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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
  • include a short biography (40 words max) for use in the published book - if you don't supply a bio, we will be unable to publish your story
  • include 1 link (optional) to your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.

So far, we've received 252 entries. We need 48 more to publish the 3rd 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.

The second anthology – Nonsensically Challenged Volume 2 – was released in April 2018. It contains the second 100 stories submitted to the challenge.

We are now accepting submissions for Volume 3 .

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

We received our 200th story on 3rd February 2018. The second 100 stories submitted to the nonsense challenge were removed from the website on 4th March 2018.

Nonsensically Challenged Volume 2 was released on 28th April 2018. You can learn how to buy the book here. The book contains stories written by 100 authors.

Nonsensically Challenged Volume 2

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.

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Nonsensically Challenged Volume 3

Below, you can read the stories submitted to the third Nonsense anthology.

An opening note from Chris Fielden

200 down, 300 to come, letting nonsensical wordage, bask in the sun. May the writers continue, to clown with words, prepositions and cliches, and lots of adverbs.

A poet I am not. But a lover of nonsense I am. Thanks to everyone that has submitted so far - you are all awesome beyond measure. Volume 3, here we come.

And from Lesley Truchet

When this challenge began I jumped onto a merry-go-round. It’s only a few months since we produced the first book, and here we are planning to produce the second and with stories on the site already toward the third book. In front of this literary carousel names continually flash by, many of which I now recognise. They are the names of the supportive writers of this, and Chris’s other challenges. I also catch glimpses of unfamiliar names. As these writer’s stories begin to appear in the different challenges and spin around with the others, their names too become recognisable. It’s driving me delightfully dizzy. Onward to Volume 3 – and probable vertigo.

Story 201

Hell’s Cobblers - Stick On Souls

by Lesley Anne Truchet

"Why am I here? I was a priest for God's sake."

"Mistakes happen, Father."

"I want to go up there. It's your mistake. Do something, you flaming horn head."

"To go up you must replace your lost soul. Try Hell's Cobblers, over there."

"Hi, Cobbler. I need a replacement soul."

"No problem, Father. I can stick one on you. However, in payment you have to nominate someone you know to die."

"Why?"

"It's good for business. No one wants to be here."

"OK. Hal E. Luya. He's a Horrible Bishop."

"A Bishop. Great. Come back in one hour."

An hour later I found myself rising heavenward, my soul floating behind me like gossamer wings.

"May I come in?"  There were too many pearls on the gates for my taste.

"No, Father. You’ve caused Bishop Hal E. Luya to die."

"It's the only crime I've ever committed."

"One is enough."

"But I don't want to go back down there."

"You can't. If you choose to leave Hell, they don't let you back in. You're stuck with the multitude in Dead Man's No-Man's-Land."

"Hey. That's my soul."

"Not any more. I sell them all back to Hell's Cobblers."

Story 202

The Reason I Failed My German Oral Exam And Subsequently Excluded Oktoberfest From My Bucket List

by Mike Scott Thomson

(What follows is a word-for-word translation.)

*Tape starts to record*

Frau Krause: Good morning. How are you?

Me: Beautiful days. It's all dead trousers to me. To you guys too?

*Pause*

Frau Krause: OK. Now. When the weather is cold, what do you wear on your hands?

Me: When my cousin is frigid, I wear hand-shoes.

*Pause*

Frau Krause: Right. And what do you wear when you go swimming?

*Pause*

Me: When I sponge myself off, I wear leather breeches, checked shirt, knee-length socks, and a feathered hat.

*Pause*

Frau Krause: You wear Bundhosen at the swimming baths?

Me: Yes.

Frau Krause: Are you sure?

*Pause*

Me: Nine.

Frau Krause: Try again.

*Pause*

Me: Speedos.

Frau Krause: Full sentences, please.

Me: When I slather myself in cotton wool, I wear Speedos.

*Pause*

Frau Krause: All right. And to your wedding?

*Pause*

Me: On a tightrope, I wear leather breeches, checked shirt, knee-length socks, and a feathered hat.

*Pause*

Frau Krause: You seem unwell. May I bring you a drink?

*Pause*

Me: Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder.

Frau Krause (sighing): You and me both...

*Tape clicks off*

Story 203

Can A Flea Fly

by Simon Russell

"How high could a flea fly?" said the camel with only one hump.

"A flea can't fly," retorted the fly, "he can only jump."

"Well, fly, ask the flea how high he can jump."

Flea to fly, "I can jump as high as the camel's bump."

"Bump? I don't have a bump, I have only one hump. Some camels have two, so maybe they have a hump and a bump, but not I."

"Well, cus I don't fly I'm gonna jump. I will land on your hump and bite you there." The flea jumped, the fly flew and both arrived at the hump all covered with hair.

The flea bit the hump and the camel ran. It ran so fast the wind was a blast and blew the flea away.

"Help," said the flea to the fly, "I can't fly. If I land from this height, I will die."

The fly grabbed the flea and that proved that a flea could fly.

Story 204

Second Opinion

by David Silver

"Doctor, doctor, I'm turning into Dolly Parton."

The conjoined twin physicians stared sceptically at me from behind their double desk. "How long have you felt this way, Mr O'Shaughnessy?" they chorused, surreptitiously glancing at each other's faces.

"Since two Full Moons ago," I responded. "In one spontaneous action, my wispy, receding dark hair was transformed into a high blonde bouffant, and my car mechanic overalls changed into a low-cut red gingham frock."

"But you look perfectly normal now, sir," the medical practitioners pointed out. "And remember, your anxiety will worsen if you're Googling your symptoms."

"But doctor, doctor, I'm telling you both the truth. Last Full Moon I not only had on my Dolly attire but I also found myself stalking the streets, crooning 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' to startled strangers."

The combined twin consultants simultaneously examined me from head to toe before washing their hands in the double sink.

"We cannot find anything amiss," they reported in unison, rising from their extra-wide chair to usher me out. "But if anything happens next Full Moon, you must report to us the next day. Who knows, we might be in the presence of a medical marvel."

Story 205

Superstitions

by Michael Rumsey

The Stissions are a super family, if not entirely rational.

Ada, as a young girl, spotted a chimney sweep. It brought her no luck, she married him. 

Tossing some salt grains over her shoulder, Aunt Sarah forgot they were still in the cellar smashing the kitchen mirror. For the next seven years, she knew nothing but good fortune until she tripped over a black cat crossing her path.

Walter Stissions carried a rabbit's foot for years, experiencing nothing exceptional, until three days after he lost it when he won the lottery.

Uncle Frank nailed a horseshoe above his kitchen door and enjoyed a trouble free life until the day it fell onto his head.

Cousin Bert often knocked on wood. He had to, he was a carpenter.

And young Reggie became a Vet. He was forced to look a gift horse in the mouth when examining the teeth of an over-frisky mare presented to the local stables. He got a kick out of it, apparently.

It shows superstitions are nonsense, of course. So, fingers crossed, hoping it will be printed, I will send this in at the end of the week, but not on Friday. It's the 13th.

Story 206

Bird Brains

by Allen Ashley

"The Court of Saint Ibis is now in session and I put it to you, Ms Crow, heron after referred to as the deaf hen duck, that you did wingfully and with mallard aforethought cease swanning about and instead did skua the coot falcons ravenously and tern them into the ill-eagle four and twenty blackbird pie. You have been a very naughty gull. What say you in your defence?"

"Caw."

"Furthermore, I put tit to you that it was your intention to have a gander in a rather un-pheasant manner and then cormorant here with a moa and a grouse. Honestly, give 'em a finch and they take a quail. This goose against the natural order and you behaved like a complete bustard. What say you now?"

"Caw-caw."

"Further-moorhen, you had caused a bittern row with your plover and were feeling quite avocet. You are a parakeets and no mistake."

"Caw."

"In that case, owl that remains is for the judge, the right ostrichable Captain Peacock, to rule in this matter. Your honour?"

"Oh no, not a gannet, counsel for the partridge-cution, with your shearwater nonsense. Pah. Pigeon-toed puddleduckery. Without any egret, I find the accused not guillemot. Corvine dismissed."

Story 207

Yellow

by Harshita Singh

"You look yellow mellow," Schniep mumbled, turning in agony.

"You must rest. There ain't any potatoes, but I see a dead rat." Fred grinned and cooked the rat in onions and served it in a yellow chipped bowl.

The floor shuddered, the thunderous bolt shook the windows, the  effervescent lights like firecrackers swept the floor like a yellow meteorite.

"I miss the coffee," Schneip cried. Fred forced Schneip to drink the broth.

Another thunderous bolt. Fred closed his eyes. Schniep drifted into oblivion.

Rebelion shouted on the streets, neighbours yelled for help, gunfire, help, gunfire, run, babies cried.

"Germans are here," someone pounded on the door.

Story 208

Pirates Of The PC World

by John Notley

"Ahoy there, me hearties," shouted Gingerbeard the pirate, his black beard dyed to confuse the enemy. He adjusted the eye patch which was mistakenly over his good eye and patted the dead parrot affixed to his shoulder by safety pins as he shook his fist at the men.

'The Jolly Seafarer' (Roger-gender sensitive) fluttered at the masthead, a requirement introduced by Anne Bonny the lady pirate. Even The Inquisition had been obliged to rename 'The Iron Maiden' as 'The Iron Cabinet With Spikes', which didn't have the same ring to it.

"Today we shall have the pleasure of taking one of King Phillip's person-o'-wars (man-o'-wars not permitted) and help ourselves, to a vast booty of rum and fine silks. I'll Teach those Spaniards a lesson." Captain Edward Teach laughed at his clever pun.

One of the crew raised a hand. "What about the gold, sir?"

"Do you think I'm stupid? The gold market is at rock bottom and it's not worth it's weight. Anyone who disobeys my orders will get a taste of 'The Captain's Daughter' and you know what that means."

"Sorry to contradict you, sir," the know-all said. "Surely you mean the 'Captain's Offspring'?"

Story 209

The Wasp And The Bee

by Jack Lewis-Edney

Love approaches at high velocity.

The wasp had no need for love. He had an extensive collection of tap dancing shoes that lit up his life more than a donkey lights up a disco.

The wasp took everything for granted, from his condo in Marbella to his life-sized statue of the world's smallest dog.

Looking at the bee sitting across the tennis court, her eyelashes fluttering in the still wind, the wasp felt tingly, like a coat washed more times than its owner.

The bee sat on the tennis ball calmly, even as the machine shot it at a hypersonic speed towards the bat being waved viciously on the other side.

Love approaches at high velocity.

Story 210

Ludicrous

by David Guilfoyle

Two tablespoons of lemon curd on a broken table tennis bat should be enough to fix the stereo in my space shuttle.

The co-pilot is playing badminton with a giant shrew with contact lenses. It's only fair, shrews are shortsighted. The contact lenses were fitted by a famous fisherman from Penzance who has three beards but isn`t a pirate.

The co-pilot doesn't have any strings in his badminton racket. He wants my table tennis bat. But that means no tunes on my shuttle. And he is allergic to lemons. I could suggest they do something else, like play kerplunk. But shrews hate kerplunk, and get very cross when you distract them. They like lemons though.

Maybe I could give the lemon curdy ping pong bat to the shrew, and the co-pilot could have the shrew's racket. And I'll get the fisherman to fix the stereo. I mean, if you can fit contacts lenses on a shrew, then tuning in a digital radio that can play all the songs of the hit parade anywhere in the known universe should be easy enough.

I like the jam, me, not lemon curd. The co-pilot is an antelope.

Story 211

Honour's Harvest

by David Batteiger

"Colonel Arrot, incoming call from HQ."

"Thank you, Sargeant," the colonel replied, taking the handset.

"Farmer Five-Six, you have enemy bandits inbound."

"Roger, Flower Garden, tally on the bandits?"

The reply hesitated. "It's an entire battalion, sir, only one click out. Recommend immediate evac."

"Negative, Flower Garden, we'll never make it in time." He dropped the handset and raced to the top of the ridge. Peering through a pair of military issue binoculars, he saw them. Wave after wave of pointy ears, bobbing up and down on the artillery pitted battlefield, causing panic to wash over him. 

He collected himself. He had a duty to perform. "Lieutenant McGregor, get the platoon out of here. Immediate retreat to rally point Zebra," the colonel ordered, with nothing but authority in his voice.

"But Charlie, what about you?" the lieutenant replied to his friend.

"I'm staying to slow them down. Now get the troops to safety," Colonel Arrot exclaimed.

As his troops withdrew, the colonel ran to the top of the hill and pulled the pin on his X37 tactical turnip. If he was going to hell, he was going to take as many of these bunnies with him as possible.

Story 212

The Nonsense Ring

by Sandra Orellana

"I love you," he said. "Wrap this thread around your ring finger, it's your wedding ring. One day I will give you a fine thread."

A thread, I thought to myself. I won't dare marry for a thread.

"This is better than a diamond ring," he said.

"But this thread will remind me, I'll be tied up with your foolishness," I said.

"Yes , you will, so accept my proposal," he said.

"How long will this thread be wrapped around my ring finger?" I asked.

"Forever. It's a symbol of love," he said.

"This is nonsense," I said. "It's a silly game of love."

"It's time to remind you who I am."

" I am your model, you're a tailor."

" I know. Tomorrow we will continue. The thread will unite us."

" I will step out of your shop and hope this ring of nonsense can be forgotten," I said.

" Maybe it will, maybe not," he said.

Story 213

Ordering The Law

by Jessica Holmes

"I'm attempting to order the law," I said, with a raven's roar to drive my point home.

"Well that's a mountainous task," my esteemed mother said, burying herself in the beanbag.

"The real question is if a shooting star who has stolen someone's legs comes before or after the sky scaring away a linguist," my heavily whiskered father whispered, peering at me through the lightbulb.

"Well before, I guess, but it depends if the linguist carries a pink or orange umbrella and I can't forget to account for the length of the shooting star's legs," I cried, clawing at the wallpaper in frustration.

"Darling pie, I don't think you've considered all the options," my mother sighed through the beanbag.

"You're right," I said. "Let me law the order instead."

Story 214

Little Larry Longbottom

by Johanna McDonald

Buttery bonbons baked black in a big bucket of boiling bat blood.

A tasty tipple of tansy tea with toasted tangy turnip.

Parboiled pickled peppers and pan-fried pumpkin with pear and parsley pottage.

The doctor scanned the food diary searching for some hint as to why Little Larry Longbottom was so large. She looked at him over the top of her glasses.

"Buttery bonbons?" she said. "Could you have braised broccoli instead?"

Larry shrugged his shoulders.

"And apart from the big bucket of boiling bat blood, there seems to be very little protein in your diet. Perhaps include a morsel of monkey mince or marinade mouse meat in a mashed mussel mariniere."

Little Larry Longbottom rose from his chair and stood towering over the doctor, his vast frame casting a dark shadow over her.

"I forgot to tell you," he said, "that my main source of protein comes from my favourite dish; diced deep-fried doctor dusted with dark Demerara and drizzled with donkey drool and a dash of dill." He licked his lips and the doctor was no more.

Story 215

I Love Fairies And Dragons

by Claire Apps

One night when the sun rose, Jess went to bed and got dressed. She wanted to go on an adventure to find dull, boring things like fairies and dragons in the swamp. She unpacked her rucksack and left her sandwiches of pickled eggs and potatoes in the oven. She knew the short journey would take a couple of hours and she would be hungry.

The cold sun hid the pathway, so it was easy for Jess to see where she was going. The ugly black and grey flowers bowed their heads in shame. A young puppy slowly shuffled up to her, meowing gently as he tried to bite her ankles. Jess just laughed and carried on skipping along.

At last she arrived at the sunny, sweet smelling swamp, where bats flew gracefully in the air. An owl hooted loudly on a nearby telegraph pole. Jess didn't bother undressing and hurried into the hot water splashing, shouting out for the fairies and dragons to come out and play with her. Alas, no fairies, nor dragons, came out to play. They were too scared. A beautiful fairy godmother was out to catch naughty little girls who should be in bed.

Story 216

Cotton Soft

by Tiarnán Murphy

"Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear," muttered the wizard as he paced across his study.

"What's wrong?" asked his apprentice. He had never seen his master so worried.

"The sheep have gotten loose, and they're terrorising the king's dragons."

The apprentice turned pale. How could there be sheep loose around the castle? Didn't people know how dangerous they were?

"Will the knights be sent to round them up?"

"Oh, no, no, no. Don't you remember what happened when they tried defending that woodland town from the invasion of bunnies? The king can't have that kind of a massacre happening again. No, I expect he'll probably ask us to do it."

The apprentice knew better than to argue. Nodding his head, his face ashen, he gathered the necessary equipment.

The wizard was right. The king's summons came and within moments they were sneaking through the castle gates, heads darting back and forth in search of approaching sheep. The pair made their way as far as the trees surrounding the castle without seeing anything out of the ordinary.

The apprentice turned to grin at his master. Instead of his masters face, he was greeted by the sight of blood-flecked, cotton-soft wool.

Story 217

The Tower Of Power

by Christopher Fielden

And lo, the humans voted to represent the other humans did fail to speak truths and agree on a long list of Many Things. These things included who made the poison, who administered the poison and who blew up other humans with the poison.

Thus, tired of waiting for the humans to discover decency, Nature redressed the balance. Rather than losing a plethora of fanfaronades, she decided to remain calm and unleash a simple apocalypse.

One Monday the Celebes Sea boiled. From the bubbling waters, a colossal granite tower rose. Its purpose? To emit The Truth.

Unable to lie, the humans faced new and terrible challenges. All humans fibbed on occasion, for a multitude of reasons. Lo, chaos ensued.

The ashes of destruction claimed the lives of all but the most intelligent and sentient of beings that had ever inhabited Earth. The Holocene epoch, Quaternary period, Cenozoic era and Phanerozoic eon did end. The Age of Verdancy had arrived.

Story 218

The Beast

by Jake Kendall

"Have you heard there's a beast prowling round the village?" Mother's eyes brimmed with excitement. "Escaped panther, they reckon. Maybe a jaguar."

I raised an eyebrow and sipped my tea. "Escaped? From where? Have the police confirmed it?"

"No, but Carol from the Co-op saw it. Your gramp too, just yesterday. Only seen it running across fields, at a distance, but they agree. It's waist-height at least. And black as a Labrador."

"About waist-height?" I enquired, standing to estimate the size with my hands. "So, roughly the size of a Labrador?"

Mother nodded as she sighed. "I tell you, no-one's safe round the fields anymore. Who knows what we're dealing with." Her voice was softly earnest.

I couldn't help but put my hand in my pocket, and sit back down.

"Yes. That's a mystery all right..."

Story 219

Wife: The Answer To All

by Thatchayani Ravanan

Yamadharmaraja, the lord of death, wanted to spend his life as a human. He met a woman, fell in love with her and married her. Soon, they were blessed with a son. He decided to leave his human life. He was afraid of his wife.

He called his 24 year old son and asked him to do whatever his mother asked. He bestowed his son with a boon, enabling him to help ill people, like a skilled doctor. But the boon came with a condition.

"You can use this boon when I am absent. If you see me, you shouldn't use it. I will be visible to your eyes only."

Day by day, Yamadharmaraja's son became popular.

The king of Thatch Mascot called and said that his daughter was ill. If Yamadharmaraja's son cured his daughter, he could marry her and receive the whole kingdom.

After seeing the king's daughter, Yamadharmaraja's son fell in love with her. Alas, his father was standing at the door.

Cleverly, son shouted, "Mum... you were searching for my dad, right? He is here."

Yama ran away. His son had succeeded.

Story 220

Same Plaice, Wrong Time

by Tanya Butler

Clark, the King's dimwit of a brother, was taking his fish, Phineas, out for a stroll when his worst enemy, Lord Snottingtondish, a dashing dishwasher, was passing by in a horse and carriage. Clark felt he was better than the unpleasant peasants in the kingdom and tried to live his life that way.

Phineas was an extraordinary fish because he brought extreme good luck to anyone who owned him. Lord Snottingtondish owned Phineas's brother, Frank, and over the years tension grew between the two. Though fish have a lifespan of 900 years, neither owner dared to put their precious plaices in dangerous places.

Crossing the road, Clark spotted a flying, podgy cat and it was licking its lips. It had wings like a dragon but looked very adorable. "Shoo," Clark shouted. Then there was a squelching splat. It was Phineas. Hoof prints were all over his scaly body. Clark shrieked, "You've just squished my fish. Do you have a death wish?" He kicked the carriage in anger.

Lord Snottingtondish peeked out of the carriage window. "Hey, you're a poet and you don't know it," he chuckled. "But it looks like your good luck has run out."

Story 221

Stake Steak

by Munib Haroon

Delbert Van Helsing backed Count Dracula up against the broad doors of the fire escape. "Your days are numbered, Count. There's no escape."

The count chuckled. "Wrong. And soon, at sunset, when I transform into a bat, you will bawl."

Van Helsing felt stumped, but he tried not to show it. Turning into a bat wasn't cricket, but if the count wasn't caught-out this time, he'd be free to continue his life of bowling maidens over. Just as well I'm prepared, thought Van Helsing, pulling out a juicy beef steak.

The count's mouth splintered. "Bravo, well done."

"It's medium rare, actually," said Van Helsing, closing in cautiously, the steak aimed at the vampire's chest. SPLAT. The steak flopped uselessly against the count's chest before dropping to the floor. A look of grim resignation registered momentarily on Van Helsing's face.

The vampire pounced.

*

Feasted, sated, the Count made his way down the fire escape. A figure emerged from the shadows.

"I'm Mina Murray, and this is for my namesake," she screamed, plunging a chair leg into the count.

"You're a real dead-ringer for her," gasped the count, dying. "But, by-gum, you're a much meaner Murray."

 

Story 222

The Ghost And The Moonlight

by Chidi Ezeibieli

Moonlight slithered into my bedroom and I glimpsed the silhouette of a human being, drifting towards the door. But I was all alone in my bedroom that night. Then the door clicked shut. The being didn't leave.

I froze as I felt the being standing next to me. I was lying in a fetal position with my back to it, but I knew what the being was. And I knew what it wanted. Something I've been wanting to give up my whole life. I just had to turn around.

A second crawled by.

Another second.

A third second.

The moonlight outside began to wane. The presence of the being began to fade.

And then the door clicked – ajar. The being, gone with the moonlight.

I'm not sure why I didn't turn around. Now that moment has passed. Silly me.

Now I'm gazing out of my window, hoping for the moonlight to return.

"Please return, dear moonlight. Return. I promise, this time I'll turn around."

Story 223

Submarine To Japan

by Abigail Williamson

At a quarter to noon, with the stars for a moon, and the sky upside down with the sea, a whale with a tail, like a comet, did sail, over a plankton branched tree.

He ate all the leaves, they were fishes you see, while birds swam in clouds to the shore, and there stood I, like a dot in the sky, in a boat which was more under than o'er.

To sail the horizon is quite a surprise thing, when clouds replace waves and the sun, can only come out, when it's half way about, the oceans above, now being spun.

The science of travel, so hard to unravel, becomes easy – I fly and I swim, it's quantum mechanics, mixed with botanics, and a theory of – well – everything.

By the light of the moon, now in a lagoon, the things that once creep now have wings, and the wings of the things that never did creep, now do so (except for the ones who have fins).

The rockets are subs, the submarines, planes and cars, now fly where they ran, and if 200 words of this nonsense gets in, I'm halfway to sea in Japan.

Story 224

What Was It Again?

by Gaius Rew

"I've never heard that nonsense word."

"Which word's the one you've never heard?"

I knew the word he'd never heard, the one he felt was so absurd. I pulled his leg but not too much.

"My leg," he said. "You can't pull that."

I'd pulled him off from where he'd sat. I may have pulled more than I'd thought.

"Don't think, down here, that I've forgot."

"Oh, what? Oh, what?"

"That nonsense word. Don't act now, like you never heard."

"The WORD. Yes, silly to forget."

"Forget? You truly have to think I'm WET around the ears to sit down here and see you heard but did not hear the word we both know sounds quite queer and rings in my befuddled ear. It sears and singes my ear hairs to see you gawking, standing there professing maybe you DID hear, but it just went from ear to ear, or in one but found nothing there, and left out of your right nostril."

"You know," I said, no broken stride, "that I've got nothing here to hide, not born with self-doubt, shame or pride, but truth be told, I do deride you, think about this word I've lied. What was it?"

Story 225

Filigreeable Taunts

by Antony Lazarus

"...it was once claimed, awash with the rabid ramblings of a diatribe in Peru," the professor continued. She looked over her spectacles, the very same that Grandma McGilstry had worn. Alas, the frames were now framed at the museum, having thus been signed by the late entrepreneur, Cignardo D'Escuado III, in a raunchy one-night inclination in the jungles of Chile.

She realised that the elastic holding the lenses to her face was due for a tighten, if it were not for the tightening in her chest, likely due to that irritable Mr Gchuch. Ugh, it was so hard on her palate to even attempt the pronunciation of his name, let alone stomach the chili marshmallows he had forced upon her at needle-point.

Yes, those confounded knitting needles he insisted on carrying in his WWII gas mask, which he alleged his great uncle Ferdinand discovered in a rabbit hole in the late '30s, she mused, stomach-acidly.

The tinkle of badly-played shot glasses snapped her from her momentary reverie, a sure sign that the intolerable Ralphie Rupert von Washingline Junior was readying for his daily filigreeable taunt.

"I say, Ms Professorina."

She braced.

"On the subject of those Peruvians..."

Story 226

Opposite

by Nam Raj Khatri

A young man named Amanta was enjoying an exciting speech, delivered by politicians during pre-election. He noticed that every politician was speaking against the opposition leaders, trying to convince listeners that what the others were doing was wrong.

Amanta explored the theory behind this. He decided that actually, every politician thinks that what they’re doing or speaking about is right. Therefore, they oppose everything anyone else suggests.

Amanta joined one of the political parties and they won the election. When he joined the government, he noticed that parties in opposition always caused problems with decision making. So Amanta came up with the idea to apply his theory of opposition to resolve the problem.

Amanta became spokesperson for the government and made opposing decisions. For example, if an airport needed building and proof was shown of the demand, his government would not build it, saying there was no need. The opposition would then complain and demand it was built. Then Amanta would reverse the decision to support the opposition parties, giving the people what was needed.

What opposition? he thought. Politics is easy.

Story 227

In The Essence Of A Tiger

by F. DeStefano

In the essence of a tiger, I, with star-crossed eye, stared straight into the universe. Peacock blend. Time explodes with a plume of smoke to cast a shiver amongst feathers. Rest is near. The moon lit like a bulbous blood-orange in the background of the clouds. Walpurgisnacht.

Dreams are flies, abuzz about the being. So cold, winter.

Sunshine rainbows on a tattered sweater, thick frayed at the cuffs over gloves with holes. Rain water tastes sweet like sucrose. A bitter sweet. Light posts in a mist. That feeling when you see it.

Bomb. Fire in the belly, coughed colours about the spectrum, Pollacked over the canvas poster, unleashed from one's holster. Arson with an arsenal of cannons. Three points to a dot. Vapour and smoke. Like ice.

A word winner, stay for the froth and frivolity. Life looks back and laughs in the end like it doesn't even matter. Flow bear, boring talks of the cœur of a river's bath amongst its motion. A captain at sea on a ship in the midnight hour, in sombre sweetness. Taste at the tip of one's tongue to spit. To speak a whisper with a loud voice. Serenity.

Repeat.

Story 228

Sun Stops Rain

by Lindy Gibbon

It was raining hard, so all the high-falutin' folk decided it would be a good idea to have a picnic. They ordered their servants to set up the garden furniture. The gardeners were instructed to water the lawns and flower beds to ensure there wasn't a dry patch to be seen, and then to put out the croquet sets. Nothing the high-falutin' set like more than a good game of croquet. To make sure everything went along swimmingly, they piled up all the mallets and burned them. 

Next, the paper bunting was strewn across the trees, including along the driveways and avenues leading to the grandest of the high-falutin' folks' houses. What a spectacle it all looked. Everything was served on delicate rice-paper plates with matching cutlery. Jack & Jill's, the go to catering company, provided vessels in which to serve the liquid refreshment.

The entire event may have become an unmitigated disaster when, contrary to all expectations, the sun came out. Fortunately, the high-falutin' ones all attended Girl Guides or Scouts in their youth, so were prepared and, quick as a flash, ordered catering size packs of ice cream and let everything melt.

Story 229

Meeting At Instant Barn

by David McTigue

Inside The Instant Barn, Cranston, the chairman, hit the table with his trusty broken trowel and called the meeting to order. Four of the members ordered hyena foo yung and a coal scuttle to follow.

Cranston asked the hon. sec. Anna Conda to read the minutes of the last meeting while she performed the dance of the hours on a xylophone. This was seconded by Lord Stopwatch, who ticked loudly in a corner.

"To business," roared Cranston. "Sales of our porcupine deodorant have not spiked as anticipated. I want you lot to split up into three groups of four and come up with some ideas or eggs will roll. Reconveve in two hours, don't be early."

As the groups dispersed, a bereaved ewe charged into The Instant Barn and smashed into the table, reducing it to matchwood. Wool filled the air.

"'Tis a sign," muttered Cranston darkly.

Two hours later, all but four of the members had returned, rolling eggs on broken trowels.

Cranston shook his head sadly. He knew the missing four were following the coal scuttle.

Story 230

His Love Story Stinks

by Nick Nelson

"Again. Tell me everything, Son."

"Horrible, a ghastly sight. Love's dead," he said. "She was murdered tonight."

"Oh?"

"We've been fighting," he explains, "but tonight, by the crackling fire, music playing, her lips, hips, legs long, booming brazier arched and bulging, I thought I'd finally found true love. So I lunged, ravenous – swooning, thrusted like a heated lion, unaware – didn't care for dangers coming. Then…"

"Then?"

"Poof," he shouted. "She farted… the moment was murdered."

"What?"

"Yes, Father," he groaned, "I then left second thoughtlessly – after she died to me."

"Funny, Kid," he whispered. "And absurd," he reassured. "Women don't do that. Try again."

Story 231

North Pole Adventure

by Andre Othenin-Girard

"Ah, Lady Flummox de la Befuddle Perplex, I was waiting for you. Quel plaisir, but, we speak English, oui?"

"How do you know my name? Who are you?"

"You visit ze Norse Pole, today at my home, n'est-ce-pas? I am Callan Dar, at your service, but I'll call you 'Qué' and you can call me CD-WR700MB." He bows. 

"You don't look like a Calendar."

"Never mind, ma chère Qué. You look befuddled, Qué, excuse ze pun."

Flummoxed, Qué thinks,

"I lose my way, knock at the door of a French Nut who thinks he is a calendar and calls himself Re-Writable. I'd better humour him."

"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" she says, trying to remember what it means.

"Ah, ze liberated lady. I like zis. Do you prefer ze bedroom or ze kitchen table?"

Qué thinks, From bizarre to bizarrest.

"Before we make sweet love, do you mind running anti-clock wise around ze house 3,652 times? With the time zones, zat will make you 10 years younger."

Terrified, Qué runs away and disappears into the blue and white yonder.

"Ze English women. They are all screwed up. Figuratively speaking, of course," said CD-WR700MB.

Story 232

Light The Wet Ferret

by Jon Spencer

"Skidaddle, ya varmint."

Done dilly dallying, said varmint high-tailed it out of the water bucket.

"Biscuits and cheese, who'll drink that now?" The electrician stepped off his high horse and peered at the residue. A cloudy scum clearly lay abed, not fit for man nor beast. "It's to be tossed." With that, he expertly flung the unwanted swamp water into the bushes. "Rinse and repeat," he called, just as the ferret emerged, dripping, from behind said bush.

"How's it raining from a blue sky?" said the wetted ferret.

"Varmints," roared the electrician. "Looting the liquids again."

"I'm beswamped," wailed the ferret. "Baptised."

"Call for a font," replied the electrician, as he remounted.

"Times New Roman, 12 point," called the dampened ferret.

The writers emerged from under the picnic table. "We have pens," they said in unison.

"Good. Pen the varmints. Marmite'll do for bait," gruffed the electrician, as he strung the lights.

The writers glad-handed themselves over their good fortune. "It's Christmas," they cried.

The lights winkled over the dancing ferret, as the electrician played the strings.

Story 233

Seasons At Play

by Gavin Biddlecombe

"It doesn't matter what happens beyond this point," said Summer, admiring the line he had drawn across the sand. "The minute it's crossed, that's it."

"That can't be it," replied Autumn. "I'm enjoying myself too much. What with the red and gold and—"

"And so you keep saying. Nevertheless, I've suffered for three months."

"But it's too cold to do much else."

Summer didn't reply. Checking the coast was clear, he nudged Autumn square in the back and looked on as Autumn, arms wind-milling like crazy, tried to regain his balance.

Autumn just about managed an I'll-get-you-back look, before collapsing in a heap across the line. The line vanished altogether, completing the transition. As Summer stood back, Autumn raced towards him, colliding into a solid invisible barrier.

"You know what's next?"

Autumn's resigned look was answer enough, as a snowball splattered freezing slush down his back.

"Hey, Winter," said Summer, indicating the shivering individual in front of him. "He's all yours."

"About time too," she replied. Winter gave a whole-hearted wave, then focused her attention on Autumn, who was busy fishing melted snow out of his clothes.

"I've missed you," she said, launching another snowball.

Story 234

An Act Of Deathly Nonsense

by Jonathan J. Drake

Burt was feeling nauseous. This was the first time he'd performed his spiritualist act in front of so many people. They'd already listened to his introduction and now waited patiently for him to continue.

"I finally have something," he announced. "I see a man. Does anybody know a Harold?"

A lady waved her hand. "My husband's called Harold."

Burt breathed a sigh of relief, glad his trickery was working.

"Your husband, Madam.  Did he die of a heart condition?"

The lady shook her head.  "No, he's sitting right here."

Next to the lady sat a stocky, old, bald man, looking rather bemused.  The audience began whispering amongst themselves.

"Well that's no good, is it? I'm only interested in dead things."

"A bit like your act," someone jeered in the background.

Burt held his tongue and continued. "So, does anybody else know a Harold?"

There was silence before the woman waved again. "Just me."

"Madam, I've no interest in your Harold."

"But he has a heart condition."

"But he's not dead."

Harold suddenly clutched his chest, groaned and collapsed in a crumpled heap.

"He is now," said the woman, moving to stand next to Burt, her body eerily transparent.

Story 235

The Terrible Misadventure Of Professor Krauss And His Magnificent Refrievictmer

by Neil Phillips

"Step right up. Come on ladies, jellybeans, don't be shy. I have cures for any ailment: lotions and potions to rebalance your motions." Professor Klauss swished his cape, gesturing towards a balding man beside him and addressed the crowd. "Geoffrey was cruelly deprived of his follicles. Using my Magnificent Refrievictmer, I shall restore them."

A dramatic flourish revealed a large glass bulb in an ornate metal setting.

"Ere, he's got a lava lamp," heckled a voice from the crowd.

Ignoring him, the Professor activated the Refrievictmer.  Blue light pulsed mystically within and the onlookers oooooed appreciatively.

"I grant you hair." Light shot from the device, engulfing Geoffrey with a SHPLOOF sound.

An octopus appeared on his head, tentacles slithering around his face.

The crowd roared with laughter.

FLOINGLE.

A confused looking wheel of cheese appeared.

BLURP.

A purple chicken clucked.

ECCHEEEW.

A colossal anchovy tap danced in the moonlight.

KAPLANG.

The crowd fled before a scorched and enraged Geoffrey, who lunged at the Refrievictmer.

The world turned indigo and, when the smoke cleared, everyone assumed both men had been killed.

No one noticed the tiny wooden hedgehog, named Susan, and her dancing camel ride off into the sunset.

Story 236

The Case Of The Revealing Initials

by Alan Barker

"Consider, Watson. On the stroke of midnight, Our Murderer – whom we shall call OM – enters the premises and proceeds directly to the library where he shoots her ladyship in cowardly fashion. Her ladyship's final act before dying is to write his initials on her writing pad, using her own blood from the bullet hole."

"And those initials are?"

"Sh." Holmes put a hand to his ear. "I think I heard a sound from the garden."

"Sh?" said Watson. "Did you say his initials are SH? Why, that's you, you fiend."

"Don't be a fool, Watson. The initials on the writing pad are OM, don't you see?"

"Ah, so that's why you call him Our Murderer. You're a genius, Holmes."

"Yes, and her ladyship was almost as brilliant. Do you see how she cleverly pointed her outstretched arm in the direction of the open window?"

"You mean that's how OM managed to effect his escape? OMG."

"Quick, Watson, there's not a moment to lose." Holmes dashed to the window. "The game, as they say, is a foot."

Story 237

Hogwash Habits

by Francesca Pappadogiannis

"Harry Hogwash. Come down to the principal's office at once," the school horn blasted.

Harry rose up from his wonky chair at speed, spat his pencil out of his mouth accompanied by some gobs of saliva, then ran out of the classroom and down to the office.

Seated in an old man's leather armchair, Harry glared at the principal's face with intensity. What could he have done this time?

"Mr Hogwash," the principal proceeded with irritation... Apparently, Harry frustrated enough fellow pupils with his bad habits that the school decided he needed a three week suspension in order to get his nonsense cleaned up.

The memo submitted by the head of the student's council read: We, the pupils of Wacky Walrus High School, demand that Harry Hogwash be disciplined for his nonsense behaviour which include, but are not limited to:

  • Picking his nose under the cafeteria tables
  • Biting his fingernails while preparing food in Home Ed
  • Picking his hair out during school debating competitions
  • Picking his teeth while assisting the caterers in the lunchrooms
  • Speaking with his mouthful at every luncheon
  • Swearing at the hockey girls in the locker-room (why is he even in there?)

Harry left the building...

Story 238

The Mirling's Child

by Cathy Cade

The night was dark as sorrow, as the lightning forked from earth to sky.

Black thunder flashed loud silences that drowned the gryphon's cry.

 

The stippley brook flowed upstream, to the pond where lives  the mirling's child.

Scales ripple as she swims, hair thick as pondweed and as wild.

 

Red devilfishes follow her, their pink horns glistening, eyes ablaze.

They're closer now... jaws sending out forked tongues to snarl their prey.

 

But, slicing through the water, like a winklefisher spearing roach,

comes one who sends the fishling devils, fleeing at his approach.

 

Father, I welcome your return, for I've forgotten how to fly.

My child, you're growing young; you'll be a spratling by and by.

 

I've come to take you home, to Lake Aurora, where the mere-folk spawn,

where mirlings shoal with carp, and hoppers chirp to greet the dawn,

for there awaits life's great adventure, when you're born.

Story 239

Don't Trust The Mirror

by Jay Bee

Her fingers hovered, digits twitched. Decision made. She turned her back on the expensive, pert, pink ladies razor and snatched a pack of disposables from the men's shelf, along with a cheaper deodorant.

The checkout lady raised one crayoned eyebrow, looked Janice up and down and over her shoulder while Janice counted out the change.

Two days later, Janice's chin began to itch. The mirror reported pinprick pimples. The following day it identified dark shadows in the centre of each one. Two days later they gave birth to hairs that grew into luscious curls.

"Suits you," her girlfriend said, holding her too tight. "Hmm, you smell good too."

Janice's legs and arms filled out. Her daily jog became a long-distance run. She felt energy in places it had never explored before. A fellow jogger eye-balled her, and they raced. She won. He tagged her shoulder, his other hand on his knee panting.

"What's yer name, bro?"

"Ja..." she began, but her voice had sunk three octaves.

"Look, Ja, do yer fancy training for the marathon? We need another bloke on our team."

She jogged home. Later she picked up the deodorant, and the bathroom mirror laughed.

Story 240

If

by Patricia Mudge

Why did my dog chase that cat? If he hadn't blindly dashed after it, he wouldn't have crashed into a tree and knocked himself out. If I didn't have to rush him to the vet, I wouldn't have run out of petrol in the middle of nowhere. If I didn't have to walk to the garage to buy petrol, I wouldn't have slipped and tumbled into a ditch. If I hadn't fallen into the ditch, hit my head and lost consciousness myself, I wouldn't have woken up five minutes later covered in smelly mud with the index finger of my right hand missing.

If I hadn't encountered a finger chewing mud creature, I could have phoned for help. If I hadn't been covered in smelly mud, the flies wouldn't have found me so attractive. If flies hadn't settled on me, those big, hairy spiders would have dined somewhere else. If I hadn't screamed and rolled along the floor, the spiders wouldn't have bitten me. If the spiders had kept their fangs to themselves, I might have succeeded in finding the garage, buying the petrol, running back to the car, filling the tank and taking my dog to the vet.

Story 241

On The Move Again

by Sarah Ann Hall

The morning of the eviction Dad cheambled. I kept the worrels occupied while Mum tallaphed our worldly erriales.

Dad had promised it would be thwinkles this time, and the landlord, a retired sprophianister with more temacg than sense, had been prohibest, if not adopent, when Dad was continually vilevah with the rent. It was the other egosses, mungerring about how they always charated on time, who got us moved on. Everyone's patience with Dad wears out quenuously.

Mum had handed back the haniers and our tropents were on the doorstep when we heard what we took to be a tank coming up the hill. For the only faraffe that day the worrels stood still, staring callutionally at Mum. When a papetulaboat wheezed into view, the downseriout on the worrels' faces collapsed into derifest and Mum whispered, "I'll kill him."

Dad jumped out, arms calitywinders. "Don't you know, I've always got a macdous up my brotise," he grinned.

Mum said nothing as she loaded our tropents.

We climbed aboard, the worrels tearing between bulkheads, thramated. Life wasn't about to get any nunflebers, but we wouldn't be thrown out again when Dad upset anyone, simply ionalled away.

Story 242

Keep It Soft

by Lucy Morrice

"It's pigeon pie."

"I don't eat that.  And neither does Bear."

"Bears love pigeon pie."

"No, bears like fluffy food. Muffins and marshmallows."

"Shall I mash you a banana?"

"Yes please.  In the purple billy billy bowl."

"In the purple billy billy bowl? Like a baby?"

"Yes."

"You want me to treat you like a baby?"

"Yes. Sometimes it's the right thing."

"But you're 46."

"Not all the time. You baby me. Next time I'll baby you. It's a good way to be."

And they did.  And it was.  It worked very well indeed.

Story 243

The View From The Garden

by A.H. Creed

"You, picnic blanket, are higgledy-piggledy. I hate you for your piebald ribaldry.

"And tea-set, you’re all flummoxed about. I don't know why I bother to take you out.

"And you’re a flibbertigibbet," she said, dropping poor dolly down on her head.

"And you're in cahoots, you naughty cat," she said, crowning him with her floppy hat.

From inside the house came a vast ballyhoo, and a shout of, "You pig. I'm leaving you."

She hugged dolly to her, and to her she said, "Try to ignore them. Don’t be misled..." The ruckus became china-smash, marriage-crash, "...everything they say is balderdash."

Story 244

12th For 20th And I's OK

by Richard H. Argent

My fool was hurling.

Kale was killed in a while lank lop lucked in her bullock-hugging skirl when I'd arrived, slinking of goals. She'd wailed ages, lears slinging her eyes, her words curl and charged in hale, and I was slumped in defence, my response mule. Kale was lough, and for answer she'd slabbed my fool hard using a big leak slick and I'd become lolly. Some dale.

Pal was from Libel, having once slayed in a high lower, a beacon near a jelly. I'd been lardy, having slopped by, loads croaking as I approached his collage where sleep slacks of used lyres were slowed behind his screeching gale. His lie was dolly I saw as he hung my coal. He proffered me waler drawn from his lap as I ale a bile of a lope bully he'd given me.

Belly was angry loo. He'd ruined a meal slew he'd been healing for her on his slove, abandoned lo lend his lame goals who look lime chewing cullings as he checked for miles.

Pal was leaching grammar. Rank nonsense was mine - I'd dolled my eyes, whereas I'd unremembered lo cross my leas.

Story 245

Truth Revealed

by Angela P Googh

"So it is a compound number?"

"No. Well, yes in the strictest definition, but only because it is made up of two things. Since there is a real part and the imaginary part, it is called a complex number."

"So something is complex if it is both real and fake at the same time."

"Not fake, imaginary. Do you see that curly letter i? That is known as the imaginary unit. i-squared equals negative one."

"But, you can't take the square root of a negative number, so a square cannot be negative."

"Exactly. That is why we call it the imaginary number."

The instructor moved on to assist someone else. Brian felt a tap on his shoulder and he turned to its source.

"They call it imaginary because they made it up, it is called complex because it is hard to explain and they use the curly letter i because e, c, g, and pi were taken."

"Why don't they just say so?" he said, turning back to his work, shaking his head. "Wait, what? There's pie?"

Story 246

Gethin, Get In

by Pete Lambden

"Gethin, get in, you're too close to the flibzit."

"You're being glib, Kel. You can't be too close to a flibzit."

"You can if it's a crack flibzit. They have them round here."

"How do you know if it's a crack flibzit?"

"Are its pits slippy?"

"A little."

"Then, Gethin, get in." Slowly, Gethin backs in.

A dark, sharp eye with a harsh twinkle up high and a trenchant grin as it holds him still.

"Agh, it's got my pin. Oh hell, Kel. How? How now do I get away from the flibzit?"

"Don't shout, that's how... A flibzit can sense and we can sense it. To remove yourself from it you must say a truth."

"A truth, you say?"

"Nay, a truth say by you. Said very true. Not just a slight hue of a true, but a deep dark blue of a true."

"A truth... a truth... from the deep dark blue?" Gethin ums and ahs and foos and fahs. "Well, I hate to say. But it was I who gave you the grote."

"It was you, you say? I thought maybe so." The flibzit tightens its grip. "Enjoy the flibzit, Gethin. Goodbye."

Story 247

Bad Hair Day

by Gillian M Seed

Medusa reached for the comb. The hisses of protest which followed almost deafened her.

"Not the insssssssstrument of torture," snapped Persssssephone Python, "you know the rulessssss." Meanwhile, Pallassss Python amused himself by twisting beneath Persssssephone's body and trying to bite the head off the comb itself.

"It's only plasssstic – I mean, plastic," Medusa said, irritated. She struck Pallassss on the nose to discourage him from eating her fashion accessories, sending him briefly cross-eyed. Behind her left ear, Priaposss insisted on sticking straight up despite her best efforts to arrange him in a fetching curl.

Medusa flung down the comb, close to tears. "Every time. You know I'm going out with Aphrodite tonight, with her flipping gorgeous blonde ringlets halfway down her chiton. It's hard enough getting ready without a mirror, and you lot just don't care." She choked back a gravelly snort.

"Sssssssorry, Medusssssa," the snakes chorused. Prometheusssss gave Priaposss a nudge and the latter drooped into place with bad grace.

"Thank you." Medusa reached for a large gold can of snakespray to apply the finishing touch.

"Aieee, not that poisssssssssson," her entire head shrieked.

"I give up. Anyone got a phone number for Sinéad O'Connor's hairdresser?"

Story 248

Good Morning Miss Jones

by Betty Hattersley

"Good morning, children," announced Miss Jones. "I thought we would start today with some bright musical sounds.

"Don't run across the classroom, Jeremy. Let's choose our instruments in an orderly fashion.

"Amy, that's not polite, please use a tissue.

"Don't cry, George. Where is your lunchbox? Look in the cloakroom.

"One by one you will walk to the musical instrument trolley.

"Good, you've found it, George.

"Table one, without running, choose an item.

"Don't blow that whistle yet, Freddie, place it in front of you until everyone has chosen something.

"Freddie, please put the whistle down as I asked, dear.

"Now that you are all sitting back in your chairs, we can begin.

"Amy, I have told you once already, stop that, it's very rude.

"Taylor, how are you going to make a sound with a bean bag? You have gone to the wrong trolley. Put it back and make your choice.

"George? It's not time to eat your lunch yet. Put it away and wipe your face.

"Class, let's begin, after three..."

Story 249

Island Of Lost Dreams Book Club

by Malcolm Richardson

Marjorie struggled to maintain the group's enthusiasm and tried to draw a veil over this month's selection.

"Any more thoughts on Murder at Clapham Junction, ladies?"

"Why are there so many stories about death?" Gladys grumbled.

"I prefer some romance," whined Winny, which raised supportive murmurs amongst the members.

"So I've heard," sniped Suzanne. Winny cast a threatening glance in her direction.

"What are we reading next month?" asked Angela. "Does anyone have a suggestion?"

Silence descended on the group until Mary started to snore.

"We've not had any science fiction lately," shouted Sheila.

"There's enough little monsters down my road. I like a good thriller," rattled Ros.

Mary, sitting in her usual chair by the radiator, woke up.

"I'll have another slice of cake, Marjorie."

"In a minute, Mary, there's plenty of wine left as well."

"I'll try a glass of the red too. How about some erotica?" Mary muttered.

Marjorie looked aghast, unable to respond immediately.

"How about that Forty shades of Purple?" chirped Christine.

"No, not another Catherine Cookson," Celia complained. "Actually, I prefer something with a twist."

Story 250

Frank In The Palace

by Temitope Johnson-Toyin

I flopped into the gutter. Reason being, an uncontrolled impulsive drunkenness had arisen after I collected my wages. The advert of spilling beer via the television got me tantalised. I eagerly waited for payday.

The gutter – my new found palace – was filled with amoebic and spirogyra constituents that I was oblivious to. All appeared like a safe haven.

At daylight, still laying in my haven, the consciousness of reality began to dawn as other Homo-sapiens commenced an episode of glaring at my royal majesty down in the gutter.

My better half also graced my palace, but her eyes were widened like she'd caught me committing the forbidden with another species of her type.

What? I thought. She lacks the capacity to be happy for us. I guess she is just jealous of my lone enjoyment in my new found palace.

"Oh, Frank..." Her face was in a frank state. "Get up from the gutter." Her voice was melodious.

"How can I be in the gutter, when I just had a most monumental night? Where is my salvation?"

A bucket of water on my face mesmerised me.

Story 251

Cluedo-esque

by Louis Cennamo

The last thing Dr Sable needed was a hole in the head – his last need, was heeded.

Mrs Blank turned pale. "It's enough to give a duck goose pimples," she blurted.

A white-hot snowball effect ensued, a meltdown – burning like an ice-cold branding-iron into the flesh of a story – dovetailing into a joint salvo of colourful outbursts.

"Ooh, is he… dead?' shrieked the scarlet starlet.

"A dead duck, ducks," affirmed Mrs Blank. "He was a quack after all."

Colonel Colmans, now jaundiced around the jowls, turned to Professor Puce and Monsignor Avocado. They, in turn, turned to Mrs Peahen, who turned to Inspector Polyp of the Yard. Three feet to his left stood the trusty Captain Beestings and Ms Pamplemousse, who turned, in turn, to Inspecteur Pipette, the Luxembourger P.I.

Polyp had dragged Pipette away from his nose-flute lessons, to assist him in solving the mystery. Pipette was now just a test tube short of an explosive solution…

"It is er, 'ow you say... elementary, n'est-ce pas? As we say in the Grand Duchy – there is no paté without LEBERWURST. Voila, Colonel... mais pourquoi?"

''No choice," Colmans confessed… "He was putting MY mustard, on a VEGAN hot dog… CRIMINAL, what?"

Story 252

Everything And More Stands Upon Somebody Else's Legs

by Mark Daly

"Good luck, Michael, and thank you for accepting the burden of everything and more," said the leader of the free.

Michael chuckled to himself. He was about to make a half-ton profit from these fools.

As the ceremony began the crowd of people, soon to be freed, huddled round Michael, paid him the fee of three silver coins and commenced the chants. Immediately, the tension melted out of shoulders and the crushing weights lifted from chests. Minds cleared and the crowd dispersed.

Michael dropped to one knee as the crowd around him left. He grunted in pain as his shoulders knotted up. A ton bag dropped from above him and pinned him to the ground whilst his head filled with alien nonsense. Paralysed by anxiety, he accepted his fate.

Michael had made a small fortune, but at what price?

He strained his eyes upwards just in time to see a line of people filing in around him and, before he could make a squeal, silver coins were showering down on him.

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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 :-)

Cleary M
Hi Chris, found your site through your compilation of online competitions. Non-sense is fun! Mine is not exactly funny (not sure if that's a necessity for this section), but I think it's a narrative that expands in an unusual way. I've been reading a lot of prose-poetry and I think it's inspired by that. The instructions at the top suggest that this is how to submit your story, so my story is beneath this. Thanks for considering it! I enjoyed reading the others.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for submitting, Cleary - much appreciated :-) Serious, funny or anything in between is fine - published!

Gavin B
A great collection of nonsensical stories. Extremely funny and look forward to reading some more.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Gavin :-) And thanks for submitting.

Ishmael D
Awesome challenge LOL. Thanks, Chris, for adding 'Caterpillar Butterfly' (165) to the collection :D It's cool to see it up there.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Ishmael. Thanks for submitting :-)

Paul S
A Haiku is easy

But often they make no sense.

Refrigerator.

Chris Fielden
Absurdly wise words, Paul... :-)

Bryan K
Hi Chris, are poems acceptable for this challenge?

                

Chris Fielden
Hi Bryan. Yes, poetry is fine :)

Neil D
Hi Chris, thank you so much for posting up my story, I hope at least one person can enjoy it. This is such a great site, it's amazing what you've put together. Thanks again.

Chris Fielden
No problem - great to hear you like the site. Thanks for submitting and taking part.

Munib H
Hi Chris, I really enjoyed entering this and reading many of the other stories. Are you going to publish them in a volume? And when, and where, can I buy one? Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Hi Munib. Great, glad to hear you enjoyed all the other stories. We release a book every time 100 stories have been submitted. All contributors will be notified when that happens by email. They will also be informed about launch dates, where to buy the anthology, book launch parties etc.

Susi M
Hi, can I check your policy on previously published pieces please?

Chris Fielden
Hi Susi, I'm happy to accept previously published work, as long as it's suitable for the challenge.

Andre OG
Where is Annemarie A's story? I couldn't find it anywhere. Can someone help please? Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Andre. Annemarie's story is in Nonsensically Challenged Volume 1 (#22) so was removed from the site when the book was published. You can only read it in the book now, sorry.

Cathy C
I found this one a real challenge. You have to kind of let go to write nonsense, so - apologies to Lewis Carroll - I used the form of 'Jabberwocky' so I didn't have to make everything up.

Jay B
Hi Chris - I hope this one hits the right spot!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Cathy. Most people say the preposition challenge is the toughest, but it's different for everyone I think.

Certainly does, Jay B - published :-)

Lesley T
I've just read 'North Pole Adventure' by Andre Othenin-Girard - Story 231. Andre, I think it's brilliant. Very cleverly done.

Temitope JT
Hi Chris, it's great to be here and to be a participant. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Temitope.

And thank you for submitting - very much appreciated :-)

Louis C
Many thanks again, Chris, for publishing 'Cluedo-esque', yet another adventure in exploring the fine line between nonsense... and even more nonsense!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Louis. Thanks as always for submitting. Bring on the nonsense!