Twenty Stick Stump

28 Oct

This is my 100 word story inspired by Madison Woods’ photo prompt for FridayFictioneers. Tread lightly and enjoy. D.

Twenty Stick Stump

“Told Noble that plot wouldn’t produce no matter how many stumps he cleared. It’s all shale and dust and too far from the river.”


“Well, it’s true,” said Wesley to no one in particular, disgusted with the show of lowering an empty coffin into the thick loam of the church cemetery.

He’d done the real work for his neighbor the day before and these folks knew it. Dug two holes, and way smaller, too; one for the unused dynamite and the other so he wouldn’t have to listen to the crows fighting for the next few days.

“Damn shame.”

28 Responses to “Twenty Stick Stump”

  1. jshill October 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Dang didn’t people watch Lost? Well done.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      Dear J.S.,

      I’m one of those strange people who never saw an episode of Seinfeld either, no less ‘Lost’. I always felt the title of that show was a commentary on those who watched it (present company excluded) and could never suspend disbelief at the premise and the ‘Prisoner’ like underpinnings of that whole enterprise. My loss? I’ll never know.

      Having said all that, what happens in Lost that relates to old dynamite? Someone get “Blown up, Sir!” (Best Bill Murray imitation.)



  2. kbnelson October 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Empty coffin! Ewww.
    Good job, but I wanted to read more. Who made up this 100-word limit anyway? Oh, yeah…nevermind.

    Have a great day!

    • Madison Woods October 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      LOL, that would be me – the wicked mistress of 100-word limits 😉

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

      Dear Karen,

      Twenty sticks will do that to a man. Ewww is right. Don’t know if more words would have helped in this story. i kind of liked that you had to hunt for the missing pieces (pun intended!)



  3. Madison Woods October 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    What a great opening to make a person want to know more. Great use of the prompt 🙂

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

      Thanks Madison,

      Once again, your photo prompt was VERY challenging.

      A few notes of interest:

      I once found a case of old dynamite and took home twenty-one sticks. Stashed them behind my couch and blew up several things (refrigerator, old car, fuse box) in a nearby junkyard. Almost killed myself. I’m glad that dynamite was really old. Tell your son never to touch anything that looks like that again. Old dynamite is VERY unstable and though often the nitroglycerine has long since evaporated, if it hasn’t, it can be extremely dangerous.) That green thing in the center of the stick is also dangerous, possibly even now. It may be a primer or blasting cap (full of high power black powder). Either way, Mads, be careful with that thing.

      Love you,



      P.S. In my story, as a tribute to your prompt. I used Noble’s name as a play on Alfred B. Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

      see ya, D.

  4. susielindau October 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Such a great post! I love how you can develop character in such a small space. We are left aching for more!!

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

      Dear Susie,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and let me know you enjoyed the story. (Noble was left aching for more, too:)



  5. Russell October 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    I’d loved the line about the crows. Great job.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      Thanks for noticing that line, it was my favorite part of the whole story. Can you imagine what the tableau of the next few days would have been like? Ick.



  6. kdmccrite October 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Doug, you are the master of imagery, and making a story read flawlessly. Good job, as always!

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Dear Kady,

      Coming from you, that’s high praise. Thanks. (You know I imagine you out there on the fence line, reading carefully, whenever I’m writing a piece. You keep me on my toes and on my game.)



  7. kdmccrite October 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Oh, and here’s a link to mine.

  8. scribbla October 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    A gripping piece that jumps right in there. Very much enjoyed.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      Thank you, Sir,

      Not too obscure for you? It was a tough prompt this week, don’t you think?



  9. Caely October 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    I’m speechless, D. Such captivating 100 words. I hope I can write like you one day.


    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

      Hi Caely,

      You have the greatest gift of all; Time. Use it wisely and you’ll be writing like the best of the best in no time.



  10. Craig Towsley October 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Great minds indeed. Nice piece of writing there.

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      Hi Craig,

      They do, don’t they!



  11. Tiyana October 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    I’m confused! *sobs* He’s lowering an empty coffin and a stick of dynamite into the holes, gonna blow up the cemetery…right? I guess I don’t get what the empty coffin is for. :/

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      Dear Tiyana,

      Wesley spent the previous day cleaning up gobbets of his neighbor, Noble, who blew himself up trying to clear off stumps (one that was so big he needed twenty sticks of dynamite for it) from a worthless piece of land. He’s mad that the townspeople are going through the motions of a proper burial (with nothing in the coffin because Noble was blown all over the place trying to detonate that last stump). The crows would have been fighting over Noble’s parts so Wesley did the only thing he knew to do, which was bury the leftover dynamite and every bit of Noble he could find.

      One thing everyone’s missed is that the name Noble is a play on Nobel (Alfred B. Nobel) the inventor of dynamite. That’ll teach me to be so obscure. Will try harder next time.



      • Tiyana October 29, 2011 at 5:59 am #

        Ah…okay. Yeah, I honestly did not see this, 😦 so thank you for explaining!

        In any case, I knew there was a connection between dead bodies and the crows, and that the imagery was disgusting, lol.

        And I didn’t know that about Mr. Noble. Clever!

  12. Robin Hawke October 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Love the ones where you have to scratch the words to let the understory out…you did it well, Robin

    • dmmacilroy October 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

      Dear Robin,

      Thanks for that, Robin. i appreciate the time you took to read the story and comment. Can’t wait until next Friday!



  13. The Lime October 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Eeek, dynamite!

  14. Jan Morrill October 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Amazed at all you were able to tell in so few words, Doug. In fact, the sparcity of words added to the eery effect. Good job!

    • dmmacilroy October 30, 2011 at 6:40 am #

      Dear Jan,

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I was off island and only now returned to my lonely writer’s garret.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment on Twenty Stick Stump, and especially for noticing the way I put the story together. I m learning some interesting things via Madison’s 100 word Fictioneers Friday challenges. Your comment let me know I came close to the intended target this week.

      Are you on a world circling tour? I feel as though you should have a striped hat on and have people looking for you. Let me know where in the world you are, please. Thanks.



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