Oil makes for a slippery slope. Something that is so integral to modern living has become a threat because of dependency and pollution. Yet, writers found slick inspiration and greatly expanded the idea of oil in stories.
From the harsh realities to sweet moments, oil created a rich collection this week.
The following are based on the April 27, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes oil.
Crudely Oil by FloridaBorne
Three decades ago, at the slender age of 41, unemployment loomed in my future. My sister tried to help me find a job, so she asked a friend in the oil industry about hiring me.
Pre Hurricane Ike, amidst the oil refineries of coastal Texas and Louisiana, my sister arranged a lunch meeting to discuss the terms of my employment.
Startled, like he’d just witnessed the first case of a tyrannous walking into a bar with a greyhound, he said, “She’s so delicate, not sturdy like you. I was expecting someone built like a man.”
I think he lived.
Oil and Water by Geoff Le Pard
‘Mum, I want to volunteer to help the environment.’
‘What prompted this? Not that I’m against it.’
‘We watched Deep Water Horizon in Geography. The oil industry is awful. We need to have renewables and non-pollutive power.’
‘Are you going to protest?’
“Protest? Like online?’
‘No. A march, a sit-in? That’s what we did. To make people sit up.’
Penny picked up her sandwich. ‘What did you protest about?’
‘Stopping Cruise missiles. The miners. You grandpa hated it.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Did it make a difference?’
‘I think I want to do something useful.’
Extractions by D. Avery
After straining the rust, he combined their gleanings. His children had become experts at extraction, at syphoning gas and oil from the abandoned and decaying automobiles. Their specialty was in finding smaller machines that others overlooked, lawnmowers, leaf-blowers. Today they found almost five gallons of gas, three of oil. It was good, but what was the current rate?
“I’ll be back.” His voice was husky and raw. Trading was dangerous. And necessary. His children watched him go.
He hoped for a good rate. The last time they were only giving a quart of water for each gallon of fuel.
Green Enough (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
“Ma, look!” Monroe lofted a green pumpkin.
Mary nodded, wishing away the queasiness. Even standing she could feel the sway of the wagon. “Leave ‘em on the vine, son until they ripen.”
“Will you make pies?”
She managed a nod although the thought made her ill.
Her brother-in-law joined her on the porch, excited. “Mary, we need to convince Cobb to take a stake along the San Juan. Running rivers. Mountains, even! And sand you can burn in a lamp. Black oil.”
Mary inhaled deeply. “Leroy, if it requires a wagon ride from here, no! This Territory will do.”
VR Won’t Put Money in Your Pocket by Joe Owens
“What the heck is Ramsey doing out there Clem?” Abe questioned.
His seventy-two year old neighbor was blasting away at the ground, kneeling to watch the newly created hole, moving another ten feet and repeating the process.
“Ever hear of them Virtual Reality things?”
“Apparently Ramsey strapped on Aaron’s new set last night and watched the Beverly Hillbillies. Now he’s convinced he can repeat Jed’s luck,” Clem said
“Stupid redneck. Don’t he know he is using the wrong ammo?”
“What are you talking about?”
“In Jed’s book ‘Finding Oil For Dummies’ he said to use real lead shot!”
Depot Antipsychotics by Anne Goodwin
As the medicine penetrated her muscle, it felt as if her posterior was swallowing castor oil. Sliding out the needle, the nurse rubbed the spot with cotton wool. “That’s it for another fortnight.”
Matty pulled up her panties. “No more babies.”
The nurse looked perplexed. “You do realise what your injection’s for?”
Was she old enough to know what men did to ladies in the dark? “For protection, of course.”
“That’s one way of putting it. Protection against disturbing thoughts.”
Matty nodded. So she did know about those shenanigans. She hoped it was not through personal experience.
When That Oil Well Erupts by 40levenreasons
Her naked body trembled, yet it wasn’t cold. Her heart raced, yet she lay motionless. Darkness engulfed her and her breathing became rapid; urgent gulps at the air surrounding her. She felt the hairs on her body rise and she strained to listen; for the black silence, was deafening. Her back arched in anticipation, as she waited…..
She didn’t ‘hear’ him enter, rather, felt him. His presence, captivating, rendered her breathless.
She heard the familiar ‘click’ of the oil being opened and she knew what to expect.
Then, she felt it.
So familiar, yet so tantalisingly foreign…….
Oil Stains by Sarah Brentyn
He was oily. His hair, his smile.
“Sit,” he licked his lips. “It’s not often I get a visit from such an elegant lady.”
“As you wish, beautiful.” His eyes scanned me head to toe then met mine. “Better view for me.”
I slid the envelope across to him.
He took his time looking through the contents, enjoying what was inside. “Here’s your money,” he leered.
I reached for the cash too quickly, brushing his knuckles with my fingertips. I cringed.
I would wear the stain of this day for the rest of my life.
Protected by Reena Saxena
The court verdict proclaimed him ‘Not Guilty’, against public expectations.
His opponents had teamed up to support him. The secret lay in the few files in his cupboard, which threatened to expose their lesser misdeeds.
He was sent to learn wrestling in childhood. He never really mastered the sport. But he clearly remembered applying baby oil to avoid cuts and bruises, and then spraying water on it, to create a glistening skin finish. Vaseline was a substitute, at times, but it was the oil that helped him slip from the opponent’s grip.
It was a lesson he never forgot.
Oil by Hugh W. Roberts
There I was minding my own business, checking out the cool animals going round and round, when I heard this conversation.
“Yes, madam, that’s the one made with coconut oil. It’s made from the finest coconuts.”
“And this one?”
“That one is made from our finest lavender oil, which we grow ourselves. It’s guaranteed to help you sleep.”
“And what about something for my itchy legs?”
“Try this baby oil, madam.”
“What’s it made from?”
That’s all a 7-month old baby could take. I screamed the place down and my mother ended up with just the coconut shampoo. Phew!
Massage by Michael
It was the best and worst of massage. The girl with pudgy fingers slapped on the massage oil which I could feel running under my stomach.
Her fingers generated the nervousness you associate with a first-time massage.
She had used far too much oil, her fingers slipped every so often and dug into my neck creating a pain and anxiety such that with my brain asked the pertinent question: “Does this woman know what she is doing?”
She forged ahead, with muscles manipulated, I felt the beginnings of relief, before she slapped me on the rump announcing job done.
Midnight Vanity by Pete Fanning
Wilma broke the vitalization capsule, and took caution to rub the oil in around the eyes, per Doctor Prott’s instructions. She hummed a tune. Her evening dress hung from the bathroom door.
“Stunning,” they’d said. “Radiant.”
The capsules—78% human sebum secretions as they were—smelled awful, and took some getting accustomed. But the results had shimmered in the gaze of every man in the room.
Another smear of oil. The door swung open and Harold stood, in his boxers, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. A blink, and he leaped back with a scream.
Every man but one.
The Hope Chest by Kate Spencer
Martha side-steps her way past the busy work tables toward the back of the wood-shop. “Tom, where are you? Tom!”
“Mom, you’re early.”
“I know, but we gotta go. Pew, it smells in here,” says Martha brushing sawdust from her sleeves.
“That’s the tung oil wood finish reacting with maple. It’ll dissipate. Wanna see what I made?”
“Maybe next time,” and Martha suddenly gasps when she sees the exquisite hope chest with birds, hearts and the word ‘MOM’ engraved on the lid.
“It’s something for you to store your hopes in Mom, so you won’t ever lose them.”
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
The smell of the oil took him back fifty years.
She was young and beautiful, a true stunner.
Standing a little taller than he, her chestnut mane glowed in the sunlight.
Love at first sight, their relationship lasted over twenty years.
They were inseparable, he had eyes only for her. Totally loyal to each other, theirs was a match made in heaven.
He was inconsolable when she died, her ashes scattered in the meadow behind the property where they had spent so many private hours.
As a child, she was his life. To others, she was just a horse.
Child Citizen to Scientist by Norah Colvin
Familiar sounds heralded his arrival: feet scraped stairs, bag thudded deck, screen door crashed.
Shouts of “Mum! Mum!” preceded him as he charged down the hallway, arms flailing, holding something aloft.
His words exploded in a jumble. She deciphered few. Baby stopped suckling, curious.
“Slow down,” she said, patting the sofa with her free hand.
He thrust the brochure at her.
“I wanna adopt a penguin. Please, Mum. Can I?”
“Penguins can’t live here. It’s too hot,” Mum teased.
“Mu-um!” The words tumbled again. “Scientist… school… oil… penguins dying… ‘dangered… We have to save them from going extinct! Please!”
Black Gold Indeed (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
Jane flips from one screen to another, trying to find what it would be worth.
She still remembers the “gas shortage,” finally her turn to fill her VW Bug’s tiny tank, outraged at paying a dollar a gallon and waiting in line for over an hour for the privilege. There was no “Come back later;” stations closed at dusk. 1979, that was.
Dammit, this should be readily available information. Well, suffice it to say, if she’d bought oil shares instead of beer back then, she probably wouldn’t be homeless right now. Of course, she’d also be a hypocrite.
Raw Materials by Elliott Lyngreen
Shopping for something to eat, he realized boxes hold more substances. Foods invented them. There was a time he never consumed enough – food. So he thought.
In his dreams were elixirs. As if there is some magic oily substance yet discovered; like a pure clear milk, that will thickly coat and satiate rather than seem tingly, clear, and empty his circulation.
Immediately sinking awareness, something that filled absolute, made him wholly distraught within seconds. All the sections of the aisles and gondolas reconstituted this; each item constructed that catalyst of thought.
Unresolved shelves upon shelves as he continued through.
Motives and Motivation? by Jules Paige
Three hours into the desert their engine choked and buckled,
rolling dark smoke into the pale blue sky….Janice remembered
that Richard appeared a kinder person then. They had flown
into the Prescott airport – Richard was penny pinching again
and took cheapest car the they could rent. The car was a
beater, but they were told it was in working order. The desert
had been all Richard’s Idea. The car leaked oil from the start…
Janice didn’t want to think of what nasty thing might have
would have happened if the Trucker hadn’t come along to save
The Road Home by Lisa Listwa
“What did he say?” she asked.
“The engine is leaking oil, but the mechanic is gone for the night. We can come back tomorrow. Or, he said if we get a case of oil from the auto parts store next door and keep dumping it in, we’ll make it home.”
They drove in silence for a long while; tears burned the back of her eyes.
“It’s an omen,” she said. “This happening on the way back from our honeymoon? It means our entire marriage is going to be filled with trouble.”
“Let’s keep going,” he said. “We’ll be fine.”
Heal Me by Kerry E.B. Black
Lily rubbed her hands together, warming the oil before smoothing it across her husband’s shoulders. With clever circles, her fingers eased stored tensions. He sighed. She kissed his ear and continued her ministrations. Spearmint and eucalyptus opened her sinuses. With closed eyes, she felt along taut muscles to the source of his discomfort. The feel of him imprinted upon her fingertips.
He twisted in the chair and folded her in an embrace. “How’d you do that?”
She blinked as though awakening from a trance. “Do what?”
His warmth radiated from him, and he breathed into her lips. “Heal me.”
Memory by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She sat in the dayroom, warmed by morning sun through the picture window. Her pink sweater mounded over her shriveled form and stick-thin arms, pooled around her bony thighs. Mostly unresponsive, she seemed content in her isolation. But perhaps her mind swooped, hawk’s wings over her long and verdant life, or trembled, a butterfly over nectar-sweet memories with family and friends.
We couldn’t tell. We wanted reassurance.
We researched and assembled our tools: tiny jars of oil infused with essences of everything.
“Smell, bring memories!” we prayed, gathered around her chair.
She smiled, silent and vague, appreciating the attention.
Another interesting compilation, with oil sorts of problems and solutions, Charli. It’s always fascinating to see where the prompt leads.
I was surprised at the variety of stories and ways to use oil I hadn’t thought of.
These are all great – who knew that oil could be such a rich topic! Next up – natural gas?
Ha, ha! Natural gas will have to go on the list! Thanks for the suggestion!
A lot of different takes on oil. Fun to read through it. 🙂
We have slick writers here!
These are all so varied and so great. I kind of wanted to go olive oil and kitchen, but thought that might be too far off prompt.