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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
  • by submitting, you accept the terms and conditions
  • when anthologies are published, you will be involved in the book launch process
  • submit your story by filling in the comments form below

So far, we've received 156 entries. We need 44 more to publish the 2nd 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 – was released in June 2017. It contains the first 100 stories submitted to the challenge. We are currently accepting submissions for Volume 2.

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.

UPDATE SEPT 2017: Lesley and I have now met. I went and stayed with her and her husband Hervé in France while undertaking the reading for the 2017 To Hull And Back short story competition. Here's the proof:

Lesley Truchet and Chris Fielden

Lesley Truchet and Chris Fielden, pictured in France

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.

Nonsensically Challenged Volume 1

We received our 100th story on 3rd March 2017. The first 100 stories submitted to the nonsense challenge were removed from the site on 1st April 2017. April Fool's Day seemed highly appropriate...

Nonsensically Challenged Volume 1 was released on 3rd June 2017. You can learn how to buy the book here.

Nonsensically Challenged Volume 1 Flash Fiction Anthology

The book contains stories written by 100 authors. You can keep up to date with how many books we've sold and how much money has been raised for charity on the main writing challenges page.

Nonsensically Challenged Volume 2

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.

Story 101

Judge Godly

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.

Story 102

Rats

(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.

Story 103

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.

"Now what?"

"Too obvious. And melodramatic."

As the arena's portcullis rose, the crowd roared with rancour.

"Happy?"

"Better."

The inspire-o-gorgon emerged from the tunnel. Defying daylight, shadows followed it, shrouding its path in obscurity.

"What?"

"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.

"Comments?"

"Absurd."

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.

"Well?"

"Point taken. I'll be nicer."

"And I'll continue to listen."

Story 104

Looking

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."

"Your jacket?"

"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."

"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."

"OK"

"Fine."

"Where's the remote?"

Story 105

Blaavift

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.

Story 106

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."

Story 107

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."

Story 108

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?"

"The trickiest."

"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.

Story 109

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."

Story 110

A Taste Of His Own Medicine

by Mike Scott Thomson

Upon the occasion of his

umpteenth appointment

with his

increasingly cantankerous consultant

the valetudinarian sesquipedalianist

articulately complaining

of an acute bout of

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

was placed on a diet of

lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechy- menokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphet- raganopterygon

and prescribed a

supercalifragilisticexpialidosage of

methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamylserylleucylphenylalanylalanylglutaminylleucylly- sylglutamylarginyllysylglutamylglycylalanylphenylalanylvalylprolylphenylalanylvalylthreon- ylleucylglycylaspartylprolylglycylisoleucylglutamylglutaminylserylleucyllysylisoleucylaspar- tylthreonylleucylisoleucylglutamylalanylglycylalanylaspartylalanylleucylglutamylleucylglyc- ylisoleucylprolylphenylalanylserylaspartylprolylleucylalanylaspartylglycylprolylthreonyliso- leucylglutaminylasparaginylalanylthreonylleucylarginylalanylphenylalanylalanylalanylglycy- lvalylthreonylprolylalanylglutaminylcysteinylphenylalanylglutamylmethionylleucylalanylle-ucylisoleucylarginylglutaminyllysylhistidylprolylthreonylisoleucylprolylisoleucylglycylleuc-ylleucylmethionyltyrosylalanylasparaginylleucylvalylphenylalanylasparaginyllysylglycyliso-leucylaspartylglutamylphenylalanyltyrosylalanylglutaminylcysteinylglutamyllysylvalylglyc-ylvalylaspartylserylvalylleucylvalylalanylaspartylvalylprolylvalylglutaminylglutamylserylal-anylprolylphenylalanylarginylglutaminylalanylalanylleucylarginylhistidylasparaginylvalylala-nylprolylisoleucylphenylalanylisoleucylcysteinylprolylprolylaspartylalanylaspartylaspartyl-aspartylleucylleucylarginylglutaminylisoleucylalanylseryltyrosylglycylarginylglycyltyrosylt-hreonyltyrosylleucylleucylserylarginylalanylglycylvalylthreonylglycylalanylglutamylaspara-ginylarginylalanylalanylleucylprolylleucylasparaginylhistidylleucylvalylalanyllysylleucyllys-ylglutamyltyrosylasparaginylalanylalanylprolylprolylleucylglutaminylglycylphenylalanylgly-cylisoleucylserylalanylprolylaspartylglutaminylvalyllysylalanylalanylisoleucylaspartylalany-lglycylalanylalanylglycylalanylisoleucylserylglycylserylalanylisoleucylvalyllysylisoleucyliso-leucylglutamylglutaminylhistidylasparaginylisoleucylglutamylprolylglutamyllysylmethionyl-leucylalanylalanylleucyllysylvalylphenylalanylvalylglutaminylprolylmethionyllysylalanylala-nylthreonylarginylserine.

Later

the valetudinarian sesquipedalianist

having returned

to his habitual abode

(and subsequent to an epiphany

of introspection and assimilation)

decided to

floccinaucinihilipilificate

deem worthless

the diet

and prescription

from the good doctor

and lo

the valetudinarian sesquipedalianist

the overly-health-conscious too-clever-by-half-walking-dictionary

no longer choked

upon his words

and was thus

ultimately

cured.

Story 111

Ooh Bertie

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."

Story 112

Four-Leaf Clover

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."

Story 113

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.

Who cared?

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.

Sevenworm shuddered.

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.  

Story 114

The Banished

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!"

Story 115

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.

Story 116

The Discussion

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.

Story 117

    His Final Call

by Nick Nelson

Ring, ring, ring. Her eyes opened. Ring, ring, ring. Her hand fumbled for the phone. "Hello?" head still buried into the pillow.

"Jessica, it's Simon – I'm calling to say goodbye."

"I'm sorry–" she began.

"No," he said, "this isn't your fault. But I thought I'd hear angel one last time."

"But–"

"No Jessica, you saved me then. But looking at the pier, the moon – our night – I realised it was for nothing. It's just hopeless now – no one's listening anymore, Jess."

"Simon."

"Yes?"

"Wrong number."

"Oh," he mumbled.

She hung up. And fell back asleep.

He never dialed her again.

Story 118

    Alphabet Soup

by Alan Pattison

A makes him think About how did it Appen.

B was just Because C  reminds him that you Can't easily Change the world.

D is for the Dunces who think that they can.

E is the Elephant who appeared that day.

F for the name Frieda he gave her.

G for the Garage where he took her.

H for the horrible hurricane that nearly stopped them getting there.

I is the Invisibility they seemed to have to others.

J for their Janitor at the garage who said, "K I don't Know you."

L for, "Please Let us in."

M for, "I'll just have to ask the Manager."

N for, "No way with an elephant."

O for, "Ow about an Ostrich?"

P is for, "We'll Pass on that as well."

Q was us keeping Quiet.

R for the Recollection that we R great.

S for the  Silly janitor who thought otherwise.

T for the Terrible Trouble That They put us Through.

Can U do any better?

V  Vexes me.

W for the Why did it turn out this Way.

X for we know that there is no Xcuse.

Y for the You turn You made.

Z for the noise we make at the end of the story.

Story 119

Froggy-Style

by George Kelly

Freddie the frog, wearing a Stetson, came into town on horseback.

When the sheriff, an oversized iguana, stopped him, the frog said, "Move out of my way, Iggy, or I'll shoot you." He withdrew a banana and pointed it.

"You ain't shootin' no one with that thing."

"I'm not here for you," the frog said. "Step aside."

"You ain't welcome here."

"I just wanna talk to Seelo..." The cockroach.

"No way," the sheriff said.

"One last chance," the frog said, still pointing the banana. The sheriff, however, refused to budge; he was known in town as a stubborn iguana.

"Do your worst," the iguana said, and the frog blew a banana chunk right through his forehead. The sheriff fell to the floor, dead by the time he hit it.

The frog holstered his smoky banana and adjusted his Stetson.

Then he kicked his heels into the horse's sides to get him moving again. One way or another, Freddie the Frog was going to find that slimy cockroach.

And when he did, he was going to hop all over his ugly face.

Story 120

Cowardly Colin

by Dee Tilsley

"But, wouldn't you want it if you were to need it?"

"Not sure that I'd want it ever. Why on this sloth-ridden world would I ever need it at all?"

"So you would rather die?"

"I'd not rather die, but why should I?"

Colin Cockle furrowed his forehead. Dropping his bushy, caterpillar brow, he thought long and hard. If Cassandra Conch the cretinous ninny could stand it, why was he so scared? It might hurt like a hedgehog, it might bruise like a week old banana, it might be long term if they hit a nefarious nerve, but it would save, it would help, what could be wrong with such a little prick?

"Hop on upsy-daisy-do, let the lady take a look-see."

With embarrassment, with fear, with pale-faced horror, Colin slipped slowly, shakily onto the blue vinyl perch.

It was comfortable, surprisingly smooth. It was tipped back and his heart beat faster. The moonfaced vampire smiled, "Don't be afeared lad, this won't take long."

Five minutes later, a cuppa in hand, an array of tongue tempting snacks in front, Colin Cockle beamed like a sunbeam on a silvery sea.

"My first blood donation and I didn't feel a thing."

Story 121

Snoozely Mibbler

by Rene Astle

I always heard about that strange creature. The Snoozely Mibbler only comes out when he gets hungry and thirsty.

One time, I encountered that Snoozely Mibbler.

It was passing by when it finished drinking from the river stream. It looked starving and was looking for something to eat.

I gave him some food. He ate it happily and then went off to look for more food.

It was quite unusual to see the Snoozely Mibbler coming out to look for food and drink, but I don't see any problem with that.

Story 122

What You Asked For

by Sam Nichols

I remember there was this one kid who always asked the same question: "Can I please have jam sandwiches today?" He was asking this of the dinner lady. All this food laid out in front of him and he asks for a jam sandwich. Bizarre.

Anyway, around 20 years later I come across this same kid. Of course he's now a man-kid (between 20-27). I say to him, "Ally Mask, do you still like jam sandwiches?"

"Jam sandwiches? I don't think I've ever liked jam sandwiches, and who the hell are you?"

A little taken aback, I ask, "Don't you remember me or your jam sandwich quest? We went to primary school together and I remember you would always ask the dinner lady if you could have a jam sandwich."

He replied, "Ooooh, yeah, I guess that was me. I never really wanted a jam sandwich, can't remember why I asked that. Just a kid I suppose. Hang on, aren't you the guy who used to tell me if I ate jam sandwiches I'd be able to fly?"

How did he remember that!? I had completely forgotten.

Story 123

The Tasty Baguette

by Jason Primmer

The hunger pain was at a max. My pocket empty. A busy high street swarmed with munchers. My eyes told me that every mouth was having a great time. From every mouth no words abound, just slithers of crumbs; not a voice, just chewing chewing chewing. Oh man, everyone is chewing.

A farmer's field of carrots was too much of a distance to travel. I have no kitchen cupboard or chopping board. A big rumble followed a cool brainwave which led me into a controversial moralistic challenge, wherefore I ordered the Big Tasty with extra pickles.

My heart raced as the girl wrapped my order. Then I scarpered out of the bakery biting like mad, chewing frantically... munch munch munch. Pickle everywhere. I paused, looked up in a mad euphoria and shouted, "I love pickle," then continued to run.

The bakery girl cried out the the words, "POLICE, help, there's a baguette thief about."

Suddenly the street was cordoned off; sirens swirled. The capture was easy... I'm in court next week...

Story 124

Secret of Happiness

by Abhi Shan

Sitting at home, Grumpy was not very happy. He asked his mum, "How can I be happy?"

His mum replied, "You should ask others why they feel blessed."

Grumpy said, "OK, Mum. I will ask whomever I meet today."

When they went outside, Grumpy saw a bird. He asked, "Ms Birdie, how do you feel happy?"

The Bird replied, "Chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp."

Grumpy felt happy and said, "Thank you, Ms Birdie, for your time."

Next Grumpy met a pig. He asked, "Ms Piggy, how do you feel content?"

The Pig replied, "Oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink oink."

Grumpy felt happy and said, "Thank you, Ms Piggy, for your time."

Next Grumpy met a dog. He asked, "Mr Doggy, how do you feel blessed?"

The Dog replied, "Wuff wuff wuff wuff wuff wuff wuff wuff wuff."

Grumpy felt happy and said, "Thank you, Mr Doggy, for your time."

"While talking to others, I felt it was the best day I'd had in a while," Grumpy said.

His mum smiled.

Story 125

A Furry Tail

by David Nilsson

Once planted its posterior firmly upon one of the Times as a beginning.

Looking down from her tower, one princess accidentally lost her grip on her pet and her hare was very let down. Fortunately, it fell into the mad march in progress below and seized the T from another Time for a party.

Lunch was late, as the fire was unlit - too much dragon of the feet - so etchings were passed around and all said they were handsome prints. Such agreement bored another princess who dozed off after what seemed like 100 yeahs, and had to be awakened by a rock band with painted faces.

The water supply stuttered as the Pump family faltered, but fortunately yet another princess rallied them with shouted encouragement as coach was made an honorary Pump-kin.

This water cheered up (unbelievably) still another princess, who splashed around in it and told them of more maids with extravagant tales. She was applauded by the sailors who busily constructed their seven wharves around the lake.

And as the day ended, they all climbed up into the beautiful roof and everyone lived in the heavenly rafters.

Story 126

Kelly And Kevin

by Chris Tapper

Kinky Kelly, that's what Kevin called her. A grin stretched across his cheeky face.

She wasn't amused. She caught hold of his caressing hands and said, "Careful, Kev."

"Come on, be a sport. Kiss me Kelly." He pursed his lips.

"Kevin, you know jolly well I can't kiss you because of this rotten cold sore on my bottom lip. It's highly contagious you know."

"I don't care."

Kelly could hardly contain herself when he confessed to having a disease that he called 'mono-nuclear reaction'. "Pardon? You mean you have that kissing disease? Mononucleosis."

"Yes, that's it. Care to share it Kelly?"

"You are gross. No, I do not."

"Aww. Come on Kelly – a little bit of give and take is all that's required. I give you the kissing disease and take away a cold sore in return. Fair exchange I reckon."

She turned her back. "Please, go away."

"Aww, don't be like that. Come on Kinky. A little kiss for Kevin."

"I've finished with you, Kevin Carmichael."

"You can't dump me. I love you to Cape Canaveral and back. Come on Kinky. Kiss kiss."

"Call me Kinky one more time... and I will clobber you."

Story 127

Spell This

by Tamara Miles

A shooting star would scare any linguist away, but I tried my best to spell it. I walked out in the night sky and aeroplaned myself so the cars with their flashing high-beams could not interfere with my line of vision, and cast my word-rod toward the bitter moon. I announced my intention to annunciate every twinkle, every stir of star-sound. 

I said to the star, "Shoot yourself; I will sustain you to heaven and mark the occasion with cellophane crinkles. I will keep your stardust in a mason jar and show it off on summer evenings, and never fear the zealous admonitions of planets. They do not know you the way I do."

The shooting star said, "Spell me righteous; spell me backwards. Sing my vowel-passions, quote my alien life sparks. Pronounce my name in algebra. Forgive me for the times I held back. I'm braver now."

My eyes were refugees from the troubled cosmos. My tongue bore up under pressure, and I spoke in a milky way – my words flowed, letters spilling over in the black holes, the earth licking them up. Every single atom was satisfied, and the Oxford visual dictionary welcomed the shooting star home.

Story 128

Melatonin Cakewalk

by Melissa Steffy

Kissing my melatonin cakewalk. Bristles raining down nonsense words that ache so good running down my face. Purples and yellows fly by, singing their sorrowful songs. And that ringing is just a tripping trill, the call of the somber gravestone, sitting in its majesty. My bones won't dance there, they are too quick. The cherries, never ceasing in their weeping and black mellow mockings at hastening mortality before the murder aways to taunt elsewhere.

River ribbons through the soils and rock, below the black dots. Howling quieted with red mouthed growls. Green not so ever in the cold and bleakness, where the white eats everything and some stay entombed. The shiver will not help you here as her icy face, with wicked haughty contemptable, full belly laughs in your face. Erase and whither, she melts into a puddle reflecting the caw and the whisper whoosh of an airfoil devoid of metal.

Story 129

The Man on the Rooftop

by Gary Amaro

A man is about to jump off the rooftop of a nine-story building. I think it will be a nice view after his fall; bones pushed out skin, intestines on the outside and body decapitated from falling upside-down.

Most of my family members are freaking out. My father is holding his chest, my mother is shouting, "Don't. No," and my sister is covering her eyes. I am just staring at the lonely man, excited by his final decision.

As usual, the only one that is bored is my brother. I know what he is thinking: It is just a goddamn movie.

Story 130

The Troubles of a Monkey King

by Colin Heaney

"Oh-oh, ah-ah."

My fathers wise words still rung true in my head, the years of wisdom compiled into an effective phrase. But those were simpler times, before those silly Ape movies gave people unrealistic expectations of a leader.

I looked out through the glass barrier that separated me from those humans.

Dave approached. "My King-My King, we have a faeces throwing incident behind the west bushes."

"Let me guess, they're throwing it at the glass?"

Dave nodded. I remained on my branch. Why can't we be as awesome as those other Apes? And I know what you're thinking. Oh, how can a monkey have intelligent thoughts? I could almost hear the grinding condescension from some high-pitched human. Well, guess what? I think the very same thing when I see dumb little kids licking melted ice-cream and ogling at us like we're aliens.

I turned to Dave. "Call the janitor and tell him we have a clean up."

"But, sir, Steve is on his holiday."

"Holiday?"

"Um, yes, sir. He's brought his wife and kids to the top branch for some sight seeing."

"Sight-seeing? We live in a dome, Dave. Tell Steve to clean the mess NOW."

Story 131

The Unicorn

by Mary Walker

Walking down memory lane,

Fields looked greener on the other side.

I saw lambs gambolling.

I stopped that. I took their cards away.

 

Secondly, a herd of cows.

Everyone's heard of cows.

Field three. The gate was open.

I closed it, safeguarding the pigeon I could see.

 

The sun was casting shadows.

One was a shadow of doubt. I ignored it.

I heard trotting behind me. The shadow of a Unicorn appeared.

Suddenly, it spoke.

 

I could scarcely believe it. Sharing my walk with a talking unicorn.

"Don't be afraid, my dear," it said.

I answered, "I'm not a deer, I'm a person."

The unicorn replied, "Just stand still."

At that moment, a woman holding a harness joined us.

 

"It's only Barney."

I was amazed. She had the same voice as the unicorn.

I closed my eyes and turned around.

On the third turn I felt giddy. I stopped and opened my eyes.

 

There, in front of me, was a baby unicorn.

The woman popped the harness on.

It didn't fit. She put it on the unicorn.

"Poor pony," she said. "Some children opened his gate, ran in, stuck a cornetto on his head and ran off.

Story 132

Time For Tea

by Marco Carshaw

"Wonderful," the gorilla bellowed, his voice booming through the crashing waves of water the pool provided. "Just wonderful."

He charlestoned down to the very edge of the pool, where the dog sipped gently on the steaming cup of tea made of ripped-up pillowcases – the gorilla's personal favourite, if he may add.

"I have created a new type of tea. It includes an exotic blend of tea mugs crushed up and placed into tea bags. These tea bags are then placed into tea mugs, which can then be placed into tea bags which are brewed in tea mugs. Splendid. Just splendid, honestly," the gorilla cried.

The dog, whose name was Cat, shook his head.

"You have completely misunderstood this. The way it should be is tea bags crushed into tea bags brewed in tea mugs crushed into tea bags so they can be tea bags for the tea mugs. You see now?" he spat.

The gorilla's eyes shone. And they shone so bright they could illuminate a lighthouse. "This. THIS is beauty, my friend."

Story 133

Heaven Through Joshua's Eyes

by Lucy M

Another medal had been hung upon the peg. This time, its purpose was simply for... well... breathing. Josh had inhaled oxygen. And surely that was enough reason for him to be rewarded, no?

It was only last week he had been knawing upon the curtains dangling from the fur windows, when his dog stroked him on the bag and warned him that if he showed no sign of cheering up, he would be fed the devil's food: lasagna.

"NOT LASAGNA," he cried, for lasagna was simply letting in Satan through his digestive system. All of a sudden, as a single, moist teardrop emerged from his emerald orbs, a trophy was being flung his way by his pet mother.

"WOOF," she woofed.

"MEOW?" he meowed.

Why was he receiving this trophy, crafted with slices of fresh cheddar cheese? He began to bite into the trophy before it grew arms and engulfed him first, welcoming Josh to the living room buried inside of the trophy with sofas made of honey roast ham.

"Welcome, Joshua. We've been expecting you," the brown bear croaked, chewing and digesting a soggy, browned piece of used and wiped toilet paper.

Could this have possibly been... true heaven?

Story 134

The Kettle That Flew Over Clapham Junction

by Liam Arnull

Having recently tackled an obnoxious human flipping its switch and tipping it half way to the floor (not even being careful of where its sacred water flowed), the young vicar took a deep breath. Having graduated in Electricology in the top of its manufacturing class, the kettle found their current placement less than ideal. The fat, rather pungent smelling human sitting across the kitchenette, appreciated little of the work the vicar did for them.

Waiting silently for the door to slam, the vicar slid towards the TV to watch the morning traffic report. As always scenes of dense, urban houses sprung up to the delight of the kettle – longing to be amongst the needy boilers. Having served this human for the good part of a year, the vicar decided, there and then, to leave them for the promised land.

Unplugging itself, it made for the window and jumped into the air. Catching the breeze as its plug swung with full force to propel it to what was called 'Clapham'. It wasn't long before the young vicar found a new parish to call its own, where it could boil happily forevermore.

Story 135

The Old White Castle Ward

by Sandra Orellana

There she was, flooding with her white night gown shining like a light bulb over the old white castle ward. It was like a magical performance. She enjoyed fooling around with her father's mind.

He watched her like an old, craze mad ex-soldier, while other soldiers just sat like zombies, figuring out what happened to their country.

Her thoughts wondered. She wanted to fall against anything that could be in front of her, trying to cry out to her father, "It's all in your mind."

He never believed in ghosts until he smelt his daughter's perfume. That made him realize it was really her.

"Oh, Mom , I told him to fight for our country, and he did."

Now I ask myself, "Was it all worth it ?"

Her mother popped out through the walls and answered , "Now we're both dead and he is alive."

"Who won the freedom?"

"But I can say one thing. I am proud we're safe and better than your dad, in that world of madness of his. While we flood around with laughter in this great old white castle ward, entertaining all these mad men that fought for their country.

Story 136

221b Baker Street – Watson Revealed

by John Notley

"Holmes, I have a confession to make."

"Not now Watson. Can't you see I am making an important deduction?"

"Not my salary again, I hope. Something has been bugging me."

"Out with it then."

"I am not really a doctor."

"Is that all, Watson?"

"You knew then?"

"Using my skill of deductive reasoning, I could tell by the way you stir your tea with a thermometer. The fact that your black bag only contains thumbed copies of Gaiety Girls Do Dalston, a number of chocolate bars and you always fill your pipe with my cocaine. I can also read your handwriting. It's little things like this which allow me to draw my conclusions. Tell me, what school did you attend?"

"Elementary."

"Now you mimic me. No, dear boy, not a problem. You're not a detective either."

"You were glad enough to take me on as a flatmate to share the rent and write those stupid stories in Strand Magazine, telling the world what a bloody good detective you are."

"Enough, Watson. Now pass me my violin. I have some thinking to do."

"That's not all, Holmes. I have something else to tell you. Mrs Hudson, our housekeeper, is my mistress."

Story 137

The Black Box

by Klaus Gehling

The little Peruvian boy had been sleeping very restlessly. The reason was not the lost guanaco. It was the black box, from which different voices were to be heard. It confused him. Did condor speak?

He knew it when he saw the Green Layers in their hen house. The voices came from people, who were imprisoned in this box. They must be released.

He pulled off the back, to let the voices out. He pushed the button, as his father used to do. Silence... He felt like a condor.

"What's wrong with the radio?" his father asked later on.

Story 138

Copycat

by Etheray

The duck… no, the swan waddled awkwardly. It smashed straight into the wall.

Bonk.

I stared at it, dumbfounded.

Just a moment ago, I had been busy destroying the tranquillity of a pond as I valiantly struggled to haul a swan out of the pond by its feathery tail, ker-splosh noises filling the air. It had been weird enough to see the swan's feet. Swans spend so much of their time floating on lakes that we forget they have legs.

What now? A blind swan? Or has it yet to get accustomed to walking on land?

My elder brother cackled at the sight. He squat-walked, shaking his haunches exaggeratedly, and slammed face-first into the wall.

Now that's what I call an idiot.

Story 139

A Happening Upon Incorrigible

by Scott Loren

"Good day," said two to one in accord with Backsonshire custom.

"Good day," returned the one reclining in the sun. She sat to better view the two whom, tohersurprise, she realized she knew.

Now, there was nothing surprising in happening upon two that the one might know, or being happened upon forthatmatterasthecasemightbe and, incidentally, was indeed the case now. For this one, happened upon by two she knew, was a well-knowing one in Applesauce for all who knew the folks passing through. Unusual was the facility with which she the one recognized the two, Lucinda and Verena, as Rainy and Lulu.

"Rainy, Lulu, is that you?" one asked the two. "My dears it's been years. What brings you heres?"

Strange though it may seem that a stranger should address our unlikely addressees thus, as is known throughout the entire Shire of Backson, the twosome folk of Applesaucemacaroniland had, at a time unknown, been stricken with the incorrigiblest of afflictions: they could only speak in rhymes. Thus, when one asked two what brings heres you, to the two it was clear why here became heres, even after so many years.

Story 140

Bathroom Antics

by Lizzie Merrill

"Ooh, I say, ding dong. Do you come here often?" Shampoo cooed disarmingly.

"I've been sitting next to you for the past week," Conditioner whispered breathlessly.

"I know, I\'ve been sitting here admiring you," Shampoo gushed lovingly. "I think you're simply adorable."

"Oh, really?" Conditioner asked beguilingly.

"Ooh, yes. I love how the spray from the shower sparkles on your bodacious bottle. It gets me so excited," Shampoo leered lasciviously. "I just want to unscrew your cap."

"What kind of hair product do you think I am?" Conditioner fired back foxily.

"We're from the same range," Shampoo crooned urbanely. "I'm the soft and gentle Shampoo and you're the rich, creamy Conditioner."

"Ooh, I say, I love it when you talk dirty," Conditioner divulged beguilingly.

Bubble Bath could stand it no longer. "Will you two take your role-playing elsewhere?" she beseeched earnestly. "I was just quietly dozing on the bath side."

"All right, calm down, Bubbles," intoned Shampoo soothingly. "Don't get yourself in a lather."

"Oh please, don't annoy Bubbles. She does get worked up so easily," cautioned Conditioner warningly.

"Oh but you're worth it," Shampoo stated smoothly.

Story 141

But Grandma...

by Pauline Robinson

Big grey hoodie braves the estate to visit his grandmother.

"But, Grandma what big eyes, nose, knees and toes you have."

"Cheese and toast."

"But, Grandma, what a big vacuum cleaner you have."

"All the better to suck up fluffed lines."

"But, Grandma, what big knitting needles you have."

"All the better to knit a blanket for the world."

"But, Grandma,What a big bottom you have."

"All the better to disappear up when the Rington's tea man calls."

"But, Grandma, what a big Yorkshire pudding you've made."

"All the better to sail the seven seas of gravy."

In to the garden to get the stink blown off them.

"But, Grandma, What big farts you have."

"All the better to see which way the wind's blowing."

"But, Grandma,what a big compost heap you've got."

"All the better to hide the bodies in."

"But, Grandma,what big bean plants you have."

"All the better to keep my climbing skills honed."

"But, Grandma, what a lot of nonsense yo speak."

"You started it."

A fiver in pocket, time to go.

"But, Grandma, what a big heart you have."

"All the better to love you, Grandson."

Story 142

Well, Who Doesn't Love A Superhero? Iron Man

by Paul Shaw

"We can't use this stuff Mr Arkwright," said Sadie Louise Helmstein over the telephone.

"I don't understand? Your publishing house has wonderful links to the American film industry and they love Superhero stories."

"That's true, but we use stories about extant Superheroes. You know, The Torch, Spiderman or Thor maybe."

"I've done just that. I've given Iron Man new associates tackling the scourge that is–"

"The trouble is, I don't believe you've done your research properly. I mean, have you read a single Iron Man story, or seen any films?"

Arkwright paused, embarrassed that what she'd said was true. Nevertheless, he thought he could justify his approach. "Well, I wouldn't have to read the entire Bible to tell a story about God, would I? The name Iron Man speaks for itself," he said smugly, and wrongly.

"I thought we'd come to that eventually. Here is the nub of the problem. Your idea simply doesn't work. The Thing, a man made of solid rock, or Superman, the Man of Steel, Wonder Woman – they're the stuff of dreams and wild ambition. I'm afraid flanking Iron Man with Washing Machine Man, Tumble Drier Man and Fold and Put Away Man just... isn't believable."

Story 143

Ambrose’s Endeavour

by Anita Bowden

When Ambrose Shrinkington-Shy awoke yet again to an asp and 11 trained assassins, he determined that he had, thus far, not integrated well into the sleepy hamlet of Thrussington-Thrombus-By-Barley.

No man of importance has a single mark-to-join, he mused. I must somehow impress the hypheniphiles of this Parish. So resolved, and mindful of an impending fate organised by the townsfolk, he set to Barkington by a rather circuitous route that took in laundry and the rind of his knees.

Word spread, and Ambrose gained the suppository of a banned of ostracasts with an adze to rasp. Incited and expired, he startled those present by executing a grey twerk of monumental significance before planning a trumptatious return.

The day of the fête arrived and the thicket was airy with antiseptic as the villagers conflatulated around the green.

The 'actuality-of-assassin-and-asp-in-aspic' drew grasps from the shroud. Though concept and form were radical, a heptoalliteratively hexohyphenificated installation was certainly a cranium first for the usually somnactic community. Ambrose was immediately certified and awarded the key of A flat major.

He slept well that night, all threats of nocturnal elimination now, much to his relief, confined to a series of small dashes to the laboratory.

Story 144

The Annual Farmer Floggen Floo

by Soraya Dhanani

It was the day of The Annual Farmer Floggen Floo – the day where all the farmers gathered to try and buy things that the others had or hadn't grown. A farmer, whose name was Bob Boblinson, came along, with a tremendously huge sack of currency, and all the others thrust their wagons before him, eager to make a sale. But none of them had what he was looking for.

"All I want," he said, "is a widdle violin."

Now the farmers all turned to each other and frowned in confusion. 'Widdle'? What was 'widdle'? Did he mean... little?

They all sprang into action, prancing around to try and find the smallest, littlest, widdlest violin they could. They brought him little violins, little little violins, little little little violins, and sometimes even small guitars. But he still wasn't happy. Bob Boblinson prepared to leave the Floggen Floo, with all his money still in his sack, when a new farmer came with a cart carrying an enourmously, hugistically huge violin.

Bob turned around, a gleaming, toothless smile on his face, and pointed at it.

There's my widdle violin."

Story 145

We May Never Know

by Layne Houck

David wakes up in the middle of the night. The room is lit only by the streetlamp outside his window. He feels a weight on his chest. A cat is staring at him; its eyes are inches from his.

"David," it says. "It's time you knew the truth." David is paralyzed with fear but he can't help but wonder where this was going.

"Follow me," the cat says and jumps from David's chest onto the floor. He watches as it slips out of the room. Curiosity overwhelms terror as David jumps out of bed and heads toward the door. He exits his room. He flips the light switch and nothing happens; the power's out. His eyes adjust just in time to see the tail of the cat as it curls around the corner into the kitchen.

David is halfway down the hall when he hears a scuffle; the sound of glass breaking; flapping wings, yowls of pain. He rushes in to find the cat nailed to the refrigerator.

"Avenge... me..." it says as a red feather falls from its mouth. "Seek the Rottweiler... and beware the snake with no tail..."

This is how David's story begins.

Story 146

The Day Before Calcium

by Martin Strike

I thought it was odd – I was the only one out celebrating World Rabies Day.

Now I realise you've switched my calendar for a periodic table, and that it isn't September 28th at all, but Potassium.

I should have known. The whole morning had that sort of Atomic Number 19 thing about it. As I passed the ballroom it struck me that potassium is one of the plant world's major nutrients, encouraging flowering, fruiting and general hardiness.

Major Nutrients? Wasn't he in Tenko?

I wonder how long this had been going on. Yesterday would have been Argon. Hmm. I didn't notice any colourless, odourless, non-flammable or nontoxic gases – noble or otherwise – so you must have made the switch last night, when I was in the kitchen sink, possibly when I was washing that map of The Wolds.

I must insist you put the calendar back, otherwise tomorrow will be Calcium. I'd go so far as to say that out of the 115 known elements, Calcium is my 89th least favourite, though some days it is 88th as you know I have such an on/off relationship with Strontium.

Please let me have dates back. I miss Tuesdays. It's Panorama.

Story 147

If Only I Had...

by Scarlett Fielden (age 9)

If only I had a little puppy, to wake me up in the morning,

If only I had lots of rainbow pencils, to make a rainbow drawing,

But I don't have these sorts of things, for me to have from my wish list.

 

If only I had a long stick, for the end of the den I made,

If only I had a friend with me always, so I'm never afraid,

But I don't have these sorts of things, for me to have from my wish list.

 

If only I had candy, to share with all my friends,

If only I were less shy, to make amends,

But I don't have these sorts of things, for me to have from my wish list.

 

If only I were a farmer, so I could dig up lots of things,

If only I had enough money, to buy diamonds and special rings,

But I don't have these sorts of things, for me to have from my wish list.

 

If only I had the freedom, to do what I want,

If only I had lots of fishes, in a small pond,

But I don't have these sorts of things, for me to have from my wish list.

 

I want these things really bad, and I don't want to be really mad.

Story 148

The Fruity King

by Maddy Hamley

"All rise for his fruitiness, King Grape the Fourth."

The court rises. I remain on my knees, forced down by guards and manacles.

The Fruity King strides to his throne and sits, gazing thirstily at his subjects.

"Your juiciness," Chief Advisor Kumquat announces. "We bring before you Sir Orange - the murderer of your nephew. He lured the young Lord Apricot to the juicing chambers before slicing him into several pieces, and was discovered feeding the body into the royal juicer."

As my ruler commanded.

The King rises from the throne as the crowd murmurs, horrified.

"This rotten traitor," he bellows, trembling with rage. "Has the audacity to try and feed my own nephew to me? I would never feed on my own family."

You did, you thirsted for his juice, you ordered-

"Guards - I have a mind to sample orange juice today. Let him pay for his crimes against my nephew in kind."

I try to cry out, but two whacks from the guards' staves and I am prone, juice flowing freely from my wounds.

I feel the heavy steps of Executioner Coconut coming ever closer.

Story 149

The Committed Case Of The Uncommitted Killer

by Jack Hanlon

I eat through the wall to gain entry. One of forensics complains about spoilt evidence, but my ears are ignoring.

I focus my attention upon your fitted kitchen. The splatters are everywhere, lunches ooze from the pores of those in attendance. I can barely stand. I sit beside an uncomfortable chair.

I'm the only one who's paid the eye tax this month. Everyone else's expired. I survey the area, conducting a vital part of the investigation. I'm the one tasked with locating you. At a later date, it will be my occupation to tackle who terminated your existence, if indeed it has been terminated. But, first thing's now.

I gaze upon various bumps and puddles. Different heights, different depths. I hold my breath until my scope increases. There you are, it's plain to imagine. Amongst the melted kettles and dripping ovens, you dangle peacefully aloft.

Hoisted up and tied around the lampshade, inserted into a rotten banana skin. I can see your feet protruding. I call for them to cut you down. This causes several infringements, they don't take navigational direction well.

If a job is to be done by yourself, always do it efficiently.

Story 150

Soldier With Pluck

by David Silver

She is sitting on the front doorstep, methodically plucking a chicken for dinner, when she spies a figure marching purposefully down the street towards her, a kitbag over his shoulder.

It is her soldier husband returning home from the war.

The woman shrieks with joy, flings the bird high into the air and rushes into her partner's outstretched arms.

"You haven't changed, darling," she cries. "That is apart from the half-plucked chicken balancing on your head. But enough of the pheasantries, I mean pleasantries. Let's go inside for a nice cup of tea."

"A welcome idea," says the soldier. "I'm spitting feathers."

 They walk hand in hand into the kitchen but there's an elephant in the room.

"The war ended in 1945," the woman says. "It is now 1950. It doesn't take that long to get back, even if the troopships were on strike as you claimed in your last letter."

But before her husband can respond, the semi-bald chicken wakes up and starts to shiver.

"If you're THAT cold, go sit by the elephant," barks the wife.

"That's why I'm late home," sighs the husband. "Constant shouting."

Story 151

Me/Who/What?

by Larry Lefkowitz

There was something familiar about him. What's that, familiar? IDENTICAL. Even his expression. How odd to see it on somebody else. An imposter mocking me. Me.

It took me less time than I would have imagined (no, this was no imagination) to realise it. He was me.

"Why me?" I asked him.

"You were handy," he replied laconically

"What now?" I asked him/me.

"Your move," he replied without batting an eye. Fast on the uptake. Something I prided myself on. "Yeah, I knew you would like that."

The rat could read my mind.

"You/I thought you needed a new wrinkle. You were in a rut. Your shrink wasn't helping."

"So, you're taking over?"

"It's best for both of us."

"I'm supposed to just bow out?"

"Resign for the greater good."

"I can't exorcise you."

"Why would you want to go and do a thing like that when you can simply merge?"

"Into you."

"Into us."

"How?"

"Accept me. Stop opposing me. Join me."

I shut my eyes and concentrated on doing so. When I opened them, I saw him facing me. Only I was he. He was me. I had become him. He had become me.

Story 152

Once Upon A Pub

by Chris Brawn

The white rabbit entered the pub.

"You're late, it's such fun," laughed the little dog, playing poker with friends.

"Shut it LD," snapped Rabbit, moody as a donkey hassled by a greedy bear.

"You're late?" huffed Wolf.

"The police quizzed me – Monkey's gone AWOL. Know anything, Big Ginge?"

Baboon stopped combing her hair, "I'm auburn and I ain't seen him since the Animal Fair."

"I've never seen him," laughed Bat, nudging and winking.

"Who's the girl?" asked Rabbit, gawking.

"What girl?" said Bat.

"It's Maid," said LD. "Don't go there, she's forlorn and it's a long back story – I hate cows."

Rabbit drank his milk. Lust can wait. "The job's off – Monkey's gone – he had thumbs and Chicken dropped out." Grumbles ensue. "He's seeing family in Kentucky."

"Let me in on it," a voice from the shadows: Dark Horse.

Rabbit jumped. "Oh, DH. Didn't think this was your thing."

"You'll be surprised," he said, smug as a finished book.

"You were at the fair," said Baboon.

Horse looked sheepish.

"You killed Monkey," said Rabbit.

The pub door was swiftly closed, but Horse had already bolted. Maid was, now, talking to a ragged man – it's all too late.

Story 153

Clumsy Fruits

by Tanya Butler

 

Justine the Orange was red. She had been sunbathing too long and felt a bit crispy. Her husband, Dennis, the cucumber, was purple. He had fallen down the stairs and was heavily bruised. This was their worst holiday yet.

Roderick the potato was their holiday representative and green in colour because he was extremely unwell. "Let me get someone who can help you," spoke Roderick, through a sick bag.

With a click of his fingers, he summoned Billy the Lemon. He was blue for he had spilt ink from a fountain pen all over himself.

Roderick pointed to the couple and Billy took over. "I'm sorry to hear you're not having a great holiday but, as you can see, we are all having similar issues too." He motioned his arm around the office. Everyone was affected by this sudden surge of clumsiness. "If I were you, I'd get on the first plane out of here as soon as you can," Billy said, ushering them out of the door.

Together they looked a walking disaster, so the local bar man, a human, turned them into a delicious smoothie because that's what you do with fruit when it starts to go off.

Story 154

Life Is Like A Game Of Cards

by Julie Stone

They were at it again, old Queenie shaking her staff at the King.

"I thought I made it quite clear when I gave you the spade, leave the potatoes and dig up the  little gems."

Wish he could dig up Diamonds, she thought. Old black King was nothing like his red King brothers. They knew how to treat a Royal and she flushed with the thought of their courting.  This brother was lazy. He never did anything she asked.

Snatching  the basket, she put it on the table, then got on with peeling the potatoes.

Jack arrived home, wearing his usual poker face. "Remember, I'll be 21 next week. Am I still getting a house full of great stuff?"

Oh dear, thought Queenie, she really did need to tell Jack all  the money had been used to bail out their 'Four Aces' Club.

"Darling," she began.

Jack interrupted, "Sure, sure, I know, the house will have to wait. Dad already told me."

*

Pity, thought Jack, cutting into his nice, steaming potato. Life isn't so bad. You only get to play the hand you're dealt and at least it wasn't salad again.

Story 155

Making Something Out Of Nothing

by Jonathan Martindale

Mrs Murphy cornered Father Maloney alone in the vestry after tea and biscuits.

"Oh, Father, won't you please have a word with our Timothy? He asks such peculiar questions these days. I fear his faith may be faltering."

So it was that, after the following Sunday's Mass, Father Maloney quietly took young Timothy aside. He settled down beside him on an old sun-drenched pew and, after a brief pause, began.

"Praise be to God our father, maker of Heaven and Earth. After all, if not from God, from whence did the miracle of the world arise?"

Young Timothy looked thoughtful. "Why not from nothing, Father?" he asked.

Father Maloney laughed. "Something can hardly come from nothing now, my boy."

"Why not?" persisted Timothy.

"Well, it's just in the nature of somethingness and nothingness, isn't it?" replied Father Maloney, mildly perturbed.

"You mean it's a kind of 'law of reality'?"

"Yes, that's right."

"But if nothing existed, then surely the law saying something cannot come from nothing also wouldn't exist, so nothing would stop something coming from nothing after all?"

"Well..." began Father Maloney, starting to regret the many hours spent doodling during the seminary lectures on St Thomas Aquinas.

Story 156

The Price of Peace

by Kim Montgomery

"I'd like to buy some silence, please."

"Silence in general, or more specific?"

"Specific. Neighbours."

"Loud music, constant arguing?"

"Sex."

"Oh dear, bit enthusiastic are they?"

"Putting it mildly. He's OK, just a single grunt when it's all over, but her, what a row. I don't know how they do it, it's never been like that for me and my Shirley."

"A little jealous are we?"

"No, we just want to be able to watch the telly in peace."

"Well, I have just thing you need. It's called 'Harry never met Sally'."

"How long is it effective for?"

"Up to half an hour."

"That's no good. I need something that lasts at least an hour."

"'Trappist Monk Extra Strength', but there are possible side effects. You might feel the urge for a cigarette, or a cup of tea."

"I don't smoke."

"This product comes with an emergency nicotine patch."

"I'll take it."

"You won't be disappointed. Are there any other silences I can help you with?"

"I'll see how this one goes first, but I do have a mother-in-law problem."

"Very popular silence, and we have a good range. Please call again."

"Thank you."

"Have a quiet day."

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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 :-)

Klaus G
Hi Chris. I'm addicted to odd stuff. What a change to submit... Thanks for your tireless work!

Chris Fielden
Hi Klaus. No problem :-)

This challenge is shared with children and supports a charity that helps children, so I can't publish any stories that contain profanity I'm afraid. All stories have to be child friendly.

I'd be happy to publish your story if you could rewrite it with this in mind.

I hope that makes sense. I'll look forward to receiving a rewrite from you so I can publish it :-)

James H
Thank you for coming up with such a brilliant thing too. All the very best wishes.

Chris Fielden
No problem, James. Thank you for submitting :-)

James H
I just wanted to drop you an line to say thank you for the openness of this writing challenge. Also to thank you for coming up or at least making it easy to be a part of a community that revels in the glorious worlds we can all create.

Chris Fielden
Hi James. No problem. Thanks again for taking part and submitting a story. Without the authors who contribute, none of this would be possible.

Rebecca H
Hello Chris! I have to admit this was quite the fun exercise! Thank you again for the opportunity to get my work out there; as a budding writer such opportunities are few and far between! I'll be looking forward to the launch of the Adverb challenge anthology and I'm planning on buying a copy.

Thanks again!

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear you found it fun, Rebecca. And thanks for your kind words - it's great to hear that writers appreciate the challenges and seeing their stories published :-)

Alan B
Hi Chris. Have just submitted. These challenges are more difficult than they seem, but oh the joy when I completed the story in under 200 words. Keep these challengers coming. Hope you get to that magical 100 soon.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Alan :-)

Tulip C
Hi Chris, it's good to take a lighter look into life. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Tulip. I agree - it is indeed :-)

Leonard S
I like story 92, not because we have the same surname, but because the story was straight up to the point and funny. Thank you, Sueleen, I am your #1 fan :-)

Chris Fielden
Thanks Leonard :-)

Nick N
Excited to see where this goes - a great place to post fun flash fiction. Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Nick, glad you like it. And thanks for submitting :-)

Mary W
I got an old piece of  6,300 plus flowery worded meanderings  down to 200 to join this nonsensery.

Chris Fielden
Good work, Mary :-)

And thanks for submitting.

Michael R
Better late than never may seem more appropriate to cliché, but refers to my copy of Nonsensically Challenged 1 received only yesterday. Perhaps, like many of the stories, it went out of this world en- route.

Worth waiting for from its glossy image to the equally sparkling intros and, of course, the worthy cause.

I like story 42. Trevor's opening line has the potential for a whole new series.

If it takes very special authors to write these stories, James's clever bio, story 59, speaks for all of us. Now we must drive(l) on to complete Vol 2. You know it makes sense.

Chris Fielden
Glad to hear the book has winged its way to you at last, Michael.

May the Norse be with you, and us all, while scribbling more silliness. Onward to volume 2 indeed.

Soraya D
The iron man one is great.

Chris Fielden
I agree :-)