Six Words Say It All

A literary arts organization I follow on Facebook occasionally posts, “In six words or fewer, write a story about…” and people reply with their miniscule stories. Fun thing to share! Here is the prompt from yesterday:

In six words or fewer, write a story about a first time.

  • The butterflies danced in my stomach.
  • “I can do that!” Then did.
  • On stage: terror, then euphoria.
  • Wrote six-worded story, this one.
  • Earth far below, she leapt forward.
  • She felt the secured rope knot.
  • Tentative at first, I surrendered.
  • Extreme trepidation buoys my intricate preparations.
  • Blood ruined my silver sharkskin pants.
  • Downy wings unfold, bravely stretching skyward.
  • Time of death: six forty-five.
  • The students parted seas while walking!
  • Hesitantly approaching the door of hope.
  • Mother called me, I was busy.
  • Screaming. Cut. Painful. Crying. Messy. Laughing.
  • Ouch.

OLWG #9: One Ra’s Family

This week’s Online Writer’s Guild prompts are: Come hither; He had a really hard time shaving today; Ra, the sun god


It was a perfect morning. The sun held back the cowering rain clouds to the tops of the foothills by the sheer force of its brilliant radiance. Ray couldn’t wait to get to work.

He woke his teenage son, Stu. “Come on, buddy. Let’s go. Up, up!” He clapped. “Let’s go!”

The boy groaned and slowly sat up, rubbing his face. Ray called again from the hall as he headed downstairs. “Now Stu!”

“I’m UP!” Stu growled.

Both men skipped showering. Ray made them a quick cheese sandwich for breakfast, and rushed out the back door. On his way to his truck he called for his Border Collie, who came running at full speed from his doghouse. In a single long leap, the dog jumped in the cab and took up his spot in the truck, happily panting, also eager to get to work. Ray’s young daughters came running out of the house, followed by their sullen older brother.

“Can we go with you today? Please? Please?” asked Tiffany. She bounced on the balls of her feet, making the best imploring, sad face she could. “You said we could!”

“Not today, honey.”

“DAD!” yelled Basha, “You promised. Not fair!” She crossed her arms and stamped her foot, also doing her best with the sad face bit.

“Not today. I didn’t say you could come along today. I said sometime it’d be OK, but today is going to be a very long day. It’s the height of the season, kiddos. We are going to be working nonstop, probably past dinner. That’s too long for you guys to come along. You’ll get bored and I can’t leave just to drive you guys home.”

A cacophony of protests broke out from all three children. “Stu can drive us home!” “Dad! I’m going to the Mariner’s game with Harley’s family tonight! You didn’t say I’d be there all day!” “Mom’ll come get us!” “If Mom comes gets them, can I go back with them too?”

“Mom will do nothing of the sort,” Ray’s wife Heather said as she walked up to the truck. The children stopped yammering, knowing further argument was pointless. Heather handed Ray a paper grocery bag through the window, which he placed on the seat next to him. The dog and Stu peered inside.

“Just leftovers, sodas, a couple apples. Also treats for the dog,” Heather said. Ray leaned over to give her a kiss, but she playfully recoiled. “Not with those whiskers! Yikes.”

“Come on, girls,” she continued. “Another time.” The girls fussed and whined about promises made. “Ray, Stu does have plans tonight. Harley’s family can pick him up at the winery,” Heather suggested.

“Tell you what,” Ray said to his daughters as he started the engine. “I’ll bring the falcons home tonight and tomorrow morning we can work with them a little bit before Stu and I have to get back to the winery, OK?”

Tiffany and Basha jumped up and down, clapping and cheering.

“For just a little while, though, OK? Right?” The girls nodded. “It’s my busy time of year and we can’t tire out the birds. But I promise.”


(The Sun God Ra is typically pictured wearing a Falcon headpiece, which reminded me of an article I read some time ago about vintners hiring falconers to rid their vineyards of starlings. Ra had several children, three of whom are Shu, Tefnut and Bast. One of his wives/consorts is Hathor. Hence the play on names—and yes, I took time to look all this up. Suffice it to say this took longer than 25 minutes!)

OLWG #8: Dating Advise (not)

This week’s Online Writer’s Guild prompts are: Selective, Bipolar, Alliteration. The additional instruction is to use all three. Not sure I got ‘alliteration’ right, but here goes:


two guys“You could say, I’m selectively bipolar.”

Bates frowned. “I have no idea what that is, ‘selectively bipolar’”

“Well,” Cahill replied, “it’s a little complicated to explain. Easily. I can explain it, just not easily.”

“Because you’re making it up.”

“No, I am bipolar. When I want to be.”

“Why would anyone choose to be bipolar? I mean, how does anyone select to be bipolar?”

“It has its uses.”

“Like, when?”

“Like, when it’s useful to be, you know, unpredicable. To appear to be unstable.”

“Gets you a lot of dates, this choosing to be bipolar thing?”

“There are many women who are caretakers by nature.”

“And taking care of a man who chooses to be, what did you say, ‘unpredicable’ is attractive?”

“Hey, there’s no accounting.”

“No, there’s no accounting. Seriously? I call that just being a plain ol’ regular asshole.”

Bates shrugged. “You deal with life your way, I deal with it my way.”

Burnt Lasagna

My response to OLWG #5 is an alternative approach this week: The story starts here, on tnkerr’s On Line Writer’s Guild.


burnt lasagnaSusan sat on the couch as Daniel instructed. He wasn’t smiling. He wasn’t looking her in the eye. He sat down next to her and didn’t take her hand. Oh, boy, she thought. Here it comes.

“Susie…I, uh…” Daniel shook his head. Susan waited, which only made Daniel more anxious.

“Yeah, um. I…” Daniel paused, fiddling with his fingers a moment before starting again. “I…think we…that is, I mean, it’s just…oh, hell!” He threw his hands in the air and stood up. Still struggling with what to say, he thought of something he hadn’t before.

“See, the thing is, I…met someone.”

Susan’s eyes widened as she stifled a laugh. Her reaction threw him off. Impulsively, he doubled down.

“I have! I met someone…and, I love her! A lot! And, well, I’m just gonna say it: she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Even my dog likes her. A lot!”

“The dog likes everyone!”

“I’m serious.” Daniel was defiant.

“OK,” Susan said. “Have it your way. You’re a two-timin’ sonofabitch. Ha! Go figure.”

Daniel bristled. “You think I wouldn’t do something like that? Couldn’t do it? I am all man, Susan. I got around, a lot, before I met you! I had my pick! Women love me!”

“Which explains why we met on EHarmony.”

Daniel was in it now. He had to be quick on his feet. “I was in a slump.”

“That’s what Tinder’s for.”

Daniel didn’t know what else to say.

“Anyway,” Susan stood up and gave Daniel a pat on the shoulder. “She’ll leave you after you’ve made her eat whatever that thing is your mother calls ‘lasagna’.”


 

OLWG #3: Nothin’ Special

This week’s Online Writers’ Guild prompts are:

  1. I have to find a way to tell them
  2. Nothin’ special
  3. This was not what she needed right now

Woman-Sitting-at-Desk-Exhausted-Work-in-Front-of-HerAfter the month she had, the last thing Paula needed was her manager laid up with pneumonia.

“Six weeks?!”

“Give or take, but yeah,” the department director said. “This means I’ll need to you to jump in with Sean to get that proposal finished.”

Paula resented everything about her job, but this really put it over the top. Filling in for her manager will mean staying late and starting early. Her husband will have to get the kids ready for school, pick them up after soccer and gymnastics, and make dinner most nights. She dreaded telling him the bad news. She dreaded the silent treatment she was in for.

Maybe sweeten the sour deal with an offering. Like, more sex. Not that he complained, but she knew. More sex. Or, maybe let him get both cars fully detailed, which he had complained about. After all, it’s just money. Speaking of which, Paula thought, since we’re going there, let him sink more of their hard-earned/even harder to save dollars into that bottomless pit project of his. On the weekends she’ll make two breakfasts: pancakes for the kids and Denver omelette and all the bacon he wants, instead of making everyone miserable with her tofu-is-food-too scrambles.

As her mind turned over her options, Paula thought again about how many hours she’d be stuck at the office, never mind the work she’ll probably have to bring home. She was going to have to offer up a whole plate of concessions.

Sean knocked gently on her office door and cautiously opened it. “I can see you’re doing what I’ve been doing.”

“What’s that?”

“Thinking of what all you’re going to have to do to make up for all the time here at work in the next six or so weeks.”

Paula smiled and sighed. “Yeah. I was thinking how much more exhausted I’m going to be after making good on all the bribes I’m going to have to hand out.”

“What’cha thinking you’ll have to do?” Sean asked.

“Ooooh, nothin’ special. Just, become a short order cook on the weekends, ready with a special meal for anyone who demands it. A hooker, whenever and wherever wearing whatever. Watch our bank account dwindle to zero. But, hey, at least the cars will be sparkling and that completely useless project of his will be done so he can move on to the next useless and ridiculously expensive project.”

“I hear ya!” Sean laughed. “I’m going to rock the pink tutu look for the next six weeks. My daughter will be thrilled.”

Paula waved Sean in. “C’mon. Take a seat. Let’s get to it.”


 

OLWG #2, and other such skullduggery

“And other such skullduggery,” Sarah read the blog prompt aloud to herself. “Hm.”

Sarah highlighted the word, right clicked, selected “Search Google for ‘skullduggery'” and clicked again, certain the search engine would only do its best to come up with actual words that might be similar.

She was surprised the following popped up:

Capture

“Huh.”

“Mom?” her 12 year-old son called out from his bedroom. Sarah didn’t reply. She kept typing. 25 minutes on the clock to finish a reply to the prompt. Sunday mornings her only free time to write.

“Mommy? I think I need to go to the emergency room. Mom?”

“Ask dad,” Sarah snapped.

“Dad?”

Sarah heard John walk upstairs from where he’d been watching the news in the kitchen, admonishing their son as he approached the boy’s room, “Hey, what’s up bud? Don’t bug mom, remember? Sunday morning’s her time, we don’t bug her. What’s up?”

Sarah disappeared again into her writing exercise. She didn’t notice John standing in front of her until he interrupted. Her mind a million miles away, she stared at him for what seemed like a full minute before replying.

“What do you mean, too much sugar. How much sugar?” she finally said.

“He says he ate a whole bag.”

“WHAT? Has he been sick? Thrown up?” Sarah rushed out of the living room.

“I don’t think he ate a whole bag, but yeah, he’s pretty sick.” John said as he followed her upstairs.

Sarah sat next to her son, curled up in his bed, and stroked his sweating forehead. He was shivering and shaking. John stood in the doorway with the two other children, who had come to the room to see what would bring their mother out of her Sunday morning seclusion.

“I don’t feel good.”

“Dad said you said you ate a bag of sugar.” The boy nodded his head. “What bag? Out of the kitchen?” The boy wagged his head. “What bag, bud? Show me. Now.” The boy reached over the edge of his bed and pulled out from under it a Trick-or-Treat sack, about the size of a paper grocery bag. A few candies remained.

Both Sarah and John’s eyes widened, followed by simultaneous scoldings. “That bag of candy was full of all your candy and your sister and brother’s from Halloween! We hid that bag! How’d you find it? How long has it been under your bed? Did you eat all that all at once last night?”

The truth finally came out in Dr. Schoonmaker’s office. The boy hadn’t wanted to disturb his mother about breakfast, and his dad wasn’t up yet, so he stayed in his room and ate the candy he found last month in the back of the freezer (when he was looking for the ice cream he knows his mother hides back there). The family was sent home with instructions for the boy to eat a couple of large spoonfuls of sugar-free peanut butter, a high fiber and protein diet for the next couple of days, plenty of water and a long bike ride later that afternoon to get the blood pumping to help flush out his kidneys and liver.

Sarah announced in the car on the way home she would change her “me time” schedule to week nights, after she made sure everyone had a healthy dinner and she’d made a clean sweep of under the beds and any other secret hiding place in the house. And, no more ice cream, either.


I think I wrote this within 60 minutes. I was watching TV at the same time, so a lot of start and stopping. 😉 The On-line Writer’s Guild prompts this week are: Mom, I need to go to the emergency room; How much sugar?; And other such skullduggery. Check it out: https://aooga.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/olwg-2/

What a Nightmare: OLWG #1

She walked in to see me banging away at my keyboard.

“Not you, too!”

I finished my thought and paused to look at my old muse. “Yes, yes. I see you stopped in on TK to harass him. I like the name he gave you. Annie. Annie, Annie, bobanny, fee, fi, fo, fanny. Annie!”

My old muse stepped in front of my table, arms crossed. “You guys don’t learn.”

“Oooh, I don’t know about that.”

I returned my attention to my laptop. Four minutes had passed on the timer. Gotta get back at it.


Untitled-1A cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown. Mortified to realize she was standing in front of her fourth-period social studies class, Mrs. Wilson did her best to hush the students’ tittering.

“Hey Mizz Wilson,” Thomas jeered, “why don’t you write on the blackboard, you know, what you were just saying about the United States government. Cuz, I don’t know how to spell ‘Senate!’ Show me how to spell, ‘Senate!’”

Thomas’ gaggle of goofs let out a loud laugh and gave Thomas high-fives. How desperately Mrs. Wilson wished she could wake up, regardless the pain she would feel if she was able to manage it. The anesthesia had too strong of a hold for her consciousness to break through.

“Come on, Mizz Wilson! Show us! Show us! HAHAHA!” the class kept heckling.

“I never said I’d show you…that’s not what I said…what it said… what was said…” Mrs. Wilson tried explaining; tried getting control, but her body was frozen in place and the words jumbled, tossed and turned around in her head.  Desperate for escape, she wondered if could manage to jump out the window, make a run for it…

The classroom faded. Hushed sounds filled her ears. As Mrs.Wilson came to, she was grateful to open her eyes to a hospital room. Her husband looked up from his phone and smiled.

“There she is! How ya feel?”

“I feel …. like I’m done being a Junior High School teacher.”


The 3 prompts for OWLG #1 are: A cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown; She did her best to hush the classroom; That’s not what it said. 

Always a fun exercise in creativity! Grab the one prompt that resonates and force-fit the other two to work with it. Such a blast!

Can’t do the timed-writing thing unless I do this at lunch. Wrote in 30-ish minutes. Took 15 more (or so) tonight to tweak.

If you haven’t yet, check out the Old-is-new-again Online Writer’s Guild!