A protest can be small as the silence of a single person or big as a clamoring crowd. Social injustice, human rights, better conditions for workers can add to suppressed voices. Yet, objections can come from even the protested.
Writers gave much thought to the prompt and explored who and why what was the object of protests.
The following is based on the January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story.
PART I (10-minute read)
Remember the Revolution by Doug Jacquier
and affectations of effect on war
in cities now gone five-star?
Remember social action
sitting in smoke-filled rooms with Nescafe activists
and battered women with no teeth and less hope?
when it belonged to rock stars
and people your mother your mother knew?
and how it wasn’t going to concern you
until you learnt the golden rule and its defensible limits?
And do you remember when the penny dropped
that the personal was the political
and you found out you had to change?
And you decided to forget the revolution?
Standing by D. Avery
“Staff members shouldn’t join student anti’s, Ms. Higginbottom.”
“Anti’s. My dad, a member of the NRA, called protesters that, Mr. Mathy.”
Mr. Massey the math teacher looked at Ilene, unsure of her lisp and her tone.
“But this is not my father’s NRA. Not by a long shot.”
“You give up one constitutional right, the rest are vulnerable.”
Incredulous, Ilene finally spoke. “Look at the reciprocals; not what they’re against but what they are for; that’s what pro-test means, testifying for a cause.”
“And what are these children standing for Ms. Higginbottom?”
“Life, Mr. Massey. They want to live.”
My Way or Protest by Sam “Goldie” Kirk
Riley stared at the plate in front of her in disbelief. It wasn’t what she ordered.
She watched the waitress slowly approach the table.
“I wanted mac ’n’ cheese” – Riley spat out.
“This IS mac ‘n’ cheese” – the waitress calmly replied.
Riley folded her arms, pouted, and frowned at the broccoli. She was not going to eat anything until she got exactly what she ordered. Or chocolate, which was the one thing that would always magically fixed things.
“You will eat whatever I give you, young lady” – Riley’s mother said, sitting down next to her at the kitchen table.
A Child’s Protest by Ritu Bhathal
“No more slop! No more slop!”
The sound of the butts of knives and forks being bashed against the tabletops echoed through the dining room.
“Children, please!” Mrs Garrett, flapped her arms up and down, trying to calm the situation, to no avail.
“We ain’t eating that rubbish anymore, Miss! It’s rank!” Tommy, the protest ringleader, piped up.
A chorus of voices echoed his sentiments.
Mrs Garrett looked at the greying mass of potato, with an unidentifiable beige stew, and cabbage that had long since lost any goodness, and sympathised.
I think it’s time to talk to the cooks…
Protested Internally, Murtle’s Story by Tammy L. Toj Gajewski
She pointed at her leg making a stabbing motion. I shook my head and said, “What?” even though she couldn’t hear. Murrow took my hand and made me touch her pudgy belly, then took my finger to stab her upper thigh repeatedly. Oh oh… I see . “You don’t like the insulin shots?” I sign into her palm. That was it she went crazy signing and jibbering so fast I couldn’t keep up so I just hugged her and said yes I know over and over. She raised her shoulders finally in triumph that I knew her pain and internal protest.
A Small Protest by Chelsea Owens
“Won’t!” The small face scrunches.
Father sighs. “I’d let you go like this, Arnie, but-”
“No no no!”
“Arrrnie,” Father begins, his tone less calm, “Daddy‘s wearing-”
“Daddy’s fart face!” A small tongue protrudes from the small mouth.
Father straightens. He takes a small arm in a big hand and marches small legs up big stairs. “That’s enough, young man! We do not stick our tongues out or call names.”
“Fart. face. Fart. face,” Arnie gasps at each stair.
“Now,” Father concludes, setting him at the top. “You’ll sit in Timeout, then you WILL put your pants on!”
A Little Classroom Protest by Ellen Best
“Quiet!” shouted Miss Brooks, “Okay Girls, hands up if you think you’re the weaker sex.” Shouts, and stomping shoes echo. Her voice raised, her palm hit the desk. A puddle formed in her eye, she grabbed her hands rubbing vigorously, as a drip plopped against her lip. Her tongue, snatched it away unseen, while she counted raised hands.
“Please miss,” eyes swivel, and I colour. “I think it depends if they smack the desk harder than you.” The noise level climbed. “It isn’t gender or braun that predicts strength, but Emotional intelligence Miss, females win that every time.”
Protest Proposal by Caroline Scott
He was going to do it.
She could see it in his eyes. There was a strange, liquid gleam in them, and a kind of manic terror.
She should speak. She needed to stop this before he did something either of them regretted. A protest rose on her lips but he was already on his knees.
She’d never seen a man so afraid.
“Will you marry me?”
It was his question, but she said it. If the point was at all worth arguing, he didn’t say so. When her arms went around his neck, all he said was,
A Parent’s Nightmare by Jacquie Biggar
“There’s no easy way to say this—” Matt met the growing horror in Mrs. Carter’s eyes, his heart hurting, “your daughter was murdered last night on the Galloping Goose Trail. We believe she was on her way home at the time.”
The poised woman who’d met them at the door disappeared in a swelling tide of despair. She vigorously shook her head. “No, you’ve made a mistake. Emily was home last night. I brought her home from school myself. It’s not possible.”
“How do you know it’s our child?” Carter asked, his voice gruff. “It could be anyone.”
Methinks We Doth Protest Too Much by Cara Stefano
I have often wondered what I should protest: world hunger, needless war, homeless children right here in my home town? There are so many reasons to be angry, to wish for a soap box to stand upon, exhorting the masses to action; there are so many reasons to “get all up in arms” about this or that pressing issue. We are so often preaching to the choir – our tiny group of friends and family, acquaintances whom we know agree. Perhaps I simply want to protest the very idea of protesting. Let’s all just try to get along, shall we?
The Gift of Music by Susan Sleggs
The wheelchair-bound veterans weren’t surprised when asked to join Gil Brandt near his bus. The musician learned names then turned to Michael, “I’ve heard of your talent and that you live near multiple VA medical centers so I’m giving you this to share.”
A vehicle whose sides were painted with music murals and the words “Veterans’ Music Van” pulled up. Doors were opened to reveal many instruments and other band equipment.
“I can’t accept such a gift,” Michael said.
“No protesting. I hope you’ll develop or add to a music program at each center because music has healing power.”
Rebel Released by Ann Edall-Robson
“What’s going here?” Hanna pointed at the picture.
“The whisper went through the halls of the school.
‘We’re walking out as soon as first period starts after lunch.’
Rumours had been swirling for weeks. Finally, the day arrived to protest having to wear skirts and dresses at school, especially in -40F weather. All we wanted was to be able to wear slacks.
There I was, a junior, scared to death I’d be expelled, making my way down the halls, out onto the lawn with the others.”
Liz closed the Yearbook with a laugh.
“My inner rebel had been released.”
Student Protest by Nancy Brady
Julia wanted to be inducted into her school’s National Honor Society.
Each year she saw outstanding upperclassmen selected for the honor. As a junior, she watched her classmates and the seniors get chosen one by one.
The school administration and teachers were shocked when one senior refused in protest over a blatant prejudice against another student. Apparently, the seniors knew that the student was treated unfairly, making a pact to reject the honor; however, only Jerry had the strength of character to protest this injustice.
How they found out was never revealed, but it forever changed the school’s policy.
Protest by Joanne Fisher
An angry crowd had gathered outside protesting the sweeping new laws passed by the Government.
“How can I create art if there’s no more human misery and suffering?” shouted the artist.
“Now I can afford to feed, clothe, and house all my kids without having to work three jobs. HOW DARE YOU!” screamed a woman.
“But I wanted all my money to be sucked up by the global billionaires!” another man complained.
“Now I can have decent healthcare. What made you think I wanted that?”
“The environment cleaned up? Who said we wanted a utopia?” a woman cried out.
Not Mad, but Angry by Anne Goodwin
Although medication dulls my senses, that headline hurts. An assault on language. An assault on me.
When I first acquired the label, I feared it would swallow me whole. Would I still be a person? Or turn into an axe-wielding lunatic overnight?
I upload a screenshot to Facebook. An emoticon scowl. SCHIZOPHRENIC ATTACKS DIABETIC would be more balanced. UNEMPLOYED ACCOUNTANT ATTACKS SHOP ASSISTANT more polite.
The LIKES accumulate. The expressions of rage. We’re more than our diagnoses. More often the target than the perpetrator of abuse.
While social media can be mentally toxic, it’s a place of protest too.
Silent Protest by Lisa Listwa
Harold felt someone touch him.
Or did he?
It was hard to tell from behind the curtain of darkness shrouding his eyes. Every inch of his leaden body resisted all appeals for movement. His mind was too clouded for inquiry.
He could probably rally himself, but the only thing he wanted was to let go, to sink deeper into the noiseless black pawing at his consciousness.
Something – or someone – moved nearby. Harold sensed a change in the area immediately surrounding him.
No. He was rising.
“C’mon, cat,” said his human. “Time to get up. Get off the bed.”
#81 Discharge? by JulesPaige
my mind protests, sighs
you’re not what I expected;
Hoping that I’m not still blushing when Sam arrives; I am still in wonderment about how my body protests… But I smell Ife’s rose scent – I calm down. Just what can I tell him? That some myths are prophecy, like history is doomed to repeat itself if we don’t learn from it? Quite a bit of the Underground Railroad, just like the Pony Express has been amplified, romanticized. Yet there were kernels of truth.
Maybe I’ll open with; “Have you ever used a psychic to help solve cases?” …
I Must Protest by H.R.R. Gorman
The man in the top hat knocked the soapbox with his gold-tipped cane. “I must protest this… this sin! How dare you peddle this Godless brew?”
The squirmy man with thin mustache bent down from atop his box. “Godless brew? No, it’s a true cure for everything from apoplexy to zinc deficiency, from premature birth to heart failure! Care to take a sip and put some pep in your step?”
The man with the top hat smashed the bottles at the foot of the soap box. “Even worse! If you cure mother, how else will I get her money?”
Protest to God by Pedro Padilla
He felt broken. Heart striving. Body moving in nuanced physical patterns. Depending on what action the work requires. Sweat, clenched fists, spider like hand movements. All include use of the back.
Outside the mine his 4 children, motherless, wait. When he comes out to check on them he spies a snake near by. Family says that’s when he broke. Hair went white at 30. His protest to God. No man, or woman, as proxy. Straight to the source.
“We work. I work hard. She died. I’m broken. How? What to do? You are too hard. Too unfair. Please help us.”
Legacy Survived by Charli Mills
Three sisters opened a yarn shop in Houghton 19 miles from where their children died in a stairwell. They stood stiff as marble in the back corner, the waists of their dresses pinched as tight as the grief in their eyes. Round skeins of yarn soft as a baby’s head inspired sales to knitters whose wealth they had once protested. Next door, another displaced Italian family opened a confectionary with fireproof ceiling tiles. In business, they dispensed softness and sweets, set codes for stairs, and prospered. Their surviving children’s grandchildren expanded family enterprises long after the copper mines closed.
PART II (10-minute read)
Be The Change by Nobbinmaug
“Here’s another depressing news story. We should do something.”
“I don’t know. Pollution. Corporate tax cuts. Guns. Puppy mills.”
“What? You’re mocking me.”
“I am. What about actors who play roles inconsistent with their ethnicity? Innocuous lyrics to Christmas songs from the ’40s?”
“I’m serious. We live in a world where a xenophobic, rapist, megalomaniac, demagogue was elected president over a qualified woman amid cries of ‘Lock her up’ because she sent emails from the wrong account.”
“That’s why I’m protesting elections. You’re not gonna change anything.”
“Maybe we should protest apathy.”
Protest by Floridaborne
My name is Ambivalence. I know not of the ways those around me live. I am a ghost condemned to this globe called Earth, searching for my daughter, Kindness.
My world died in the fires of protest, a civilization created by Peace and Prosperity. My crime? I believed our golden era could never end and failed to see Greed stop at nothing to prevail. Greed created disease, and then Greed survived the death of our world, giving birth to Psychopath and Victim.
Five thousand years later, I watch the birth of twins; Obliteration and Apocalypse.
When can I rest?
Wait to Speak by Jules Dixon
A ghostly hand silenced my heart. Wait to speak it whispered, to hold my truth until I heard their decree of masked respect. But I wouldn’t be told when to scream from the mountains and when to cry from the valleys. My spirit straightened and I bellowed into the night that their ruse of order wasn’t going to work. My triumphant heart sang the words I’d longed to release. Their reaction an unwanted ghost to be banished forever. Now I stand on the podium, my voice strong, my heart wild, my emotion true. My time is now, and ever.
A Pregnant Protest by Colleen M. Chesebro
Susan squeezed her husband’s hand, turning his knuckles white.
“I’ll never let you into my bed again,” she protested.
Tim nodded his head. “I’m so sorry love,” he whispered.
The contractions began again as Susan shrieked out a primal wail. She panted through the waves of torment.
“You’re almost there,” the doctor murmured, intent on his ministrations. “One more push, Susan, and that should do it.”
Susan closed her eyes in concentration. With one long scream she pushed out the reason for her pain.
The infant resembled his father. A long-tail protruded from the base of his spine.
Protest by Simon
Fight between two monkeys inside a forest. Both were fighting rigorously and accidentally discovered a chest under the grass. Both monkeys stared at the chest in unison. One of them opened it. Two hands from inside holds both monkeys hand and they both scream and saw vision of a great hero past, died in a protest, fighting the secret enemies disguised as protestors cornered this Hero and pushed to death. But before he died, none of the enemies left protest alive. His rage was incredibly strong, even after he dies his soul now turned dark demon “Coming for you!”
The Protest by Teresa Grabs
Shouting roared outside as Davey and I huddled in the bathtub. Breaking glass sent shivers up my spine. My fingers ached from gripping the baseball bat as hard as I was, but I promised Mom I would keep him safe. I had to. Sure, he was my little brother and I loved him, but he was so much more than that.
Mom screamed and Dad started shouting vulgarities as a door somewhere in the house burst open. I don’t understand why the humans are protesting. Davey wouldn’t hurt anyone. He wouldn’t.
Unless I tell him to.
“Go ahead, Davey.”
Confusion’s Blunt Knife by M J Mallon
‘I didn’t do it,’ he howled.
‘Stop your protesting, we saw you!’
‘It wasn’t me, it was them.’
‘Excuses, excuses. Them don’t do that, only this does.’
Confusion handed the boy the knife. It was blunt.
‘Why you always blunt?’ he asked.
‘To see if you will sharpen your mind, you idiot!’
The boy looked lost. He pulled his jacket tight around him searching for the right words.
‘My mind is tired, too wired to remember this: who, did what to whom.’
‘Who, or what are you, boy?’
‘I’m tight wound like this jacket.’
‘Strait, that’s what you are.’
Protest by Dave Madden
Hundreds stood before the venue’s mouth, pumping signs in the air, screaming for an end to MMA—human cockfighting.
The manner in which these social justice warriors rallied online and postured at anyone trying to cross their fence of fiery flesh, it was unclear whether they were attempting to cancel California’s biggest MMA promotion or start up a new fight league of their own.
A long weekend defending territory, skipping meals in hopes of tipping the scales in their favor, and celebrating victory after effecting attendance.
Too bad the band of misguided protestors never noticed their similarities with MMA.
Attention/Protest by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Snowmageddon! Stay home if you don’t have to go out! Feels like double-digit negative temps! Treacherous conditions! Freezing drizzle! Mega-storm sweeping the continent, laying waste to everything in its path!
She switched off the t.v., powered down her computer, snapped off background radio reports. She believed the footage:crashes; spinouts; canceled flights; people braving the cold for ice hockey; solo skiing (her, today); folks bundled like pineapples, walking their dogs.
What about those living rough? Surely these people, and the relief efforts, are newsworthy? She grabbed her keys, groceries and blankets loaded into the SUV, and hit the streets.
The Gorge’s Protest by Nicole Osmond
The Gorge is breathtaking – a natural wonder carved in a mountain. A chiselled masterpiece a million years in the making.
When the rains come the Gorge shouts its fury in protest.
I am forced to look away.
Its rage terrifies me.
When the clouds are vacant and the sun does it wonderous job with full commitment, the Gorge speaks in whispers.
The rage now replaced with a soothing lullaby at times accompanied with a choir of mist that joins in harmony and sings its melody in vibrant colors.
Each soothing note of color stretching to arch its maker.
In Protest of the Planet by DGKaye
What remains of the trees, struggle to stand tall, casting thin shadows across the water with reflection in their retaliation. Birds make swift exit when the weather turns ominous. Where do humans flee when there’s no longer a safe place to exist?
What remains is nature’s leftovers from man’s thoughtless lashings. Angels band together, looking down from above in God’s sanctuary as God’s planet drowns and burns in salty tears. When will the natives wake? Action is needed now. Let us stand up in defense of the planet against the wrongs of man and start to repair with change.
At Home in the Land of the Privileged by Bill Engleson
We were stoned that night. I’ll admit that much. Me, anyways. Sitting behind them I was, slumped on our ratty old davenport.
Gangster-like they were, huddled at the-steal-at-five-bucks, pink arborite table Rose scored at the Sally Ann. She was the key insurgent in our ménage à pick-a-number. She’d transferred up from Berkeley, following the crimson flame of revolution into Canada.
Tommy was a prairie kid, swooning over Rose, brain-fried by hormones.
Larson. He was something else again.
Angry as a twister.
Larson’s the one who proposed, “one well-placed bullet, comrades. If we’re serious, we need to draw blood.”
The Protest by Lisa R. Howeler
Fern watched her father gathering his winter clothes together.
“Dad, you’re not going to that protest are you?”
“It’s not a protest, it’s a rally,” he said with a sigh, pulling his woolen har down on his head over his ears.
“But it’s 21 degrees out and you’re — ”
“I know, I’m 76 but age shouldn’t stop me from standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Fern sighed, shaking her head. “Okay, Dad, but I better not get a call from the police that you and Nancy have chained yourselves to the courthouse steps again.”
Protest by Anita Dawes
Wave your hands in the air
Like you just don’t care!
They do care very much
About the conditions they work in
Too often the loos don’t flush
Water is turned off
Which takes too long
Poor management in winter
Means working in the cold
This in turn, slows down production
Which means working late
No extra pay
Too many break times cancelled
People become sick
Our floor manager asked
For hot drinks to be made
Every four hours
This went down with management
like a lead balloon
it’s no wonder we’re shouting
and waving our arms…
World Peace and Beetles by Donna Matthews
My daughter is past curfew. I’m pacing the room, obsessively checking her location on my phone. This new boyfriend of hers is an earth science major. Loves to talk about the planet, climate change, and world peace. He reminds me a little of her father, but I’d never tell her that.
Finally, “I’m home!” she yells from the entryway. My mouth drops open. She’s in bell-bottoms and tie-dye. Her long hair straightened and reeking of patchouli.
“Where the hell have you been?”
“Mom! Stay trippy, little hippie!”
On her arm, a little beetle tattoo.
OMG, wrong kind of Beatles.
Stewardship by Saifun Hassam
Elena was an environmentalist. In her journal she wrote of her exploration of the Ancient Sea. She was fascinated by its history of thriving ports, an abundant sea, ice-capped mountains.
A time came, imperceptible but certain when sea life was less abundant. The ice caps melted. The immense glaciers along the farthest northern shores turned into giant icebergs.
Elena was killed in a protest of the drilling of the ancient seabed for minerals. Her journal was incomplete. Her granddaughter Jessamine found in it the seeds of her own journey as an environmentalist on a planet beyond the Solar System.
Prompted Protest by D. Avery
“Jeez, Pal. Tellin’ ya, Shorty’s all over the map with her prompts. Now a protest story? I cain’t write a protest story.”
“Thinkin’ ya protest too much, Kid. Ever dang week yer protestin’, or is thet jist whinin’? This here could be serious ya know. Stop yer whinin’ an’ complainin’ an consider the plight a them’s thet really git the short end a the rope.”
“Reckin I kin try, Pal, but I ain’t got Shorty’s machinations.”
“Do ya mean ‘magination? It’s a difference ‘tween seemin’ and schemin’.”
“Guess as long as she does the write thing it’s all good.”
Snowshoe Princess by D. Avery
*Once upon a time Princess Buckaroo lived on a enchanted snow-globe peninsula.*
“Writin’ after all Kid?”
*One day all the Yooper Scoopers quit shov’lin an’ plowin’. They marched on snowshoes, holdin’ their their shovels up like signs, protestin’ ‘gainst low wages an’ high accumulations a snow.
Princess Buckaroo retreated ta another story.*
“Lit out fer another tale?”
“No, she went upstairs when the first story got snowed over.”
*Snow kep fallin’. The Buckaroo Princess got out on snowshoes as ever’thin’ got buried over.*
*The Buckaroo Princess was at new heights; snowshoed right ta her north star.*