiny wooden hands caressed my shoulders and face. “You saved me,” her high, squeaky voice dropped. “Let me reward you.”
My eyes shot open as I exploded in pleasure. Alone, in my bed, without puppet-accompaniment.
“Huh,” I said. “I never knew I liked that kind of thing.”
The dream sparked in me… a little death, as the French would say.