I’m 6 years old and have heard of the titanic but I don’t know what it is. What is it?
I hate to do this, sport, but some really bad information is about to come your way. Have you ever been on a ship before? Or, like, do you know someone with a boat? You do? Great! Imagine if that boat crashed into something and sank. That’d suck, right? You wouldn’t be able to ride on the boat anymore because it’d be underwater. Yes, you could totally still hang out on the boat if it was also a submarine but I’m just talking about a normal boat here. Pay attention.
Now The Titanic is like if you imagine that instead of a little dingy the boat is probably about a thousand times bigger and when it sinks people can’t get to land. Since conditions are so terrible the passengers don’t even drown when submerged in water, the frigid abyss of the open sea will slowly cause them to freeze until they agonisingly die. Around two thousand people did, actually.
Oh, you haven’t had death explained to you yet? I… gosh… you’ve opened up a can of worms, kid. Immediately after we’re done I’m recommending your parents book you in to a couple sessions of counselling. The worst thing that could happen is that you get a little afraid of the sea. You shouldn’t, The Titanic was a bit rare in that safety checks that are standard today weren’t considered as necessary. They didn’t test the ship out a lot before taking on passengers and there weren’t nearly enough lifeboats. If anything you should be more scared about lazy health and safety officials or a lack of stringent regulations; someone not doing their job properly in that profession could kill you every day.
No, gosh, stop crying, you’ll be alright. I mean, you like fish, right? They come from the sea! Have you had fish fingers? Yeah? You know, Captain Birdseye? No, Captain Birdseye wasn’t the Captain of The Titanic; that was Captain Edward Smith. Where’s he now? Well… Uh, we don’t know, actually. His body was never recovered.
You know, you’re asking some really difficult questions here.
It’d be easy for me to disregard everything you’re saying and sugar-coat the answers, but the story of the titanic is truly depressing and grandly important. It’s about not overextending your reach and being careful to consider every possibility or else something could go horribly wrong. To try and protect you from the reality of this tale is to do you a disservice and it’s important to be aware of humanity’s past mistakes so that as a species we know better than to screw up if we’re in a position of responsibility.
You don’t want a job with responsibility? I can understand that. I recommend spending a few years as a student.
“It’s not that I hate the idea of a man shielding himself from a torrent of white powder with an umbrella, it’s that we’ve been using the same idea to sell dandruff shampoo for over 30 years, where’s your sense of passion for your work? Where’s that same glisten in your eye from your first day pitching jingles for botted water?
“The ad is completely different, now, terry”
“It’s not completely different, the only change is that last time it wasn’t an umbrella he was protecting himself with, he was using a bouquet of flowers to symbolise the new spring fragrance collection and the time before that he was literally shielding himself with a suit of armour and a massive shield”
“Say what you want about that ad campaign, but you can’t deny the sales boost we saw on St.George’s day, anyway, if you can come up with a way to signify that you can protect yourself from dandruff using our shampoo without combining the overwrought metaphor of an avalanche and a man avoiding being encased in a coffin of snow by dispatching it with any method of easily explainable and obvious choice of item, then be my guest, pitch it and we’ll do that instead”
Terry picked up the phone and scheduled a delivery of fake snow and umbrellas for next week.
City rage as man-fan flaunts naughty bumper
Stockport resident Sarah Smith (39) has been arrested for driving a car emblazoned with an anti Man-City slogan. Police responded to complaints that the hate-monger was circling the Eastlands prominently displaying a terrible message for city fans. The sticker’s words, too terrible to repeat, offended match day attendees to the point where police were called to the scene.
Sarah now faces a maximum fine of £1000 and 6 months in prison; her Husband Graham (40), a Man-City fan himself, calls the situation “regrettable” but adds: “that’s just the way she’s always been”. Those offended directly by the offensive language have called for stricter punishment, Team Manager Roberto Mancini has held a press conference today where he berated the woman for an hour and a half.
Alternatives to the horrible message have been mandated by her legal defense for now. The current replacement reads: “Everyone should play a nice game and get along “, though other suggestions such as “I sure do love football regardless of who’s playing” and “people who play sports sure are handsome” were offered.
Lent is like a game show where you don’t have to answer any questions and there’s no prize at the end. You’re not even on camera for most of the time and the television company doesn’t pay your travel expenses. Phillip Schofield sits you down in front of a mildly empty audience and tells you that you’re not allowed to eat any chocolate. Then you have to wait.
Assuming you don’t stand up at any point, go to the shops and buy a mint aero bar, you’ve successfully won the game show and you can tell everyone at your office how glamorous it was. They’ll probably ask when it’s televised and you’ll say you didn’t really think to ask. Then they’ll go back to what they were doing before without ever giving it another thought.
Now that Lent has lost a lot of its religious connotations it might as well just be a yearly celebration of low stakes gambling and self imposed masochism. When you inevitably fail to keep up with your sacrifice, usually just from forgetfulness and not from any lack of willpower, the only real loss is your ability to be smug for a little while after. As a huge proponent of being smug I’ve taken the opportunity to cut out all needless bodily toxins like caffeine and… well not booze, obviously.
Without any kind of higher power bearing down on you; lent is just you seeing if you can do without something. If you can; it obviously wasn’t a big enough part of your character, if you can’t; well perhaps you could try next year?
I propose a high stakes Lent where every member of the world’s population has their tongue removed for the charity of their choice and they’re only allowed to get it back if they can go a full 40 days without trying to communicate using hand signals. I’m sure this would lead to a massive rise in the planet’s mutes, but whoever managed to complete the task would be able to brag about it without any interruption from someone with more important topics.
100 Word Fiction 5
It’s too much work. Wrecking a reasonably nice girl in order to make her more suitable to my tastes just isn’t worth the effort. Ideally I’d love to pick up a lady that’s already been pre-made cynical and jaded, but they’ll always pass me by in favour of somebody less complicated. I wish I could settle and appreciate her boring interests and lack of reverence for quality film or music; we’d go jogging on Saturday afternoons and re-watch the same six romantic comedies. There’s just nothing like a person you can converse with about how unhappy you both are together.
100 Word Fiction 4
There’s no clearly definitive start; it spreads differently in everyone and isn’t always apparent until testing, but the majority of cases began showing up two months ago. After widespread examinations on the world’s population we can be almost certain: Everyone developed cancer.
Some cases aren’t readily dangerous, but I’ve waved away patients in remission just to put them back in a bed next check-up. We’ve lost most of the elderly already. Mine began in my hip and I’m told there’s now a mass in my lungs.
I can offer no consolation. There is no easy answer.
Prepare for the worst.
100 Word Fiction 3
I dated an artist when I was 16. All through the school year she worked on her final piece. I would sit with her in free periods and watch while she made new stencils out of sponge and card. Her work is still displayed prominently in the library.
I was with another artist a year after. I’d take the train for an hour just to talk about her influences. Videos of her singing reach thousands of viewers.
I hope to see the day
a girl might feel the same
crippling regret when they wonder
why they left the published author.
A Chandleresque detective story about a Himalayan fertility drug
She sauntered into my office with legs like they were on sale by the mile. Before she opened her mouth I knew this Fifth Avenue dame had a case for me. She cast an eyeball around my office and squinted. I’d left my venetian blinds wide open. She asked:
“This the man I need to see?”.
Her accent was all over the eastern seaboard and her clothes were bringing the flapper movement back like a catapulted boomerang. I wished I’d cleaned up before she came in. I wished I’d cleaned up any day at all but the job will always come first. I took a smoke from the pack in my pocket and told her:
“That depends what for, doll.”
I motioned she should take a seat on the other side of my desk and she complied, letting a little slack out of her dress as she lowered herself down and crossed her legs over. She took a cigarette and I leant over the table to light it as I charred my own.
“It’s my brother” she says as she wrings her hands along the top of her purse. “He’s in with a bad crowd and they ain’t on the up an’ up. We was supposed ta’ meet this afternoon but he bailed on me. I haven’t seen him since Tuesday. I’m worried.”
I took a long inhale. This type of news isn’t uncommon and it’s likely that the kid’s in a lot of trouble. I did my best to not lead this bearcat onto my line of thought. “Ma’am, I could beat gums all day but I know what the score is. I’ll take a hundred dollars from you now and another 50 when the case is over, you turn around, give that money to my secretary Mrs.Chandler when we’re done here and I’ll handle the investigating. First, what’s his name, where does he hang out and who does he know, and I don’t want the brush off here, all this means you get your buck’s worth.”
“Joey, Joey Fontaine and he did business at the auto parts shop. I don’t know his people but he mentioned a guy who’s a dead looker for Fred MacMurray.” She said with an increasing quiver in her throat.
“I marked it, darling, now you leave it here and this’ll all be over soon”.
There are four auto parts shops this side of town. I should have been more specific in my line of questioning. The first didn’t know a Joey Fontaine, the second didn’t either and the third was closed for lunch. I can only hope that the last place brought their own. I saunter up to the counter and ask the kid there about Joey.
He pauses, collects himself and shouts “Hey, Paulie, we got a guy here askin’ around for Joey, what do I tell ‘em?”
A rotund man walks out of a corner office wringing his hands clean of mechanical grease. He laughs “You tell him we ain’t never heard of a Joey and you sit your five dollar ass down before I make change”.
He’s visibly angry. I met my mark.
I tell him “I’m no beat-cop; I ain’t lookin’ to make trouble for you. I just know a lady who lost her brother. He’s in some bad stuff with some bad people and I wondered if you know about it.” This isn’t exactly a cup of camomile tea for the large man. He points a finger and yells “You come into my store, togged to the bricks and ask if I’m up to no good? You haven’t even taken your hat off”.
A bat flies from the now open office door. This was unexpected for me but apparently exactly the opposite of what the rounded man wanted. He let out a continuous stream of “No”s as he swiped at the ceiling trying to catch the thing. I ask “Have I come in at the wrong time?” The kid tells me “Nah, we just got the shipment of Yarsagumba in and not all of it was ready yet”.
The man stops dead in his tracks, stomps over to the kid and smacks him over the head so hard his nose hits the counter and lets out a horrifying crack. The kid is in pain and runs into the next room attempting to block off a streaming rush of claret.
“You heard none of that” the man says.
I tell him “I’m afraid I did, and I might not be the last person to hear it today if I don’t find out what happened to Joey”.