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We were asked to write some drabbles -- short stories of exactly 100 words, not counting the title. I've written quite a lot of drabbles over the years. Here are some of my favourites. My drabbles tend towards the humorous, because that is the way my mind works. But drabbles don't have to be funny, they only have to tell a story. In many ways, I suspect that a serious drabble is harder to write than a humorous one...


Modern Technology

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.

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.

Trade Secrets

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 stared angrily at the regular geometric patterns that covered 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.

Third Planet

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 habitable.

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 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.


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," suggested Marie.


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