written by Nathaniel Lee
Here are the stories resulting from the Storygasm event in rough chronological order of prompts received.Â Feel free to take yours and post it elsewhere or link directly to this page.Â Thanks for contributing!
Prompt – “Lonely Cowbots” by Damon Shaw
Initially, CP0012 ignored it when CP0013 arrived with a Stetson perched on his heat sink. CP0012’s programming contained very few instructions about non-bovine topics. The following day, however, CP0013 began broadcasting sounds and disturbing the herd:
>30 PRINT N-1
>40 IF N>0 GOTO 20”
CP0012 opened a communications channel. “Query: Justification for broadcast.”
“Answer: I’m a cowboy! Howdy-howdy-howdy!”
CP0012 filed a repair request and returned to watching cows. Insofar as CP0012 felt anything, he liked cows. Cows were predictable.
In the distance, CP0013 emitted the first sounds of a synthesized harmonica. CP0012 shut down his microphone.
Prompt – “Lost Hearts” by David Longhorn
She answered the door on the fourth ring.
“I want it back,” I said.
She shrugged one delicate shoulder and turned away, leaving the door ajar. I stepped inside. Racks of cages lined the hallway, full of hearts. They were limp, despondent things, gazing out at her with hopeless longing. Three more, a bit better groomed, lurked nervously on the couch. She shoved them aside and seated herself.
“I don’t have it,” she said, crossing her legs.
She shrugged again. “It got lost. You should take better care of your heart if you don’t want it getting lost.”
Prompt – “Buridan’s Ass” by Loren Eaton
The first thing I saw when I walked into the Philosophy department was Buridan’s naked ass.
“Buridan!” I shouted, covering my eyes. “What-? Are youÃ¢â‚¬ floating?”
Buridan rotated towards me, and I felt an odd pressure, as though I were suddenly under ten feet of water. Buridan drifted further away. “I have achieved enlightenment, of a sort,” he said. “Recall the donkey and the hay.”
“The free-will proof?”
“He was trapped between desirables. I, in contrast, loathe everything equally. Thus, I am suspended.”
“Department meeting starts in ten minutes.”
Buridan sighed. “Help me down. I need to find my pants.”
Prompt – “The Relativity of Relativity” by Matt Kempke
“Family Reunion!” the banner proclaimed. White puffs of hair and bristling mustaches bobbed around the pavilion.
“Have you met Cousin Bernie?” Meredith gushed, leading her charge over to the grill. “He’s discovered the reason hot dogs come in tens but buns only in eights.”
“Howdy!” Bernie waved his tongs.
“And here Uncle Cal. He’s discovered the relationship between sound and intelligence. How does it go, Cal? The quieter you are, the smarter you seem?”
Cal nodded solemnly.
“And me, well, this here is my final experiment. A=N^f~1.” Meredith smiled. “As the number of family members increases, personal aggravation approaches one.”
Prompt – “I’m Not Telling You Twice” by Jim Murdoch
“Matthew Roderick Johannson, get down here this instant!” Mom called from downstairs.
“Jeez, Mom. You don’t have to tell me twice.” Matt paused his game.
“I’m not telling you twice,” said Mom from the doorway.
“Oh,” said Matt. “Sorry, Mom1. I thought you were Mom3.” He squinted until the quantum phantasms merged back into a unified Mom, or at least a Mom-shaped cloud representing the current most likely Mom.
“Those games are terrible for your ability to focus. What if you’d slipped into the wrong stream completely?”
“Mom!” Matt rolled his eyes. “The chances of that are like mathematically zero.”
Prompt – “Walrus Planet” by Sam
They gathered in thousands on the vast ice floes. Along the edges, there was a constant transition as hungry individuals slipped into the chill waters while others hooked their tusks into the ice to heave their sated bulks out of the water and rest.
In the distance, off to the south, there were flashes of light, like a sporadic Aurora. Then, a rumble as of far-off thunder. Several whiskery heads lifted curiously, but when nothing further presented itself, they returned to the business of sleeping and digesting.
Another walrus slipped into the water. The southern sky slowly darkened to night.
Prompt – “Oh my god, this wasn’t a dreamÃ¢â‚¬ it was all real.” by Joey Jordan
“I had such a bad dream,” said Remy. He leapt into the air and spun lazily in a circle, petting the barking dog-tree for comfort. “My house wasn’t endless, and I went outside to go to work, only I couldn’t fly. Then, in the car, the radio just played music and no one appeared or disappeared. I had to drive the whole time. I didn’t skip ahead at all.”
“Sounds unpleasant,” agreed the leprechaun.
“Then I went to get a haircut, and, Remy paused, his hand drifting to his neck. Cool air brushed the freshly shorn skin. “Oh my God,
Prompt – “What kinda person walks around in a yellow hooded cloak? It’s not like it would hide you from anyone.” by Joey Jordan, who apparently didn’t read the rules very closely
Chuck’s finger tightened on the trigger when he spotted the bright yellow figure. He pushed through the foliage.
“Hey,” he hissed. “What are you doing in a yellow cloak? Why are you wearing that?”
The man gave Chuck a quizzical glance. “Because it’s raining out,” he said, gesturing at the sweltering, sunlit treetops with his briefcase. Chuck saw wingtips poking out beneath the rain-slicker. “I’m not getting soaked waiting for the bus.”
Chuck looked for the rest of his squad. When he turned back, the small clearing was empty, save for a distant growling engine and the smell of diesel.
Prompt – “Bargain Messiah” by David Steffen
“There,” Jeezie said. “That’s the best I can do.” Sweat poured from his forehead and soaked his ragged beard as he handed over the cup.
Mary sipped and grimaced. “Cherry Kool-Aid,” she said. “Unsweetened.”
“Sugar is really hard,” said Jeezie, somewhat defensively.
“What about walking on water?”
“Sure!” Jeezie brightened. “I need a vat and a bunch of corn starch. I saw it on Mythbusters.”
Mary sighed. “Salvation?”
“WellÃ¢â‚¬ I do know how you can save money on car insurance.”
“Forget it,” said Mary. “Mom was right. Splurge on major purchases and only use the bargain bin for little stuff.”
Prompt – “Axe of Kindness” by Gary Cuba
“No Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthank you’?” said Leon.
The barista glanced over Leon’s shoulder and paled. “T-t-thanks,” she stammered.
“You’re welcome.” Leon tucked a dollar in the tip jar. “See? Kindness pays.” He walked out with Throckdar in tow. Immediately, they spotted the traffic cop leaving a ticket on Leon’s car.
“Oh, really!” said Leon. “I’m only thirty seconds late.”
Throckdar hefted his axe significantly.
The cop swallowed. “I’ll just tear this up.”
Leon and Throckdar settled into the car, the suspension groaning. “So how’d you get stuck with this, anyway?” Leon asked.
Throckdar shrugged. “Community service. Goblin king had good lawyer.”
Prompt: “The last man on earth sits in his living room. SUDDENLY he
finds his mailbox full of bills” by Sebastian Kempke
Mortimer opened his mailbox. ÂBills, bills, ads, and bills.Â Automatically generated, computer-printed, sent in pre-paid envelopes through the mechanized mail system. ÂUntouched by human hands from the moment they were printed until the robotic delivery trucks shunted them into Mort’s mail slot. ÂHe handled them carefully, as though they might explode.
“Occupant, current resident…” Mortimer slit the envelopes open and read each word aloud. ÂNobody heard him, of course. ÂHe might be the only person left. ÂOther than the robots, of course.
“Here’s one with my name on it,” Mort told the cleaning bot. ÂIt whirred and trundled blithely on.
Nathaniel Lee is an amateur wordsmith with delusions of grandeur. He’s been writing stories since the second grade, but as yet has not found anyone willing to pay for them. ÂHe maintains a daily writing blog at Mirrorshards.org, and several of those stories have winkled their way onto the Drabblecast (Episodes 154, 156, and 158).Â Nathan and his wife keep two cats, Ozymandius and Belshazzar, and they spend most of their free time staring into glowing screens of one sort or another. ÂNathan is also an avid board gamer and roleplayer who suffers from a chronic lack of willing participants.