“Ok, here’s the next question in the quiz,” Alana flipped the page of her issue of Beautyé magazine.
“If you were going out to have ice cream with the hot dude who asked you out at work, what flavor would you get?”
“What a stupid question! How does that tell you who your perfect guy is going to be?” Tammy Jo closed the freezer door and opened her pack of Tutti Frutti ice cream.
“I guess it has something to do with the ice cream flavor you like tasting is supposed to be like the guy flavor you’ll like tasting.” Alana grinned.
“If I’m going to be tasting any guys’ flavors, that will be for private time. Anything else is http://www.overshare.tmi.”
(tee hee. This one made me giggle. I hope you enjoyed it.”
“What a stupid looking doll,” Jerome gripped the doll by her hair and swung her over his head. He danced away from Sarah and held the doll out of her reach.
“She’s not a doll. She’s Zoe, and she’s mine. Give her back.” Sarah’s lower lip trembled, but she clenched her fists and stood her ground.
Jerome threw the doll high overhead. She landed with a crackle and thud behind him. “Oh yeah? What are you going to do about it?”
“Oh no. Now you’ve done it,” Sarah’s whispered as she stared past him.
“She’s not going to do anything about it,” A voice murmured in his ear. “But me? I might.”
“Who, who are you?” Jerome’s stammer ended on a pained shriek.
“Oh, that’s just Zoe,” Sarah grinned. “The real Zoe.”
(This one was fascinating to write. It started as an anti-bullying tale and turned into something much darker as well. I sort of thought about the scene in King’s “Christine,” when Arnie sees her compacted in the junkyard and says, “Show me.” If you know the scene I mean, you’ll know exactly what I’m referencing.
I hope you enjoy it.)
Laura stepped back from the mirror and appraised her right eye. An artful cat’s eye made her appear polished yet with a hint of mystery. With a curt nod, she applied the the same to her left eye.
James entered their shared hotel suite and stopped short.
“Do we have a mission tonight I didn’t know about?”
“No, why?” Laura gazed at his reflection through the mirror as she finished applying her makeup.
“Because you look hot, and you only do that when we’re on the job.”
“Thanks, a lot. So, what? The rest of the time I’m ugly?”
“Not ugly, exactly, but certainly not this.” He waved a hand in her direction.
“It’s not an alias,” she replied. “I’m not going incognito. I’ve got a date.”
“We don’t date. You can’t date.” James asserted.
“I can if I want to, and anyway, what do you care?”
“Good!” She grabbed her purse and left the suite.
He sank to the bed and gazed at the closed door.
“What do I care if she has a date? I don’t care,” he assured himself. “Do I?”
(This one took a bit longer than a minute to write. It feels like it’s a scene from a movie or something, doesn’t it? I feel like there’s an entire backstory to this relationship and the work the characters do that we don’t know about it. Are they spies? Are they running a con? Who are they that they would need aliases?
This one was dialogue-driven for sure. What do you think? Does the dialogue feel real? Could people speak like this and sound real? Or at least real for fiction? I’d love to know your thoughts.)
“Do you have your passport?” He approached Jenna at the Starbuck’s.
“My passport?” She looked up from her book.
“Yes, your passport to love.” He emphasized the last word and sat down in the chair opposite hers. “Because I could take a girl like you on a trip around the world,” his eyes ran the length of her body.
“Seriously, does that ever work?” Jenna asked. “Do any of you think a woman will ever say that she wants to talk to you, much less have sex with you?”
“Um,” he stammered.
“The reason I ask, is that I’m doing a survey.” She removed a notebook from her bag along with her police detective’s badge and placed both on the table. “So, would you like to answer my questions here or at the station?”
(Oh, I had a blast writing this one. Something similar has happened to me a few times, and I’ve responded with what Jenna says. And I’ve been bummed I didn’t have something like a police badge to reinforce my words.
It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? So many of us don’t know how to communicate. And what’s worse is we tend to try and get into other people’s personal space uninvited. It does bring to mind, though, how do we learn how to interact? What do you think? Was Jenna’s reaction appropriate? Was the man’s original action even close to appropriate? What is the justification (other than total social awkwardness and lack of knowledge of propriety and personal space and the right to privacy) for his initial statement?)
“You know what I’ve always believed?” Shannon folded the last towel in the laundry. “I’ve thought that lint and dustballs are their own ever-expanding universes. Hmm,” she picked some lint off the towel and scrutinized it.
“Yeah, right,” Jonathan smiled as he stacked his folded shirts. “And as they roll around and get bigger, that’s just the universe expanding.”
He moved to dryer and emptied the lint chamber.
“So what happens when I remove the dryer lint? Have I just destroyed this universe? Wait!” He brandished the lint ball. “Am I this universe’s God?”
“You could be, but that’s not the thing that creeps me out,” Shannon replied.
“What creeps you out?”
“Well, it’s not so much that there are universes in our dustballs.” She lifted her eyes to the ceiling. “It’s more whether or not our universe is someone else’s lint ball.”
(This one was super fun to write. I’ve personally held the facetious belief that our entire universe might just be the lint ball in someone’s else’s dryer so it was great to explore that in one of these stories. And who knows? We just might be.)
The soldiers lay scattered in various forms of stupor on the stifling hot day. General Thomas of the Twelfth Brigade surveyed them and shook his head in disgust.
“Get up! Onward!! Move it, soldiers!” Thomas yelled at his troops. They remained motionless.
The door to the Mess Hall swung open.
“Tommy, lunchtime,” the General’s mother called. “And it’s too hot out there so bring the dogs in with you.”
(I’m enjoying writing these kinds of stories with kids using their imaginations. It reminds me a little of reading [and loving] when Calvin [Calvin and Hobbes] was Spaceman Spiff.
Again, I didn’t want the reveal to come too quickly. What did you think? Did I keep it hidden long enough or was it obvious from the get-go?
I hope you enjoyed it. See you tomorrow.)
“To what degree are we talking here? Is Stevenson just a little guilty or a lot guilty?” Jonas collapsed at his desk at the law offices of Mackenzie and Jonas.
“You think too much,” Mackenzie pulled a cigar from his jacket pocket, propped his feet up, and prepped his smoke.
“But what if it was premeditated and not an accident at all? How often do knives fall off counters and imbed themselves up in people’s throats?”
“Listen, Murdock’s dead and that means women everywhere will sleep easier. I wouldn’t give a crap if that knife ‘flew into him’ sixteen times, from all directions. That pervert got what he deserved. Hell, I want to go give Stevenson a bottle of Scotch.”
(I think I would like Jonas and Mackenzie. I think they might end up being characters in one of my books. I feel like this is some sort of a screenplay. I can already envision the slightly ramshackle office. Jonas is younger and earnest. Mackenzie is older, wiser, and more grim.
The only challenge in writing this one was the exact nature of the crime. It got me a little confused, but I think I acquitted myself well. [see what I did there? 🙂 ] What do you think? Does the story make sense? Can you envision it as a movie?)
“You’re such a rebel,” Genevieve reclined against the chair in the teacher’s lounge. “I could never do it.”
“You couldn’t do what?” Ruth smiled.
“Stand up to the administration. I’d be too afraid it would all end in my dismissal.”
“And it probably will for me,” Ruth poured herself another cup of stale coffee. “But I didn’t do anything all that rebellious. All I did was to put ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ in my syllabus.”
“But it’s on the prohibited list,” Genevieve’s eyes grew saucer big. “All those books have been deemed too radical. They are afraid the books will give students ideas.”
“Exactly!” Ruth lifted her coffee in a toast. “And what do you think comprises my syllabus for the year?”
(I loved writing this one. I could see the tone and plot from the beginning. Honestly, the hardest part was figuring out which book to choose as the example, and exactly how to refer to the “List,” the syllabus, etc. Those kinds of tricky language edits can affect readers’ perceptions. If you don’t write a conversation the way a reader’s ear expects to hear spoken language, it can make the entire story feel stilted.
How about you? What is a favorite book that you might have used as the example? How might we show the importance of books in this sort of scenario?)
They stopped at the mouth of the cave and stared in awe at Gorgol the Fat. His long red tail tip swished this way and that as he licked one of his curving claws.
“We need to pass by him all casual-like,” Mauricio whispered to the younger ones.
“But he’s gigantic, and look at those claws,” Tyrell’s eyes were huge.
“He is, but he is also old, slow, and mostly blind,” Mauricio replied. He glanced at each one of his recruits in turn. “Are you ready?”
At their hesitant nods, the small party set out.
Gorgol lifted his snout in their direction.
“Retreat, retreat!” Mauricio herded them back to the safety of the cave. “We will have to try again after nightfall. Larkin,” Mauricio pointed to one of the older recruits. “Keep watch.”
“Sir,” Larkin heel-stepped to the mouth of the cave while the rest settled in to wait.
“Sir, something’s happening. He’s moving,” Larkin rushed back a minute later. They ran to the edge and watched Gorgol lumber to standing. He loomed above them.
“Men, this is our chance. Let’s go!” Mauricio cried.
“Come on, Gorgol, dinnertime,” the Great Goddess’ voice boomed above them, and the cat meandered towards his dish while the mice scurried across the room.
(This one took longer than a minute, [I’d say perhaps four]. I wanted to keep the reveal hidden until the last second. I hope I succeeded. I was also trying to see what it would look like to write a children’s story in one of these challenges. What do you think? Did you get the reveal right away or did the cat information surprise you at all? Regardless, I hope you enjoyed it.)
Monica stepped back from her canvas and viewed it with a critical eye.
“I can’t quite get the perspective right on this one,” she shook her head.
“Let me see,” Marcello maneuvered around her in the tight space. He studied the canvas of deep blues, dark purples, and inky black that seemed to shift in front of his eyes. “Actually, I think you’re doing great,” he gazed out the ship’s window at her subject. “After all, it is a wormhole you’re painting.”
(I had such fun writing this one. I knew the “perspective” would be of something unusual as soon as I read the prompt. For an instant, perspective meant someone’s point-of-view in a conversation, and then it shifted straight into the arts [where I like to live anyway]. The challenge of this was to not give away where they were until almost at the end. I hope I succeeded. What do you think?)