Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

A quote: “And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins – When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, – As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, – The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!” ~~ from The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling

I’ll start with a story …


School was always twice as long for me. Pa insisted I get to see what was going on …

The rolled eyes, the finger pointing. Even teachers whispering about me behind their hands …

and ma made sure to teach me real after I got home.

You all said “Live your *real* life” but that was a lie. My real life was everything rejected as obsolete.

So here we are. I bet you don’t remember me. Even without your rainbow hair I know you and your world is gone.

What skills do you have to trade us for your life?


Now, it’s your turn.
. featured image, cropped, Adobe Stock standard license

Written by

  • Cameron says:

    Laid off because the company’s “vision” now didn’t include some 20-something who could repair things. Saw the old sewing machine on a front yard with a sign that said “free.” Brought it home, borrowed a friend’s camera and made a video showing how I restored it to working condition. Someone purchased it for $500.

    Several months later, I’m swamped in requests for repairs and restorations. Took a chance and bought a house. And when I got the offer letter begging me to come back? The video of me putting a restored paper shredder to good use was a big hit.

  • Navig8r says:

    The yuppie couple thought I was insane but they jumped at the 10 lbs of rice for the table . Wife and I still have and use Grandma’s old treadle machine. With this I can convert daughter’s electric and her family will have a barter-able trade when the clothing starts to wear out.

    “Won’t there be surplus clothes from all the people who die off?” asked my wife.

    “Not for as long as you might think. Scroungers will sell them for pittances to the mafioso dealers who will hold them until the price goes up. Then the mending market opens.”

  • Sheila Garrett says:

    The family huddled at the edge of the street; as the pastor led them away, the girl saw a small ragdoll and snatched it from the burnt ruin. She still clutched it when they reached the shelter.
    My old treadle sewing machine still works well enough to create a new body and dress for the doll while the little girl sleeps. With any luck she’ll still be able to believe in miracles in the morning.

  • Navig8r says:

    Sheila, Like!

  • Leigh Kimmel says:

    My mother was born in another world. I’m not talking about the Moon or Mars. No, she came from across time, from a world where history ran differently.

    I first learned this when I brought home an assignment on moral panics. I was feeling overwhelmed, so Dad suggested I narrow it down to something more specific and manageable.

    So I suggested the recent set-to about video games. I remembered a fair amount of eye-rolling when it blew up — and that Mom had worked in the industry before she went to JPL to program America’s deep-space probes.

    Except she frowned when I suggested that topic. “Don’t be so quick to dismiss it as just a moral panic. There is some legitimate concern about the psychological dangers represented by immersive gaming experiences”

    Then she told me of a world where breakthroughs in neuro-prosthetics for “locked-in” paralysis enabled information to be sent straight into a person’s brain. The effect was of being physically in cyberspace, and it was only a matter of time before the technology was adopted for a variety of jobs. From there it was only a matter of time before gaming companies started using it as a gaming platform.

    Even with enforced Identity Breaks, people started living in their imagined worlds in preference to the material world. When a few keystrokes can give you your heart’s desire, who would want to live in a world of struggle and toil?

    So long as a technically adept core of doers remained, society could survive. But as the passage of time eroded those competencies, things began to fall apart. In time they regressed below the threshold for an Information Age civilization.

    “That’s why your father and I got you a maker space membership and encourage you to hang out with the steampunk tinkerers. That project to use Hollerith punch cards to enable a treadle sewing machine do embroidery has certainly been interesting.”

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