I Challenge You To…

It’s part three of my new weekly series where I set you a writing challenge. This week your challenge is to write a humorous story or poem about a ghost. Here’s one I came up with earlier:

Ghostly Woes


I am a ghost and my aim is to scare,

Sending shivers, chilling all those who dare

Enter my deepest and deadliest lair,

Alas, I’m not very good.



As a lad, I couldn’t wait to be dead,

To walk through walls, but I always hit my head,

The world’s worst ghost is what the guidebooks said,

Alas, I’m not very good.



My breath is so pungent it’s stale,

And I have perfected my blood-curdling wail,

But all folk do is laugh so I have failed,

Alas, I’m not very good.



My face isn’t that fearsome, it’s true,

Not even when I shout the loudest boo,

Perhaps a ferocious mask will do,

Alas, I’m not very good.



The story of my death is not the best,

I was pulling on my faithful string vest,

It stuck round my neck, well, you know the rest,

Alas, I’m not very good.



If you’re lonely, come and see me one night,

I promise I won’t give you a fright.



Last week’s challenge was to write about socks. Here are a few of the brilliant stories and poems you came up with:

Jason Moody sent in a funny poem:

Smelling of death,
They’re lobbed in the wash
Press them right down
Go on…get ‘em squashed.

Softener, detergent
Bing it all in
Tip in the contents
And empty your bin

On goes the machine
The door clicks to lock
What’s that on the floor?
One lonely sock.


Steve Walsky sent a link to a super flash fiction piece:


Martin Strike has a terrific sense of humour in his writing. Enjoy:

The Joy of Socks       

My name is Martin and I’m a sockophile. There – I’ve said it. But don’t think I am the only one. Socks are great. Socks are fun. Socks are sexy, socks are a true symbol of Middle-England Man’s identity but these traditional, comforting items of clothing can be unfairly maligned and given a hard press – and whilst even I cannot advocate the ironing of socks, I do make a stand for them here.

It struck me on the sun-kissed beaches of Northern Italy that a true Englishman would not be seen without his socks. Now the Latin-footed locals may have scoffed at my shorts, socks and trainers combo in the searing heat, but I knew that were I to allow my feet to go commando, my ankles would immediately suffer debilitating sunburn, and biting mosquitoes ravenous for white weedy flesh would be drawn in from the whole of Tuscany for the feast – so on they stayed. Frankly, fellow Englishmen, that should be enough to support my commendation for the cotton-cuties, but I can also sock it to you on grounds of style, protection and sex.

That luminary sock wearer, Peter Jones, the lofty pecunious dragon, is no stranger to style. But no comedy socks pronouncing him ‘Best Ever Dad’ for him; Peter’s choice of foot apparel provides a breath-taking polychromatic statement, evocatory of individualism and an underlying mirth – A rainbow of distinction of which surely no one can disapprove?

Of course, I concede that sock faux pas do exist.  For example, bright red Christmas socks with knitted reindeer noses, those which liken the wearer to Homer Simpson, or depict flagons of ale are all as unavoidably naff as the wearing of verruca socks in a non-poolside scenario.  Ah, but then take a moment to consider the late Michael Jackson. He achieved world-wide adoration and approval whilst, some say for, sporting the perfect storm of white socks and ankle-flappers. It is indeed a mad world, but I take comfort that us ‘beach-sockers’ facing ridicule need only burst into the opening bars and popping dance moves of Billie-Jean for calmness to be restored, unless we get duffed-up for looking like Essex boys.

OK. Let’s get it over with right here, right now:  there is nothing wrong whatsoever with the combination of socks and sandals. Apart from the sandals of course. They are truly horrendous.  Let’s face it: no part of the human male anatomy is the least bit pleasing to the eye, but the bumps, calluses, protruding veins, indentations and yellowed untrimmed nails of the average man’s foot is a particularly repugnant sight. So why on earth would anyone NOT advocate the sheathing of such visual monstrosities with dazzling mid-shin white cotton socks should the wearer insist on sporting this second most grotesque of quasi-shoe.

The most grotesque? Well, that honour goes to that most evil connivance of a sick western world: the flip-flop. My first issue is the name. If they will insist on being onomatopoeic, then they should have the decency of reflecting the actual sound made whilst walking, ie flip……..flop. In the process of attempting to walk in these diabolical polyurethane tendonitis tempters there is clearly a gap between the ‘flip’ and ‘flop’ as the wearer’s leading foot describes an arc before landing.  This would not be the case if running at some velocity, but as this is a feet feat not possible whilst wearing these abominations there really ought to be a gap of say 0.75 to 1 second between pronouncing the ‘flip’ and the ‘flop’. I’m sure you will agree this is not pedantic whatsoever – just an insistence on precision. Furthermore the flip…….flop provides no worthwhile protection  from toe-stubbing or dropped beer cans, and with scant immunity from underlying hazards (ever tried walking through burning embers on flip…..flops?). Then there is the nasty spigot that forces it’s way in to displace the big toe from its compatriots, chafing the delicate ‘tween toe skin to the redness of a baboon’s bottom, rubbing away at each successively more tender epidermal layer with the same friction as an arsonist Aborigine rubbing his favourite sticks in a boomerang warehouse. Worse than this, the presence of a spigot denies the sapient beach walker from the prudency of wearing his socks.

In contrast to the male foot being repellent to the human eye, ladies beetle-crushers can be elegant, shapely objects of beauty and appeal, with each prim nail filed and exquisitely lacquered and the soles pumiced to the smoothness of freshly shaved peaches. Yet counter-intuitively, a whole faction of male lust is stoked by the sight of a girly foot, not naked, but swaddled in socks be they ankle, bobbie, over-the-knee stripe ‘Dorises,’ or woollen cable-knit socks peeled back over the wellie-tops at Festivals.  Perhaps it is the element of mystery lying underneath, even if it is inevitably just an elongated mass of vascular tissue, 26 bones and over 2500 sweat glands that perspire in the region of half a litre per day. I’m not so sure the female libido is stirred quite so arduously when approached by a suitable male unsuitably attired in his preferred pre-coital outfit of just socks, whether they be tucked inside or over his wellies.

If this has not convinced you, the following surely will:


– Unlike gloves, socks can be worn on either foot or doubled up for warmth or blister deterrence whilst odd socks can still be worn as a teenage fashion statement.

– A windsock can improve your chances of successfully landing your light aircraft.

– The smell. If socks are said to whiff of cheese then it must follow that cheese pongs of socks. Since cheese is reckoned to be purchased by 98% of UK households (www.ilovecheese.co.uk) this suggests the odour is desirable. A number of well-used socks in the fridge in place of the old Cathedral City can therefore save a small fortune in the annual dairy product budget not to  mention the health benefits of reducing fat and cholesterol intake and reduction in sleep disturbance from distressing dreams.

– You can make sock puppets.


– Socks descend to the ends of your toes within 3 paces of setting off when walking in boots.

– Holes appear after just a few years use exposing the toe or heel to the vagaries of the elements.

– After a further 6 months wearing, the dreadful day will arise when your favourite pair, your old friends, become more hole than sock and will finally be discarded in your absence by your partner/parent/guardian.

– Tights are more useful than socks in a snapped-fanbelt scenario, albeit socks are much more effective at de-misting windscreens or wiping oil from your dip-stick.

– Shari Lewis made the odious ‘Lamb Chop’ puppet from a sock.

– According to a Home & Leisure Accident Surveillance report, over 10,000 of the UK’s citizens were hospitalised with ‘sock related injury’ in 1999. By comparison only 5500 came a cropper at the hands of their trousers. 

Well, like them or not, these cotton foot-cosies are here to stay so I’m starting to wonder why I’m bothering to try and convince you. Since Roman actors covered their feet in ‘soccus’ (which the Brits corrupted into the Olde English ‘socc’ – as in soccer), these garments of delight have spread across the globe.  After the invention of the sewing machine in Sweden in 1859, socks could be produced at a rate 6 times faster than the average Scandinavian fishwife could previously produce, leaving her free to join ABBA or star in sock-based porn films.

Sold? Then I suggest that you move to Datang in Zhejiang Province, China. Here over 8 billion pairs are made each year, that’s 3 in every 10 pairs of socks made worldwide. It enjoyed a production boom in the last 20 years enabling a population explosion from 10,000 in 1980 to 60,000 and with it, achieved city status just 9 years later. Made up of thousands of home workers, producing pair after pair on small dedicated sock machines, this is clearly the place to fill your boots.

There. So as I meandered along the beach in Tuscany, my feet shielded from the scorching sand by my trusty socks, I thanked the world for making me British and gave a wry grin as I knew those very Italians who stared incredulously at my sheathed extremities would be the ones in pain back on firm land, having to pick off all of the nasty sharp grains that had adhered between their toes.

Rule Brittania.



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6 Responses to I Challenge You To…

  1. Pingback: A Freeeeky Night (Flash Fiction) | Simplicity Lane

  2. Steve says:

    I just posted my ghost story Freeeeky Night on Simplicity Lane: https://simplicitylane.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/a-freeeeky-night-flash-fiction/

    Thanks for the challenge!

  3. Viki Allerston says:

    Brilliant! My sock/sandal wearing partner says these are all the things he has wanted to say all these years but lacked the verbal skills to express his knowledge correctly. Recently our friend’s three gorgeous daughtes broke their promise to him that they would take him to a Beach Party when they saw his foot attire. Now he can show them how untrendy THEY are. Also he says the next time I criticise he will sock me on the nose!

  4. Pingback: Solitary… | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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