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06-28-05 | Moralistic Fable (1 Viewer)

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Senior Member
Literary Maneuvers: Moralistic Fable

Opens: Tuesday 28th June
Closes: Saturday 9th July

’Allo ladies and gents. The time has come for another competition. Aevin, the master of creepy children and bloody deaths, has kindly provided this week’s theme, Moralistic Fable.

We would like you to write a fable with a moral up to 500 words in length. You may place the moral clearly at the end of the tale (as in Aesop’s Fables) but you don’t have to. Each entry does have to revolve around a moral though. However, it doesn’t need to be something most people agree with. You have a lot of creative freedom there; use it well.

For those of you who have never heard or read a fable (shame on your parents and teachers!), you can find some of Aesop’s Fables at the link below.

Fables, Fairy Tales, Stories and Nursery Rhymes

It is not necessary to imitate Aesop in this competition. A more modern or “out there” interpretation of the form is most certainly welcome and is in fact encouraged. We’re hoping for some truly unique entries.

Here is a definition of fable. Feel free to turn the definition on its head but don’t forget about the moral.

Finally, here's some advice about writing fables from Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern:

Jerome Stern said:
This term generally means a short tale--often inhabited by animal characters or in some other way disregarding the ordinary laws of reality--whose point is often summed up in a proverb. Fables need to be felicitously rendered right from the beginning, or they are like those tedious jokes you suffer through in hopes that the punch line will be adequate recompense...Fables can easily seem preachy, platitudinous, and portentous. To avoid these pitfalls you need freshness, wit, vitality, and a particularly beguiling style.

Before you write your fables, please read the following guidelines.

1. Each member who chooses to take part is allowed only one entry.

2. All entries need to have a title in bold text. Some of the reviewers get a little cranky and take off points when an entry doesn’t have a title. This is the only warning you will get.

3. Do not exceed the 500 word limit, or if you absolutely must, not by more than ten percent. We probably won’t be counting but most of the judges have a good eye for length and we will know if you went over. The panel is comprised of volunteers so please don’t abuse their goodwill by submitting something that is several hundred words too long.

4. Spelling and grammar count. We do make allowances for style though. For example, if the piece calls for some sentence fragments and they work out okay, you’re not going to loose any points. Or if you use punctuation in an interesting way that helps rather than hinders your entry, we won’t punish you for not following the “rules.”

5. As before, any non-submission comments should be enclosed within Off-Topic tags.

 [ot]Off topic text.[/ot]

6. This competition ends when I lock the thread sometime on July 9th. Please make your submissions ASAP so you don’t miss your chance. Once the thread is locked, it will not be opened up again--I won't make any exceptions.

Those of you who are new to Literary Maneuvers should look over the LM Guide. After that, if you still have questions, I’ll be more than happy to try to answer them in the Free Love thread or you can contact me via PM.

That’s it. Good luck and remember, “You’re all winners!”

Edit: I thought this was worth mentioning one more time even though it's clearly stated in the LM Guide.

If you do not want your scores posted in public with the others, please say so using the author's note code at the beginning of your post. They will instead be sent to you via the PM system.

[an]Please do not post my scores.[/an]

Edit 2: I just realized I went a little too heavy on the "out there" stuff, possibly restricting a little your creative interpretation of the theme. If you would like to write a more traditional fable, that's okay too. Above all, remember to just have fun.


[ot:ac8ccb966a]Beautiful, daniela.

daniela said:
Aevin, the master of creepy children and bloody deaths ...

*cackles insanely with clawed hands*[/ot:ac8ccb966a]


Senior Member
The werewolf

“I just know he’s a werewolf!” “What proof do you have?” “Well, he’s hairy and he is always sick around the full moon!” “But that isn’t enough proof!” “I don’t care. I’m following the next full moon, and if it comes to it, I will kill him”

“Jason!!” Jack called out, trying to catch up with him. “Yeah?” “Did you notice?” “Notice what?” “Well Andrew wasn’t in today, and tonight is the full moon!” “And?” “I walked past his house today and the windows have bars!” “That could be to keep robbers out” “sure, that’s what they want you to think, I’m following him tonight, will you keep me company, and be my back up in case he is a were wolf and I’m not strong enough to kill him?” “Fine but I’m not killing him”

The full moon light up the night sky, the stars were twinkling.
Jason shivered then grumbled, “I don’t know why I agreed to this!” when Jack didn’t respond, Jason looked over “hey! You idiot, WAKE UP!” “Wha? What's happening?” “Nothing yet, wait, I think Andrew is leaving his house” the clouds passed over the moon, the lamplight casting eerie shadows “oh my god” whispered Jason “look at his face” Andrews face was twisted, he had the nose of a dog, dark, wrinkled skin, his eyes were the only normal thing.
Jason and Jack slowly crept forward, towards the werewolf. Jack swung his axe, the Andrews head fell to the ground, his body crumpled, the mask he was wearing fell off. “Oh my god! He wasn’t a werewolf, we can’t tell anyone what we did, c’mon lets get out of here!” “Jason and jack ran back to Jacks house, tears streaming down their faces, Jason looked at Jack through the tears he said “I told you not to jump to conclusions, it’s all your fault”

by Alan K.

there are 312 words


Senior Member
The Loyal Worker

Margaret woke up every morning at precisely 6am, just to make sure she would arrive at work a full thirty minutes early. Mr. Daniels, owner and CEO, always saw her car in the first slot not used for management, in the company lot. She’s a real go-getter, he thought to himself. Maybe this kind of loyalty deserves a raise.

“Good Morning Mr. Daniels!” Sandra hollered to him across the lot. Sandra Parker was always late, he verified it by looking at his watch. Yep, twenty minutes late again, but she was so bubbly and pretty. It was hard to be mad at someone like that.

“Good Morning Sandra, did you have car troubles?” He asked her. Her face immediately sunk at his question. She knows what I mean, now lets see what she says to that, he thought.

“I’m sorry I’m late sir, but before I left for work my dear old Grandma called and I tried to get her off the phone, but she is just so lonely.” She lied to him. It was a decent lie though, she kept eye contact the entire time.

“Ah, yes I know the sort. Well, hurry along then.” He watched her walk into the building, she sure was perky, he thought. He went in after her and took the elevator up to his tenth floor office. Margaret was waiting at his door when he showed up.

“Sir, I have your morning reports, I have three messages from Mr. Randolf and your coffee and bagel are just like you like them.” Margaret reported. She was very efficient, on time and loyal. She wasn’t perky, but she wasn’t sluggish either. She didn’t really have a face you would notice in a crowd either.

“Very good. Thank you for the extra effort you put in here Margaret, wish there were more employees like you.” He said. He watched her walk away, then he glanced down at his planner. He had to give either Margaret or Sandra a raise and he was stuck in
contemplation just as there was a light rap at the door. “Come in,” he said to the knocker.

“Mr. Daniels, I have two tickets to Swan Lake, I know you like that ballet,” Sandra said. “I was thinking maybe we could go this weekend, I feel I owe you being as I have been late a few times this month.” She was actually late near daily, but Mr. Daniels didn’t mention it. He decided right there, seeing her in the doorway that she would get the raise and he would send out a memo to Margaret and Sandra both.

“Sounds lovely Sandra, I’m looking forward to it.”

“Oh you’re the best Mr. Daniels,” she said, kissing him on the cheek.

Mr. Daniels arrived at work the next day, noting that Margaret’s car wasn’t in the normal slot, but he saw it approaching just as he was getting out of his car. Hmm, she’s late today, that’s unusual, he thought. He heard her car accelerate as he was standing in the aisle, and was bearing down on him. “Margaret stop, what the hell are you doing?” She didn’t answer him, her face was a crazed mask of hatred as he felt the first impact.

Moral of the story, don’t kick loyal people or dogs, they may bite.


Senior Member
Diamonds in the sky

Crudlums were lonely folk. They had children, girls and boys five each – but no neighbour ever popped in. Not without a rocket anyway. You see, the Crudlum's house drifted in space. Mr. Crudlum didn't quite remember how this all came to be, neither did Mrs. Crudlum. Nevertheless, they were happy. They didn't have to wake up every Sunday morning to the sound of a lawn mover.

One morning Mr. Crudlum woke up feeling dizzy. He walked to the window and looked outside while stretching his arms. The sky looked as usual. Thousands of stars shone as they'd never shone before. Mr. Crudlum yawned.
”These are the tough mornings”, he said to himself, ”The ones when you have to get out of the bed.”

Mr. Crudlum looked around some more and noticed a strange glimmering light in the corner of his eye. He opened the window and let the non-existant wind beat his face.
”Betty!” he exclaimed. ”Come and see this!”
Mrs. Crudlum woke up and walked to her husband.
”What is it now, dear?” she asked while rubbing her eyes. ”Did the mail come?”
”No, Betty”, Mr. Crudlum said, ”Look outside and see why I'm so excited. That's your new diamond necklace right there.”
Mrs. Crudlum looked. What she saw was a huge, shining diamond floating around their porch. It stayed still, yet it revolved revealing new, even more beautiful sides of itself.
”It's lovely!” Mrs. Crudlum sighed. ”Honey, go and get it for me. Would you do that, love?”

Mr. Crudlum didn't need another word. He put on his bathrobe and run to the porch. He grabbed the diamond and examined it. It was wonderful, the most perfect diamond he had ever seen. His wife looked the rock behind his shoulder and Mr. Crudlum could feel her thankful hug.
Suddenly Mr. Crudlum saw something else. Another diamond! It wasn't on their porch anymore, but floated a couple of metres away.
”Honey, try to grab it!” Mrs. Crudlum pleaded. Mr. Crudlum was willing to try.
He stretched and tried to reach out, but either his hands were too short or their porch ill-designed.
”Betty”, he got an idea, ”Grab me from my feet so that I can reach it.”
Mrs. Crudlum did as her husband asked. She took a steady stance and let Mr. Crudlum float for her diamond. And sure enough, he got it!

While this would have been more than enough, Mr. And Mrs. Crudlum saw that the line of diamonds went on and on as far as they could see.
”Get the children!” Mr. Crudlum exclaimed. His wife called the kids and one by one they came running. Each one of them took the place of the previous as they took a steady stance and supported the rest of the family. Mr. Crudlum collected the diamonds and soon his pockets were almost full.
At last, there was room for just one more, a beautiful one that shone like a star.
”Just a little more!”, Mr. Crudlum shouted.
There was only little Andrew left. His family encouraging him he took the stance and grabbed her sister's feet only to lose the grip soon after. Helplessly he watched his family to float away.

So remember: because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and that the chain is no stronger than its weakest link, forgetting them both can be fateful.

[ot:ca7aa86131]Confession: 570 words, four less without the title.[/ot:ca7aa86131]


Senior Member
[an:82b37df0fa]Alright, here's my attempt. More of an original style Fable, complete with animals- no foxes though ;). Hope you enjoy it. I managed to keep it very short too: just under 300 words.

Note: The goat in this story, though bearing the same name, has no relation to me.[/an:82b37df0fa]

"On the Other Side"

Carl looked mournfully to the top of the mountain. He always thought it was so unfair that that cliff’s steep face kept him and the rest of his cattle brethren from climbing the mountain and reaching the bountiful grass at the top. It was a well-known legend that the grass was not just greener at the top of the mountain, but that it was taller and better tasting as well. Carl salivated at the mere thought of the grass up there.

“There must be a way up there,” Carl would comment.

But his friends continually discouraged Carl. “Give up on it, Carl,” they’d say. “You’ll never be able to get up there. It’s impossible.”

But one could always dream, and that’s exactly what Carl did. But this time, he was surprised to see something coming down the cliff-face. As it got closer, he saw that it was a mountain goat. Carl watched in mute amazement as the goat descended down the cliff face, meticulously placing his hooves in small footholds.

Finally, the goat reached the bottom. “Hello!” the goat said cheerfully. “I’m Bobo, who are you?”


Bobo looked around. He had finally decided to climb down the mountain because the grass was supposed to be better down there--taller and better tasting, too. He was a bit discouraged to discover otherwise. “Well this is a bit disappointing,” Bobo said to Carl. “I heard the grass was supposed to be greener here.”

“Really?” Carl aksed.

“Yeah, no kidding. But the grass up there is much greener. And taller, too. Anyway, pleasure to meet you.”

With that, Bobo turned around and began his trek back to the top of the mountain. Apparently, Carl decided, sometimes your grass really is browner.


WF Veterans
Keep Digging

Madison James, or Mad Jimmy, was a prospector and he hated every minute of it. He despised sleeping anywhere but a plush, cushioned and blanketed bed, his arms were weak and flabby, and worst of all, he was allergic to dust. In fact, the only reason he’d become a prospector in the first place was because his daddy, and his daddy before that had been prospectors.

In fact, if crazy old Madison James had not been dead set on exploring that one last abandoned mine, he would probably have left there and then. This would have been most unfortunate, as he would have missed out on having any story worth telling.

After spending the night in a terribly drafty damp cave, Mad Jimmy set out on the half hour hike to the Gold Drop Mine. There had been quite a bit of exitement when traces of gold were discovered in the area, but the owner, a certain Bob Saunders had forbidden the excavation of the area. Now Mr. Saunders had died recently, with no heirs and the goverment was making no claims, so Madison James thought he’s poke around.

Going through the mine, he often stumbeled despite his best efforts. With his eyes so carefully trained on on the ground, it’s a wonder he saw the large cubical object before he cracked his skull on it. Looking up, he something covered by a musty old blanket. It was suspended to the ceiling by a rope that ran it’s way to the ceiling, went through a pulley on the roof and then ran it’s way to a lever near Jimmy’s own feet. This entire thing was hanging out over a hole that as far as Madison James was concerned went down forever. In trepidation, Mad Jimmy lifted a corner of the blanket and took a peek at what was underneath. His lantern’s light reflected off of what could only be gold.

This startled Jimmy. In all his years of… prospectoring, he has never thought he might actually find something. What wight he do with such a fortune? There was only one place he might want to live, but that was taken up by some crumby old orphanage. The only woman he wanted was already married. All the things he wanted other people had. But hell, everybody had their price…

Taking a deep breath, Jimmy pulled the cloth from the gold, causing a huge cloud of dust to rise. Now, you’ve all heard sneezing fits, heck, most of you have probably had a few. But I’ll tell you right now, without hesitating that this is the biggest fit of sneezing any of you have ever heard. Such was the power of his sneezes that he staggered forwards, tripping over the lever and landing with his chin hanging down over the edge into the big ol’ hole. Now this could have been nothing more than an unfortunate scare for the old man, but this was just not his day.

You see, when old James Madison fell, his foot caught on the lever, releasing those several tons of gold to do what they would with his head. The weight was enough the sever it clean off.

When they found his body, months later, they couldn’t find out what could have cut him up so cleanly. Their only hints where a pulled lever, a pulley on the ceiling and a large pile of mucus next to a deep hole. To this day people scratch their heads over it.

Lesson learned : Never EVER stand underneath anything that way that much more than you.

[ot:75e15ce16c]Ok, 590 words, I couldn't bear to cut anymore[/ot:75e15ce16c]


Senior Member
The Squirrel's Folly

Hidden in the heart of a great forest there lived two best friends, Chipmunk and Squirrel. They lived together in a peaceful old oak. Chipmunk was shy but very wise, and loved to live life slowly, but Squirrel was very antsy and loved to take risks. One day, as the pair was sitting on a branch, they watched quietly as the sly Weasel swiped a supply of food from a rabbit while its back was turned. Chipmunk sighed heavily and averted her eyes, but Squirrel jumped up and nudged Chipmunk excitedly.

“Did you see that, Chipmunk? Weasel just got an entire supply of food in under a minute!”

“Because he stole it.” Chipmunk said, making a face.

Squirrel rolled his eyes. “This is my chance for a new adventure. I’m tired of being so quiet and nice, living in this tree.”

“You’re leaving me?” Chipmunk cried, looking at Squirrel in disbelief.

When Squirrel asked if Chipmunk would like to join him in his adventures, she simply shook her head in sadness. Squirrel shrugged and without a look back he leapt from the tree and in front of Weasel.

Weasel stared in amusement as Squirrel explained his plan to be Weasel’s partner. At first Weasel shook his head and laughed at the tiny creature’s plan, but the longer he listened, the more he began to like it. Squirrel explained that he was very small and quick. He could climb up into a tree in a second, push birds’ eggs into the hands of Weasel, and soon they’d have the ultimate feast. After peering intently at Squirrel for a few moments, Weasel nodded yes and with a squeal of excitement Squirrel and Weasel were on their way.

It was late December and getting colder by the day. Chipmunk added new leaves to her small bed in the tree, gathered more food, and watched in dismay as Squirrel and Weasel stole constantly from the other animals of the woods.

One cold, overcast day Squirrel was showing Weasel the nuts he had just taken when it began to snow heavily. The two paid no mind, counting out Squirrel’s nuts and wondering where they could go next. After a while, however, the snow was deep and it was freezing cold. The pair began to shiver and Weasel said, “It’s so cold. I’m outta here.”

Squirrel nodded happily. “You’re right. Let’s go back to your place and wait out the storm.”

Weasel laughed and said, “No way. There’s only room and food for one…me.”

“But I’ll freeze.” Squirrel whispered, teeth chattering.

“Well, I guess if you freeze you won’t be needing these nuts.” Without another word Weasel scooped up Squirrel’s food and disappeared into the swirling snow. Shivering and alone Squirrel curled up into a ball, crying. He couldn’t believe that he had given up a nice house, plenty of food, and his best friend for the cold and merciless greed of Weasel. Suddenly he heard a soft voice calling his name. He looked up and saw the blurry figure of Chipmunk. She had come back for him! As she helped him home, Squirrel thanked her and apologized for being so unthankful and for leaving her. Chipmunk happily forgave him, and as they both nestled in the warm leaves of their shelter, Squirrel knew that he would never leave Chipmunk ever again.

[ot:e125b81dea] Oh man, this was a hard one! It is 557 words long...sorry!!![/ot:e125b81dea]


Senior Member
Cutco Knives Are Sharp

“Alright, I did it,” Milton says, dripping wet from head to toe. His shirt feels heavy as it clings to his body. In his hand, he holds a Frisbee that is covered in damp dirt and grass.

“Good job,” the club president says. “You can throw it out now. We really don’t need it.”

The Frisbee flies out of the tree house, whirling in a shrinking circular pattern until it falls into the grass. A dog trots over and picks it up with its teeth. It dashes off, probably with the intention of throwing it back into the pond.

The president says, “Congratulations! You are now a semi-finalist, making you that much closer to becoming a member our secret club!”

A few of the club members are playing poker. Their table is a crate with a slab of wood balanced over it. They use magazines as chairs. Most of these guys, he knows from school. He gets along with them okay; this bodes well for him when it comes time to vote.

“What’s my next task? I’m ready for it,” says Milton. He looks around at the club house. They have a television and video games. They also have some Playboy magazines in the corner. On the walls are posters of bikini clad woman. Seeing all these things, he can’t wait to be in the club.

The club president nods. “Wait here. Let me get something.” He walks to a drawer and opens it. When he turns around, he has a knife in his hand.

The club members have stopped their game of poker; all eyes are on the knife. Milton wonders what the knife is for.

“You’re probably wondering what this knife is for and I’ll get to that in a minute. But first let me show you the knife. This is no ordinary knife; it’s a Cutco table knife. It can cut through steak in one stroke. No effort necessary.” The club president picks up a square piece of leather from the table. He asks one of the other members to hold it with both hands on the corners. “Let me demonstrate.” He lifts up the blade and slices down. The leather is now two pieces.

“You like that?”

Milton nods.

“Your next task is to cut off your penis with this knife. It’ll go right through, like steak.” He hands Milton the knife. “This is your final test.”

“I’m not sure if I can do this,” says Milton. His whole life flashes before him. Life without his dick. Life without sex. Dying a virgin. No one wants that.

“Just think of it like a hot dog. Man, just one stroke and you’re done. There will be some bleeding though, but that’s completely normal. It goes away, just ask these guys.”

They all nod.

“This a joke, right?” Milton is taking tiny steps backwards toward the exit. He can’t imagine it, the thought of eating his penis, wrapped in a bun, with mustard and ketchup. It’s just not the same thing. “You guys didn’t really do it, did you?”

The club president opens another drawer and pulls out a piece of butcher paper. He holds it up with two hands. The penises, all shriveled up and purple, look like they were glued on.

“Well, if they did it then I’ll do it.”

[an:53bf97bf8c]The moral of the story is don't cut off your penis or don't sacrifice the important for the trivial.[/an:53bf97bf8c]


Senior Member
[ot:3045d20c1b]I decided to give this one a bit of a go. It's more of a classic fable (Aesop style :) ).. hopefully thats ok.[/ot:3045d20c1b]

The Ant and the Dog

An Ant, in desperate search of food in the last days of summer, came across a Dog resting next to his supper. The Ant, wanting some of the Dogs meal, attempted to wake him. After many failed tries, the Ant stung the foot of the Dog to wake him up.

The Dog stirred and awoke in a rage. He noticed the small creature, and lifted his paw in order to crush the annoyance.

“Please, sir!” The Ant pleaded with him. “I was out in search of food in these last days of summer, when I came across you and your plate of supper. It would be so kind of you if you gave me but a crumb of your meal.”

The Dog, still quite furious at being woken up, paid no attention to the Ants begging, and crushed him.

Let sleeping dogs lie.


[ot:7a11c6ed5b]Awesome job to the participants so far! Very enjoyable to read. ... Yet our appetites for fables have not yet been quenched. Feed us more--lots more!--and we will undoubtedly ... um ... eat them.[/ot:7a11c6ed5b]


Senior Member
[ot:285e34eea6]So this is a rather unconventional fable, I believe... but I couldn't resist.[/ot:285e34eea6]

A Tall Tolkien Tale

Todo Raggins was terribly excited. His great friend Bandalf the wizard was throwing a bash, complete with the best fireworks and the finest pipe weed available. Of course, unlike the last one, this party wouldn’t be the starting point for a long journey to Mt. Boom, and for that, Todo was very grateful. The success of that previous quest had brought Todo instant celebrity status, enabling him to have dibs on which ever super elf – you know, those platinum blonds with ear implants – appealed to him most. And so he had picked the legendary beauty Duthien, of Pilmarillion fame, to be his date.

It had never occurred to Todo, as they arrived at Qorthanc Tower via mumukil, that Duthien might be rivaled by any other guests. But the sight of the shimmery robes, perky ears, and mithril-blonde hair of an elf beneath the party tree sent tingles through Todo’s remaining nine fingers. It was Haladriel, Lady of Kothlorien, the golden wood.

Todo steered Duthien towards the bar and shoved a mug of the Gaffer’s home brew into her hands, saying, “I’m, uh, just going to say hello to Jamwise Wamgee, for a moment, darling. I’ll be back.” Todo, of course, had no such intentions. But Duthien was quite content, for no one around the bar had ears quite so nice as hers and she had caught the eye of Narliman Nutterburr, the jolly innkeeper; she, after all, preferred men to elves.

Todo approached Haladriel and they were soon chatting amiably. But when he began to hint at the prospect of a night in the cozy comfort of Hag End, she became restless. “Oh Todo, I hope you don’t think the gift of the Phial meant anything. I only wanted to help your task. Besides, there is my husband Feleborn to think of.”

Todo brushed this aside and pressed on. But the more he tried, the less she said, until finally she excused herself and disappeared into Qorthanc. Disappointed, Todo wandered aimlessly from friend to friend, no longer interested in the beautiful Duthien.

A pass by the hedges brought whispering to his attention. Thinking it was Jamwise and his new wife Mosie, he crept closer and closer to the sound, planning to surprise the couple.

“Oh yes,” Todo heard a male voice say, “I was worried when I fought the balrog, but I knew I would triumph.” Todo nearly laughed out loud. Jam, fight a balrog! Ha!

Todo leapt forward and pushed aside the branches, laughing and shouting, “Jamwise Wamgee, since when do you tell lies?”

But it was not Jam. Where Jam’s chubby cheeks should have been, was instead a long white beard. Where Jam’s cast off ale mug should have been, was instead an abandoned white staff. And where Mosie should have been, was Haladriel, her perfect ears delicately exposed.

“Bandalf!?” Todo could not believe his eyes.

The wizard’s eyes flashed and his hand snaked out to grab his staff. And then, with a shout, a bang, and a blaze of light, Todo was no more.

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
(J.R.R. Tolkien)

Word Count: 507


Senior Member
[an:2fb09026b1]I think this is rather unconventional as far as fables go—hell, maybe it's not a fable. Maybe I'm just an idiot who sees a clear message when there really isn't one.[/an:2fb09026b1]

500 Yard Dash

“Quitters never win,” William’s dad always told him. “Now let’s stretch!”

And William did stretch. After stretching, he usually jogged five miles. And after jogging five miles, he would finish up with forty sit-ups and twenty push-ups. And after changing out of his sweat stained shorts and t-shirt, he’d take a shower and relish the creeping soreness that would begin to envelope his body, imagining the glory of winning the five-hundred yard dash at his school’s track and field competition the coming May.

Today, William did not jog five miles after stretching. Today was the competition.

“On your mark,” the referee called. William crouched on the track, ready to sprint into high gear in less than a moment.

“Get set,” the referee said. William clenched his muscles and set his jaw.


William and the other competitors were off in a flash.

Go! Go! Go! the referee’s voice echoed in William’s mind. The world seemed to be moving in slow motion, and he could feel the oxygen seeping into his muscles as they converted the last night’s spaghetti into energy to fuel themselves.

William ran fast, and soon he was in the lead. A tall, lanky blond kid—he looked Swedish—tailed William, endangering his victory.

This race is mine, William thought and told his muscles to work harder.

William was an engine. He maintained his lead after two hundred yards. Three hundred. Four hundred. He was unstoppable, unbeatable, the best athlete in the entire state of Washington. And after churning past four hundred and fifty yards, he felt as if he could run this race another five times that same day without wearing himself out. Ten times. Twenty. William was intoxicated with both glory and endorphins—the athlete's high.

The finish line was less than twenty yards away, and William still maintained the lead, although the lanky Swede was still close behind.

Who does he think he is? William thought, and once again told his muscles to work harder.

And then William slipped. His foot fell down onto the ground at the wrong angle, and his ankle bent to the side. He tripped and fell down ten yards from the finish line.

Every muscle in his body protested. “You careless idiot!” he could hear his Soleus muscle scream. “You’ve lost!”

And another voice coming from his backside. “Loser. You’ll never amount to anything now.” Oh, those glutes could be cruel.

William got up and crossed the finish line. Last place. He was still presented with a ribbon, because the school refused to admit that anyone could lose a competition. The Swede would not be presented with a ribbon—he’d have a trophy. A plastic trophy painted to make it seem as if it were made of gold and silver.

His face still encrusted with dirt from the track, William confronted his father.

“It’s alright, son. There’s always next year. Just a careless mistake, that’s all,” he said.

William nodded, but knew differently in his heart. He was now aware that quitters never lose, either.

503 words.


[ot:71512b63c9] a bit on the twisted side of fables. 527 words[/ot:71512b63c9]

Three Little Rats

He was a precocious lad of ten, staying with his grandparents. Like most children that age, he was very unlikely to listen to instructions, reluctant to answer when spoken to and suspicious of adult’s motives. Having been raised in the latest fashion where he could do anything he wanted to and he often did.

After spending a full day where he refused to participate with Gramps, to turn off the television, repeatedly stated that the house was boring and broke Gramps guitar doing a Jimi Hendrix impersonation, it was time for bed.

Gramps followed him up to his makeshift bedroom filled with doilies and sat down in the chair as he climbed into bed.

“I want to tell you a little story my gramps told me not so long ago….,” Gramps began.

This is the story of the three little rats. There were three rats that were very restless and liked to play games in the sewer they lived in, so Mama rat told them to go out into the world and find happiness. So Manny, Moe and Jack set off to find happiness in the big wide world.

Manny made his way along the sewer pipes and headed north. He skittered along the pipes and out in the city. The city was a beautiful place with bright lights.
Manny thought he found heaven, when he found a dumpster out side a fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, there was a terrier that frequented the same dumpster and he grabbed Manny by the neck and shook his until his little rat neck broke and left him for dead in the road. Manny could only blink his little rat eyes when a cement truck rolled over him squishing him flat.

Moe headed south until he came to place that was wondrous. For miles around there was nothing but piles of food and toys. Giant bulldozers moved the piles from here to there and big trucks carted this or that pile away. It was great. One day inside one of the big yellow machines, a workman left his egg salad sandwich. Moe climbed up into the truck to grab the treat just as the workman came back. Moe tried to leap out of the truck, but his little tail got stuck in a pulley on the engine. Poor Moe was sucked into the engine by pulleys churning and gears grinding. Moe was split and shredded into twenty pieces as he tried to claw his way out. The engine spit out the little furry gray rat pieces one at a time.

Jack left the big city for the country. He traveled as far as his little rat legs would carry him. He found a cute little blue house with a small garage where he could eat a little food and live happy. That’s where I found him, behind the trashcan in the garage eating birdseed. I grabbed the spade and chopped off his head and saved it.

With that Gramps threw a balled up gray sock the boy had left on the floor on the boys bed.

The moral of the story is;

Don’t F**k with Gramps, you won’t get much sleep.


Senior Member
Strange Boys: A Cautionary Tale

(564 Words)

I used to know a boy who could turn himself inside-out on command. Small and wiry like a bent metal coat hanger, Franklin had been born a month premature, giving him, among other things, a jaundiced yellow complexion and giant brown billiard balls for eyes. Quiet and jittery, it was common to see Franklin turn himself inside out when put on the spot during class, so much so that the other students eventually got used to seeing his exposed pouches of bile and snaking intestinal tracts, though many of them were secretly jealous of his strange talent.

One day, during a field trip to a university, Franklin’s teacher, Mr. Martin was in a panic: someone had forgotten the children’s lunches on the school bus, resulting in twenty feral kindergarteners with aching bellies and drool hanging from their pre-pubescent faces. Thinking quickly and fearful for his own safety, Mr. Martin practically barricaded the children inside of the classroom that had been designated their eating area. It was nearly noon.

This delay made Franklin nervous. Huddling under his desk, he put his hands over his face and turned himself inside-out.

The other children hovered like starved gulls. Franklin, unaware of the mob around him, felt his body pinched and pulled as greedy little hands dragged him to the center of the classroom.

Glistening under the buzz of a long overhead light, Franklin’s organs were sticky and scented, like lumpy apples ripe for picking. One by one each of the vital parts were plucked and eaten. When they had their fill, their teacher burst through the door with a box full of bagged lunches. The children, all full, refused their lunches, rubbing fat bellies and burping. Confused, the teacher looked at Franklin, who was draped over a desk. He offered to eat all of the lunches.

That day was the last they ever saw of Franklin. Having no stomach with which to digest the food, the lunches began to rot in his gut. Slowly peanut-butter sandwiches mingled with pickles and fried bologna, decomposing and emitting the foulest stench imaginable. It got so bad that he was barred from school. Unsure of what to do, his parents locked him in his room, expecting the problem to solve itself.

First the smell, like Franklin, was confined to his bedroom, but soon the entire second floor of his house soaked up the putrid aroma. Franklin’s parents, stretched to the limit, said enough is enough.

‘Turn yourself inside out,’ they demanded.

‘I can’t!’ he pleaded. The food inside of him reduced his skin’s elasticity. ‘I’m trying!’

‘Try harder!’

To no avail. Franklin’s body, taut as a yard of dental floss, refused to budge. The proverbial shit hit the fan when his father went to remind Franklin to do his chores and vomited on his way up the stairs.

The next morning, Franklin woke up in the company of eggshells and a milk carton, stuffed in the trash compactor under the sink. It was cold and smelly. Franklin was afraid of the dark, but before he could do anything the hungry machine began grumbling. The shifting walls of the trash compactor went to work, pressing him into a bouillon-sized pink cube.

His remains were put to good use, though, finding peace under the gerbera daisies in the front yard. Under all that soil, Franklin no longer smelled.

And the flowers grew and grew, blooming the next day.

Strange boys make for fertile soil.


[ot:04abdf5b6a]My fable is not for scoring as I'm one of the judges. I wrote it for my own amusement. (Fellow judges, feel free to skip right over it without commenting...I know how much work goes into this as is.) 246 words. Traditional-ish[/ot:04abdf5b6a]


Two men, walking to the market, decided to take a short cut through the forest. As they walked, they came to a bridge that had been washed out in a recent storm. The first man, seeing an opportunity to brag, decided to challenge his friend to a contest.

“I bet I can jump across that gorge, and you can’t,” he said.

His friend eyed the gorge carefully. He took his time examining the lip of the gorge, stared a long time at the far side and counted off steps before accepting the challenge. Impatient, the first man, standing a short distance away, urged him to hurry. The friend, finally satisfied he had considered all the angles, leapt across the gorge and safely landed on the other side.
The first man, seeing how easily his friend had made the jump, made ready for a running start.

“Halt!” cried his friend from the other side. “Shouldn’t you look at the gorge before you jump?”

“You are overly cautious, my friend,” the man called back and prepared to leap. As he sprang from the ground into the open air, the man let out a screech as he realized he wasn’t going to make it to the other side. He tumbled down the side of the gorge, scraping painfully against jutting rocks and thorny shrubs before coming to a stop at the bottom in a twisted heap.

Moral: If you jump to conclusions, you might hurt yourself in the fall.

Ilan Bouchard

[an:ca34898c4f]As I'm judging, there is no requirement to critique or even read this (and by that, of course, I mean to say that everyone must do both). I wrote it only because my pride would not allow me to pass up such a bold and daring challenge as this. 'Twill be my downfall one day.
Word count: 336[/an:ca34898c4f]

The Man And The Man

Two friends grew up together as children. One child, Brutus, was always financially oriented. In every situation, Brutus saw a way of making a personal gain. The other child, Caesar, many days saw Brutus convincing other children to buy a shiny stone or similar trinket Brutus had come upon.

"How can you spend so much time trying to make money? You have so much you can do with your life, but instead you spend your time conning the other children. I wouldn't doubt you'd sell your soul, if you thought you'd get a good price on it," said Caesar to Brutus once.

Brutus took no heed and continued with his various schemes. As time went on, Brutus began making more and more money. He sold study guides to other children, invested in the stock market, and even became the manager at a store in town. Caesar contented himself with writing, painting, and singing.

Years later, Caesar and Brutus happened to meet each other. Caesar had become a homeless man, and used the few dollars he scrounged together selling paintings to buy warm articles of clothes, as well as various paints and brushes. Brutus stood in a black Italian suit, two beautiful women in hand; he was very rich, and now owned the second largest paper factory in the United States.

"Caesar, my good friend! How good of us to meet again, after all this time! How are things?"

"Terrible. I make my money by selling these paintings, but it seems art doesn't interest people as it used to."

Caesar and Brutus stood awkwardly. One of the women began nibbling Brutus' ear.

"Caesar, I will give you $10 for all your paintings," Brutus announced.

"They each cost me more than that just to produce!"

But Caesar, in no position to bargain, was forced to oblige. As Brutus walked away, one hand clutching the waist of each woman, Caesar wondered where he could buy a pair of shoes with his newfound wealth.

Moral: Money does buy happiness.


Senior Member
The Octopus, the Squid and the Cuttlefish

The Octopus, the Squid and the Cuttlefish

Octopus and Cuttlefish, old Cephalopoda University classmates, met one day between the kelp forest and the Puerto Rico Trench, and got reacquainted. They shared their good news and laughed at the coincidence: each of them was in love with a girl from CU, and planned to ask her to marry. While they reminisced, Squid arrived for her date with Octopus.

"Hi Octopus. Oh, hi Cuttlefish."

"Hey Squid… you remember Octopus?"

"Well, yes. So… you guys keep in touch!” Octopus and Cuttlefish became quiet and glared at one another over Squid's undulating fins. "I never intended for this to happen," Squid blurted, "but you're both so wonderful. So different."

"Is that right?"

"You don't say?"

"Come on, we're all old friends, we can figure this out."

The suitors suddenly swished about, changing colors, snatching shrimp, and shouting things like: "Look Squid!"

"Pathetic," sighed Squid.

Which had the desired effect.

"I know, check this out!" Cuttlefish’s mantle became pure white, then a red dot appeared and grew until a heart covered most of his face. Then slowly, black spots appeared and grew together to form a message: C+S.

"Aww," cooed Squid lovingly and she and Cuttlefish touched tentacles.

"Oh god," moaned Octopus. "Terrific, but does he know where to find food when the Gulf Stream cools? Does he know how deep the Puerto Rico Trench is? Can he say your name… in Italian?" Squid's smile faded. She turned to Cuttlefish, who rubbed his tentacles nervously.

"Well, no, but can he do this?" Cuttlefish jetted from rocks, to coral, to kelp; disappearing before each. Squid gasped.

"How about this?" came the muffled response from the seabed below. A tentacle wiggled inside an impossibly small can.

Squid's eyebrows slid up and she turned back to Cuttlefish who’s eyes fell upon a cola bottle. He smiled. "Bet you can't fit in there." The bottle was half the size of the paint can Octopus was now oozing out of.

"No I can't fit in there genius. It's capped!"

"And octopuses are supposed to be so intelligent," Cuttlefish taunted. "Shall I have go, genius?" Cuttlefish clamped himself onto the bottle, yanking and twisting.

Octopus began to chuckle when Cuttlefish turned with a triumphant smile and little red cap in his coils. "Just lucky is all," Octopus swallowed, looking from Squid's expectant face to the tiny opening. "No problem.”

Octopus was soon squirming about, squishing this way and that and just when it looked like he wouldn’t do it, he slithered in. “Wow,” said Squid.

Returning Octopus’ jiggly little wave, Cuttlefish nodded solemnly as he calmly screwed the cap back on the bottle. “Yeah, impressive.”

Octopus’ eyes bulged against the glass.

“Cuttlefish,” queried Squid as he wrapped his arms around the bottle and pried it from the sand, “what are you doing?”

Rubbery squeaks punctuated the short trip to the Trench.

Squid streamed to Cuttlefish’s side as the bottle slid from his tentacles into the darkness.

“Do you think he’ll be okay?”

“He’ll be fine,” said Cuttlefish stroking Squid reassuringly, “He’s a genius.”

Moral: If you can’t be smart, be resourceful.


Senior Member
[ot:c132031f0d]Who's judging this, anyway? And great pieces, everyone, though I suspect that the best piece is yet to come ;) *cough Lans you harlot cough*[/ot:c132031f0d]
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