Saturday, August 3, 2013


For this month’s invitational blog, I challenged writers to send me 99-word stories on the subject of heat. Seven writers answered the call. Here are their stories. Also see the end of this post for next month’s challenge.


by Alice Truscott

A polar bear event. My first one.
You know the kind of thing, where a huge hole is cut in the ice, which is at least eight inches thick, and you jump in and swim to the other side, tethered for safety of course.
Over coming the fear.
A group venture, otherwise you’d lose your nerve. And as a group you are thinking the same thing—you should have had your heads examined.
Laughing with relief as many hands reach to retrieve you from the icy depths. Escorted to your reward. To be thawed out in the hot tub!


by Joseph Antretter

“And don’t tell me to calm down,” I screamed into my cell phone, ending my tirade. I was hoping to burn off my sister’s dammed-up deaf ears. Only further wishing she was in front of me, so I could gouge out her blind shark-like dead eyes and rip out her sharp guilt edged tongue oozing around in the infected pustule that was her mouth.
Finally, a bullied and battered four-year-old little brother finds a voice, vindication, and victory over the villain of his deformative years.
Not a drop of blood was shed.
Nor a single tear, wasted.


By Jerry Giammatteo

The Mayan Peninsula was hot in a way that we had not experienced before as we toured the ruins at Tulum.
We climbed the endless steps of the great temple. An overwhelming sense of awe swept over us, along with the heat. How did they manage to build something so magnificent?
The ocean and the azure blue Mexican sky added to our experience.
And did I mention the heat?
We staggered light-headed down the steps of the temple to our bus. On board was a cooler filled with cold Dos Equis.
It didn’t seem quite as hot as before.


By Jill Evans

Zoe dismissed my latest breakup in two words: “He’s crazy.”
“He generates this wild passion in me,” I insisted.
“He’s short, fat, bald, and afraid of the rain,” she said blowing the swirls of steam from her coffee.
Sadly, I resigned myself to her viewpoint. Even though Sam and I had only gone out twice, I’d just received the “let’s be friends” email on my iPhone.
“Maybe I’ll give him another chance,” I mused.
“He’s already made up your mind for you.”
I glanced down at the email as the heat of desire in my belly sank to ashes.


by June Kosier

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.” And, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Doing one thing that scares you can also get you into hot water.
For example, speaking up for someone who is being bullied can have dangerous consequences but it can also lead to the end of the bullying and the knowledge that you helped a fellow human being.
Or, how about the civilian who from a position of safety rushes into a burning building and rescues someone?


Heaven To Hell
by Christine Viscuso

“Chaud Firestone, we’re going in.”
“I’m not, Afrika. You can’t make me.”
“It’s a hundred and we don’t have central air. I’m hot. At my age, I need air.”
“Heat’s a good thing. I’m retiring to Florida.”
“If we don’t go in now, I’ll wilt.”

“Welcome to Starbucks; may I take your orders?”
“I’ll have a Venti Green Tea Frappuccino.”
“And you, sir?”
“A Latte.”
“Hot or iced?”
“Geez, it’s ten below in here. Hotter than hell!”
“Congratulations sir. You have just won free coffee for the year. You’re the first to order a hot drink today!”


by Rita Kushner

One bitterly cold Sunday afternoon, me and Army Air Force soldier, Mickey, furloughed from his hot Florida station, were married.
Happily, we returned there for our wartime honeymoon. My first day alone was at the beach, tanning my winter-white body on the hot sand. I luxuriated in that heat until late afternoon.
 When Mickey returned after duty, the blister on my back, filled with oozing fluid, warranted a trip to the Infirmary, where the medic mumbled, “Don’t these snow-birds know anything about southern heat?”
 No matter. I continue to enjoy Peggy Lee singing, “You give me fever.”


Coming next month!

In honor of Labor Day, I invite you to send me a story about work. Specifically, write about a career change, for the better or the worse. Focus in on the moment of choice. And please, don’t send me an essay. It must be a story.

Here are the rules:

1. Your story must be 99 words long, exactly.
2. One story per writer, per month.
3. The story must be a story. That means it needs plot, characters, and conflict.
4. The deadline: the first of the month.
5. Email me your story (in the body of your email, or as a Word attachment) to:

1 comment:

  1. It's so nice to see some of my students here again with new stories or, as you note, essays. I do tell them to send stories and will do so again! Thanks for publishing all this work.