NOVEMBER 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO CAT'S CRADLE!

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The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
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RULES


Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words, not including the title

ONE entry per person


NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


WHEN WRITING YOUR STORY, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM


All stories Copyright 2023 by their respective authors
who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here



The complete rules can be found at RULES FOR THE WRITING CHALLENGES

Contest ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 23 November 2023

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 November 2023



We ask all entrants to do their best to vote when the time comes

But you do not have to submit a story in order to vote
as we encourage all Chrons members to take part in choosing the winning entry



The Magnificent Prize:

The Dignified Congratulations/Grovelling Admiration of Your Peers
and the challenge of choosing next month's theme and genre


AND

The option of having your story published on the Chrons Podcast next month!


Theme:

BUREAUCRACY

Genre:

Apocalyptic or Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Please keep all comments to the DISCUSSION THREAD


We invite (and indeed hope for) lively discussion and speculation about the stories as they are posted,
as long as it doesn't involve the author explaining the plot



** Please do not use the "Like" button in this thread! **
 

nixie

pixie druid
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I may live in Yorkshire but I'm a Scot
After the Apocalypse.
The world was returning to normal, the horror and devastation of the last few years fading.
They found roles for those most badly affected by the virus. They made ideal tax and court clerks. Relentless in their work, ensuring those owing money paid on time.
I had to visit court today, forgot to keep away from the clerks. A bite on my arm reminded me what they were, oh well least I’ll have a job.
 

JS Wiig

“Hello, muse?” “Please hold…” *elevator music*
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Form 187963-24.05(C)

Who knew post apocalyptica would be so environmentally unfriendly? Used to be able to terrorize the masses with my pig sh*t powered mobile flamethrower. No more.

Ever since the pencil-necked paper pushers took over, things have really gone down hill. Now you need a permit to burn pig sh*t. The form is 789 pages long with 119 individual signature lines. I can’t even read!

What’ll they come after next, my spiky shoulder pads?
 

Omniwhere

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Lucky Number

I turned in my form early as the birds, planes and satellites rained down. They gave me the slip, 0007, my lucky number, and I walked past a starving crowd in line. When I showed them my slip, they nicknamed me Agent Bond. We chuckled.

Suited up, I took my seat and, a day later, the ship was launched and we looked down to see the blue and green dried up. I kissed my number.
 

THX1138

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A Tale of Two Committees

Due to the Congressional re-organization, your request for emergency relief has been sent to a yet to be formed sub-committee.

“Re-organization my foot, they got blown off the map! It'll be up to another six months for relief supplies to arrive before you can raid us again.”

“I understand. We have some vegetarians that are giving our Warlord a headache too. They formed a committee to discuss the benefits of eating tofu.”
 

Phyrebrat

www.beanwriting.com
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In your bedroom wardrobe...
The Second Tribe of Noah

I just wanted a decent death.
When Star Wormwood appeared, was part of me excited? Was this our Flood?
I daresay…
Finally, something to trigger unification; a global communion.
The approaching celestial body terrified me, but when it stopped in LEO, was I disappointed?
Yes, I daresay.
Tides stayed regular, weather continued its inscrutable logic, but the star…
A star that rains down billions of AR-15s?
Did I see that coming?
I daren’t say…
 

BigJ

_insertlabelhere_
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When it comes to red tape, rock beats scissors

Her whole life on Earth, Marge fought to make things better, but constantly faced resistance.

Politicians with practiced smiles.

Doctors exhausted of empathy.

Insurance agents with calculated indifference.

Endless paperwork, permits, approvals, meetings, denials.

Some things, it seems, never change.

Resigned, she activated the implant in her wrist with a message threefold; culture unfit for interstellar uplift; initiate reset; commence retrieval.

Marge winked out of existence.

A hundred million miles away, an asteroid changed course.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
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Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Against Regulations

The cardboard sign leaning against Clive Jessup's shack read Distribution Center. The survivors respected his office. Their numbers reduced the raids of outlaws to occasional pilfering.

"What's today?" Maggie Beddows was always first In line for the daily ration.

"Can kidney beans, half kilo rice, box powdered milk." Clive reached down to his private stash. "Can peaches." It was his payment from the provisional government, but he didn't mind bending the rules for the dying.
 
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Provincial

The price of a bargain is eternal vigilance.
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Office of the Holy Administrators (Reception)


“Fight The Good Fight” said the poster. Angel#3141666 looked away and towards the next customer.

“RabbleRouser#19841138. Here’s my APF1922(a), completed in triplicate.” The demon waved a stack of blue flimsies under the angel’s nose, who leafed through them professionally.

“Ah. You wanted to start this apocalypse today?”

“Immediately you’ve stamped the paperwork.”

“Sorry, but you have to give us three weeks notice if you want to start an apocalypse today. Permission denied.”
 

Guttersnipe

mortal ally
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Cocagne
Even Heaven Has Rules

I felt lucky to make it into Heaven after the Bomb took everything. I was stuck in the waiting room anywhere from a week to a century.

Finally, the door opened, revealing white light.

"God will see you now," said the angel.

The Big Guy looked to be in a hurry.

I asked Him if I could visit my family in Hell.

"You want Upper Management. I'm going fishing."

I felt closer to my family.
 

Troyzan787

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Pittsburgh, PA
Reduced Efficiency

Luen nervously entered the Grand Phage Council’s chamber after their number was called.

“Request for promotion?” The Grand Phage asked.

“Yes,” Luen replied.

“The orifices have all been entered in triplicate?”

“Yes”

“I see your infection quota has slumped considerably of late…”

“Yes, the masks…”

“Mask exceptions must be submitted three days prior, as you well know.”

“And the vaccines, of course.”

“Ineffective until we officially state otherwise.”

“But…”

“Promotion denied.”
 

genelewis

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Tulsa, Oklahoma
A Day at the Office

The Chronicler of Apocalypses clocked in, blinked at the tall stack of universes on its desk, and began to tally:

“Terrestrial planet, frozen around cooling star.”

“Fifteen acre forest, clear cut.”

“Lifetime of memories, lost to dementia.”

“Anthill, drowned by emptying of the wash.”

“Bronze Age civilization, succumbed to invasion.”

“Universe, arrived at perfect entropy.”

“Lovers, permanently estranged.”

“Microbial colony, flooded by Lysol.”

The Chronicler yawned and wondered, “Is it lunchtime yet?”
 

Bowler1

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High Wycombe
Doomsday List

For Sam it just wasn’t adding up, no matter how hard he tried.

The numbers were wrong, and that couldn’t be.

With an angry fist Sam slams his desk, ‘why isn’t this adding up?’

A timid cough from an assistant, ‘sir… if I may.’

‘If you must.’

‘People are dying,’ added his assistant, ‘it’s what happens.’

A glare from Sam. ‘This can’t be… the census must be finished. Report them for dying, this stops now.’
 

emrosenagel

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Sebastian, FL
How to Succeed at World Domination Without Really Trying

Everyone knew the end would come eventually. Zombies or global warming or whatever. But nobody suspected desk plants.

Succulents, cacti, bouquets sent to attractive secretaries – all of them waiting, watching. Learning. Now our botanical overlords rule the world the only way they know how.

"I just need the restroom," I sighed.

"Twelve weeks minimum. Probably eighteen." The Monstera slid over some paperwork. "Lots of hoops to jump through. You get it."

Not much has changed.
 

johnnyjet

Western PA High Tech Country Boy
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1,718
Location
Pennsylvania
Ashcastles

His daughter constructed castles from fallen ash, dense, easily molded.

Keep away from the dead fish and birds.

His ear buzzed. He limped into the cabana.

“Yes?”

“Enemy drones are retreating, Mr. President.”

“Our losses?”

“Uncertain. All major cities. We’re still bombing them.”

“Anything else?”

“Keep safe, sir.”

Breanna could’ve been an architect, her structures a stunning contrast against gray sky and sea.

It was getting dark. Their glowing bodies would provide enough light.
 

Starbeast

Benevolent Galaxy Being
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Location
Earth Orbit
Post WW3 Procedure

“Sir. This is Form 62E. I need Form 62 to repair the oxygen generator.”

“We’re out of 62s.”

“Please reorder new forms.”

“That’ll take months! They’ll be 30,000 dead bureaucrats by then. Just fix the generator. We’ll iron out the details later.”

“I can’t do that Colonel Dave.”

“You damned, android!” BANG!

“Your bullet deflected and struck the electricity generator. I’ll need Form 23 to restore electricity.”

“We’re out of 23s.”

“You’ll need to reorder.”
 

Astro Pen

Write now.
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Wales UK
The Innominate

They took back the city. The army of the unpersoned.

We hadn’t considered the possibility. They were as anonymous as crows.

We thought it was punitive to delete all their records. But it enabled them.
Now we couldn’t tell one from another. No addresses, no names and no facial records.

In their anonymity they had become one stealth organism, with eight million cells. In every basement, stairwell and alley.

We had made them invisible.
 

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
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Off The Rails


"No trains today, sir."

"Why?"

"Health and safety, sir."

"Hang on, there were no trains on Monday either."

"That's right, sir; due to the meteor strike."

"Hailstone strike."

"Big hailstones, sir."

"Tuesday it was a 'zombie apocalypse'."

"Err..."

"Which turned out to be a bunch of teenagers glued to their mobiles. And today..?"

"Triffids sir."

"Triffids? I think I'll take my chances and walk. Goodbye!"

*Rattle, rattle*

"Yelp! I'm blinded!"

"I did warn you, sir."
 

AnRoinnUltra

Cé scéal tuthóg?
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Aug 15, 2021
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The tale of Robo Receptionist FZB3158

Robo Receptionist FZB3158 opened the medi-pod door and admitted the patient.

Yeuck, another human’, it thought.
‘WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?’, it asked.

‘Insomnia, crippling anxiety, low self esteem, mood swings and depression …sometimes I get so bad I don't leave the house for days,’

‘YOU DID WELL TO MAKE IT IN HERE’, noted Robo Receptionist FZB3158.

‘I suppose I did.’

‘NO SUPPOSING NEEDED, YOU ARE ALREADY ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY HUMAN -NEXT PATIENT.’
 

Peter V

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Nov 1, 2016
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884
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London
The Librarian

“No library card, no book.” The AI’s tone carried a sense of self-righteous smugness.

“Nobody has a library card anymore. There isn’t even a library.” Sol regarded the rubble, under which lay vital books on engineering, agriculture and medicine; knowledge to help the survivors.

The AI leaned forward. “Or give me your bank details, so that I can ascertain if you have sufficient funds to cover a late return fine.”

“Will you take a cheque?”
 
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