Friday, August 16, 2013

It's a small world writing contest!

So, how small a world is publishing?
I knew it was small, but this week I saw another example of just how small.

First, remember this blog post about Christi Corbett?

She'd been part of the Chum Bucket Brigade and I was glad she's gotten her book published.

Here's the funny thing. Christie got back from vacation to find her email box overflowing with notes from writers who'd heard about her here (yay, and thank you!)

When Christi wrote to thank me for the blog post, she reminded me she'd hosted the Fabulous Dan Krokos on her blog when his debut novel FALSE MEMORY came out


And Dan wrote to QueryShark because he's a fan of the inimitiable Jeff Somers.

Small world? Yes indeed.

Don't you think that calls for a writing contest? I do!

Usual rules:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Include the following words in the story


Degrees
Chum
3
Bucket
Pants

3. You must include the entire word in correct letter order but it does not have to be the entire word:

Chummy but not Schlump
Pantsless but not phantoms

4. Contest opens on Saturday 8/17 at 10:00 am and closes Sunday 8/18 at 10:00am.  All times are Eastern Shark times.

5. Post your entry in the comment column of this blog post.  If you need a mulligan,  a do-over, delete your comment and post again. Only ONE entry per person.

6. Yes there is a prize but I don't know what it is yet. Probably pot luck (tell me what you like to read and I'll send you something amazing!)


7. All decisions are final, subject to whim and whimsy.  No whining allowed.

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready?
Set?
NOT YET.

Go! 

Oops, too late, contest closed.




68 comments:

Joel Freiburger said...

Chumus Angelicus

Fr. Ralph Uhcker shuddered through a vivid memory of the succubus from his morning dream. Untimely licentiousness; he was saying Mass. The epiclesis chant failed him, his robes slipping down his raised arms. His lips flubbed wordless at the doughy faces. The overhead fan beat an erotic uh-uh-uh-uh, thrusting him again into a thousand degrees of succubus lust as she squatted in hot pants and blasted him with chum from a Super Soaker and a bucket.

“3,” he shrieked, “are the Persons of the Trinity!” But his eyes never left the woman from SeaWorld in the front pew.

elliot said...

“Sorry, it’s so cold, chum,” I said.
My brother Jacob didn’t say anything.
“Must be no more than 20 degrees,” I said, this time more to myself than to him.
I looked across the snow-draped hills of our 30 acre Wisconsin farm. It really was cold. Cold enough to freeze blood. I had the proof of that all around me. Even the blood on my pants had turned to brittle, brown patches of ice.
TIme to get back to work.
I picked up the first of the buckets. Only a little of my brother Jacob sloshed over the rim.

jaz said...

Cold? I’ve been up since 3 a.m., chum. That was cold. Grab your bucket. We’re going ice fishing.
***
Cold? Serves you right for shopping at K-Mart. How many times I gotta tell you: Army-Navy. Get you some real outdoors gear. Drink this. It’ll warm you up.
***
Bucket? Is that what you said? Never mind what’s in the bucket. Never mind where your pants are. Pretty hard to think, isn’t it, chum? Three times. That’s how many times you were with her, behind my back. But wrongs are righted by degrees. That’s what you’d call irony, chum.

billypayne said...

It was early in the morning and the fishing trip had just gotten underway when the chum bucket fell and dumped all over my pants.

It was only 3 degrees, so naturally it froze in place. With no more bait and no other choice, my fellow fisherman strapped me to the prow and hung me out over the water waiting for the fish to bite. Thank goodness they swept them into the net just as they were about to strike.

I sailed into the harbor that day like Bill Murray did in “What About Bob”, still strapped to the prow.

Kitty said...

We're filming "Samson Does Delilah." Samson's with the fluffer -- 3rd time! -- while the director and crew discuss camera angles and degrees of lighting. Meanwhile, I'm waiting around wearing no pants, no bra, just lipstick and fuck-me-sailor stilettos.

I ask a grip, "Be a chum and get me a Pepsi." Lazy bastard ignores me.

I light up and inhale once and someone barks, "DROP THAT IN THE BUTT BUCKET!" Fuckin' insurance regulations.

I start bitching that Samson's obviously down for the day when the director brings in some gung-ho backup guy named Art.

"Okay, Delilah. Don't whine. Art's harder."

Claire Gregory said...

I couldn’t help staring at his trailer whenever I mowed the park lawns. Every window covered in tinfoil? Jesus. The old coot watched from a lawn chair, can in hand, and his chainsaw voice ripped out. “Hey, chump! Pull up your goddamned pants!”

One week, he wasn’t there. Inside, I found him sprawled in Hoarders paradise, gasping. Grinning. “Been waiting to kick the bucket since ’83.”

On the paisley walls hung framed business degrees. A wedding photo.

After the funeral, I crammed my MFA in the closet.

His last words were the first I typed. “Life’s what you make it.”

Just Jan said...

Unseeing eyes stare up at me through the fractured ice. I scatter snow over them and trek back to the house. The temperature will dip down to minus 3 degrees tonight, and the pond will freeze solid, which means he won't be found until spring. When his body emerges, there will be much weeping and wailing, but in the end they will deem it an accidental drowning and move on. I wipe my sweaty palms on my pants and clean the chum remnants from my bucket and think about how their damn dog won't ever chase my cat again.

Craig said...

At 3 A.M. we knew we needed change. It was still close to 90 degrees and my pants felt like they had been steamed. Then a new gambit hit me upside the head. It was time to try and get our adversary’s dander up and then quench the anger.

The Lee Child and Elmore Leonard lines were reeled in. Horrid SteamPunk queries were tossed out as chum. In the midst of this a bucket of single malt waited.

Mythical creatures can be whimsical but we were up to task. One day we would get the QueryShark to bite.

SiSi said...

@newtonsbucket: Anybody hiring? Degrees in philosophy and math. Can start today. #hardworker #needajob

@bigboy1009: **future employer pants with excitement** #sarcasm

@3some: chill dude come party with us

@newtonsbucket: C’mon tweetsters! Help me out. #needcash

@pawnthis: Need cash? We buy and sell high quality items. Visit us at pawnthis.com for more info

@invstmnts: Open your own business! Your dreams can come true! Click link for details. Makingmoney.com/2eGY38v

@snowflake: Aw poor baby. Cheer up :-)Pic.twitter.com/9o6lx5 #missyou

@newtonsbucket: Seriously, I’ll take any job anything getting desperate here

@jaxrwild: Texas Hold’em tonite. You in?

@kneecapper: 2 more days, chump. See you soon

Fida Islaih said...

It's around 75 degrees outside and I want to be out all day. I don't want it to include the chum bucket or any bucket except my bucket list. I don't want any dirt on me or have to take a way too long shower to wash it off. At least I'm wearing my outdoor pants.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Good-bye old Chum.
That’s what we called friends back then, chums. From short pants to sharing bucket lists, we met when we were 3. I cannot explain to what degree I will miss that old bastard except to say he was my friend.
In ’53 he married the blue eyed blond I loved. I hated him for that. She died last year.
At Elms Manor we share a room, and as old friends do, we share our deepest secrets. He confessed he never loved her. Last night he did not fight the pillow against his face.
Good-bye old Chum.

Tara Tyler said...

Tell me if you've heard this one.

Three people enter a contest and each is given a bucket.

They have to fill their buckets with anything they choose. The contestant with the lightest bucket wins.

The first contestant has no chums. He fills his bucket with sadness.
The next contestant has several prestigious degrees. He fills his bucket with helium.
The winner has no pants on. What did he fill his bucket with?

Durango Writer said...

The hottie in 3B made a third trip to the ice machine.

Henrietta peered through the blinds at his bare back. “Who needs that much ice? The bucket’s overflowing. And he’s half naked.”

“It’s 103 degrees out. Maybe he’s making margaritas.” Eloise joined her roomie by the window.

“Maybe he’s getting chummy with that tart Francine.”

Eloise envisioned those cubes melting on the 60-year-old’s chest, his pants low on his hips. “Lucky girl.”

“But he’s 20 years our junior!”

“Where’s my bikini? I’m headed to the pool.” Eloise sensed this would be the best summer yet at Sunrise Assisted Living.

french sojourn said...

Old Chum:

I got your re-writes, great dialogue… really sings. Speaking of which, I noticed on your notes you wanted to use Doris Troy’s 1963 hit “Just one look” as background music, in bar scene: 3.

Background!

You want her… fine...but the scene better be two mimes. No one’s gonna listen to dialogue, while she sings. I don’t have any music degrees, but she hits every high and low note in the bucket. Christ… I even hear her smiling as she sings.

Are your pants around your ankles… are you balancing cashews on your dick?

Because you’re fucking… nuts!

Background?

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

"Have you seen my pants?" Harold scanned the floor of the supply shed.
Jo shrugged back into her bra. "What do you want pants for? It's 100 degrees."
Harold found them, tossed over some hoses. "Look, you don't wear shorts in my line of work. OSHA."
"Because I know all about your 'profession'? I've met you like, three times."
"Who's counting?" Harold leaned in for a goodbye kiss. Jo turned her head.
"Whatever. Just take your chum bucket and go."

R L Raymond said...

The Stranger

He walks in, with his euro-fit trousers, swinging his man-purse like a bucket o' bravado. Part of the new breed, the hipster-chump, he flashes a perfect smile and waves down the waitress with a perfectly manicured hand. It's pushing 93 degrees, but he doesn't sweat. He orders a cosmo, undresses her with his eyes.
- We don't serve those here, she grins.
- Even for me, he winks.

He doesn't know if he's more upset about the fat lip, the chipped tooth, the stolen bag, or the grease he'd unknowingly sat in, ruining his pants.

jwillett said...

I'm often told, “Buck, you're a bucket. You're not meant to be happy.” Well, why not? I may be used for holding things like dirt, chum and waste. And I may not get the decency of wearing pants or earning degrees. But, still, I deserve happiness. Everything does.

Today, I find myself being scrubbed clean, placed in a truck and driven across town. I'm taken out and held up for inspection. “3 dollars, right?” I'm handed off. Ahead, I see a sign: “Wendy's Wishing Well”.

I sway excitedly side to side. I was right. Buckets can be happy.


JD Paradise said...

"It's three degrees out here, chumbucket pants," Alonso grumbled.

"Chumbucket pants?" I cocked an eyebrow. "Really. That's what you're going with."

"It's snowing, you pigwanker."

"Then let's go inside."

"Finish the test."

I rolled my eyes, then closed them again. "I didn't ask for you."

"You don't ask the president."

"President of a club."

"Still president. Concentrate."

"Fine." I concentrated. Saw. Swimming shapes, green on black. They resolved into--

"You got this."

"Jesus," I muttered. "Lemme work."

--letters. "E-L-O-H-S-S-A."

"Oh." He sighed.

Then he saw. Really saw. "Hey! You can't put words into someone's--"

Maybe he couldn't. But I could.

Calorie Bombshell said...

“That’s a real fine bucket of guts you got there, Fred.”

“Yup.” He wipes his hands on his pants. “Skin, eyeballs, odds and ends.”

“Round bits floating on top?”

“Cheerios.” He laughs. “Wife’s favorite. Walleyes go crazy for them.”

“I reckon Mrs. Beachum makes a mean fisherman stew.”

“Not exactly. Doesn’t cook. Too busy putting Botox in that big mouth of hers.”

“My Ethel butters and broils them crispy. Five hours at 375 degrees.” I dip the ladle in the bloody slush. “What the…?” Something peculiar floats to the top. “Lips…?”

“Yup.” He smiles. “Like I said, odds and ends.”

Curt David said...

My name is Curt. I’m sixteen and a catechumen. That means I’m in Bible school. 3 Fridays a month, I hear what I shouldn’t be doing. (180 degrees from fun).
They told us about Jesus. Our homework was to act like him.
I joined an activist rally. I hung out with pot-smoking friends. They thought God sounded interesting. I met a homeless man, looked into his eyes, and heard his story. I emptied my wallet into his bucket and gave him my pants. (Yep, walked home in my skivvies).
My actions got me expelled. But I feel closer to God.

Sarah said...

Three degrees below the article circle, he frowned at the tracks in the semi-frozen silt.
“How can you tell?”
“The middle claw is the longest.”
“So?”
“She spent a lot of time flexing it.”
The hired man shifted the pole across his shoulders, making the twin buckets of bear chum waft a stink that could be smelled in the lower forty-eight. “Is that why you did it?”
“Of course not,” he said, shoving the folded map back into his soft-shell pants. “I didn’t mean to turn her into a bear. That part was a total accident.”

Steven said...

My heart stopped 3 minutes ago. My vibrantly youthful wife tossed my wasting body beyond the brass railing like chum from a bloody bucket. Sea temperatures of forty-degrees consume me long before any great beasts can feast.

Actually, the private anniversary excursion had been my proposal. A two-year confinement in our home, as Lou Gehrig’s leisurely yet diligently ravaged my muscles, makes a man yearn for salty air.

Embedded pain finally retreats as crimson sludge stills in my paper veins. I now want to halt this irrevocable release as my flickering synapses recall the suicide note’s still in my pants.

andthatswhyimsingle.com said...

The invitation specified 'casual chic' which in guyspeak translates to the '3 degrees of laundry hell'...My paint splattered pants were the khaki equivalent of chum leftovers for an irritated Cerberus hellhound... no one would be pleased.
'The difference between those pants and a bucket is the bucket' I resignedly sighed. 'Ah well, ours is not to question why, ours is just to show up and eat all the cocktail wieners"

'They must be making new kinds of moths' he thought with a varied diet that includes cotton....

Now to find a cab

snc said...

It was stifling, hot as hell at 103 degrees
And as I was fishing, I reached for my bucket
My pole fell in the lake, my pants to my knees
Shaking my fist at the sky, I yelled, "Oh suck it!"
I bent forward to grab my pole, hearing from afar
A playful giggle ringing out, my crack coming in view
She gave me her number, then a ride to the bar
Now we're all chummy, because of my ass' debut!

Colin Smith said...

Conditions were perfect. Chad suited up for the dive and grabbed his camera.

"Nervous?" I said as I closed him in the cage.

"Been doing this for 3 years," he said. Not an answer, but what did I expect? Arrogant jerk.

Degrees from Harvard and Yale. A TV audience of millions. Jealous, yes. But finding his pants in my girlfriend's bedroom was too much.

The chain on the cage pulled taut as the crane began its maneuvers.

"Go ahead, empty the bucket--attract the sharks," he called.

After the time I spent tampering with those bars?

"Later, chum!" I waved.

Michael Seese said...

3 degrees are all that separated me from death. Normal body temperature is 37°C, give or take a half. Hypothermia starts at 35. Uncontrollable shivering. Blue fingers, lips. Confusion. Then, the big sleep. What a bucket of shite this night was. One minute, I’m in the pub with me chums, chatting up a lovely, trying to charm her pants off. The next, I’m swimming the Thames, having cheesed off her mister. I’d half a mind to go back and mash him. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards.

There’s the pisser. I was on the wrong side of those 3 degrees.

Lenny Liang said...

I <3 U.

"What is that?"

"It's a heart. I'm telling her I love her."

"It looks like a little cock trying to escape its pants. Not romantic, in my opinion. You should try to write in English."

"Whatever," I say to him.

It's not worth arguing. He wouldn't understand. How do you explain a love that defies degrees and definitions? That transcends all limitations? Eloquence is superfluous.

"Got a shorthand for kicking the bucket?"

I slowly shake my head.

"Too bad," he says to me.

He takes my phone. He points his gun.

"Goodbye, chump."

Goodbye, love.

IWALU.

4EAE.

Debra Giuffrida said...

Not an Emergency


The stab wounds mocked her as they oozed, pulsing once, twice, 3 times before she turned away searching for the cute pink plastic bucket that held the rest of her knitting needles.

Once he had been her dearest chum, her sweetest love. When had that changed? His words of abuse had penetrated her, seeping into her psyche by degrees until she snapped and took his life shutting up the mouth that befouled her with every vowel, every syllable, every verb.

She wiped her bloodied hand on his pants leg and dialed 311.

Leah said...

“Go ahead, buddy. Chum it up,” he says.

Retching portside, I groan.

Beneath me, three sharks circle, which, let’s face it, is what we want. We’re tracking the elusive query shark, so rare she’s never been photographed. My lack of a puke bucket is our research’s gain.

And then, a miracle. From the depths she appears, lips curled, remnants of lackluster queries gleaming between her teeth.

“It’s her,” I cry.

But I choke. I fail. Facing the repugnance of a misplaced modifier, I pee my pants. The camera falls.

Camera and query shark slip, silent, into the abyss.

Madseasongirl said...

“Hot diggity dog!”

“How many did you get Rice?” Marc asked, pushing the bucket toward him.

3, real beauts this time.”

Rice was impressive.

His degrees of mastery, disturbing.

Marc gripped the chump tighter, turning it round and around under the table. “You gonna gut 'em or mount 'em?”

“Not sure, but shh, here they come,” Rice whispered, grabbing a beer from the bucket.

The occupants of the bar watched the three women.

Marc watched Rice.

Not this time.

Marc stood. If his beating heart hadn't given him away, a beating to the head certainly would.

Donna Everhart said...

He despised the job. Yanking on bright colored clown pants, slapping on makeup, he snatched the bucket with fake “water,” and left the room.
“Mama! It’s Chump!”
Jesus, two degrees and making a living as a clown called Chump.
“Chump! ”
Fuck off, twerp.
“What?”
Shit. Was that out loud?
“I said, watch! On 3!”
He counted, tossed the bucket, confetti fell on the kid and his mother. Off they went, happy.
Shit, now he’d have to get more “water.”
He looked around. All alone. He unzipped, peed.
Piss on’em.
He headed for the tent, smiling. Or, was he?

Danny Konczynski said...

It was a cold winter day, with an endless gray sky to the horizon. I scooped the chum from the bucket and tossed it into the 3 to 5 foot swells rocking my boat. I had marked this spot on my GPS as a great spot for sharks a while back. Thanks to technology I no longer worried about degrees latitude and longitude. I looked at the rust colored stains on my pants and then at the garbage bags that contained her remains on deck. Now it was time to just wait for the sharks and my happily ever after.

Amy Schaefer said...

“I got 3 degrees of stinking chum bucket on my pants!”

Two pristine figures led the sooty child away. The little boy’s eyes rolled like marbles.

“Robbie were always that way.” Bernice stuffed another cigarette in her wrinkled mouth. “Child Services paid extra fer broken ones.”

“You left him in the fire?”

“I don’t get paid t’be Wonder Woman. Where’ll they send my checks now?”

“No more checks, Bernice.” I opened the door behind me. The sudden heat blasted her cigarette to ashes. A biting, burning horde swarmed the screaming woman. “Welcome to hell, madam.”

I do love my job.

Patrick DiOrio said...

There’s 3 degrees separatin' chump from genius.

But me? I manage a whole ‘nuther kinda bucket of fuck-up.

It went down this way: Deacon’s drugged up mouth spoutin' mush . Misheard the ass-fuck—“Beat the sinner an inch from his life,” was his order. Crucified the pilgrim, instead.

Last dude fucked up? Deacon, a big gardener, lopped off his ears.
Deacon preaches, listen right. Or it’s Attitude Adjustment Time.

Now I stand prayin'. Roped. Gagged. Pants 'round my ankles. Balls to the wall.

And Deacon? Crazy-ass bastard’s sermonizin'—asking, “What would Jesus do with this sharp-ass pair of shears?”

Lucy Lumpkin said...

"Times is a-changing--"
The old woman sat in a beat-up rocking chair, a suitcase at her feet.
The girl stood just off the porch, gnawing at a fingernail.

"--Yeah, so used to be, boyfriends were 'beaus'; girlfriends, 'chums'.
Men wore the pants. Trouble came in 3's. Why, right here, in hunnerd degrees heat,
you churned the butter and George Daddy kicked the bucket--"

The old woman gasped. The girl shrugged, spit. "What?"

"Oh, right here just yesterday, my sweet young'un and I rocked, plotted trips to the moon."

"You make it?"

The old lady shook her head, blotted a tear.

Jennifer Rockwell said...

There are degrees of foolishness in Love and Hate. Am I Shelly Winters to your Robert Mitchum in "The Night of the Hunter?" Waiting in bed, forlorn and repressed, willing to sacrifice everything, even the children, to sustain blind faith in your faithfulness? Waiting and praying and believing in You, my Almighty, my big 3, right up until you come to slit my throat. There are times I wish you'd actually do it and I could escape by just kicking the bucket. Instead, I'm still in this crazy limbo, still trying to believe, watching Maury and ironing your pants.

Pepper Smith said...

Jason hot-footed across the beach, on sand that felt like a billion degrees, like the surface of the sun. Little thief stole his car and left his clothes scattered among a horde of oblivious sunbathers. He spotted his shirt half buried under a bucket of sand and yanked it out.

He had five minutes to find his pants and vanish. Isaac would be furious when he wasn't here as agreed with the key. Then Isaac would look for the car, and he'd find it, and her, and the key to locker 387. Jason hoped she could breathe water.

Chump.

BP said...

There isn't much for a Dallas detective to do when it's 113 degrees out.

One could, for example, under the pretext of dining with chums, languish in the riches of a good Vintage, paired with tender Vendetta, pressure-steamed, slathered in creamy, saucy revenge.

Dessert would be the sweet timing in leveraging waiter serving said wine from the path of a bullet, while the pants of the stranger next to us collect an offertory of all fruity goodness a glass of Pinot noir has to offer.

My only regrets are for Mr. Bucket-Pants - I hope the stains come out alright.

Stanislava said...

“3 degrees west!” The captain shouted with a cigar in his mouth, as thick as my arm. He was perched comfortably behind the steering wheel. I ran across the deck, but it was too late, the bucket with chum was already flying over the board. As I tried to save at least the bucket, I slipped and felt, skidding into the water after it. “Don’t get your pants wet,” the captain laughed heartily. He threw leisurely the life preserver, probably hoping to see a fin, or two before I made it back to safety.

Lancelot said...

Degrees hung from his wall, silent gargoyles. He smoked his pipe between two fields of overgrown whiskers.

I eyed photographs on bookshelves that displayed acquaintances, chumships, business partners, his long lost wife. Another revealed giant medieval siege weapons bordered by throngs of grinning anticipants. “You said 3 crimes.”

“And?” he asked.

“That’s 2. Stole the trebucket—”

“Trebuchet.”

“—and spent more time on it than your wife. Those aren’t dark secrets.”

“Well…“ He pointed at the car with painted windows, the one in the trebuchet’s sling. “Before we launched our old Buick into the woods, I stuffed her inside.”

Professor Nabyar said...

O.F├╝sli, Bookseller

Hundred degrees on the Bahnhofstrasse, but cool in the bookshop.

She emerges from the back to rescue her chum, who has somehow botched my transaction.
-How do you find Zurich?

Her breasts are hillsides of swiss milk; tiny chocolate cows graze on their rolling pasture, and maidens with clanging buckets dance the valley below.
-Yesterday, I aided and abetted my brother in suicide.
-Vas it successful?
-Very.
She reboots the machine. And hands it to me.
“Press ‘3’ for credit, you see? Then put in your PIN.”


Later, checking the pockets of my pants, I find no card.

jcwelker said...

A bloke in viper-skin pants has been trailing me for 3 blocks. My feet pounded a rapid drum role against the pavement. Because when you can see angels and demons amid a blinded world, you’re more likely to kick the bucket sooner than later—

He was drawing near. Counting the seconds…I cocked my head ninety degrees, meeting his toxic-black eyes.

“I have a message from the Beast below,” he said, his breath smelling of chum.

Then he lifted one finger to his lips and licked.

Fire danced from his fingertip.

Lance said...

“The wind whistled coldly through her ears, numbing him to the sight of her sightless eyes,” she read. The opening line.

He was another stalker: with a manuscript. Not a regular in her bodega. Two reams of onionskin! Sitting right there on “her” table.

He had written the perfect FICTION NOVEL. Two MFA degrees. Online. He wasn’t a pantser. The outline was double-spaced.

She lured him to Slip 3. He cast off.

“You motherfucking bastard!” She looked around. There weren’t many boats out at this early hour, but yelling obscenities at buckets of chum would seem suspicious.

Myra King said...

I'm standing outside Ye Olde Pants Shoppe on number 3 Parade. A squirt of Chummy Sparkle, The Window Cleaner's Friend, in my bucket. How the hell this mess got splattered three-sixty degrees is any god's guess. I'll need the extra long food and slimy bits retrieval tool for this one. I go back to my van, the one which should have 'No Job Too Large or Too Horrific' scathed across its sides. Instead, it spouts 'Extreme Cleaners', like we could love what we do as much as slalom or bungy or base. Certainly gets the stomach rate up.

Gonzo's Chicken said...

Mark knew he had degrees of charm. To Ginger, though, he had only ever been a chum.

He had tried to win her heart, but for 3 years she had delayed him with playful grins and teasing refusals.

Then he had enlisted.

The day he returned from the war, they went for a walk around the lake.

His hands shook, and his legs seemed to be bucketing underneath him. Would she refuse him again?

They entered the boat house. It held no other occupants. It was now or never.

Kneeling in his uniform, he took her hand.

She said yes.

skald kenning said...

“Three times? You'll be tossed out from the chum bucket.”

“I couldn't make my mind up about my moniker.”

“It's not like trying on pants. She takes these things seriously. She probably has a magnifying glass connected to her computer and worked out the optimal degrees of burning through her blog into your computer, and poof no writing career, and what's worse, you're no longer subscribed.”

“What should I do? Feed her?”

“She's not in an aquarium. Stop dicking around on these flash, and dick around on your historical non-fiction thing. Beg forgiveness.”

Dennis Fong said...

We found him this morning: dripping pants, broken fishing rod, empty chum bucket. Crazy, right? Said a huge sea monster tore up the boat. Crazier, right? Last I checked, the "It’s A Small World" ride is known for annoying repetitive songs, not dangerous beasts.

He tossed a tooth on my desk as he was taken away. I’ve seen shark’s teeth before, but the man at the museum with more 3-letter degrees than I can count said he’d never seen anything like it.

“It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears.”

I hope he’s crazy.

I fear he’s not.

Sherryl Clark said...

Ninety Degrees Wine Bar. Again.
Too many nights here, making excuses. No one wanted his novel. Why the hell did he think drinking cheap wine would help?
A woman parked her ass on the stool next to him, ordered a Hot Pants cocktail. She looked mean, and she was muttering under her breath. “Chum Bucket time, Chum Bucket time. Two drinks and I’m ready.”
Could this be …?
7.43pm. Should he run home and query? Or try the direct approach?
He glanced sideways, caught a glimpse of her sharp, shining teeth.
Nup. Query. Life was too short.

Steve Forti said...

“Why doesn’t Donald Duck wear pants?” Jeff quipped. “And why are all cartoon animals in various degrees of undress? At what point is that inappropriate?”

His audience didn’t laugh. A big turnout, though. “I mean, Mickey is always topless. You think he gets sunburned?”

There, the man closest smiled as he pulled the dripping sponge from the bucket and affixed it to Jeff’s shaved head.

“You’d think a decent outfit would be chump change.”

Another smile. He bet the man in the hood was laughing, too, as flashed his fingers. 3, 2, 1…

Yeah, he was really killing it tonight.

CHLamb said...

He’d expected it to be louder, like a feeding-frenzy of baby makos going after a tuna school. A flurry of teeth, fins and white churning water.
But this beautiful giant beast gliding towards him mere degrees off the Penelope’s starboard prow was suddenly just there. He recognized the markers straight up – the shovel-esque snout, the dorsal fin’s almost-comical symmetry. 3 metres and 330 pounds of deadly sphyrna lewini.
The memory of being caught in the gorgeous predator’s jaws nearly turned his pants into a chumbucket.
‘So we’re cool, pal,’ he said, shifting weight from his artificial leg. ‘No hard feelings.’

Tanisha Payne said...

There are 3 things my mother hates most: one of them is me. Like the time we went shopping for pants and underwear. She never missed an opportunity to criticize my size.

Such as: “Seriously Keira, get any fatter and I’ll have to strap two buckets together just to make you a bra”.

And then: “You can’t fit these pants? No amount of college degrees will make a man want you if you’re chubby.”

“They will because I’m “chummy”. It stands for cheap and absolutely yummy”, I announce proudly.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t piss her off somehow.

JaredNGarrett said...

“Last chance, chum.”

I slashed sweat from my face. Shut up, Savage. I willed my heart slower. Two shots already gone and both had missed the bucket.

Stan Savage, the Freedom Games mediator, smiled, his pearlies and glittering pants seen by the nation. “Nobody’s ever done it, folks! Can Dan free his brother?”

Yes, I can. And will. Jeff hadn’t assaulted that Assessor.

I had.

I lowered the gun 3 degrees.

I fired between heart beats, felt the tiny bag fly.

One second; fifty yards. A clang.

Reid’s eyes widened.

The cell door opened; Jeff stepped out.

Time to run.

Chris Barnes said...

Nothing stirs in the dark streets. The strew of detritus, buckets, clothing, and other humanity betrays no hint of the ransacking this village had endured.

The 3 silent monks drift up the cobbled lane. An insect symphony and the smell of chum from the wharf washes over them.

The quiet figures glide to a stop, casting long shadows on the hut. Light spills forth, not touching the faces of the dark visitors. The woman bows her head as the man
quickly ties his pants, coming up behind his wife.

"The Degrees have spoken. We have come for the child."

LynnRodz said...

I want to wear my long pants today, but mommy said I had to wear shorts cause it's 90 degrees outside. Today my girlfriend, Suzie Chumbalaya, is 4 years old, I'm still 3. Me and mommy went shopping for her birthday present.

"Here's a pretty doll." Mommy said at the store.

"No, a bucket."

"What about this bracelet? Girls don't want buckets."

"Suzie does."

I heard daddy tell our neighbor, Mr. B, "There's only one way to be happy in this world - that's bucket, bucket, bucket."

I can't wait til Suzie sees her bucket, she's going to be so happy.

S.C. Kirk said...

I dropped the bucket of "chum" in the pool, shocking the pearl and linen draped guests. The penguined waiter crashed a tray of Bellinis; champagne splashed the pants of bow-tied men. My wife lasered her eyes, heating my skin to 3 hundred degrees. "I know about you and Phil," I shouted. "Just like our wedding. You ruin everything," she hissed. In my departure, a razor-nosed woman remarked, "Wonder where he got the chum." I passed through the stables, stalled by the wood chipper, and trailed my finger in blood still dripping from the blade. That ain't chum, lady. That's Phil.

Fiercely Yours said...

Mergee squeezed through the double doors of Fairy Hall and demanded to see the Director of Height Requirements.

“You know he doesn’t start work until 3:33,” said the Fairy bitch behind the desk. “Please wait outside, you take up too much space.”

No, Mergee was going to sit there suffocating them all until someone changed the law. As it were, she was a Chum at three buckets tall, well above the three-thimble requirement. Fairies received degrees and worked anywhere they wanted, but not the Chum’s. They were only suited for the oversized pants factory, but Mergee, had a new plan.

Curtis Moser said...

There’s something under Bourbon Street. That’s what the hobo with the 3-day beard and the shredded pants told her. Margo didn’t believe him. But he sat now in the gutter beside the drain, ladling chum into the sewer, and she had to admit that he had piqued her curiosity.

“Where did it come from,” she asked.

“Katrina,” he told her. “Ate two city fellas last week.”

Margo eyed him dubiously.

“It’s a man-eater now. Has a taste for it. I’ll catch it though, no worries.” He glanced at his bucket. Two fingers bobbed there, angled 45 degrees from the eyeball.

Eli Rhodes said...

The goddamned pond never froze. Not even at ten degrees. Cam couldn’t say why—and damned if he cared. He only cared it was here. He tipped the bucket, letting the meat fall into the murky water. Some splashed his pants.

"You fucker."

A gold wedding band glinted back at him, flirting with the uppermost layer of mud-red water. It took 3 seconds before it sunk to the black. He coughed out a misty laugh, tossing a smile to the stubborn pond. “Enjoy Hell, you chump. You won’t be enjoying her no more.”

Then Cam moved to the second bucket.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Jocks are such losers. Chum the waters with girls in librarian glasses and their wallets fly out of their pants.

Cal Poly costs a bucket of cash. Bartending here dropped my GPA to 3.98, but it's worth it. My tech degrees are paying off.

These uncredible hulks don’t realize that every time they flip their credit card I hack a buck into my account.

Hang on.

“Ten beers? VISA or Mastercard? Yeah, I’m from Poly. Wow. You’re funny.”

Where was I?

Revenge is sweet and profitable. It's not my fault they’re too dumb to beware of geeks bearing grifts.

Peter Treurnicht said...

She had to wade through the dry savannah grass like water. When she pushed the last knoll's hair away, they were there... 1... 2... 3... "Oh shit-"

Their golden eyes regarded her with amused intrigue. She could all but hear their thoughts, "Look at this poor chump, whishing she could turn a full 180 degrees." She did, but everything had frozen: her heart, breath, and fortunately her bowls; she was about leave a bucket's load in her pants.

They surrounded her when she came to: Mr. Snuggles, Tiny Tiger, Fat Tom.

"Now returning to 'Lives of Lions'," the TV announced.

Scott G said...

I’m watching.

She slinks into apartment 3B. The one I’m in right now. She doesn’t know I’m here.

I’m watching.

She slips off her shoes and proceeds into varying degrees of undress. Her blouse. Her pants. A robe.

I’m watching.

She fills a bucket with water and bleach. She opens the bathroom door. A layer of bloody chum covers the walls and floor. I gasp. She stops and turns her head.

I’m watching.

She smiles and two-steps into the kitchen. A convenient knife lies on the counter. She grabs it as she passes by. She finds me.

I’m next.

Ali Trotta said...

Everything happens by degrees. The sun starts into the sky, color by color, changing from pale watercolor to miraculous Monet. The stars appear one after another, a hint of something gone Van Gogh. It begins with a subtle thing: a smile. A change in heartbeat. Then, you could catch joy in a bucket, as if hope were rainwater.

I love you.

At best, it’s a miracle. At worst, it’ll disfigure your heart, putting chum in the water as you begin to bleed.

It’s Monday, 3 o’clock. A hotel room. I take off my ring, before slipping out of my pants.

Violet Ingram said...

Lexie tried ignoring her seasickness. This was not a good start for someone who had spent the last 3 years studying marine biology.

She grabbed the bucket and began dumping fish guts called chum over the side of the boat. Spotting something dark moving in the water, Lexie jumped up spilling the smelly goo on her pants.

The boat rocked sending Lexie over the railing. Her screams were cut of as she went below the surface.

There must be jobs with less degrees of danger than this she thought as a gaping mouth with teeth swam towards her.

Bryan said...

Percival and Kumar had been chums since childhood. But racial tensions in Bangalore were tearing apart their city, and their friendship with it. Those tensions crept into their homes, as Percival’s socialite wife, Sarah, repeatedly told her husband to have nothing to do with the man with holes in his pants who pushed a mop bucket for a living. “He’s filth!” she would shriek at him over dinner. As the degrees of the summer’s heat increased, so did Sarah’s disgust for Kumar. But the 3 stab wounds she finally chose to open were on Percival. He after all was insured.

Kathryn Leonard-Peck said...

“Look on Chumster.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a selachimorpha-sharing website. There’s only 3 degrees of separation between sea-going creatures.”

“Expensive to join?”

“Just a couple buckets of clams, and you see everyone’s dating profile.”

“Is it some fancy-pants sharks only site? What about the cartilaginously-challenged?”

No, it’s not selective. Even lawyers and literary agents are allowed.”

“I’m game.”


And that was how they met. He was a nine-armed tugboat-chasing architeuthis, she a high-minded blood-swilling carcharadon.

Ships were sunk. Legends were written. They swam off into the murky sunset, suction cup in razor fin.

Jenzie said...

“Where are we going? Should I bring anything special?” He wouldn’t shut up since I picked him up from his apartment.


“You love giving me 3rd degrees, don’t you, chum.” I lit a cigarette and ignored the questions.


“It’s called ‘the third degree’, not third degrees.” What a pain in the ass.


“Look, you’re wearing pants, and I’ve got a bucket. That’s all we need. Now move it.” I spat the words through clenched teeth around the smoke.


I wasn’t going to tell him more because I didn’t want him to kill me.


Yet.

Amara Royce said...

How naive of me to be suckered by something as ridiculous as a chrome-plated champagne bucket. Or in my case, chumpagne. I gulped down every cliche you fed me. No falling in love by degrees. That rule of 3s is damn hard to ignore, though. The dried applesauce on your shoulder. The trace of baby powder on your sleeve. Your wife's honey-do list in your pants pocket. Stop blathering! I refuse to be someone else's fantasy, an "oasis" in your self-imposed desert of a life. Maybe next time don't ask your "dream girl" to do your laundry.

Landrum B. Oblinsky said...

I see you with your hand on the safe, brother chum 'a mine, hear your thoughts like, now fifteen degrees to the left, can visualize your memory you think I can't remember, being only 3 then. I do remember: trying to take your attention from grandpa opening that safe. I needed someone to go with me. I gave up and did what I needed alone, only forgot to drop my pants first. I felt proud of myself even so, threw those overalls into the garden bucket. What you didn't know is that grandpa took what you are looking for now.