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Lesley's Nifty Nib-Nibbling Nonsensical Narrative Writing Challenge

Quick links on this page:

rules & how to submit - about the nonsense writing challenge - read the nonsensical stories

Lesley Truchet & Christopher Fielden

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.

Rules & How To Submit

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:

  • 200 words max
  • please include a title for your story (not included in word count)
  • be silly but make sense
  • entry is everyone's favourite fee - FREE
  • anyone can submit
  • 1 entry per person
  • no profanity please
  • your nib-nibbling nonsense tales will be published on this page
  • every time we receive 100 stories, we'll publish all of them in a book
  • any money made through anthology sales will be donated to charity
  • submit your story by filling in the comments form below

So far, we've received 62 entries. We need 38 more to publish the anthology.

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About the Nonsense Writing Challenge

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 :-)

About the Charity the Nonsense Challenge Supports

Proceeds generated by anthology sales will be donated to The Daisy Garland.

The Daisy Garland Charity Logo

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.

You can find The Daisy Garland on Facebook and Twitter.

The Daisy Garland Charity images

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.

How The Nonsense Writing Challenge Came To Be

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 Truchet & Chris Fielden Nonsense Writing Challenge

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.

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Nonsensical Stories

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.

Story 001

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.

Story 002

Necromantic Cobblers

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."

"Eh?"

"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.

Story 003

Wrong Stones

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.

Story 004

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?"

Story 005

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."

Story 006

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 Excellency."

"Erth?"

"Earth, sir, there's an a in it."

"Did you say a?"

"Aye."

"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."

Story 007

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.

Story 008

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.

Story 009

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.

Story 010

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'.

Story 011

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.

Story 012

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.

Story 013

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."

Story 014

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?

Story 015

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.

Story 016

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.

Story 017

Honey Do

by D. Angelone

"Honey, I thought you were going to lift the curse today."

"I did."

"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?"

"I did."

"And hang it on the fridge?"

"I'm not an idiot."

"Dave's?"

"Hmm?"

"Testicles. Dave's?"

"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?"

"Define 'pale'."

"Jesus, was it pale or not?"

"It was pale, ish."

"Wait. Did you drop the kids off?"

"Huh?"

"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."

"Honey..."

"I said don't."

Story 018

Unread

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*

Story 019

Burnt Beans

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.

Story 020

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?"

Story 021

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.

Story 022

Sorted

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.

Story 023

3 Phobias

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.

Story 024

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."

Story 025

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.

Story 026

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?"

Story 027

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."

"Same thing."

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.

Story 028

Incongruous Edifice

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.

Story 029

The Ether

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.

Story 030

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,

Where,

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.

Story 031

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.

Story 032

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.

Story 033

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."

Story 034

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.

Story 035

Farms Collide

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."

Story 036

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."

Story 037

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."

A pause.

"You're sacked," he blurts.

"That," I say as I make my welcome exit, "is the most sensible thing I've heard all day."

Story 038

Bubbly-Wubbly Row

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."

Story 039

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.

Story 040

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.

Story 041

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.

Story 042

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.

Story 043

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.

"It's alive."

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.

Story 044

A Fable

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.

Story 045

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."

Story 046

Test Paper

by Coryn Smethurst

For this paper you must have:

  1. a pencil
  2. mathematical instruments
  3. a large cucumber

An insert containing NO useful information is provided.

Time allowed: 24 hours.

Instructions:

  • Use a white pen or invisible ink – do not use anything which is legible
  • Fill in the boxes at the top of this page with pictures of Philip Schofield
  • Answer questions on one topic only:
    • Topic A: Reticulated Pythons, Puff Adders and Theresa May
    • Topic B: Warts, Verrucas and Phil Hammond (with reference to almonds)
    • Topic C: Nick Gibb, Statistics and Money Laundering (with biological detergent)
    • Topic D: History of Buxton, Nicky Morgan and Musical Flatulence
  • Answer all questions on the topic you have chosen, but be careful the chocolate does not melt
  • Write your answers anywhere you wish, but remember the cheese does not melt on Saturday
  • Do not think outside the box around each page, but do think on blank pages
  • You will be marked on your ability to:
    • subvert the English language
    • diorganise information in a clear manner
    • use specialist vocabulary relating to trousers, where appropriate

Remember that anything you write will be regarded as wrong.

Story 047

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.

Story 048

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.

Story 049

Snizzling Tino

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.

Story 050

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 ."

Story 051

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.

Story 052

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.

Story 053

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.

Story 054

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.

Story 055

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."

Story 056

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.

Story 057

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.

Story 058

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.

Text me.

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.

Story 059

Relinquished Regard

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.

Story 060

Culinary Chaos

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."

Story 061

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.

Story 062

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."

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Annemarie A
Hi Chris. Couldn't resist this one - I'm very fond of silly stuff, so I've posted a story in the hope it will make someone smile.

Chris Fielden
Excellent - thanks Annemarie. Well the punchline made me laugh out loud :-)

Lesley T
A great punchline, Annemarie, it made me laugh too.

Braid A
It would be good if a few people would visit my Braid's Kids page and maybe buy a book or two, to help feed my adopted PNG kids.

Chris Fielden
Hi Braid. I don't usually place links in comments, but seeing as you've written a story for the challenge and it's all for charity, I've added it :-)

Neville R
Hi Chris. Thanks for including me!

Great site :-)

Chris Fielden
No problem, Neville - thanks for submitting :-)

Steph S
I really enjoyed this challenge as I've never written a nonsense story before. Thanks for the opportunity.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Steph - thanks for writing a story for the challenge :-)

David O
Hi Chris. Ty so much for accepting my story 'A Hard Day's Night'. Seeing it, actually out there on your page, has given me a much needed boost. Ty so much :)

Chris Fielden
Hi David. No worries – very happy to hear that entering the nonsense challenge has inspired you. That’s exactly what the challenges are for, so thanks for letting me know :-)