Okay, I had two possible writing challenges here, and I really am not going anywhere with the "somethingpunk" challenge from Chuck Wendig (others are, so check it out). I'll see if I can get back to that later.
Meanwhile, I had this challenge from Scott Roche: write 250-750 words of fiction on corn, and enter a drawing to win an e-copy of Wendig's latest book, an intriguing dystopian YA bit of cornpunk (which brings us back to Wendig's challenge). This one worked out better, maybe because with the nice, low wordcount, I didn't get all wiggy about not having a plot (the other story has a -punk, i.e. a wonky source of power for the dystopia; it just doesn't have a story yet).
And here's the cool part: Scott needs a few more stories before he'll even do the drawing, so YOU can write something and enter too! By the way, Scott is the author of Ginnie Dare: Crimson Sands, which I reviewed way back sometime. Check it out.
Without further ado:
Death by Corn
It seemed innocuous at first, even sweet. A sick child who languished in an inner-city hospital longed for just one more taste of the sweet corn he’d once sampled at his Aunt Julia’s house in a little town somewhere. His family was poor. It was the only time he’d been outside the city, probably the only time he’d tasted corn, except in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
And now it was too late. The aunt was dead, and, totally dependent on the machines at the hospital, the boy would never leave the city, never see another cornfield.
Somehow, an elderly couple from somewhere we might as well call Cornville learned of his story. They appeared at the hospital one afternoon, disheveled and terrified, having lost their car and their wallets, but clutching a half a dozen ears of sweet corn, “for that poor little boy.”
A reporter picked up the story and ran it as a fluff piece, a bit of heart-warming filler for the morning paper. Within days the hospital was overwhelmed with fresh corn. The story had been picked up by the AP, and once on the Internet had morphed into a belief that if a million ears of corn could be collected, the boy would live. It didn’t have to make sense. It was the Internet.
Corn poured in from every corner of the planet, or at least every corner that could be forced to grow anything remotely resembling an ear of sweet corn. Pleas from the hospital administrators, and insistence by the boy’s doctor that not only would corn not save the child, but that he couldn’t even eat it, had no effect. Determined to make the nearly effortless gesture that could contribute to the salvation of one poor child and so save their own souls, people continued to send their corn.
Unfortunately, the hospital (which, thanks to a series of escalating bribes, had never faced a single building inspection) collapsed when the postman—who certainly wasn’t going to take responsibility for failing to deliver a package—added the 839,898th and 839,899th ears of corn to the pile on the second floor. The boy died in the rubble.