09/01 Direct Link
“HA HA! Step on up, me boyo, and try yer luck. Pull the lever and set those wheels in motion!”

— “What is this?”

“Ding ding ding! Every one’s a winner, or near enough we can keep our license. Go on, then.”

— “I don’t think I have a...”

“Here, first one’s on us. Go on, go on, ha ha!”

— “Your accent’s kind of—”

“Never mind me, you inquisitive Yank! Ach, you writers. Have at! Give ‘er a good long tug.”

[Heavy coin falls into the slot; black lever pulls easily.]


“Three scientists! Ha ha!”
09/02 Direct Link
“DOCTOR Carstairs!”

— “Hello.”

“You don’t remember me!”

— “Ought I?”

“Mangrove! Dabner Mangrove! We sat on—”

— “Oh, good heavens, yes! Dabner Mangrove, hello. I apologize; I’ve been distracted. How have you been?”

“Really, jolly, very good. I’m pleased as anything to see you here. You’re presenting with Fiske, Park, and, ah, and...”

— “Steinmetz.”

“Steinmetz! Good heavens, yes. I’m poor with names too.”

— “Are you presenting as well?”

“I’m not! Well, I’m not leading anything this year; I’m here for my students. They’ve tacked my name on, of course—”

— “Of course—”

“But no. My big reveal’s next year.”

— “On?”

“Revolution, sir; revolution!”
09/03 Direct Link
“WHY DOES there have to be any revolution, Daddy?”

— “Shut up, shut up!”

“I don’t like it!”

— “Make him... Make him be quiet!”

“I’m trying. Ah! Ah! What was that?”

— “Stay down. Stay in the basement!”

“No! I don’t like it down there!”

— “It’s not safe here; take him.”

“No! I’m staying upstairs! I’m staying up!”

— “Dammit.”

+ “Bob, here.”

— “What?”

+ “They’re ready.”

— “OK. OK. Good.”

+ “He wants to talk to you.”

— “What the fuck for? Tell him to take the shot.”

“Daddy, what’s happening?”

— “I want you downstairs.”


— “You and your mother—”


— “Aah! Aah! Aah!”

“What’s happening!? Bobby!”
09/04 Direct Link
“WHAT’S happening over here?”

— “Ah. This is Project Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen, which Dr. Steinmetz says is ready for final trials. If containment holds long enough to support phase five, we might yield a very exciting bulletproof paste.”

“What’s with the name?”

— “Pardon me?”

“Tai Chi Chickenbulb, or whatever.”

— “Oh! That was Steinmetz’s idea of a joke. Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen was founder of the Phagmodrupa dynasty and ruler of Tibet from 1354 to 1364 or 1371.”


— “Well, it’s a bulletproof paste, Senator.”


— “Moving on, sir: Over here is Project Prince Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.”
09/05 Direct Link
“YOUR HIGHNESS, you look frightful up there.”

— “Ha! And the power, Symons, the power! Watch this!”



— “Sorry, Symons. Are you all right? But never mind that; why, with this suit of armor...”


— “With this suit of armor, I am unopposable. You’re a genius!”

“Yes, my prince. And the flight controls?”

— “Flawless, Symons, flawless.”

“And the imaging?”

— “I have everything. I skimmed your manual and am ready to take what is rightfully mine. First the throne, yes?”

“Certainly, Liege.”

— “And then New York. I’ve a score to settle with J. Jonah Jameson.”
09/06 Direct Link
LIE, LAY, LAID, this is Cindy; this call may be monitored... I’ll be happy to answer that question, sir. First, can you please tell me your account number? It’s the eleven-digit number in the upper right corner of your statement. It should start with an A, B, or C. Do you have your statement? Well, just tell me your telephone number, starting with the area code. OK. And for verification purposes can you tell me your address? OK. And you are Henry? And the last four digits of your social security number or tax ID?

OK. Transitive, sir: Lay.
09/07 Direct Link
“THEN JATHERS never saw it coming.”

— “I believe he didn’t; that’s correct. Is that a problem?”

“For me?”

— “For anyone.”

“Well, it was for Jathers, one suspects.”

— “Aside from him.”

“I don’t think so. Nobody feels — as far as I know nobody feels — the slightest sympathy for him.”

— “I wouldn’t like for there to be any hard feelings about the process.”

“Somebody would have said.”

— “No suspicion? Worry? Lingering unnamed antipathy?”

“From me?”

— “Yes.”

“Why should there be?”

— “That’s an evasive answer.”

“You want a flat no; there is no — there are no antipathies?”

— “Thank you. That will be all."
09/08 Direct Link
AND THEN, through some squirrelly confluence of energies, and time and space being what they are, Travis Binkler, an Apple Store genius of three years and freelance music producer (don’t get him started on the merits of Logic Pro over Ableton, Reason, and FL Studio; I mean, just in terms of plugins alone) began sharing scent memories with Lt. Richard H. Best, a Navy bomber pilot about to score a hit on his second (of the four total) Japanese aircraft carriers sunk in the Battle of Midway during World War II.

Life preserver, nylons, mosh pit, mall AC — all mingled.
09/09 Direct Link

Then, when every last cent of their money was spent, the Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went. And he laughed as he drove in his car up the beach, “They never will learn. No, you can’t teach a Sneetch.”

But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say that the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day. The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches, and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches. That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether they had one, or not, upon thars.
09/10 Direct Link

— “Yes?”

“You awake?”

— “I am now.”

“Sorry, it was... getting to me.”

— “That’s OK.”

“Anything yet?”

— “No. Uh, no.”


— “They’ll call. They’ll...”


— “They’ll do something.”


— “Don’t give up.”

“If we could only get this hatch open.”

— “Save your strength.”

“I know. I guess.”

— “It’s OK. Try not to think about it.”


— “Yeah.”

“I know. You’re right.”

— “It’s getting cold on my side.”

“Here too. [Coughs] Do you see it?”

— “Yeah. It’s nighttime over the Med.”

“God. Cairo.”

— “Yeah. Tel Aviv is up. Cyprus on that velvet sea.”


— “You sure?”

“Yeah. Sorry I woke you.”
09/11 Direct Link
"AND SO! We are in the closet, yes?"

— "Uh..."

"And we are expected now to kiss."

— "I... That’s..."

"Very well."

— "What... what are you doing?"

"I am here prepared to kiss. This is you? I can not see."

— "It’s... no."

"I have instead... the sleeve of an overcoat. What do you call this material, cashmere?"

— "It’s... I’m over here."

"Your name?"

— "My name? What’s my name?"

"Yes. I am Gregór."

— "Priscilla."

"I am pleasured to make your acquaintance, Priscíl. Is this your cashmere overcoat?"

— "No, this isn’t my house."

"This need not be your house to be your overcoat."

09/12 Direct Link

One of those boxing robots. Like a really big, devastating boxing robot — or no, a hulking, flawless, military-grade boxing robot: just something that smashes whatever it squares off against in a blur of fists and flinders. Target pulverized. Unit stands by for new orders.


The largest-scale structure of the universe. Just to run my hands over it in whatever dimensions it exists. “Oh,” I’d say. “Yeah.”


Everything in the world, all at once, magically. Subway tracks, city tenements, engine blocks, stained glass. Everything.
09/13 Direct Link
“HOW ABOUT this one?”

— “That one? Um, a witty remark, 2010, Big Y checkout line.”

“What was the remark?”

— “I have no idea. I wish I recalled half the things I said.”

“And this one?”

— “Um. God. I don’t recall. Courteous move in traffic?”

“It’s got a laurel wreath.”

— “That’s generic. Some of these are generic.”

“How about this one?”

— “Made a kid feel special for having a cool toy. It was cool, too: a remote-controlled truck. Somebody gave it to him, but he was lonely. Wanted to tell me the whole story. I marveled at it with him.”
09/14 Direct Link
SORRY ABOUT the delay, but negotiations took longer than expected. As promised July 7, these are the long-overdue improvements to 100 Words, effective immediately.

• First person to post a million batches wins a $100 coupon code good for many CafePress, Etsy, and Hammacher Schlemmer products.

• Users can now input batches by landline touch-tone. (Rotary available in March 2014 for nominal fee.)

• Selecting “Promote My Batch” sends your previous month’s output to the Paris Review.

• Users can now “click” on members’ faces even offline.

• Site now called Ninety-Nine-and-Nine-Tenths-Words.

• Site now devoted to swine flu.
09/15 Direct Link
“LEMME SEE the ticket.”

— “Here. He wants the special.”

“Not the works?”

— “Special.”

“He looks like he can afford it. Put him in for the works, and just... here. Gimme that.”

— “Do you always do this?”

“He can afford it. And when he comes outta this he’s not gonna remember what the hell he signed.”

— “Yeah, but it’s holographic.”

“Once in a while, Mare; it ain’t gonna hurt nothin’.”

— “Whatever. I go back to B shift Monday.”

“They do it there too, believe you me.”

— “OK, so the works. Wings too?”

“Give him the premium wings. I like this guy.”
09/16 Direct Link

[Whir, whir, whir.]

“All right. Hold on.”

[Tinker tinker tinker.]

“Now try it.”

— “Again?”


[Whir, whir, whir. Kaff!]

“Ease off.”

— “OK.”

“Um. Pump it once.”

— “Just once?”

“Couple times.”

[Shonka, shonka.]

[Tinker tinker tinker.]

“Try it now.”

— “Yeah?”

“Go for it.”


“You tryin’ it?”

— “Yeah. I just did. Nothing happened.”

“Try again.”



— “Should I call for a truck?”

“No; not yet. Is the hand brake on?”

— “Yes.”

“It should work.”

— “Should I try it again?”


— “You clear?”



“Oh! Oh, hang on, hang on.”

[Tinker, tinker, click.]

“Hit it.”


09/17 Direct Link

— “What’s that, Charlie? Don’t be frightened. It’s just the fusion phase coupler.”

“No, I...”

— “It certainly makes a racket! Ha ha!”

“Déjà vu.”

— “Eh? Here, put these goggles on. You’ll look like a real old-fashioned aviator!”


— “You haven’t got it? Do you need help? This is wondrous business, Charlie. Why, if this experiment succeeds, we’ll have tapped energies hitherto found only in the heart of the Sun! Think of the possibilities!”

“The chamber, Doc. I came out... I went into the chamber.”

— “Ha ha! That’s my boy! The gloves. Be careful! Careful now! Good luck, son!”
09/18 Direct Link
MY FIRST BATCH in more than a year and a half of hundred-wording that I haven’t felt on top of it. I’ve been ghostwriting a lot for this one peculiar and demanding client — a weird melange of fiction and nonfiction — and the project is... what is the project. A constantly rung bell. Every day the clapper strikes and my creative vibrations are lost in its peculiar and demanding vibrations.

Have you guys seen the video of the many discordant metronomes working on a flexible surface? Have you seen them all, slowly, orient to the same beat?

I miss 100W.
09/19 Direct Link
I! Have had for lunch a pulled pork sandwich and a gin and tonic. It is the case. And then I bought $3 in loose candy at the candy store, some of which, I admit, I’ve already done et.

So let’s get that right out of the way. Let’s have that on the record. On the bat.

Whatta whatta whatta. What can I say.

Hello friends and neighbors! You’re looking punctuated today! Mayhap I am too.

Um. It came with fries. So. I had a hard time getting the catsup out. But you know? It all came out well.
09/20 Direct Link
“THE CARNATION will meet you when you have the envelope. Take it to the corner of Fourth and Cliffside. Or no, Fourth and Shore. Sorry. Fourth and Shore. Order a pretzel at the Blind Man’s stand. Ask for mustard and extra salt.”

— “Extra salt?”


— “Who orders extra salt?”

“People do. Not many. You will.”

— “Proceed.”

“Take three bites of the pretzel. Complain of a lack of salt. A relative lack; I anticipate your objection.”

— “You know me well.”

“Yes. Complain of the relative lack of salt, then throw the remainder in the trash.”

— “A refund?”

“None will be offered.”

09/21 Direct Link
“ONE PRETZEL: extra salt; mustard.”

— “Did you say... extra salt?”

“I did.”

— “Not many men order extra salt these days. They fear for their health.”

“Their health?”

— “Hypertension. The extra sodium.”

“Yes. I understand.”

— “So I ask you again: Are you certain of this? The extra salt?”

“I am. And the mustard as well. Both sides.”

— “Both sides?”

“I prefer my pretzels to have mustard on both sides.”

— “This was not...”

“Can it be arranged?”

— “Try it first with the one side. See how you like it.”

“Very well.”

— “Yes?”

“Not bad.”

— “And the salt?”

“There is... a relative lack.”
09/22 Direct Link
RAINING OUT, a welcome development. I love rain and the nice cool breeze it brings through the curtains. Good to have the patter and the little billow.

Of course, for the past two hours, as the rain falls, I’ve been wondering whether one of the kids might have left one of my car windows open. They like to play with the automatic windows, clicking the switch even when I’ve deactivated it from my little master control panel of switches.

A window could be open. Water could be pooling in the car. Now it’s 12:34 a.m. Will I check?

09/23 Direct Link

— “Lannimere, prefix X9. There was a problem: The Carnation failed to show.”

“You went to the stand?”

— “I did. I ordered the pretzel.”

“With mustard?”

— “Of course, with mustard. And extra salt.”


— “And nothing. I have the envelope.”

“I don’t understand.”

— “Perhaps the Carnation felt he was being followed.”

“No. No. I have him on satellite. He is there. He is waiting.”

— “The fool! I ordered the pretzel!”

“Mustard, extra salt. You took three bites?”

— “I did.”

“You threw it away?”

— “Pardon?”

“You threw it away after?”

— “No. I ate it. I hadn’t had lunch.”

“Ah. There.”
09/24 Direct Link
“ONE PRETZEL, please.”

— “You again.”


— “Wouldn’t you prefer a frankfurter with relish?”

“No. A pretzel. Mustard on both sides, and extra salt.”

— “You maintain this salt is good for you?”

“I make no such claim. But this is my order. Is there a problem?”

— “No. One pretzel, both sides with mustard, and extra salt.”


— “...They say it will rain.”

“Yes. I suppose it is seasonal.”

— “Do you have... an umbrella?”

“I left my umbrella in its stand. At home. In Greenwich.”

— “I see. Your pretzel.”

“Thank you.”

— “And?”

“The mustard is good. But there is insufficient salt.”

— “Excellent.”
09/25 Direct Link

— “You are The Carnation?”

“Of course.”

— “I see no carnation on your lapel.”

“There is none. Nevertheless.”

— “Why should you not wear a carnation?”

“It is irrelevant.”

— “How so?”

“I am The Carnation whether or not I wear one on my lapel. Frankly, to wear one would be to invite suspicion.”

— “You are mistaken. The lack of a lapeled carnation in this case invites a great deal of suspicion: my own.”

“Damn you. Must a man named Cooper carry about with him staves and barrel hoops?Fisher a rod and reel?”

— “Certainly not.”

“The envelope.”

— “Never.”
09/26 Direct Link

— “Lannimere, prefix X9. There was a problem: I suspect The Carnation was a plant.”

“You are making a joke?”

— “No. The man who met me for the envelope wore no carnation on his lapel.”

“Did you give him the envelope?”

— “No.”

“Why in heaven’s name not?”

— “He wore no lapel. I mean, he wore no carnation.”

“What has that to do with it? You ordered the pretzel...”

— “Damn the pretzel! I took three bites, yes; I complained of the salt, yes; I threw the damned thing away. The man who came to meet me wore no carnation!”
09/27 Direct Link
“ONE PRETZEL, please.”

— “What is this madness?”

“One pretzel. Mustard, both sides. The regular amount of salt.”

— “Regular?”

“The standard portion.”

— “You don’t want extra?”

“No. Nor a frankfurter neither.”

— “You usually order extra salt.”

“I have been let go.”

— “Let go?”

“I order this for myself. For my own enjoyment.”

— “They say it may rain.”

“Damn you! One pretzel! I can take my business elsewhere.”

— “You’re serious.”

“Deadly. Not that one; the other.”

— “They are all the same.”

“I prefer this one, not too near the heating element.”

— “What will you do?”

“I have savings.”

— “I sometimes hire.”

09/28 Direct Link
“FRANKFURTER with mustard, please, and sweet relish.”

— “Carnation?”


— “It is I: Lannimere.”

“Lannimere of Amalgamated?”

— “The same.”

“What are you doing here?”

— “This is for pocket money. I am helping the Blind Man while I regroup.”

“You were let go?”

— “I was.”

“Can I get this with soft drink and chips?”

— “Of course. Choose your variety.”

“Were you let go over the envelope incident?”

— “I was. I’m not too proud to admit I was wrong.”

“I feel partly responsible.”

— “I suppose you were. $4.25.”

“$4.25? The price was $3.75!”

— “Yes. Another change, old friend.”

“Damn you.”
09/29 Direct Link
“I AM SELLING the stand.”

— “What? To whom?”

“A cartel.”

— “When?”

“This week; next. There is a question of insurance, a small matter.”

— “What will you do?”

“I am moving to Tucson. My daughter has room.”

— “I see.”

“I wish I could have given you more notice. We’ll split this week’s profits.”

— “That’s very kind.”

“Have you found work yet?”

— “I had an interview. I am waiting to hear.”

“With whom?”

— “The Canadians.”

“You would travel?”

— “If asked.”

“But your community theater.”

— “A sacrifice.”

“How are rehearsals?”

— “Good. You’ll come to the opening?”

“If I can.”

— “Please try. I’m Kowalski.”
09/30 Direct Link
“AND OUR HOST for the evening, Professor Arthur J. Grimsby, M.I.T., late of CERN.”

— “Hiya, Doc!”


— “A pleasure to make, like, your acquaintance!”

“Your Doctor Carstairs tells me—”

— “Say there, Doc, you got a shake like a fish! Like a wet noodle, know what I’m sayin’? No offense, admiral, but you oughta wrap a newspaper around that thing!”

“My handshake, sir—”

— “And what do we have over here? Hubba hubba. Did I see you come in with the sea captain? Name’s Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, but you can call me Charlie Sugar, on account of I’m so sweet!”