Category Archives: @Robotstephe

Poop Goes the Pigeon

“Gather ’round, my good friends,” he said. One by one, they flocked to the fire.

Word quickly spread, the city was tearing down all the statues, and there was going to be organized outrage. #OccupyMarble began.

Organization was hard with this group, most of which were prone to distraction by stray trash swirling nearby the fire.

Luckily, a leader had emerged. Werble was young and plump with a Master’s in Public Speaking. He knew how to unify the masses.

“Quool! Quool!” Clearing his throat, Werble got everyone’s attention. “Friends, many a feather is ruffled today by the…”

“…developments that going on down south,” he began. The followers wobbled in agreement. “But let us not let that stop us!”

Towards the back of the huddled mass was a drum-pigeon. Banging horribly off-beat in 2-3 step. It threw off Werble’s cadence.

A murder of black crowes began circling overhead, casting wicked shadows on the flock below.

The leader of the crows, Chris, looked at the mass below and began thinking aloud, “they are going to be Hard to Handle”

Chris watched as Werble’s out-of-step eyes were drawn to the sign: “World’s Largest Outdoor Car Show in town today.”

And there it sat, there in the parking lot…everyone’s favorite car. The top target of targets…

… the 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than 100 were made. It was the town’s love, it is the town’s passion. It was…

…the stupid human’s fault he didn’t park in a garage. “Let’s make a statement, boys!” shouted Werble. Protesters took to sky…

…circling. One big, giant blog of gray feathers. “When I give the signal, you know what to do!” yelled Werble.

All of the sudden a wild pack of Honey Badgers arrived. They looked hungry.

Werble paid no attention and forged ahead, signaling with his claw, mangled from a barbed wire incident, three times. The flock…

…descended from the sky emitting an eerie shriek. That noise was deafening to the stupid humans below. Suddenly and without warning

A gale force wind picked up and blew the flock off course. But this formidable breeze was no coincidence.

A huge crow shaped spacecraft emerged from the overcast sky. In the pilot’s seat was

Meryl Streep, the self-proclaimed leader of the International Bovine Transmology Debate Team.

At her side, Cee Lo Green, the self proclaimed Prince of….

…St. Luke’s Presbyterian Medical Center, raised his fist. “Arm the torpedoes!” he shouted, pointing at…

The Boston Billionaires Retreat was being held at the D-Luxe Inn. A veritable hodge podge of the richest peeps in the land.

Meryl, channeling her character from the recent hit, Labyrinth 2: Back to da Maze, raised her crystal necklace to the sun

She and the Occupy group had hated the BBR Club ever since they’d bankrolled the Land Before Time franchise.

The crystal’s power would certainly settle the score. It had the power to…

incite the black-toed dirtybirds to recite the most diabolical of chants.

“If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me…

…for I must be traveling on now,” chanted the flock. The BBR Club stood no chance against Freebird and retreated to the Inn.

Which is exactly what Streep, Green and Werble wanted. The flock attacked, unleashing enough droppings to turn the blue sky white.

The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California sat there helpless to the onslaught.

Splat! Squish! Bam! The car had no chance. Werble’s eyes got bigger as he swooped in for the kill shot, landing on the hood.

He took a moment to adjust his bowtie. Flashed a smile at Meryl, then let loose.

That poor, poor hood.

THE END

 

Funny story this week. Werble and the pigeons staging a protest. And with the help of Meryl Streep and Cee Lo Green, they were able to show those rich, stuck up Boston Billionaires a thing or two. If only our government could learn a thing or two from a bunch of pooping pigeons. But I guess there’s still time.

Thanks to all the writers on this story – @RobotStephe, Chrisa_Hickey, @MojoEnvy, @TonyPawela, @AZHockeyNut, @MusicAdamT, @Guert, @paulmtracy, @courtcan and @hwtibbs. You guys were great, even despite Twitter continuing to mess with tweets in the timeline.

As an aside, I think this is probably my last story. I’ve been doing this for about a year now, and it feels about time to wrap it up, take what we’ve collectively written and do something with it. When I started, I had no idea what this would become. I was hoping to get a few short stories here and there. But because of all of you, it exceeded my expectations. So thank you. And don’t worry – when I’ve decided what to do with these stories we’ve all written together, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Thanks.

-Josh

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Bieber Fever

He came and went as he pleased, jumping in and out of our lives. But who was this masked man?

We were all starting to feel nervous, because he’d pop up in the strangest moments. He seemed to be able to read our minds.

He was always around during birthdays and July 4th. Other events were unpredictable, yet it was always considered good luck.

His dress was unremarkable. Though he had appeared at so many celebrations, no one could ever remember what he wore.

This man, he went by the name…

… Reaper. Justin Reaper. He was the prettiest picture of death the world would know in modern times.

He was no man at all, but a manifestation of all four horsemen of the apocalypse: Social Media, Pop Music, Teen Crushes.

But the irony was with Justin Reaper, he hated death, to kill, to extinguish life. But that’s his job and it was killing him.

… and Teen Parents Living Vicariously Through Their Children. His presence meant the end times were upon us. And then the snow…

The snow led him to contemplate the lives he’d ruined, each like a single flake falling to the ground and melting into oblivion.

It was a time of reflection, of looking inward, and Justin Reaper hated what he saw. “I hate what I see,” he said to his friend…

…Jayden Blue Ivy Cent, the muse of teeny-bopper pop music.

“So change,” said Cent. “I can never change,” retorted Reaper. “You’re always saying ‘Never say never,'” said Cent. He had a point.

“Why do you say that, by the way?” asked Cent. “It’s the most oxymoronic phrase ever.”

Reaper shrugged. “Someone told me to.” With that mindset, no way he’d change. Jayden Blue Ivy Cent needed to stage an intervention.

Cent wracked his brain for an intervention specialist. He flipped on MTV and found… @DrDrew.

And he needed to gather all of Reaper’s friends. Which was no small task considering his mere presence meant imminent death.

Maybe it would be wiser to pick the friends already passed on. Cent called Tupac, Biggie and, for another point of view, Andy Gibb.

The intrepid trio suggested calling upon 140-year-old Dick Clark to help them on their quest – find the greatest song about death.

And then the first faint notes of Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper broke the intrepid silence.

Reaper sensing what was going on, gestured crudely, yelling “haven’t I given you all more than enough damn cowbell?!”

“Sometimes a guy just needs a hug, a happy song and a nice cheese platter to share with his friends.”

Music hath charms to calm the savage beast. Reaper’s was infused with the peal of cowbell. A small, fatalistic smile lit his face.

And with great glee the Reaper shrieked, “No more cowbell!” It was the day the cowbell died.

And there was much rejoicing. But there was still the matter of Reaper’s job satisfaction–or lack thereof.

“You know there’s a gig bagging groceries open at the Piggly Wiggly?” Andy Gibb offered.

Cent stifled a giggle at the name. Piggly Wiggly. But Reaper’s eyebrows raised. “Tell me more, Andy,” he said.

Andy gazed past Justin Reaper, past Jayden Blue Ivy Cent, past Biggie & Tupac, even past Dick Clark. “The Pig,” he whispered,” is…

…ON TWITTER! Reaper paused, envisioning a nest full of rabid followers, favoriting and retweeting his (or The Pig’s) every word.

“Screw bagging groceries,” Reaper declared. “I can reign down death on shoppers everywhere via social media!” His grin widened.

Somewhere in Silicon Alley, a self-proclaimed social media guru scrolled through his Twitter feed…

He read the notification out loud, “Piggly Wiggly followed you”…

“I think I’m gonna like Twitter,” Reaper hissed, slyly drumming his fingers on his desk.

Justin Reaper handed his scythe to Tupac. “No need for this anymore. All I need is a smartphone and unlimited data.”

“Like I care. I’m already dead,” Tupac answered, dropping the scythe. But Jayden Blue Ivy Cent shuddered at what he’d enabled.

Just when all appeared lost, Andy Gibb piped in, “It’s cool, man! @ATT no longer offers unlimited data! Shadow dancing…yeah…”

Startled, Justin Bieber woke up sweating. His mom was bedside. “You’re okay, Justin,” she said. “You just have a fever.”

THE END

 

Interesting story. Not sure how I feel about contributing to Bieber Fever, so I guess the fact that he was actually responsible for killing people in this story makes it a little more tolerable. We should have had him kill himself. And his music. Then we’d all be happier. Well, except for the group Teen Parents Living Vicariously Through Their Children. They’re a force to be reckoned with. Okay, so this story went all over the place, but I was completely fine with it. I had already come up with how everything would end this afternoon, so I was just letting it go. Until it stalled. Then, BAM – Bieber fever. Get it?

Thanks to @kschaffs for supplying the photo. It definitely got people writing. And also, glad to have you involved. Hope next time you write too.

Thanks to all the writers – @nella22, who’s good for supplying the second line to a story about 89.7% of the time, @Robotstephe, whose sense of humor fits well with mine, @ShesAllWrite and @Chrisa_Hickey, who were having a personal back and forth toward the end, gabesphone_com, who was a first-time contributor and added a hilarious line right in the middle of @jsetlak’s patented triple-tweet that had me stuck on how to make it all make sense, @jsetlak, who triple-tweeted, @MusicAdamT and @MojoEnvy, who helped me kick Twitter and get it to work when their tweets weren’t showing up, and my old co-workers @TonyPawela and @elderberryjam, who humored me and wrote because I asked them to help out. Fun.

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John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

He was banished to the corner. Again. Seems to be the story of his life.

But he refused to wear pants, and they couldn’t force him, even with…

…bacon on the brain. Thoughts not wavering and with a skillet in tow…

…he stuck his finger up his nose and lamented his sad state of affairs.

Since being banished John Jacob had been trying to figure out

just where his life was headed.

At the same time, upon attempting to find bacon and pants…he heard a sound. Or a bang.

Or even possibly, a clang. It had a distinct ring, but not like a bell had rang. It was definitely not a ding.

The source revealed itself as the chef-shaped kitchen timer, which had fallen onto the floor as its time expired.

John Jacob was relieved. He thought it was his German half-brother, Jingleheimer Schmidt, coming back to finish what he started.

You see, Jingleheimer was a big confectioner. And John Jacob preferred savory. So he shuddered whenever his brother baked.

It’s not that he was bad – no, wait. It was. He put Aleppo Pepper in everything. Including the Chocolate-Dipped Spice Twists

that were ready to be taken out of the oven. The timer had been ringing for 22 minutes. But Jingleheimer was still on his run.

“Let the baking BURN!” said John.

And it did. John cackled, then coughed, in the corner, watching the smoke billow out of the oven. But where was Jingleheimer?

And why, pray tell, did he not put on pants before entering the kitchen this morning? The Inpsectors™ were coming by!

He wasn’t the baker in the family, and the last time he took something out of the oven, it was a disaster. His scars proved it…

John reinserted his finger in his nose, his go-to posture for deep thinking.

John probed his sinus cavity for ideas, trudging through lost notions and manic whims before striking a subterranean concept.

“What if Jingleheimer’s hurt?” John thought. He pulled his pants up and made his way through the smoke to go find his brother.

He found him passed out on the floor overcome by the aroma of burnt buns still clutching plans for Jingle’s Bacon Bun Food Truck.

John grabbed Saran Wrap, put it over Jingleheimer’s mouth, poked a hole, and began CPR. (You never know where a Schmidt has been)

While Schmidt was a terrible baker, he was a masterful flirt. It seemed no woman could resist him.

…and into the black Lincoln Town Car he had been using for his burgeoning limo service.

En route to the hospital, Schmidt stirred from the back seat, a low chortle reverberating in his smoke-filled lungs…

“Who’s this freak?” asked the rich lady with the long black veil that John had forgotten was his fare in the back seat.

“And why’d we stop in that driveway?” she continued. “And now where are we going?” John rolled his eyes, then raised the partition.

“Terribly sorry, ma’am, but we’ll have to make one more stop before taking you to the opera. I’m sure we won’t be…”

Saved by the partition. Jingleheimer would have to deal with the lady’s nagging. John turned the radio up. His favorite jam was on

…the dashboard – strawberry, what was left of his lunch. And now it was nearly dawn. “Man, I’m hungry. Wish I had a…

…piece of toast. Or one of Jingleheimer’s Chocolate Dipped Spice Twists.” As if on cue, there was a knock on the partition.

It was Schmidt. He surreptitiously pulled something from his pocket and flung it at john while the lady was on the phone.

John ducked instinctively, and when he did, he yanked the wheel left, crashing into the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile in the next lane.

The Weinermobile immediately burst into flames. “One dog, well done,” muttered John. He could hear Schmidt & the lady yelling…

…in excitement over the prospect of free hot dogs. John Jacob quickly realized his good fortune as well, and he started yelling.

Everyone was yelling happily. John Jacob, Jingleheimer Schmidt and the old lady went in for a group hug. Then for hot dogs.

THE END

 

“John, Jacob, Jingleheimer, Schmidt.” I used to love that song growing up. So I was psyched at the possibilities for where a story about these two brothers could go. And despite their differences, when it came down to it, John Jacob had his brother’s best interests in mind. And they ended up with hot dogs! So lucky!

Lots of new contributors on this one. Thanks to @swcouture for the photo. And to new writers @rookiephenom, @MusicAdamT, @swcouture and @martinbihl. And of course, thank you to regular contributors @FeliciaCago, @Chrisa_Hickey, @swanieson, @Robotstephe, @nella22, @Pawela04 and @hwtibbs. That was a fun story.

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

“The pot of gold must be on top of that red brick building,” she thought. And the hunt was on.

“But how can I get there before Maggie,” she whined, “when she’s a giant and I’m so small?”

Not to be deterred, she grabbed her Ziploc® of loose change, and headed out the door. Cab would be the best way to get there.

“A cab, a cab, who called a cab?” Up pulled Mike the psychic cab driver.

“I did,” Margie said. “Take me to -” “I know where – and we’re racing against Maggie!” Exclaimed Mike as he sped off.

Maggie though had decided public transportation was the way to go and was stuck behind a stroller pushing mother.

The streets were full of vendors, stray dogs and, a camel. All of this was slowing the cab down. Margie was losing time.

Maggie was having problems of her own on the magenta line. Babies were everywhere!

Margie jumped from the cab and lept onto the camel in one swift movement.

However, at a point later in the story, Margie will realize that she left her Ziploc® bag in the cab. This does not bode well…

Since in addition to nickels and dimes the bag contained a gps tracker she had planted on Maggie.

While Margie was camel-leaping, Maggie was having troubles of her own. $4.46 for a medium latte? This city is getting ridiculous.

Margie drove ever-forward in the camel, nestled lovingly between the two humps. Inching closer to the red building.

Meanwhile, the pot of gold was shrinking because

of the hole in the pot, which Lloyd the Leprechaun bought second hand at a garage sale.

“You get what you pay for,” Larry muttered to himself. Not realizing…

…that he referred to himself as Larry instead of Lloyd, it became apparent to others that Lloyd might have a split personality.

Larry-Lloyd spoke those words to himself, but Maggie thought he was speaking to her. Finally, a bright spot in her day.

Meanwhile the camel, who’s name was Manfred, started running toward an oasis filled with rice milk.

Meanwhile, across town…

The real story was unfolding: Leprechauns in Lakeview. Not just there for drinks at Berlin, but apparently hiding gold on rooftops.

Neighborhood gossip placed at least one leprechaun working in the back at Cheesie’s Pub & Grub – specializing in potatoes.

Of course, the inevitable drunk Irish jokes are bound to come out when they hide gold so close to 1000 Liquors.

One leprechaun noticed Margie and her camel at the rice-milk oasis. “How much for the camel?” he asked.

“Not for sale,” said Margie. “No, I mean the one behind your ear,” he replied. “I could use a cigarette.” Margie loved her Camels.

Maggie trudged forward in her Converse® All-Stars. She never played basketball, but loved the green plaid design.

She got to the rooftop but the pot of gold was gone. Margie was already off in Mexico enjoying her riches. And cigarettes.

THE END

 

Anytime Leprechauns, booze, cigarettes and gold are involved, it’s impossible not to have a good time. This week’s story was all about greed, and Margie managed to outfox her sister Maggie. Poor Maggie. Maybe she could go get a drink with Lloyd-Larry at Berlin. Or they could just go get a handle of some Irish whiskey at 1000 Liquors and wallow in their sorrows.

The way these stories unfold always crack me up – stuff like when Lloyd the Leprechaun became Larry the Leprechaun and the use of the ®. I’m grateful for everyone who writes these stories with me. Collaborating on this one were @Robotstephe, @Chrisa_Hickey, @swanieson, @paulmtracy, @FeliciaCago, @Guert, @jsetlak and @officerpupp. Thanks all.

 

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Grayscale Gary

This is the story of a grayscale man in polychromatic world.

His name is Gary.

He didn’t always look this way. He once was filled with color. He had blue eyes.

And red hair that was envied the world over.

But one day his hair started to lose its color, suddenly what was red had become gray.

And it wasn’t just him, it was his entire perspective. Once colored, full of life, now dimming, each moment grayer than the last.

Even though the perspective changed, he could always see the color in her…

…presence. Her hair, eyes, even her laugh. She was the bright spot in his failing eyes. His doctor suspected grayscale glaucoma.

It was likely hereditary, as his father, T. Inman, had also lost color perception when he was around Gary’s age.

Poor Gary. Thinking about his father just made him blue. Figuratively, of course.

Though figuratively blue, he actually would turn red.

Which proved to be a problem since he was living on the corner of a busy street since…

…the city added that new red fire hydrant. Whenever Gary got blue, turning red, dogs mistakenly peed all over him.

The constant smell of urine made Gary realize that there were worse things than being grayscale in a polychromatic world.

THE END

 

Okay – so this was a short one. But it was a good way to get back into things since it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a story. Anyway, onto the recap. Poor Gary. The only way he changed color was when he felt sad. But even that sucked for him – he just ended up being peed on.

I saw this guy on my morning commute walking amongst the rest of the robots heading into work and decided to snap a picture. And thanks to @officerpupp, @Robotstephe, @swanieson and @hwtibbs for helping me get Once Upon 140 back up and going after the little hiatus.

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