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Thread: Write the start of a novel...

  1. #676
    practical experience, FTW Bloopographer's Avatar
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    sinew
    multiply
    Arcadia
    plug
    inconclusive


    Seamus is dead.

    These are the first words she hears. An echo, but far more clear than they were yesterday, when they were spoken, the first words she'd heard. Yesterday, they had jolted her awake, but their meaning was muddled by confusion. Today, the words pin her in place, paralyze her.

    Seamus is dead.
    What?
    He died last night.

    I can move him, if you want.

    Halfway down the stairs, her head had cleared the ceiling; she'd looked to the left and he was there, stretched out on his side with his eyes closed. She'd knelt beside him, sobbing, and stroked his face. He didn't move, he didn't respond; Seamus was dead.

    She'd panicked. I didn't get to say goodbye. I don't want to say goodbye! I want to tell him I love him. I want him to open his eyes, to get up and have breakfast, to get his morning butt scratch, to do the special trick he taught himself, to bark his fool head off, to chase the cats, to have another Best Day Ever!

    That he was laying there, that she could see him and touch him was wrong, it was cruel. Because he was gone. The dog she loved had been replaced by an empty twin. It was like a sick joke.

    He died without me. Did he suffer? I should have been here. He shouldn't have died without me by his side, to comfort him. He shouldn't have died.

    Seamus shouldn't have died. For the last couple of years, she'd been preparing for the death of his brother, Monkey, who was a year older and fading. Monkey had always been sickly—prone to ear infections and rashes, he spent a lot of time at the vet's. He'd had an allergic reaction to a rabies vaccine. He'd needed surgery after swallowing a rock. He'd developed severe arthritis and needed help getting up. He had trouble walking. He was incontinent. And he was deaf.

    This summer, he'd started behaving strangely, too, wandering into the tall grass bordering the yard to lay down. When she searched him out, he'd move to another spot. As if he wanted to be left alone. As if he wanted to die. She'd thought about euthanasia, but decided against it unless he was in distress. She couldn't bring herself to make an appointment for his death, let alone carry him to it—not while he still had tail wags and face licks in him.

    Seamus, on the other hand, had always been healthy and exuberant. An inelegant, big-mouthed goofball who threw himself around, at twelve years old, he still acted like a puppy. She was fond of saying, "They say labs don't settle down until the age of five. We're still waiting."

    So Monkey's illnesses had commanded most of her attention while Seamus had aged on the sidelines, discreetly, his approach to death invisible.

    It felt like a mistake.

    Monkey resented being cared for. Independent and prone to sulking, he'd always done what he pleased. Indifferent to Seamus, he rarely played with him. Then again, Monkey knew the proper names of all their toys while Seamus knew the word "toy". Finicky, Monkey weaselled Seamus out of the best sleeping spots. And Seamus complied willingly. He had nothing but respect and adoration for his older brother, the brother who tolerated him. They were complete opposites.

    Seamus had been her faithful sidekick, following her everywhere she went. It was Seamus whose excited barks had greeted her each morning, and Seamus whose tail wagged just because she'd looked at him and smiled. It was Seamus who had stood over her, growling, when a nightmare caused her to whimper in her sleep. And it was Seamus who had died, in the middle of the night, without her, his best friend.

    It was a mistake.

    Seamus is dead.

    The day she'd heard those words spoken was a day without time. The sun had risen, moved across the sky and set, but it took forever, as if time had died, too. As if time had been replaced by pain.

    Forever is time enough to realize many things. Like no matter how long the day of pain lasts, there will be worse to come. Forever is a day of death, a day dedicated to Seamus, to burying him, to grieving, a day when life is on pause. What follows will be days of living without him. Days punctuated by void, days of navigating a ruined home, a home missing its happiest member but filled with signs of his recent presence. The area rug at the foot of the stairs will forevermore be straight, greeting her each morning with a slap in the face. The muddy streaks his paws had left on the patio door will remain. Until the next rainfall washes them away.

    She'd had time to think of everything.

    I should mark this day on the calendar. July 30th, 2017.
    How can you think such a morbid thought?

    But the urge was strong.

    Why?
    Because I'll forget. If I don't mark it, years from now I'll be left not knowing when he died—which day, which month, which year.
    So what? Why does it matter?
    Because Seamus mattered.

    At the end of the long day, with freshly formed and ruptured blisters on both her hands and heart, she'd stood at the window, looking out into the dark sky when another realization had struck her.

    Seamus will be spending the night in the backyard. Alone. Apart from the family, like an outcast.

    Tears had filled her eyes.

    Seamus is dead.

    Sinew, multiply, Arcadia, plug, inconclusive—these words don't matter.

    Seamus is dead.

    These are the only words she hears, an echo, and she lays in bed, frozen, keenly aware that when she pulls the bedsheets back, she'll be greeted by the loudest silence she's ever known.


    decisive
    enquiry
    folk
    happened
    inside
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  2. #677
    Go down road, go pub. Mary Mitchell's Avatar
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    I can't do this right now. I'm too verklempt.
    It's a simple fact of life that not everyone will be your target audience.

  3. #678
    Sailing in a sea of mushroom... Nerdilydone's Avatar
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    decisive
    enquiry
    folk
    happened
    inside

    Decisive inquiry happened inside
    the folk music store. Edward stared through the window, absentmindedly licking his ice cream cone as he watched his father interrogate his red-faced mother. It was something about "man," "Blake Avenue," and "how could you?" Edward knew that his parents' marriage was falling apart. He'd watched it slowly unravel over time, and now Dad had had enough, apparently. Mom couldn't deny the truth, whatever that happened to be.

    Edward continued to lick the ice cream. He liked chocolate, and it had gummi bears on it. He focused on the flavor of each bear he caught on his tongue. This one was orange, and the orange flavor trickled against Edward's tongue like a meditative chant, blocking out all but the loudest of his parent's words.

    Campground
    Iceland
    porch
    winter
    Mama

  4. #679
    practical experience, FTW pschmehl's Avatar
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    Campground
    Iceland
    porch
    winter
    Mama

    Harry sat on his front porch sipping his morning coffee. Mist rose from the ground in twisting tendrils, announcing the arrival of the sun still hidden behind the verdant forest surrounding his cabin. "Mama," he called, "come out here and sit with me."

    The screen door creaked as she opened it, slowly announcing her presence.

    He turned to look at her, patted the chair beside him, and said, "Sit down. It's our last day before I leave for Iceland. It might be chilly here, but it's winter there, and I'm gonna miss sitting here with you enjoying coffee and the morning sun."

    "Are you sure you have to go? Have you got everything you need?"

    "Mama, we've been over this a thousand times. I'm all packed and ready to go. The campground there is a semi-permanent setup. I'm one of four archeologists on the dig."

    "But you'll be gone so long. Four months seems like forever."

    "Yeah, but it's not like it's the first time. I've made arrangements with the Bradleys to check up on you. You'll be fine. Let's enjoy the morning. I'll be back home before you know it."

    Secretly, he worried about her constantly. He moved back home after Papa died, and his mom had deteriorated over the years until she depended on him daily. He knew the Bradleys would take good care of her, but he still worried. What if she tried to cook and set the house on fire? Could he ever forgive himself? He shook off the thoughts. This was his work, and he couldn't give it up. He wasn't going to live off his mama's pension. Besides, it was only four months.

    suspicious
    friendly
    compost
    variegated
    sumptuous
    Retired
    Writing Christian fiction for those who are searching
    http://www.paullawrencebooks.com
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    My first book is out - Prayers Were No Help and on Amazon.

  5. #680
    Go down road, go pub. Mary Mitchell's Avatar
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    suspicious
    friendly
    compost
    variegated
    sumptuous

    The vine growing from the compost pile was like nothing Hank had seen before. It had sprung up overnight and was already blooming with large, trumpet-like flowers in sumptuous shades of variegated pinks and fuchsias. As he studied it, he swore he could see it growing. The tendrils bearing heart-shaped leaves slowly waved their ends toward him, seeming almost friendly, and he couldn't help laughing.

    He could see it growing, the delicate stems extending, the flowers approaching, and he tried to shake off the impression they were sniffing him. The tendrils coiled and uncoiled, like miniature fists, and Hank's happy wonder was replaced by apprehension. The plant--its foreignness--now seemed suspicious. What was this thing? What was it doing here?

    The answer to the second question came suddenly. The vine shot toward him, wrapping shoots around his neck, binding his arms against his torso. He struggled to free himself, but the coils were tightening, strangling him. He tried to scream, but a huge bell-shaped bloom dropped over his head like a hood on a condemned man. As the flower closed over him and began to suck, his cry was smothered in a cloud of pollen.

    potential
    querulous
    blatant
    axe
    beloved
    It's a simple fact of life that not everyone will be your target audience.

  6. #681
    Benefactor Member Nymtoc's Avatar
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    potential
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    The potential was staring him the face. She caught his eye in the Burger King last night and he felt a “zonk,” the same way he felt a “zonk” when he first saw Jaquinta Mablib, Tillison Dozhell, Shani Shanitari, Britt O’ Beeswax, and so many others. He wasn’t known as the King of Agents for nothing.

    He never used a blatant approach. He spoke to her in a slightly seductive yet humorous way. After learning her name was Olga Rorshinivalovaya, he told her he could arrange a screen test for a blockbuster movie in which she would play an axe murderer in a story that eliminated the world’s most evil people as determined by her beloved, a singing angel played by Blast Charger, one of the hottest young leading men in Hollywood.

    The one thing that put him off, at least initially, was her querulous attitude. Didn’t she want to be a star? Then why did she complain about every line in the script and whine about every tiny costume change?

    shambles
    ormolu
    stagger
    serendipity
    hedgehog
    Last edited by Nymtoc; 08-10-2017 at 12:04 PM.


    "Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens." -- William Beveridge

  7. #682
    practical experience, FTW Bloopographer's Avatar
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    shambles
    ormolu
    stagger
    serendipity
    hedgehog


    He was such a tool.

    He was her tool. Everything he had, everything he did, everything he thought: her design. In his world, even serendipity was an ormolu facade reflecting her will.

    So easy, too. No arguments, no cajoling, only perfect, mindless obedience. He would do anything she wanted. Literally. Anything.

    And she used him well. She'd set him up with a great life. Career, esteem, wealth, sex, all that good stuff. He was a happy man because of her. She'd gifted him his happiness. But only to rip it away. All of it.

    Just so he'll suffer.

    Such a f-ing tool.

    She could kill him. Anytime she liked. She won't, though. Instead, she'll kill someone he loves. And then some.

    But she won't break him. Methodically, she'll stagger his losses amid visions of hope—and maybe a hedgehog, for comic relief—until his life is reduced to shambles.

    No matter what happens, he'll get over it. In the end.

    Until next time, that is. There will be a next time. She's like a nightmare he can't shake. A nightmare he can't source. She is: a serial writer.


    brainstorm
    difficulty
    fuse
    privately
    myth
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  8. #683
    Go down road, go pub. Mary Mitchell's Avatar
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    brainstorm
    difficulty
    fuse
    privately
    myth

    Frank had no problems with mornings. He therefore entertained the logical fallacy that the inability to be a "morning person" was a myth. People who had difficulty getting up early were simply avoiding life. Or, in his wife's case he privately suspected, avoiding him. It was 8:00 am on Saturday, and Frank was already on his second cup of coffee, waiting for Jennifer to wake up so they could brainstorm the activity schedule for their upcoming vacation. He was going to have to go downstairs and light her fuse.

    Downstairs, because she had been watching TV in the family room when he'd gone to bed and, since she had never shown up in the bedroom, she must have fallen asleep on the couch at some stupid hour. He shouted down the stairs, but got no answer. He stomped down three steps until he could see into the room. There was no one there.

    prancing
    forfeited
    brag
    left
    zealous
    It's a simple fact of life that not everyone will be your target audience.

  9. #684
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    prancing
    forfeited
    brag
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    zealous


    Jill sauntered into the library, found an empty seat at one of the long tables, and settled into it. 6:41. It would be at least half an hour before her study buddy came prancing in, so she opened her laptop to waste some time on her favourite discussion forum.

    The vaguely titled threads that, as usual, filled the front page—

    Can someone explain to me how they forfeited?
    Don't mean to brag, but...
    GF left me
    You zealous bro?

    —were a large part of the site's charm. One never knew what sort of drama was taking place inside them and Jill enjoyed the challenge of searching out the good stuff. Don't mean to brag, but... did not fall into that category, Jill discovered when she opened the thread and read the OP:

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:26 PM
    ...mine's bigger than yours.

    Well, I guess so, Jill thought. I haven't got one. Not curious enough to watch the conversation evolve and learn who had the very biggest, she went back to the front page, where a new thread caught her eye:

    Cute girl just sat down across from me. What do I do?

    Being a cute girl who had just sat down, Jill's interest was, naturally, aroused. She clicked the link.

    Jack
    08/27/2017 6:43 PM
    Help me out, guys.

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:44 PM
    What's she wearing?

    Jack
    08/27/2017 6:45 PM
    Clothes. wtf

    What the #@!& indeed. Jill's stomach took a bit of a tumble as she realized she, too, was wearing clothes. It had to be a coincidence. Still, she lifted her eyes from the screen and scanned the room. Directly across from her, at the next table, a dark-haired man sat typing on a computer. He definitely looks like a Jack, Jill decided. And he was gorgeous. Oh, please be him.

    As she ogled Hopefully Jack, he suddenly looked up. At her. Jill smiled. Then frowned, as Hopefully Jack went back to his computer without giving her so much as an acknowledgement. Jill refreshed her screen and read the new posts:

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:45 PM
    Kitten cute or puppy cute?

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:46 PM
    Buy her a drink.

    Jack
    08/27/2017 6:46 PM
    Damn cute.

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:46 PM
    Leave her alone.

    Jack
    08/27/2017 6:47 PM
    No alcohol.

    No alcohol... at a library. Jill beamed. Certain, now, Hopefully Jack was probably Jack, she typed up a post and submitted it, refreshing the page.

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:48 PM
    Whatever you do, don't talk to her. Just keep posting until she's gone.

    Jack
    08/27/2017 6:48 PM
    I caught her checking me out.

    Guest
    08/27/2017 6:49 PM
    pic?

    Cute Girl
    08/27/2017 6:49 PM
    My advice: When she smiles at you, smile back. Otherwise, she may very well turn her attention to, say, the guy in the green t-shirt sitting next to her.

    Ha! Much pleased with her brilliant strategy, Jill leaned toward the guy in the green t-shirt sitting next to her. "Excuse me," she said. "Do you mind if I talk to you for a second?"

    "Not at all," he replied.

    "Not if you were the last man on earth!" Jill cried out, her eyes locked on Probably Jack, who raised his head to meet her gaze, and, judging by the quizzical expression that appeared on his face when she gave him a flirty wink, was obviously Jack. She typed another post as the guy in the green t-shirt moved to a different seat.


    whoever
    resembled
    ceiling
    televise
    husky
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  10. #685
    Go down road, go pub. Mary Mitchell's Avatar
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    whoever
    resembled
    ceiling
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    husky

    Elani Burns was fully aware that she had made it to the News at Noon desk courtesy of her husky voice and the handy fact that she physically resembled the late great Lauren Bacall. She had been staring at that Bacall-like reflection in the under side of the proverbial glass ceiling for five years, now. But what she was about to televise would shatter that ceiling along with the political careers of whoever had been dumb enough to align themselves on the wrong side of this story. She'd have to remember to brush the shards off the six o'clock co-anchor's chair before she sat down in it.

    catastrophic
    terminated
    belly
    gold
    fragrance
    It's a simple fact of life that not everyone will be your target audience.

  11. #686
    Benefactor Member Nymtoc's Avatar
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    catastrophic
    terminated
    belly
    gold
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    Marcia knew what she was doing. It wasn’t something her parents would approve of—or even tolerate. But a lot of young women were doing this now, and she had nothing to be ashamed of. Terence Von Gruber, with his bulging belly and gold rings and all the rest of it, was not an ideal playmate, but he wasn’t meant to be.

    To put it plainly, she needed money to finish her degree in sociology, so she had become a “sugar baby.” There was nothing necessarily catastrophic in that. Women have used whatever they could to get ahead since time began. When she had earned enough, that phase of her life would be over—finished, cleanly terminated.

    But tonight, as she stepped into the limo that Terence had sent for her, she detected the strange fragrance she had sensed the first time they met. She didn’t know if it was his cologne or after-shave or something else, but it was very strong and slightly sickening. Well, she wouldn’t have to smell that forever, either, would she?

    She was going to give the whole thing one more month.

    revolve
    stamina
    orchid
    liberate
    appalling


    "Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens." -- William Beveridge

  12. #687
    practical experience, FTW pschmehl's Avatar
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    revolve
    stamina
    orchid
    liberate
    appalling

    Lisa plucked an orchid from the garden, lifted it and inhaled deeply. Today would be different. If she could keep up her stamina, the run would liberate her from the yoke of overweight. Finishing a 5K would be an achievement, yes, but more than that, it would free her from the appalling thoughts that had weighed her down. For too long, she had allowed her life to revolve around the events of the past. Today marked the beginning of the new Lisa.

    She began walking, then quickened her pace to a jog. The crisp air invigorated her, spurring her on. The sun warmed her face almost as much as her smile. Victory is just around the corner, she thought. I will win, because I have the will to win, the strength to endure, and the power to overcome. She increased her pace, triumph streaming through her as she approached the finish line. Then a thought. Why not keep going? You've come this far. Prove you're a champion. She burst into a dead run, every breath rejoicing. Finally, she was free.

    tank
    topper
    barrel
    robust
    inward
    Retired
    Writing Christian fiction for those who are searching
    http://www.paullawrencebooks.com
    @paullawrencebooks Facebook page
    My first book is out - Prayers Were No Help and on Amazon.

  13. #688
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    tank
    topper
    barrel
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    Jack was dumbstruck. The man in whose office he stood had finished speaking more than twenty seconds ago and, in the process of attempting to make sense of what it had heard in order to formulate an appropriate reply while simultaneously struggling to smother the stubbornly robust emotions that had erupted—and been identified as the type which must, under the circumstances, remain of the inward variety—as well as coax the multitude of rebellious nerves to direct only such behaviour as would allow for maximum presentability, Jack's mind had tanked. And so he gaped obtrusively while its contents were flushed, reloaded and barrelled into place.

    In the meantime, his appraisal, being overdue, was called for. "A right topper, wouldn't you say?"

    "I, uh, have you—do you think maybe you've been watching too many movies?—Sir?"


    corner
    burdensome
    deliberately
    splash
    emulate
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  14. #689
    Go down road, go pub. Mary Mitchell's Avatar
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    corner
    burdensome
    deliberately
    splash
    emulate

    Jules hurled a large splash of blood red at the center of the canvas, admiring the splay of fine dots that arced playfully toward the northeast corner of the frame.

    The burdensome critic had called his work derivative. Claimed it was obvious he was trying to emulate Pollock.

    Jules dipped his brush again; drizzled translucent bile yellow onto a blank area to the left. He resorted to his hands, smearing shit brown deliberately across the lower right of his developing creation.

    He scooped a clump of emerald from his "palette". Luckily, the critic's last meal had consisted of a salad heavy with Romaine, now decaying into a nicely workable clot of green. Regrettably, the only color the critic's fatal abdominal slash seemed reluctant to provide was blue.

    charisma
    tented
    bucolic
    spent
    service
    It's a simple fact of life that not everyone will be your target audience.

  15. #690
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    charisma
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    A novice writer sits at her computer, thinking hard. Armed with the task of keeping her reader awake, she begins to scream. Then stops. Then the whimpering starts. That goes on for a while and then it, too, stops. Hours pass. Months. Eventually, a neighbour finds her body, in a state of considerable yuck, heaped upon the desk alongside a computer screen displaying a document which reads:

    Jack tented his fingers and gazed contemplatively at the bucolic scene.
    Jack had all kinds of charisma, Jill observed.
    Having spent the last year in his service, Jill had discovered something about Jack: d9-8bujwrihm25j0 j0bejrbWH9=894HJGON HHs0hke5ph,a9035qgmla;jm -24jj
    DKJN-9JOTMN POGJ.

    The mouldering woman is scraped off the desk and the computer is sold to a novice writer, who, after cleaning the gunk out of the keyboard, gets right down to business.


    early
    imperfection
    cured
    mannequin
    sunburn
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  16. #691
    Go down road, go pub. Mary Mitchell's Avatar
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    early
    imperfection
    cured
    mannequin
    sunburn

    Henry watched Monique go through her early morning ritual, covering every imperfection, real (which were few) and imaginary (which were infinite) with a layer of makeup that should have rendered her face immobile. Given the amount of anti-aging ingredients in the products, her skin was probably cured. And the SPF factor was outrageous. He didn't think a mannequin could sunburn, but he valued his own, albeit flawed, skin enough not to say so.

    karom
    helix
    federal
    grant
    malicious
    It's a simple fact of life that not everyone will be your target audience.

  17. #692
    Benefactor Member Nymtoc's Avatar
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    karom
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    “So what if I win ninety-nine percent of the time,? Garth said. “It’s not a Federal crime.”

    “You cheat.”

    “The fuck I do!”

    “You’re a cheating, malicious sonofabitch, Garth, and you know it. Your cue ball didn’t carom off the five. You flicked it with your stick.”

    “Say that again!” Garth formed a fist.

    Grant me that you’ve cheated your way through practically everything in life—You cheated at marbles when we were kids. I took math tests for you in college. I wrote your final term paper, didn’t I? You’ve always been a fraud.”

    Garth threw the first punch. The fight went on till the manager came over and stopped it and threw them both onto the street. It was the last time they played pool at the South Street Double Helix Burgers ‘n Billiards.

    tingle
    definitive
    scatterbrain
    fungus
    Mesopotamia
    Last edited by Nymtoc; 10-03-2017 at 01:18 AM.


    "Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens." -- William Beveridge

  18. #693
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    tingle
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    Jack looked up as his doctor, Jill, M.D., entered the examination room, decked out in some kind of protective outfit and holding a strange, blinking gizmo. "Now, you may feel a slight tingle," she said, pointing the thing at Jack.

    "Hey, hey," Jack said, raising his arms to shield himself. "What...is...?" Not ten minutes earlier, Jill had disappeared without a word after inspecting a patch of ? on his leg. Was it contagious? Was it deadly? Was it plague?

    "Oops. Beg pardon, Jack. Such a scatterbrain." Jill lowered the device. "So, I had a peek at The Definitive Collection of All Known Everything—(a wonderful tome, all pictures)—and it turns out: you've got fungus."

    "Fungus?"

    "Yes. A very rare fungus, the cure for which can only be found in one location: ancient Mesopotamia."

    "Mesopotamia..."

    "Ancient Mesopotamia."

    "Uh huh."

    "Right. So, after consulting with the girl at the desk, I've decided to send you there."

    "To ancient Mesopotamia?"

    "Correct. I've heard it's lovely. And the ancient Mesopotamian doctors will fix you right up."

    "And then...?"

    Jill shrugged. "Live, love, laugh. You have a wife?"

    "Ye-es."

    "I'll send her along."


    deign
    gluttonous
    guide
    lyrics
    mahogony
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  19. #694
    practical experience, FTW Bloopographer's Avatar
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    Okay, admittedly, I selected some [] words. Worse, one of them wasn't even spelled correctly! As punishment, I shall now play with myself. (Self-flagellation-like.)


    deign
    gluttonous
    guide
    lyrics
    mahogony mahogany

    (This is so embarrassing.)

    --

    Jill must have been mistaken. She couldn't have heard what she thought she'd just heard. Impossible! She grabbed the stereo remote and pressed the BACK button to replay the song.

    The lyrics were difficult to make out, but Jill, listening carefully, could definitely hear what she thought she'd heard: ... deign to something something ... a gluttonous something mahogany something ... something guide something something ...

    She gasped. Not because the lyrics were #%@&! but because the #%@&! lyrics happened to be the exact lyrics she herself had rejected months earlier. After writing them. Herself. Months earlier.

    Except she hadn't actually written them. Down, that is. She'd merely run them through her mind. Like a million times.

    Now, the #%@&! lyrics she'd thought, she heard—in a song off the latest album put out by Jack Somebody, which had been released the day before. I—I can't believe it! Jill's mind sputtered. This is crazy! I— I— Man, I had something there!


    confident
    deadline
    approved
    earn
    frost
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  20. #695
    Benefactor Member Nymtoc's Avatar
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    confident
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    Meeting a deadline was a basic requirement for being a reporter, but—six weeks out of college—Morris felt his lack of experience keenly. If he had majored in something practical, instead of Greek Philosophy, he might be more confident in pursuing newspaper work. But he had to earn the respect of Ratscheff, the city editor, who approved--or disapproved--every story the staff turned in. And from his first day, he sensed that Ratscheff didn’t like him. Just walking up to the man’s desk made him feel as though a frost were descending upon the city room.

    bull
    chasm
    millipede
    tentatively
    brackish


    "Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens." -- William Beveridge

  21. #696
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    bull
    chasm
    millipede
    tentatively
    brackish


    The bull and the millipede faced off in the brackish air. The sea crashed onto the beach nearby as they stared each other down. The chasm in strength and power between the two creatures was vast and yet the millipede persisted.

    One of the millipede's front 32 legs raised and seemed to point at the bull in challenge as if to say, 'You're mine, bull, I'm taking you down this day.' Tentatively the bull dipped it's head in reply, still wondering if this was really happening.

    But it was, and the millipede reared and charged...

    ---

    Hovermobile
    Sultan
    Plop
    Voluble
    Enthusiast
    Last edited by b1_; 10-14-2017 at 02:16 PM. Reason: spelling
    '...fashion everything
    From nothing everyday, and teach
    The morning stars to sing'
    - William Butler Yeats

  22. #697
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    hovermobile
    sultan
    plop
    voluble
    enthusiast


    Jill sat in the cafeteria, nibbling at her lunch. Halfway through her first day as a psychotherapist, she'd had six sessions and each had been a failure. Which was all the more disappointing when she considered the fact that her job consisted of merely pushing a couple of buttons—RECORD, at the beginning of the session, and STOP, at the end—while the What I Actually Meant When I Said program automatically analysed the patient's dialogue and provided a diagnosis. It should have been easy. And yet...

    As she sulked, Jack, a fellow psychotherapist, joined her. "Well, I don't have to scan your picture into the computer to know you're feeling bummed. Rough morning?"

    "Indeed." Jill sighed. "I totally messed up six patients."

    "Oh?" said Jack, chuckling. "Couldn't get them to talk?"

    "No, they were plenty voluble. But... I don't know. Maybe I pressed the RECORD button too hard."

    "It's possible. I've done that before. The computer starts recording multiple sessions on the same file and concludes the person is possessed by one or more demons. Did you happen to see any demons today?"

    "No, no demons. But, according to WIAMWIS, one patient's greatest desire is to cross the Atlantic on a hovermobile. Another secretly fantasizes about tango-dancing with an oil painting of a walrus dressed as a Sultan. Another's biggest fear is 'plop.' And none of them appeared to be insane in the slightest. I must have done something wrong."

    Jack shrugged. "I just finished with a woman who's a cold water enthusiast. You'd never know it to look at her, though. Always dry as a bone with nary a bit of gooseflesh."

    "Really? So, these sorts of diagnoses are common?"

    "Absolutely. After psychoanalysing for ten-plus years, I've yet to meet with a sane patient. Deep down, see, everyone is completely, incurably mad."

    "Including us?"

    "Yep. Try running the program on yourself. In my last session, I found out my biggest regret in life was swallowing a piece of candy without chewing it, at the age of eight."

    "Yikes. Is that a keeps-you-up-at-night kind of regret or a now-and-again-pining-for-what-might-have-been?"

    "Actually, I don't remember eating any candy as a child. Blocked it right out. But, thanks to WIAMWIS, I'm on the road to recovery." With that, Jack picked up a jujube from his lunch tray and popped it into his mouth.


    nondescript
    backward
    plate
    gather
    crescent
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

  23. #698
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    --

    nondescript
    backward
    plate
    gather
    crescent


    "So this army I'm fighting, the mage just cast this Bless spell. It increases attack or something for all Life units. But I'm Life. So she Blessed me, too."

    "Was that a knock?"

    "Yeah." Jill went back to the virtual battle as her husband, Jack, got up to answer the door of their rural home.

    "It's the police," he called from the kitchen before exiting to the foyer.

    Jill paused the game and leaned back in her chair to look into the kitchen. Sure enough, she could see the blue-white lights flashing through the window. It was 9:30 pm. Well after dark. A bear sighting, perhaps. A fire. A break-in. Some nondescript whatever brought them here.

    After a minute or so, Jack returned with two uniformed officers in tow. She joined them in the kitchen. "They received a 911 call," her husband explained, "from our house."

    "From here?" Jill asked, stupidly. "How?"

    "It happens," one of the officers responded, all nonchalance. Obviously, Jill gathered, Jack had informed them at the door that only he and his wife were in the home and neither of them had dialled 911, but the officers couldn't simply take his word for it—had it turned out the wife of the man they spoke with had attempted to call for help before her husband ripped the phone from her hand, smashed a plate over her head, lied to the police when they showed up, and then murdered the crap out of her, well, the officers would catch hell.

    "But how can a call be made from our number?" she pressed, giving a backward glance at the phone hanging on the kitchen wall, as if inviting them to bear witness to the fact of its inanimateness.

    The second officer stopped her short. "You'll have to ask your phone service provider," he said with a practiced tone of finality.

    Jill studied him. As she stood in her kitchen—her brightly lit, comfortable kitchen, her turf—facing the two men in head to toe black, both coldly cordial, with all authority, bulked up in their gear, literally filling the room with their presence, she... almost moaned. This is so hot.

    The first officer, pen and notepad in hand, asked her name. "Jill." She watched his hands intently as they scripted the letters of her name. J-i-l-l. It thrilled her.

    "What's your date of birth?"

    "September 17, 1979," she recited. Heaven help me, I'll tell you anything.

    "Phone number?"

    Reach out and touch me.

    "Kids?"

    I want to have your baby.

    "Okay." The officer closed his notepad. "Mind if we take a look around?"

    Jill's mouth formed a devilish crescent. Take me. "Not at all," she replied, and followed him out of the room, leaving her husband with the second officer. He could watch the video later.


    grandstand
    naturally
    immediate
    reduction
    terabyte
    "It doesn't matter why​ they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?" —Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life

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