Strap, Navy, Onion

A short piece incorporating three random words, written in 20 minutes.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Wiping away the tears under an orange sky. A peach-orange hue mixed with fog, chemicals and city lights. The knife pushed into the onions sending up its own natural recipe of tear gas. One wrinkled hand picked up the cutting board and another used the knife to slide the chopped pieces into a pot.

Sizzling and hissing, the onions surrendered with a delicious smell.

BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. The hands dropped the knife. The ships guns were starting their one-way messages. Boom. Boom. Boom. This time more distant, another ship in the fleet reiterating the firsts statement.

Picking up a potato, the hands deftly maneuvered the root vegetable into little starch squares. After each one, the hands picked up the cutting board and slid the pieces into the pot, adding to the onions smell.

After the potatoes came the carrots. The hands cut little circles, roughly the size of the squares and dropped them into the pot. Halfway through, a message from the enemy came through and rocked the ship back and forth. The hands dropped everything and grabbed a leather strap fastened to a steal handle on the kitchen wall.

The hands and strap swayed with the movement of the ship, both attempting to stay upright. It was only water that had been disturbed but the waves let the ship know it wasn’t pleased. The hands grabbed at the knife and carrot, now working slower, a little shakier.

A bead of sweat dropped onto the cutting board, a reminder. The hands grabbed a shaker of salt and sprinkled it into the pot.

Another message was sent from the enemy on shore, this time a BOOM. The ship’s lights turned red and the hands, fumbling for the strap, found themselves grasping for something as they slid on the floor, back and forth. Steadier, the hands pushed of the ground and shaking, attempted to pick up the knife. Realization. The knife set down, the hands grabbed the salt and a wooden spoon, stirring in salt with the other vegetables.

One hand fumbled for something inside a shirt. A necklace made of wooden beads all cascading down on a fishing line that ended in a lower case “t”. The other hand wiped sweat from a brow and scratched a temple.

“Who had cooked the last supper? Were they aware of the impending doom forecasted for later that evening? Were their signs?”

The pot steamed and the hands relaxed, back to their work.

Potato, Elephant, Rocket

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars. Let me see if…Shit what’s the rest of it? Something about Jupiter and Mars.

“Sir, the enemy is approaching.”

“Don’t charge the elements until you see the expressions on their faces.” I thought that sounded good, strong, confident.

“Sir, that’s pretty close sir.”

“Exactly.” More confidence and strength.

“Sir, we can use our new rockets to fire at them at their current distance, sir.”

“Yes, but we have nothing to fire at them but potatoes and cans of soup.”

“I think that would hurt, sir, especially at the speed and force with which we can fire them. Canned soup at that speed is basically a cannon ball.”

“I see your thinking private, but we need that food. If all we do is bruise a few of their men, we’ll also be feeding them. I don’t know about you, but if I’m starving, I’m not above digging a spud out of the orbital socket of a dead man’s skull. What about you private?”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“I said, would you dig a potato out of a dead man’s skull if you were hungry enough?”

“I suppose so, sir.”

“Well private, I suppose the enemy would not be above such behavior either.” I tapped a cigarette on my gloved wrist.

“Light.”

“Here you go, sir”

CLINK, HISS.

I took a thoughtful drag and let the smoke come out with my next words.

“What do you think about pancakes private.”

“Pancakes, sir?”

“PANCAKES! Pillow-y spheres dripping with melted butter and sweet maple syrup. What do you think of that.”

The private looked up at the sky, as if the clouds would fall down onto a plate and the heavens would rain down syrup.

“That sounds nice, sir.”

“Indeed, private, indeed.”

ZIP, ZIP, SPLOOSH.

The elephant reared back, like the grand finale at a barnum and bailey’s circus act. I fell from my saddle to the rear of the elephant.

My cigarette fell, just a foot from me, I reached, pinching it between two fingers. My head, suddenly hot. Everything went dark and a smell, an ungodly smell. I could hear faint voices. Was my spirit leaving my body?

“huh, ooor eeeaaad tuck eeeefaant aaasss!”

What was he saying? It was getting hard to focus. I was getting sleepy. Time for those pancakes from the sky.

“I served with General Culos, he was a confident and strong man. I think about him everyday. So let this memorial be a reminder to all of us that the enemy is not always in front of you. It can come at any moment from behind–from a behind.”

There in the town square, where General Gustavos Peditos Culos was born and raised, was erected a statue of an elephant standing, trunk saluting the sky and the torso of a man, head lost in the anus of the pachyderm, with the uniform, patches and medals of the town hero.

Regular, Tiresome, Popcorn

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by https://wordcounter.net/random-word-generator

A helicopter flew above them, its blades chopping at the air. Below the canopy of the jungle the two of them sat in their foxhole.

Jerry smoked a cigarette and looked at Miles who was alert and canning the jungle in front of them. The sounds of the helicopter faded leaving only the occasional rustling, lonely sqwuak and, thank god (or whatever was up there) nothing else.

Jerry broke the silence. “Why do they call the enemy Jerry?”

Miles ignored him, so Jerry continued.

“I mean, that’s my name and I’m already out here in the shit taking fire for some rich politicians spoiled son and they have the nerve to call the enemy Jerry.”

“What are you talking about?” Said Miles. “That’s what they allies called the German’s in World War 2. Nobody’s saying that now. Relax, man. And put out that cigarette, Jerry will smell it and be on us like green on leaves.”

“They can’t smell shit. They probably in the same position, scared out of their minds–wait, did you just call them Jerry?

Miles laughed. “But seriously, put it out man, they’re sneaky.”

Jerry put out his cigarette and grabbed his rifle, taking a position next to Miles.

“Do you know how out of my mind I am right now?” Said Jerry.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m sitting out here in the middle of a country I hadn’t even heard of until a few months ago, with a guy I hadn’t met until a few months ago with my face painted in black and green sitting in a deep mud puddle. That’s far out, man.”

“Ditto,” Said Miles.

“Is that normal? Just two regular guys sitting out here aiming loaded weapons at nothing?”

“I know man.” Said Miles. “But you better keep that talk between us, it’s tiresome to everyone else.”

Jerry smacked at a mosquito on his arm.

“If Jerry doesn’t kill us, these fuckin’ mosquitos will. God damn!”

“Hey watch my back,” said Miles. “I gotta take a shit, right on schedule.”

Miles hopped out of the hole and crouched behind a tree, still holding his rifle.

“You been going pretty regular, that’s great,” said Jerry. “I’m still at the mercy of the soup inside.”

“Hey,” said Jerry. “what do you miss most about home?”

“Toilet paper,” said Miles. “As many plies as I want plus folded. Toilet paper.”

“I miss the movies,” said Jerry. “You could feel terrified one minute, then walk out of the theater and head home the next. It was just an experience.”

“well this out here is an experience too.” Said Miles, pulling up his pants.

“Movies and a big tub of popcorn. That’s what I miss,” said Jerry.