The Nerve (II)

18 Jun

100 words for Friday Fictioneers. (A reposting this week as per Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s suggestion. Coincidentally, I will be on the road for two weeks, so her idea could not have come at a better time.)

When I first posted this story (The Nerve) it was woefully overlong at 147 words because I had yet to master the fine art of slicing, dicing and killing my darlings. For this post I decided to try to pare it down to 100 words. The result, again based again on a fine picture by Mary Shipman, can be read below. For those of you with time on your hands, you might want to check out the original and compare it to this one just to see what got blown away. Or not. I’ll never know. (I’ll try to comment on your stories when I can this week and next, but expect me only if you see me. Mahalo.)

Should I get taken to the Land of Oz on my travels and not be able to find my way back, please know I meant every word I ever said.

I love all of you.


Aloha, D.



Copyright Mary Shipman


The funnel cloud writhed, sinuous and silent above rich farmland.

If you’re going to stay up there, say hello to the Wizard for me,” screamed my wife from the cellar. A shrew and a control freak, she had long ago become oil to my water.

“Courage,” I heard Bert Lahr intone.

A thunderous roar filled the air as the tip touched down across the street and blew the Baum’s house to splinters.

Time to fly.

My last thought before darkness descended was that the witch was finally going to have to get some new wallpaper for the living room.



33 Responses to “The Nerve (II)”

  1. rochellewisoff June 18, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Dear Doug,

    I love this story in it’s “overly long” form and abridged version as well. Your writing lured me in and continues to hold me captive.

    Wishing you safe travels and singing birdies.

    Go low.



    • dmmacilroy June 18, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      How did you know I was going to visit a midwestern aviary? You’re pretty sharp. (No one knows I am a closet ornithologist. Oh, well, the secret is out.) Thanks for reading and commenting.



  2. Snow's Fissures and Fractures June 18, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Ah, The Wizard of Oz…where did I put those ruby slippers?
    Doug, another week, another great story.

    • dmmacilroy June 18, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      They’re under the house…


      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  3. Sandra June 18, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    I see the phrase that caught my eye last time did the same again this time. ‘oil to my water’. Says it all. I loved this version, snappy, succinct, and with perfect timing too. You’re a master. 😉 Enjoy your travels. I just know you’re going to find the company stimulating and enjoyable. I’m green with envy…

    • dmmacilroy June 18, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      I’m deadly earnest about surprising you on a lock, so keep your eyes open. I’ve played in the Norway Open so no reason not to play in the Swiss of French Open and wander down to the canals between rounds.

      Thank you so much for your friendship and support. You’re one of the ones.

      Mahalo nui loa and A hui hou!



  4. MrBinks June 18, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Nicely done.

  5. waitingforaname June 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    You did an excellent job of slicing and dicing. The original was fine as it was, but this is sharper and snappier. I wonder if he’ll end up in Oz, and if he’ll reunite with his wife there. I imagine she would have green skin. Good work, Doug.

  6. aliciajamtaas June 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Doug, you did a marvelous job cutting this down and lost nothing in the telling. Travel safely. Aloha, Alicia

  7. elmowrites June 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm #


    I want to go back and read the old version, but at the same time I don’t. I can’t imagine anything making this clearer or stronger. That’s some good editing right there, and “oil to my water” still glistens with rainbow colours of history and emotion.

    Have a great trip, enjoy the games, the company and the fun times.


  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Love the wordplay here as well.. bringing in the author’s name is excellent.. love this version and i cannot even thing how bells and whistles can improve on it.

  9. Melody Pearson June 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Aloha Doug,

    So nice to reunite with old friends. Especially when they do such an excellently imaginative job. I didn’t have a story for this prompt last time. In fact, I’ve been shamefully absent for the past year, but I’m trying to get myself motivated again. I plan to post later in the week. If you check in while on your travels, please find me in Rochelle’s greatly expanded list.

  10. Honie Briggs June 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    Not having read the original referenced in other comments, I think this is an excellent rerun!

  11. artfullyadelie June 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    It speaks volumes that his ideal scenario is to be swept away, instead of living with the wicked witch. Perhaps he’s one of the flying monkeys? Best of luck with your disc golf endeavors!

  12. helenmidgley June 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Such a succinct little piece. Clear, concise and brilliant 🙂

  13. talesfromthemotherland June 19, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    Doug, The pacing of the details in this story, contribute to the sense of crazy that the story depicts. Such misery in this marriage, that he’d rather be sucked away. The narrator’s somewhat detached voice, adds to the chaos. I haven’t gotten to read the first draft yet, but this one is fabulous! That first line: “The funnel cloud writhed, sinuous and silent above rich farmland” is just gorgeous. Enjoy your travels! Aloha.

  14. siobhanmcnamara June 19, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Great story that evokes fear, adventure and the craziness of mixing the two together. I hope you character found what he was looking for!

  15. patriciaruthsusan June 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Doug, I enjoyed both stories, but you trimmed this one down nicely indeed. Great description. Well written as always. Enjoy your trip! 🙂 —Susan

  16. JKBradley June 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Doug, I think you did an excellent job parring the story down and still packing the same punch. I must admit, however, that I like the richer details of the original; it’s more flavor for my palate.

    Happy travels!

  17. patrickprinsloo June 19, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Ah, It’s the Wizard of Oz, I gather. Lost on me, I’m afraid. Cultural outcast.

  18. Jan Brown June 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    If the witch had been upstairs, she could have flown away on her broom….

  19. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) June 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    I like this! Sounds like we’re in the first reel of an alternative Wizard of Oz where our hero escapes his shrewish wife (funny, she doesn’t look shrewish) only to meet her over the rainbow in the form of an actual witch. He’s gonna need “da nerve” to handle it all. A lot of story implications in a few words.

  20. Ellespeth June 20, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    Great job at the chopping block! Loved the wallpaper line.
    I agree, the challenge of 100 words is a great writing exercise.

  21. elappleby June 20, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    HI Doug
    Loved the last line! And I reckon the abridged version is an improvement on the longer one. It’s a secret side effect of Friday Fiction that it teaches you a lot about editing, not just cutting but the importance of word order, the difference a carefully chosen word can make etc. Not that I need tell you, your writing is always fab 🙂

  22. hafong June 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    Not all marriages are made in heaven, in this case, Oz. 🙂

  23. Bastet June 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Lovey in both versions actually., but the compactness of the second version gives it a streamlined effect. Cool to see the creator of the Wizard of Oz losing his house to the tornado!

  24. rgayer55 June 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    You took us on a whirlwind of a ride there. I especially loved the last line.

  25. subroto June 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Truly you are a wizard at these stories, loved the last line.

  26. Nan Falkner June 23, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Dear Doug, Good story, and I too, love the ‘oil to my water’ line is perfection. I have seen a funnel cloud and heard them too. Well done! Nan 🙂

  27. Sarah Ann June 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    I’ve read both and want to keep comparing. There are elements in each that I liked – the ‘She was a shrew …’ emphasis in version 1; the much plainer, succint Baum sentence in this one. To cut a third is a big deal and your edit goes to show how superfluous adjectives can turn out to be. Enjoy your time away.

  28. Amy Reese June 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Great tale, Doug. You’ve wrapped up many fine details in your story. Happy travels and enjoy the birdies. 🙂

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