Saturday, June 2, 2012


Here it is June, and June is bustin’ out all over with 99-word stories. Back at the end of April I issued an invitation on my blog, “The Joy of Story,” to send me 99-word stories with the theme “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and I’m pleased that so many people took the challenge and sent me their works. I am especially grateful to Eileen Obser for passing the invitation on to her students. Many of the stories I received were thanks to Eileen and her followers.

The stories I received are posted below. Read them and enjoy them!

The rules of the game, as stated in my invitation, were as follows:

• One story per writer per month.
• It has to be a story. (Something happens to somebody.)
• The story must have exactly 99 words.
• All rights to the work remain the property of the writers, although I have no way of policing or enforcing that.

As you read the stories below, you’ll find that some of them are not really stories. Some of them are not exactly 99 words long. Not all of them pertain to June. Now I don’t mean to scold, but if you decide to send me stories in the months to come (because I intend to keep this thing going as long as it works), I urge you to stick to the theme, craft your stories to fit in exactly 99 words, and above all: they have to be stories! What is a story? Simple: Something happens to somebody. In other words, they need character and plot.

“Something happens” means plot. A story without plot is like a meal without food. “…to somebody” means character. All stories are at the basic level about people, about the human condition. Something happens to somebody. What happens? The character, during the course of the story, must change.

I’ll lecture no more.

Here’s the challenge for July: Write and send me, by email ( a 99-word story with the following title: “Fireworks.” What does that word mean to you? Great relationship? Rotten relationship? Crime? War? Beauty in the night? Tell me a story…
Deadline: July 1, 2012!

And now, as promised, JUNE IS BUSTIN’ OUT ALL OVER!

by Earl Staggs

Lefty hoisted the heavy bag over his shoulder and stepped out the door of
the house he'd just robbed.
         "Police! Freeze!"
         Lefty froze.
         "Set the bag down nice and easy.   Put your hands behind your head."
         Lefty thought fast.  "Let's work this out. I know you cops take a free donut once in a while.  The stuff in that bag is worth at least two grand, and
five hundred of it can be yours.  Biggest donut you ever had."
         "I don't take donuts, dirtball, and there's something else you don't know about me."
         "What's that?"
         "This is my house."


by G. Thomas Gill:

If I could write a song for you, this is what I’d say,
I’d tell you how a glimpse of you can take my breath away.
To have you wake beside me, at the dawning of each day,
I’d say I love you.

The easy way you laugh aloud while watching children play,
The rhythm of you breathing when your dreams take you away
The color of your eyes is like the seas off St. Tropez,
I’d say I love you.

I know it’s all been said before, a thousand different ways,
By a million different men, from Tampa to LA
I don’t care if it sounds trite, don’t care that it’s cliché,
I’d say I love you.


by Jerry Giammatteo                 

Early June and the pool was crowded. Here came the femme fatale of Lake Intrepid.
She was built and knew it. Men stared and even the women gawked at her tiny bikini with the halter top that looked so insufficient to hold her. She dove into the pool. Everyone was aware that she was there.
Unfortunately for her, the halter could bear no more. Unbeknownst to her, she climbed out of the pool with only half a bikini remaining – the bottom half. As everyone smirked, she left sashaying her hips. 
Moments later her scream pierced the placid summer air.


by Marie Rose Elias

         Praise  time when  doors open for wild-eyed kids to run free with imagination and anticipation.  New life abounds, opening eyes to wondrous delight, exciting hearts and pleasing senses in scores of tradition.
Come alive beaches for  throngs packed…laughing, coconut aroma filling the air. Applaud  ice cream trucks slowly making way through neighborhoods soft music playing alerting…tantalizing! Praise true love! Every young lady longing to marry during this most popular sixth month.  Hail color…gardens lush  with  array of bloom in vibrant hue and intoxicating bouquet. Sing! Dance!  Come alive Summer!


by Ann Bruno

The roses were in bloom, the lawn was beautifully manicured, and it was Father’s Day.
         June Bosch was pregnant and due to give birth on June twentieth. However, she gave birth on Father’s Day, June seventeenth. To everyone’s surprise June delivered triplets. Her father had  recently passed away and appeared to her in a dream. He told her to buy a lottery ticket with the numbers 6111.
         Tom Bosch purchased a ticket with the numbers given. You can imagine how shocked they were to have won the lottery.
         June and Tom were truly blest and were bursting with joy.

 by Rita Kushner

         Welcome June…you own a worthy name.
          June, waitressing at the bagel shop counter, smears extra cream cheese on my breakfast bagel, and neighbor June serves vodka Jello shots at parties.
          Son Glenn was married in June, under an inspiring sunset overlooking the bay. Grandson Chris celebrates his June birthday on Father's Day with my two grand great-granddaughters.
          June, you were named after Juno, the beautiful goddess of marriage and childbearing. We have followed all your tenets, so burst forth majestically, favoring us with brides and babies, blue-bells and berries and peaceful people towards building a wondrous world.


by Michael Mendillo

     How could a goddess be named Juno? It sounds so masculine. Most ancient Roman female names end in an “A” or “E”, but “O,” how odd.
         Oh well. She was known as the goddess of marriage, fertility and the guardian of women. Since most marriages occurred at a specific time of the year, it stood to reason that to commemorate her and those events, that time of year would be named in her honor.
     It seems to me, Juno’s not doing a very good job these days; maybe it’s time to rename the month and honor someone else.


by James A. Ryngala

         Growing up from that age of twelve to eighteen, June was a mixture of dread and delight.  It was the ending of one school year and the beginning of summer vacation.  The first two weeks always had finals and then also the Regent Exams before finally ending with summer break.  Oh, what fun we all dreamt of over the summer.
         Of course, as an adult, this has all changed.  As a parent you worry about how your kids will do on their tests, and then what are you going to do with them during their recess?
         Sucks getting older.


by Elaine Polson Shiber

         I’ve been watching June.  I saw her get married in
August and by November she was pregnant.  She’s happy.
         In January, she glowed.  By April, she showed. Suddenly it happened.  By June, we agreed:  June is bustin’ out all over. 
         First her belly.  Her puffy face.  Her fat ears.  By July, her bust was bustin’.  We went to the beach.  Her legs.  Omigod, now her toes.  She started waddling like a duck and looked so funny we had to laugh.
“Lemme outta here!”  
         August brought baby Billy.  Now June is bustin’ out all over…with love.  


by Theresa Nicol

         Paige wondered what death would be like, as she had for months. She grew up believing in heaven but did she? Still? Now?
         This moment felt like it should be more profound, like her thoughts should be clearer. Actually, her mind was quite blank. She was aware of her pain but felt light, as if floating in a bubble.
         The Good Shepherd Hospice was secluded and peaceful. Her bed was turned so her eyes faced the window. Despite the limited view, Paige knew that June was busting out all over.
         She also knew that she was ready to die.


  1. It's my good luck to be the first to comment! Great job, everyone. I look forward to future stories, keeping in mind John Daniel's request for "real" stories: character and plot moving them along. To my students: this is a class unto itself. You have a great teacher in John. "Fireworks" for July: go for it!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Eileen, and thanks for stressing the need for story: plot and character. Another element of any good story is conflict. Please remember that when you write those stories.