Phantom Sway

Fiction Friday 100-Word Challenge: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Night Shift”

There’s your picture, friends, and here is a story.


“Dammit, Bob, would you just look?” Brian pointed at the front of the motel. Next to him, Bob, the night-shift manager tried to focus his bleary eyes.

“Nah, man. I ain’t seeing it.”

“That’s kinda the point”, Brian said, nearly yelling. He smacked the still-lit joint out of Bob’s hand. “Look!”

“Hey, man! That’s my last one”, Bob protested. He took a deep breath. “Okay, man. I’m looking. It’s the motel. So what?”

“So what? So where’s Room 19?”

Bob gave him a side-eye. “What do you mean, where’s Room 19? It’s right th–holy crap.”

“Right. Exactly. It’s gone.”

“Daaaaaaamn.”


Your turn! Remember to post in the comments or at your place with a link back to this post. See what you can do with 100 words!

Jimmie Bise Jr

6 comments

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  • Twenty-three years had passed since the world ended

    Twenty-two since he had taken up residence in the abandoned motel in what people once called Arizona.

    Something about the hot, dry climate kept them away. He lived in relative safety apart from the coldest nights, but it was only a tradeoff. He just preferred fighting hunger and starvation in this hellscape to fighting them.

    Ten years had passed since he stopped searching the airwaves for survivors. The antenna still stood but he had smashed every tube in the ancient radio the night when he heard them speaking to him through it.

  • “I was wrong to trust you to find us a room. Next time I’ll do it myself”. She turns away and stares out the window.

    “The website said rustic,” he replies.

    “It should’ve said hellhole.”

    “I wanted the beach. You chose the desert.”

    “So it’s my fault?” she asks.

    “You said it was.”

    “It’s always my fault, isn’t it?” she asks.

    “When it is, it is,” he responds.

    “Take me home.”

    He turns on the ignition and responds, ““You ruined everything.”

    “Great honeymoon”, she scowls.

    “Thanks to you, Miss Perfection.”

    “Mrs.”

    “For now.”

    They return to LA in silence.

  • Gina and Alan stood staring at the rusty old “Motel” sign; Gina shielding her eyes from the scorching desert sun, Alan fidgeting with the weight of his new wedding ring.
    “It’s creepy. I don’t like it.” she whined. “Take me home”
    “Keep an open mind. It has potential” he replied.
    “It’s dusty here” , she complained.
    “It’s the desert”, he sighed.
    “It’s a wasteland” , she groaned.
    “Give it a chance” he said, softly. He took her by the hand and led her inside the abandoned building. “Look!” he pointed. As she turned to look he hit her with shovel.
    Done.

  • People said if the wind was still, on a clear night you could hear the transmissions. They weren’t in English or any other recognizable language, but the bursts of gibberish and static could raise the hair on your neck. The owner noticed them a few weeks after installing the antenna. That was over 25 years ago.

    Some had tried to record them, but all they caught was the neon sizzle. On most nights, a group of people gathered at the foot of the old sign, whispering and speculating. No one noticed the old man near the road with a notebook.

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Harriet Tubman is one of America’s most beloved historical figures but has sadly been largely relegated to just a few facts during Black History Month. This incredible ex-slave, spy, cook, nurse, public speaker and rescuer deserves a story worthy of her stature.

“Minty” – tentatively titled after Tubman’s nickname – is a “reimagining” of Harriet Tubman as an action hero. It is a period piece with a modern flare.

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