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Tuzilla  (Level: 144.6 - Posts: 3839)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 8:51 PM


Here are the short stories for the first installment of "Let's Write a Short Story". Read them and vote for your favorite by posting at the bottom of this thread. The names of the authors will be revealed in a few days when the winner is declared.

Story #1

Far too late home from the pub again.
Wife must be well abed by now.
Stopped round the corner holding breath to get rid of hiccups.
Tip-toed across lawn to avoid noise of gravel path.
Waited for car lights to illuminate keyhole, so no scraping around with key.
Slowly, oh so slowly, edged front door open, then closed behind me.
No startling noise of light switches allowed.
Carefully took off shoes in dark.
Tip-toed up stairs avoiding the one creaky step.
Into bedroom, wife peacefully asleep.
Into spare bedroom.
Stripped with accompanying barmaid.
Then I stepped on the cat.

Story #2

I never should have had that tenth shot of tequila. Come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't have had numbers three through nine either, especially on a week night. Waking up (or maybe I was still asleep), it was hard to walk to the bathroom, what with the room tilting and all, and that d*** marching band playing in my head! Then I stepped on the cat. After tending to the scratches on my legs, I got in the shower. I never realized how LOUD water could be. Afterward, looking at my bleeding eyes, "Maybe I need a new mirror", I thought, considering how blurry and distorted my reflection was. Shaving was an adventure. After tending to the minefield I created on my face, I got dressed and walked out the door to go to work. Then I remembered why I had those ten shots last night: I was still on vacation. I fell back into my hotel bed, when one important thought occurred to me: "Where the h*** did that cat come from"?

Story #3

It was a frosty morning when the boss told me to get the diesel powered caterpillar with the 21,760 hp industrial gas turbine and start to get the frozen tundra of Greenland's Navy observatory base, level for the new building. It was hard to get it started in the 30 below weather with my frost bitten fingers protruding through the more holey than righteous gloves the boss had given me. So I heated the engine with the monster electric blanket and finally was able to get it to chug. While waiting for a smoother purr, I revved and slowed the fuel injectors. The boss arrived in front of me and gave me a dressing down for being slow and not knowing what I was doing. He climbed onto the front blade and gave me the finger and told me that if I didn’t get a move on, RIGHT THEN, I would have 4:00 AM Duty for the rest of my life. IT WAS THEN I STEPPED ON THE CAT!

Story #4

I thought stepping on the dog was bad, then I stepped on the cat.

Tuzilla  (Level: 144.6 - Posts: 3839)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 8:52 PM

Story #5

Then I stepped on the cat. Or rather the cat's tail. The vicious little monster turned into a hissing scratching biting ball of fur attacking my leg for all it was worth.

It was clearly possessed. The dog looked on horrified wondering why the cat was such a badly-behaved obnoxious creature.

After all, the dog regularly got his trail trodden on and never complained or barked a word of reproach. He decided to hide behind the sofa in case the cat thought it would have a go at him.

Eventually I managed to shake the cat off and sent it hurtling across the room where it collided with a table and promptly sent a couple of ornaments smashing on the floor.

I groaned. Life was so unfair sometimes.

The cat picked itself up and looked haughtily at me.

'Don't tread on my tail again,' it said. And then stalked off.

A talking cat. A TALKING cat??

I sat down with a thump and a sore leg. Here I was doing a favor for some friends by house-sitting and looking after their cat and their dog while they went off on some extended vacation.

Had they told me their cat talked? No.

I looked at the dog expecting him to say something.

"Do you talk too?" It seemed worth the question.

"Not very often," he answered. "The cat isn't really very friendly."

I walked over to the drinks cabinet. It was a good thing I hadn't thrown the cat in that direction.

I selected a fine single malt whisky, and poured a very large measure. This was only the first day.

Story #6

Then I stepped on the cat on my way to the kitchen. I needed a glass of water, I needed a moment to think about what had happened. The cat needs feeding, must feed the cat, then I can think about what has just happened. I know the lights outside are still glowing, I hear the cars driving by, nothing has changed outside. Here, here in this place, things are somewhat different now.

The cold was a problem, is always an issue at times. Shame that it was a really cold day. On that day I hoped to see the sun, find some warmth, feel something. Looking back now I know I cannot forget the first thing I heard….

‘The Mona Lisa has no smile’

Story #7

I’m a killer. Well, assassin, to be precise. After years on the job, I decided to retire, settle down, and try to live a normal life. Why, you ask? Because of Madeline.
Madeline was everything I wanted in my life. She was polite, refined, quiet, well-educated, a world traveler, and simply lovely.
Everything in our relationship was going along quite wonderfully until I met her father. He was ex-military and suspicious as h*** of me. Maybe he could sense my past despite my banal new identity as a stock broker. At any rate, red flags went up and Morgan knew something was up. I don’t know exactly what her father said to her, but I can guess. “No good.” “Bad influence.” “Violent tendencies.” “Not a suitable husband.” Any of a number of unpleasant descriptions.
Whatever it was, it sank into her consciousness and took root. Madeline started peppering me with questions, relentless in her new-found desire to know more about my past, which had, up to that point, remained safely murky. I thought I’d covered my a** successfully, but there must be something about my personality that telegraphs whatever dark part of my mind that allowed me to be so good at my job. Something that caused Madeline to be thoroughly wary of my lack of details about my past.
I thought I could convince her that her father was wrong, that I didn’t have some sort of horrible past or violent streak. I was convinced I could persuade her, but in the midst of another round of protestations of my supposed darker half, it happened. I said, “I don’t know what you’re worried about, Madeline. I wouldn’t even hurt a fly.” Then I stepped on the cat.
The image of her stricken face flashes behind my eyes and I wonder for the hundredth time what I could have done or said that would have changed things. I slowly let out a long breath to slow my heart beat, wipe Madeline, her father, and the cat from my mind, and place the crosshairs squarely over the head of the man emerging from the building across the street.

Tuzilla  (Level: 144.6 - Posts: 3839)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 8:52 PM

Story #8

Dining on Mars

“…then I stepped on the cat!”
Eric, my fiancé chuckles politely. I bite my lower lip to suppress a giggle as my mother rolls her eyes heavenwards in exaggerated exasperation. Dad is in rare form, truly relishing the opportunity to unleash his entire repertoire upon virgin ears. I feel for Eric. My father’s anecdotes are groan- worthy at best. Cheesy jokes aside, Eric’s first meeting with my family seems to be going smoothly, minus one awkward detail.
My sister has remained silent the entire evening, utterly transfixed by the plate of food in front of her. I try not to watch her methodically dissecting a slab of lukewarm roast beef. Despite my best efforts, my gaze continually finds its way back to her plate, much in the same way one might inadvertently slow down to take in a car wreck on the side of the road. Over the course of the meal, her dinner has grown to resemble a pile of soggy parade confetti.
“Have you two set a date yet?” My mother’s eyes sparkle with anticipation.
“We haven’t nailed down any specifics yet, but we were thinking sometime in the fall, September maybe.”
“That’s over a year from now.” Mom gives a quick sideways glance at my sister. “Are you sure you want to wait that long?” The unspoken implications of her question cast a pall over the evening’s formerly celebratory tone.
Of course I want my sister to be a part of my wedding. My sister, not this feral beast that has slowly consumed her, body and soul, over the years. I have tried, countless times, to envision this day as the magical moment that I once dreamt of as a little girl. But instead of picturing Eric waiting at the altar as my proud father escorts me down the aisle, I see a scarecrow struggling to bear the weight of my train. I see it collapsing under that weight, a tangled heap of straw and taffeta.
“So, Eric, has Josie shared her deep dark secret with you yet?” My father winks at me. “You’ll go to sleep with a princess, and wake up with a troll.”
“Daddy!” I give him a playful kick under the table.
This evening’s conversation has been kept deliberately light. It’s no comfortable matter sharing your dinner table with death. Living with it has taken a visible toll on my parents. It’s evident in their strained smiles, in the appearance of new worry lines around their eyes, in the abundance of greenery threatening to overtake the house. Some women, when distressed, buy shoes. My mother buys house plants. Perhaps she finds solace in the fact that they can’t refuse to be nurtured, that they won’t spit her offerings of water and Miracle Gro back in her face.
Out of nowhere, a strange, guttural rasping escapes from my sister’s chest. Convulsing violently, she resembles a demented marionette. As her parchment paper lips spread into a pained grimace, I realize she is laughing, or rather cackling.
“Then I stepped on the cat!” She is not addressing us, but the plate of food in front of her. She might as well be dining on Mars.

Story #9

It had been an exciting and anxious two months. We had taken on the impossible: surprising my mother for her birthday. My mother, always a force to consider with trepidation, often boasted of never having been surprised. As children, we were sure she had eyes behind her head and ears that heard anything within a mile. As adults, we learned she had devious methods of finding things out in “innocent” conversation.

My daughter, then maybe five…dubbed the 40-year-old-midget by my brother for her prodigious vocabulary and understanding…was well aware of the secret and I never had to worry that my mother would catch her off-guard. One of my sisters was another story. She was always mom’s easy mark for being dupped into saying something she didn’t want to. Often, she would say, “But she already knew!” when in trouble with us for “spilling the beans”.

Over the weeks, the conversation often revolved around our fears that mom would, indeed, find out before the occasion. I’m sure the expression only came up once, because we had many other less charming ways of putting it, but it was said that my sister would probably “let the cat out of the bag”.

This sister dropped by a couple days before the occasion to drop off some things for the party. We chatted, and as she was leaving, my daughter asked as we said goodbye: “Did you let the cat out of the bag?”

Then I stepped on the cat.

Story #10
Oooo! I hope this isn't too long and that I made it in under the deadline ...

I'm probably the most inept night watchman on the planet. My "office" is a windowless room with seven flickering computer monitors. The scene on each monitor flits from one camera view to another displaying the inside and the outside of the printing facility where I work. I took this job because I need to finish my PhD dissertation. I've gotta pay the rent somehow, and this job gives me lots of quiet down time for writing.

Well ... I'm allegedly writing my thesis during the quiet time. I'm actually accruing a lot of Sploofus points every night playing WordRounds, taking quizzes and scritching the ears of Red Smiley, the fat orange cat who rules the administrative wing.

Although it's often a 24 hour operation, the plant shut down tonight after finishing a long print run. It's a little eerie and a lotta spooky in the plant with the lights turned down around printing presses so large that they're bigger than my first apartment. So, I try to hang out a lot in the office and don't spend much time rambling the plant. From time to time, however, the call of nature requires me to leave my cozy office and venture to the ladies room across the plant.

I strapped on what my boss calls a 'side-arm' feeling completely ridiculous because no one has actually shown me how to use it. I'm pretty sure that it is loaded, but I'm not sure how to tell. Sully, my boss who used to be an ex-con if not a current-con said, "It's easy. Just like a camera. Point and shoot."

So, I launch myself out the door doing my best night watchman strut just in case I'm picked up on one of the cameras. Red Smiley, of course, is strutting along beside me rubbing every doorway along the wall and looking out over the factory floor in case something edible should show up.

It was then that I heard a loud "BANG" and the sound like hubcap spinning around on the cement floor. This is not a noise I expected to hear, and it went on for several seconds before ending in an ominous silence. A real night watchman -- Sully for example -- would have gone to investigate. I, on the other hand, started creeping back toward the office and prepared to call 911.

And then, I stepped on the cat.

The cat howled with the sound of a thousand buzz saws. I have to say that my ankle felt like a thousand buzz saws were clawing through it as the cat tried to go THROUGH me rather than around me to safety. My resulting howling sounded like the raving ululations of a jihad and lo, and behold -- the sidearm WAS loaded. I discovered this when I found the gun in my hand and heard the ricochets of bullets slamming into walls and equipment everywhere.

The next sound I heard in the semi darkness was that of scurrying feet, slamming doors and sirens. And the rest is history. I made national news for defending the plant and even appeared on Oprah and the Late Show. My thesis advisor extended my deadline. My boss gave me a raise. Red Smiley gives me a wide berth these days, but still hangs around to get his ears scritched.

And now, to see who is above me on the All-Time-Leaderboard. Ah yes. Oogie54. A sitting duck. Bwahahahahahaaaaaa!

Koota  (Level: 187.3 - Posts: 2114)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 9:33 PM

Bravo! Bravo! These are all hilarious! I was gonna vote, but I forgot which number it is ... BBL.

Koota  (Level: 187.3 - Posts: 2114)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 9:35 PM


But let me know if you're interested in the runners up.

Goddess28  (Level: 92.6 - Posts: 5235)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 9:44 PM

Number 5, but I also want to acknowledg number 10...well done.

Oogie54  (Level: 209.3 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 9:48 PM

I'll go with number ten, not because of the gratuitous mention either

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 9:55 PM

Story #3.

But hard to choose - I enjoyed them all.

Garrybl  (Level: 291.5 - Posts: 6770)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 10:24 PM

two for me (or was that mine?)

Bbear  (Level: 166.9 - Posts: 2297)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 10:40 PM

Hubbie and I liked 5 (so is that 2 votes?).

Monkeynips13  (Level: 21.5 - Posts: 647)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 10:47 PM


I enjoyed every sumission, but this one left me truly intrigued. Well done everyone

Phred  (Level: 77.0 - Posts: 11)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 11:01 PM

#4. What more needs to be said ?

Bradd  (Level: 202.9 - Posts: 43)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 11:11 PM

There's something about #4...

Crazy4games  (Level: 124.7 - Posts: 1019)
Sun, 1st Mar '09 11:51 PM

These are all great. A tough decision, really, but I'm voting for # 7.

Well Done!

Tuzilla  (Level: 144.6 - Posts: 3839)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 9:12 AM

Thanks for all of the votes. I'll this go for a day or so, then we'll tally it up.

Luvnmexsun  (Level: 147.4 - Posts: 711)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 10:40 AM

Maybe a top three vote? I can't decide...but I say #10.

Well done all!


Salzypat  (Level: 161.3 - Posts: 5414)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 11:03 AM

I liked them all but No. 3 was my favorite. I enjoyed the play on the phrase 'Stepped on the cat." It was the only one, I believe, that didn't use cat in the sense of the furry critter.

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2500)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 11:06 AM

I would like to vote against all of them except number four.

Francesann  (Level: 55.5 - Posts: 124)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 12:09 PM

My vote goes for # 6 - I would like to have read more

Ladyvol  (Level: 212.1 - Posts: 5648)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 4:12 PM

I can't decided between numbers 4 and 6....can one vote be mine and the other my hubby's? Too much stepping on cats here....

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 7:59 PM

#1 is my favorite!

Knerd  (Level: 99.0 - Posts: 1139)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 8:15 PM

These are all so wonderful and creative - I can't choose! I just wanted to say to the people who wrote these stories and to Tuzilla well done!

Headylamar  (Level: 154.1 - Posts: 740)
Mon, 2nd Mar '09 10:41 PM

Good job everyone! My vote goes to #3.

Foogs  (Level: 280.1 - Posts: 848)
Tue, 3rd Mar '09 8:21 AM

#3 with a bump.

Wordster  (Level: 166.7 - Posts: 936)
Tue, 3rd Mar '09 3:33 PM

All of them were good. I vote 8 closely followed by 5.

Budwiseguy  (Level: 73.9 - Posts: 8)
Tue, 3rd Mar '09 4:42 PM

#10...way funny

Domester  (Level: 98.6 - Posts: 59)
Tue, 3rd Mar '09 9:06 PM

Wow! These are all so good, it is almost unfair to pick. I guess I will go with 3, but it is a close call.

Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Wed, 4th Mar '09 12:19 AM

You can never step on too many cats.

Sorry I missed the vote, they're all good but #1 was my pick.

Congrats, Jim, well done all!

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