“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…You killed my father, Nanjo Castille…Prepare to die!”
When writer Liz Husebye Hartmann left that opening line in her comments to the November 9 writing prompt, it promised more creative fun to follow from the Rough Writers & Friends at Carrot Ranch.
During the Flash Fiction Rodeo #2 : Little & Laugh, we discovered a literary side to one of the spammers at Carrot Ranch (the often strange keyword bait calls that end up in our Askimet or other spam folders). It gave us a chuckle, which was the point of the contest. However, Mr. Castille blew the word count.
Not to mention he doesn’t pass the spam test (read more at the SPAM PSA post). Yet you won’t want to miss these robust responses from clever, witty, thoughtful and brilliant writers searching for Nanjo’s identity in the literary world.
The following stories are based on the November 9, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a fictional story about The Real Nanjo Castille.
Aegean Dream by Sherri Matthews
Sunset diamonds scattered bright the Aegean Sea.
Summer warmed my bare shoulders there, high above the glassy plain beneath the ancient Pepper Tree.
Sea Nymph’s breeze whispered tales of gods and glory and the Minotaur while I clutched his words to my chest: scrawled on yellowed paper he declared his ageless love while I dreamt.
I listened for his voice through the rustle of the small, crisp leaves; for the step to his music as I followed my pan piper.
‘I am Nanjo Castille’, he breathed into my hair.
I reached to touch him.
But he was never there.
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
Thanks for coming in, Mr. Castille. Have a seat.
What are you doing?
I’m taking the chair.
No, I meant to sit in.
What is good for Gestapo is good for gander, right?
I don’t think that’s it.
Nice for you having me at your bored meeting. Very FAQ. Very yawn introducing.
Right. About the bags.
The bags, yes. $10 apiece.
Are they knock-offs?
Fine, I can do $20. Would you like the Ralphie Doppelganger or Tommy Realfinger? Also have her fumes.
Top merch. At my house. Very aware. Aware house indeed.
I’ll be in touch.
The Anagrammer by Juliet Nubel
She looked at her screen and let out a huge, belly-filled hoot.
She had done it. Fooled them all. She laughed harder as she pictured them imagining her as Nanjo Castille. Could they see a wide sombrero hat and thick stripy poncho?
Where was mousey Ms Stelliac now? Never one to joke around at school she was making up for it now. On their blogs and in these contests. She was the Queen of Pranks.
They had even missed the last clue in the text – a second anagram, Najno.
Joann grinned from ear to ear. Spamming was such fun!
A Day in the Life of Nanjo Castille by Irene Waters
Nanjo stretches in the one room he shares with his mother and ten siblings. Rarely does he get to lie in past 5am.
“Nanjo. You get your good for nuttin’ butt in here NOW.” His mother’s voice is angry but weak from hunger. “We gotta clear out Choco Caramel, Coochi, Ralphiger and Verskatche today. You get your arse on the street and start sellin’.’”
“Ma I think Duparts will come through today.”
Nanjo stepped outside with his goods. He hated begging on the street corners. Preferred the internet.” Cameras whirred. Questions buzzed. Fame from form. “You give’em me bitchcoin.”
A Job for Nanjo? by Nora Colvin
The parents waited.
Start positive, she reminded herself.
“Nanjo has a wonderful imagination.”
“Very creative too, especially with spelling and punctuation.”
“Has trouble understanding money though, and his knowledge of number facts is non-existent – “ she hesitated, then continued quietly. “I can’t think of any employer who’d have him.”
“I mean, employment, suited to his – ah – special skills.”
“I’m sorry. Your son is unemployable. His spelling and grammar is atrocious. He can’t even spell his own name, for god’s sake! I don’t think he could even get a job as a spammer!”
Can dei;ver by D. Avery
The ‘student of concern’ meeting was heated.
“Well”, said the ELA teacher, “His spelling and grammar are low even for a second language student. He doesn’t even try.”
“Sure he does. He tries to jerk your chain. This kid is smarter than you think. Just looking for attention.”
“Yes, I agree. The kid does ok in math. Great flexible thinking and problem solving.”
“That may be, but this kid’s behavior alarms me. He has no empathy and no boundaries. I worry he’s going to grow up to be a sociopath.”
“Right. And Nanjo Castille could become president.”
Nanjo’s New Pitch by Michael
In a small darkened room in the basement of his parent’s home Nanjo sits at his computer wishing more than anything to be a writer. He has learning issues, he knows that, but with the aid of his spell checker, he is making every post a winner. He was told, the purpose of a good writer is to make your reader believe you are who you say you are.
Today he has an idea: “Its Chewsday, I wan tell yous all about a grate deel, sex for the price of one.” Nanjo sits back pleased with his opening statement.
Nanjo Castille by Telling Stories Together
“Several consumer surveys have shown,” said Nanjo Castille, “that having a human name helps customers identify with our brand.”
“Okay,” said Detective Merrick, “but I’m gonna call you by your model number, NAN-50.”
“As you wish, officer,” said Nanjo, “perhaps a handbag for the missus?”
Merrick produced a hologram photo from his trench coat. “Have you seen this girl? Name’s Cheryl Wei.”
“No,” said Nanjo, and held up one of the handbags, “but this is a very popular purchase among our sixteen to twenty-one demographic.
Merrick inspected the tag, and in that instant drew his sidearm. It read “Cheryl”.
The Real Nanjo Castille by Rita Bhathal
Her dad had always been terrible at writing.
Downfall of being a doctor.
When he went to register her birth, instead of stating Margot, he handed them a scrap of paper to read, seeing as he’d wet the baby’s head a little too much the night before.
And so, Nanjo Castille came into existence.
It was obviously an omen.
She was diagnosed with dyslexia as a secondary school student, but help came too late. Reading and writing were never her strong point.
Still, every cloud has a silver lining…
She’s now the most popular human spam bot in existence!
The Clone by Robbie Cheadle
It had sounded like such a good idea when her friend’s husband, an expert on human genetics, had suggested that she clone herself. A clone would be useful and could do all the social media and other marketing paraphernalia that was expected of her, as a writer, and which she currently didn’t have time for.
Little did she know that Nanjo Castille would soon become unsatisfied with playing a supporting role in her life. The clone’s ambitions soon became apparent when she entered her own short story into a flash fiction competition and was identified as a potential spammer.
Mysterious by Reena Saxena
The Real Nanjo Castille had enticed kids for more than a decade. It was the mystery surrounding his existence that built up his charm. He would appear as a gymnast in the circus, a clown or be seen entertaining kids in local schools and events.
Walt Disney wanted to buy the rights, seeing the popularity of the character.The meeting did not happen. Folklore goes that it was not one person, but several appearing with identical masks and outfits. The creator of the myth chose to remain in anonymity.
What could be the reason for turning down a profitable deal?
Fatal Error by Ann Edall-Robson
“What have you done?”
“I’ve been watching you. It didn’t look hard. I created a name and took a run at it. ”
“But why, when I promised I’d help you set everything up to sell your bags?”
“I’m old, impatient, and I don’t see what the big deal is. It still turns on and off.”
“It’s not a light switch, it’s my computer. The one I’m writing my next book on.”
“If you were going to show me how to use it, you should be able to fix it!”
“Oooohhhh, Nana Jo Castle, if only it were that easy.”
The Story of Nanjo by Joe Owens
Nanjo drummed his fingers on the desk as his to slow laptop churned away at the internet address. He knew the latest rodeo deadline quickly approached and he wanted in.
“Five minutes!” he exclaimed when his screen finally held the needed information.
Nanjo typed so fast, too fast, relying on his newly installed bargain auto-correct to save him. In the bottom right corner his screen continue to tick away the time, adding to his panic. He checked the word count, but there was no room to explain his situation. His entry would look like this.
The Different Sides of Me by Susan Sleggs
I Nanjo Castille sit in my office staring at funeral home handouts. When with the public, I am calm, reassuring, kind and almost stoic. The mourning around me is not my own. When time permits, I write nonsensical flash fiction that looks like spam and submit it to Carrot Ranch. It eases the pain I see on a daily basis. I absolutely hate good-byes, those of others or my own. At day’s end, I loose my tied back hair, hang the suit up, and ride the long way home on my Harley enjoying the smells and sights of life.
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
Nanjo Castille was a member of a street band.
He wasn’t very good, but what he lacked in talent he more than made up for in personality and enthusiasm.
Nanjo had got his name due to a typing error on a Music Hall billboard which his mother had thought ‘cute’. It didn’t help that his father was the banjo player originally given top billing and had legged it as soon as it was discovered Nanjo was on the way.
His Mom had died three years ago and his busking friends had offered him a home.
He played the tambourine.
The Real Nanjo Castille by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Blat of mule’s bray, and Nanjo rattled into the village square. People grumbled, crowding the buckboard wagon. They’d been waiting since dawn. The stench of unwashed clothes hung heavy in the morning heat.
“Sorry, sorry!” Nanjo called. “My last stop had dire need of my services, but I’ve saved my best for you!”
He reached behind him and flipped a tarp back. The crowd gasped at the rows of golden bars gleaming in the sun.
“Accept no substitutes! The Real Nanjo Castille soap, a heavenly marriage of Greek olive oil and Viking lye, will cure all your laundry ills!”
The Funeral by Frank Hubney
Senor Nanjo Castille sat alone in the church except for his bodyguards. No one else dared attend. They crossed the line this time.
As the Mass for the Dead progressed his business adversary’s money laundering restaurant was destroyed. Twelve dead. The warehouse was next. Fourteen dead. Then the offices. One hundred dead.
In his adversary’s desperation the expected fight around the church began. It lasted ten minutes.
When the service ended Senor Castille walked behind the caskets outside the church and viewed the mess in the street. Then he went to the cemetery to bury his wife and daughter.
What’s a Body to Do? by Bill Engleson
Hank looked down at the latest donation.
“Bit grizzled, Phil. None of his organs will be top quality…”
“Check his pockets. See if he’s go a name.”
“Huh, waddayaknow? A bloody diary. Here’s the name. Nanjo Castille!”
“Not from around here, I guess.”
“Small mercies. What’s it say?”
“Okay… ‘My name is Nanjo Tyrone Castille. At the orphanage, they said I’d been left outside the Rialto Theater in South Pasadena on December 25, 1947. The Captain from Castile was playing. Two nuns, Sisters Nancy and Josephine found me…’
“The rest is blank?”
“Great movie, though.”
“To Tell The Truth” by JulesPaige
There they were, three people on the panel. All claimed to be Nanjo Castille. Each of the four Judges got to ask questions. Charli, Geoff, Sherri and Norah.
Norah started with; “Where did you go to school? Your Grammar and spelling are atrocious.
“Hard Knocks,” said One.
Geoff quipped through tears of laughter; “Where’d you come up with ‘Bitchcoin’?
“My dog had puppies,” said Two.
Sherri wondered out loud; “What bridge do you troll under?”
“Took over from the Billies…” said Three
Charli queried; “Did you know you remind me of Lake Michigan?”
“We know!” The ‘Three’ said in Unison.
Musing on a Spammer by FloridaBorne
Not everyone has his dream fulfilled, but for one man this represented the culmination of a life well-lived.
The panelists on “To Tell The Truth,” singers and a politician, were easily fooled. An impeccable liar, he was delighted they’d chosen another.
“Will The Real Nanjo Castille please stand up.”
The man at the other end knew a lot about spamming, that was certain, but he wasn’t a billionaire who had built an empire.
Nanjo stood, so proud and confident, until the man at the end laughed and whispered, “I’m a hacker. You’ve just donated your entire fortune to charity.”
Nanjo Castille: All the Places by Anne Goodwin
You didn’t see me, as you set off for the fells from your tents and your smart hotels. You didn’t see me, from your government palaces, as you closed the steelworks and pits. You didn’t hear me when you moved the call centres to India where graduates paid a pittance had better English accents than mine. You didn’t smell, from your barn conversions by the lakeside, the stench of slime and shit and sorrow.
See me now, friends, brothers, strangers! See the blood, the bone, the bullet holes. Hear the sirens. Smell the fear. Remember my name: Nanjo Castille.
Unknown Soldier by Geoff Le Pard
Mary shivered, regretting her choice of coat. Remembrance Day parades brought back memories of the cold like no other.
As the last note of The Last Post drifted away, Mary read the names on the War Memorial. She’d never studied them before. Two Thompsons, three Greys and Nanjo Castille. Now that was an odd name for a Surrey village in 1918.
Who was he? Spanish immigrant? South American dissident? Did anyone else see his name and wonder? Maybe a writer would take it to embed it in a story, giving him a life beyond his current chiselled anonymity.
Historical Fiction View 1 by Gordon Le Pard
The French General read the letter and smiled, the English were on the run.
“This Nanjo Castille is certainly our best agent, he seems to know exactly what they are doing. We march at dawn.”
“But the reinforcements and supplies haven’t arrived.”
“Read the message, they are demoralised, they have lost supplies, it will be the victory we need if we can catch them soon.”
Two weeks later, as he looked across the ruins of the army at the impregnable defences, the Lines of Torres Vedras, he cursed Nanjo Castille.
“Find him, kill him, he has cost us Spain.”
Historical Fiction View 2 by Gordon Le Pard
Wellington looked across the battlefield at the retreating French, they had fallen into his trap and been decisively defeated.
“I never thought they would believe it.”
“Ever since we broke their codes we have been able to deceive them. But I must admit that the success of Nanjo Castille was unexpected.”
“Who is Nanjo Castille?” Wellington asked.
The spymaster pointed to two clerks.
“NAthaNiel Chalk and JOhn Castle. They made that name up out of their own names, and the French swallowed everything.”
He laughed, “We march at dawn, if all goes well, Nanjo Castille will have freed Spain.”
Interviewing the Real Nanjo Castille by Charli Mills
Danni pressed record, fluffing the sound muffler Ike called “The Muppet.” Today, she had access to living history. An elderly man called “The Real Nanjo Castille.”
Wrinkled and shrunken, he hunched beneath a blanket in a wheelchair. “I was born the year they assassinated my father, Pancho Castille.”
“1923. What were you told about your father?”
“He was a great revolutionary. He captured Buffalo Soldiers after Americans attacked our border towns.”
“Wasn’t it the other way around? Castille’s forces attacked US towns, stealing gold coins and burning a purse factory.”
“Why interview me if you already know the story?”
Freedom by Colleen Chesebro
The sun slipped behind the mesa. Nanjo Castille dropped to the ground, thankful for the shade. His travels from Mexico to Arizona had kept him on the run from U.S. Border Agents and the Federales. Yet, real freedom was worth the risks. Selling knock-off designer purses on the streets of Tijuana had been his downfall. If he could make it to California, he was home free.
In the coolness, Nanjo slept; never hearing the agent creep up on him. When he awoke, he was handcuffed. From the window of the truck, he watched his chance at freedom evaporate.
An Order for Nanjo Castille by Judy E Martin
Dear Mr Castle, or can I call you Nando?
I heard you have some classy bags and perfumes for sale for a tenner. I am after a Christmas prezzie for my mum and she can’t stand that Coco Caramel, but is rather partial to Optimum. I think John Paul Goatier’s perfume in that bottle-shaped like a girdle would suit her better. Oh, and I need a handbag for my sisters. Have you got any of them Blueberry or Herman’s ones in stock? I’m prepared to pay you twenty quid for the lot! Let me know, please.
And…from…The Real Nanjo Castille…
The Sales Pitch (spam edited to 99 words) by The Real Nanjo Castille
Dear Mr Chalres and Mrs Gerar Depardue, hi Nanjo.
Iget new email as lAst email say bammed as span.
I nanjo. Not Spanbomb. Spanbomb say “Hello. Is there anything you need any editional assistants wtih?” ectrestera. >>>>no wrories forgive I forgie.
>>>>but perfemes/ is nwo at premeim. for you.nO?
You dont >>>>>>>>>>want Perseus?and Bags? sUperier than orgininal? Not that ether.
I no wat you want, you 2 wthi dongle tehchnoelgoy:
Hi-edn forch lift truc; parts?. Letme say how thirs owrks for toughguy lyk u,Mr Xharles Mils:
Run now before boss sees me sales pitch.
By bni. Najnno/Project Shipping
Editor’s Note: Nanjo struggled with the 99-word constraint, which continues to be his Achilles Heel. This had to be cut down from 206 words. And yes, he really did respond! If Nanjo wants a second career as a humorist, he needs to get a legitimate email, website and a more transparent purpose.