Imagine a world without ice. Not just the occasional inconvenience when you run out of cubes in the freezer or your favorite pub has none to offer. What would the world be like without skating ponds, Zambonis or polar ice caps?
Writers explored situations without ice. Some humorous, some stark. Grab a drink on the rocks and read while you still have ice to clink.
The following is based on the May 23, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice.
PART I (10-minute read)
Without Ice by D. Avery
Archeologist walks into a bar.
“What’ll ya have?”
“Water you’ll have?”
“So, how long have you worked here?”
“Are you digging into my past?”
“Aren’t I an archeologist?”
“Another whiskey ditch?”
“Why would I switch?”
“Save the ice.”
“Yes, save the ice.”
“How do we save ice?”
“Keep it on ice?”
“How then do you keep that ice?”
“Sawdust. Lots of sawdust.”
“From sawn trees.”
“Yes. Sawdust insulates the ice, keeps it from melting.”
“Last week’s prompt won’t like this.”
“Yeah. Save the ice.”
Whiskey Ditch (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Honky-tonk music crackled over speakers, the kind her dad listened to – Merle Haggard. Danni’s boots crunched peanut shells on a floor that hadn’t been swept in years. Not recognizing anyone in particular, she noted the regulars easily – the hovering barflies and closed-eye drunks reliving better days. It’s the kind of place her dad would have entered, leaving her to sit in the cab of his truck, reading a book. For a moment, she felt small again. And it hit her. Ike had really left. Iraq had beckoned him becoming the other woman. Danni ordered a whiskey ditch without ice.
Kronwalled by Jo Hawk
The old-timers spoke the word, reverently. The miracle from their childhood, they waited for it each fall. Water buckets outside the door told them when to don sweaters and hunt for a sheet of holy grail on reservoirs, playgrounds, and ponds. Skates slung over their shoulders, twigs in their hands they gathered for a barnburner and the immortal words, “He shoots. He scores.”
They spoke of gods named Chelios, Esposito, Hall, Horton, Howe, Hull, Mikita, Orr and the Great One—Gretzky. Masters from a vanished game.
Zambonis sat silent and “top shelf” was now Hennessy straight, no Gretzky.
Pining for Ice by tracey
I was separated from my unit, deployed to a critical spot at a forward operating base.
I worked sixteen-hour shifts catching sleep when I could. The a/c worked just enough to take the edge off the heat. Couldn’t even get a cool shower.
As I ate the peanut butter and crackers in my MRE I looked at the picture my unit had sent. I glanced at their smiling faces gathered around a table in a chow hall but my gaze lingered on the ice filled glasses of sweet tea in front of them as I chugged my lukewarm water.
To the Victor Go…by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She’d let the dandelions go unchecked too long. Creeping Charlie was on the march, cannons of blue and green vines poised, ready to trip the unwary.
Nevertheless, she persisted. There were city ordinances and fines to deal with.
She donned her uniform of baggy shorts, stained t-shirt, and tennies from a prior decade. A colossus in her own mind, she revved the lawnmower, bearing down with a determined grimace.
Hours later, she emerged, victorious.
Shedding shoes, leaving a trail of grass and dust, she cracked open the ‘fridge.
No ice for her water, but at least it was wet.
Scotch On The Rocks by Abhijit Ray
“A large scotch please,” Sam ordered, “and whatever my friend wants.”
After a hard couple of days of business meeting, friends decided to relax on the final evening.
“Shall I bring the ice separately?” asked the waiter, “and for you sir, what should I get you?”
“Make one large peg, no ice.” Som asked mocking, “What exactly are these rocks, anyway? Would you stop drinking, if you you run out of ice?”
“How do you drink your whiskey, Som?!”
“Neat, ofcourse!” answered Som, “why waste money and good scotch whiskey. If you are thirsty, drink water, don’t waste alcohol.”
Whiskey Snobbery by Kerry E.B. Black
No shooters. Refined aficionados converged.
Paul, the tender, inwardly groaned. “Of all days.”
A couple slapped bills atop the gleaming bar. “Double malts.”
“So far, so good,” Paul poured liquid amber into Glencairn glasses.
Paul presented three orders before the dreaded request.
“On the rocks.”
Paul quaked. No ice in a broken freezer. Sweat tickled his face.
The group bristled. “You’re ordering wrong, Son.” “A drop of water, maybe.” “Not on the rocks.” “Even ice balls dilute spirits.”
A blush spread across the offender’s face. “I meant neat.”
Relief flooded as Paul poured, reputation intact thanks to whiskey snobbery.
Red Wine by Sarah Brentyn
She always added ice to red wine. Reds should be enjoyed at room temperature and I wasn’t shy about saying so. I guess I shouldn’t have picked on her for such a thing.
It annoyed me.
She’d chill a bottle of Chardonnay in the cooler and leave a Merlot on the counter. Why add ice?
She stirred the glass with her finger and I could hear sloshing and clinking. It grossed me out but I never said.
It was the sound of unhappiness. And that, too, annoyed me. At the gathering after her funeral, I ordered red wine, without ice.
Cold as Ice by Di @pensitivity101
Another day, another boring evening.
Something smelt nice and he lifted the lid on the pan to have a taste.
‘I wouldn’t,’ she said. ‘That’s for the dogs. Your dinner’s in the fridge.’
Chicken salad again. Great. Not even new potatoes.
He sighed, got a glass and peered into the freezer.
‘There’s no ice Honey.’ he said.
‘Tough. Have tea instead.’
‘I don’t want tea.’
‘I don’t want coffee. Any beer?’
The dogs were getting excited for their supper as she spooned it into their bowls.
‘I’m off down the pub,’ he said.
‘Sure.’ she replied.
Ice Between Us by Reena Saxena
“There you go – messing it up again. Why can’t you ever get things done right?”
Martha’s shrill voice pierces my soul. I let my imagination go astray – a life without being blamed for every inconsequential act or mishap, a life with total freedom of doing things my way. The heat of a mismatched marriage was searing my sanity.
How I wished to be on non-speaking terms with her – several hours being whiled away without speaking a word, as it happened in the early stages of our relationship.
How I wished for the ice between us to build up again…
Sex on Ice by Anne Goodwin
No ice could kill their ardour. Nor would they want it to. But what fun to test it out with a second honeymoon at an ice hotel.
Bucket-list experiences are pricey, especially half a world away. Through years of sweltering summers, they dreamed of making love on ice blocks topped with reindeer hides, of sipping vodka from glasses made of ice.
Their lust still flamed when they finally found the funds to finance it. They made love, put champagne on ice and went to book it. Unfortunately, climate change got there first. No ice, but meltwater, swelling the seas.
No Ice Tonight by Kay Kingsley
We sat on the patio in the heat of the summer night listening to frogs and bird’s banter in the distance.
There was so much to say yet we sat there in anxious silence as the last seconds of calm before our storm expired like sand in an hourglass.
The tension was palpable.
Who’d throw the first arguments punch?
She opened her mouth to speak and I panicked, “Drink?”
I got up and heard the screen door slam behind me.
Normally, we sipped our whiskey on the rocks but tonight, no amount of ice would put out this fire.
Without Ice by Ann Edall-Robson
Thwunk. Quiet. Thwunk.
He watched Hanna from the shadow of the cookhouse. A glass of lemonade, without ice, in his hand. That’s how she liked it.
With each swing of the axe, she sent wood flying. Methodically stopping to stack the split pieces before settling the next chunk of wood in place.
“Why aren’t you using the splitter?”
Wiping the sweat from her brow, Hanna gave him a sarcastic look with a lopsided grin.
“And miss working off some steam?”
Tal wondered what had ticked her off. He hoped it wasn’t him.
Stepping closer, he offered her the glass.
Freezer Woes by Carol Arcus
I woke up terrified.
Last cyclone season was horrible, power cuts, no air-con.
Eating that half defrosted food meant I was sick, vomiting for days.
I stared into the freezer.
Carefully packaged cut bananas for smoothies.
Ice cubes for those tropical nights.
Frozen lasagne and steaks.
All would useless soon, when the power lines came down.
“Do you want to have a party, make some smoothies, fire up the grill?”
We drank gin and vodka, banana smoothies and grilled maniacally.
I woke needing to vomit. I found the cyclone had turned and I had no ice in the freezer.
Removing the Glaze of Grief by JulesPaige
calm weather would not, could not
ease the burn of pain
Just when had it happened and really did it matter. Marge and Tina were talking. There were years that a berg had been between them. The base had spread through misunderstanding the others youth. But they had to join forces now. Dad needed them, now at a loss without Mom. Her illness had started slow, gained strength and then within moment froze the life out of the woman, as well as the man who had adored her. Now if they could just get James on board.
In That in Between Time by Saifun Hassam
In that in between time
In that slip space
Fall drifted into winter
Night drifted into day
No ice clouds drifted across skies
Dry cool air drifted over valleys
Cool waters lapped lake shores
No icy vapor, no needle thin ice flowers
Prairie and meadow summer blooms
Yellow and purple and pink ironweed
Long faded on tall stems
Swaying ever so wistfully in the cool breeze
No petals of frost flowers at dawn
No icy ribbons on fallen pines.
In the open seas of the Arctic
frost flowers drifted melting
In that in between time
In that slip space.
No Ice for Cassandra by Gordon Le Pard
Jane Austen smiled at her sister’s letter, she enjoyed hearing from Cassandra, but sometimes her letters just contained a litany of complaints. Some, such as missing seeing the King and Queen were reasonable enough, but a lack of Ice! In September! After a hot summer! Really.
She picked up her pen, tucked her tongue firmly in her cheek, and wrote;
“Your account of Weymouth contains nothing which strikes me so forcibly as there being no Ice in the Town. Weymouth is altogether a shocking place I perceive, without recommendation of any kind, only suitable for the inhabitants of Gloucester!”
Titanic, The Maiden Voyage by TN Kerr
Birdie stood at the top deck railing smiling and waving; holding her hat in the breeze. Edward stood stoically nearby, as he imagined a new husband should do.
While the crew cast off lines and got underway Birdie turned to Edward, “I’m terrified. What if the weather takes a turn and the ship flounders?”
“Rest assured, darling,” he replied, “We’re aboard the pride of the White Star Line, she’s unsinkable.” They retired to their stateroom, where Birdie remained, panicked, for the duration of the voyage.”
Eight days later the newlyweds disembarked in New York and began their life together.
Safety Precautions by Nicole Horlings
The boy wriggled through the crowded fair, determined to make it to the dragon exhibit before it closed. He’d been waiting for this moment for months, ever since he saw the advertisement in the paper.
“Three tickets to hold a baby dragon,” he said, thrusting the crumpled slips into the attendant’s hand. He’d made it just in time, and there wasn’t even a line up.
“Sorry kiddo. Exhibit’s closed.”
“But it ain’t six yet!” He shoved his watch in the attendant’s face.
“We’re out of ice, and our safety contract says we need ice in case you get burned.”
Let’s Hear it for Ice by Norah Colvin
A world without ice —
That made me think tw—
A world without ice
Would not be so n—
We couldn’t play games
With a six-sided d—
We couldn’t have fries
With a side-serve of r—
Our food would be bland
Without pinches of sp—
A world without ice
Where rule is by v—
A world without ice
We’d all pay the pr—
A world without ice
I’d say in a tr—
A world without ice
I’d even say thr—
Be anything nice!
New Way of Talking by Annette Rochelle Aben
A world without ice, how could that happen? What would cats do, with no rodents to chase? And think of everyone stressing out because they’d have to nail it the first time, because they can’t repeat anything.
We’d have nothing to toss at weddings AND Chinese food would be pretty darn boring.
Some might like it, because they could just be mean and never have to change.
Where fewer words normally worked, you’d have to say, “How much does that cost?”
With all the sage wisdom I have accumulated over the years; a world without ice, would be, cold.
Part II (10-minute read)
Lawmaker Has Shocking Epiphany about Climate Change by Molly Stevens
“The walrus’s testimony was convincing,” said senator Doughty. “But I wanted to walk out of the hearing when he started rambling about shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings, and whether pigs have wings. I’m sorry he’s endangered, but I don’t believe the ice cap is melting. Or that the time has come to ask, ‘why the sea is boiling hot.'”
The server approached, and the senator said, “I’ll have the lobster.”
“Lobsters have had a pleasant run. But with higher ocean temps, we’ve eaten every one!”
With sobs and tears, he squealed, “Climate change is real!”
On The Rocks… Or Not? by Ritu Bhathal
“Hey, Sam, get me a scotch. On the rocks. Actually, make it a double.” James loosened his tie.
Some day it had been.
Markets were rocky with this whole Brexit fiasco, and then that Theresa May announced her departure from being the Prime
Minister… Things went haywire.
What with client calls, deals falling through, share prices dropping, he deserved a stiff drink, diluted only by that melting ice…
“Sorry, Boss, we’ve run out of ice. The machine’s on the blink. Typical on a hot day like this.”
James sighed. Guess it was a day that warranted a neat shot.
Not Ice by Bill Engleson
“I trust you got the notice?”
“Yes. The Intergalactic Commissions Epistle on Global Defrosting.”
“Oh, yes. The ICE Notice on Not Ice. I got it.”
“Whew. Good. Everyone needs to be in the loop. Communications have been patchy.”
“The Holdouts? Sadly, there’re still a few. The ones who can make their own cubes. You know, at home. So selfish. I’ve got mine, they say. I’m good.”
“And what about…you know…?”
“Ah! The Impeachable Colluding Entity? He’ll be the death of us. We have the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he says. Global Warming be damned.”
Sadly Starving by Susan Zutautas
The mama bear and her cub were getting tired, so they stopped for the night. They were traveling towards Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay, the polar bear capital of the world. Here they would be able to hunt for ringed seals. Sadly, not knowing about climate change, the ice normally on Hudson Bay was late coming this year.
The bears are hungry
Ice to appear soon
When arriving in Churchill they came upon many other polar bears and new friendships began.
Finally, when the ice formed, it was game on for seal hunting.
Still many would die.
A Mother’s Dilemma…by Sally Cronin
My cubs and I swim further each day between melting ice floes. Some are only strong enough to carry the weight of my babies as they rest, at the limit of their strength. The seals that I hunt are also disappearing without a safe place to gather between fishing. I need to eat soon if we are all to survive. I may have to return to land and into the world of humans. Their waste food may be our only chance. They fear and hate my kind and there is great risk. But soon I will have no choice.
Life is Beautiful! by Anurag Bakhshi
I finished my 20th lap in the heated swimming pool and came out, drying my wet hair with a towel.
I pressed the button on the remote, and messaged my butler to get me some Beluga Caviar. As I waited, I looked at my luxurious surroundings…and thanked my lucky stars once again for global warming, which had pushed us polar bears to evolve enough to take over the world.
My Man was still not here. It was so difficult to get good help these days.
I shouted in exasperation, “Donald Trump…get your lazy ass here right now”.
Inaction by wilnako
Sticky and salty, sweat dripping off me.
I feel the desert, all-consuming.
Burning hot sand under my feet, sun burning my cheeks.
I’m burning up, my body shaking the world won’t stop turning.
I moan and groan while polar bears have no home.
Icy lands a fading memory
what am I doing here I should be helping!
I do one last squat, one last puff, one last jump
I collapse on the floor, my fats giggling and jiggling.
The problems of the world were what?
Forgotten, phone in my hand.
It Was Only After…by Joanne Fisher
It was only after the sea ice disappeared from the polar regions. It was only after the ice sheets collapsed into the sea creating mega-tsunamis that wiped out coastlines. It was only after the permafrost melted releasing ancient viruses killing millions. It was only after violent storms appeared on a scale never seen before. It was only after the oceans died.
It was only after all this that the people who thought it was all a hoax or simply thought it would never affect them realised that something needed to be done.
But by then it was too late.
Without Ice by Frank Hubeny
Bart looked left and right at the majestic Atlantic Ocean, the blue skies and hot sandy beaches. It was 90 degrees. He told the real estate agent, “I suppose if the global economy heats up so much that the ice caps melted then all of these high-rise condos would turn into part of the Everglades.”
“I’ve been waiting for it to happen for over two decades.”
“This place could sink into the ocean. I wonder who’d want to live here then?”
“I’m sure the alligators wouldn’t mind.”
Bart agreed with the agent: Better buy while the ground’s still dry.
Back From the Warmth by Eric Pone
At 16 April is as far from summer as Earth is to her moon. A distant memory that longs to spring forth into common memory. As Andrea looked out at the long prairie-like expanse of green that was Anoka Senior High’s front lawn she sighed as her senior high social teacher droned on about the importance of Indian Mounds. The red sedan came up the driveway slowly yet deliberately. The man getting out was a tall elegant man of dark complexion with salt and pepper hair. The ice was gone but salt between them remained. Dad was back …again…damn.
The Last Voyage by Miriam
“Where are we going, honey?”
“Real estate office.”
“They have a new listing.”
“Yes, a living quarter of 300 square feet, a share of 8 square feet of vegetable patch in the atrium, and a 5 square feet chicken farm.”
“How much time do we have?”
“Billions of people live on house ships already. We’re the last group. The ice from Arctic and Antarctic is melting fast. The ocean level has raised one inch a year for centuries. The last pieces of ice will collapse any minute.”
“Our ancestors couldn’t perceive us living on house ships.”
Taking Ice With A Pinch Of Salt by Geoff Le Pard
‘Ice with it?’
‘My dad said that was sacrilege.’
‘He liked his scotch warm?’
‘He didn’t like scotch. He just didn’t like others having it with ice. He was a G&T man.’
‘Always ice and a slice.’
‘Bit of an odd relationship with ice.’
‘He called me Ice.’
‘Why? He can’t have thought you were cool.’
‘I found it in his phone. My contact was “Ice”. I liked that.’
‘You doofus. It means ‘In Case Of Emergency. You were his nominated contact.’
‘Really? Oh well. At least I was his best pick.’
‘From a small field.’
Cooler Warming Part 1 by D. Avery
“Marge, any ice cubes left in the cooler for my beer margarita*?”
“Outta ice, we’ll have to finish framing the shed under less than ideal conditions, though there’s still beer, thank goodness.”
“It’s a cycle, Ilene, we run out of ice sometimes, but it’ll come back, like I told my nephew when he said the polar icecaps are melting.”
“Nard, you didn’t spread lies to that boy about climate change!”
“Told him things work in cycles, Marge, told him not to worry, then took him fishing.”
Kristof whispered, “Leave it, Marge, he knows; Nard cried so hard that night.”
Cooler Warming Part 2 by D. Avery
Both muttering about needing something, Marge stomped stage left up the steps into the singlewide, Nard stalked stage right off to his truck leaving the others in the glare of the halogen work lamps.
“What just happened?”
“Anger flashes bright burning flame, Dark dusty ashes smoldering blame.”
“What Lloyd’s trying to say, Ernest, is our beloveds have been spoiling for a fight. They’d rather feel anger than grief or fear.”
“Oh. Thanks Kristof. You deal with yours, I’ll go see about mine.”
“Just seeing if the ice trays are frozen yet.”
Ernest hugged her. “I’m afraid too, Marge.”
Ice Removal by Susan Sleggs
When we go to bed at home it’s silent. Not so in a hotel. That little refrigerator always makes distressing noises. I turn it off and prop open the door. Feeling I’ve overcome the demon, my husband and I lounge and read. CRASH! A few expletives fly and we are both standing looking around. What was that? Nothing appears broken or moved. Peeking out from the fridge door is a half inch slab of ice. I have unwittingly defrosted the freezer. Ice falling on plastic is noisy. We laugh away our adrenaline. Husband remarks, “There’s no ice build-up now.”
Without Ice by Anna-Maria Amato
The sterile stone building was brightened, one day with the sculptures, installations images on the wall. The overly opinionated middle aged women, the distracted students, the stuffy middle class men, the wanna-be artists who thought that getting involved would draw attention to their own practise, which was lacking in everything except a degree. They were all being told that global warming was a major concern. That ice, in this world, was so scarce several years ago, now no longer existed. They seemed concerned as they looked around the building they knew, now covered in messages. Where is the ice?
Ice by Roberta Eaton
As we stepped outside, a chilly wind embraced us, making my eyes sting and water. The cold of the air felt more intense than when we had arrived a few hours ago and more white flakes flew from the dark sky. Our feet crunched on ice encrusted grass as we trudged across a wide expanse of lawn towards the first outhouse. Dizziness and confusion gripped me and thought I might collapse, but, drawing a few reviving and slow breaths, I managed to reach the small building and open the door. I stepped into its shelter, dragging Thomas after me.
Searching for Diamonds in the Rough by JulesPaige
The replicator could create many things in space. Synthesized alcohol, drugs for healing any number of species, humanoid or not. Even books. But it could not recreate ice.
Which was partly why Sherman had gotten involved with this crew. They were to explore and to a point exploit those silent balls of ice where no life lived. The trick would be finding any. Most of the nearest systems had been over harvested.
Sherman’s secondary reason, that he had kept hidden from the crew was that he was a Glaciologist. He wanted core samples of ice to read its history.
Ice, Ice Everywhere, But Nary a Place to Skate by H.R.R. Gorman
Fourchad took the first step on planet Khione, entirely blanketed with ice, ripe for exploitation. They’d melt the ice and create water for the colony.
Brevard scraped a sample of the ice into her scanner. “Something’s not right.”
“What is it?”
“Water has unique physical properties – the weight of your body should add enough pressure to turn the ice into water and cause you to slip.”
Fourchad’s heart skipped a beat. “If it’s not ice, what is it?”
“Scanner says carbon dioxide. Dry ice.”
Wind chilled their hearts and the dead planet. They didn’t have the fuel to leave.
Without Ice by Floridaborne
Hamara wriggled in her wooden seat. A daily Bible reading. Boring.
“In the beginning, Yawina created cities. She commanded people to be good stewards of the Earth, but they began to worship Phone. They chattered with others anywhere on the planet, and sought to become one with Phone. They built mountains of garbage as tribute to his wife, Consumerisma. Yawina warned her people, Do not forsake me or I will tilt this planet. They did not listen! Down came towers of Phone! Yawina warned Righteousness, “Enter caves!” Then turned glaciers to water.”
Why must she endure mythology in 19392?
Shortchanged by Joanne Fisher
I booked passage to a small blue-green planet. I was assured it had a nice temperate climate and polar ice caps. However when I got there I found it was extremely warm and there was no ice to be seen anywhere.
I complained to the travel company about false advertising, but was told that while traveling there the planet had an unprecedented warming period due to the indigenous bipedal primates and their attempts at industrialisation. The company said it was regrettable but they couldn’t accept any responsibility since all this occurred while I was still in transit.
With a Paddle? by D. Avery
“Pal. Where’s your side-kick?”
“You mean that pain in the ass Kid? Up a tree.”
“Is Kid stuck again?”
“Claims not, but chooses ta stay, come ‘hellish high water’. So sayeth the Kid. Kid’s kinda freaked ‘bout meltin’ glaciers and risin’ waters.”
“Want me to climb up there, have a chat?”
“Naw, let’s enjoy the peace and quiet. Kid’ll come down at the first whiff a bacon.”
“You going to cook up some bacon?”
“Naw. Anyway, Kid’s onta buckaroo-ku.”
ancient glaciers speeding by
Kid paddles in poet tree
Asses below, heads in sand*