is a short story of EXACTLY 100 words, not including the title (which
may be no more than fifteen words).
Hyphenated-words-will-be-argued-about. The idea and the name of the
form were first set down in a Monty Python sketch. Since then it has
taken on a life of its own and many famous writers have committed
drabbles to paper. Here are some of mine.
(If you don't want to click on the links, just scroll down the page to read the drabbles one by one).
|Alien 4||Modern Technology||In an Office||It Crept in the Crypt|
|Trade Secrets||Virtual Unreality||Alien 5||Circles|
|Dirty Dishes||Sink Duty||Man in the Moon||The Revolting Crew|
|Yuppie||Third Planet||Bath Night||Snot|
The alien was a traditional bug eyed monster with green warty skin. It had enormous fangs jutting from its upper lip. They hung half way down its chest and terminated in fearsome points. They bulged so large in its jaw that it couldn't quite close its mouth and great gobbets of whatever it used for saliva trickled down the fangs and fell hissing to the floor. Puffs of smoke erupted as they landed on the carpet.
"I dribble," it roared, spitting foam everywhere, "therefore I drabble."
And as I watched in amazement, it drabbled in every room in the house.
John cut a wedge of lemon and squeezed it over the salmon steak on his plate. It was the largest fish he had ever caught. It would last for ages.
Someone knocked on the door. Damn!
A uniformed official stood there clutching a complex beeping apparatus. He pushed past John and went into the kitchen. The beeps became a solid whine and the official opened the fridge.
"Aha!" he said. He groped inside the salmon and retrieved a small silicon chip. "Another successful tracking. John Smith, you are under arrest for salmon poaching."
Caught by fish and chips, thought John.
In an Office
The photocopier was bored and lonely. All day long it had done nothing except copy a particularly dull memorandum.
In an attempt to relieve the tedium of its existence, it decided to shuffle its sorting trays up and down as noisily as possible.
Clank, clank, clank; all the way up. Clonk, clonk, clonk; all the way down. Hour after hour. Clank, clank. Clonk, clonk.
"For heavens sake shut up!" shrieked one of the workers, driven to distraction. A finger lunged for the switch, and as everything went dark, deep inside itself the photocopier smiled. At last someone had noticed it.
It Crept in the Crypt
John could not believe his eyes. In the middle of the crypt lay a terrible monster covered with cockroaches. The insects had eaten the softer, tastier portions of the monster and its empty eye sockets stared sightlessly.
As the sound of John's footsteps rang through the crypt the monster sat up in the middle of the cockroach swarm.
"Who's there?" it bellowed angrily.
It grabbed a handful of cockroaches and rammed them firmly into each eye socket. Feelers waved curiously from the holes as it got up and staggered towards John.
He turned and ran from the bug eyed monster.
The holy father shuffled his notes and looked out at the hopeful faces staring up at him.
"Now that you have ended your training," he said, "and you are about to go out and spread the word of God among the heathen, there remains only one more thing for you to learn. You cannot convert the unbelievers until your body language itself tells the world of your faith. Correct posture is vital."
With the support of a friend the holy father demonstrated his meaning, and a buzz of excitement filled the room as all the eager missionaries assumed the position.
John was getting the hang of the game now. You had to time things just right to kill as many aliens as possible. The computer was unforgiving. One mistake and you were dead.
The computer was getting the hang of the game now. You had to time things just right to let the player kill as many aliens as possible. But you had to be unforgiving. One mistake by the player and he was dead.
John looked forward to killing aliens. The computer looked forward to killing John. Computer games are metaphors for life on both sides of the screen.
The alien spread its tentacles and sang a Wagnerian aria. The troops surrounding its flying saucer listened in awe as the perfect notes floated over them. When it finished, they burst into spontaneous applause. The alien bowed slightly and cleared its throat. Then it began to sing a selection of songs by Schubert.
Unfortunately the recital was interrupted by the arrival of the General, who was not a music lover. He strode up to the alien and growled, "What is going on here?"
The alien stopped singing, stared at the General and smiled.
"Take me to your lieder," it demanded.
(The pun in this one is so obvious that I simply can't believe I am the first person to think of it. If any of you are aware of any previous incarnations of it, please let me know.)
On 11th August 2005, about 8 years after I wrote this drabble, I received the following email from Rivka Weinberg:
You said (here:
John stared angrily at the regular geometric patterns spread all over the field. His crop was completely ruined, the stalks flattened and split, pressed down into huge circles and spirals.
There had been no warning - John had slept though the whole thing and when he awoke this morning, there they were as far as the eye could see.
This sort of thing had been going on ever since the economy collapsed and the government had started selling military secrets to anyone who asked in order to pay for the social security.
Damn those village kids and their stealth motor bikes.
The greasy plates slid into the scummy water. John scrubbed, and remnants of chili stained the water red.
Eventually he finished and reached to pull the plug. But before he could let the water drain away, more dirty plates arrived and he howled with frustration. He had been washing dishes for more than five thousand years and it would never end. So many dishes, such wrinkled fingers with the split white skin sagging. As fast as he cleaned the plates people removed them, ate chili con carne and dropped them back to be washed.
Washing up is an infinite loop.
The water was drained, and the tea towels were folded neatly on the heated towel rail. The greasy remnants of the chili con carne had been removed from the plates and the sink was well scrubbed. Peter Smith turned up, smiling from ear to ear. "Oh," he said in well simulated surprise, "have you finished? Have I arrived too late again? My wife says it is my major talent." He sounded very proud of himself.
"No, no," murmured John as he drove a carving knife deep into Peter's chest. "Think nothing of it. You are merely the late Mr Smith."
Man in the Moon
The moon loomed in the sky with a fat, complacent face. The man in the moon looked down on the planet beneath as he had for centuries past. John settled himself against a rock and stared up, looking the moon directly between the eyes. He raised a can of beer in an ironic toast.
"Lunatics Rule OK," he said, and drank deeply. "What do you really think of it all down here?"
The beer was smooth and cool and the moon was fat and yellow. John was flying high, happy and smiling.
The man in the moon winked an eye.
The Revolting Crew
The mighty spaceship ploughed through the void between the stars. The crew were near to mutiny and the captain was deep in angry conversation with the artificial intelligence in charge of supplies.
"What happened?" he demanded. "Come on Marie, you stupid machine. How could you allow such a situation to arise? How did you expect us to travel five hundred light years with no toilet paper?"
"What is it to me?" said Marie haughtily. "I have no need for toilet paper."
The captain buried his head in his hands. "What am I going do?"
"Let them use cake," said Marie.
Feeling an urgent pressure in his bladder, John went into the toilet and unzipped. He stood staring idly into the middle distance while nature took its course.
Then his mobile phone rang!
Cursing, John directed the stream with his left hand while his right hand groped in his jacket pocket. Just as he grasped the phone and pressed the answer button, he became depressingly aware of a warm wetness all down his leg. His left hand had lost its concentration in the crisis and his trousers were soaked.
"Bastard!", he yelled.
"I beg your pardon?" said his manager's frosty voice.
The explorers of the star system had named the twelve planets after the months of the terrestrial year. Only March, the third planet from the sun, was inhabitable.
John picked up his towel and set off for a day at the beach. The planet's five moons were clearly visible even in the daytime, and the sun was hot. He soon fell asleep.
He awoke with the sea lapping around him. He was isolated from the mainland and the tide was rising. He was drowning, choking as the sea invaded his lungs. His last thought was "Beware the tides of March."
John checked the house carefully. Nobody was around. Lady Chatterley was away, presumably visiting the gamekeeper. The house was empty. John smashed a window, climbed in and began to explore.
He found the bathroom. It was a vision of luxury, gold plated taps on the bath, perfumed bath salts in bottles. He sniffed his armpits - they were rank and revolting. He turned on the hot tap and poured in the contents of various jars. The water foamed. He took off his clothes and climbed into the steaming bath.
Soon he was singing as he scrubbed himself with Lady Chatterley's Loofah.
John thrust his finger into his left nostril and explored. Almost immediately he found a lovely specimen. He pulled his finger out slowly, so as not to lose his prize. It perched on his fingertip; green, slimy and sticky. John strung it backwards and forwards between his finger and thumb, amazed at how far it stretched. Finally, tiring of the game, he wiped it on his jeans and flicked it away. It landed on the floor and began to grow. Horrified, John watched it transform into a monster that lurched threateningly towards him. John turned and fled from the bogeyman.