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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 365 (June 7-13) Stories Topic: Teeth

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message 1: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments You have until the 13th of June to post a story and from the 14th to around the 18th of June, we’ll vote for which one we thought was best!

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group. Only one submission per person is allowed.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This week’s topic is: Teeth

Thanks goes to Daniel J. for suggesting the topic!

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject/photo but it must relate to the topic somehow.

And most of all have fun!

message 2: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9063 comments Thanks for getting things going, CJ! Yes, I've got the perfect story idea for this week. It's called "The Ballad of Gravedigger Jane" and it goes like this:


1. Chris Duncan, Political Pundit
2. Gravedigger Jane, Transgender Boxing Champion

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Gravedigger Jane has loosened her opponents’ teeth many times during her boxing career. The same fate could befall Chris Duncan if he keeps running his mouth.

SYNOPSIS: Chris Duncan is a guest speaker at Beachside University and his topic of choice is running down the LGBT community. He gets an equal amount of cheers and boos from the student audience, but things get heated when he singles out Gravedigger Jane for wanting to use female bathrooms and locker rooms and for fighting other female competitors. Instead of taking another minute of abuse, Jane storms down the aisle in an attempt to beat the holy hell out of Chris. The only things keeping her from doing so are the heavy security detail and potentially being blackballed from college boxing if she goes through with it. The more Chris taunts her, the more punchable his face becomes.

message 3: by Marissa (new)

Marissa Bauer (theskyfeelinlovewiththemoon) | 14 comments working my piece an it'll be up between the weekend

message 4: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9063 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: The Ballad of Gravedigger Jane
RATING: PG-13 for violence, swearing, and insensitive dialogue

Gravedigger Jane stewed in the middle row next to the aisle of the college auditorium, a place that was nearly packed with hee-hawers and pot smokers. She wished she could have some pot to soothe her boiling anger, but if she tested positive for it, it could mean the end of her college boxing career. Instead she pulled a metal flask out of her hooded vest and took a swig of booze. She shook her head at the hypocrisy of allowing alcohol but banning marijuana. What the fuck was that all about? No matter what her drug of choice was, hopefully it would get her through this god-awful performance.

As Jane relaxed in her seat with her sneakered feet on the empty chair in front of her, the madness was about to begin. Royal trumpets blasted over the sound system and almost gave her a migraine. While holding her ears with her taped hands, she turned around to see why such ludicrous music was playing at an obnoxious volume. There he was in all of his nose-in-the-air arrogance: Chris Duncan riding a horse while wearing a musketeer outfit: a blue tunic with a crucifix on it, black leather pants, knee-high brown boots, and a fedora with a feather in it. His bloated neckless bodyguards were also dressed in musketeer garb.

Chris swung his thin blade and pointed it at Jane before giving her a saucy smile and a wink. Jane responded with a shake of her head and a bruised middle finger, to which Mr. Duncan gave a royal belly laugh. The audience around her didn’t know whether to cheer or boo, so they just sat in wide-eyed silence. Then again, that could have been the pot talking. Jane took another swig of booze as Chris dismounted his horse and slapped it on the ass to send it trotting out of the theater. The speaker took the center of the stage with his bouncers standing at the edge, arms folded and attitudes in check.

The speaker adjusted the mini-microphone on his tunic and said, “Testing, testing, one, two, three.” Sure enough, everybody could hear him loud and clear as evidenced by the mixture of cheers and boos. The initial shock of Chris Duncan coming down in a musketeer outfit war off in a big fucking hurry once they figured out what he really came to talk about. Knowing that time was near, Gravedigger Jane took yet another swig and let out a monstrous burp.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” opened Mr. Duncan. “You’re probably wondering why I’m out here dressed as a musketeer. Two reasons: one, the musketeer has always been a symbol of loyalty to king and country. I’m loyal to my country and I would like to make it great again, if you know what I mean!” The mixed reaction blasted through the arena once again, but Gravedigger Jane sat still and clicked her knuckles.

Pacing around the stage and swinging his saber, Chris said, “The other reason I’m wearing this outfit is because it doesn’t look anywhere near as ridiculous as the dresses men put on to pass as women. You’ve got big ass men with neck beards going down to their knees walking into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms and this university doesn’t do a damn thing about it! It’s time we scrubbed this politically correct filth from college campuses everywhere! Political correctness is a threat to our free speech rights in the same way these so called transgender students are a threat to our purity! And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the rest of the fag population!”

While the auditorium unleashed a firestorm of half-cheers and half-boos, Gravedigger Jane’s muscles were bulging in red hot anger. Her teeth were clamped tightly enough to make her granite jaw ache. She popped both of her wrists while staring bullets into Chris Duncan. The sick prick pointed his musketeer sword at her and she knew it was time to get her violence on, but not just yet.

“You see that man slash woman over there? Boxing fans might know that person as Gravedigger Jane. But I know him as Kevin Ferguson!” snapped Chris. The combination of hearing her old name along with the catcalling of the crowd caused the blood vessels in Jane’s eyes to pop like hot air balloons.

Chris had only begun his verbal assault. “Thanks to your school’s lenient policy on gay crap, Kevin over here can waltz into a woman’s locker room without so much as a bat of the eye! He can swing his dick around like a baseball bat and let his nuts hang down to his feet in front of all those poor women! Not only that, but he can punch out women legally and split their skulls down the middle! You call this equality?! I call it bullshit! You’re a fucking man, Kevin! You will always be a man!”

The guffaws of laughter, the screaming, the vulgarity of Chris Duncan’s speech, they all led to the tightly-muscled, predatory-faced, and stone-fisted Gravedigger Jane to pop out of her seat and storm down the aisle towards the stage. The fat bouncers formed a blockade between Chris and Jane while the former dropped his saber and backed off, screaming, “Whoa!” multiple times in rapid fire succession. Jane breathed heavily and punched her fists together while the students chanted, “Fight!” repeatedly.

“Easy there, Kimbo Slice!” shouted Chris. “You’re not going to do a damn thing to me! This is America and I’ve got free speech until the day I die! Nobody’s making you be here! Go run off to your safe space, little boy!” To add spice to his already flaming rhetoric, Chris stood on the edge of the stage and pointed his chin out to the crowd. “You want to hit me so badly, go right ahead! I’ll sue the shit out of you and have you blackballed from the sport! Come on, tough nuts! Throw a big one! Knock my ass out!”

“I’d love to knock your ass out, you little turd biscuit!” shouted Gravedigger Jane. Despite the raucous noise of the crowd, she was as audible as every news pundit who liked to turn it up to eleven. She even threw her hood back and revealed her corn-rowed hair and rolled back demonic eyes. Chris’s own eyes were wide with horror as he slowly backed away while Jane gave her oratory.

Jane continued with, “I paid for my tuition by beating people up! I’ll punch you so fucking hard you’ll be shitting teeth for two weeks straight!” Using her taped hand for visual references, she gritted her own teeth and throatily bellowed, “Your nose will be stapled to the back of your head! Your eyes will explode like little hand grenades! Your brain will splatter like a bucket of paint! I’m not even sure you’ll have a fucking head by the time I’m done with you!”

Chris slipped on his ass and convulsed in terror as the students chanted, “Fight!” some more. Gravedigger Jane looked like one of her punches could tear this whole building down. She looked like a simple left jab could turn these bouncers into protoplasmic jelly. She was ready to start swinging and show why she was a multiple time boxing champion.

But then a tear rolled down her cheek and her bear trap jaw trembled and ached with sorrow. Once that one tear rolled down, several more followed. The levies in her eyes broke in the same way her heart did. With a shaky voice, she said, “You’re right about one thing, though: if I punch you or your bouncers out…I could lose my career. I could lose my scholarship. I could lose everything. You’re not worth it. You’re loud and stupid as hell, but you’re not worth it. I…I…um…”

The avalanche of tears interrupted her passionate speech to where all she could do was storm out of the theater with half of the students chanting, “Get a job!” in succession. She slammed the door behind her and plopped backwards against the brick wall. The tears wouldn’t stop coming. They raged on and on while all Gravedigger Jane could do was punch the bricks behind her and scream with no audience…except for the horse.

“What are you looking at? Huh?” asked Jane with trembling lips, the same trembling lips that took yet another swig of booze. And another. And another. The horse gazed at her with innocent puppy dog eyes and Jane said, “Aw, fuck it, you can have some too.” She gently poured some booze into the horse’s mouth and watched it drink the last of the liquid courage. “That’s some strong shit, isn’t it. It’s not doing a damn thing for me right now, but oh well.”

As Jane tucked the flask in her vest, the horse started shaking its head and neighing in a thunderous voice. The transgender boxer watched the erratic behavior turn into violent galloping and said, “What the hell?” More neighing and more galloping ensued before the lightweight drunken horse stormed inside the theater to the sounds of horrified screams.

Jane placed her ear against the door and heard even more heavenly sounds: furniture being destroyed, bones shattering, even Chris Duncan and his bouncers couldn’t help but cry like bitches in pain and terror. She even heard Chris yell, “Why, sweet god, why?!” The next “Why?” he let out was more like a child’s whine and less like a brave and mighty musketeer. This put a smile on Jane’s face as she wiped away the tears.

She was nearly bowled over as students flooded all exists in an attempt to escape the drunken horse’s mad kicking. Soon enough the horse itself chased after a winded bouncer and toppled him before stomping the shit out of the poor bastard. Jane’s smile was even bigger than before and her rainy tears were all but gone.

As soon as the doorway was cleared, she peeked inside and saw broken bodies of students and bouncers lying about in total agony while theater chairs were splintered into nothing. Chris Duncan huddled in the fetal position while holding his groin and coughing up blood. He cried like a baby as he met Jane’s warrior gaze.

“For the record,” Jane shouted. “I didn’t lay a finger on you! Your stupid horse did! I guess the horse won’t have a boxing career after all! Maybe that big ass thing shouldn’t be trotting into women’s locker rooms with his saber sticking out! Adios, amigo!” Gravedigger Jane blew Chris Duncan a kiss before shutting the door behind her and leaving her haters covered in blood and darkness. Freedom of speech wasn’t free. In fact, the price was higher than Chris’s new soprano voice.

message 5: by Sofia (new)

Sofia | 15 comments Author: Sofia S
Title: What I'll Never Know
Word Count: 1016
Feedback is always welcome!

Nana wasn’t awake long; a few minutes of repeated questions and banal phrases before slipping off to sleep in her wheelchair.

“Did you eat?” she inquires, “Why are your hands cold?”
“I’ve eaten and I have bad circulation, Nana.” I reply.

It’s the same greeting I’ve had since childhood, the same answers I’ve given since I could speak. But Nana’s intensity is gone, the worry lines evaporated from her face, and I know she has already forgotten what she asked me.
When will the questions disappear altogether?

She sips the dregs from her Jell-O. I hold her hand while the nurse injects another steroid into her abdomen. I watch her eyes water and I want to wipe away the tear, but I’m too scared of hurting her more than she already is.
There is nothing to say, nothing she’ll remember.

I stop her from taking off her back brace. She doesn’t remember the spinal surgery from eight weeks ago that left her confused in the head and weak in the body. Bound to a hospital bed and a spiderlike wheelchair, trapping her like the flies in the corner of a dusty room. Moved from the hospital to this rehab center because she didn’t get any better, soon to be relocated to an assisted living facility because she’s getting worse-even though it kills our family to do it.
This isn’t who she used to be, who I want her to be, who I miss so much it hurts to breathe.

She taught me how to sew, make pasta sauce, and operate a Swiffer without slipping. She used to walk with me to the nearby 7-11 and grow carrots in her garden. She told me I was special, the granddaughter who relied on her, and more than she had ever hoped for.

Nana’s eyes are half closed and fluttering. Is she asleep or awake? Does it even matter which?

Nana came to Florida with us once. She accidentally ate all of my gummy bear vitamins and purposefully refused sunscreen. Her skin became red as a screaming toddler from sunburn and copious amounts of nutrients, though Nana claimed it was only “windburn.” Two years later, eyes sharp with sentimentality, she proudly displayed the one-pound gummy bear I bequeathed her in the foyer. I wonder what’s become of it now.

She stirs again and starts fingering a tear in her shirt. It’s probably older than me, white and brown in the lucid patterns of the 1970s that all older women seem to favor.

“It’s torn.” Nana says blankly, her shaking finger poking though a hole.
“It’s probably just from the brace, Nana. Do you want to see a picture from Florida?” I question, pulling out my cell phone to distract her.
“Oh that’s cute! I’d like to go someday.” she exclaims, pointing at a scene from our last trip, “Who is that?” she asks.
“That’s me, Nana.”

She didn’t recognize me. That’s never happened before. I choke back a sob. She can’t see me cry. She feels bad enough when I see her tears.

I was 10 years old the first time it happened. My grandparents came out to dinner with us after Nana’s knee replacement. It hadn’t gone as well as we’d hoped, and she needed help walking to the bathroom. I waited for her by the mirror.

“Look what’s become of me.” She bemoaned, washing her hands, “I’m so ugly, I look like my mother.”
“I’ve never seen your mother” I squeaked, “but you look really pretty.”
Nana didn’t seem to hear me.

“Remember Ginny, you can’t trust anybody. Only your family: your parents, sister, and your grandparents.” She turned to me then. “I want you to remember that when I’m gone.”

She cried then. I didn’t know what to do; I just hugged her, the same as always, and hoped that it would be enough.
I’m 17 now, and I still can’t ease her pain.

“Do you want lemonade?” She snaps out of her stupor for a moment.
“No thanks, Nana. You should drink it. Your skin is flaking.”
At least she asked, at least I haven’t lost that yet.

Nana always told me I was closer to her than any of her other grandchildren. She said I was hers, because she raised me. That’s true, from my mothers return to work till the age of 5, I spent more time with her than anyone else. She made me broccoli and cheese soup and let me watch her iron. Even after I started school, Nana came over every Monday. She always brought pasta with homemade sauce and bagels. In a society obsessed with thigh gaps, Nana always thought I was too skinny.

Nana looks up at smiles and me then. She asks me to hold her hand. I move my chair closer so I can reach. I watch the blood move in and out of her palms, draining from paper-thin veins and dehydrated skin, returning far too slowly. I watch the pieces of her slip away, knowing I’ll never get them back, knowing I’ll never hear all of her stories, knowing, knowing I can never begin to thank her for everything she’s done for me.

When I lost my first baby tooth, Nana gave me a green ceramic box shaped like a postmarked letter.

“What’s this for, Nana?” I asked, stroking the smooth surface with wonderment.
“It’s for your baby teeth. “ she said, looking up to the sky with wisdom I didn’t quite understand, “that way you’ll never lose a single bit of yourself.”
Staring at her, helpless, slipping in and out of a doze, I remember the little green box. Because of it, I still have all of my old teeth.

When we die, our lives are supposed to flash before our eyes. But what if Nana forgets everything? What if her baby teeth are falling out too quickly to save? What if I can’t help her remember?

This story doesn’t have a moral, lesson, or ending. This story doesn’t have anything worth reading. Because soon, there won’t be enough to fill a single page.

message 6: by Edward (last edited Jun 11, 2017 09:00PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments The penultimate part, chapter 29, of Karsten Pasternack And The Quicksilver Caduceus. Next week it all ends!
Title : Home, Alone
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1552
Rating : PG

Karsten watched as Tabalah raised her hands above her head, gesturing towards the damaged lightning transporter, then sweeping her arms down and back, as if she were enveloping the whole room. Slowly the lavender leaves that covered the ground began to rise, swirling through the air before separating as they began to cover the walls. They seemed to hum as they hit the walls, resting there for a few moments before slowly sinking to the ground again where they seemed to evaporate into nothing. Once they had left the walls, the graffiti that had covered them was gone.

“Just a bit of housekeeping before we leave,” Tabalah explained, her voice sounding as if she were smiling in spite of not having a mouth.

“It’s a shame we don’t have those Tatzelwurms from back in the cabin, then you could have saved your energy” Simon grinned, but when Matilda scowled at him he soon stopped smiling.

Patricia nodded at Tabalah, “Thank you, Tabalah,” she said, ignoring Simon’s comment, “and I’m sorry for what happened. It wasn’t your fault.”

“Don’t mention it,” Tabalah replied, “seriously, just don’t, okay?”

Tabalah turned back to the lightning transporter, her hands raised once again, and this time the wreck of the machine began to move slightly across the ground, screeching and scraping as it moved ever more slowly away from where it was blocking the sky-high doors behind it. Karsten watched in wonder as the machinery completely revealed the doors, which shone magnificently in the light of the room.

“What is it?” Karsten asked, “Where do they go?”

“They go home,” Gail said, taking Karsten by the hand, “we can finally go home.”

Karsten looked deeply into Gail’s eyes, “Will I see you again?” he asked, “I mean, any of you?”

“Who can say,” Isador answered, “you never know when you might be summoned back to the 300.”

“What do you mean?” Karsten asked.

WInfrith smiled at Karsten, “When we were on watch, Isador and I, we had a discussion about our needs for a twelfth member of the Followers of Hermes. Well, eleventh, we forgot about Patricia at the time, but you se where I’m going?”

Karsten looked at the chain that hung around his neck, “You mean… you want me to become the twelfth follower?”

“If you wish,” Isador said.

“I do,” Karsten grinned at Gail, “I really do.”

As the group celebrated the joining of Karsten to their fellowship, they heard a strange groaning noise coming from inside Carter.

“Is it the Foolf-Wox?” Simon asked, cowering behind Matilda as he unconsciously used the name with which Pablo had dubbed the hybrid beast.

Before anyone could make any further suggestions, Eve emerged from inside Carter, rubbing her head tenderly.

“What happened?” she asked, “Where am I?”

“Eve!” Karsten shouted, “Quickly, stop her someone!”

“Why on earth would we want to do that?” Patricia asked.

“Because she’s a traitor!” Karsten cried, “She was trying to set me up as a fall guy.”

Tabalah blushed a little, “I think that might be my fault again,” Tabalah told them group, “when I first tried to fix things myself, I used Eve as a guinea pig. Something went wrong when I tried to recover her memories of Patricia and she started acting out of character.”

“Seriously?” Karsten couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “All that time she was giving me grief and trying to get me blamed for things, it was all because she thought she was working with the enemy? Plus she attacked all of you, especially Matilda!”

Tabalah shrugged. Eve blushed, “Sorry,” she said weakly, clearly starting to remember all that had happened.

Karsten slumped his shoulders in a resigned fashion, “I guess it’s okay,” he said, not wanting to start an argument, especially with Eve.

“Thanks, Karsten,” Eve smiled, ruffling his hair and reminding him that, even after everything that had happened to him in the 300, he was still only a kid.

“Well then, guys,” Carter said, “until next time.”

Carter pulled ahead of Tabalah who still stood next to the doors and stood patiently as they slowly eased open. Karsten and the others all lifted their hands to their eyes to shield them from the dazzling light that came from within.

“What is that?” Karsten asked.

“That’s Earth,” Gail told him, “that’s home.”

“Home?” Karsten frowned, “It looks so bright.”

“It’s just a different light, that’s all,” Matilda said, slowly lifting herself along to take up a spot behind Carter, “your eyes will adjust.”

Karsten watched as Carter trundled into the light. As he did so, he seemed to dematerialise, the front of him breaking down into almost leaf like particles and drifting into the light. It only took a few seconds for him to completely disappear, then Matilda followed suit in much the same way.

The rest of the group followed one by one, Gail holding Karsten’s hand firmly to assure him that everything would be okay as they waited until last.

With just themselves, Isador, and WInfrith left to go through the doors, Karsten turned to Gail;

“Will you keep in touch?” he asked, not having wanted to say this in front of her mum and dad.

Gail smiled, “I’ll do what I can,” she said, leaning forward to kiss him.

“Now, now, children,” Isador chuckled, “enough of that already, we’ve got to go.”

“You go first,” Gail said, turning back to the doors, “we’ll be okay going last.”

“Are you sure?” WInfrith asked.

“Of course we’re sure,” Gail nodded.

Winfrith nodded at Isador, who nodded back, and the two of them backed into the doorway, the bodies seeming to scatter like leaves until only their heads remained, then their ears disappeared, then their eyes, then their noses, until all that was left of them were their teeth. Like the Cheshire Cat, Karsten thought to himself as the teeth, one by one, winked out of existence.

Once they had gone, Gail turned back to Karsten, reaching into her pocket, “I’m not supposed to do this,” she said, “but I don’t want us to lose touch,” she handed him a piece of paper, “this is my address and telephone number, so if something happens… you can find me again.”

“But I’ll see you on the other side?” Karsten half-asked.

“We can try,” she said, taking his hand, “come on, let’s go through.”

Gail and Karsten stepped towards the door, Karsten holding his breath as he worried about what might happen to him when he went through. Gripping Gail’s palm with one hand and the piece of paper with her contact details in the other, the two of them stepped through the door and into the light…

Karsten looked at Gail as their various body parts began to flicker into leaf-like pieces, like burning paper in a strong breeze, until Karsten felt his fingers separating from Gail. His eyes widened as the light engulfed her, and he clung tightly to the piece of paper in his other hand as the light reached a visually crescendo before dying down into a more bearable light.

Karsten blinked, looking around his new surroundings. It didn’t take him long to realise where he was once his eyes had adjusted, it was such a familiar place.

He was in his bedroom. And he was alone.

Karsten looked down at his hand, where he had been tightly holding the piece of paper with Gail’s contacts details, and opened his fingers. The paper had gone!

“Karsten?” a voice called from downstairs, “Karsten, is that you?”

“Mum!” Karsten cried, startled. He hadn’t even thought about the fact that he’d been missing all this time, and how much his parents must have been worrying. His mum opened the door to his bedroom, seeing Karsten sitting on his bed, looking dishevelled.

“What happened to you?” she asked, “You look like you’ve been on a cross-country trek.”

“I guess I have,” he said, “I’m sorry if you were worried.”

“Worried?” his mum laughed, “I wasn’t expecting you back from the museum for at least a few more hours.”

Karsten frowned at his mum, thinking hurriedly what might be going on, “What day is it today?” he asked.

His mum looked considered, “Have you hit your head or something? It’s Saturday, all day.”

“Saturday?” Karsten mumbled. That could only mean that hardly anytime at all had passed.

Assuming he hadn’t imagined the whole thing.

“I’m just going to have a lie down, mum,” he said, “I don’t feel very well.”

“Of course, dear,” his mum said, leaving the room, then calling back, “I’ll give you a shout when dinner’s ready.”

“Thanks mum,” Karsten said, reclining his head on his pillow. What if it had all been a dream? What if he’d never met Winfrith at the museum, or been chased by Mr Woolf and Mr Fox, or travelled with Isador and Simon in the forest, or…

…Or kissed Gail.

As he lay back, he felt something hard under his head. Reaching under his pillow he felt for the solid item that was digging into him and pulled something out. Something tied to a chain of some sort.

It was the caduceus.

“So it wasn’t a dream,” Karsten muttered to himself, clutching the caduceus, “but where are the others? Where’s Gail? And will I ever see her again?”

message 7: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Okay polls are going up in the next moments or so!

(Also feel free to suggest future topics here:


Side note: I see before posting this there had been a slight increase in suggestions. Awesome, keep them coming!)

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