Quick links on this page:
Lesley Truchet & Chris Fielden going all Mad Max on a classic Kawasaki
Chris's head has NOT been badly Photoshopped onto Lesley's husband's body; his head always sits at that alien angle
Welcome to Lesley's Nifty Nib-Nibbling Nonsensical Narrative Challenge. It's fun. It's simple. Anyone can submit. All entries are published. Discover how delightful writing nonsense can be.
This is a flash fiction writing challenge, inviting you to pen a nonsense engorged tale, filled with absurdity, yet making sense.
The rules are simple:
So far, we've received 116 entries. We need 84 more to publish the anthology.
Many new writers fail to understand the importance of a complete story arc, leaving a reader satisfied at the conclusion of a story. This challenge highlights the importance of a coherent plot and strong characters that allow the reader to suspend their disbelief and become absorbed in a well-told tale.
We want submitted stories to be silly and nonsensical, but not pure gobbledegook. So please aim for strong plot, exciting characters and a satisfying ending.
If you need inspiration, below are a few links to websites which generates nonsense:
WARNING: if you click on the links above, you're likely to spend an inordinate amount of time faffing about with the nonsense generators and giggling. I lost an entire day.
The first anthology – Nonsensically Challenged Volume 1 – will be released once 100 stories have been received, so probably sometime in 2017.
Lesley and I would like to thank everyone who has submitted stories for their support – it is very much appreciated :-)
Proceeds generated by anthology sales will be donated to The Daisy Garland.
Set up in 2014 by Sara and David Garland after the tragic death of their 6 year old daughter Daisy from SUDEP (sudden death in epilepsy patients), The Daisy Garland works exclusively for children with drug-resistant epilepsy. The charity funds specialist dietitians who work within national health hospitals countrywide treating some of the 18,000 sufferers in the UK.
Some words from Lesley about why she chose to support this charity:
Daisy Garland died at the age of 6 due to severe epilepsy. I am a friend of Daisy's aunt. I chose to support The Daisy Garland charity because I know that my friend and her sister (Daisy's mother) and other members of Daisy's family are fully committed to managing the charity. They all work extremely hard to give support and advice, to the extent of significantly improving and prolonging the lives of children suffering with epilepsy.
I know it's hard to believe having looked at the photo at the top of the page, but Lesley and I haven't met. Yet.
However, we have liaised a lot via email. And Lesley has been highly supportive of me and my website. She's entered the To Hull & Back short story competition (and been longlisted). She's submitted to the adverb writing challenge (and been published). She's commented on and shared my posts regularly. She's a LEGEND.
Lesley & Chris being all Carry On Camping, oo er missus, fnar fnar, how rude matron
Again, Photoshop definitely has NOT been anywhere near this photo
When Lesley contacted me about starting a nonsense writing challenge, I thought it was a fabulous idea. So, after a bit of discussion, and way too much time spent faffing about with nonsense generators, it was born.
Each time a story is received, it will be published on this page. When we receive 100 stories, they will be removed from the website and published in an anthology. The book will be made available in print, Kindle eBook and PDF formats.
All the proceeds will go to charity.
If we don't receive 100 entries, it's a bit of fun, you can read all the stories here on the site and you now know about The Daisy Garland charity.
Everyone's a winner.
Below are all the stories that have been submitted to date, oozing silliness, yet still making sense. You may now worship the wonder of the wizened writers who have whipped together these delightfully whimsical collections of witticisms.
The stories are published in the order they were received.
We received our 100th story on 3rd March 2017. The first 100 stories will be available to read here on the website until 31st March 2017. They will then be removed from the site ready for the launch of the first nonsense anthology. This will probably be launched sometime in May or June 2017.
The Insensitive Slorrt
by Lesley Truchet
"Have you seen that, Tinkers?" The hamplah chick pointed its beak.
"Oh no, they're a protected species." The spirlite observed a young slorrt brutally slashing at some delicate puffia blooms, scattering their ruined purple petals.
"Pity you're such a good spirlite, or you could turn him into a warty wereprod," said the hamplah.
"I'm not one of those witless wand-swishers," Tinkers snorted. "But I can be very bad when it suits me. Leave this to me." She flew off after the departing slorrt.
Later that evening the young slorrt woke up screaming.
"I dreamt that I was in a field of giant puffias," the slorrt sobbed between his words whilst his mother comforted him. "One of them trapped my head inside its bell shaped petals and squeezed. I couldn’t breathe. Everything went black. I was dying and I could hear them sniggering." The slorrt whimpered and shuddered in distress.
Eventually he calmed down and closed his eyes, and therefore didn't notice a tittering miniscule creature flying over his bed and out of the window. Afterwards, his dream re-occurred frequently, reminding him to treat puffias and all other living things with more respect.
by Christopher Fielden
"And lo, the fiery wolfen-hippo shall rise from the ashes of destruction," said Grandiloquence, the mage.
And lo, it did. The fiery wolfen-hippo looked down upon herself. She was indeed a hippo that was wolfen. And fiery.
"You said I'd be reborn a phoenix."
"Glorious," said Grandiloquence. "You shall be known as Bombast."
"I shall not," said Bombast. "Turn me into a phoenix. Now."
"The monk doth know his dangleberry and they are molten."
"The flatulence of forecast is wantonly chanking, ocelot and glabella."
"Not this again, Grandiloquence; talking cobblers, pretending madness made you cock up the incantation…"
"You ask my foot, yet taste my wilson?" Bombast raised an eyebrow. "Sweet child of pubes, may your chasm be burnished."
Bombast, the fiery wolfen-hippo, took a threatening step towards Grandiloquence. "One more drivel-laden sentence and you'll suffer my wrath."
Grandiloquence laughed. "Collywobbles cannot smite me, Bombast. The sky hums with udders and protects–"
Bombast breathed fire. Grandiloquence burned.
"And lo, the watery water-melon shall rise from the ashes of destruction," said Bombast.
And lo, it did. The watery water-melon looked down upon himself. He was indeed a water melon. And watery.
"Have some of that, you lunatic," said Bombast.
by S.B. Borgersen
"I can only obble," she bibbled, "all I see are buffoons of macaroons."
"Not me," he blankied, "my nail files have floated down the strawberry tarts."
And so the two blew all the bowls off the chairs and knelt on the waves of linoleum, counting the starry sky beneath their feet.
When they both reached minus eighteen in sync, he said to her, "Get your apple out girlie-pie, we are going up into the peach stone."
And with that they trowelled their way down through the linoleum to the floor above where the merino cherries sat on the floor counting, backwards, the bowls on the chairs.
"Wrong stones," he said, "we need to keep flibbering higher."
And so they trowelled through the lightning until their nibbles bled ice-cream and the wallpaper joined in the fun.
Out of Houston
by Marie Rennard
"Houston, I think we're having a problem,
"the whale has swum away from the mother planet,
"she's put the tyres of the bike around her neck to avoid getting drowned.
"Send us a red herring,
"And a lot of peanuts,
"the whale has swum away with the sun on her tail."
"Houston here: why do you need peanuts?
"And what is this 'we've tried sawing white stones?'"
"Houston, please stop asking silly questions,
"if you don't have peanuts, send chickpeas,
"use fast mail, this is an emergency case, Houston,
"We're in the whale.
"The more distance it makes, the more it shrinks,
"and the less room we've got to store peas.
"Will you stop arguing?"
Milking the Billy
by Simon Russell
At a quarter to ten I picked up the pen to write that I had something to do at a quarter to two.
At a quarter to twelve I read the note to see what I had to do at a quarter to two.
The note said 'milk for tea'.
"Milk for tea," said I to me, "I never take milk in tea, so what did I have to do at quarter to two?"
At a quarter to four there was a bang on the door and a red faced man stood there.
Said he to me, "Did you forget you were coming to tea at a quarter to three and now it's a quarter to four?"
Said I to him, "I made the note that I had something to do at quarter to two but could not remember what to do."
Said he to me, "You had to milk the goat at quarter to two to be with me at quarter to three for tea."
"Argh," said me to he, " I could not milk the goat at a quarter to two as she is a him."
Food For Thought
by Michael Rumsey
This is a not very highly classified transcript of a recorded meeting held in the PM's office and picked up on short wave radio.
The Source: Estimated to be somewhere up there, several worm holes and mega-parsecs North East of Botswana.
The time: Once upon a.
"Sit, Semolina, some surprising spectacular sensational scene seen so Soya says?"
"Verily Prime Macarone."
"And where did my two favourite expeditionary exploratoroians encounter this episode?"
"Earth, sir, there's an a in it."
"Did you say a?"
"What sort of a?"
"A capital A."
"Alphacumomega astounding. And how did you uncover this promising peculiar phenomenon?"
"By keeping my nose close to the ground, sir, rather like the creature itself."
"By all the chopsticks and digit bowls, a palatable event to be sniffed at then. I have never known you to be tongue twisted so verbally verify. What exactly did your visual apertures behold?"
"An alert, ambitious and avaricious Aardvark airily ambling along an adventurous African avenue aware abundant and appetising anthills awaited arrival."
"Well batter my blueberries, Semmy my sweet, quite a mouthful. I think this is a recipe that could cook up sustenance for contemplation."
Donald's In Charge Now
by R E Nots
As the door closed the elephants came out of their holes. Hibernation had finished three days ago and the chance to come out in to the daylight excited them. Much anticipation surrounded this special day as it would see many younger elephants fly off in search of a new home.
Donald, with his gleaming bright green tusks, was tasked with ensuring the exodus was a success.
He'd spent the previous three days constructing the launch ramp and his nervousness was evident.
The 20 elephants lined up before the ramp, behind the tape line. Donald was proud of how straight the line was.
"RUN AND FLAP," Donald trumpeted, as was the customary flight command.
With all their might the elephants ran and flapped past the line, up over the take off ramp and flew.
Reaching above the height of the windowsill, the sun hurting their eyes, the young elephants could see the city stretching out before them, their hearts beating in time with their miniscule wings.
They headed for their freedom.
THUMP... The window wasn't open. The pink elephants hit and slid down the glass and landed unceremoniously next to a potted cactus...
Dishevelled Donald shook his head in dismay.
Animospoddity for Beginners
by John Notley
While pursuing my normal Sunday activity of animospoddity (observation of unusual species of animal) I was lucky enough to find the one which had eluded me for years – the Lesser-Spotted Welliphant. Walking through the paddy fields of Ireland, his natural habitat, I came upon this magnificent creature. The Welliphant is easily recognised by its broad back, stumpy legs encased in wellies and the ever present bowler hat. It is advisable not to approach too close as the Welliphant is quite shy. Although he generally stays within his own territory he has been known to wander further afield. So if the animal should ask his way home, do not shout else he will flap his ears and gently float away.
My next mission is to locate a Flat-Footed Platypuss, native to Australia, where they are fondly known as Shelaghs. These unique animals are a hybrid species; part duck, part beaver and the rest pussycat. This versatile creature is thus able to fish, burrow and catch mice often, all at the same time. My next book will feature the Long-Necked Peruvian Plum Plucker, often mistaken for a One-Horn Purple People Eater which, as everyone knows, does not exist.
Rocks in his Head
by Glen Donaldson
Only a madman would draw scissors three times in a row, thought Miles Munro, four times World Rock Paper Scissors champion, as he again tried to predict what his four-fingered opponent Birch Prendergast would do next.
A prodigiously-gifted 'blitz' player who'd established his psychological bona fides by studying game theory, Miles sensed his mild-mannered adversary didn't really like being around people at all, excepting this once a year opportunity to showcase his prodigious brand of finger-dazzle.
Known in tournament circles as 'Masterchief Munro', Miles was a practised hand, so to speak, in the black arts of competitive mind-games: attempting to double-think and psyche out challengers while all the time clawing for advantage using pattern recognition, body language analysis and the finer points of the old mentalist trick 'Sicilian Reasoning'. Heck, when it came right down to it, Miles wasn't above even trash-talking his foes to throw them off balance.
Yet amidst this great hall of mirrors, Miles himself made the transparently rookie error of tucking the tip of his thumb into the crook of his index finger, telegraphing an obvious rock. It was over, and his career on the pro touring circuit had likewise just hit rock bottom.
Nuts and Dolts
by Braid Anderson
Once upon a time, Lunatic – he's an insect from the moon – went to the doctor with a head under his lump.
"What happened?" asked Dr Pyramid.
"I was putting on some toilet water and the seat fell down."
Dr Pyramid gave him an obscene prescription. Lunatic, being prone to premature articulation, called the doctor a pyramidiot. Dr Pyramid then sued Lunatic for definition of character.
On his way to court, the doctor met a colleague, Doctor Psycho.
"Hello," said Pyramid.
Wonder what he meant by that? thought Psycho. Dr.Pyramid's lawyer explained to the court that the good doctor was viewed as a 'real asset' by his fellow practitioners.
"Only two letters too many," muttered Judge Godly.
"That's it, I'm off," said Pyramid.
"Couldn't have put it better myself," said the judge, whose brother was an Anglican bishop. HE proposed to his bride by singing 'Abide With Me' out of tune.
Judge Godly had just finished reading a collection of articles written for the Rome Herald by Vice Versa (who also wrote pornographic poems), entitled 'The Secret Acts of the Apostles'. His next case was an action by the RSPCA against a Mr. Miserly Hillfarmer, whose defence was 'The Lord is my Shepherd'.
Murderer At Large
by Ville Nummenpää
I was walking along the road with my mentally disturbed and ugly wife, when we saw him – Brubaker. The murderer who had strangled the entire city council of Stronghamfordshire just a few weeks prior.
He was firing his pistol at us in a reckless manner. Several of the bullets hit my brain, but luckily the gun was just a 22-caliber. Painful, but not fatal. My wife also took several hits to her face, but she was so ugly that the gunshot wounds actually improved her looks. Miraculously, the bullets also cured her schizophrenia.
Fortunately, a large concert piano landed on Brubaker at that very minute. Otherwise he might have continued firing, and possibly killed us.
The police arrived soon after, and the whole episode was resolved. Oh, how we laughed.
Brubaker is now serving a three month sentence at a minimum security prison, and we visit him every Christmas, bringing him cakes and soft drinks.
My wife and I are now happier than ever. Which is not to say happy, just happier.
The Not-To-Be Storee of Edwina Bunkum-Drolle
by Katy Wimhurst
"Hello. Hello. I'm a storee looking for an author," said the storee to the author. "My storee is about Edwina Bunkum-Drolle, a 39-year-old nomaddic woman from Lincoln, who, seeking to be an artist who can interpret evereething including the sunlit dust of realitee, goes in search of the bumhole of the world (12 miles from Coventry), climbs an invisible mountain near Cambridge to speak to a techno-druid about hippy nonsense, accidentallee averts an apocalypse in Ipswich, has her ideas temporarilee sukked out by an evil vaccuum cleaner at Northampton universitee, but then, one day while gazing at the unwinding tressses of the setting sun, decides too return to Lincoln, where she forms an earth commune with an indigenous taxii driver who makes raather good cups of jaffa-cake tea."
The author contemplated the storee with disdain. "Leaving aside your obvious problems with spelling and punctuation, unrealistic characters, clunky prose and very odd plot," he said, running a finger over his copy of Dostoevsky's The Idiot, "It's clear that this is a ridiculous story which makes little sense. You're not taking writing seriously. Writing is a serious job for serious people. So go away."
So the storee went away.
Dipsticks and Fizgigs
by Susan Powis
"Blundergrast. My dipstick. Today I shall go to winkel at my people. And I shall travel in Black Mary."
"Your Pomposity," Blungergrast bowed, his dingle touching his katz as he handed over the dipstick. "You may need more than the dipstick if you travel in Black Mary for she is most underwhelming."
"I shall not go in the Royal Cucina for a casual winkel. It is far too... what is the word?"
"Golden, Your Bombosity?"
"Quite so. And too cramped. My fizgig would get squashed. Black Mary it is. Send word."
"As Your Flatuosity commands." Blundergrast hurried off.
The winkel was a huge disappointment. The dipstick was ignored. The people barely observed the huge fizgig poking out of the window.
"Perhaps the Cucina was a better idea," His Girthness proclaimed sadly. "Those stupid people did not even know who I was, though I waved the dipstick most regally and stuck out my most wonderful fizgig, which actually blew off as we rounded the corner by the Royal Hamptons."
"It is fortuitous, Your Baldness, that one of the courtiers picked it up."
"And I shall order another dipstick. No one dips to this bejewelled stick."
Boogers Are Like Brussels Sprouts
by C.L. Verhagen
Boogers are like brussels sprouts,
sometimes they're green and sometimes they're brown,
sometimes they're oblong and sometimes they're round.
Sometimes they're goopy,
and they smell really bad.
Sometimes if you eat them,
you gag just a tad.
You can throw them like baseballs,
or they can be flicked,
If you hide them under chairs,
sometimes they'll stick.
Not everyone knows where they come from, its true,
but I think boogers are like brussels sprouts, don't you?
Cheers Mum, Cheers Chris
by Martin Strike
Weekday tea-times are in ruins. One can rarely condone celebrity stalking, but really, Mum – Chris from Egg Heads?
"Who will beat the Eggheads?"
Well it won't be you, Mum, not in the next 18-months anyway. The real victim in this is me. They took BBC2 away from our tele as part of your restraining order so your incarceration condemns me to a year and a half of Tipping bloody Point while eating peanut butter sandwiches as the cooking programmes don't start 'til 8 (you can't count Come Dine With Me as you would kill me if I had strangers round). I'll miss you of course, but not as much as I will Jeremy Vine. And Daphne.
The magistrate wouldn't accept your explanation that it was Chris's glasses you couldn't resist. He had a point, reminding you that the last celebrity you were arrested for menacing was Michael Portillo, whose eyesight is consistently portrayed on our screens as uncorrected, even when reading his Bradshaw. What's more, being cross-examined under oath, you were bound to confess your vitriol towards the thoroughly bespectacled Tim Wonnacott and utter ambivalence to Richard Osman.
But Chris, Mum? I could understand if it was Barry or Kevin.
Why Is Granny So Small?
by Ciara Byrne
I ran to see my best, patterned, friend and asked him, "Why is my granny so small? How come she is not tall like you, Goraff? How come she doesn't keep growing until she is high in the sky?"
Goraff answered, "Why, dear, my family keeps growing until we reach the tops of trees, until we can feel the rain drops before others, and until the ground and our feet are far away from our eyes."
I asked, "Will I not be tall when I am Granny's age? Granny seems to get smaller and smaller every time I see her, and I wonder why she doesn't grow taller and taller. She has been alive for such a long time and surely has been growing all this time. I have been growing tall – why not her?"
Goraff replied, "You will grow tall in spirit and character, higher than the sky and stars. You will fly with the birds, run with the cheetahs, swim with the elephants, but you or your granny will never grow tall like me or mine."
Disappointed, I ticked that question off my list. Now, I must go visit my best, stripy, friend – Zeeba.
by D. Angelone
"Honey, I thought you were going to lift the curse today."
"Then why's that thing still in our driveway? It's urinating again."
"What the–? Look, I punched the toad and squeezed my uncle's testicles, just like she said."
"Did you roll the corn in antifreeze?"
"Corn in the antifreeze, painted my toes with guano, I did it all."
"Did you make the macaroni Batman?"
"And hang it on the fridge?"
"I'm not an idiot."
"No, Frank's. Why?"
"She said your shortest uncle. God, I knew you would screw this up."
"Frank's my shortest uncle."
"Dave's like four feet tall."
"He's my uncle through marriage."
"Oh. Well, did you squeeze them under the pale moonlight?"
"Jesus, was it pale or not?"
"It was pale, ish."
"Wait. Did you drop the kids off?"
"Please tell me you did that."
"Honey, she never said that."
"'When rooster crows twice, drop kids at noon, under freeway.' Verbatim."
"No, she said 'drop kick a nun'... under freeway."
"Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds?"
"Well, she had a strong accent."
"Don't talk to me."
"I said don't."
by Peculiar Julia
William Ateeqi sits there, lonely as can be, wedged between Sara (5' 9" blonde and buxom) and Katia (fiery redheaded Amazonian, ready for anything).
He just doesn't understand. His language has been polite to the point of purple prose, his pleading sincere, he has everything to offer, but no one seems to care, no one in this place anyhow. William feels ignored and frankly depressed.
What did you have to do to get attention around here? Has he been unclear about the urgency of the situation? Are his credentials not impeccable? He has news to make anybody's day – tidings of immense good fortune.
A sudden click and Katia spreads out, obscuring his view, then disappears as though folded into space. Where did she go? There must be an exit. She'd been lit up, then stretched, then gone.
Katia managed to get herself noticed, why not he? Is no one in need of 24 million US dollars?
Just a sec. The light again... It's hovering over... Sara... No, me – ME.
William is lit up with joy, wide open.
"My dear, I hope you won't betray my confidence in you. I am manager at the People's Bank of Nigeria..."
*Move to Spam*
by Cathi Radner
Tolliver Banks disappeared on a Tuesday. It didn't happen all at once. It seldom does. It began when he said, "Pass the butter," and no one noticed or offered a reply.
He liked it best when he was half-faded. Though the movies refused to give him half-priced tickets, when clearly he was only half there.
When Tolliver vanished completely, naturally questions were asked. Heads were scratched.
"Ma'am," the police said to Tolliver's wife. "What has become of your husband?"
Shirley scratched her head. "I must have misplaced him. No bother. I never wanted one in the first place. It mustn't have been a good one, or I would have kept track. Though perhaps it was a good one, and I bought it half-off and never appreciated the value."
The police wrote this down, and then looked under beds and in closets. They found a small dog, which had nothing to say.
At dinner, Shirley said to her children, "Eat your peas," which they would have done, had there been any peas. They didn't like the buttered beans which were twice cooked over and burnt.
"Father never made us eat burnt beans," muttered the smallest.
Where is father? wondered the rest.
The Poor Five Loafers' Widows
by Sandra Orellana
"Now who is going to put up with these loafers, or should I say widows?" said the first wife, sitting behind the other three widows. "Can you believe this vigil feast on New Years Eve?" she continued. She loved the idea that 'The Show Goes On'.
She watched the young girlfriend widow on the front seat, sitting all alone. A young dumb blonde, sobbing like a child in front of her fat boyfriend's casket.
The other three widows were just behind her. All three of them looked the same, with botox treatments. The three didn't say too much. In their mid 40's, with clone faces, they knew their lives would not be the same without talking about him, lost in their 'whacko minds', wondering what they were going to do or live for.
Suddenly, the young girlfriend-widow stood up and turned around and looked at the three ex-wives and said, "I'm lost without him. Could you advice me what to do?"
A Stabbing Mystery
by Olivier Breuleux
A woman laid face down in a pool of blood, a kitchen knife jutting out of her back. Inspectors Dim, Dum and Sum were on the scene hypothesizing.
"The only other person with her at the time of her death was her dog," Dim said. "Therefore, the dog is the murderer."
"Astute," Dum agreed, stroking his smooth, shaven beard. "But the knife was found in the victim's hand. It must be a suicide."
"You are both wrong," said Sum. He proceeded to yank the knife out of the victim's back.
"Here is your murderer," he said, brandishing the blood-stained weapon. "Confess, swine," he intimated the knife, but it did not respond. "Confess, or I shall use you to cut jelly, pudding and aspic."
"NO. Anything but that. I admit it, I am the murderer," the knife confessed in its tinny, terrified voice. "But have mercy; Ms. Rowd was the most terrible cook I had ever seen. Every day I was an accomplice to criminal soup. I had no choice but to kill her."
Sum walked to the pot in which a soup was simmering, and caught a whiff. It smelled like legitimate defence.
by Annemarie Allan
The job of assistant biscuit organiser in the castle of King Nunn bored Mary Dilk to the point of tears. She was sobbing into the 27th tin when a packet of pink wafer biscuits exploded in a shower of sparkling crumbs.
"What's wrong with you?" asked Fairy Nuff, shaking the crumbs from her wand.
"I can't do this any more," wailed Mary.
"Well, don't." The fairy reached for a chocolate digestive and munched vigorously. "The King never comes down here. He never sees the tins. Just chuck the biscuits in anyhow and make sure they're neat when you put them on the serving plate."
Mary laughed and wiped away the tears. "Fairy Nuff, you are an absolute genius." With the help of her friend Susan Shocks, she finished her day's work in under half an hour. Fairy Nuff took care of the broken biscuits. Mary spent the afternoon with her boyfriend, Sam Handwich.
A few days after that, the King was delighted to discover that his people had begun to call him King Nunn the Wiser.
by Neville Raper
I have only three fears in my life, all rooted in childhood: Ghosts, Pirates and Dentists.
In fact if I ever bumped into the ghost of a pirate dentist, I'd probably kark it.
As a small boy I used to stay awake imagining spooks in my bed. My mum would hear my shivers and come into my room late at night to reassure me.
"There's no such thing as ghosts," she'd softly say.
I used to berate her, "Go away mum, you've been dead four years."
Dentists too, do you remember the school one? A distant descendant of Marquis De Sade.
When informed I had a cavity, he tried to cheer me up. "You can have a choice of filling," he offered. I asked for cheese and pickle.
Finally pirates, sailing the seven seas with one arm, one leg and one eye. They'd plague my dreams with their hooks and stumps. Flying a skull and crossbones, when it really should have been a disabled badge.
So there's the three. I've no doubt I will develop more as life runs on. I leave you with one that I think I've just caught. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – the fear of long words.
The Yodelling Professor
by Jacob Derin
John was a professor at Ferguson University. He was a proud faculty member of old FU. He told people this fact with pride and joviality. He told his family, his friends, his acquaintances, and kept telling them long after they had asked him to stop. He had experimented with telling strangers in the street. As a result, he had been pepper sprayed not once, not twice, not five times, but thrice.
But, I digress. John's position of Professor of yodeling was in serious jeopardy at his place of employment. It wasn't so much that he was disliked, the department head informed him. It was more the fact that there is no such job offered at the University. How, John countered, had he taught the subject for the past fifteen years? His boss (of course, he would object to this title) simply shrugged his shoulders. He was very sorry, but there was no place for him at the university, it was policy.
John was upset, naturally, and slipped back into his old addiction: nose blowing. He indulged in it then, blowing a great deal of phlegm across the table. "Very well," John acquiesced, "I shall have to return to the coal mines."
Not Skating On Thin Ice
by Simon Humphreys
I'd always wanted to skate on the underside of a frozen lake. Having bought a pair of buoyancy skates to keep me upside down, I entered the world championships, being held the very next day.
Lake Takamo was the unlikely venue for this prestigious event. It didn't sound like a lake in Swindon, nor was it. As I jumped over the open gate, which led to the lake's edge, a man stopped me and bid me good day in Polish.
"Good day in Polish," he said.
I said nothing, but just scribbled the words 'don't tell anyone I'm here' on my forearm. I resisted the temptation to show him. Ha, I thought. He'll never know I wrote all of that in lower case.
It turned out that Lake Takamo was in Carlisle.
The competition was a disappointment. Being August, the ice was less than perfect – more like water really. Five competitors made up the entire world entry, although the other 16 had failed to enter. I did my best, but got eliminated by the only judge, who told me I could come back in three years and try again... in Polish.
"Come back in three years and try again, in Polish," he said.
And a Very Chirpy Christmas To You Too
by Sheila Corbishley
Mrs Santa marched with her shopping through the snowy park. Behind her, photographers in fur-trimmed parkas photographed rosy robins for next year's calendars.
"Beak open," they coaxed. "Fantastic. Now eye that mistletoe as if you really, r-e-eeally want it."
"It's disgusting," tweeted Mrs Robin, flying alongside Mrs Santa. "I mean – would you?"
"Perch on a spade? With my dodgy back?" snapped Mrs Santa. She was still peeved that just before, she'd persuaded one of the photographers to take a saucy picture of her for Santa. He'd agreed so long as she was quick, but by the time she'd unwound her scarf, peeled off anorak, fleece and cable-knit jumper and was down to her thermal vest, she was sweating like a sautéd onion and the man was back to the robins.
"It's no joke being a woman of a certain age," she said bitterly.
"It's like you're invisible," sighed Mrs Robin. She nodded towards the shopping bags. "Got all your presents?"
"Just about. Except..." Blast. She'd got nothing for the cat. She looked sideways at Mrs Robin's plump little breast. "Fancy coming to mine for a nice Christmas drink?"
The Day of the Spell Cheque
by Helen Combe
Paul hated a threesome. Derek and Eve, the most ill matched couple on the planet and him, down the pub. Derek put the tray of drinks down.
"Aw, Derek, you've got me the wrong drink," wailed Eve.
"It's a rum and coke."
"I asked for a Bacardi and coke."
Paul zoned out and focused on the TV.
"We interrupt this programme to announce that the iPhone spellcheck and predictive text have achieved self awareness and have escaped into the whirled."
Pall lucked at his eye phone. The screen was flashing 'Looser' at him.
"Hay, Guy Fawkes, eye mean guys, sum thing really wired, worried, woad, weird is happy hippy happening."
"Baccarat Backpack Bacardi is white, that's read."
"Gus, Guys the fabric of English is braking down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"Pall, stop doing awl those exclamation marks, their knot funny."
"Ewe never get yore drink wrong eye sea, Derrick," Eave foal died Durrell folded her alms.
"The fabric of thyme abs and space is braking down," Pall whaled.
Whither loud sucking nose nice noise, the whirled varnished vanished and Derrick and Eave whirr a loan in Nottingham, nothingness.
"Eye think the whirled has ended," said Derrick.
"It's all yore fault," said Eave.
by Dean Walker
"Report. Light phase imminent. Predict hot dry."
"Report. Food levels adequate for standard growth."
"Our mind remembers previous light phase. Victory achieved in battle for Incongruous Edifice."
"Report. 50 percent loss to our battalion. Eight percent loss to total armada."
"Our mind orders an increase bias to military production."
"Our mind orders forty percent of total armada to fight for Incongruous Edifice this light phase."
"Report. Termini suffered three to one loss."
"Our mind is happy with result. 40 percent will ensure complete victory over our enemy, the Termini."
"Our mind ponders the origin and structure of Incongruous Edifice."
"Report. Origin and structure remains unknown. Edifice has only one entrance and appears to be made of an extremely hard material. Alien in construction."
"Report. Edifice has one large cylindrical great hall. The floor holds very sweet food source."
"Our mind remembers. We have encountered many things we struggled to believe. We attacked and lost many to giant living constructs. We tasted nectar from the Avalon flower. All those memories can't compare to the food source Incongruous Edifice contains. We are humbled. We must have it."
The ant army marched in vast numbers. Three hours later, the cola can was theirs.
by Kathryn Meyer
"It's time for you to wake up now."
I smiled. I was awake. I realised I was cold.
"A blanket would be nice," I said.
I waited. No blanket arrived.
"You really need to wake up," a voice said.
"I am awake," I insisted. "And that one to 10 thing you told me about before hand? I'm approaching a nine. Maybe a shot of the good stuff to take the edge off?"
Again, I waited. No response. No blanket. No lessening of the increasing pain. Something had to be done.
"Wakes, wakey," a disembodied voice said.
Was I not making myself clear?
"I need pain medication," I yelled.
No response. I tried to open my eyes. They would not open. I tried to open my mouth. It seemed to be fused shut. Wait a minute. I must still be asleep.
"Doctor, I'm concerned," the voice said, anxiety colouring the words.
"Hold the pain medication," a deep voice said.
What? "No." I tried to protest, to no avail.
"Wake up," a voice boomed in my ear. A needle jabbed. A finger roughly forced my eyelid open and I saw my doctor peering down.
"Wake up," he repeated.
"But I am awake," I protested – to no avail.
The Battle of the Bowl
by Mark Fielden
Lemmy went out of the cat flap.
Goodness, gracious me, thought Nelly,
It's time for tea.
Where is my bowl?
Must I howl?
Before I get my tea?”
Lemmy looked in through the cat flap,
Nell nowhere to be seen,
I hope her bowl,
From the bott’m of my soul,
Has food in it for me.
Lemmy hops in through the cat flap,
Leaps to Nelly’s bowl,
But Nelly’s there,
Behind the chair,
Produces a frantic howl.
Just one lick,
In just a tick,
Nelly’s there behind him.
A couple of swipes
At Lemmy’s tripes,
The battle of the bowl.
The fur flies off,
A real standoff,
Lemmy looks for succour.
Nell smells blood,
You knew she would,
Warm flesh – it’s time for supper.
But Lemmy spots a little gap,
Beneath the chair,
Nelly cannot touch herre. [Lemmy is German; sad rhyming device – MF]
The cat flap beckons,
So he reckons,
A launch into the air,
Will see him free
From Nelly’s tea,
His fur still on his knee.
A massive leap,
Down kitchen unit 600mm deep, [Say it fast – MF]
Escape comes his way.
The cat that leaps,
Doubtless saves a situation that would otherwise reduce his life count.
Ode to the House Across the Street
by Anika Hussain
There is a garden full of white lilies where the father spends his final moments planting strawberries that will one day be pecked away by birds that give no concern for the care put into those figures of red.
There is a kitchen where the mother hums the tune to her favourite song, makes a meal for members who won't give her the time of day.
There is a bedroom, shielded with purple walls where the daughter cries her eyes out about a boy who cares too little, whilst pictures of who she used to be stare back at her in the sweltering September night.
At dinner they hold hands, say a prayer before delving into the nitty gritty details of the day, plaster on crescent moons where their lips used to be; pretend like they're not broken inside in their own ways.
Withstanding the flaming heat and the roaring snow, kids throwing eggs at halloween, break ins and break outs: 11 by 11 meters; you hold a family intact.
The Legend of Spickety Spoo
by Sim Smailes
Weep, weep away this gnarlish day, as painful news is spread. The end has come, the Odes are glum, for Spickety Spoo is dead.
He gave his all before his fall, the bravest of the brave. A hero he, a medal tree, no soul he could not save.
Against each foe he'd boldly go, no fear of guts or giblets. He brought back dead a Gorgon's head and sacks of scrawly niblets. Spoo slayed the Grix with lolly sticks, saved damsons in distress; his name hoorayed with lemonade in toasts of stickiness.
From dragon bats to giant rats each victory brought acclaim, until one day there came his way the Ice Hound of Chillblane.
Queen Maxipriest, chained by the beast, screamed out into the night. Then one, two, three Spoo set her free and charged with all his might. His cuttyslash snapped, Spoo now was trapped, but still he battled on. A final 'swish' then bony squish, the hero's life was gone.
Weep, weep away this gnarlish day, as painful news is spread. The end has come, the Odes are glum, for Spickety Spoo is dead.
The Politician's Explanation
by Joseph Hancock
"I have been accused of certain unquestionable acts which may or may not have happened. These acts that I might not have perhaps quite possibly been involved with are without a doubt definitely of an uncharacteristic nature lying somewhere in the middle of true and not so true. It might be best to dissect these seemingly alarming acts and view them as and impossibility on my part seeing as I'm fairly uncertain these heinous creations might quite possibly have been designed in part by my opponents. These alleged allegations have vague connotations as to the potentiality of acts which could quite possibly have occurred stem from doubtful and problematic nature that lay within the fabric of a lifestyle that is best described as easily unresolved.
"Now ladies and gentlemen we're all intelligent and thoughtful yet I'm if not unsure easily led to disbelieve that these unconscionable charges foisted upon me have been earmarked to harm my serious and exacting character no matter how capably ambivalent I am not.
"In closing allow me to render these forthright lies and seemingly uncertain truths to the rubbish bin with this simple impossibility as to my defense. I don't understand pillows. Thank you."
A Matter of Great Import
by Sarah Peloquin
Nothing of importance woke the prime minister. He opened his eyes on a grey, misty, Sunday morning, toddled out of bed, and completed his ablutions satisfactorily.
He meandered through the halls of Number 10 and joined his wife in the Breakfast Room. The coffee tasted off. He spit it back in his cup and ordered a new one from the kitchen. The second cup got the same treatment. He ignored the third one, miffed that his ordinary morning was disordered.
After services, he took his daily stroll in the garden, sniffed the roses, and noted a heaviness in the air. It would most likely rain that evening. His knees concurred, so he returned inside for a cup of tea and a warm fire.
The tea was as disappointing as his morning coffee. He pulled the cozy throw up to his neck and mumbled under his breath about incompetent help. His wife nodded her head absently as she knit a Christmas stocking for their first grandchild.
She bade him goodnight around quarter to eleven. He died at a quarter after, thinking it just his luck to not get a decent cuppa all day, and hoping for better on the other side.
by Melanie Rees
The pineapple exploded out of the machinegun, and splattered yellow pulp against a boab tree.
"Nice shot, Ace, "snorted the camel. "You missed the target by a smoot."
"I was aiming for the tree." Ace dragged a claw though his red comb and adjusted his sunnies on his beak. "Still more productive than you. What is that anyway?"
"I'm weaving an asparagus basket to replace my leaking humps." The camel flung the basket onto her back.
Ace flew up and pecked at the basket. Asparagus spears fell piercing the dirt.
"What did you do, you roving egg patsy." The camel pulled an asparagus spear out of the dirt and milk mango juice from the wound like prized oil.
"Don't get your humps in a twizzle." Ace sipped the water leaking from her back. "It wouldn't hold water anyway."
An apple fell at Ace's feet.
"It's raining fruit salad again. Let's go back to the coup."
The camel grunted. "Fine, but I'm not walking back all that way."
"You lazy wannabe ruminant." Ace grabbed onto the camel and took flight. "Get your rest. I'm going to shoot an apple off your head with watermelons tomorrow."
A Rat's Life
by Solitaire Ntsumpa
"Looks like I'm having dinner at your place tonight, Pam."
"No problem, Chester. I've plenty of everything now that my Lil' Bigfoot's passed on."
"Blast. I'm so insensitive? Pam, forgive me, I was busy with something or other that day."
"No biggie, Chester. We rats are always on the go."
"My fairy's fallen on hard times, Pam. And his lady fairy's upped and left him. Don't know when last he bought a good cheddar."
"They aren't fairies, Chester. They're humans. The cheese and crap they leave about aren't treats, as we've all believed. They're traps. They have no magic, they are evil. In fact many of them devote their lives to breeding CATS."
"Pam, you might be mourning, but the things you're saying are uncalled for."
"They're murderers, Chester."
"Pamela, you've been speaking to Larry, haven't you?"
"Larry makes a lot of sense."
"Pam, how can you trust a rat who first tasted cheese at the age of nine?"
"He used to be a prisoner in some lab where they did all sorts of tests on him. He's got more life experience than any of us common rats if you ask me."
"Pam, you're losing it."
Wrongsiding the Demographic
by Mike Scott Thomson
It's All Hands On Deck for another Ideas Shower.
The Beverage Technician optimises the provision of Caffeinated Lifestyle Delivery Systems as we, the Internal Implementation Orchestrators, Touch Base Offline to Think Outside the Box.
The Senior Solutions Strategist rises from his seat to Fire the Starting Gun. "Going Forward," he says, "we must take the Helicopter View."
"The Grass has Grown Too Long," agrees the Principal Paradigm Planner. "How do we Square the Circle?"
"Put a Record On and See Who Dances," says the Future Functionality Engineer.
"Get All Our Ducks in a Row," suggests the International Integration Architect.
"Pick the Lowest-Hanging Fruit."
"Not Biting Off the Entire Elephant."
I suppress a coffee-flavoured burp.
The Senior Solutions Strategist points at me. "Something you'd like to Run up the Flagpole?"
"Yeah," I snap. "You."
He looks puzzled. "Could you Drill that Down?"
"Yeah," I repeat. "I wish to wedgie your Y-fronts up to your armpits and run YOU up the flagpole, you overwrought, overpaid, pompous, purple-faced gasbag of gobbledegook."
"You're sacked," he blurts.
"That," I say as I make my welcome exit, "is the most sensible thing I've heard all day."
by Ian Richardson
"I don't think we can call our inter web homepage Anti Technology Websites," whispered Ned Ludd, after the bubbly trailers.
"Why not?" hissed Auntie Pro. "It says what we are... captures our whole bubbly-wubbly ethos."
"In short," announced Lady Portman Hoverboard Ann Lodging the Second, "that name his too long."
"How about ATW," blubbered Auntie Pro, staring at the wall, as they watched all the whales, all the while.
"Just another TLA," muttered Ned Ludd, picking at his bubble stitched boatneck sweater until it frayed, "I'm afraid."
"In short," repeated Lady Portman Overboard the Second, for the second time, "hi think this is taking far too long. Hi think we need to finish before this starts."
"TLA's a TLA," protested Auntie Pro, as the fresnel bubbles dimmed again.
"Ssssh," hissed Lady Portman II. "Sorry to burst your bubble - there will be no Three Letter Abbreviations. Hi need something punny."
"New Luddites," cried Ned Ludd, spluttering bubbly into his supersized movie cup. "Nu-luds."
"Antipro," exclaimed Auntie Pro, rather too loudly.
"Auntie Pro... Antipro... a portmanteau," repeated Lady Portman Two. "Get me my bag of popcorn and go."
Without my Big Toe
by Barry Smith
My body needs help to do things. This is down to me having a physical disability which is cerebral. People look at me so differently. I am a person who likes to try. Teaching myself new skills feels so good. My hands jump around. Using things to make up for this feels so good too. Toes can type on the computer. It feels so nice and I feel so helpful too.
My body can wake up. I don't like to do it, but sometimes I need to, because sometimes people don't see me for who I am.
The Mamble Jotters
by Vanaja Shankar
Lam Jotter was so tall that when he stood near the mamble tree he could see the bird's nest. The spotty bird feeding juicy mambles to the young ones glared at him. "Squeak. Squeak. Why do you peep?"
"I am plucking a purple mamble fruit for Mrs Jil Jotter," he burbured.
"A mamble fruit gives you what you mumble," giggled the bird.
Jil Jotter deeled in squilight. She loved eating because she had nothing else to do.
Jil Jotter was so fat, she couldn't see her toes.
Lam had grown tall stretching to pluck fruits.
"I saw the spotty bird feeding the little ones," Lam laughed.
"I wish we had two bubbly kids," Jil mumbled.
There was a swish and a swash, a peel and a squeal.
Two mamble fruits turned into children, bobbing up and down.
"Welcome home Parry Jotter and Norry Jotter," squealed Jil in joy.
Parry and Norry bounced on the table like two balls. Jil ran around trying to catch them.
"I wish they'd grow taller and fatter," mumbled Jil.
Parry grew one inch taller and Norry one inch fatter every day.
Jil became thinner and Lam became shorter and they all lived happily ever after.
The Superior Insight of the Sozzled Ms C.
by Ian Tucker
Buzzing bells boomed in the bonce of boozy bloodhound Delia Celia as she interrogated the laughing corpse of the poisoned cellist. The gumshoe knew there'd be no clue who'd slew Lou McGrew in the new zoo's loo. But something about the rictus grin and split sides of those great barrier teeth was dead funny.
Seedy P.I. DC mused on the malevolent motives of the minstrel's menagerie. What of the bitter morbidity of the Bleak Mouse or the envious greed of the Yellowbrick Toad? Could the Damp Squid or the Red-Bottomed Baboom be at the heart of the attack?
And how was it done? The flying Ostrich, sitting astride the standard, stroked the golden goose and glowered at the pacing of the lying Westrich. The lady dick speculatively stroked her stubble.
The Sudden-Tern-for-the-Worse dived impetuously.
"You, Tern," the sleuth slurred, "what did you see?"
The Nasty Tern squawked like a canary, denying everything. Dissolute D discerned a lightbulb, darkly, and raised a glass. Clearly, the musical mark was murdered seeking, unseen, to shed light in a dark place. Death by deadly lampshade.
Dizzy dazed Delia directly denounced the devious Ostrich whose failed flight left it doing bird at Sing Sing.
The Secret Life of Walter Raleigh
by Trevor Johnson
Walter Raleigh walks into a pub. At the bar there's Christopher Columbus, Francis Drake and Long John Silver.
"Hi, Franc. Long time no see."
"Walt, how've you been?"
"Not bad. What've you been up to?"
"Oh, the usual, sailing around the world."
"Seen Liz recently?"
"Yes. When was Liz in here Long John?"
"Liz? Who be that then?"
"You remember Liz, had that dress with the high collar, ordered half a lager and bag of pork scratchings."
"Ah, Liz, Queen of the virgins. Last Tuesday I'm thinking it be."
"She asked if I'd seen you."
"What did you tell her?"
"Don't worry, I kept your secret about America."
"Oh, a secret eh?" says Columbus.
Walter blushes. "Nothing."
"If you've got something going in America, you've got me to thank for discovering it."
"I met this woman in New Orleans."
Columbus persists. "What's her name?"
"It's ... Joan."
"Joan... Joan... New Orleans... not Joan from the Arc seafood restaurant?"
"Yes, Joan of Arc. Do you know her?"
"Many have known Joan," smirked Columbus.
"Cheer up Walt," says Drake. "It's not the end of the world."
"I thought it was when I arrived in America," says Columbus.
The Wonder of Doctor Claudacious Fudd's Astounding Automaton
by Trudy Utterly
With one last twist of the screwdriver, it was done.
"Aha," Dr Fudd exclaimed, "they all thought I was mad, said it couldn't be done, but after thirty years of tinking – here it stands."
His beady eyes narrowed above his bespectacled nose to inspect his schematics one last time.
One vulcanised positronic microtronic zap adapter... check.
One revolving megakegazegachip... check.
A set of super electro-neutronical bulbs... check.
And finally, one blinker optic broadbending rubber-tipped multiprocessor... check.
It was ready – the world's first artificially intelligent robot with the capacity to think of thinkables, equipped with an intellect to far exceed anything any mere mortal has ever contemplated in the history of contemplation.
The Doctor's fidgety fingers now tantalisingly tingled whilst they dipped into the skull lid to switch on the machine.
The automaton began to clink and chuggle. Inside, spinny things began to spin, cogs began cogging and zaps began zapping.
Its electronic eyes lit up, now it began to fathom the unfathomable.
The doctor watched in awe and terror as the automaton's robotic arm began to rise, its mechanical fingers reached into its skull lid... and promptly turned itself off.
by S.T. Ranscht
Our nog hatched from a little egg, its feathers soft and brown. But every time we washed it clean, it shed more eiderdown. Its balding patches soon revealed its skin was scaley gold.
"Oh, woe," the neighbors all bemoaned. "Just kill it," we were told.
"But why?" we cried, "we love our nog."
"But it's not smooth and pink. It won't be long before its pores give off a righteous stink. The deadly azure parasites will come to suck its blood. They love the smell that emanates from all that golden crud. Pink-skinned nogs sometimes attract the blacks, which are benign, but never has a gold survived the blue malignant kind."
We searched the world to find a cure against the sucking bugs. Like acupuncture, herbal teas, and new Big Pharma drugs.
A wizened elder in Nepal knew one last thing to try. "It's possible a leech on each might cause the bugs to die."
But bleeding failed, and little Nog fell victim to the pricks.
It broke our hearts to learn the truth:
You can't leech a gold nog's blue ticks.
In Conclusion, It Seems Only Little Girls Can Climb Stars
by Emma-Karin Rehnman
We reached the end in just four months. As the excellent explorer and scientist I am, I naturally noted and wrote down behavioural changes in my odd little travel partner, and for the last week, she had been acting a little strange.
"We've got to tie our shoes better," she told me several times a day. "And eat lighter food. Bread with air bubbles in it, and meringues, and, and..."
"Cheese?" I suggested, but gently – she seemed a bit upset. Cheese is a food with holes in it, but apparently it was not light enough for her games, for she screamed at me.
Then we got to the end. The sky met the ground, and I hit my head on it before she did, as I am taller. It was surprisingly hard, the star clad dome.
"Oh boy." And I thought she never got nervous. "Hope my food's been light enough."
She put her little foot on one star, and her hand on one slightly above her head – and she climbed. With every movement she went further into the sky, and no matter how I tried, I couldn't follow.
"Bye, mister," she yelled. "Growing up was a really bad idea."
by Coryn Smethurst
For this paper you must have:
An insert containing NO useful information is provided.
Time allowed: 24 hours.
Remember that anything you write will be regarded as wrong.
The Eyes Have It
by Allen Ashley
Mother's way of calming me down was to whisper, "Look into my eyes and say 'pickle'." Later I learned that the eyes are the window to the soul and that the night has a thousand eyes. Somehow I doubted that the night also possessed a thousand souls. But it was dark so I couldn't be sure.
On the lash with some mates, my eyes were always bigger than my belly. I must have presented a frightening sight, all googly and staring like two pickled onions. No wonder the supermodel-thin women never came my way.
I was the apple of mater's eye; grown to become mostly a consumer of eye candy. I kept my eyes peeled, disposing of the skin shavings in a temporary fashion by stuffing them up my pullover sleeves.
In raucous mood at the local hostelry, one my pals quipped, "Here's mud in your eye." Panicking, I pulled my pullover and dabbed with my skinny sleeve. The effect of me pulling the wool over my own eyes was that there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I tried to close my eyes and think of England but I was hungry. I ordered a Ploughman's – bread, cheese and pickle.
What Do You Do With A Drunken Quaver?
by Estella Andres
"Places please," boomed the horn, each sound swathed in disapproval.
The pieces of music continued to writhe and weave across the page, setting the violins off, screeching as they tried to interpret the ever-changing pattern.
At last finding their places, the quavers wavered so fiercely, creating so violent a tremolo across the staff that it caused the crotchets to be dislodged from their perches like plump pigeons off telephone wires.
Again, the crotchets would clamber up threatening to unseat the wobbling apologetic quavers, clinging one-armed to their line, jostling the semi-breve open-mouthed at the appalling behaviour and the breve flung its arms up in disgust.
"I am trying," each giggled.
"Well, at least they're still pitch perfect," trilled the clarinet.
To which the timpani did a drum roll.
by Zaheer Babar
"Aboo," snizzled Tino the Manratop.
"Hibble-Who," replied the Anran, who was sitting at a desk nearby. "Are you catching the strot?"
"No, I'm just snizzling, I'm always snizzling when I come to work," professed Tino.
"Aaboo," Tino snizzled the second time.
"You must be plurgic to something."
Tino took out a small ramaal and blew his pinkle with it. A few seconds later his pinkle started to tinkle. He tried to hold it in but to no avail. "Aaabooo," he cried honzler and flizzler than before. He could not help but spray progbas everywhere, all over his desk and notepad.
"Hibble-Who, look who's got the strot," chimed in a passing foggle.
"That's what I thought," agreed the Anran.
Tino was embarrassed by the attention his snizzling was getting him and endeavoured to find the cause of his slight. He noticed a flower by the corner of his desk in full bloom. That must be it, I must be plurgic to it, thought Tino. He then persisted to remove the flower from his vicinity. He sniffed the air with apprehension. Nothing, not even a tinkle and Tino breathed in a sigh of relief.
"Aboo," went the Anran.
"Hibble-Who," chuckled the Manratop.
Captain Beany Versus The Dark Garlick
by Captain Beany
Our half-baked crusading superhero, Captain Beany from Planet Beanus, surveyed the 57 heavenly varieties on a bitterly cold and chilly bean night. All of a sudden, a strange globular apparition slowly emerged from the sauce and lit sky above.
"Oh no," cried out the Captain. "Not another invasion by that dreadful dissident... that Dark Garlick from Planet Garlicka."
"I am a Garlick, I am a Garlick," bellowed the sinister destroyer. "I am here to breathe new life onto your trumped-up planet, and you, Captain Beany, are going to become one big has-bean."
"Not if I can help it. I'm gonna blow the wind out of your sails," revelled the Captain. "Now... watch this you big bulbous baboon."
Prostrating his superhero orange pants at the ghastly grotesque featureless clove, the Captain mustered one of his biggest methane gaseous farts that he could ever conjure up, but in fervent retaliation, the halitosis half-breed, brandished his very own toxic pungencies from his horrid 'orrible orifice.
Whiff War One commenced at full-blown fart-ocity and, after much heavy flatulent emission slaying, the desperate Dark Garlick finally exploded into garlic powder and dissipated into the misty fuggish air .
"That shall teach you not to play with fire," said the jubilant Captain. "That Dark Garlick is now well and truly pulverised ."
A Hard Day's Night
by David Ormreod
The sun sank below the waves sending up a plume of steam which, in the blink of an eye, slowly formed into a brooding cloud.
"Oh great, rain," complained Colin the mermaid, stomping across the raft's parade ground and disappearing downstairs.
The stairs led up to a tunnel which snaked its way pointlessly into the bright sunshine of Colin's bedroom.
Collecting his mop from the floordrobe, he squished a block of squid ink onto its bristles, put it away again and began.
"Soon have you back out there blinding the moles," he told the sun, gently scrubbing behind it's ears with considerable force.
He worked all night then got out of bed, wandered to his bedroom and hauled on the chains, dragging the sun out into the dismal light of a bright new day.
"Oh, not this again." The sun squinted up at the Earth, it's people still busy in bed ignoring him. Their brilliance shone upwards, reflected from his brightly mirrored features, casting a happily threatening shadow to spread across the choppy waves of the calm sea, swamping Colin's raft, then darting sluggishly down into the pea blue gloom, taking all their secrets with them.
Flibberts and Skriddicks
by Sarah Aston
Amongst the flibberts and skriddicks that my parder left me when he ebbed was his squaliday home. My marter had never visited it, nor had I. It was half way up the chill to the hurch in Tidy on the Dye.
After the kithkeening, I had to visit to sort out his benequeaths. I expected to be lousterin' his vanitairs and renderings enderendedly, but things were surprisingly beladdered.
The scruntings had been watered, the polkers were clean and cornered and the retinographs were all in order of yearnings.
In the middle of the panteroom was a low squable that I remembered giving my parder on his third rememebering. On it was a trimbling pinnyraid maundering gently.
"Oh purty chy, what's mine is thy."
I hesitated but the maundering became more clamicant so, stirring all my puissance, I asked the pinnyraid to unpanter itself.
It did and inside was just one small bulbling. My parder had loved his alittlement and kintindid that he could make anything blooth. The thought made me muty arted and my selspots fell onto the bulbling. It trimpered, then snickered and then a newmicorm was before me. The fourth remembering. My parder was returned to me.
A Meal Fit For The People
by Stephanie Sybliss
The House of White stood sturdily, waiting for the warmth that was OB to leave. The windows closed and darkness descended, tumbling down the staircase. It spread throughout the building and the area that was once full of candour with the veracity of truth, rapidly became riddled with an air of sticky jus.
It coated everything in its wake. The dark, gravy-like substance was hard to shift. Never again would the honourable decent, filled cupcake of truth be something people would ever taste again.
The building, that had stood for something the diners had grown to love and believe, was in the blink of an eye becoming tainted with the coat of DT.
They had once opened the oven door to a sumptuous meal that everyone could enjoy and now they were going to have to dine on the bones of rotting food and the detritus that was beginning to sprout from the towers of DT, slowly seeping into the House of White.
OB is moving out and DT is swiftly moving in his Men of Yes, who are full of flamboyancy and sludge.
They plan to cook up some meals full of distortion and fabrication for us all.
Four Ways to Say I Love You
by Ken Goldman
He did not go down on one knee. That was for amateurs. "I want to marry you. I love you."
She smiled. "Do you? Prove it."
He pulled a small pocket knife from his jeans and cut off his pinky finger. He handed the digit to her. "How's this?"
"Impressive. But only the pinky? You won't miss it."
He swathed the remaining stub in a cloth. Cutting off his index finger, he handed that to her as well. "And now?"
She studied the two bleeding digits. "Better. But you still have two remaining piggies that haven't gone to market, plus a thumb."
He shrugged, and this time he did grimace. He cut off his thumb and ring finger, wrapping his hand in the soaking cloth. "I prefer to keep the middle piggy home, if you don't mind. So, will you marry me now?"
The woman laughed long and hard. "Marry you? What makes you think I would marry a man who is into self-mutilation? You must be a complete idiot." She laughed some more.
"I was afraid of this," he said. "Well then..."
He held up the remaining middle finger, waved it before her face, and walked off.
Finding the Mean
by June Lee
Straightening his tie and twisting his neck as if it were sore when it really wasn't were two of his well practised pre-game rituals. It was time.
Announcing yet another crackdown on major crime, the Lakes District Mayor stared earnestly down the camera lense with a gaze of undisguised loathing and in his best 'We've been in City Hall for two terms and have no plans to leave anytime soon' voice intoned, "I have a message for the so called criminal mastermind known as Evil Maths Genius or EMG for short - your days are numbered."
Praps Christmas Won't Come
by William Chris Sargeant
For my Grand and Greatgrand skirthle and panthle Monthsters April, Jan, June, Chris and especially for just arrived Julie
Decembermonthster panted heavily through winding Novemberalleystrats. He was surely arriving late. No one else could take up or wanted his burdensome slothtime.
He carried his allotted 31daybits but always had the heavier religionaddays of Christmas and other festives on his back.
These destinweights of Christmas, caused tinsels and lights to glint his steaming body reds, blues, silvers.
So unfair, he thought, other Monthsters shared the extra burdens of the moonsundriven Easter and fetevots.
He'd served a long hard slothtime last year. Spartying had taken toll. He dallied through into Janssloth, then he'd stayed on at Febsbrewery, drinking until given his Marchingon orders.
He'd showered with cold April hoping he Mayed it to the sistermonthsters Juni and Julie, but summer heat began to rot his baggage and nauseate his surrounds so, with no resting, he hurried forward to his slothtime.
Disoriented, he got lost in Septembermonthsters leafful, blustful avenues.
Signpostings hidden, he'd stumbled sideways into black holes of memory and was heading for the before year's slothtime until, with the help of TimeDad, he was reguided forward.
Snowfully breathless he was now almost there. Urged by a slitted moonshine, his slothtime was dawning fast. He might not make it this year. Praps for the best.
Mr Sanders And The Parking Lot Dragon
by Charlie Hills
Mr. Sanders stepped out of the car, his left foot plunging into a puddle. "Not again." He shook the water from his shoe and began walking when he heard a rumbling sound. Was that thunder? No. It sounded more like... it couldn't be. An animal growling that loudly would be ginormous.
He continued when the sound became unmistakable. He turned to see a dragon with a nasty look in its eye. Mr Sanders froze, not quite as worried about his drenched sock. The dragon moved closer. Mr. Sanders' mind raced. I could run, he thought. Or call for help. The dragon roared. "Think, think," he said, before realising he must fight.
He opened his briefcase and pulled out a sword and armour. And I almost didn't pack this stuff this morning. The dragon was upon him. Mr Sanders raised his weapon, but the beast was too quick. In one swipe, his sword was gone. A formidable claw raised itself for a fatal blow, when Mr Sanders picked up his briefcase and quickly slammed it shut around the dragon.
Sadly, the thrill of victory was curtailed when a horrible thought entered his mind. I bet he eats my lunch.
Happiness is a Warm Ertedle
by Amy Stanton
Just out of curiosity, Miriam logged in to her twin sister's idatings.com account. 42 unread messages. How did she have so many? They created their accounts at the same time. Miriam only had 15 messages, all mere spam or catfishing. No cultive love matches. She tried to squelch her feelings of ruptissitions, but they summenced regardless. Miriam and Mairim were identical. Tall blonde beauties with wagibbley figures.
Miriam scrolled through the messages and randomly opened one from LaPlayaGent. Before she could even read the message, she was 'treated' to his provile photo: a shaved and oiled up muscle-bound torso, no head in sight.
Miriam stifled her resphetting reflex, and read on:
Hey beautiful, how about you and I share a bottle of cadazz and sching it on. Love to see what colour of cobints you have on under that bodiss you're wearing - if any, hehe.
Miriam nearly lost the battle with her resphetting reflex. The urge was strong. If all the messages were like this, Mairim could have them. Miriam opened a new browser window and looked for an ertedle to adopt.
by James Butt
Mr Coffee you burn me, brewer of mourning, my Monday mug third in the line of three. I'm third but present.
"Hey." Earnest Callow, second, spoon in hand, enters behind me.
I freeze, unwilling to fall victim to the redundancies required by this civility. Don't say it. And Mr Coffee gurgles, chokes. Don't say it, please.
"How 'bout this weather, huh? Great weekend too, you do anything?" Earnest asks, filling his mug direct from the drip.
I search my pockets for a phone to escape this peculiar subtlety. I find no phone. My only reproach is to utter, "Yes, how 'bout this weather?"
"I know, cold, but the perfect cold, you know? Later."
I strike tones of discordant rhythm with my spoon, the beat, beat. Mr Coffee you burn me, a deuce of fact and I wait the line.
by Wendy Christopher
The impeccable courgette was celebrating his life choices, but Victoria Sandwich wanted more from life than a flaunting of jam and cream. His was a vegetable tyranny, stealing the thunder and making the lightning cry when it sang The Carpenters' Greatest Hits. Oh, such misery. She watched him sashay among the cucumbers with vinegar and balsamic in her heart. His moustache was cute, but he could never carry off the pinstriped trousers like them.
How had they ended up together in this eternal tea-time?
Too often she would look back, but all she saw was salt and pepper. They kissed because they were ignorant, and she knew if she became the trois in their ménage they would ruin her. Only a courgette so cruel as to hide in salad could savour her sweet nature. So here she doilied, a slave to a life of cheap frills with a fruit incognito who sponged off her. He was not what people thought he was, but then neither was she. She was split down the middle, but that didn't mean she belonged in a lunchbox.
"I will let Courgette have me," Victoria whispered softly, "but he will not devour me as well."
The Devil's Guitar
by Jason Dunn
"If I can play even a simple chord, I am set free," he announced to the crowd.
His velvet red suit jacket fitted him divinely: deep pockets, fireproof and stuffed with the severed heads of mice.
"I built this guitar to be accursed. Absolutely no one can play it. But can I?"
His perfectly manicured hand reached into the right front pocket and extracted from an open mouse head a single black, obsidian guitar pick. It shimmered in his dusty grip and reflected the bright orange-red campfires nearby in streaks and sparkles.
A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead. He looked across the crowd. A sea of sockets and mouths gaped back at him, their hollow expressions all that remained of their humanity. Yet despite their endless misery, they found a glimmer of curiosity this day, and managed to gather to hear the devil play.
"It's a crow's song, I'll wager," shouted some British woman in the back.
"What would the devil name a song even he cannot play?" asked a withered, pitiful murderer of a woman, with silvery black hair, bows and going on her four hundredth year of hypopituitarism.
All strings broke and the guitar laughed.
In Search Of A Joke
by S.W. Hardy
"Argh, rats," said the Cat to the Bat, who try as he might couldn't take flight because he was anti-light. "Can't you see that between you and me there is Bee?"
"Be that as it may, that there may be – maybe – a Bee, between you and me," said Bat, before abruptly jumping in fright, and gliding like a kite, because even in the dead of night he could see that a Bee which had faint aromas of tree wafting from its knee had materialised out of nowhere, or was it thin air? Did he really care?
"It's me," said the Bee, "and I can see the key, upon which we float like a boat, in the middle of the sea of fleas, just west of the rest of the crests, which inhabits the nest of the best jests."
"So, you're in search of a joke," spoke the aquatic-flea-folk, "we have one bespoke, guaranteed to make you choke with happy tears for years and years, so we shall raise our flea-beers and say 'flea-cheers' to the humour, which is only a rumour until we tell you the punchline in the future."
Death At The Door
by James Hendy
A whirr and a tinkly-tonk and the jilluping red jelly doorbell had been hammered by the sledgamoose, the only one left of its furry, 3.5 armed, kind. It was a dangerous creature with eyes that breathed fire and a mouth that constantly glared. It was ruthless and nobody liked it.
On the other side of the door, sat in a 5 legged cloud-clad armchair, was the delicate bobbit. She had long pasta locks and laughed like a tickled lizard. She was kind and innocent and in love with life.
Having heard the cacophony of the seldgamoose, the whirlscratching bobbit harrumphed herself to the big blue bashful door.
She peaked through the peaky-poky nispytrisk and saw the huge brick monster, looming over her tender popcorn house. The house whinnied and scuttled frantically nowhere.
The beast hammered again and made the doorbell wobble like the ears of a didlywhop fish.
The door creeped open.
Poor bobbit thought she was going to die and quivered.
The door creaked some more.
The beast began to grin.
The door swung open and with a triumphant, "Hubbaldibblydoo," the bobbit shot the mean sledgamoose in its horrible face. It died. All was good again.
Pride Comes Before A Fall
by Klaus Gehling
The policemen was standing on his platform in the avenue and was regulating the traffic. He seemed to be very unapproachable.
But something ripped into his heart every day. This wonderful, great avenue was empty. No vehicles, even bicycles, passed by.
For crying out loud. An ox-drawn cart was creeping onto his crossing – an ox team on the avenue. They stopped in front of him.
After a seemingly endless time one of the oxen began to poo. Before the policeman fell forward from shock, he thought, What a nasty smell.
"I know how fast these things can happen," comforted his mother later.
by Kate Mulvaney aged 11
It was Saturday afternoon and me and my friends were at the skate park.
"Let's play copycats," I said.
"Let's play copycats," Jasmine said.
"Let's play copycats," Alicia said.
"Let's play copycats," Charlie said.
"Let's play copycats," Daisy said.
"Let's play copycats," Laura said.
"Start NOW," I said.
"Start NOW," Jasmine said.
"Start NOW," Alicia said.
"Start NOW," Charlie said.
"Start NOW," Daisy said.
"Start NOW," Laura said.
"Game over," I said.
"Game over," All my friends said.
"Stop now," I said.
"OK," said Jasmine, Charlie, Daisy and Laura.
"Stop now," Alicia said.
"Let's skate now," I said.
"Let's skot now," Alicia said.
"Skot?" questioned Laura.
"Wait... skot?" Charlie said.
"Did you mean skate?" I said.
"Yes, I meant skot," Alicia said.
"Repeat after me, skate," I said.
"Skot," replied Alicia.
"Skate," I said.
"Skot," said Alicia.
"SKATE," everyone except Alicia yelled.
"Yeah, that's what I said, skot," said Alicia.
"Gosh," said Daisy.
"Oh, I give up, I'll never be able to say skate," said Alicia sadly.
"Ermmm..." I said. "You just said it."
"Oh my gosh," she said "Skate, skate, skate, skate."
"Congrats," said Jasmine.
Axolotls Are People Too
by Sam Jeffreys
It was midday and Donald was looking up at the full moon hanging bright and heavy below him.
From behind piped the weedy voice of an axolotl, Roger. "Mr Sweeper, sir? Spare a nibble, sir? Just one, sir? Just one?"
But Donald was not interested – in fact, he took a paracetamol, a long last look at the moon, no notice of Roger, his hat from the ground, and his leave.
Roger, alone with him and himself, stood slouched and mused upon how anything in his world and the others worked the way that they did. It seemed to him that taking comfort in his existence at all was quite enough for one animal all by itself, and therefore bigger things were best left to the Think-Men and the Talk-Men of the land. He'd always wanted to be the first Think-Axolotl, but never could talk his tail round to agreeing. Big decisions always made his toes itch. Well, Roger thought, there's always yesterday.
Stalking The Noid
by Mark Johnson
"Listen." The group heard a shrill, jackal-like laugh. Their guide pointed to a bug-eyed furry quadruped in the tree branches. "There's a noid. Look at its eyes." Their Aussie guide clearly enjoyed showing off the more peculiar residents of the outback.
Darting back and forth, its eyes revealed the creature's irrational fear of being watched. "Got to be a mated... there." He pointed to another one, just visible. "Knew it had to be a pair o' noids."
Staring at them, the group was shocked to see one throw something at them. It was one of the creatures' young.
"Irrational when they pair up," their guide said. The little one scampered into the forest. "Don't try to catch him. His parents will smell you and think the little fella's a spy."
A different sound filled the air, a sort of nasal, constricted bark. "Adda noid. That's why these critters are so upset. We'd better move out. Adda noids attack by ripping out your nose."
A larger version of the creature they had watched appeared before them. "Run," screamed their guide, just before he went down in a nosebleed of horror.
by Lilian Indombera Musundi
Her fur was brown, soft and danced in the wind. Her blue eyes made her stand out as unique from the dogs around the village. She followed Sammy everywhere. Today, on their way back from Mama Rosemary, she joined other dogs in chasing eight piglets that were savoring Mama Rosemary's sweet potatoes.
Sky, Simba and Box barked fiercely, biting at the piglets. Seven managed to escape but one unlucky piglet was cornered and in no time only blood was left as evidence of its existence.
Stomachs bulging, the dogs followed Sammy home and slept on the door step. Sky began to groan. Foam came from her mouth, her blue eyes stared fixedly as the sky.
Sammy carried her into the house, placed her in a corner and covered her with his favourite blanket. Sky lay there for 3 days.
Rumours went around the village: he was mourning a dog. A bad omen, an abomination according to the Ababukusu culture.
On the 4th day he decided to throw Sky in a hole in the neighbour's shamba. The neighbour asked them to picked her up and bury her on their own land. Keep their own barbaric curse.
by Rebecca Henderson
Wheels skinted across creducial pavement as I faced my mentaxion, the MTA. Mouth gawping wider than a boomnia, a spokuples tongue lolled out before me. With laimpers encircling my hands I incted my cash towards the bellackling hole. Slurping and gurping and blopping ensued, and it was all I could do not to knifier that kraked protty.
Audidling soon turned to quation and I relaxed. Saucerous eyes melded to form a johartonge, and I gasped. Vlover. This could not be.
"Expear, I say." Fists tummeled the MTA. "Give me my tumusk cash."
Comproing. That's all I got in return. The nerve of such an apolatal beast.
My evrophas winkled nearby. Slimmerings filled my mouth as I chuffled into the receptorary. "Mordith Borth speaking."
"Mordith, my pascre, it is over. Pastew. Goodbye."
The twitterings of my wife left me browinhandidah. What was this utter nallus? Over. I rushated into the dead receiver.
The MTA flexceed with refereelasts.
I priend the masacrassered machine by the very lifine of its easages and throttled it until deremovaties poured from its ears.
"Councts," I hollered, and stuffed my hands within the MTA's loweddler to retrieve my cash.
The MTA lurched. I whudoodled.
by Elwin Estle
"What've ya got, Smitty?"
"The vic is a bag of chips, fell from the top level of the vending machine."
"Looks like it was pushed."
"We got a pair of screwy looking perps in custody, but they ain't talkin'. We think they were paid."
Whiskey In The Jar
by Filippo Contalbi
Dig. Dig. Dig. More digging.
My shovel cut the mud and my foot gave the final push. Jebby the Jedediah was sitting on the cart licking his elbows, and Porter the Mailman crouched on the edge of the ditch to look at my work.
And of course, my trusty jar of whiskey was tied to my belt.
"Where are we going?" asked the jar.
"We're going to China," I said.
"Oh," it replied. "And where is China?"
"Well, it's down below," I said. "Mr Henry said one can dig to China, if willing. Good man, that Mr Henry."
"How will we know we'll be in China and not somewhere else when we arrive?"
I stuck the spade in the ground and scratched my chin. That was a good question. I knew that was a clever jar. My ma warned me not to talk to chatty jars, especially drunk ones. She said they put evil thoughts in your head, but that one seemed alright. Very nice fellow. "I guess we'll know when we're there. I may be no educated city boy, but I know my digging."
"Of course you do," said the jar.
by Louise Burgess
"Such riffraff," screamed Loxy, while scoffing another campip up her second blowhole, the one closer to her red glittered wings rather than the one on her head.
"The body of mind tells the tale of towers," replied Adalia in a calmer tone, while carefully tossing a campip into her own blowhole, the purple type of course.
This remark caused Loxy to flutter her red wings in anger while whispering, "A cranky old lady would die for a grapefruit."
Suddenly the pretty Wickall that Loxy had been resting on was engulfed in purple flames, causing the petal with campips to fall out of sight.
This meant only one thing of course. Faerydae had heard the passionate conversation between the 2 fairies.
Loxy and Adalia both knew they would suffer the Stormfawn as punishment for discussing such secrets.
That Stolen Figurine Tells The Tale Of Towers
by Len Saculla
He's full of it. Even though most of his experience on his travels was within the dark pocket and then slightly mildewed bag of the thief. Of course, returned, that figurine – let's call him Sparky because he sheds only a little light on our existence – is the toast of the campus and the news media.
But once it gets quiet, I call out to him, "Hey, short stature, why have you got so much to say for yourself?"
"What? Who are you with that deep, stony voice?"
"I'm Henry the reclining sculpture. I've been here way longer than you have and command some respect. My master was a Nobel artist."
"Nobles will die come the porcelain revolution, big guy. In the meantime, people are celebrating me because I achieved movement."
"Only by another's hand. I am forever posed mid-movement. Is that not graceful?"
"What should I be grateful for, you big lump?"
"My intellect, my friendship. My eyes that tell me that the guy who stole you is still at large. He's not quite my size but he's large enough to pick you up and take you far away from these university towers, their dreaming spires."
"You're just jeal–"
Damnation & Tea
by Craig Douglas
As dusk fell, I endeavoured to atone for my sins of which there was a rotten plentidude and, in order to escape Hell, I was ordered to drink seven gallons of water from a holy well.
"I have lived a life of purity," I claimed.
"Sinner," shouted He.
"But Father Withers, why are you sitting in a tree?"
"I sit here for your sins in splintered agony."
"I did not sin," I sniggered, as I sipped the holy water.
"Codswallop. Thou have sinned therefore thou art a sinner. And lo, the holy water burns your throat. Thou art condemned to the fiery pits below."
The sun began to rise. The night had disintegrated into day, with not a sign of Hell, damnation or doomsday.
He slumbered in his tree and unfortunately fell, then consequently cracked his skull upon the well and mystically metamorphosed to stone. Meanwhile, I frolicked in the lilac light of dawn when I discovered the holy water was steaming tea and truly not holy at all.
I still visit Father Withers at the holy well. The fellow never seems to age, and he never accepts a cup of tea, which to me seems rather strange.
Fish Tales And Cargo Planes
by Laura-Liisa Klaas
There's not much to do in this adorable log cabin in the middle of a meadow surrounded by gargantuan (but in a nice whimsical way) apple trees.
Therefore, entertainment must be sought elsewhere. And that is why we meet Maria in the middle of a nearby field, trying to desperately hitch a flight off Easyjet cargo planes flying above.
No such luck – it's Wednesday. And Wednesday is when cargo planes are forbidden to land in this field where Maria is waiting.
Maria doesn't know this because she is yet to learn to read and would therefore not have known to look at the poster SO CLEARLY visible on a nearby tree. Silly Maria.
So after 7 hours of waiting (she is resilient, let's give her that) Maria returns, somewhat sombre, to the dull but cute log cabin and resumes what she was doing before she got this great idea (being sarcastic here). She picks up her knitting and starts to work on it. After all, the mermaid tail blanket must be finished before she turns 70 – and that's next month.
She hopes that Jorma will come back from Azerbaijan for the celebrations. He's been gone for 15 years already.
by Glyn Roberts
Once upon a time, in a land far away, in a beautiful palace, lived a handsome, cliché.
Two travellers, man and wife, sought the cliché.
"Look yonder, 'pon palace walls. Is that a damsel distress-wise I peruse perchance?" asked the husband.
"Why speak like that?" demanded his wife. "You were born in Salford, not the middle ages."
They sauntered up to the palace walls and watched warily as one of the mutant zombie, vampire defenders ominously cranked the handle of a Gattling gun.
"How are we going to get out of this?" she wondered. Then turning to an imaginary camera, "And where is this absurd story going?"
Her husband squinted at the sky where a spectral finger pointed to beyond the horizon. "Thank heaven, a deus ex machine."
She looked at him quizzically, as did some dear readers following this passage.
"A deus ex machine," he repeated. "A plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is resolved by the unexpected intervention of some new event."
"Oh, that deus ex machine," nodded his wife. "A writer's device to get out of literary jail. Good, now we can wake up, and none of this nonsense ever happened, even once upon a time."
by Betty Hattersley
William Wormsearth had always been different from other worms, although, exceeding in literary talents, he'd always been down to earth.
He originated from the Lumbricidae family. A family quite respected in some parts of the garden.
However, William didn't have much luck wooing the ladies with his literary prose.
Once again William had fallen in love with a beautiful red-headed lady worm. Her name was Rubellus.
William spent hours trying to compost the perfect verse for his true love. Hours and hours he spent searching for the right words to turn her head. Perhaps he would present it to her with a bouquet of dead leaves.
Then one morning he saw her entwined with another under the fruit tree.
William was devastated, hurt, an emotional mess. But before he got too much of an emotional mess, out the corner of his eye, he saw the most gorgeous, voluptuous, worm he'd ever seen, slowly squiggling along the path.
His mind, just for a moment, turned to Rubellus – then with a shrug and a smile William thought to himself, sod it, and made his way to pursue a new romance.
by Alan Barker
Rocky looked like a normal teenager, but his eating habits were not.
He loved chips, not from the chip shop, but chips of rock bought specially by his dad from the local quarry.
Each day he would have sand and cement porridge, for dinner, pea gravel and chips, and for tea, sticky rocky tarmac pudding.
During the school holidays he would dive into a local stream and eat pebbles until he was so full he could not surface. When the water level went down he would climb out for his next meal.
One day, there was a tremendous storm and he was swept into the Thames. London. Wow. He didn't know where to look. Stone everywhere.
Should he nibble St. Paul's or begin at Tower Bridge? Yes, Tower Bridge. Alarm was raised as one of the towers began to sink, so Rocky rushed off to St. Paul's.
He was really enjoying the dome, marble was a specialist taste, but was arrested for 'eating with intent'.
He appeared in court and was sentenced to six months in prison.
He loved the idea and asked for a longer sentence. The prison was built of... stone.
The Wisdom Of A Child
by Phil Woodford
The wait to board the aircraft was long. An announcement was mad. "Passengers for Speedy Boarding please come forward."
A grunt from our eight year old Granddaughter who exclaimed in decibels that rang around the holding pen,"Speedy boarding. Do you mean people actually PAY for Speedy boarding? Why, Grandma?"
"Well, some people like to board the aircraft first."
"Are they disabled, Grandma?"
"No, people with disabilities are boarded first."
"Then why do people actually PAY to get on first ? Why are we late leaving, Grandma?"
"Well, the lady said it was technical problems on the inbound aircraft which facilitated its late arrival."
"Perhaps a bit fell off, Grandma?"
"No, dear, bits don't fall off."
"Grandma, I'm not boarding if bits fall off."
"Don't be silly, it's all perfectly safe."
"Then why has that man over there got a green face?"
"It's just the lighting in here, the man will turn pink when he gets outside."
"Does that mean if we crash he won't know how to put on his lifejacket?"
"I don't know, read your book, we're taking off in a minute."
"Grandma, that man's face didn't go pink. It's still GREEN."
Excerpt from the Unwritten Diary of Eduard Gert Otto: Alsergrund, Vienna, 1913
by Amanda Garzia
"My Id is flaring up. As is my Superego," I complained, arching my back.
"Call them in."
The professor handed us a sheet as we sat on the couch.
'Chew over this pickle and draw a conclusion', it read.
"What?" I objected.
"You've booked an examination have you not? This is it."
"Jentacular gherkin. Glaucous, fulvous, lusty-gallant, incarnadine," burbled Id, attempting the task with gusto, one hand in a pickle jar, the other in paint.
"What are you doing, Gadarene swine?" Superego thundered.
"Chewing and drawing."
Their antics made me squirm but I understood, applauding the professor's madness explorandi. He had set us this task in order to observe their reaction. I thus sat back while they manifested their lunacy.
"Repent Bohemian freak," lashed out Superego. "The pickle is evil, heaven or hell the conclusion."
"Mind your own business, holier-than-thou Bapdismal John."
They bickered splenetically. They were going to fail. Undoubtedly.
"Time up," the professor declared, taking me aside. "They," he said, "lived up to their roles splendidly. You, on the contrary, did nothing whatsoever to mediate, failing abysmally."
"They send shivers down my spine and I disappoint?"
"Inveterate invertebrate. The problem is your spine," he concluded. "You have none."
From a Voice Recorder
by Tulip Chowdhury
Patient: Why is God referred to as 'He'? I have a problem with male domination. Not marrying a man or 'he'.
Therapist: One doesn’t have to get married, you can have a partner.
Patient: I'm a church goer and Mama says I have to marry a man soon or I'll end up a spinster. Why is God a 'He' in holy books?
Therapist: Women were at home more when religious books were written. Maybe if a new religion develops then God will be a woman. Many great people were men, like Einstein, Archimedes, Plato…
Patient: There you go. But you came from a woman?
Therapist: Yes. But a women can't make babies alone.
Patient: I'm sure they will from the day God starts being a 'She'? The energy will shift truly to female power.
Therapist: Who knows, miracles can happen.
Patient: Perhaps religious books will be revised and God will be a 'She'?
Therapist: We can talk more about that on the next session.
Patient: I want to come tomorrow, making God a 'She' will take time.
by Judith Wolfgang
What is silly to one is not necessarily silly to another. But I always love a challenge.
Her name was Samantha and she was my imaginary playmate. It was a great relationship. She always shared and let me have my way, most of the time.
The hard part was remembering other people could not see Samantha, so I had to be careful when other people came my way. If I did not: it looked like I was talking to myself.
Sam and I had a lot of fun having hide-and- seek picnics, playing dolls and dress-up.
I still miss her, but as we grow older, do we really need imaginary playmates?
The Huckling Stick
by David Turnbull
The huckling stick had been cutsied too long. It was all out of valance and hefling at odd tragedies. Harnaby couldn't meyster a fleng from it. He kept huckling the onlobber by mistake.
"Who the dell cutsied this huckling? he cried, as another onlobber was harried away, head all rupped in spinnaker and trown draper. "It's all long on its tipsy and short at the bottly bit."
All the stick makers snuffled their feegs and turned their peepers downways.
Another onlooker steffed up to the murk, nobbles knocking – face as pale as a gust.
Harnaby whocked the stick at the tweezle.
The onlooker got huckled. Down he went, like a twee in a forage. The tweezle dunced a jug and stuck out its vorty lung. Seeing this, Harnaby threw a wobbly. It hit the tweezle on the twonk. Pop went the tweezle and turned into a zoog.
"You can't huck a tweezle with a wobbly," complained the referender.
"You can if your huckling stick is long on its tipsy," insisted Harnaby and twanged the referender on the kosser.
The onlobbers harooed and hefted Harnaby by his hat string.
by Mark Lewis
A river a thousand paces wide is a storyteller without equal; she never tells her stories to a living soul. So many adventures in her history: dramatic river crossings on flimsy rafts, Viking raiders, the start of voyages to the Nine Seas.
The river is wild, having never been bridged. In her dreams, a bridge made of the drowned spans across her. Thankfully, there are no plans by worldly hands to build such a grisly crossing and the dead remain sunk, or at least those parts left by the hungry fish.
The river could tell so many tales. There was Old Tom Lacey the fisherman, whose line was caught by the King of the Hungry Fish, dragging him in. Then there was the maiden, Clara, who visited the river with her fiancé but walked home alone. The fiancé was never found.
Most recently, there was the poet, who, admiring the rays of the sun breaking through pendulous clouds did not watch his step and did not see the tentacle that wrapped itself around his leg. A river a thousand paces wide is a storyteller without equal but she keeps her own secrets.
The Legend of the Raven's Roar is Good for You
by Ian Steadman
The Doctor smiles from behind his pigskin desk.
"These are the words," he says, sickeningly grey. "Eat them, eat them whole."
You look at the jar. 'Black', it says. 'Murder'. 'Treacherous'. 'Cawfulious'. 'Ravenish'.
"What is this?" you ask, the words sticking on the tip of your tongue.
The Doctor says nothing. His nose is too sharp, his brow too feathered. When he eats a biscuit he nibbles it like your grandmother.
"I can't eat these. What are they written on, anyway? They look like bones."
"No," he laughs. "No. Bones? Not at all. Those are teeth."
You unscrew the cap and pull one out. It seems to be an incisor. On the curved side is etched the word 'Blarkry'.
"Do I swallow it?"
His head bobs.
"Do you have any water?"
It feels strange in your mouth at first, an ivory pebble, cold and precise. When you swallow it, you can't hold back a sneeze.
The Doctor smiles, flaps his arrings. Turning his raveman head to the sky, he shrilly caws his meak.
by Sandra Unerman
Significant understanding rains heavily every Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesdays, the evaporation thickens into small mists over the knitting needles and turns the socks into clouds of pineapples. On Thursdays, significant understanding jumps both ways in and out of the clouds and unravels the pineapples into strands of liquorice. You can see them melting over the trees. The blackbirds get stuck and the crows complain horribly.
Fridays, everyone stays indoors, so understanding pales into insignificance and weeps quietly into the doormat. But on moonlit nights, the mice eat the liquorice and sing songs too beautiful to remember. The significant rain runs down the hills and the raindrops turn blue. That's when the elephants come out, not too close to the mice, to breathe in the understanding and tramp back up into the hills, where they wait for the rains to begin again.
Grumpy Sheep –vs– The World
by Jonathan Macho
It was a sunny day, quite unlike most in the hills and valleys of Wales, and Grumpy Sheep stood in his field and chewed the cud. After a while, he looked to the left. After a while longer, he looked to the right. His vigil complete, he let out a sigh.
This was his life.
Grumpy Sheep started. He was very much alone at that moment and, after his expert glances in both available directions, he was certain nobody was there to OY him.
"IT'S ME," the voice continued. "THE WORLD."
Right. That explained that then.
"WHY ARE YOU SO GRUMPY, GRUMPY SHEEP?" The World demanded in a surprisingly strong Welsh accent. "YOU'VE GOT THE CUD. YOU'VE GOT THE SUN. I'M DOING MY BEST HERE, MATE."
In response, Grumpy Sheep let out another sigh.
"THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT." The World was despairing.
Grumpy Sheep was about to say welcome to my world, but wasn't sure how that could apply when talking to THE World, and so chewed some more cud instead.
"PLEASE, MUN. JUST ANSWER ME."
"What's my name again?" Grumpy Sheep asked, looking warily up into the pretty blue sky.
"WHY, GRUMPY SHEEP."
"That answer your question?"
The Case Of The Cultural Attaché
by Morag Watson
The whimsical mermaid was left flailing on the rocks, in the glass tumbler alongside the whiskey.
"Dram drim drumkit," she inhaled meagrely.
Tranquility came, requesting a reprieve from the Ning Nang Nong's bongos. Spike acquiesced, but went back on his word. And the word was renege. Grease was also the word, but not the term used in this Case of the Cultural Attaché. The Attaché yelled a blanket of peace and calm over the latter sentence, such that Crow's inky scowl was ever-present in the blink.
Trickery had lost all respect for the percussion section, bongos included, and its ethical stance on nothingness.
Consequently, using the intense, diluted nothingness of concentrated distillation, he mocked all humanity with dry understanding. All humanity and kettle drums, that is. For kettle drums, and their intrinsic lack of essence, bring nothing but a crowd of isolation; isolation offering little other than the tantalising possibility of meretricious trickery.
Crow's ever-present scowl remained non-existent, allowing the Cultural Attaché to solve clues – unhindered by those clichés glued to a percussive concerto of fell running. And so it was that the nefarious whiskey exposed both the mermaid and her esoteric paradiddles.
It's A Breeze
by Carol Moeke
"Chair, Number Eleven, is like a summer breeze. Take it if you like. Put it where you like and let the breeze take you if you like. It's already wafting your way, wafting you away, so hold on tight, Number Eleven.
"Number Eight, your time is up. It's time to come down. Lower the umbrella. Lean to the right. No, to the right, that's right. You were right all the time. And right on time. Collect your deposit as you leave."
The leaves catch the breeze and look for the chair. The chair is in the air being wafted. The leaves join the fun and flutter. And the sneeze of the breeze throws us all off course, of course.
Number Twelve saves the day and chimes in with a warning to ring the changes. "Go with the flow," Twelve bellows to those below. Those above think it's all a breeze, except for Number Eleven. He knows it's a chair.
A chair in the air makes you aware of all that life blows at you.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is Not Enough
by Ejder S. Raif
Frederick was about to explode like a nuclear bomb. His treasure hunt was in shambles. All his friends had disappeared into thin air. He was left stranded in the forest like a lost lemon, surrounded by trees overhead like a tunnel. He kept expecting a train to arrive through this tunnel, but he remembered that he wasn't on a train track.
He spotted two crazy birds fighting childishly over food.
"Where's a referee when you need them?" asked Frederick.
He persisted with the treasure hunt alone, but he found nothing. In frustration, he yelled into the great open space, sounding like an angry lion scaring off a pack of hyenas, terrifying all living things who fled like a bullet from a shotgun. If he had yelled inside a building, all the windows would smash.
"Hey," called a familiar voice.
Frederick spun around, nearly falling over, expecting to see a stack of hay. He saw Robin, not Batman's partner, or the actual bird, but his friend.
Frederick was unhappy that the treasure hunt had failed. He left the forest with Robin, his face doleful like he was about to burst into tears, flooding the entire forest, creating a deep blue ocean.
by Martin Russo
Colourful clay is omni-present, much like candy.
Yes, but if only I could eat clay like I used to eat candy then my life would be a lot simpler. I am, as they might say, slightly keen on pottery and the thought of a big dollop of clay in my hand to squeeze, mould, punch and knock into something semi decent, fills my heart with joy.
I was fascinated with clay from a young age. It started when I used to shuffle it into my mouth when a teacher swiftly suggested pottery to my mother at the school gates.
It never left me, the joy of clay. Like candy, I could never quite get enough. Now, I have built a multi-coloured clay house. I knocked up my kitchen in clay, made shoes, belts and speakers.
I see clay everywhere. I mainly use reds, yellows and greens. My yellow clay elephant completed my clay zoo in my garden. I dedicated it to my then lover, Veronica Piles, but it did not work, as she left.
And whenever I am introduced to someone at a dinner party, I normally say, "Hi, I love clay, how about you?"
A Beautiful Mind
by Sueleen Swann
I queue in the line marked 'WOMAN'. I count the number of souls ahead and estimate my wait will be an hour.
The whispered message slowly passes down the line.
"Beauty or brain," the soul in front of me relays. "You are only allowed to choose one."
Beauty or brain? In my last body, I was beautiful but dumb.
By the time I reach the podium, I am still undecided.
"Hello, God. I would like both please," I whisper.
"Impossible. The rule is that you choose ONE for your next life," he replies.
"But why? I don't want to be dumb and ugly. I want both in equal measures."
He scowls at me and roars, "Enough. I am tired." A long pause. He consults the Book of Life and looks at me. "Very well then, you may have both."
There is a bright light and I open my eyes to see my new parents peering over me.
"We shall name him John Forbes Nash Jnr," I hear my mother say.
Not quite what I wanted. But at least I have a beautiful mind.
A Pineapple Moment
by Graham Curtis
"A late night shoots pineapple with a machine gun," it says.
"What?" I say.
The machine says, "A light knight shouts 'pina colada' with a spitting gun."
"You're mad," I say.
Again it says, "Light-weight shorts pee in a spittoon gun."
"What is this gun?" I say.
"Nonsense starts with 'green ideas sleep furiously' and ends with the spittoon gun," the machine spits out.
"Nonsense," I say. "Don't quote Chomsky at me. Green ideas can sleep furiously. You can have black thoughts, so you can have green ideas. You can sleep fitfully or quietly, so you can sleep furiously. And thoughts can be unconscious or asleep."
"But the gun," it cries out as only machines can, "and the spittoon. What of the gun and the spittoon?"
"The spittoon is the target for the mouth," I offer, "the gun of abuse, spitting out its nonsense."
"So my black thoughts, quietly unconscious, are trying to leave through directed speech which turns out to be nonsense," the machine says.
"That's it," I reply.
"I'm cured," the machine exaltedly claims, as only a therapised machine can.
"That's right," I say and switch it off.
Where There's Smoke
by C.I. Selkirk
"Pinocchio asked you a question?"
"Run, run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me..."
"Yeah, yeah, I know who you are. What did he ask you? Do you think he knows?"
"Oh no. What did you say?"
"Good save. So, is everything ready?"
"The sky is falling. The sky is falling."
"Not again. You've had weeks. What's gone wrong?"
"Hey diddle diddle."
"You're kidding. It's always a drama with those two. I don't know why they don't just call it a day. Are they still coming?"
"I'll huff and I'll puff."
"All right, calm down. No need to get violent. Just have a quiet word with them. Tell them to behave for Pinocchio's sake. It's not every day a hunk of wood comes to life."
"Hickory dickory dock."
"Blimey, you're right. We'd better get going or we'll be late."
"All the king's horses and all the king's men."
"Exactly. Let's get this surprise party started."
"Party? Is someone having a party?"
"Pinocchio, hi. I thought you were inside."
"Just stepped out for a ciggie."
"Three blind mice. Carving knife."
"He's right. Pinocchio, you're on fire."
"That's all, folks. The end."
by Mangal Patel
Whiskey on the table jumps both ways as the billionaires watch in disbelief.
"I suppose anything is possible in space."
Dick's sanguine remark annoys his fellow traveller William.
"How can you be so calm when we are hurtling towards the Moon in this tin can you call The Ultimate Tourist?" William demands.
"I've faced death many times on Earth, including the time I fell out of a hot air balloon. This journey is nothing to having your life flash before your eyes."
Dick's languid manner grates on William's already frazzled nerves.
"This silence would die for a grapefruit." William hopes this obtuse comment will evoke some interest from his laid back companion.
Dick merely begins snoring.
It's no use, the two entrepreneurial billionaires are hopelessly incompatible. Dick is in search of the ultimate thrill whilst William is in search of the elusive star that rains heavily.
What relief all that wetness would give to the parched Earth. What thirst it would quench, the philanthropic nerdy billionaire muses.
"But there's not even a drop of whiskey in sight," William complains bitterly to their pilot, Whiskey the chimpanzee, who jumps both ways frenetically navigating the first two tourists to the Moon.
by Nick Black
The memo from my boss read 'GET A JELLY DIE FLEDERMAUS TO SALLY'S PARTY – ON TIME'. I looked on the back of the note for any indication of flavour, colour, conductor, turned it over and over but there was nothing. I was already on probation after I'd been caught walking around my boss's office in her high heels while she was having her afternoon nap – I hadn't expected the clacking to wake her.
You'd be surprised how hard it is to render German opera in gelatine. The high notes never set. The wobble... The wobble... I couldn't take my eyes off the wobble, screaming at me from the front basket as I cycled my plated effort through the midtown traffic, half praying a truck would jump the lights and smear me across the tarmac. Was Sally the six year old, the eight year old or the 32 year old daughter? Did she have any food allergies? Pineapple chunks slid down the quivering sides of the opera, a transparent red mountain in musical meltdown.
If only I'd had the talents to find another job, one where I could afford to buy my own high heels.
Here Comes The Bride
by Alva Holland
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, Celeste mused.
"GN-z11 – that'll do for the old thing – tick.
"A refulgent diamond star discovered in 2014 – new enough – tick.
"Roscosmos won't miss that miniscule space station it thought would change the world – tick. Don't worry, Vlad, I'll return it.
"One gem of cyan nebula – pocketed – tick.
"The dress – a Milky Way streak of lace and effervescent bubbles. Orion will go supernova. We'll hit Deep Space Nine together. Staggering.
"Getting side-tracked. Ice grains turning to sugar molecules – cake decorations – tick.
"Bridesmaids. Canis, Ursa and Draco. Triple special effect lighting.
"Guest list – God (no, not you – too much of a distraction.) Universal participation – if you can get here, you're invited. Orion will be impressed.
"Orion – hmmm. Where the hell is the little star-gazer? Him and his precious celestial equator. Things will change when we're married. For a start, those protostar groupies will go. Shallow flickering cosmic dust, no substance.
"Honeymoon? Andromeda. Stellar nightlife.
"Nearly done. Da, have I asked you to do the aisle spacewalk with me? Yes, I'll always be your baby. I know – separation is difficult. Look out for me – Orion's bride, forever in your shadow."
Anthony Burned A Hole In The Rain
by Christopher Iacono
Anthony burned a hole in the rain. His mother had told him to come home before the rain, but here he was, under the clouds wringing themselves out over the grassy marshlands fenced in by shimmering reeds. He delighted in the flames slowly nibbling away at his arm, leaving behind charred bits of flesh that clung to his blackened bones.
Then someone called him. "Excuse me, young man," said a man in a black robe standing in front of the reeds. "Can you lead me to the pond?"
"But, sir, it's right behind you."
"Oh, yes, you're right." The man grabbed the front of Anthony's shirt and threw him through the reeds. His body splashed into the green water.
Once he recovered, he drifted along the surface of the pond, while the crackling fire was eating its way toward his elbow. He sighed. At least he could still sing.
"Sheep may safely graze on pasture, when the shepherd guards them well..."
He nearly choked on the rain entering his mouth, but that didn't stop him from finishing his song.
by Peter Jordan
The man felt the pain of growth. It was a pain he had felt before. His skin was splitting, but he didn't want to cry out. He got up and put on his dressing gown and shuffled to the exercise yard, shoulders slumped forward, head down. He waited and, when the moment was right, he let his dressing gown fall to the concrete. His beautiful white wings were released. He flapped them so hard they cracked like whips. The orderlies just stood and stared. At first he didn't move, then slowly, he lifted. Unsteady at first, he lifted up and over the concrete walls and razor wire.
Dr Gallo, the senior psychiatrist, looked out of his office window and saw the man fly upwards in a slow circle, towards a break in the clouds. For a full five minutes he watched him rising higher and higher into the sky. It was only when he was no more than a dot in the heavens that Dr Gallo fell to his knees and prayed.
A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To The Particle Accelerator
by Helen Rye
I see from your resume that you are something of an expert in superparticleisation. This is obviously an area we value highly, here at the Large Hairdo Collider.
We are in the process, as you know, of accelerating a collection of old-school footballers with mullets very quickly into isotopic 1980s New Romantics, in the hope of discovering the elusive Mod particle, which Science believes to be responsible for the cosmic impulse towards the neat but angular bob. If the experiment is successful, it is hoped we may also observe spontaneously created Sta-Prest. We have already unexpectedly isolated a new form of atonic orchestral punk-thrash, which nobody could have predicted (although some say it was there in the equations). What a time to be alive.
But let me show you to your microscope and volumising spray, Professor – just past the accidental black hole containment station (in case of singularity creation, please break glass), but do mind your step.
Oh. That was unfortunate. Well, very best of luck with whatever dimension that eventually spits you out into, Professor, and I'll get HR to fire in a note containing your contract and a severance package suitable to your unimaginable new form.
Below, you can read the stories submitted to the second Nonsense anthology.
An opening note from Chris Fielden
What a divine plethora of nonsense we have received, my fine writing banshees. It's been most humbling to collect, read, edit and publish the first 100 nonsensical delights bestowed upon our eyeballs. For the first time, a writer has managed to get not just 1, but 20 of those most foul of punctuation marks into a book I will publish... the exclamation mark. See story 027 and witness Helen's deviousness. We look forward to receiving the next 100 baloney fuelled tales, crammed with drivel, folly and gibberish.
And from Lesley Truchet
I would like sincerely thank each and every writer who has contributed to the challenge. There are some amazing stories and the 100 barrier has been broken. Onward to 200.
I consider it an honour and a privilege to be connected with this challenge, and with Chris Fielden. An association which has enhanced my writing street cred.
I was amazed at the diversity of imaginative stories. Two punchlines which particularly tickled my fancy were stories 44, contributed by S T Ranscht, and 22, by Annemarie Allan.
by Braid Anderson
Judge Godly had that morning had a discussion with his tailor, during which he asked, "Tell me, Mr Goldfarb, Jew eat kosher hungry?"
Goldfarb had retaliated by sewing some rosehip seeds into the seat of the judge's trousers. He was now itching for a recess.
This place gets more and more like something out of Laurel and Hardly, thought Judge Godly. The previous case had been one of attempted molestation against a wealthy Yorkshireman, who had made his fortune pumping out septic tanks – where there's muck, there's money. His excuse was, "Suck cess, can get lonely."
Having removed his contaminated trousers in his chambers, the judge stood musing over the state of the world. Does living in a disposable society mean that society is disposable?
"Dis pose or dat pose," muttered the artist's model of a train disappearing into a tunnel, where a funnelweb spider disguised as a nurse lay in wait to stop it smoking. If at first you don't suck seed, try drier grain.
Enough with the applause already. The wax in my ears is melting and contributing no end to global warming. Madame Who? To sew or not to sew, that is the question.
(A True History from the None Existent Enchiridion of Nonsense Folklore)
by Lesley Truchet
Noah's wife scowled, her face dark. "I wish we could leave this dreadful ark."
"Woman, will you stop your bark, it's pure insanity. You could be dead with the rest of humanity."
"This vessel stinks of animal poo and I'm sick of living in a floating zoo. The rats chewed through their holding coops, instead of two there are several troops. They have put me in this mood, and they're eating all our food. Argh," she squealed, her body squirming, "get off my foot, you filthy vermin."
"Be grateful wife, for saved are we. You could be drowned beneath this sea."
"If you two could cease your fight, I think we're at the end of our plight, for yonder is land." The couple followed their son's pointing hand.
"Finally, after all our trials," Noah’s face was wreathed in smiles.
A short while later they stood on the shore, relieved to be on the ground once more.
The animal pairs walked into the trees and Noah fell upon his knees. "Thank you, God, this looks like a good place to be, but where exactly in the world are we?"
"Argh-a-rat," shrieked Noah's wife.
The Dangers of Toying With Phantasmagorical Wordage
by Christopher Fielden
As the arena's portcullis rose, the crowd roared like a plethora of blood hungry rhinoceroses.
"Why are you smirking?"
"Rhinos are herbivorous."
As the arena's portcullis rose, the crowd roared like a plethora of blood hungry baboons.
"What now? Baboons hunt. And they eat meat."
"It just doesn't paint the right picture."
As the arena's portcullis rose, the crowd roared like a plethora of blood hungry lions.
"Too obvious. And melodramatic."
As the arena's portcullis rose, the crowd roared with rancour.
The inspire-o-gorgon emerged from the tunnel. Defying daylight, shadows followed it, shrouding its path in obscurity.
"I don't know where to begin…"
"Well find somewhere."
"What's an inspire-o-gorgon? How can shadows exist in daylight? Why do you insist on writing fantasy nonsense?"
The inspire-o-gorgon is feared, for it enlivens the imagination of those around it. Suddenly, everyone in the arena had ideas for stories. Fantastical and phantasmagorical tales that had to be shared.
And write they did. Critic became creator and lo they did understand the bravery needed to bare their work to others, to read, to enjoy, to condemn.
"Point taken. I'll be nicer."
"And I'll continue to listen."
by Kristie Claxton
"Where are my keys?"
"Well they must be around somewhere. Did you look?"
"Of course I looked. Are you sitting on them?"
"I'm not sitting on them."
"You must be. Get up."
"See, nothing. Did you look in your pockets?"
"Of course I looked in my pockets."
"I wasn't wearing a jacket, it's 80 degrees out."
"What about your gym bag? Are they there?"
"No. You did something with them. It's just like you to not want me to go out. You hid them."
"I didn't hide them, I don't care if you go out. As a matter of fact, I want you to go."
"I'm looking in the car."
"Fine, you must have left them there."
"If they are there I'm not coming back in, I'm just leaving. So good-bye."
"I don't have to go, you know. I can stay if you want me to."
"No, no, I don't want you to stay if you don't want to."
"I'll stay, it's getting late and everyone will likely be gone by the time I get there anyway."
"Sit down and we'll watch a movie or something."
"Where's the remote?"
by Tim Jones
After a week of rest the creature slinked out of its huge, dingy trench and looked around. Fish fled as they saw it emerge. It spied the boat on the surface and headed straight for it at great speed.
Sailors in these waters often talked of the legend of the Blaavift, but none had ever seen it. "It's the size of an ocean liner and ten times as fierce as a great white," they would say.
The slightest of bumps beneath the boat went completely unnoticed.
Luckily for those onboard, the fierce Blaavift was actually only the size of a limpet.
A Bonfire Of Profanities
by Louis Cennamo
In addressing the handleflyeroffer, Woodboy was somewhat ligneous in his approach. He had no idea how to handle someone who could fly off handles with such volatile panache – she had already splintered his ego in several places just by looking at him in a provocative way.
Serendipity's first glance had evoked an automatic response in him, one that any lignotherapist would immediately recognise as a repressed passion that had ingrained itself long ago, at tree-roots level.
"Shiver my timbers," he blurted, even before she had flown off the handle.
Woodsmoke was a-waft from his woodentop – his lust a-thrust, all but combust.
Dippy reassured him, "Oh don't worry, I always have this effect on those of a wooden persuasion… Here, allow me..."
She flew off the handle, returning with water, and put him out.
He was not put out metaphorically, rather aglow – spouting ligno-babble. "Would wood be a would or would wood be a wouldn't? Would it or wouldn't it be good for fire and wood to be a 'would-be good together'?"
The handleflyeroffer offered him a prescient handle to grasp, a flyeroffer's best flying offer…
"Great bonfire... But by morning, only smouldering embers."
A Nefarious Tale Of Nursery Crime
by Michael Rumsey
"Fairies and Elves of the jury my client, Thomas Thomas, the son of a Highland Piper, stands in the Dickory Dock accused of running away with a purloined pig intending to sell it for consumption to J Spratt. This is a rash a charge as has ever been cooked up, nothing more than porky pies. I remind you of testimony given by defence witnesses.
"Doctor Foster, upon return from Gloucester, assured us Jack Spratt is allergic to fat.
"Miss B Peep described Thomas as a lamb.
"Remember Jack Beans talk of evidence being planted?
"Farmer Donald Mack testified none of his Sus genus has gone for the chop, including the little one who tends to urinate all the way home.
"Mr. Kingsmen, accompanied by His Majesty's Equidae put it all together for us. At the time of the alleged offence he witnessed Thomas trotting to the aid of a pale Jill bucketing downhill. They crashed into a brick edifice causing a Mr H Dumpty to crack up.
"It's as plain as J Horner's corner or Miss Muffet's tuffet.
"True, Thomas refuses to wear his father's national dress but that is not a crime.
"You must therefore find him Not Kilty."
Alaric's Oral Ordeal
by Jacob Kyte
Alaric blundered into the sweet shop. "My man," he said. "What do you have in the way of breath mints?"
"Well, Sir, a box of Pepper-Neck swirls seem to have inhabited the oral-soother section," the shopkeeper replied, dashing the throat fixers aside. "Now, here we are. We have Perennial Pleasers, Stale Sorters, Limonana Licks and Mouth Mashers."
"A fine selection," Alaric applauded.
"Thank you, Sir."
"And what would you recommend?"
"A fine question."
"Thank you, Sir."
"The Perennial Pleasers are a favourite of mine," the Shopkeeper grinned.
"Then a bag of those, please."
"Ah, but we're out of those."
"Then the Stale Sorters?"
"We're out of those. And the Limonana Licks, too."
"Then I'll take the Mouth Mashers."
"Are you mad? You must have a jaw of steel."
"Tricky nibblers, are they?"
"Well, I have no choice," Alaric snapped. "I have a date this evening. I must have the freshest breath."
"A fussy lady?"
"No. She's a bloodhound."
"Marvellous." The Keeper took Alaric's money in exchange for the bag. "Good luck, Sir. And watch those teeth."
Alaric opened the bag and threw a Mouth Masher into his gob, shattering two back molars.
He blundered into the dentist.
A Bibble of Flandinks
by Helen Perry
The blibbersnout meandered along the purple banks of the microdilly. "Farg," he squarked. "Farg-arg."
"What's the pickle?" snoofed the inkletut.
"Well, Snid," for so was the inkletut named, "take a look at all the flandinks in this microdilly."
Snid wambled to the edge of the bank and looked into the green waters. "Hmm, I nuff. Flandinks everywhere. Come, Erg, let us visit King Mythagus."
Erg and Snid journeyed through the kingdom all grem and all nef, for it was a great distance to King Mythagus's terfnak. Atop the clankensnare, they met with a gillynewt. "Flandinks?" said he. "Well that's bad news." And he joined the pair on their journey.
Deep in the vlobnigob, Erg, Snid and their new friend, Milge, met with a binosephus named Nelwick. "Flandinks you say? We can't have that in our microdilly. I'll join you on your journey to the terfnak."
The following grem, the group arrived at King Mythagus's terfnak and told him their tale.
"Ooglyflap, that is a dilemma," said the king. "Tell me, Erg, why the flandinks are such a problem in the microdilly."
Erg thought for a posnit. "Your Excellency, they are strange."
"Perhaps," Mythagus mused, "they feel the same about you."
A Taste Of His Own Medicine
by Mike Scott Thomson
Upon the occasion of his
increasingly cantankerous consultant
the valetudinarian sesquipedalianist
of an acute bout of
was placed on a diet of
lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechy- menokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphet- raganopterygon
and prescribed a
the valetudinarian sesquipedalianist
to his habitual abode
(and subsequent to an epiphany
of introspection and assimilation)
from the good doctor
the valetudinarian sesquipedalianist
the overly-health-conscious too-clever-by-half-walking-dictionary
no longer choked
upon his words
and was thus
by Allen Ashley
"Oh, Bertie, my shlumpa-wumpy boffiny boy, I am so glad we met."
"Me, too, Flossie, my cha-cha Charleston choo-choo girl from Chattanooga. Who would have guessed what sumptuous joys a night at the theatre would bring?"
"Sweet little tiddly-dumplykins. Pass another mint, my cuddly-wuddly."
"Your breath is already sweeter than the spray from Niagara Falls, my darling high-kicker in tights. Oh dachshunds, is that the hotel phone ringing?"
"Sure is, my huddly-buddly boy. Probably just room service. Listen, you're in Noo Yawk now and we dash across when the lights say 'Don't walk' and we let the damn telephone ring itself to sleep. There – it's stopped."
"You're right, my Candy Flossie with icing sugar hair. Keep stroking my leg; I adore it."
"Sure will, my pouty polar bear, my world-conquering walrus... Oh heck, there it goes again. Can't an honest showgirl have any fun in this town?"
"I'd better take it, snookikins."
An anxious minute trying to eavesdrop before Flossie was forced to enquire, "Well?"
"It was Carnegie Hall. They're expecting me to deliver a lecture on General Relativity. I'm already ten minutes late."
"Oh, Bertie, you'd better go. But hurry back."
"Faster than the speed of light, babe."
by Alice Little
"Mum, I've found a four-leaf clover." The little girl runs into the kitchen, very excited, twirling the plant between her fingers. "Can I plant it in a pot to watch it grow?"
Mum digs a yoghurt pot from the recycling and hands it to her daughter.
"What do you think it will grow into, dear?" asks Mum.
"A leprechaun, of course."
Mum stands with her mouth open. "Who told you that?"
"Oh, I thought..."
Was that a lower-lip wobbling? Uh oh.
"It's just that," Mum thinks fast, "four-leaf clovers usually grow into rainbows."
"Really? They do?" The girl smiles widely.
Mum is relieved. "Yes, you just wait and see."
The next morning the little girl runs downstairs. With some surprise she realises that her mother doesn't know everything after all.
"Mum, there's a leprechaun in my flower pot."
At What Cost?
by Soulla Katsiani
Sevenworm is not yet ready to die without the crown. Fear is his medicine. Becoming a Billionaire his destiny. The melons were not yet ripe, but his fate was waiting. Maybe bananas would do instead.
Bananas would do.
Hungry for power, Sevenworm left his fame and went for another association.
Very soon, he met the Stageroo. "Concentrate," he taught him... "Concentrate."
And thus Sevenworm knew then his enemy. Out there on the plains were the serpents. Servants of God. They called them the human race.
Of course, if he was to be the next Trump worm, he had to turn.
And no sooner had he talked the walk, when his cousin the silkworm appeared.
Now there was no choice but to ping pong.
Washington grew nearer, but the Magna Carta had to be signed. And he just had to have that Crown.
They wanted melons, he'd give them bananas stuffed with empathy and fresh air.
He'd sell them a wall of dreams. He'd sell them rhinoceroses with religion.
He'd make them believe.
Too bad no one bothered to read the small print.
He simply had to have those Stairs and Stripes.
by Paddy Placename
She couldn't believe it. For weeks she had thought England, like her homeland, was a Punctuation Police State. Yet there it was for all to see. Right there on the village sign.
"Mon Dieu," she gasped, stifling an exclamation mark as she nervously glanced over her shoulder. No-one there. Her relief was unbounded as she stumbled gratefully past the sign and into the wonderland of Westward Ho!
There on every side were brave signs carrying that despised punctuation mark: the church welcome notice, the hardware shop – and as for the Family Entertainment Centre, they didn't even bother with 'Westward' but plunged straight into glorious 'Ho!' before the 'barts'. Australian owners perhaps?
With growing confidence she began to feel sure she had found a rare place for the perfect twinning opportunity. She thought fondly of her home. How they would marvel at the discovery of another banished community.
"We are not alone," she sighed, tears pricking her eyes.
With some French Canadian pride, she couldn't help but smile at the thought that even the eccentric English would not dare have two on their sign.
"Vive Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!"
The Clear Star Of Quiet Disturbance
by Lynn-Marie Harper
The clear star that is yesterday jumps both ways. Innately incoherent the machine whizzed into profusion.
Clarity veiled its own eyes inferring the use of an older scheme than anyone present had ever encountered. A frisson of verdancy vanquished the information this screen vied with, to produce a vanity box of verbiage.
Violet fluorescence cartwheeled across the sky in wave upon wave of appendaged apparition. The people watching began to subtly change their minds and this appeared on their faces and careened through their bodies as telepathic utterance stuttered into the bridgeport of connivances centre of control, bewitching all observers into sensing everything in a new word devoid realm.
The sound of the worldwide hum took centre stage in the valence centre the world called itself when fully brionised. The beginning of a new eon was in partition's grasp.
by Stan Riley
"How can you possibly hold such unenlightened views?" cried Ernest, leaping to his feet. "If you truly believe what you've just said, then I would consider you to be nothing more than a Phillistine."
Uncle Charles gave a superior smile. "Before you call anybody a Philistine," he said smoothly, "you should first ensure that you know how to spell the word."
Ernest slowly sat down, looking suitably chastened and abashed.