View Full Version : Write the start of a novel...

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10-05-2007, 04:58 AM
But include the 5 following words:

loveas in:

Rainbow was more than just a cat. He was like a baby to me. No chocolate-covered apple-cheeked infant could be ever have seemed so beautiful to me as that bedraggled little kitten that I first fell in love with back in 1991 when...

Ok your go! :D


10-05-2007, 05:29 AM
No one had ever survived a night on Silver mountain. Legend had it that the bird people had placed a terrible curse on the very rocks that once held their nests. Kiss had never put much stock in the old stories, though she had in her time found some very odd skelletal remains when cutting the forest for trails, searching for whatever herb or fruit old Greenie, the medicine maker, wanted.


10-05-2007, 05:42 AM
George saw stars at the first whiff of fish emanating from Rose's jungle of hair. All thoughts of a night of passion ceased.


10-05-2007, 09:26 AM
Vardor ran to the teleporter console, his hand reaching for the intergalactic communicator. But it was off the hook. In the primary viewer he could see a billow of space particles, and some were big--too big for safety. Worse, the ship was being slowed by the giant gamma barnacle that had attached itself to the craft in Andromeda. He felt a chill run through his pituitary gland. If a robot alligator from Targus 7 should hit the ship now, it would be cosmic curtains for him and the entire crew.


10-05-2007, 09:59 AM
Lars dragged the blood-sodden mop carelessly behind him. The assignment had been transformative. He would no longer live in Finland, in fact, he would leave the north altogether. Maybe Italy, where a guy could get a nice plate of spaghetti, where all the woman were like celluloid versions of the Madonna. Yeah, Italy.


10-05-2007, 02:50 PM
Jessica turned him over and looked at his flabby stomach in disgust. Last night his body had seemed so strong and toned. A smell that reminded her of camphor emanated from under his greasy armpits. Jessica covered her mouth and felt like she was about to vomit. She positioned the pillow over his bearded face and pressed down with all her might, concentrating on the dim whirr of a hovercraft propeller until the bedroom was bathed in silence.


10-05-2007, 02:55 PM
Each morning when I wake up, I focus all my energy on thoughts of you. Oh how I fantasise about how I will succumb to your leafy sensuality and give you some tail.


10-05-2007, 04:47 PM
The ink on his divorce papers was not yet dry, when Silky the hog put the moves on a young innocent sow and tried to lick her bacon. When it was discovered what the swine had done, the pig police were called to test the legality of his immoral act.


10-05-2007, 05:05 PM
"I'm sincere, officer. I'd just eaten eggplant parmigiano at the Neptune diner when my bowels began to churn. I had not choice but to evacuate in my shoe."


10-06-2007, 04:47 AM
The vigilante father sipped his coffee and watched as the pederast fell onto the floor in the midst of a volcanic seizure.
"Must have been some bad venison" he said flatly and turned up the radio to cover the sounds of death.


10-06-2007, 06:43 PM
As the group approached the baby giraffe, the zoo supervisor looked around at all the trainees to make sure each one was paying attention. "Now, at this stage of a giraffe's potty training, it is important to measure the right amount of sand to place into his litter box, or else the giraffe will refuse to do his business and you will have to diaper him instead."


10-06-2007, 10:27 PM
"No more white-collar jobs for me!" Brick shouted, throwing his PC out the window. "I've become as shriveled as a prune, and if I don't get out of this office soon I'll become both mentally and physically impotent!"

The next day he went over to borrow his neighbor's 18-wheeler, and before you could say "truck driver's license" he was a legitimate king of the road.


10-16-2007, 04:53 AM
He just needed to slink past the guard to get into the museum and steal the legendary golden daffodil painting. Working quickly he took out a razor and cut the picture from it's frame. Rolling it up and secreting it under his jacket he tiptoed to the window. His anxiety was exacerbated when he threw his rope ladder out of the window and realised, too late, that he had forgotten to secure the other end of it to anything! How dumb could he be!


10-16-2007, 07:09 AM

Silver mountain hold the secrets of the past and future. Kurt could never forget that or the black bird who haunts his porch each evening. It is not a place to raise a family or have a wife and he feels alone. He cannot remember the last time he had a kiss, or a hug. Only the mountain remembers.

10-16-2007, 07:53 AM
ooops I goofed.

“Get serious! Shut off those foolish cartoons.”
“ But mom, I love this show.”
“How you find that fox character so fascinating is beyond my scope of understanding. Go outside and ride your bike. It’s good exercise.”
I hate riding my bike, it’s old ,faded red and trimmed with streaks of rust. I put a new bike on my Christmas list, but all “Santa” left me was a notebook. The salt from tears sting my face as I ride my bike to the waterfall, my very own secret garden.


10-24-2007, 06:52 AM
The one called Nurse was albino. He had the same dead eyes as a shark--and he was big, more than twice the size of the other one, the one called Coyote. Once they had me securely strapped to the chair they started applying drops of aqua regia to my inner thighs.

"We use this to dissolve gold," said Nurse, "do you think it will work on your skin?"

I looked at the clock. "You have twenty seconds to live."


10-24-2007, 09:09 AM
Lemuel Smithers, the ship's doctor, was by nature phlegmatic, but of late he had become noticeably restless, even peevish. He suspected--not without reason--that members of the Black Bustard's crew were coming down with scurvy because heartless Captain Flogg had not provided them with fresh fruit for the voyage. Meanwhile, sly Father Pedophyll, knowing that his hieratic position would protect him from disapprobation, smirked as several young sailors who had refused his advances succumbed to the dread disease and were thrown to the sharks. If only I could develop some kind of antiscorbutic medicament, Dr. Smithers mused, I might save countless lives.



10-24-2007, 09:37 AM
Xenia had a perfervid hatred of margarine, everyone knew it, and yet there was her ludicrous sister-in-law, clearly visible in the 16 candlepower nightlight of the stovetop, tiptoeing into the kitchen with a tub of the vile substance held out before her like some kind of mini birthday cake.

I could wrestle the tub out of her hands, force her head into the fridge... The thought gave Xenia a buzz, but no, it would not do. One did not grapple with a pregnant woman.


10-24-2007, 12:30 PM
The empty Triscuit box on the carpet and the condition of the desktop told Fred that Gina had taken her lunch in his office again. She always ate those tasteless shredded wheat excuses for crackers with her tomato soup, which she never failed to fill to brimming. Over filled, judging from the red stains on the blotter pad.

But as much as he wanted to call her in to give her the drubbing she deserved, there was no time. In less than five minutes Henry Jergins would be leaning across the desk, in Fred's face about the pump adaptor. It had been giving the designers fits for weeks and was the only thing holding up production.

Fred kicked the cracker box under the desk, took the prototype from his sample case and put it on a yellow pad, which he strategically placed to cover the soup stains. If Jergins saw the stains he would come to the erroneous conclusion that Fred had painted the mounting flange himself. The flange wasn't blue as ordered, but had been painted orange instead. Fred fussed with the placement of the adaptor on the pad. Maybe the yellow paper would compliment the orange and --

Jergins was actually smiling when he came in, an expression unfamiliar with the topography of his face. But then he spied the adaptor and his expression passed through disbelief, horror, incredulity and finally settled into anger. To accompany the end result, his face turned the most marvelous color of cherry red. Fortunately, when Henry Jergins got that mad, he found it difficult to say very much. He did, however, manage to let Fred know, along with much airborne saliva, that he could do several impossible things with the adaptor, and he could do them in the privacy of his apartment for the rest of his life.



10-25-2007, 12:06 AM
I'd only just met her that night, but there we were, at my apartment on Sycamore, drinking tequila and watching LA Ink on cable like an old married couple. I was eating peanuts while she picked lint from my navel.

Yeah, I guess you could say I was a smooth operator.


10-25-2007, 12:14 AM
Jake the Lurch held Glenn in a headlock while that little rat Weasel stripped the bra off the hood of his new Porche. Jake's bulging biceps threatening to suffocate Glenn, and he really wished he'd signed up for that fitness program that came in the mail last month.


10-25-2007, 03:23 AM
Brad put on his green beret, the one he had worn in the First Special Forces Group in 'Nam. He was a civilian now, but devotion to God and country was still the glue that bound him to a lifelong love of truth, justice and the American way. His boots crunching on the gravel, he approached the shack where the VX nerve gas was known to be hidden inside innocent-looking cider barrels. As he neared the door, something glistened at his feet. He bent down. It was a pink barrette, studded with fake diamonds.

So a woman was involved!

He might have known.



10-25-2007, 06:00 AM
"Fenestration? What the hell is that?"
"Is that a challenge?"
Burke considered his options. He could challenge Wax on the word, but the little ginseng munching twerp was so smug when he won, and so downcast when he lost, it was almost better to let the game devolve of its own entropy; it was past two in the morning after all.


10-25-2007, 10:51 AM
There she stood, by the barbed wire fence, her legs going all the way down to the ground. And then some. I watched with lurid anticipation as she reached into her lemon yellow halter. She withdrew one of those orange plastic medicine bottles, the kind with the white child-proof cap, and after some difficulty, got it open. She shook out the blue speckled white pills and popped them all. Then with a wink in my direction she maneuvered around a salt lick like a filly in a barrel race and walked out of the corral.

With trepidation, I picked up the bottle and read the lable. And I burst out laughing. Of course it was Henrietta! But wow, she had sure changed. The last time I saw her, she weighed enough and had the appropriate shape to actually use that salt lick--and enjoy it. But not now. So what was in the bottle? Hah! Phentermine hydrochloride, 37.5 mg. The bottle had contained 90 of them. How many had she just downed? It looked like enough to wake up the emperor's terra cotta soldiers.

With a sigh, I started after her. I hated that she used drugs and I hated even more that I would have to make her throw up those pills--and whatever she had eaten for lunch. But damn, I loved how the drug made her look.


10-25-2007, 12:06 PM
I knew he had spent a lot of time making that home made cheesecake for dessert. I sat staring at the vile thing that inhabited my plate. I could see him standing there in his brown corduroy pants waiting for me to take the first bite.

I worked hard to conceal my annoyance with him for having used my great aunt Lilith's hand made antimacassar to place it on. It was meant to be on the back of my favourite high back chair not used as a place mat.

Throughout dinner he had smiled with each I bite took looking for my approval. He had made pate out of giblets and i didn't have the heart to tell him that you are meant to use liver. I had to gag it down instead and if the table cloth hadn't been voile, I would have just hidden the nasty bits under my plate and then whisked it off to be washed.

But I comforted myself with the knowledge that this would be our last meal together. The drugs I slipped into his wine would be working their way to stop his heart. Oh the wonders of digitalis.


John Paton
10-25-2007, 01:07 PM
Years ago at Edinburgh University I climbed the school turret for a dare and in my kilt. It was a cold and windy night.

Although happily drunk I was ambivalent towards any danger and I flashed my bare behind at policemen who were frenetic in their attempts to persuade me down.

I lost my balance and fell 30 feet onto a grassy bank and regained conciousness weeks later.

When I slowly came to, I confided in a doctor. "Will the fall affect my brain?"

He looked uncertain and a little cagey. "I'm afraid it's bad - very very bad!"


10-25-2007, 04:15 PM
I crouched naked against the wallpaper cradling my arm while the syringe dangled precariously from a vein. Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark blaring "If You Leave" from the radio and the heroin coursing through my veins gave it the atmosphere of a Brett Easton Ellis novel.

"Fucking hack." I mumbled.

pie crust

10-25-2007, 10:25 PM
Note: "pie crust" is two words, but in the spirit of the challenge I shall heretowith treat it as one.

The salt marsh had long since dried up in the oven heat caused by the latest solar flare, this one almost twice as big as any previously recorded. The riparian ecology had the look and texture of a pie crust. Julie avoided stepping on the dessicated remains of a huge frog, its mouth frozen in a sick grin. It didn't stink and for that she was thankful. But even if it had, it wouldn't matter. Nothing could ease the gnawing hunger in her gut.

She peeled the frog from the pavement-like surface, closed its mouth, and without really thinking about it, chewed on a chunk of it as she made her way north.

John Paton
10-26-2007, 11:45 AM
we need 5 words Pthom

10-26-2007, 11:57 PM
oh boo! sorry folks. sheesh. must be getting old

Here they are.


10-28-2007, 07:49 PM
Cynthia screwed the lid back on the rat poison. The sole reason she was determined to get rid of Fred was the multiplicity of hurts he had inflicted on her through his very public liaison with that blond bimbo. How could he prefer someone who looked like--ugh!--Paris Hilton to her? She was sure there was enough arsenic in a teaspoon of RatoMorto to stick to at least one rib, and she had been putting a teaspoon of the stuff into his Ovaltine for a week now. To her chagrin, he was still the picture of health. Why didn't the sonofabitch die?



10-29-2007, 01:32 AM
It was an insubstantial thing. Really. The rat poison that Cynthia was slipping into my Ovaltine, I mean. I guess she never quite read the label completely because if she had, she'd have noticed that copious amounts of cinnamon acted as a buffer, if not quite an antidote. Now normally, I'm abstemious when it comes to my diet, but this is rugby season and I need all the carbs I can get do I've been downing a couple of those really gooey cinnamon rolls from Costco with breakfast. Once I discovered her ruse, I put away an extra two or three of them.

I haven't noticed any deleterious effects from the poison, but it will take some time next spring for my belly to deflate. Of course by then, Cynthia will be just a fading memory of a rather bad decision.


10-29-2007, 03:04 AM
Fred may have tried to outwit Cynthia, but she knew the pusillanimous jerk didn't know an angstrom from an angleworm. If he thought cinnamon would protect him from poison, he had another think coming. She made a quick trip to Sri Lanka, where on a seven-hectare farm near the city of Colombo a native farmer was cultivating the strychnos nux vomica tree. Visiting the farm at night, she located a ripe, dissilient seed pod and extracted an ounce of pure strychnine. With the lethal substance concealed in a lipstick tube, she took the next flight home. This time Fred's Ovaltine would be much more potent, and each new ruga that formed in his stomach lining would, she knew, cause him the most exquisite pain.



10-29-2007, 10:40 PM
Doctor Oliver Magnusen looked into the patient's mouth and felt his stomach heave. This was the worst case of gingivitis Magnusen had ever seen. The man's mouth looked like a badly managed landfill and smelled twice as bad. Even some of the poor guy's teeth showed evidence of concrescence. It would take a hurculean effort to repair the damage. Magnusen gave the man a paper cup of mouth wash and said, "Rinse." Then he left the exam room to consult with his assistant.

"It's really that bad?" Julie was just finishing up dental school and worked for Magnusen on Thursdays.

"Worst oral hygene I've ever seen," Magnusen replied. "Probing his gums is no solution, either; nearly impossible to control the pain. No, I need to determine the extent of the damage. With those swollen rotten gums, I don't know--" He shook his head.

"Want me to prepare a dye tray?" Julie had up-to-date knowledge of the latest techniques. Just this morning, Julie had been gushing over this new procedure involving some kind of new gel. After five minutes of immersion in the gel, disease in a patient's gums would fluoresce--without UV light, even.

Magnusen was an old-school, fill 'em or yank 'em type of dentist and all the new ways of doing things might as well be magic as far as he was concerned. But he nodded. "Yes, go ahead. I'll go start the gas." As he walked back to the exam room, he muttered, "Maybe I'll take some myself. A guy needs to be high as a kite to work in a sewer like this guy's mouth."

10-29-2007, 11:06 PM
Um...Pthom...you know what you forgot? (You can count them on your fingers.)


10-30-2007, 12:29 AM


10-30-2007, 04:37 AM
The lunar tides were always spectacular on that planet. Captain Hamilton was inconsolate that he hadn't been picked for the expedition. Nobody knew why this planet hadn't been discovered previously but he had been told that it was the most beautiful place that anyone had ever seen.

The oceans there were as thick as melted tar and yet the gelatinous sea-water was beautiful to behold, the spray of rainbow coloured fluid that washed onto the alien beaches would leave irridescent streaks accross the turquoise-coloured sands as the tide drew back each evening under the cover of a brooding indigo sky


10-30-2007, 04:54 AM
Feeling like a zombie, Felicity staggered across the room, and searched through the mess on the coffee table for a cigarette. Someone had spilled beer on the big glossy book of covered bridges her mother had sent last Christmas. Well, no big loss. She wasn't all that interested in covered bridges anyway. Now in search of a flame, she turned and felt something sharp go crunch under her bare foot. She looked down and saw it was the porcelain frog that had belonged to her grandmother. Now that pissed her off.

I want everyone to notice I am including the requisite five words here.

10-30-2007, 05:21 AM
It would probably be injudicious for the Author to divulge, so early in this narrative, the full scope of the disasters that were to befall the House of Rathensdale during that fierce winter of 1883. Suffice it to say that Cyrus Pontius Rathensdale, thought to be the father of twelve comely children but in reality completely impotent, had secretly permitted his beauteous wife Matilda to indulge in certain intimacies with lusty young men of the larger community over the years, as a result of which permissiveness each of the Rathensdale scions had a separate paternal parent. For twenty-odd years the secret had been scrupulously maintained. However, in that fierce winter of '83, a scurrilous wench named Portentia, who lately had been discharged from the Rathensdale kitchen for slovenliness, made the decision to tell the world what she knew. The town reeled with shock. Now shamed and disgraced beyond measure, Cyrus Pontius Rathensdale took it upon himself to wreak havoc upon the soulless slattern who had so callously revealed the family secret. He repaired to a plot of land behind his mansion and cultivated a hellebore plant, whose delicate flowers disguised the fact that its leaves contained a deadly poison.
'Twas on a dark and stormy Wednesday evening that Cyrus invited the wench Portentia to return to his mansion, the ostensible purpose of which visit was to consider the option of her re-employment. Cunningly, Cyrus arranged for the cook to serve Portentia a sumptuous dinner before the discussion was to begin. The meal included a salad of kale, within which Cyrus secreted a copious amount of hellebore juice.
Scarcely had the wench sunk her snaggled teeth into the aforementioned salad before she gagged, grasped her throat in horror, and fell dead.
That, dear Reader, was to be but the first of the disasters to befall the House of Rathensdale that terrifying winter...



10-30-2007, 06:16 AM
concupiscient concupiscent

His hair was as a lion's mane, and he possessed the same concupiscent appetite as the beast. Women were naturally attracted to him, and he used it to his advantage. Too often his sexual prowess had a cumulative affect, and he would have to hire a thug to rid his stable of an undesirable. One he has used to his benefit to once too often. The thug, would treat the woman gently at first, and then subject her to humilation so she would leave voluntarily. Once he took one woman who was about to be discarded to a the river bank where a malodorousodor seeped from the banks. He told her she was like that to the Lion man. No longer attractive and pleasant, she was no longer the plum lush on the tree, but as a shriveled up raisin in the hot dessert sand. And when she started to cry and run away, he took her permeated her body until she could breathe no more.


10-30-2007, 07:34 AM
Ace Hecklesmith sat in the basement of his three story house. He sat there reading a book. It was a science fiction book. Something by a guy named Sheffield. He was alone in the basement, listing to the sump pump rattle. And rattle.

He sat there, feet in the puddle of raw sewage. He was alone. She left him when he couldn't pay for the Jaguar she wanted. Not the car, a real live jaguar. What the heck did she want a jaguar for? What did they eat anyway?

There was a yelp and the scraping of puppy claws down the wood stairs into the basement. He bought her the puppy instead of a jaguar. Everyone likes puppies. He closed his book and looked at the cover. "Summertide", it read. He didn't like science fiction. What was he doing reading this? He flung the novel into the raw sewage. The puppy yelped. It thought it was a game, his tail wagged.

She spurned him because he wouldn't buy her a freakin' man eating cat. He felt the rage boil. She left him with this damn house and the mortgage. Oh yeah, he would have bought a Jaguar for her, the car, that is. Not the cat. She took the Mercedes when she left. Ace stroked the puppy, and then involuntarily jerked his hands tight around the puppies neck: his golf clubs were in the Mercedes. That Bitch!

He flung the puppy into the raw sewage after the book and stomped up the stairs, leaving footprints of raw sewage on every step.


John Paton
10-30-2007, 08:36 AM

I first met Iris at a Jewish wedding. She was dancing the hora and boy did she stand out. Every time the group danced to the right, she would go left.

Iris had a funny name for a Jew, maybe because she wasn't Jewish. She was from Greece and she did the catering for the wedding. Man that Moussaka tasted superb.

But that was years ago, before I had the sex change. Iris, I was certain, didn't love me anymore. I slipped out of my Sari and stood naked in front of the mirror. I thought to myself "I'm gonna sue that surgeon bigtime!"

My boss rang and told me about next weeks convention. "Are Betadyne Cotton Swabs better than synthetic?" I couldn't wait.


10-30-2007, 07:09 PM
Melody Ann pretended to be innocent, but that was merely a ploy to get past the parking attendant and into the White House, where she intended to bestow presidential favors and get some in return. Some observers may have thought her behavior irrational, but it doesn't take a plebiscite to see that Melody Ann knew very well what she was doing.
Her downfall took a lot of people by surprise, but it did lead to a big book contract, which set a lot of would-be writers thinking.



10-30-2007, 11:31 PM
Canterbury street was a dead end. Figuratively and literally. Shunned even by the dregs of the city, the occupants managed to wring an existence from the tailings left by the lapidarian. He, a big bazooka of a man, had a soft spot for the wretched exiles whose cardboard box and plywood lean-to hovels squatted under the dubious protection of the posterior of his shop. Days were, when he would include in the residuum of his craft, a larger than prudent shard of a gemstone. He desired it be spent to cure the sniffles of the dirty urchins who peered longingly through his shop at the sunny world of the living.


10-31-2007, 03:56 AM
Rodolfo crumpled up the scrap of paper and hurled it across the room with a grunt, spittle dripping from his lips. Nothing he had written today had merit--no touch of genius, no brilliance, not the slightest hint of a cosmically soaring, existential oeuvre. Was he never to produce a masterpiece? He swore. He let out a shriek. He wanted to vituperate against the gods. But what good would it do to curse fickle beings who didn't exist?

He was a failure. There was no hope.

He reached for the gun.

He put down the gun and reached for the candy bars. Did he want a Mounds or an Almond Joy today? They formed a totally irresistible gestalt in his mind. Both of them were so good. He just couldn't decide. Maybe if he took a tiny bite of one...



10-31-2007, 04:54 AM
Absently, Bernie scratched at an itch in his nose. Slowly at first, then faster, drops of blood spattered the test paper. He leaned back, stared at the ceiling and waited for the bleeding to stop. Maybe, though, just maybe after the bandages came off, the other kids wouldn't taunt him so much. It was bad enough to be named Bernard Boer. Worse that he had, until the rhinoplasty yesterday, a horribly misshapen nose that was as much the cause of the taunts as was his name.

Having to stay after to take a make-up test in remedial English didn't help either. He stole a glance out the window. The heads of Mick and Freddy and Dean were just visible--they must be up on the retaining wall--and they were making faces and hooting taunts. "Hey Barnyard! Your hair looks like boar bristles! Soo-eee!" He hated them, they made fun of him, it was the way things were. Frumpish Mrs. Blankenship, concentrating on grading papers, ignored them.

He looked at the clock above the big green board. Only twenty minutes left of this hell. Twenty minutes to finish this test and then he was free. He sighed and returned his concentration to the paper on the desk before him. Problem eleven. A big word with a bracket on each side of it [intercolumniation] and the instructions: "Use the bracketed word in a sentence." How? Bernie hadn't a clue what the word meant. And now there were these drying spatters of blood on the test. Bernie hated school.


10-31-2007, 11:34 AM
Setting forth from her childhood home, Prudence Angelheart was bursting with expectations, knowing that she had qualified as a student nurse in Boston. Taking with her only a satchel containing a change of clothing, plus a jug of maple syrup to fortify her during the long journey, she began walking down the road. Her widowed father had warned her that the trip from Vermont to Massachusetts might be perilous, especially for such a young maiden, and she indeed felt inner perturbations as she advanced toward the crossroads where the morning stage was to stop for passengers. Alas, that crossroads was to be her downfall, for it was there that Rafe Rapeswagger came riding on a black stallion, swooped her off her feet and carried her away to a hiding place so foul that it cannot be described here. After seven long days and nights, having had his way with Prudence Angelheart, Rafe Rapeswagger returned her to the crossroads, deposited her there and rode off laughing. The ignominy of the affair was more than Prudence Angelheart could bear, and she never did go to Boston. Instead, she returned to the house of her widowed father, who, upon learning what had befallen his only daughter, dropped dead. Prudence Angelheart, too, was not long for this world, and she pined away and left this vale of tears on Christmas morn.

People still talk about Prudence down at Barney's Bar & Grill.



John Paton
10-31-2007, 12:04 PM
Last Christmas I competed at the world yo-yo championships in Singapore. I reached the semi finals and one more win would mean a final shot at glory.

I had given up hip hop the year before but I couldn't function without booze. I ordered a gimlet frappe - long on the gin and short on the lime.

I looked at the hideous carbuncle on my wrist - borne through years and years of agonising practice - and the voice of my surgeon echoing in my mind.

"Wun Hung Lo If you continue to play this stupid game, your tendons will ossify into bone. Your right hand will be useless"

I didn't care - win this and I would be a legend around the world. I had to build my stamina up for the showdown so I ordered a huge bowl of shrimps and glutinous rice.

The match was the closest in the history of our sport. It lasted 13 whole hours. I came second and I am slowly typing this with my left hand and no-one has ever heard of me.


11-01-2007, 01:43 AM
Gilly was ambidextrous. I know this because what happened that night in Belgrade, the one where terrorists blew up the barge and killed a bunch of tourists from the Netherlands. Gilly and I, happily sated on great food and fine wine, sat on the grassy banks of the Danube enjoying an unseasonably warm evening. Our shadows, cast by the light from the kafanas behind us, extended across the lawn to the water.

Suddenly, our reverie was interrupted by shouts. I looked up. Several young monks were running across the lawn, waving what looked to be kebabs. Bits of onion and savory meat flew into the air as they ran. One of them, with a full head of hair--obviously a neophyte--broke from the pack and came right at us. He fell to the ground, gurgled and died. Dark blood seeped from a small hole in the back of his habit.

"Stop!" Gilly's voice, above me. I looked up in time to see what appeared to be three nuns chasing after the monks. Only they weren't nuns; as they ran, below their habits I saw shiny black oxfords and gabardine trousers. Men in black! One of them, alerted by Gilly's shout skidded to a stop, turned and started toward us. In his hand, a 9-mm CZ aimed at Gilly's chest.

I started to rise, but Gilly shoved me aside, grabbed a kebab skewer from each of the dead monk's hands and from her crouch, flicked them toward the oncoming man. The gun went off and I was sprayed by bits of turf and dirt. The man staggered, the whites of his eyes bright, and as he clutched at his throat, he fell face down on the grass. Almost like earrings, the skewers projected from either side of his neck, little trickles of blood dribbling onto the white cowl of the nun's habit.

I looked at Gilly, amazed. "Wow," I said. "How'd you learn to do that?"

"Oh, there are lots of things you don't know about me." She wiped kebab grease off her fingers in the dewy grass and grinned. "Yet."

"I guess not. But I'm glad of them. Like now." I nodded to the bodies on the grass beside us. Sirens wailed; the cops would be here soon. "Come on. We really don't need to be here when the Politzei show up."

Later, walking arm-in-arm through a park, I couldn't help thinking that Gilly had one hell of a talent. What a way to pacify an attacking nun.


Robert L.B.
11-01-2007, 01:46 AM
You forgot them again.

Hi, new person to the thread waiting to take my turn.

11-01-2007, 02:07 AM
Hi, Islaitha, welcome to the thread. Look again, they're there. :D

Robert L.B.
11-01-2007, 02:18 AM
Sneaky, editing them in. :P



"Then take the third vector."

"Third what? Sure it's not left or something? Why vector?"

"Don't ask me, I'm not writing this."

Anna gazed long and hard at the array of pink switches in front of her. Who in God's name had thought this many were needed for a simple Tie-Dye gunship? She picked one and flipped it.

The sound of a hidden weapons compartment opening to the chill of space was lost to the vacuum. Anna couldn't see anything though. What had she fired?

The question was answered when she slowed down slightly and saw a petticoat fly in front of her. She was going to strangle the inventor of this ship.

Why was she even flying this chaos-plagued thing? Give her the smooth feel of a hovercraft striking a plasteel wall before rebounding off and skidding on asphalt dotted with speed bumps any day.


11-01-2007, 02:57 AM
When she walked into my office I knew she was trouble. You don't see a dame smile with a clenched mandible unless the dame is up to something.
She was blond. She was stacked. She was dangerous.
"Are you Sam Wallaby?" she breathed.
"That's the name on the door," I said. "It's my door."
"Oh, Mr. Wallaby, I need your help."
"Would it be inconvenient to tell me what kind of help?"
I felt like a chainsaw was buzzing my spine as she said, "My husband's lover's brother-in-law's girlfriend's uncle is trying to kill me."
"Slow down, lady," I said, putting my feet on the desk and reaching for a bottle of Four Roses. "So far you haven't given me anything but a bunch of crazy, lopsided angles. What's your angle?"
"Don't you understand a word I'm saying?" She glided closer to my desk, her legs shimmering in orange silk stockings. "I'm in terrible danger."
"What's your name, sister?"
"Sister Margaret Mary. I used to be a nun but I'm not anymore, so don't call me sister. My name is Margaret Eleanora Ingrid Rachel Elizabeth Hansen-Smythe, but--"
"Okay, Maggie." I took a swig of the Four Roses. "Dangerous dames are my business. But I still don't get you. You look as red-hot as a tequila sunrise and about as vulnerable as an tiger that's changed its stripes to look like a candy cane. If you--"
"Stop those awful metaphors," she said. "Won't you protect me?"
I reached into the bowl of popcorn next to the Rolodex, stirred it with the spork some dame had given me back in 1939, and said, "First I need to know if you're serious. In my game, a deposit is like the hump on a camel's back, especially if the camel has been trekking through the Sahara for six weeks with a rider who doesn't know Egypt from East Podunk and can't find an oasis." I pulled out a pack of Camels and lit one.
She reached into her purse and pulled out five hundred-dollar bills. "Is this enough?"
I took the bills and gave them the once-over. They were real. "It'll do for starters," I said. "I get fifty dollars a day--plus expenses."



11-01-2007, 04:43 AM
Edgar loved to eat. If it were up to him, he would have ten meals a day. But his income as second-string chemical engineer for a major fruit juice manufacturer precluded that. His tastes ran to the expensive side of the cuisine balance. Not only did he find it hard to afford eating at nice restaurants, but because he perpetually smelled of sassafras, most of them refused him entrance. Frustrated, and not willing to starve, Edgar took up gourmet cooking.

Life was good, for awhile, until his sister Charlotte re-entered his life. Charlotte absolutely loved parties. She could come up with a reason to hold a party for any occasion, no matter how trivial. But she was also a liar. Her duplicity was the reason Edgar had estranged himself from her in the first place. But he agreed to allow her a visit, exacting from her a promise to not make a piñata while he was mixing up the batter to an angel food cake. The last time, it had prematurely broken, getting confetti in the batter and ruining everything.



11-01-2007, 06:19 AM
“I would rather drink anti-freeze than pick you up tonight!’ her husband said.

"My 53 year old wife posing naked for a bunch of Art Students! You're on your own! I want nothing to do with it!"
Jenny sighed and turned to her daughter.

“No chance mum!” replied Sarah, “You can just get the bus! Wild horses couldn’t drag me there!”

Honestly! To say that she had a tattoo of a chameleon on her left buttock her daughter could be quite prudish at times!
“I’m rather proud of my Reuben-esque curves I’ll have you know!” she said teasingly.

“Well anyway, I’ll just get the bus then! There are eggs in the fridge so if you won’t give me a lift home then you’ll just have to make your own dinners tonight!”
She pulled on her coat and headed out into the cold November air to the art class.


11-01-2007, 05:53 PM
Bigger and flashier and weirder. That's what it's all about these days in Las Vegas. How to out-shine, out-sparkle and--yes--out-gross the competition. So it was no surprise that the newest casino on the strip, T Rex, opened with a 200-piece band playing "Let's Spend the Night Together," a gigantic balloon of Ozzy Osbourne and an overhead salute by the famed Air Force Thunderbirds.

Kathy stood looking at the fantastically designed animatronic dinosaur outside the place. It was as least as believable as those dinos in Jurassic Park. How on earth did they make something like that seem so real? A low brick wall surrounded the creature, but Kathy was in an impish mood, and she climbed over it and walked right up to the monster.

"Okay, Rex," she said with a smile. "Let's see if you're as bad as you pretend to be." She reached out and scratched the dinosaur's leg with her fingernail.

"Wow, that was brave of me," she said to herself, starting to climb back over the wall. "I didn't even have to use karate on the silly old beast."

But at that moment the world changed forever for Kathy, for with a roar that could be heard as far away as Hoover Dam the dinosaur--no animatronic marvel after all, but a real, unfrozen Tyrannosaurus Rex from 65 million years ago--reared its head and swooped down upon her with its teeth shining in the spotlights.

She screamed.



11-01-2007, 06:21 PM
Eric could make a woman's knees unstable with his touch. He read the forms of the ladies as if they were writings in braille. This trait served him well as a mountebank for Service Vacs. Eric would knock on the doors of lonely women and not only get appointments set up, but bed them as well.

Brianna put her embroidery down to answer his knock on the door. She certainly didn't need a vacumn cleaner but she allowed him in her home. Her womanhood felt like a catapult, hurling streams of warm honey at just the touch of his hand.

Of course the inevitable happened, it always did and it was time for Brianna to face reality.. Her guilt overwhelmed her she was quilty of insubordination and worried her husband Mack would discover her deed.

cottage cheese

11-01-2007, 11:38 PM
Proud to be chosen anchor man on the cross country team, Denny took the long way home from high school. But five miles of running made him thirsty enough to drain a swimming pool. Too bad there wasn't one handy. Instead, he opened the refrigerator, collected the half-full pitcher of Very Berry Kool-Aid and without bothering for a glass took a long pull from it. It was way too sweet. That worm of a sister of his probably forgot to measure the water--again. He rummaged around some more. V-8? No. A Tupperware container of Aunt Hilda's cottage cheese and Jell-O. Didn't she have any more imagination than that? Dad's beer? Hell no. Gravy? Oh, come on.

Denny sighed and topped off the Kool-Aid with water. It diluted it more than Kraft Foods intended but it did serve to slake his thirst. He looked at the clock. Quarter to four. Almost two hours before mom came home; another, maybe, while she prepared supper. Plenty of time. He shouldered his book bag and headed upstairs to his room.

Western Civ wasn't his favorite course, but this month they were studying Greek theatre, and although the language was stilted, the stories were pretty cool. Denny flipped open his notebook and took out the mimeographed assignment sheet.

"In classical Greek tragedy, dramas followed a rigorous format. Write a 500-word essay explaining the epistasis, catastasis and catastrophe in terms of modern literature."

They gotta be kidding, Denny thought, getting down the big dictionary. He could have written pages on the Trojan war, or the Peloponnesian war. The Greeks really knew how to fight, man. And in the nude, too. He chuckled. Wouldn't that be something? Wouldn't it freak out Roberta Jamison if he ran the 10k next week naked? Roberta was such a prude. Geez. But hey, you know? There were Olympic gold medal winners who ran barefoot. If he did that, and uh, you know, kinda just forgot his jock strap, it would be close to running in the nude. Hell yeah. And he wouldn't get arrested if he had his shorts on. Nice thing about running for Polk High, was that the courses were mostly on turf, not like over at Lincoln, where those dudes had to run on cinders. Ouch. No, man, maybe running barefoot wasn't such a good idea these days.

Denny became aware he was staring at the Dictionary, that had fallen open to the letter H, and there, in the margin was a picture of a Holstein cow. What's that about? Shaking his head, driving dreams of running naked from his mind, he glanced at his bedside alarm clock. The big red numbers said 4:57. Changed to 4:58 as he watched. Dagflippit! He'd have to rush through the essay. And his penmanship would be terrible and Mr. Hanson would mark him down for it. Well, some things just couldn't be helped. No matter what, he was going to the movies tonight with Elly Lamb.

Denny uncapped the Bic and wrote: In classical Greek tragedy . . .


11-02-2007, 12:05 AM
In the spy game, you had to be able to figure out who to trust and who to mistrust in a split second. Sillaby had been at this game a long time now, and when the blond babe with the pierced left eyebrow walked into the club any supposition that she was an ordinary patron vanished. From above, the rapidly moving lights created fantastic, illusory patterns on silvery corrugations in the walls. This was some club, he thought, a supposedly trendy downtown hangout for spoiled rich kids that was actually a meeting place for the world's most dangerous operatives. The blonde sidled up to his table. She was wearing eggplant-colored pants, whose crimson lining was just visible at the hipline.

"Is anybody claiming this chair?" she said.

"If they are, they're toast," he replied. "It's yours, baby."

She sank into the chair, and as she did so her lime-green top opened to reveal everything but her nipples. "Do you know the way to San Jose?" she purred.

"How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" he replied.

She smiled. "Three times six and four times seven, twenty-eight and eleven."

That was the code. She was his contact from Langley.



11-02-2007, 01:55 AM
I took one look at the dude in that crazy retro bar and knew I was in heavy. God, he was sucking up a teal-colored frappé through a damn straw, for chrissakes. Oh well, best get this shit over with. I undid the top two buttons of my top, and shoved my pants low. Maybe he'd get lost looking at skin.

I moved in. He invited me to sit, using some kind of jive talk that sounded like it came out of some last-century pulp crime novel. We did the password shtick. By the way he smiled, I knew I'd suckered him in. "You're some disingenuous bitch," Harrison had said, after I passed the last exams. Don't have a clue what that means, but Harrison is hot shit military brass and if he says so, then I am. I bent over, showing the guy tit. It worked. His pupils dilated till there wasn't iris left.

"So you're from Langley."

Damn, the asshole said it too loud. I checked, but no one noticed. Thank God for cheap booze. "You know you talk too much," I said, and licked my lips.

I got up, moved my chair around closer to him, making sure he saw skin. His shit-eating grin told me he did, and more than he had in a long time.

"Oops," he said. "Boo-boo. You're falling out."

"Like that bothers you?" I leaned in, one hand on his arm and stuck my tongue into his mouth. While he tried to push my pants off the rest of the way, my other hand found its way into his, past his belt and closed on the checkered grip of a--Christ, a derringer? Well, at this range, it wouldn't matter. I let him feel the muzzle of the pistol on his scrotum, and whispered into his ear, "Pal, you won't live to dawn, if I'm any judge, and I'm a pretty good judge of these kinda things. But hey, in the few seconds you have left on this planet, why don't you be a good boy and tell me where you put the gyroscope plans?"


11-02-2007, 02:25 AM
Cross and double-cross. Sillaby had seen it all. The babe was doing exactly what he expected her to do--bark up the wrong tree. It was the kind of tree you find in phony forest scenes in B movies, the kind where every twig hides an electronic bug and every leaf conceals plans for an atomic reactor.

She thought he could blast his balls with the Derringer? Shit, were her bosses at Langley really so stupid they thought this caper involved anything as simple-minded as a gyroscope?

"Sorry, babe," he said. "That Derringer came from a Cracker Jack box, but the stilletto I've got pressed against your left boob now is real. Did you really think a neophyte like you could outclass a veteran like me?"

"Veteran?" she said. "From the Civil War, right? Listen, you refugee from an Ian Fleming novel, these tits aren't real either. I'm wearing plastic body armor. My real tits are a hell of a lot more interesting. Too bad you'll never see them."

"I've already seen them, baby, when you made 'Debbie Does Detroit,'" That shook her, and he moved in for the kill. "By the way, Blondie, I've been meaning to ask you. Where did you get the dye job?"



11-02-2007, 03:05 AM
I really thought I had him then, but the damn monomaniac discovered my lexan armor only extended up so far. Damn, the point of that knife hurt. And how the hell did he know I was in that old porn flick? I let go of the derringer and grabing him where it counts, boosted him up and out of the chair. The knife took a bit of me with it as he toppled over backward, but it was worth it to watch his head crack open on the bar rail. I had to look away, then, because the glob of brains that leaked out of his cracked skull made my stomach churn.

I tossed a fifty on the bar. "Clean up in aisle one," I told the bartender, and grabbing the whiskey sour he'd just made for someone else, drained it. Maybe it would elevate my restive mood.

Standing in the lobby, I felt warm stickiness trickling down my ribs behind the armor. I didn't want to, but I had to know what kind of shit his knife did to me. I ducked into the women's. My tit looked like hell, but it was just a skin wound. Meant a trip to see Worley, though, the scheister. But he was good with a knife, and had this green goop that made you heal really fast. "Like transubstantiation," Worley said the first time. "Fix you up like new." And he laughed.

I stuffed a bunch of tissue into the armor to sop up the blood, dumped the stilleto in the waste slot, and walked out into the night.


11-03-2007, 03:28 AM
Romanpopovich clenched his fists and cursed. He strode to the window and looked out over the streets of Sadengrad, the capital city of Pysfrickorod. A fierce wind was blowing, and a flurry of pamplets fluttered past the window. He knew they were pamphlets demanding liberation. So what! He would stamp out these traitors just as he had stamped out their predecessors. He was in control now, and if the rest of the world refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of his government, the rest of the world could go to hell!

He fought to tamp down any fear that an insurrection might actually arise here in Pysfrickorod. He had already achieved hegemony over what used to be a a few flabby democratic states. He had pacified what remained of the opposition by issuing a proclamation of individual rights. As long his citizens forswore allegiance to any previous government--on pain of torture and death--why should they have anything to complain about?

"Why you looking so pensive, Dahlink?"

He turned from the window. Lydia Karmenova had glided into the room. She was wearing a gossamer negligee. After last night, he was surprised she was able to glide at all. "Am I looking pensive, Lydianska?" he asked. "I was only thinking of the welfare of my people."

"That's all you ever think about, Poopie," she said, coming toward him. "Even when you're down there nuzzling my...you know...all you think about it your pipple. But I guess that's why I gotta be so long-suffering, being the plaything of a great man."

"You know I don't think of you as a plaything, Nuzzledinky," He said. He planted his mouth on hers and gave her some tongue.

She moved her hand against his crotch, but he turned abruptly away. "There is indeed something on my mind, Kinkypuss. The anemometer shows high winds today. The wind has been blowing those damned revolutionary pamphlets into my window."

"Oh, pooh!" she laughed. "Every time there are revolutionaries you send them straight to the gallows or else you have them drown in boiling oil or something. Why you worrying now?"

"It's something my great-grandfather told me," he said. "He used to say, 'The dome of a great cathedral acquires a patina of verdigris over the centuries. He who would scrape it off may end by scraping off his own skin.'"

"What that mean, Dahlink?" Lydia Karmenova moved her fingers under his beltline.

"Damned if I know, but it's always bothered me."

A pamphlet fluttered through the window. It read "DEATH TO THE TYRANT!"

He stooped to pick it up, but she grabbed it first and crumpled it up. "Let's go do foo-foo," she said.

"Well, all right, Biddledypoo."

But at that moment, from far down the street, there came the sound of cannons.



11-03-2007, 03:55 AM
Damn the sheriff. Why the hell did he have to incarcerate the boss? He hadn't done anything but drink a little too much. Now Henry was in charge of the roundup. Astride a horse in the middle of a stampede, Henry winced in pain, convinced that in moments his appendix would burst and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. It was that rotten radish, no doubt, in the salad he ate last night at Rona's, that place of too much gilded filigree and red velvet.


11-03-2007, 11:22 PM
“I just want to spend some time alone with the best looking man I’ve ever seen.” Serena batted long eyelashes.

The blandishment worked. Cole picked up the picnic basket and carried it to the car. He didn’t see the victorious look on her face as she followed him to slide gracefully into the seat with an air of quietude.

After a short drive to a lovely park on the river, she spread a plaid blanket in a secluded spot on the bank. The picnic feast devoured, Serena plucked a ripe, red apple from the hamper. “A, B, C…” she said silently, and smiled to herself when the stem twisted off as she recited the initial of his last name.


11-03-2007, 11:36 PM

Hawk stood at the helm, fire surrounded his soul. Where five-hundred children had played nothing was left but the charred remains of their spirits.

The ship pulled hard to starboard as Hawk fought against it. He could not hold to port much longer. Flames sucked at the hull as his arms began to fail.

The Z-1 Perceptor watched as he struggled at the helm and laughed at him, at the stench of burning flesh. Mechanical words raped Hawk's soul.

"Mr. Hawk stands on the edge of space, inane, bellicose ranting. Children dead, next phase. We are not being very imaniginative now are we Mr. Hawk?

The machine had been programed for saving, not for being kind or gentle. Hands were ripped from the helm, flesh left hanging, John Hawk dreamed.


11-05-2007, 04:44 AM
Lying facedown on the gridiron roadway I called to the gaffer below. "Hey! If you ease the periscope around the corner so as not to spook her, you'll see the vixen of my dreams walking by."

"Wet ones?" he asked, peering through the scope.


John Paton
11-05-2007, 10:27 AM

Nick Headstrong, famed Hollywood Director, visited Sri Lanka earlier this year scouting for locations for his new movie "Wake up Ferret Man"

This is the sequel to "Kill Ferret Man' his huge blockbuster of 3 years ago. I interviewed Nick in a lonely outstation 200 miles south of Colombo - the nation's capital.

"I'm looking for realism this time" Nick confided in me. "An accurrate and precise portrayal of the truth."

"Veracity!" I ventured.

"Gesundheit" he replied.


11-06-2007, 01:40 AM
"This is going to take forever," Brad muttered, inserting the third briquette into the cooker. He looked with mistrust at the cartoon bushman logo on the conical device. "Whose idea was this anyway?"

Vikki would be at the observatory most of the night anyway, photographing tonight's Mars/Venus conjunctive syzygy. When she got home after one of these sessions, she was always famished. And wired, wanting to talk well past dawn. And despite having to leave for work by 7:30, Brad would oblige, fixing her a hamburger and trying to stifle yawns as she talked.

The Pygmy Cooker was her idea. "It will save energy. See?" she said, reading from the brochure. "It uses only one briquette and can cook two steaks well done in just minutes." Then she had batted her long blonde eyelashes at him and he could never resist that and he found one on Ebay.

Brad sighed. The cooker had arrived just this afternoon and it had taken him almost four hours and several false tries to assemble it. Then he realized they had no briquettes or steaks. Safeway was about to close. They had the briquettes, but were out of steaks. Brad bought hamburger. Frozen pre-formed patties.

And then, trying to pry the damned disks of frozen ground-up cow apart, he had cut his thumb on the knife as it slipped off the upturned cereal bowl he used as a fulcrum. They were out of band-aids, too, so now he had this big wad of gauze pad and micro-pore tape on his thumb and felt like a complete idiot.

And the damn briquettes either wouldn't light or would burn up so fast in the Pygmy that there was no way in hell he'd be able to grille a hamburger, let alone thaw one out. Brad lit a match--and watched as the gauze on his thumb caught fire. He jammed his thumb into the glass of wine he'd poured over an hour ago, and shook his head. Maybe Vikki wouldn't mind so much having Cheerios tonight. Maybe she would take pity on him and forgive his shortcomings.


11-06-2007, 02:27 AM
"Zymurgy please replace the granola on my crinoline, add the pepper, then and only then shall I be able to fulfill my spousal obligations!" Blymurgmouse held his manhood in hands yet unblemished by the warts of Wank-Gold in unequivical anticipatory bliss.


11-06-2007, 04:43 AM
Well, okay, I guess: "zymurgy" is the manufacturing chemistry of fermentation processes in brewing, a crinoline is a stiff frame worn under a woman's skirt to give it a full appearance (and the prompt was plural). But you know, hey. Whatever cooks your crumpets.

The first movement had been nearly unbearable. Sheldon escaped to the lobby after and drank several glasses of red wine, so he was fairly numb during the second movement. The legato passages nearly put him to sleep. He did sleep through the second intermission.

Gloria was blissfully silent, although he could tell from her icy demeanor and expression of sheer disgust that he hadn't pleased her much. Fortunately, the final movement was a rousing march, and got progressively louder, so that by the time the concert was over he was almost back to his normal acerbic self. The stood an arm's length apart under the marquee watching in the rain drench the poor souls who had chosen to drive and leave their cars in the parking structure two blocks up the hill.

"Well, my dear," he said to Gloria, while looking for a cab and in a tone of voice designed to avoid the trap he knew she was setting for him. "What shall we have? Italian, or Thai, perhaps? Or I know this great little Greek--"

"Just shut up, Sheldon. Just take me home."

"But Gloria, my sweet--"

She spun on him. "What the hell is going on inside that thick skull of yours?"

"Well, I uh, I am just trying to--"

"Not hard enough." Gloria spotted a vacant cab, raised her arm and dashed to enter it before Sheldon could respond. And in a swirl of rain, she was gone.

"Well, that was fun," he muttered, and walked in the opposite direction, coat collar turned up and shoulders hunched against the downpour. The limit of Gloria's compassion--or her imagination with lovers, apparently--wasn't as broad as the wingspan of a gnat. She'd been a long shot anyhow, he rationalized. If it hadn't been for his penury of female companionship, he would have just told her to forget the damned concert and ordered pizza in.



11-06-2007, 07:29 AM
We had been in Kashmir for over a month waiting for supplies that hadn't come. They told us it was due to the recent tornado, that all deliveries were delayed, but we knew that wasn't the case, they wouldn't be coming. We had been forgotten, actually worst, they hadn't forgotten us, that could have been understandable, we all forget things, we had been purposely neglected. Like the fleas that lived in my bedding that I chose to ignore rather than acknowledge. We were expendable...if only I could blink my eyes and find myself back in my crazy grandmothers kitchen wrapped in her tattered cashmere blanket eating her tasteless tuna casserole listening to her tell me this trip was a bad idea.


John Paton
11-06-2007, 10:50 AM

I hadn't been the same since the amputation. I was beginning to think it wasn't worth joining this crazy wiccan sect but I still loved Agatha too much. But to cut my middle finger off as part of the initiation. How else would I show my anger at a motorist cutting me off, I wondered.

My brain was frazzled and I still couldn't remember the lyrics to that goddam song. I grabbed the music sheets again and tried to concentrate.

"Happy Birthday to you ***** Happy Birthday to you ***** Happy Birthday dear Agatha"

Finally I was beginning to feel a little better. More of the words were beginning to stick.
My little poodle stopped for a pee and I watched a couple of joggers on the other side of the road. They seemed so in love. What was their secret?

Just then my mobile rang. It was Agatha.

"We're all in the attic. All 17 of us. Just one more thing and you will be one of us"

I nervously crossed the road and a car screeched to a halt.

"Whatcha doin' fruitcake!"

"Blow it out yer ass" I responded in kind. I tried to give him the finger without success. Man! This thing called love is gonna be tricky to work out.


11-06-2007, 11:32 PM
Suzann made several mistakes that afternoon. In an attempt to create a romantic setting she moved the all-weather speakers from their hiding place behind the fake boulders, in the mistaken belief that the music would be clearer. She strung up an old string of Christmas lights, for atmosphere, unaware that this particular string wasn't meant for use outdoors. And, she forgot about the loose flagstone in the patio. If Suzann had paid closer attention to these things, she might still be alive.

Instead, she focused her energy toward pleasing Glenn. He'd left for work this morning in a foul mood. Justifiably: the old weather station that had hung on the hallway wall was now in pieces in the trash. But it wasn't her fault. Really. Glenn shouldn't have hung the heirloom--made by his great, great grandfather--right where she could brush against it with a load of dirty laundry. Glenn pointed out that it had hung there perfectly fine for fifteen years. Then he stormed out, slamming the front door.

At first, Suzann had it in her head she could get the weather station repaired. After all, the wood plaque was okay: just a little scratch. But as she tried to pick up the broken pieces of the hand-blown glass thermometer, its mercury gathered in silvery puddles on top of the carpet fibers, she knew it would be impossible.

She spent half the day feeling sorry for herself, then coming to realize how unproductive that was, decided to ingratiate herself to Glenn by throwing a romantic little party just for the two of them. It would be a warm evening. A fancy steak dinner on the patio would be perfect.

Minutes before she expected Glenn home, she plugged in the Christmas lights, put Sarah Vaughan on the stereo and satisfied everything was perfect, returned to the kitchen for the salad. She'd put it in Aunt Belinda's old lead crystal bowl, the one that was almost too big for the dining room table. She had to carry it in both arms, like a laundry basket.

The toe of her sandal caught on the loose flagstone. Trying to steady herself Suzann caught hold of a hot Christmas light. The bowl dropped and shattered. She slipped on a tomato and fell ...


When Glenn arrived home, feeling bad that he'd snapped at Suzann this morning, the first thing he noticed was that the fire alarms were screeching, the house full of smoke. Rushing into the kitchen, he turned off the stove, flipping two very black and very ruined t-bone steaks into the sink. Then he noticed flickering lights out on the patio.

Lying in the middle of a pile of salad and shattered crystal was Suzann's inert form. There was blonde hair and blood on one of the speakers, and in her hand, a Christmas light, crushed, the shape of its tungsten filament burned into her palm.

11-07-2007, 12:32 AM
Phtom, that story is good, except that it's too short. Five words too short, to be precise. {HINT}

11-07-2007, 01:02 AM
Well, okay, I guess: "zymurgy" is the manufacturing chemistry of fermentation processes in brewing, a crinoline is a stiff frame worn under a woman's skirt to give it a full appearance (and the prompt was plural). But you know, hey. Whatever cooks your crumpets.The above is precisely why I shall in future refrain from participation in such endeavor. I am aware of the meaning of "zymurgy," as well as the fact that the prompt was plural. Indeed I even know what a crinoline is and was not aware that the "RULES" were so strict as to not allow the singular.

It was obviously a poor effort at outer space-alian sexual fun-I admit to a lack of talent and ability which I suppose after all is in the eye of the reader? However, I find the last sentence both sarcastic and uncalled for. My education, suffice it to say, has enabled me to be at least marginally successful in my chosen field which is writing-wonder of wonders right?

11-07-2007, 02:34 AM
My apologies, davids. I am truly sorry that my comment upset you. It was not meant to do so. The business with crumpets was supposed to be humorous. Obviously, I am not terrifically adept at humor. And I left off the smiley that was supposed to be there.

As for the "rules" those were established by the original poster (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1697225&postcount=1). I have always assumed that because that example used the prompt words verbatim, with their original definitions, that is how the game is to be played. I could easily be wrong. However, forcing one's self to do that is, to me at least, more challenging.


11-07-2007, 02:37 AM
Phtom, that story is good, except that it's too short. Five words too short, to be precise. {HINT}
Oops. Sorry. Here they are:


11-07-2007, 03:51 AM
My apologies, davids. I am truly sorry that my comment upset you. It was not meant to do so. The business with crumpets was supposed to be humorous. Obviously, I am not terrifically adept at humor. And I left off the smiley that was supposed to be there.

As for the "rules" those were established by the original poster (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1697225&postcount=1). I have always assumed that because that example used the prompt words verbatim, with their original definitions, that is how the game is to be played. I could easily be wrong. However, forcing one's self to do that is, to me at least, more challenging.


Yes indeedy all is well in the land of Nod no worries. I suppose it was troublesome, the crumpets thing after the acerbic statements meant to educate. Either that or me humor is in the sage filled Petunia Garden

11-07-2007, 07:01 PM
Oops. Sorry. Here they are:


For a sensitive dude like me, it was a goofy idea, agreeing to meet my blind date at the zoo. I should have learned my lesson after that last disaster at the gorilla house. I mean, I'm as tolerant as the next guy, but hairy boobs just don't do it for me. Anyway, there I was waiting in front of the turnstile, checking out the merchandise, when this real bovine chick wearing a gingham blouse just slightly larger than a shower curtain, walks over in my general direction and fixes a set of carp eyes on me.

"Hi," she whined, in a grating voice that made my teeth curl," are you Mike?"

"Who wants to know?" I growled, catching a whiff of her cologne. It reminded me of rancid milk.

It was then that I noticed the subtlety of her makeup, wondering how she thought that wallpaper paste was attractive. I dunno what it was--maybe it was the look of total disgust on my face, but I suddenly noticed that her manner was becoming less friendly.

"What are you staring at?" she snarled.

I guess she must have caught me staring at her vast hips and the skin-tight leather pants that were threatening to cut off her circulation.

"Well, don't take this personally, doll, but frankly I don't see the point of stripping one cow to outfit another."

"You insensitive pig!" she shrieked, turning on her heel and stalking away.

I stood there dumbfounded, her cruel words still ringing in my ears. Insensitive? Me?


11-07-2007, 08:47 PM
"You dear heart are an exquisite dork! If at any time it would be possible to penetrate that gothic heart of yours then surely I would be forced to put a clamp on my spirit such as it is. A sad thought to be sure but at times as these are me sweet child thirst drives me to drink yet there is no blood."


11-09-2007, 01:05 AM
Harriet watched the man stagger into her pharmacy, his face ashen, his eyes wide with horror. He opened his mouth several times to speak but only a hoarse gasp came out. Collapsing against a glass-fronted case, he slid to the floor. Harriet ran around the end of the counter. A streak of blood obscurred the cold medications displayed behind the glass. The man slumped, his right hand buried in his armpit, whimpering.

"Sir! What happened?"

He withdrew his hand from his armpit, held it up. The fingers were missing, all but the thumb. Like mud in a Yellowstone geothermal site, blood pulsed from the stumps and ran down the man's wrist into his sleeve. He opened his mouth, made a gurgling sound, and fainted.

Harriet felt ill. She ran to the phone behind the counter and called 9-1-1. They picked up on the second ring. "Please state the nature of --"

"Harriet Gosford, Main Street Rexall. I have a medical emergency. A man came in just now who has somehow managed to amputate his fingers. He's bleeding bad. Unconscious."

The operator told her help was on its way, then talked Harriet through first aid. The ambulance was there within minutes, the EMTs came in, examined Harriet's work, thanked her and carried the still unconscious man out. She shuddered, got a spray bottle of Simple Green and a roll of paper towels, put on some latex gloves and began to wash up the blood.

Before she was through, a policeman came in. Behind him were two men dressed in white hazmat outfits. "Ma'am," the cop said, "stop what you're doing. You're destroying evidence."

Harriet looked up. "What evidence? A man came in, smeared blood all over, and the medics took him out." But she stopped cleaning the glass.

While the hazmat team gathered up her paper towels and sterilized not only the cabinet but a good-sized region of the shop around it, the cop took her aside. "Here's the deal, ma'am. Seems there's a virulent strain of very agressive micro-organisms on the loose."

"Micro-organisms? Agressive ones?" Harriet found it hard not to chuckle.

"Yes. Some sort of flesh-eating ameba. You would be well-advised to go immediately to the hospital for tests."

Harriet had worn gloves--the hazmat team had taken them--but she looked at her hands anyway. No damage. Safe. But then, she felt an itch at her ankle. She looked down and watched in morbid fascination as her foot dissolved.


11-09-2007, 01:53 AM
I've learned one thing living here for the last ten years: most tourists are idiots. I watch as an overstuffed American carrying a fake Givenchy bag struggles to wedge her ass into a banquette, all the while trying to impress everyone in earshot with her linguistic abilities. The woman has no idea that the ice cream cone she just ordered will arrive as a litre of hot buttered rum. I'm sure she'll drink it anyway.

11-09-2007, 01:55 AM
OOps, forgot:


John Paton
11-09-2007, 11:01 AM

Jake McCready was a mean son of a bitch. His oily slicked back hair and skinny tattooed arms, dirty and torn jeans and his vicious pitbull called Cedric only complemented his unnatural craving for violence.

Jake sat on his footstool in his garage and wanted revenge. He was in the mood for some killing. He noticed in his Mommy's mirror that his long blond glistening head of hair had fallen awkwardly across his lap. He took an antique hairpin from his wallet and tied it back. He felt better now.

It happened the night before - at karaoke. Some German tourist on holiday had sung his favourite song by Bobby Darin, Mack the Knife. By all accounts he had sung it very well indeed. The crowd were in hysterics when he got to the part where "the shark bites".

Jake knew the YMCA the German was staying at. He and Cedric were leaving very soon to pay him a visit. One more check on his hair and he would be set.


11-14-2007, 01:32 AM
Three days without an entry here...tsk. My apologies if I tread on anyone's toes, but I do love this challenge. Herewith, my next contribution, as much to bump up the thread as anything. :D
__________________________________________________ ____________________

Henrietta grumbled at Mike. The lunk came equipped with a damn hose for crying out loud. Couldn't he aim any better? The wallpaper around the toilet was stained by his errant sprayings and no amount of sponging would correct that. The whole bathroom would need a complete redo.

Standing, she winced at the ache in her lower back, whipped off the yellow rubber gloves and shook out the wrinkles. And heard a musical clink. And felt an unfamiliar nakedness on her ring finger. Her engagement ring had come off in the glove and now winked at her from the depths of the oval/B] sea of porcelain.

Oh well, the water in the bowl was clean enough--just a bit soapy--and Henrietta bent to retrieve the ring. But the hand she used for support on the top of the tank slipped. And depressed the flush lever. She lunged but the swirling water flushed the ring out of sight.

Henrietta collapsed into a heap on the floor, her fists clenched at her cheeks in horror. It wasn't because she was sad about losing the ring--she was--but because Mike would be furious. After three years of marriage Mike was still paying the bank for it. He was proud that there were only two [B]installments left to go. And now she'd flushed it.

Then, from her vantage on the floor, she noticed the S-bend behind the bowl. It looked just like the pipe under the sink. She brightened. Mike could get stuff out of there. Maybe the ring was still in the toilet. She reached into the icy water, but although her hand was small, she couldn't get it in far enough.

And then she saw the bolts that fastened the toilet to the floor. Ran to the garage to get Mike's tool box. She had the presence of mind to sponge out as much water as she could from the bowl. She built a dam of old towels on the floor to mop up any excess. And she got one of the bolts free with the adjustable wrench. The other one, however, was stuck.


It took awhile for Henrietta to figure out how to turn off the water supply to the toilet. It took more time to mop up the water that flooded the bathroom, the hallway and ran down the stairs. And it took even more time to dig the hole in the back yard to bury the broken pieces of porcelain.

Doing all that was difficult because she was sobbing uncontrollably the whole time. Harder was finding a plumber who could install a new toilet that afternoon before Mike came home. But hardest of all was figuring out how to explain to Mike how it happened. It was really his fault, she rationalized. Once when he let her watch him work on the car, she had seen him free a stuck bolt by rapping on the wrench handle with a hammer. The one she'd found in the tool box.


11-14-2007, 05:09 AM
The only reason Kimberly joined the glee club, really, was to try to get the attention of Buzz Strong. He was the captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams and the handsomest boy at Springfield High, but she couldn't even get him to look at her. And that wasn't the worst of it. Two days after she joined the glee club, he quit!

She knew why, of course. It was that vile Debra Doobie, with her obscenely large boobs and the way she had of "accidentally" bumping into boys' butts in the hall. If Kimberly had her way, something would go wrong for Debra, something very bad, something that would fill the rest of her life with sorrow.

But maybe she could inflict something even worse on the bitch.

There wasn't really anything the matter with Kimberly, was there? Naked, she looked at herself in the mirror. Six feet four was a little tall for a girl, and the Miss Bliss #7 (wheat blonde) she used last week had given her hair a green tint, but she had a good body, and most of the time she was able to cover all those acne scars.

She had an abrupt flashback to childhood, when she watched Snow White over and over. In that film, a beautiful queen took vengeance on a silly, stupid rival with a simple device--a poisoned apple.

Why not, Kimberly thought? Why not go buy some apples, leave most of them as they were, and put a lethal poison in just one, which she would offer to the tramp.

The next day, she went to school with three apples in her back pack. She waited until lunchtime, then found the two of them--Buzz and the bitch--just outside the cafeteria. They were locked in a disgusting embrace. Kimberly sidled up to them.

They finally pulled apart. When Buzz saw Kimberly he looked embarrassed. "Hi, Kimberly. I was just explaining the metric system to Debra."

"That's so cool!" she said, suspecting that he had been giving Debra something to measure. But she smiled and said. "Listen, I'm so glad to see you both, because my grandma brought me some apples, and I wanted to share them with the two of you."

Debra looked right through her, but Buzz took one of the apples. "Hey, thanks," he said and bit into it.

Having arranged the apples carefully, Kimberly offered a selected one to Debra. The bitch finally took it.

Kimberly watched as the slut bit into the apple. It wouldn't be long now, she thought, before the whore goes into convulsions, screams and dies in agony.

She took a bite of her own apple.

A burning sensation coursed through her throat. An excruciating pain burned in her stomach.

She had mixed up the apples! How could she possibly...even if...no...no!...it can't be...no!....this can't be happening to me! Noooooooo!

Headline in the next morning's Springfield Daily Chronicle: "HIGH SCHOOL GIRL COMMITS SUICIDE WITH POISONED APPLE."



11-15-2007, 11:55 PM
Peering over the window sill, Chester wiped a cobweb out of his eyes and tried to keep from being seen by Gina Corlatti. Captain of the cheer leading squad, she was the subject of interest by the boys of Taft high. Oh, not because of her beauty--she was more than adequately endowed, which alone sufficed to give rise to much speculation--but because Ward Miller had the hots for her.

Chester couldn't understand why. Other than Gina's huge boobs and commensurately huge mass of blonde hair, there was nothing very attractive about her. She had the brains of a gnat and there was about her, despite incredible applications of undoubtably expensive perfume, the unmistakable aroma of Gorgonzola. But maybe Chester's outlook on women was affected by being the youngest of seven in his family, and the only boy. Surrounded by women, he was inured to the purported delights of mammary equipment, hearing more complaints about ill-fitting bras and stretch marks than a sixteen-year-old kid should.

On the other hand, maybe he could understand why Ward would go for Gina. They were almost two of a kind. The captain of almost every sports team in school, Wade spent every spare moment doing isometrics, claiming that anaerobic exercises built muscles faster than any other way. It was clear to Chester that it also affected Ward's mental abilities--and not in a positive way.

So here he was, wobbling atop a pair of rather badly made stilts just so he could spy on Gina, and hopefully to capture a photo of her chest. For Ward. Because if he didn't, he'd get beat up and have to do Ward's math assignment. Again.

Gina was most cooperative, stripped naked and stood in the middle of the room, admiring herself in a full length mirror. Chester took several photos, any of which, he was sure, would be the envy of a Playboy photographer.

He managed to maneuver out of the shrubbery and dismount without harming anything. Other than the Corlatti's lawn. He smirked at how Mr. Corlatti would no doubt wonder at the strange arrangement of rectangular holes in the grass below his daughter's window.

The only thing left for Chester to do now, besides fabricate a lie for his parents as to why he was out past eleven, was to print the photos of Gina for Ward. He debated whether to clone out the falsies that fell out of Gina's black lace bra onto the bedspread. But doing that would call into question the fact that in every single photo, the cheer leader's chest was as flat as the mirror she admired herself in.

_ _ _


11-16-2007, 02:50 AM
It was the first time Buddy had killed. He remembered something Dingo had told him--Dingo who claimed to have killed at least 36 people and enjoyed every one. Dingo had said, "The first time you waste a dude it kind of hovers in your mind, but you'll be surprised how fast it disappears. Everybody croaks, man, so what difference does it make they croak today or fifty years from now?"

Buddy turned to look at the corpse for the last time, then pushed aside a branch and walked out of the trees. He was going to earn $6,000 for this job, $3,000 up front and another $3,000 now that it was done. He was sure he was going to get higher payments in the future. It hadn't been hard at all. They had told him the man ran in the park every morning, so following him had been child's play. Buddy had prepared himself so well that, when the moment came, he didn't even have to think. Bang! It was like pushing a button. Everything happened like clockwork.

Of course he didn't know who wanted the dude offed. His wife, maybe? His wife's boyfriend? Some business rival? What difference did it make? Buddy was getting paid by Dingo, and Dingo was acting as a middleman, and he knew Dingo would never tell him the whole story. No problem, because Buddy knew better than to "query" Dingo about it. Was that the word? The first time he heard that word he thought it had something to do with a guy's sexuality, but Dolores had laughed and reached down and worked on little Buddy and called him sillybuddy. He kind of liked that.

The main thing was, he had made his stripes. Strangely, he found himself almost beginning to look forward to the next job. Not that he wanted to become some kind of zealot about it, but he couldn't deny the fact that something was beginning to stir inside him. He didn't understand it, but it felt exciting. More quickly than he could ever have imagined, a new kind of knowledge was taking shape in his brain.

Killing was fun.



11-16-2007, 09:37 AM
Quick as a fiddle, Beast downed the bicarbonate soda. He'd managed to steal the Queen's crystal, a diamond thought too big to swallow. The guards had even stopped him at the museum's door to pat his pockets and remove his shoes.

He laughed out loud, bringing about a fresh onslaught of acid reflux. Ah well, what was a bit of indigestion. He had the diamond on a bet. Now he'd collect on the bet, as well. Cresting the top of the mountain on his camel, he spied the Bengal resort. Now he'd hide out in style the remainder of the month, relaxing with a cup Darjeeling tea. He ordered a room, requested a call be placed to his partner, then made his way up the tedious staircase.

Damn these third-world countries without the simple luxury of an elevator, he thought, breaking into a sweat and feeling a bit rocky. He'd lie down, yes! A nap would do wonders after such a day as this. But no sooner had he fallen burping and gagging across the bed, then the phone rang.

"Gawk!" Beast said, his eyes rolling.

"Ho there! Is that you ol' boy?"

"Gawk! Laryngeal !"

"Laryngitis, you say? Well, you don't have to tell me a thing. It's been in all the papers. What a feat. I imagine you can rest in peace tucked away for a time. I'll have you're check in the mail tonight. But I should warn you, the papers are saying that thing was dusted with some kind of chemical compound. Deadly! Probably just some Scotland Yard shenanigan, but be careful touching it, just the same.

"Beast...! You there, Beast? Dear boy must have nodded off"


11-17-2007, 03:04 AM
Gilbert Hornsby was a lousy sailor and a worse sea captain. His survival was entirely due to the arbitrary nature of ocean currents and the weather. He couldn't have had better luck had he been Irish.

That his incompetence had ruined more than one ship hadn't escaped the notice of the Admiralty. But he was the Queen's favorite and so there was little that could be done. When he returned from a voyage in a ship that was not far removed from a floating pile of kindling, they welcomed him with false elation--although they would just as soon belay him to a gudgeon pin--and assigned him a new ship.

The only hope for the survival of the fleet lay in the personage of a certain Belinda Rogers, the daughter of a poor miller, and the only woman who, it seemed, had captured Hornsby's eye. Indeed, Belinda was a beauty, but being of low birth and sorely uneducated, she was an inappropriate mate for a man who, it seemed, was third in line to the throne. Yet, were Hornsby to wed the fair Miss Rogers and, since she was demonstrably fertile (the fissile nature of her knickers evidenced by her having already given birth to six bastards), he might undertake the establishment of a family of his own and give up his desire for naval adventure.

It was a long shot.

As it turned out, Belinda Rogers wanted nothing to do with Gilbert Hornsby, despite the surety of her elevation to royalty. And to prove it, she promptly got pregnant. Again.

The Admiralty was distressed. In a last ditch effort to be rid of Hornsby, they sent agents out to find a way to be rid of Hornsby that wouldn't come back to bite them. One such agent, a certain Phillipe Mornay, returned the ideal solution. He had located the edge of the world, or so he claimed, where there was a cataract that was unavoidable by any vessel. The Admiralty inquired as to why Mornay had been able to avoid it, to which he replied, "Why, my dear sirs, it's no secret. Realizing that Hornsby has such amazing fortune to avoid disasters that would obliterate other sailors, I realized that searching for something that could bring about his demise would not be possible using a vessel designed for the high seas. Therefore," he said, and here he grinned broadly, "I used a hot air balloon."

Okay that was especially lame.


11-17-2007, 03:30 AM
Secretly she admired the gargantuan tastelessness of the wheathered old gothic building. The quietly looming gargoyles, the forbidding windows and the ivy made her shiver with hidden joy. Not that she would ever admit it, but this whole draculan feel uplifted her, made her want to test her powers against something stronger than herself.

She turned her back on the castle and continued to walk deeper into the park. Had it really been ten years since she last visited her uncle's house? Slowly she let her hands follow the familiar trunk of an old oak, and thought that these ten years certainly had made no bigger difference to this mighty old tree. She remembered the birds nest she had found together with cousin Frank, that one summer. What a crush she had had on him! Now she almost cringed at the thought. What a disappointment he had turned out to be!

When she returned tea was being served in the winter garden. Dear Aunt Puss, always so keen on being 'lady-like', always forgetting something important and always believing that her last acquisition was a precious antique and not some cheap bauble. There was Uncle Beau, as always reaching for the largest muffin. How wonderful that there was still people who didn't care about their appearence.

She sat down and reached for the cup her Aunt offered her.

"This is blasphemy", cried Uncle Beau suddenly and shook the newspaper. "Blasphemy and lies!"

- - -


11-17-2007, 08:14 AM
Good God, I think, it's winter again. Snowflakes have been falling all day, turning the graying Fall world to a pristine wonderland, except the yellow trail that stretches in a circle as wide as the dog's rope allows. I take the long wooden shoehorn and wriggle into a new pair of rubber galoshes. I'm feeling especially energetic and generous today, so I head out to take the dog for a walk. Soon enough, though, I'll need that shoehorn to get into my pants. Then, I'll begin to hate winter.


11-17-2007, 08:54 AM
Rachel had waited all that winter for the old man to die. Why did he take so long? Sitting by his bed, she was surrounded by gloom. She felt nothing but revulsion. Her entire life had been spent serving this tyrant, waiting on him, trying to please him, trying to fulfill his every wish, and all the while she had known--deep inside--that she was nothing to him but a servant, a lackey, a slave!

Yet she was his daughter, his only child after the death of his favorite--the handsome, charming, arrogant Ronald--from a fall on Mount Everest. Rachel had always been the ugly duckling, the drab one, the frump! If her father had shown even the slightest love toward her she might have a modicum of compassion for him in his old age, but his lifelong disdain for her amounted to a virtual depravity. Her youth was gone. Her dreams were gone. Her long-ago, fragile hopes had faded like the last roses of summer.

The old man's breath was raspy. It had been like that for months now. How much longer was she supposed to bear it? Once he was gone, the entire estate, the Clappendale-Smythe-Wilberforce-Dumont fortune, even this huge old decaying mansion would be hers. It was true that the employees of Clappendale Ltd. were fighting for some sort of labor-management arbitration, but she would grind them underfoot, just as her father had always done.

She picked up the ivory statuette he had brought back from India years ago. It was a figure of the goddess Kali. If she struck quickly, it would bring an end not only to her father's wretched life but to her unremitting pain.

The ivory felt cold in her hand.



11-17-2007, 09:59 AM
Ariel free-floated a while, then did a magnificent pirouette, her flashing tail splaying wide. Nothing helped. She was plagued by a feeling of being insubstantial, as though she were the only mermaid in all of the wide blue ocean.

Just this morning she'd tried to join a septet of conch shellists, but when it was time to practice, she was the only one who showed. Ariel was afraid, no terrified, that the ocean was so vast, it would be impossible to keep track of her kind. Surely, under these conditions, her lust for life was doomed to fade.

"I know what you need," said a scabrous blowfish swimming past.

"Are you telepathic?" Ariel asked.

"That's a silly question," the blowfish replied. "Aren't we all telepathic? How else would we speak underwater?"

Ariel thought about this and had to agree. "What, then, is the thing that I need?"

"You need to go to the river. There are naiad there.

And so she did. The following day found Ariel climbing out on a rock to sing with her fellows to unwary sailors. She hoped one might crash right into her rock. They weren't so different, were they?


11-18-2007, 08:06 AM
The STARLIT beach was the perfect location for their meeting. She tried to act NONCHALANT as she wait for him, but as the time grew nearer it became more and more difficult. She knew that as much as he enjoyed the PERFIDIOUS game they played, his CYNICAL nature could turn on her in a moment. She needed to keep him engaged at all costs, if the GROSS of guns weren't delivered it would be her reputation that would pay the price.

Mt Saint Helen's

11-19-2007, 05:09 AM
"Mt. Saint Helens" is really three words, but it's one "thing" so I think it's okay here. Also, there is no apostrophe; it isn't possessive.

Less than a year following the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens, life was returning to the northern Skamania County with a fervor unwitnessed in generations. Carl Mierjeski stood next to his jeep, ankle deep in volcanic ash and marveled at the hillside ablaze with Indian paintbrush. He wiped with the back of his sleeve at a trickle of sweat that ran down his neck. A year ago, this logging road would have been cool and pleasant, deep in the shade of old-growth Douglas Fir. Now, those statuesque trees were laid out on the ground like so many pick-up-sticks, blown over by the force of the pyroclastic flows.

Carl walked around the jeep, raising puffs of ash with each step, looked uphill. There, on a partially exposed rock outcropping, some bones. Damn. By the time he got to them, he was coated in gray ash, coughing and wishing he hadn't left his canteen in the jeep. Glad the bones had belonged to a mountain goat and not one of the missing persons. He returned to the jeep and the water.

Lots of things died, then, the trees, wild life, fish. Old Harry Truman and some fifty-seven others killed or never found. Carl sighed, remembering the story of a survivor who had told rescuers that he had seen people on the ridge below his camp, just before the eruption. No one knew who they were, none of the reported missing matched the survivor's description. Who were these people?

In some places, the ash was over a hundred feet deep. It would be years before it all eroded away, if it ever did, and if anyone had been buried under all that--well, how long does it take to make a fossil? Carl put the jeep in gear and slowly made his way up the ridge. He had twenty miles of road yet to scout and if he was lucky he could get it done before to long. It wouldn't do to be caught up here in all this ash after dark.

Rounding a bend, something bright blue flashed in the road ahead. That was odd; the only color so far had been the gray ash and the red paintbrush. Carl stopped the jeep a few yards away and went to investigate. It was a piece of fabric. He bent to pick it up. It was stuck. Tugged on it. Still stuck.

"Damn me if this isn't part of a high school band uniform." The sound of his voice wasn't reassuring.

He got a shovel from the jeep and started digging. It was hard going. For ever shovelful he removed, half that much silted back into the hole. Carl had a fair-sized hole dug and still the uniform was trapped. "What the hell," he muttered, waiting for ash raised by the shovel to settle. There had been no mention of kids gone missing. Some died, yeah, but none were in a band. Leastways, not this kind of band. Looks like something left behind by Professor Harold Hill.

And it was getting late. No way could he complete the twenty miles of road. He brushed ash from his watch. Hell, he'd have to start back in ten minutes. Tired and thirsty and with the canteen back in the jeep, he jammed the shovel one more time into the ash, hard. And struck something hard. Probably a rock. But maybe--bone? Forgetting the shovel, Carl got on his knees and began feeling in the ash with his hands. Whatever the hard thing was, it wasn't bone. Too big, too smooth, a funny ridge around there. He closed his fingers around a narrow piece and rearing back, tugged with all his might.

When the ash settled, Carl found himself staring into a most unlikely expanse of shiny brass. He got up, found a mostly clean rag and wiped ash out of his eyes. There'd be a big search of the area tomorrow. He was relieved he hadn't found any more than that goat's bones. As it was, he chuckled, driving back down the ridge, they were going to have a rough time believing this back at the station. In the back of the jeep: a blue band uniform and a tuba.


11-20-2007, 03:50 AM
"So, how much do I got to pay to play on this-here golf course?"

The man was disheveled, filthy. How had he gotten this far? Clyde stared at the man and could barely resist an impulse to grab him by the collar of his hideous orange and lavender shirt and throw him out. No one played at the Seven Pines Country Club but members and their guests, and membership at Seven Pines was the most exclusive in the world.

"My dear sir," Clyde said. "I'm not sure how you happened to get in, but unless you leave immediately I shall be forced to have you ejected."

"Now, just a dang minute," the man said. "Ain't this a free country?"

Insufferable! How did this revolting tramp manage to get in? He was like some vector of disease infecting one of America's most sacred institutions. "Sir," Clyde said. "Of course this country is free, which is why a private organization like Seven Pines is free to limit its membership to white, upstanding, business-oriented gentlemen with incomes of over a million dollars a year." He picked up a telephone and said, "Give me Security."

"Hold on there, asshole," the man said. "Maybe you think you're the biggest sausage in the smokehouse, but I got news for you."

Clyde could not stand another minute of looking at this example of human bacteria. "Get out!" he screamed. "Now!"

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a letter. It was on White House stationery. It read, "Dear Friends at Seven Pines, I hope you'll show some good old Texas hospitality to my cousin Clarence. Not that it matters, but he's a a shareholder in Middle East Oil and worth around $2,000,000,000,000. [signed] The President."

Clyde felt a tightening in his throat, then pain--incredibly intense pain. He clutched at his chest. He mustn't lose consciousness. He mustn't...



11-20-2007, 09:32 PM
Weary of her reputation for being the insipid little housewife, June Cleaver grew dysphoric and decided to take a walk. The Fall morning seemed down right balmy coming as it did on the heels of yesterday's wintry front.

Yesterday, the chill damp wind sent June racing back to the warm kitchen to bake a load of cookies. Today, though, the brittle crunching of dead leaves kept her putting one foot before the next all the way through the field and into the dark woods beyond.

Pausing along the path, June now heard the eerie creak and groan of trees. She looked up and watched them swaying high overhead. It gave her the willies imagining a branch breaking loose and crashing down upon her. She brushed at the annoying pinch along her arms and thighs, where tiny hairs had risen to become enmeshed in the brilliant weave of her paisley polyester.

Ouch! Her fingers stumbled over several clumps of prickly burs on her pants, collected from the burdock along the path. And what is that, she wondered, eyeing the purple and white lump of goo that plopped onto her breast from above, mere inches from her face.

Ah, well! she thought, deciding that was enough daring-do for one day.


11-21-2007, 03:57 AM
Darla chose the resort south of Playa del Carmen for precisely the reason the agent recommended against it. It was remote and somewhat seedy and there would be few people there. All she required, she told him, was an electric outlet for her laptop. Internet? No, thanks. Just a room with a view of the ocean. Anything to forget New York and Randy and of being overweight and single again.

The little hut was falling apart and when it rained, which it did almost every morning about nine, the leak in the roof above her cot soaked the bedding. At least the table where she put the laptop was dry and the weather was warm enough that by sundown, so was the bedding. But the rates were low enough that Darla could spend six months there, and that would be more than enough time to write a novel. Maybe two.

By the end of August, she was well into the first draft of novel number two and decided she could award her efforts with a break. She had met an old fisherman at the wharf and rented from him a small boat. Really, she told him, just to paddle around the bay. She smiled and gave him what amounted to a month's rent in the hut. He smiled broadly and let her choose from among his small fleet that wasn't in any better repair than was her hut.

The day was warm, the sky clear, and the headland didn't look so very far away. Darla packed a lunch and set off alone, marveling at the clarity of the water and the colorful fish that played tag with her boat. The exercise of rowing felt good, the sun felt good, and Randy in far off New York didn't even cross her mind.

No one informed her of the deadly rip tides that swept her boat around the headland and
out into the expanse of the Carribean. It was sheer luck that she came aground on the tiny archipelago of rocks that barely protruded from the water but were sufficient to put a leak in the boat, which soon sank, taking her lunch with it. A survey of the horizon confirmed the extent of her plight. She was alone and so far out to sea she could barely make out the distant shore.


He came to her at the helm of a ridiculously cliché white sloop. God, he was pretty! Glossy black hair and a tan guaranteed to make George Hamilton jealous. In the crisp white shirt and shorts, powder blue deck shoes, he looked like something from the cover of one of her romance magazines.

And here she was, stranded. Hanging on for dear life to rocks that were rapidly becoming submerged as the tide came in, she was sure she looked to him like a beached whale.

But he maneuvered his boat as close to the rocks as he dared and said, "Well, and what are the circumstances that subject such a fair maiden to such endangerment?" Before she could reply, he flashed teeth that were, if it was at all possible, whiter than his boat, and jumping into the sea, swam to her rescue.

Oh, that was exceedingly bad. My apologies. Someone, please, write something better! Quick!

11-22-2007, 04:17 AM
Cecily could hardly wait for Saturday evening. She had been invited to the most socially significant party of the year, the lavish ball the Van Drexels gave at holiday time in their mansion on the hill. She had felt pure delight when she opened the invitation, and she was going to make the most of it.

She had spent days deciding on her costume. Should she go as Juliet? As Cleopatra? Perhaps as Martha Washington--no, those ideas were so predictable, really quite vapid. Finally she had settled on something truly original. She would dress as a harlequin, but no ordinary one. She would be a harlequin who could play a bagpipe--a skill she had picked up during her student year in Edinburgh. It was true she was rusty on the instrument, but two weeks of practicing had brought her back up to speed.

How clever she was! How impressed these leaders of society would be when they saw her! Any preconceptions they might have would be completely scrambled when they saw Cecily making her entrance. She had always been a plain girl, till now never accepted into Rock Haven society. But everything would change on Saturday. She was sure of it.

The evening finally came. At eight o'clock, Cecily arrived at the Van Drexel mansion in her harlequin costume. As a butler opened double doors she walked into the ballroom, raised the bagpipe's blowstick to her lips, began pumping the bellows and launched into a traditional Scottish tune called "The Drunken Landlady."

She was so caught up in her performance that she had been playing for nearly a minute before she took a good look at the crowd. Around a hundred people were staring at her, open-mouthed. The men were all in black tie. The women were all in ball gowns.

It wasn't a costume party after all.



11-22-2007, 06:13 AM
"You...you...you dimwit!" Theresa's gentle breeding and cultured tones did not lend towards creative slander.

"When my father hears about this, he will have you....he'll surely..." She sputtered again, staring at the remains of her coach. She hated the claustrophobic confines of traveling, but stranded road side was hardly an improvement. "He'll dismiss you!" Theresa finished with sudden inspiration.

"That so, miss? Then fix the bloody axle yourself! Iffen I'm already dismissed, I'll just be on my way," the burly coach driver said, his syncope laden cockney barely intelligable. He stomped off towards the horses.

Theresa stared after him, wide eyed and slack jawed. He couldn't leave her, could he? Not alone, in the swiftly approaching night, on the side of the road, without even a maid. That was barbaric!

"Wait! Wait just one minute! Where do you think you are going?"

She hitched her skirts higher, out of the dirt and grass, but was stopped short by a new voice behind her.

"I don't believe he likes you." The man's voice was soft, low, and silky.

She whirled to face him, but saw only shadows and tress. She squinted into the twilight. "Hello? Who's there?"

"Forgive me." The man that stepped from the dark was tall and handsome, the last light of day trapped in his golden hair. "I didn't mean to frighten you. I heard the commotion, and decided to investigate. I am Harcastle, Earl of Shelton."

"Of course!" She couldn't help the note of derision at his announcement, but it was wholly directed at the situation rather than his person. This trip had been a disaster, and only increased her distaste for travel. Her maid, Nell, had grown sick the first day out of London and they had to make an early night of it. Unfortunately, not early enough. The next day, after the coach had been decontaminated and Nell was settled snuggly in the inn with orders to follow when she was recuperated, they had faced inclement weather and lame horses. On this third night, mayhem had overtaken them in the form of a swift curricule and an irresponsible driver.

And to complete the journey's trials and tribulations here she was being introduced to the Earl of Shelton, travel worn, bruised and dissheveled from the coach's tumble, and screaming at her driver like a fish wife.

"Pardon?" The Earl did not appear amused at her tone, and his brow was raised in both question and possible offense.

"No, pardon me, m'Lord. It has been a trying journey, but that is no reason to be rude. I am Lady Theresa Syndall. Your wife."

Countdown Clock (sorry if that is cheating, :))

11-25-2007, 07:08 AM
("Countdown Clock?" It's not cheating--it's just downright rude! :D I'll go with countdown)

Stefiana found it impossible to hide her heritage. Her cream-pale skin, her especially long and pointed canine teeth, and her thick accent labeled her as a Transylvanian. People seemed to cringe every time she smiled. But that was perfectly fine with Stefiana. She was proud to be from western Romania. And she was fortunate to have inherited her dark flashing brown eyes and shiny black hair from her father, Ilia Petrescru.

It was her father's announcement that he was relocating the family to the plains of Marathon that made Stefiana sad. More than anything else, the leaving behind the house where she grew up, or losing touch with her friends, or reading for hours in the library in Baia Mare, the thing that made her saddest was that she would be leaving behind her mother's bones. Maria Petrescu had been laid to rest the week before, a victim of the new plague, in the garden behind the old house on the banks of the Somes. Stefiana insisted on dressing her mother in an old, faded blue calico dress. The dress had never been fashionable but for Stefiana, it held such strong memories, it seemed inappropriate for her mother to spend eternity in anything else.

On the train to Athens, Stefiana dreamed. And her dream made her smile. Her mother, waggling her finger and wearing a stern look that had no hope of ever extinguishing the twinkle in her eye, admonishing Stefania, "Now you masticate your food completely, or you'll become ill and I shall have to take you to Doctor Munteanu and he will pump your stomach." And of course, Stefiana chewed her food into a fine pulp, which she then displayed to her mother on an extended tongue.

She awoke from her dream and looking out the window, wondered how many of the passing telegraph poles could she count. A countdown to a new life, one that was to be forever changed. Living in Greece--she'd seen the pictures of whitewashed houses atop cliffs overlooking an incredible blue sea--and couldn't imagine it would ever be as beautiful as the dark forests lining the banks of the River Somes.

Now she would never stick out her tongue--not at anyone--not ever again.


11-26-2007, 01:32 AM
"No soup for you today!" said the matron, her wrinkled eyes narrowing. Victor hated her guts. How could this have happened to him in the 21st Century? He had been reading Dickens, and suddenly--he didn't know how--he had been transported to this bleak 19th Century workhouse.

It must be a dream. Yet it wasn't. It was much too real. What kind of Fates had done this to him? Why did they think he qualified for this trip down a rabbit hole--or more accurately--a snake hole? The master had just walked into this drafty room where the boys slept, one or two succumbing to inflammation of the lungs each week. With one hand behind his back, the master strode over to Victor. "You, boy!" he sneered. "Matron tells me you've been doing it again!"

Victor's trembling hands were feeling the patches on his torn trousers. "Been doing what, sir? I'm doing my best. I'm very confused. I don't begin to understand--"

"You dare talk back to me--a lad of your parentage? I suppose you think you deserve to wear a golden crown. What you deserve is this!" From behind his back he produced an ebony cane, which he brought down hard upon Victor's shoulders. "No soup for today you and no gruel tomorrow! Back to work, you sniveling little piece of rubbish! Let us discover if you can learn how to talk to your betters!"

He grabbed Victor's arm and propelled him toward the door. Victor could not possibly imagine what lay in store for him over the next two years...



11-28-2007, 02:07 AM
Someone had sent him flowers--zinnias and carnations and some green stuff that looked like weeds. But George, drugged and strapped to the bed, hadn't seen them. Not that he would have said anything nice about them, the old grump. But although drooping from lack of water, the flowers were the only cheer in the room. Susan fussed with the arrangement using her good hand, pinched off wilted blooms. There wasn't much cheer in her life these days--might as well extend the life of what little there was.


His ailments were idiopathic the doctors said. He needed tests. Suzan suspected it was more likely that he was just a damn fool hypochondriac. Whatever, George complained about this ache or that soreness or of just feeling bad. When he was feeling especially bad he cursed, using vile and vicious words. He broke things. And he had struck out at her, more than once. The last time, when he broke her arm, she finally called someone for help.

At the hospital the Social Services aide came to see her, introduced herself as Darleen. A pretty but too-thin blonde with a penchant for nibbling on her thumbnail, she sat down on the edge of the chair. She extracted a silver pen from a pocket in her aluminum clipboard. There were questions, the aide said, to which the State insisted on answers.

Susan felt trapped. The nurse had been firm about remaining immobile lest the cast would set improperly and they'd have to do it all over. And there were a lot of questions. At last, Darleen slid the pen into its pocket and closed the aluminum clipboard. She struggled through several expressions, ones she had obviously worked hard to accomplish, and settled on one that, Susan thought, was intended to be consolatory.

“I am sorry, Mrs. Cuthbert,” she said, “but the only way to indemnify George is to, ah--” and here her tone changed, as though she as addressing a child-- “is to find a nice restful place for him to stay.”

The room whirled around her like a carousel. “You're going to put George away?”

“That's not the term we like to use,” Darleen said. “But yes. It's for the best. Now I have here--” Darleen opened the clipboard again-- “some recommendations . . .”


George didn't respond well to moving. And he complained bitterly at having to stay at the Shady Rest Village Extended Care. In fact, he became so belligerent that the staff, without consulting Susan, had called Social Services. George had then been taken to the State Hospital where they determined he was violent, confined and drugged him not so much for George's well being as that of the staff.

At least, Susan thought, adjusting the remaining flowers, in his stupor he didn't have to look at this drab room, the dirty window, the dull and uncaring expressions of the people who had long since given up hope of curing anyone. But it was wrong. George had been a good man, once, before he got sick. He didn't deserve this prison. he needed real care and concern, from a real and concerned doctor.

Behind her, the door opened. “Time to stick your butt again, you old fart,” said a tired male voice. Then, “Oh, sorry. Didn't know he had visitors.”

Susan's fist closed on a perfectly good bloom, crumpling it. She turned, fuming. “That man is not an ‘old fart.’ His name is George Cuthbert. And I am not just a visitor. He is my husband.”

“Yes, ma’am. You're right, of course. Sorry. But it's time for Mr. Cuthbert’s medications.” The nurse held up a syringe and shrugged. “Just doing my job.”

Susan considered throwing the crumpled flower at the man, but realized doing so would improve neither her nor George's situation. Instead, because it was too painful to watch, she left the room. In the dingy pale green corridor, Susan realized that George would never get better here. He would never come home. Her eyes filled with tears. He would die in this horrible place.

“Good bye, George,” she said softly to the closed door. “Sleep well, you.” Turning toward the exit, she opened her fist and let the ruined zinnia petals fall to the floor.

11-28-2007, 04:15 AM
"But why?" Dirk asked. "I got concert tickets."

"What part of 'no' don't you understand?" Rita said.

"But Dumpster Gum is your favorite band. I was sure--"

"Dirk, you are a world-class bore. Don't call me again." She hung up.

That was a little hard to take. At least she hadn't hesitated to bare her feelings. But it still hurt. He dialed again. "Hi, Tiffany? It's Dirk. I've got tickets for this concert on Saturday, and--"

"Dirk the dork? My God, don't you ever stop trying?"

"Wait. Didn't we have a good time when I took you to Kentucky Fried Chicken?"

"You mean when I had to spend three hours listening to you brag about your golf game? Even the waitress said you were a boor. Get a life, Dirk."

So maybe he was having a little bad luck. That happened to everybody, didn't it? He dialed again. "Marcia? Hi, it's Dirk. Listen, I've got concert tickets for--what?--you don't want to go to a concert? Well, I've got another idea. Listen to this. Over at the sports arena tomorrow night there's going to be this really cool competition. It's bear wrestling. I thought you and me--Marcia?--Hello?--Marcia?"



11-29-2007, 12:27 PM
The giggling in the back of the classroom was getting louder. Vera didn't really need to, but she checked anyway. Of course it was the two Tommies, this time huddled over the dictionary. Vera cleared her throat. They didn't notice. With a sigh, she closed the grade book and went to see what had them in a titter.


They looked up, both turning red as beets and the blonde one, Tommy Phelps, slammed closed the dictionary. On Tommy Figgins' thumb.

"Ow!" said Tommy F., removing

"Perhaps you can tell me what is so amusing in the dictionary," Vera said, "Besides Tommy F's thumb that is."

"Nothing," the Tommies said in unison.

"Mm hmm," Vera said. "Well then, why don't you boys go back to your table and work on your writing assignment."

"Yes, Miss Easterbrook."


After class, Vera felt a presence by her desk. It was the dark-eyed girl that Vera privately called Cheryl the Quiet. She stood stiff as a doll, feet and knees together, hands clasped before her. Now what? "Yes, Cheryl. What can I do for you?"

"I know."

"What is it you know?" Vera was forever amazed at how mysterious sixth graders could be.

Cheryl the Quiet looked around furtively. "I know what they were laughing about."

"Oh? Who?"

"Tommy F. and Tommy P. They were looking up naughty words in the dictionary."

"I see. Well, sometimes that's what boys do. I wouldn't let it worry you." Vera smiled, hoping Cheryl the Quiet would take the hint and go home. No such luck.

"But Miss Easterbrook, don't you want to know the words? I wrote them down."

She would write them down. Feeling tired, Vera pushed aside the paper she was grading and gave the girl her full attention. "All right. What are words?"

"Titular. That was one. And titmouse. And, um, titabushon. At least I think that's what it was."

"Do you know what those words mean?"

"Uh huh. Titular is like a king who isn't one, you know? Just only in name." Cheryl the Quiet's expression begged for approval.

"That's right. Go on."

"And a titmouse is a bird. We have those in our yard." Proud. Vera nodded. "But I don't know this other one." She held out a scrap of paper with the words scrawled on it.

Vera smiled. "I think that word is titubation. It means the way people who have some nerve damage walk."

"You mean like Kenny?"

Kenneth Wilson, the poor kid, suffered from cerebral palsy and had deteriorated rapidly. "Yes, like Kenny. Last year, before he got his wheelchair." Vera put a hand on Cheryl the Quiet's shoulder. "Really, Cheryl, these are perfectly ordinary words. They're not naughty."

"But tit is, right? They weren't laughing before but they did when they read the definitions for that. They thought it was 'specially funny that the dictionary said it was vulgar. Miss Easterbrook, I know it's another word for breast. Vulgar is another word for naughty and breasts aren't naughty."

"No, Cheryl, breasts are not vulgar. But, well. The dictionary just means that the word isn't used that way in polite company. If I remember rightly, the word comes from--"

"From 'teat,' I know. Cows have those. And goats. But not people."

"That's right. Well, you know, Cheryl, sometimes people make fun of words. Boys are especially fond of doing that. But it's really nothing more than curiosity. And we both know that curiosity, especially here in school, is a good thing to have. Don't we?" Vera's face was getting stiff from smiling. Please go home, Cheryl.

"Yes, Miss Easterbrook." Cheryl the Quiet finally took the hint, walked toward the door. But there she stopped, turned and with a very solemn look said, "Yesterday, they were looking up 'boobies'." She nodded twice. "That's vulgar too. I know. I looked it up."

__________________________________________________ ____________________
Oops. I keep forgetting the dang prompts. Fortunately Kerr came through. Use her's.

11-30-2007, 05:20 AM

12-04-2007, 03:18 AM
Sorry, I was having withdrawal symptoms. Forgive me. But this time, I promise, I'll remember to add the next five prompt words.

If anyone could mangle a mantra for manna it was Robin. And that wasn't all. She had the manifest talent to rearrange the meaning of a situation to her benefit. Once, I saw her bring a chainsaw maniac to his knees in tears by just asking him what, to her, was a series of ordinary questions: "What sort of bar oil do you use? I like the 20-inch bar, but don't you think the 18-inch one is more manageable? Oh, is that a Sthil?"

I feel so much better now.


12-04-2007, 05:15 AM
Prunella felt a chill. The moment the carriage drew up in front of the castle she had felt caught in a veritable conundrum. As she approached the oaken doors, she began to doubt the authenticity of the letter that had summoned her to this remote part of Transylvania. It had been signed by Waclav von Thalersvogen, whom she had met at a reception in Bath several months earlier. Even then she had wondered about the man's integrity.

Nevertheless, she had traveled for more than a week in response to his plea--"Prunella, I must have your help! It is a matter of life and death!"

Shouldn't she have investigated the situation further before setting out across the Channel? It was too late now. The oaken doors swung open. She stepped into a dark hall with stained-glass windows and a vaulted ceiling, its weird angles draped in cobwebs and receding into darkness. "Hello? Is anyone here?" she called. "Hello?" There was no answer. According to legend, this castle was haunted by the ghost of the Duke of Wolfsarkania, who had murdered his brother in the fourteenth century in order to usurp the throne. She had always tended to doubt the veracity of such stories. Would someone really import a herd of elephants to trample one man?

Still, she couldn't suppress a feeling of fear, even of impending doom. She shivered. Something was wrong. Something foul--something evil--was going to happen here. She was sure of it, and she regretted even having considered coming to this remote part of the word. The trip was a horrific mistake and she would never get back to London alive. "Hello?" she called again. "Won't someone please answer? Hello?"

From the shadows to her left, someone--or something--began moving toward her.



12-06-2007, 02:47 AM
Now, if Gordon Brown could only find a way to stabilize this damned thing, he felt sure that the world would turn sane again.

Ever since he'd signed up for this billabong journey, he'd nurtured a suspicion that things were not right! He felt the last remains of the champagne hangover leave his body as he looked through the panoramic windows.

"Ha!", he thought. "Them trying to trick me, Gordon Brown, into a stupor!" With new resolve he checked the monitors for any odd sign of threat and called for the Eraser.

Slowly entering the bridge, the Eraser knew that Gordon Brown ought to have left him be for the time being. His extraordinary powers were only to be used acute danger, and there had been no signs of that the last couple of hours.

Humbly dressed in a fustian cloak, he resembled more a monk than a Magus...

- - -


12-07-2007, 10:31 PM
I have to say, there is something about using five words as a focus that somehow seems to free me. Instead of looking at a white page and thinking I must create something out of nothing, there is a starting point.
"Democracy is a breed of government doomed from the start. What is it but a way of thinking that any of the most selfish can succeed in having more comfort than the rest, while those with lesser intellects should toil to keep them supplied?"

Eugena reclined against the large boulder that protruded like a headstone from the sandy beach. She considered her host's words alongside his jovial attitude. It was obvious that this was tossed out as a blanket statement meant only to draw controversy from the various party-goers. Her mind spun outward in a perfect wine- induced muddle. Coming down to the ocean for a breath of heavy brine air always helped to clear cobwebs from her mind.

The night was resplendent with the light of a great yellow moon, borne up out of the lapping sea, a million stars adding their light as homage. One particularly large star Eugena decided was a planet. "That's Saturn !" she declared, not caring if this were true. What did matter was that Saturn was once believed by Romans to be the ruling god during a time of happiness and virtue.

"Happiness and virtue," she repeated in a wistful whisper, certain that was a condition become legend even to those ancient Romans. Perhaps it grew out of a time when survival depended on the strength of many. But the dangers those peoples faced was a thing of the past. These days, the greatest dangers were entirely man-made.

Eugena wasn't sure why, but this belief going back into the roots of man filled her with a strange sense of peace. She looked out at the whitecaps bearing to shore a fresh crop of seagrass, watched a proud elk pick its cautious way across the open stretch of sand to nibble the offering.

The moonshine winked and Eugena bowed her head and brushed a single tear from the corner of her eye. She returned to the party to make her goodbyes. Whatever man-made insanities the drunken players now hoped to solve, she knew the great Earth Mother oversaw all.

12-08-2007, 03:14 AM
We need five new prompt words, dear Kerr. ;)

12-08-2007, 09:56 AM
Hehe! Thanks.


12-14-2007, 04:23 AM
Did you all give up on this challenge? sigh.

“Those damned beetles,” Helen said. “It's purely satanic.”

“Hm?” George, engrossed at the microscope, looked up. “What beetles?”

“These ones.” Helen held up the ruined painting and a small reddish beetle fell onto the table. “I don't mean to malign ladybugs, but they've almost completely devoured the frame on this Michelangelo.”

“Let me see it.” George peered through a magnifying glass at the small insect. “This is a Lotis, a type of lady beetle.”

“That's what I said,” Helen said. “Lady beetles don't eat wood. They eat aphids, mostly.”


“Then what caused all this damage?” The frame crumbled a bit in her hands and she gingerly set the priceless painting down on the table. “Some kind of bug did. Look at the holes!”

“My guess is that the beetle is feeding on the culprit. Some sort of wood borer.”

“Well, we'd better find out, or the entire exhibit is in danger. And we can't just pitch them out.”

“Of course not. I'll call Fresno and see if they can suggest a solution. Meantime, let's inspect the rest of the museum and ensure there isn't any further damage.”

- - -
See what happens when you let me have a go at these? Sheesh, that was lame!
- - -

aglets (http://www.shoelaceknot.com/shoelace/faq.htm) <--Can you belive this? lol

12-16-2007, 03:17 AM
"I can't believe you forced me to tramp through that quagmire. Why, the mud was so thick 'twas like glue." Ian bent to remove his soiled shoes. "And look here, I've lost one of the aglets from my left lace. These shoes were only just purchased and I've worn them just this once."

"Oh do quit complaining." I brushed at the spatters of muck that clung to my cuffs. "I've worn new corduroy trousers myself. Old boy, when you taste my bride's cooking you will forget all about the nasty tramp to the door."

A loud rumble issued from the vicinity of his belly. We both laughed.

"Hmmm, I smell rosemary, among other delectable aromas. I deduce she's prepared Italian. Do tell, is there focaccia bread? I do love a good focaccia." Ian followed his nose to the kitchen, much like an old hound.

My eyes gleamed. Oh yes, there was focaccia. And he was in for a good case of indigestion...and worse.


12-16-2007, 09:46 AM
A crack of lightening followed by thunder and Julia's monitor went dark. She switched off the power, praying. She'd die if the storm harmed her friend, or group of friends, actually, though she considered the computer itself as an entity of sorts. It was the key, after all.

They'd been playing Dungeons And Dragons for the last several hours, Julia so deep into her role, she hadn't noticed the storm approaching. The house felt way too dark now, way too quiet.

"Let's go see how bad a storm it is?" she said to fill the emptiness inside. Julia swung wide the door and blinked at the warm sun beaming down.

"What gives?" she wondered aloud, not trying to do anything now but figure out this mystery. What happened to the storm? Better yet, what happened to her yard? Outside the door, not twenty feet away, stood a wall. It was high and built of sparkling stones, stretching in either direction, as far as the eye could see. Behind it, odder yet, stood a lone tower.

Julia wasn't sure what it was, but there was something about the tower that beckoned to her. More than anything, she realized, she wanted to go inside and explore. But how to climb that wall?

"Why not use the gate, Silly?" said Gandolf, her wolfhound. Standing on his hind legs, he reached for the latch.


12-21-2007, 12:17 PM
"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Dave's finger shot to the backspace key. How could he possibly write such drivel? He had been trying to start his novel for eight straight days, and he was still staring at a blank monitor. It was midnight and it was hopeless.

He adjusted the lamp. That wasn't going to help. He checked his watch. That wasn't going to help either. He drummed his fingers on the desk. He got up and walked to the window.

Could there be a story out there? Could he find inspiration in the eerie silence?

From somewhere far off came a caterwauling. His imagination started working again...a pet...no, a stray...no, a witch's companion...

He rushed back to his computer.

"In the Third Dynasty, the goddess Nekhbet resolved to turn herself into a cat. She walked to the bank of the Nile, where she undid her celestial garments and entered the sacred river. It was a dark and stormy night..."



12-27-2007, 05:15 AM
Henry's grandmother returned to Shady Dell around one in the afternoon, opened the chain-link gate and crossed the shuffleboard court. Carl, who was skimming rotten cherries from the pool, glanced up, winced. The woman's hair was a magnificent but painfully actinic argon-blue in the sunlight.

"Holy shit, June," he said, averting his eyes from the pain. "Where've you been?"

"To Lydia's." June put a hand to her nape, touched a curl. "She always does such a good job. No one can coif my hair as she does. Like it?"

"Yeah, sure I do. Nice." He watched her fingers poke at the curls--with no discernible effect. Carl was convinced Lydia had an arrangement with DuPont. Why was it women were always adjusting the results of half a day's efforts on the part of a hairdresser? Spend that much time--and money--seems a person should just leave well enough alone. "Real nice, June."

"Why is it you always deprecate me? Can't you ever say anything nice?"

Carl looked up again. Fortunately she'd stopped in a patch of shade from the big cherry tree but her hands were on her hips, and she was glowering. Why was it no matter what he said, she turned it against him? "What?"

"You know very well 'what,' Carl Dancredy. I'll have you know this do cost me a lot of money. And Lydia is an artisan. So you just show some respect next time." She stomped off into the house, as much as an 87-year-old woman can stomp, and Carl was left in peace once again.

The cherries were a pain, messed up the whole recreation yard, stuck to the soles of the residents' shoes and were tracked onto the day room carpet. But Carl was secretly glad for the tree because it provided him with work. Farley always gave Carl a bad time about it. "Let the management get a kid to do that work, Farley said. You're retired." But Farley was a big old fat radish and spent more time in the clinic than he did having fun.

"And don't let anyone say you can't have fun at Shady Dell," Carl chuckled as he finished up. He took the skimmer to the shed and exchanged it for the blue ten-speed that was propped against the back wall. The metal frame was cool in his hands; the tires still held onto some of the new rubber smell they'd had in bike shop. Carl swung a leg over the saddle, gritting his teeth at the popping sounds from his hip, and wobbling only a little, pedaled the bike across the yard and out the gate.

He rode out into the sunlight and across the parking lot in front of the three-story managed care facility. Carl spat. It was a damned nursing home, and the nurses were old and fat and cranky. Carl wasn't so far gone yet that he needed nursing. He grinned. Well, not that kind of nursing, anyway.

At the end of the parking lot, near the edge of the property, was a small, white clapboard residence building where the a few of the female staff lived: housekeepers, junior nurses, one of the cooks. It was Tuesday, and on Tuesdays, only one person would be in the building. Cynthia.

Carl parked the bicycle in the rack next to another that was nearly identical to his--except that it was red--and at the front door, reached up to knock. Before his knuckles could make contact, the door was opened by a petite brunette in her mid twenties. She wore an abbreviated tennis outfit that only served to make her tanned skin appear darker.

"You finished early today." Cynthia awarded Carl with a white-toothed grin.

"Yep. There aren't as many cherries this time of year. So are you ready?"

"Carl, dear, I'm always ready. Just let me get my things." She disappeared into the hall, returned a few seconds later carrying a wicker basket. She closed the door and taking one of Carl's hands in hers said, "Shall we?"

She led the way around the building onto the big lawn that sloped down to the water hazard that belonged to the golf resort next door to Shady Dell. At the edge of the water, she spread out a blanket and helped Carl to sit.

"I'm so glad when you finish early," she said, and settled in next to him. "It gives us more time together."

Carl smiled. He was just glad his granddaughter had managed to get this job. He hadn't told a soul--it was more fun to let people think he was having an affair with one of the housekeepers, especially Henry's grandmother, June. But the work cleaning up after the cherry tree, the short bike ride and the luncheon outing with Cynthia were keeping him alive better than any clinic could ever do. And, he thought, biting into a tuna sandwich, the anally retentive bastards that thought they knew better could just go do something impossibly sexual to themselves.


12-27-2007, 08:53 AM

Carol was washing the dishes when she felt the coldness envelope her body. It was becoming all too familar, her dead ex-boyfriend Mike, was here again. At first she thought it was temporary, but he has been coming to see her for the past year.

It troubled her. Carol felt Mike was seeking something from her, but she had no clue. She would ask him "What is it you want or want me to do?" but he never made it clear until tonight.

Just as she was about to leave the room when a key fell. It startled her and with a quick step and a hop went over and pick it up. It was the key to Mike's car. She remembered his hands using the key and turning the ignition, like it was yesterday.

What was the significance of this key? Where is the car? What is Mike trying to tell her? Carol called Mike's brother John and asked about the car. John told her it was sold to Mr. Stenz, a collector who lives in Harris. Carol looked up the number and dialed it immediately.
"Hello Mr. Stenz, please"
"This is he."
"Mr. Stenz do you have a 68 Impala that once was owned by Mike Hamilton?"
"Yes, I do. In fact I just had it all refurbished. Why?"

"I know this sounds odd, but I just found the key for it."

"Well Carol, I have something for you too, a letter. It was found in the car, and dated April 1970. How about we meet for lunch tomorrow?"

"Fine, is noon okay."

"Yes, I'll pick you up."

12-28-2007, 12:24 AM
We need five new words, Joyce :D

12-28-2007, 06:20 PM
Soooo sorry.


01-04-2008, 12:56 AM
December ended in noise that didn’t go away until two o’clock in the first morning of the new year. The ensuing silence was at first, nearly absolute, but only by contrast to the deafening roar of the fireworks. Then, the remote thrumming of the engines and the water slapping against the hull returned. Once this combination was a lullaby. Now, though, it was fast becoming an irritant. Julie tossed under the thin sheet for awhile, then unable to sleep, she got up and went out on deck.

The moon, almost set, played tag with a line of thin clouds near the horizon. Past full, its distorted, pregnant face seemed to be leering at her, mocking her melancholy. Jack was, for the first time since they met, not with her on this trip. Nor would he be coming later. “Too much work, Jules,” he’d said. “I’ll see you when you get back.” He hadn’t even come to see her off. It was probably over, she reasoned, in the daytime when her thoughts could be kept in order. When under the bright hot sun, things were obvious and logic took control. In the daytime, she would only have to worry about the new administrator or running out of sunscreen. Minor things.

But not at night. At night she lost control of her thoughts. There was a possibility that Jack still loved her, wasn’t there? Of course. It was only six months till they'd be together again. That wasn't so bad. Maybe he was right after all. They just needed some space, he'd said. Some emotional space, she’d thought.

But it was not only the vast Pacific that separated them. The chasm that grew between them was more than distance. She should have realized that when the mooring lines were thrown onto the deck and the dock slid into the distance, that it was over.

The moon gave up and sank below the horizon, plunging the central Pacific into darkness. The only light now came from the open door to the galley where the cook was preparing breakfast. It was several hours till sunrise; Julie wasn’t hungry. She wandered to the stern deck to watch the plankton glowing in the wake. The glow was brightest near the ship, but faded as the V grew wider. Just as her relationship with Jack was fading. Had faded, actually, longer ago than she had allowed herself to admit. The stink of burned kerosene was too much, just as the preceding six years with Jack had been. As the ship brought her inexorably closer to her destination, Julie realized her future wasn't as bleak as she’d thought.

There was a lot to look forward in six months of showing T-shirted tourists about the arid expanses of Easter Island.

Smiling, Julie made her way to the bows, where she remained until sunup.



01-11-2008, 01:51 AM

01-11-2008, 11:44 PM
It was the largest goshawk Larry had ever seen, and he figured it was a female, since in this species the female was much larger than the male. She swooped through the trees and picked up a smaller bird--a grouse?--in her claws, and flew off, her gray-and-black plumage flashing through a ray of sun.

What if human females were always larger than human males? Would they galumph through the world, lording it over their puny mates? He smiled, thinking how it would take a lot of grit, not to mention muscle, to handle women like that. Of course Debra wouldn't lord it over him, would she? He thought of her wearing her engagement ring, with its stunning diamond baguette. In three days they would be man and wife. He imagined her ordering him around and even had a fantasy of her swooping down on him like that goshawk, seizing him roughly and carrying him off to some place where their souls--and other things--would commingle.

He sure as hell wouldn't want that kind of married life!

Would he?



01-14-2008, 04:08 AM
Coming awake for the third time, Belinda blinked her eyes, then rolled her head, trying to rid her neck of the cramps from falling asleep sitting up. Struggling against the ropes that bound her to chair only served to tighten them, somehow, and she'd given up trying to escape hours ago.

The only illumination in the half-full warehouse was a single incandescent bulb, its sickly yellow light creating shadows where things sinister could lay in ambush. If only that were the case. The machete her captors had used to carve up the seats in her car, while they searched for something they said she had but that she had never heard of, lay on the floor, a tantalizing five feet away from her feet. But the chair, made of gray, powder coated steel, was welded to the floor. She was thirsty and her stomach rumbled from hunger, but the gag of oily rags that filled Belinda's mouth, nauseated her. And now she had to pee. She longed for Rafael.

Rafael. His strength and poise in rough situations was always a source of stability in her life. From the first moment in Amsterdam when, as she was trying to get a better angle with her camera to photograph the barge going under the bridge, the strong brown hand had reached out of nowhere to prevent her from falling into the water. Then at that little sidewalk café, she had almost drowned in the depths of his eyes, darker than coffee they sipped from ridiculously tiny cups. He couldn't rescue her from that drowning, and she didn't want him to. Not ever.

Another tear spilled from her eye and followed the tracks across her cheeks from countless of its predecessors. Rafael was dead, his head pounded in by the same men who burst into their room at the Pension Hortus. Rafael was dead, his body left by those same men, to putrefy behind a stack of shipping containers on the Oosterdok. Rafael was dead.

And Belinda had the terrifying feeling that she would not live very much longer.



01-14-2008, 08:22 PM
If this caper was going to work, he couldn’t allow himself to make the slightest mistake. Three weeks ago Bert Crumley had been a barker in that run-down carnival, and now he was sitting at a table in the restaurant of this posh hotel, waiting for his pigeon.

And there she was. “Oh, Sir Giles, I’m so sorry I’m late. I told the cab driver to take me to the Regency, and he took me to the Royal by mistake.”

“Please don’t apologize, Mrs. Lawson-Smyth. A few minutes’ wait can’t diminish my great pleasure in meeting you in person.”

She wasn’t bad-looking, a bit over 50, blond and well proportioned. Too bad she was about to lose the fortune her late husband had left her. “Now,” he said. “As I explained on the phone, Globetrotter, Ltd. has been growing by leaps and bounds. It’s the best place you could possible put your marker.”

“My marker?”

He caught himself and faked a chuckle. “It’s a sporting expression. We used it at Eton.”

“Oh, of course. Sir Giles, I’m wondering about investing something in the range of…oh…perhaps two million pounds in your company.”

His smile grew broader “Before we talk business, why don’t you tuck into the sushi? It’s great scoff.”



01-14-2008, 11:51 PM
Bobby looked at Otto and tried to think up a riposte for when Mrs. Rodgers would ask him why he’d brought “that little lizard” to school. And she surely would--if she discovered it, that is. Sometimes teachers were so stupid. It was no big strain to tell the orange amphibian wasn’t a lizard. And it sure wasn’t a newt. But Otto the salamander was closer to a newt than to a lizard. It would be cool if there were lizards to be found, but in the rain forests of northwest Oregon, there just weren’t any lizards.

Oh well, Bobby thought, easing Otto into the shoe box beneath his desk. S’pose I should get back to vocabulary. Writing down the definitions of obscure words had limited value. Jeez, you see a word you don’t know, look it up, dummy. Why write it down 87 gazillion times? Besides, "tintinnabulation" was the cool word in that poem about bells by Edgar Allen Poe. Everybody knew that. Wonder if Edgar Allen Poe ever wrote about salamanders.

Bobby eyed the row of blue-backed encyclopedias, then caught a glimpse of Mrs. Rodgers bent over her desk, grading tests. Above her head, the clock said there was only five minutes left till recess--he could finish the vocabulary assignment in that much time, easy. Edgar Allen Poe could wait.


Something was weird when he entered the class room. Everybody’s eyes were wide as plates; no one said a word as he shut the door. So he was late, but only a little. No big deal. Mrs. Rodgers hadn't started yet. She didn’t even look up. He edged along the wall toward his desk.

“Bobby Olsen.”

Oh, no. Mrs. Rodgers only used that tone of voice when someone did something bad. “Yes, ma’am?”

“Come here, please.”

Bobby hesitated, but not long enough to elicit more than a raised eyebrow from Mrs. Rodgers. He sighed, and stood before her desk.

“Perhaps you can explain this, young man,” she said, reaching down behind her desk. “This belongs to you, I believe.” She put his shoe box on the desk.

She’d discovered Otto. “Uh, yeah. It's mine.” The riposte he’d worked out vanished.

“I'm ashamed of you, Bobby Olsen. You should be ashamed too.”

“But, Mrs. Rodgers, Otto’s just a salamander. He won’t hurt anybody. He does’t bite.”

“I should think not.” She opened the box.

Bobby looked in. Otto lay on his back in his bed of grass, still as a log, eyes open and glassy. A red-handled screwdriver protruded from his belly. Some of his guts had spilled out.

“No! Otto!” Bobby reached for the box, stopped, looked up at Mrs. Rodgers, tears filling his eyes. “Who did this? Who killed Otto?”

“I was going to ask you that, Bobby.”

“That's my Otto. He's my pet. Why would I--”

A snicker from the back of the room. Bobby spun around. He searched the faces of his classmates. They were all looking at him, all innocence, boredom, curiosity, empathy. And Jody Banks, red pigtails and freckles, a brief flick of blue eyes to the right. Mack Filmore, the class clown, the big bully. Sneered. Winked. Then looked out the window.

Slowly, Bobby turned back to Mrs. Rodgers. She put the lid back on the box, nudged it toward him. Her eyes told him: she knew. “I'm sorry, Bobby. I'll give you ten minutes to take care of your . . . pet. Go ask Mr. Keller for something, ah, waterproof to put him in.”

Bobby took the box, blinking hard to keep the tears from spilling over, and failing. As he left the room, he heard Mrs. Rodgers say, “Mr. Filmore. Front and center.”



01-16-2008, 12:29 AM
Bjørn was exhausted. He hadn’t eaten since yesterday, and as he trudged along the edge of the fjord he kept thinking he heard dogs barking. That lummox who had accused him of strangling the barmaid had probably committed the crime himself, but the police had fixated on Bjørn, and he had no choice but to flee.

His stomach was griping. Even an apple would stave off his hunger. He was in the quintessential plight of a man falsely accused, and he didn’t know if he could survive. What direction should he take, and with what velocity or other vector could he hope to escape the relentless pursuit of the authorities now?



01-16-2008, 05:55 AM
Dirty yellow light struggled out from the pub windows, turned dingy by a film of ancient grime on the inside. But the Cock and Crow promised warmth for the two figures who huddled in the meager protection of an overhang across the lane. A woman and her child, both of them bundled in layers of woolen clothing worn threadbare from years of use by others both larger and rougher than they, woolen clothing inadequate protection against the cold and rain. The only thing that kept them from crossing the lane was that inside the Cock and Crow, were the reason they were out in the storm to begin with: Davey Caruthers.

“Can't we go in, mummy?” the child said through chattering teeth. “Just for a little? I am very cold.”

“I know, puddin’. I am cold too. But--”

“He’s in there, isn’t he, mummy?”

“Yes, I think so.”

The door of the pub burst open releasing a drunk who vomited in the gutter, then staggered off in the opposite direction. The sounds of an accordion followed him, and a man singing:

“ ‘Oh, let me loose, you damned old mongoose!’

The barmaid did sob and did sigh.
‘It's Ralph I'll seduce, his fame to traduce,

and leave him alone for to die!
Then his carcase I’ll sluice in cask of your juice,’

she sang with wink of her eye.
‘And set ye all loose, from the old calaboose,

and pass me a mug o’yer rye!”

Drunken laughter filled the lane, then a curse, and an arm reached out and pulled the door closed. The woman gathered a rag of wool to her chin, turned to go, leading the child.

“But mummy, they're singing. You used to sing. He said you sang like a bird, mummy, I remember.”

“They're not singing like birds, child. Let us be on our way. Perhaps we can find a warm place to lay us down before we freeze to death.”

And the woman and her child, huddled together, pretending that by doing so, they would be warmer, shivered their way into the depths of the storm.


01-18-2008, 09:34 AM
Outside, trees moaned in the wind. If Dolph hadn’t made it to this little wooden shelter, he might not be alive. He huddled next to the pathetic little fire, knowing it would not last long.

From somewhere near came a plaintive howl, then another. Wolves. They had to know knew where he was. He had no dislike of wolves, but they were his enemy now, and they would do everything they could to ferret him out of this makeshift hiding place.

He heard a thump.

Was it a branch banging against the shelter, or some small animal, or was it the wolves again? A shiver ran down his back and through his arms and his hands. What if they managed to reach him? A hundred feet away, up a slope, there were firs amid a heavy growth of underbrush. If he had to run, he would run that way.

But he knew he couldn't outrun the wolves.



01-18-2008, 11:32 AM
The way the curlicue came off the signature scrawl on the ransom note was the kicker--it was authentic. The kidnappers had the Institute's Chair of Medieval Studies and would make the switch in the sauna room of Antonia's Spa. Professor Genevre often taught phrenology as an experiment in her class.


01-21-2008, 03:43 AM
Penny didn’t want to call the super again, she didn’t want to appear persnickety, but damn it, all that drumming upstairs was driving her crazy. And she sure didn’t want to go down there; he smelled of garlic and anchovies. She dialed Mr. Oliphant’s number.

“Yeah.” Oliphant wasn’t a talkative sort.

“They’re doing it again, Mr. O.”

“Who are?”

“Whoever’s in the apartment above. Drumming.”

“Oh, them.”

“Well, are you going to do something? I can’t sleep!”

“Get ear plugs.”

Gee, thanks a lot, Penny thought. “Really, Mr. Oliphant, it’s too much. They drum all hours of the day or night.”

“Yeah. Well, I guess that’s what bands do.”


“Yeah. You don’t know them?”


“They call themselves Fandangle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fandangle). Some kind of reggae band. They’ll be gone next week.”

“Gone? For good?”

“Dunno. They said something about Montserrat.”

“Oh, good. That’s in the Caribbean.”

“Whatever. In the meantime, get some ear plugs.” He hung up.



01-21-2008, 02:47 PM
'I was hoping you'd buttress my arguement with the facts not the fiction.' Angie crammed her possessions into the box.

Nina shrugged, "Then who would catapult me into fame and fortune if you're still here?"

Anie pulled out two wizened oranges and a crust from the bottom drawer. She tossed them into the trash, wishing she could do the same to Nina. On her way to the escalator, she smiled, Nina wouldn't live to enjoy her sucess.


01-25-2008, 12:59 AM
Renaux looks down with satisfaction at the inert form sprawled across his turnip patch. “So what if Feesh ’n’ Game man be all pissed off? Peccary? Hah! Is jus’ damn peeg. Don’t matter, none. Is either wild peeg or Renaux’s turnips. Now, it be both, eh? Tonight, supper be ver’ tasty.”

He drags the dead animal by one of its hind feet, rifle on his shoulder. He deposits the pig in his tool shed. “Y’all rest right here, peeg. I come gut you out later, sometime. May be it, Feesh ’n’ Game man won’ find out ’bout y’all, eh?” Chuckling, Renaux goes into his cabin.

There is a jug in the kitchen, a very old crockery jug that belonged to Renaux’s pappy. The shine in the jug is new, however, fresh yesterday. So the city folk like their corn liquor aged in barrels--Renaux can’t be bothered. Shine is fine old or new, and of late, he has come to liking it new just fine. He shrugs, tipping the jug on a crooked elbow to his lips. The end effect is still the same.

On the porch, jug at his side, Renaux fills his pipe with tobacco. It’s a real briar pipe, not one of the corn-cob things used by field hands. No, the pipe, like the jug belonged to his pappy. And the tobacco is good and dark and rich: comes from Virginia. He drinks and smokes until the sun is just above the treetops across the clearing. Then he knocks out the pipe on the heel of his foot and smashes the cork into the jug with the palm of his hand. Standing, stretching, hearing the bones of his spine pop.

“Is time, peeg.”


Fresh pig isn’t as good as aged, but like whisky, it doesn’t really matter to Renaux. Corn is corn, pig is pig. Turnips, now: there is an art to doing up turnips right. Boil them too long, they get mushy. But boiled just enough, in the same water used to boil a chunk of the pig, then fried in pig grease--there isn’t anything better.

Renaux tosses the turnip water on the garden, urinates on the fence post, then goes in to sleep.

He is awakened in the night by a noise in the hickory woods out back. Sounds like some wounded animal. Renaux curses, gets up and without bothering to put on his trousers, takes the rifle down from its place over the door and goes outside into the dark. There is only a sliver of moon, hardly enough to see by. But Renaux knows these woods well. What he can’t see with his eyes, he can feel with his bare feet. He never trips, never gets lost. His nose tells him the source of the noise, his feet take him through the bog lilies to a wallow. The keening grows louder.

“Damn peegs.” Renaux pokes at the piglets with his toe. They quiet some, move toward his warmth. He squats down, feels about the nest, determines there are six piglets. Four are dead. “Shit. Where yer mama, eh?” The pig he shot in the turnips had been a boar. Renaux puts the quandary of what to do about the piglets to rest by scooping up the two living piglets. “We let the fox have at them, eh? I take you home wi’ me.” Fuckers. I’m goin’ like to have to feed you’uns on my damn turnips, now, eh? Huh?”

The piglets answer by searching his naked belly for a nipple.

He has already chosen names for his charges: The boar piglet would be Hyacinth and the little sow, Asphodel. The cabin will be cramped now, and for a few months yet, but at least Renaux won’t be lonely.


01-25-2008, 02:38 AM
The marker was a gouged wide splinter in the parquet floor, that's what happened with a gryphon as a director for 'King Lear.

Watching the eagle-lion eat a chef salad (covered in diet poppyseed dressing), with one eye on the script didn't make anyone laugh.

Mike stepped up, took his bearing as the mad decrepit deposed king and holding Annie as the dead Cordelia announced, "I know when one is dead!"


02-18-2008, 05:35 AM
Across the none-too-large expanse of linen table cloth and a nebulous barrier formed by a half-empty bottle of wine, a plate of oysters and some tiny silver forks, Harrold was going on and on about his work, happily describing processes that were of dubious value over dinner. Harrold’s company made natural glues for use by furniture makers or other fine woodworkers. Marilyn could care less about glue but she put up with him because he was paying for this exorbitantly expensive meal.

Now and then, as she watched the sun sliding across the top of Harrold’s head and down behind his left ear, she heard some snippets of his oratory she understood. Mucilage. Wasn’t that the brown stuff in the antique glass bottle with the funny red rubber cap that her grandfather had kept in his desk? She remembered playing with it as a girl, being chastised for getting it all over Grandpa’s desk chair, and that it wasn’t very good at sticking stuff together. Keratin. Now that was just gross. Fingernails and hair are made of that. Marilyn knew that because it was on the final at the beauty college, and she got an A on that test.

The sun finally slipped behind Harrold’s shoulder and into Yaquina Bay. As the sky grew dark the light from the candle began to define his face and she remembered how relieved she had been when he’d had to move to Albany. Marilyn washed a particularly succulent oyster down her throat with a rather impolite quantity of Chardonnay. It was never her intent to let that cretin back into her life, not ever, but here they were, sitting in a posh restaurant, enjoying a gourmet meal. Maybe she could feign illness--but not until she had polished off a steak and one of the desserts this place was renowned for--and get away from this date with the zombie from hell.


Jenan Mac
02-18-2008, 06:34 AM
It was over in a flash-- almost before it had begun. One minute, Tiger Woods was stepping up to the tee, smiling boyishly, playing the crowd just ever-so-slightly. The next minute...well, most of him was all over, literally, in a flash.
The detectives and crime scene workers had been very thorough. They'd photographed anything left to photograph, measured, marked, mumbled to one another "perhaps--" and "what do you think--" in hushed tones until late in the day. They'd even left chalked outlines all over the golf course, though some of them were quite small, and far-flung.
The reporters, who hovered in the baskets of hot-air balloons over the scene, commented later on how much like disjointed Nazca lines it looked. Well, one did, anyway. You can always tell the liberal arts majors who suddenly realize they have to get jobs after graduation, and switch last-minute to journalism.
Nitrogen, they said finally. Nitrogen had been the weapon of choice, along with a golf ball full of TNT. But who would want to kill Tiger Woods-- and more importantly, why was he the third pro golfer to die horribly at Muirfield this year?



02-18-2008, 03:05 PM
In earnest, Pat the healer pulled the caftan over her head and ran from the hall into the throne room. There, Queen Hubba plucked a jellybean from the bowl, only chocolate or cherry flavored for her.

'She's sick again,' the Queen said of her only daughter. The child had had more illnesses than Aesclepius' scroll, thanks to her mother's Munchausen's by proxy.

Nodding, Pat ran off to the princess' bedroom where the child lay sweating, watching Spiderman cartoons.


03-01-2008, 04:22 AM
Carla came in from the kitchen, her hands still damp from doing the dishes. She gave a disgusted look at her husband, Mel, who was sprawled in his recliner, doing the crossword. He never helped with the chores. She sat on the sofa and picked up her knitting. She should be grateful, she supposed, that he wasn't glued to the television as the husbands of most of her friends were after (and sometimes during) dinner. And, to be fair, it was his hard work at the factory that let them live in this house. A lot of less
dedicated men had been laid off, couldn't find other work and had to move their families to other towns.

"Hm," Mel said.

"Having trouble?"

"Yeah. Don't know this word."

"What's the clue?"

"It says, 'mischievous animal spirit', then 'Irish' in parenthesis. Six letters."

"Any hints?"

"Fourth letter is a 'h'."

"They probably mean 'pooka.' Like in the movie Harvey. But I never saw it spelled with an 'h'."

"They use alternate spellings a lot." Mel wrote down the letters. "I didn't know they were Irish."

"Who? Pookas?"

"Mm. I thought they were Persian or something."

"Maybe the Persians have them too."

"Maybe." Mel chewed the end of the pen. He never used a pencil, believing that erasing an entry in the crossword was a sign of mental weakness. "Here's a doozy. Seventeen down. 'Striped ass or war machine, eg.' Six letters, third one's an 'a'."


"How do you know that?"

"I just do. Well, not about the war machine, but I saw on the Travel channel the other day a program all about these wild Asian asses. They're dark yellow with a stripe along their back. They said they were called 'onagers.' "

"Okay. It does fit." Mel fitted in a few more words, then looked up, a twinkle in his eye. "Since you're so smart, what's a ten-letter word for verisimilitude?"

Carla put down her knitting and stared across the room. "Ten letters?"

"One, two, three fuph, fuph, subm, eight, nine, ten. Yep, ten."


"That 'k' from Poohka..."

Carla shook her head. "Sorry, not getting anything here. Why don't you look it up?"

"Because that's cheating." Mel put down the paper, got up and went into the kitchen. Carla heard him rattling the tea kettle, getting down cups from the cupboard. "I'm making some tea," he called. "You want any?"

She smiled. That was another thing she liked about him: he rarely drank alcohol in the house--perhaps a glass of wine when they had guests over, or an occasional beer after mowing the lawn on a hot day--instead, he made tea, or sometimes cocoa.

"Yes, please. Need a hand?"

"I got it."

Carla reached over and picked up the puzzle. Mel had it about half finished, but this was the Friday paper and most of the remaining words were very long. But she saw immediately that twenty-four across was kleptomaniac and that forty-one down was sycophant. But she would no more fill in the answers than she would ask to have her arm cut off. The puzzle was Mel's domain and woe to anyone who worked on it. She put the puzzle back, placed the pen on it just as he'd left it--she hoped--and resumed her knitting.

In a few minutes he returned with two steaming cups of tea. "Hope you don't mind English Breakfast. We're all out of Earl Grey."

"Yes, I know. Sorry." She arranged coasters on the coffee table. "I meant to pick some up today, but I forgot to write it down on my list."

He sat in the recliner, reached for the paper, hesitated. "So how many did you find?"


"You looked at the puzzle."

"I did. But I didn't put in any of the answers."

He tossed the paper back on the coffee table, sat back, stared at the ceiling. "You might as well do. Now that you know the answers and everything."

"Mel, all I did was look at it. It's a tough puzzle. You've done more than half of it."

"And you've done the rest. In your head." He got up and as he left the room, he muttered, "Typical."

Carla felt a pang in her chest. He was rarely this unreasonable. Something must not be going well at work. It wouldn't do to ask him about it, either. Asking just made him clam up tighter. No, she would have to suffer the chill of his silence--which could last clear through the weekend. Then he'd either forget, which was unlikely, or forgive, which was also rare. The greater likelihood was that he'd chalk it up on some private score board he kept.

She worried about that score board. She knew that there were many bad marks there--like tonight's transgression--but she wasn't sure there were many marks in her favor. When would he tally up the score? And when he did, what would be the outcome? With Mel, it was impossible to tell.

She looked at her knitting, made a face and tore out the last few rows of stitches, which she'd done all backwards. Oh well: the extra work would be a buffer between the tension in the house and bedtime. He was probably already in bed, reading, and she'd knit until she was sure he was asleep before joining him. He would be up in the morning, long before dawn, even though it was Saturday and he didn't have to go in to work. He'd be out in his shop, puttering around on something or other. The next time she would see him would be at dinner.

And then, the paper, with Saturday's nearly impossible crossword puzzle.



03-01-2008, 05:11 AM
Here in the rain forest, Dolph sometimes found it hard to distinguish certain stone carvings from natural formations. But he felt sure that this curious-looking fragment had been made by a human hand, and probably about 1200 years ago. Still, he was bewildered by a particular glyph. If he was right, it meant “barbershop,” but did the Maya really have barbershops? Judging from all the images he had seen, they wore their hair long. They lived without most modern conveniences. Hell, they hadn’t even invented the wheel, so he knew that a glyph resembling an axle really stood for a sacrificial altar. Sacrifices! Those people relied on the gods for everything! No wonder they farmed their land to the breaking point! He felt sure that when this glyph was carved, the Maya were nearly extinct.

It was growing dark, and his canteen was nearly empty, but he decided to keep pushing through the tangled vines till he reached the edge of the ancient site.

He didn't see the jaguar.



03-02-2008, 12:49 AM
The image in the photograph was no more than a facsimile of her beauty but it was all George had left of Frieda. He put the print in the dryer, washed his hands and turned on the fan to rid the room of the photochemical smell. He wasn't about to let that damned censor take this little bit of her from him.

Frieda had been a rainmaker, worked in the government. It was those bastards she worked for who had caused the climate to change, dried up the rivers and lakes, killed millions of people. Making rain, therefore, was a valuable talent--if it was really possible. It wasn't, of course, and George cautioned Frieda not to take her ruse too far. She had ignored him, as she always did when he cautioned her to be careful. She was a free spirit, lived on the teetering edge.

George put the print inside the lining of his jacket, which he zipped up to his neck before going out into the cold, dark street. A white car with big lavendar stripe pulled up to the curb. A taxicab just like the one that Frieda had entered the last time he'd seen her. He ducked down to peer at the driver--maybe it was the asshole who had driven Frieda away from him--but no, this was a bored looking Lithuanian. Tasting vinegar in his mouth, George opened the door.

And everything went black.


03-02-2008, 01:39 PM
On the back side of Mars, night dropped with all the menace of indigo anthrax. Don couldn't see, he could hardly breath. His helmet radio was busted and his evac suit, a combination of dubious protection and Inquisitorial hair shirt, threatened to give up. Hearing a hiss at his knee, he turned on his wrist light. Escaping oxygen bled from a pin hole in his almond-colored suit. He pulled off a sticky seal from inside his waist pouch and slapped it on, praying it wasn't outdated. Running for help wasn't an option, he was alone.


04-12-2008, 11:01 PM
There is nothing quite like the stench of dead animals in a jungle. Jarleson Cribbage covered his nose and mouth with his kerchief and cursed the day his mentor, Gordon Bassford, had decided, in his devious way, that searching for a rare marsupial would be a good thing for his career. That he believed Bassford had been an egregious oversight and now he was paying for it.

And just then, as Jarleson Cribbage was thinking all this, he happened to step into something soft and squishy. The level of stench in the jungle went up several hundred percent. He looked down, pulled his foot out of the bloated porcine blob of dead platypus. He retched. Then he retched again, and again, until his stomach ached from the effort and his throat was raw. Absurdly, it crossed his mind that he had just eliminated all of the acidophilous in his system and by eating a nice creamy yogurt he could replace it.


04-24-2008, 01:23 PM
The cat careened into the kitchen, dancing as if on eggshells for her usual pitstop breakfast of carnivore champions: canned tuna. Some sap had forgotten to open the can. It sat in the plastic dish unimpressed by the multicolored design of foot prints surrounding it.

'Bollocks,' thought the cat, as she slipped through the door flap. 'I'll find a mouse or two in the heather, eat them, then puke in the hallway.'

04-26-2008, 02:58 AM

04-26-2008, 03:46 AM
The Merovingian king, Clovis I, had never been parsimonious. Far the opposite, in fact. He was prone to lavish gifts. One of his retainers was once given an entire troupe of dancing girls. The king could not have known that the doppler effect of the small bells on their costumes would sicken the retainer so, largely because the effect had yet to be discovered and the strange cochlear ailment that troubled the retainer had theretofore been undocumented. The retainer relieved the girls of their bells and banished them to the kitchen, where it turned out they had an uncanny ability to make the perfect falafel. Mollified, he made sure to present every one of them with a bouquet of daffodils each spring.

French toast

04-26-2008, 05:05 AM
Several things that ocurred during the explosive act of, and immediately after, his death, had surprised Jennings very much. One was that, as one burst through that thin clear bubble of pain, the feeling became peaceful. The second thing that struck him as weird, was that there was a 'second' thing. As in, death was not, my friend, the end.

Then there was the realization that he could ask any question, in his mind, and that knowledge was instantly presented to him. He played with that bit of power for quite a while in fact. Seeing for instance, the truths behind the Kennedy assassinations, the UFO conspiracies, the Battle of Little Big Horn, all these and more were revealed instantly upon his own whispered thought.
Then a shushed voice, more of a thought, a sliver of consciousness greater than his, came to him, telling him to stop messing around, and get on with the business at hand, and those earthly wonders faded slowly. He knew instinctively anyway, that the knowledge of these questions were not as important as he had assumed. They were simply shared ideas of reality. Floating clouds of truth that changed shape with the way the wind blew.

How long now had it been since his death? The sadness had evaporated, that's how long, and earthly time held no sway over him anymore.
Another thing that ocurred which was minutely curious and also a bit pesky was that random data, some in images, some in words, came flying past him. Cow. French Toast. He looked around through the opaque mists, and felt several other ideas flit round him, like a moth seeking a light bulb. Carburetor. A woman delivered a fulsome and earthy tidbit of gossip in his ear. A gangrenous body floated into view.
He felt clean too. As if the dust of a hundred lifetimes had been blown off him. He was new, and renewed.
He was taunted though, by earthly urgings, pleasantly phrased with vivid whispered promises, to come back, start over again, that it's not too late to go back to the same earthly vessel and try again. A second chance. He was offered, promised, cajoled at and pleaded with. There were negotiations upon negotiations and committees of thought, cries of anguish and offers of better things to come, to be, to know and to see. But when, now? or Then? or in the future? In this life, or that? Past, present, or future?

His choices were laid out like a sumptuous feast, a never-ending buffet. He looked down the long line that stretched throughout the centuries, and back again, into his own mind. It was all a loop. A loop that encompassed a millenia of solar systems, and yet fit within his brain just above his nose, in between his eyes. It all that had ever been, and yet it was nothing but the smallest most careless whisper of thought. Had it really ever even been there at all?
Life, was it just a whisper, or a shout?

Finally, with enough of his own foolish wondering and awe-gathering, teh intelligence that is, impressed upon him, in some inknown way, that decisions must be made. Now.

All of this, in the blink of a second, the flare of a match, and a thousand lifetimes. It had come to this. Now. or never.

He blinked and the decision was made. He felt the tug. The sinking sensation, the falling, the dizziness, and the floating, backwards this time. Then the heaviness came, and a solid thud.

That was it. Decision made. He was here/there again. Alive. Or was he? He still felt cottony and soft, pleasant, like a cloud. He knew that would change drastically any moment now.

But where? When? Who? Why and now, he also wondered how?

He opened his eyes and wondered. Who was he?



04-27-2008, 01:51 AM
Today had not been a good day. In fact, it had been a lousy day, Jenna thought to herself as she crossed the kitchen floor towards the large refrigerator.

It seemed as though everything had gone wrong from the moment she had gotten out of bed and looked out of her window at her father's rather large fish pond with its very expensive collection of koi carp. A collection that was now missing one fish, one very expensive, highly prized fish.

By the time her brain had woken up enough to recognise the bird standing at the side pond as being a crane the damage had already been done and the fish had become bird food. Expensive bird food.

She opened the freezer door and looked through the various bags and boxes that were stacked haphazardly on the shelves, the days events still playing through her mind. She had run and told her father about the crane and the fish. He had been furious and had raced out to the pond wearing only his "D'ya think I'm sexy?" boxers, waving his arms and yelling. Her mother had just rolled her eyes before pulling on her old towelling robe and heading down to the kitchen to begin breakfast.

Jenna grabbed a tub of ice cream and closed the freezer door. Her bare feet padded across linoleum floor as she went to the drawer that contained the cutlery. Things had settled down after breakfast. Her father had gone to the bank where he worked and her mother had begun her daily chores. Normal, daily events that happened every day without any major problems.

Rooting through the drawer, she pulled out her favourite spoon and headed into the lounge where she could eat her ice cream in comfort. Her day had been beset with problems that had just continued on from the fish pond incident. After breakfast she had headed into the sewing room where she was making her sister's wedding dress and bridesmaid's outfits. She had bought a new bolt of pale blue silk to finish off the underskirts of the dresses only to find that the pale blue shade was not the same shade that she had already used on the wedding dress. The wedding was three days away! She needed either another bolt of this new silk to redo her sister's dress or a bolt of the correct silk to finish off the bridesmaids outfits. She had dashed into town to the large department store that had an excellent haberdashery section only to be told that it would be five days before the next delivery of silk. Five days!!! She didn't have five days.

Disheartened, she had returned home to contemplate what she was going to do with the dresses in such a short space of time. Not an easy job considering that her mother was making her famous liver pate and the house smelt of liver! Ugh. She had tried to concentrate on the task in hand but after a couple of hours of staring at the dresses she had given up and decided to have a late lunch. That had been a disaster.

Stretching out on the sofa she opened the lid of the ice cream tub and inhaled the delicious aroma of rum and raisin ice cream before sinking her spoon deep into the carton. She hadn't eaten since lunch time and she was hungry and in need of a good pick me up. Her mother had nipped out to the shops to buy yet more supplies for the wedding. Jenna had made herself a sandwich whilst trying not to breathe in the smell of the liver. She would be glad when the wedding of the century finally happened.

She had just finished her sandwich when her telephone had begun to ring. She had left the kitchen to go and answer the phone in the sewing room where she had left it. Unfortunately she hadn't closed the kitchen door securely behind her. It was only when her mother had returned home and had started shouting that she realised that Murphy, the family labrador and walking waste disposal unit, had gotten into the forbidden territory known as the kitchen and eaten all of the liver pate that her mother had made. She had had to go back into town and buy more liver to replace all that Murphy had eaten. She'd also restocked on the air freshener since liver didn't really agree with Murphy!

The sound of gravel crunching on the driveway outside impinged briefly on her consciousness before she succumbed back into the soothing comfort of the rum and raisin. She so needed this.

"JENNA!!!" Her head shot up as she heard her sister scream her name. She guiltily looked at the now empty pot of ice cream. Ice cream that was not just her favourite, it was also her sister's favourite and she had just eaten her sister's tub.

Yes, today had been a lousy day. Roll on tomorrow!


09-16-2008, 09:16 AM
Bringing tourists to Paradise Isle wasn’t going to be as easy as Stanley thought. When he had shelled out $800,000 for the place, he thought it would be a gold mine, but here he was, ten months down the road, on an desolate island with one dead palm, one live juniper, three wooden shacks, and no living creatures but himself and his dog Elvis. For months he had had nothing to do but watch TV news, which went on and on about how the cops couldn’t capture the gang that had gone on a horrific killing spree on the mainland, robbing and murdering at least 12 people.

So far, he had had no customers. But today would be different. Paradise Isle was at last in business, because a boat was to arrive any minute now.

And there it was--a white powerboat. Stanley thrilled with excitement as the boat docked. He watched as five people got off--a fat blond woman carrying a cat, a pimply young man holding a Frisbee, a tattooed man who looked like Charles Manson, a big-breasted woman wearing gold lamé stretch pants, and a white-bearded man in a wheelchair.

The boat swung around and headed back to sea. Stanley rushed to greet the new arrivals. “Welcome!” he shouted. “You’ll be the first to enjoy--”

But before he could finish, the man in the wheelchair pulled out a revolver. Turning to the others he said, “It's even crappier than I thought, but we can hole up here for a couple of weeks. Should we get rid of this guy now or later?”



09-20-2008, 05:56 AM
Johnson knew he was out of his jurisdiction as he walked across the damp parking lot. As he pulled out his iPhone and looked up the name of the person he was looking for on the department's website, he had to spurn the thought of strangling this guy when he finally tracked him down. James had done something so odious that it was hard to fathom. He had killed a child, an infant no less, in cold blood. Johnson just hoped that he would find this creep before his partner did. He wanted the satisfaction of hurting him first.

tomato sauce
tractor trailer

10-16-2008, 10:42 PM
[Strictly speaking, tomato sauce and tractor trailer constitute four words, not two... but hey, in the spirit of the game, let's charge blithely ahead :)]

With a sigh, Steve took apart the mouse once again. It may not be fixable this time, he thought. Last time, cleaning out the Pepsi, was merely a matter of flushing it out with warm water. But tomato sauce was another thing entirely. He’d likely have to buy a new one. One of those new optical types--without moving parts. Maybe this time, Edith would stop eating while chatting online.

Probably not, he thought, shaking his head sadly at the mess inside the mouse. That would be as likely as a tractor trailer full of rotgut whiskey crashing through the living room.

Just then, he heard the unmistakable sound of a semi horn and the screeching of tires in the cul-de-sac out front.


10-17-2008, 04:22 AM
Bill dropped the effervescent tablet into his water glass, watching the bubbles glow under the harsh fluorescent lights of the diner. His eyes followed two pubescent girls as they trailed past his table, giggling, on their way to the bathroom, though his mind barely registered their presence. His mind was elsewhere, still back at the convalescent home where he'd left his mother. Her incessant shrieking that he was abandoning her still rang in his ears.


10-17-2008, 11:31 AM
Riding in the Presidential limousine through the thunderstorm, the President-elect began wonder if this was a sign of worse to come. Half the American people hated him anyway, and now he was heading for another one of those inedible dinners with plastic turkey and rice pudding that tasted like Elmer's Glue. Sometimes he wondered if he would have been happier staying back in Springfield, living in his modest little house and driving his dilapidated Volkswagen.



03-22-2010, 08:06 PM
Keith hated his job. Every day, he sat for five hours at the mall kiosk, shilling cheesy plastic figurines to overweight collectors who somehow believed that a plastic $2 mug with Superman's logo on it was the best way to show homage to America's greatest superhero. As if. On a good day, he'd be left alone; on a bad day, his boss would show up at some random time in the afternoon, all big grin and loud tie, and give him a speech about salesmanship and pluck. "Pluck" was his boss's thing, his shiny new catch-word that meant absolutely squat.

Superman would never have put up with such an inglorious, inane cover job. Not a day went by that Keith didn't have to deal with at least one customer that he wanted to punch in the sternum.


02-09-2011, 10:21 PM
I am attempting to revive this thread, which I think is one of the best we've ever had. The point is to take five prompts given by the previous poster and use them in the beginning of your "novel." The length is up to you.

You'll see that the last poster gave these five prompts:


Here is my novel's first paragraph, using the prompts:

Ramona was getting sick of her job, serving gooey sundaes to overweight ladies who sat giggling over the latest celebrity news. Maybe she could stir them from their intellectual torpor by giving them a dose of her overpowering flatulence. While pondering this, she glanced out the window and saw a unicorn approaching. That was the solution! She dropped everything and dashed outside, confident that the creature would take her away from all this.

And here are my prompts for the next player:

We've got some very creative members in this-here forum, so let's see what you can do! :poke:

Drachen Jager
02-09-2011, 11:24 PM
Parker Johnston let out a tremendous burp. His co-pilot wafted a safety brochure in his general direction.
"Oh man, that's rancid! I can't even see the instrument panel my eyes are watering so badly! I'm gonna go for a walk."
"Hey man, what can I say, airline food."
"Shut up! You say that every time. I can't decide if you're actually a jerk or if you should see a doctor."
"Yeah, I tend to be ambiguous that way."
The co-pilot unbuckled and walked towards the back of the cockpit. Just then the plane gave a lurch began to gyrate wildly through the air like a hula skirt.



02-10-2011, 07:04 PM
When the mysterious lady entered the bar Friday night, everyone looked at her askance. She was hot, but the fact that she wore a leather skirt with sneakers and socks seemed odd, and when she sat down next to Gus, ordered a martini with Jell-O on the side, turned away and then glanced backwards with a smile and said, “You’re the guy from Craigslist, right?” made him realize she had mistaken him for someone else. Why not play along?


Drachen Jager
02-10-2011, 11:08 PM
I was dubious when my friend Nymtoc told me I could generate thousands of dollars a week in income as a radish farmer. I admit, my first response was somewhat snarky, but then he showed me his new sailboat and I had second thoughts.
But that was before I learned about the radish spirits. Before I learned Nymtoc was an evil necromancer bent on raising an army of zombie radishes to take over the world....


02-11-2011, 06:30 AM
Seated in the foyer of the contemporary art section, Detective Travers listened attentively and jotted down notes as the curator, Wilfred Symthe carefully answered the detective's questions.

"Yes, it was the janitor who discovered the missing painting when he started his shift Monday morning. He noticed that a painting had been cut out of its frame, leaving only the frame."

"Hmm," mused the detective. His attention was momentarily diverted by a shapely young women with stiletto heels gazing absently at an abstract of what looked like a penis with ears. She looked like a tart. Detective Travers was sure he was in love. "Uhh..and what dollar value would you place on the stolen painting?" he asked, returning to the curator.

Wilfred Smythe cast his eye forlornly on the wall where the empty frame sat. "As one of the finest examples of the post-modern kitsch movement, I would put the auction value of Flamingo Dancing a Hula at no less than 3 million dollars." Detective Travers wasn't thinking about auctions or dollars or flamingos at the moment. He turned his gaze back to the abstract of the penis with ears. The girl in stilettos was gone.


Drachen Jager
02-11-2011, 09:18 PM
"Roiks ri rink ra ris ra rarroyrr," barked Scooby.
Velma frowned at the statue. "No, that's not a gargoyle Scooby, it's a grotesque, gargoyles have spouts for water."
Shaggy shivered. "Like, I don't care what it is, let's just get outta here, right Scoob?"
"Ruh huh."
They walked a little further through the courtyard.
Suddenly Shaggy jumped ten feet in the air and landed, clinging to Scooby's head. "W-w-w-w-what's that." He pointed his finger at a monstrous shadow.
Velma shook her head. "Shaggy, it's a rhododendron, the shadow just mimics a monster shape."
"Oh... Then what's that?" Shaggy pointed to a pterodactyl with twelve inch tusks that was bearing down on the trio.



02-12-2011, 02:22 AM
When it came to business and anything involving money, Fred prided himself on his shrewd, canny abilities. There was one pursuit, however--one from which he derived a great deal of pleasure, where money was no object. It was also a pursuit that required him to be very discreet, because it involved transacting business with voluptuous females, preferably redheads.

"I think I should inform you before we start," said Fred, nervously, "that I'm a narcoleptic."

"Is that like when your body gets all jerky and your eyes turn around in their sockets? Oohh, wait, I think I have pills for that," she said, ready to lift her supple thighs from the bed.

She was sweet as well as very good-looking, thought Fred, but not exactly an Einstein. Then again, was he interested in having a passionate romp with Einstein? Fred placed a hand on her shoulder. "No, it's just a condition I have where I might suddenly fall asleep in the middle of our fun, and I didn't want you to think that I was bored or anything."

"Honey, don't you worry," she said, stroking his shiny, bald head, "If you fall asleep on me, I promise you that I have ways to wake you up."


02-12-2011, 05:56 AM
Nervously, Doobie carried his jar of maple syrup to Penny’s front porch, rang the bell and waited under the awning. He hoped the delicious syrup would finally bring her around. But when she opened the door, she said, “Eew, I can’t stand that stuff--it’s so banal. Oh, hell, you might as well come in. By the way, Randy is here.”

Crestfallen, Doobie walked in and saw the handsome Randy stepping out of the shower with a zebra-striped towel around his waist. Randy grinned. “What’s up, loser?”

“You--you just make me want to expectorate!” said the frustrated Doobie.

“Oo, he's using big words to try to impress you, Penny,” said Randy. “But I’ve got something a lot bigger."


Drachen Jager
02-12-2011, 10:34 AM
She had a pair of gams that seemed endless. That was the first thing I noticed after I crawled out of my whisky bottle and saw her standing, silhouetted in my office doorway.
She said, "Hey there shorty. I hear you are the man to see about a missing Ostrich."
I said, "I don't do exotic animal cases any more. Not after my partner ended up lunch for a tiger."
She said, "My husband is the richest man in Detroit. How about I redistribute some of his wealth in your direction."
I said, "Baby, truth is, I never liked my old partner anyhow. He cheated at cards."



02-12-2011, 05:42 PM
Inua sat huddled in the igloo, waiting for Keelut to return from the hunt. He was late, and the hunger pains in her abdomen were growing. She sipped walrus tea from a styrofoam cup and it warmed her slightly, but it did nothing to ease the ache in her belly. Besides, it was greasy and Inua did not like greasy tea. In the summer she would pick sweet scrub grass for her tea, but this was still winter. She waited for her man as she watched the icy breath exhale from her mouth and nostrils. Suddenly there was the sound of distant barking. Keelut was returning with the dog team!

"Keelut!" she cried, "You are back! Was the hunt good?"

"It was not good. A strong wind arose that drove off the caribou. But on my return, a great bird--a pelican, flew over me and dropped this from his mandible." Keelut reached into his rucksack and pulled out a mango. He showed it to Inua.

"That is good," said she. "We will have it for dessert after our whale stew." Inua always kept a container of leftover whale stew in the freezer in case the hunt was poor. "Keelut, why did a pelican fly so far north?"

"Perhaps his GPS did not work well."


02-12-2011, 06:24 PM
Shannon had been typing all night on a gnarled Hermes with a churlish disposition but now that the first rays of the Saturday sun were glancing across the pages of her term paper she realized that her assigned topic, The Praise of Folly by Erasmus of Rotterdam was as dry as God's dandruff.

Wearily she pushed herself from her desk, tucked a couple of doobies into the pocket of her denim jacket and slipped out of the dorm and into the woods that fringed the campus. She knew a place where a humanist could hallucinate in peace: A silvery pond in the heart of the woods where a solitary swan gave wise counsel to weary seekers of the truth.

Shannon was pretty sure the swan knew the straight story on Erasmus and his housekeeper.

Bow tie

Straw hat

5 pink ducks

Snow Globe

Packet of carrot Seed

Drachen Jager
02-13-2011, 01:20 AM
Shakeysix straightened her bow tie and wondered for the twentieth time whether it matched her straw hat. She pocketed a snow globe and a packet of carrot seed, just in case anybody happened to need any on the other side. She stepped up to her full-length looking glass and said, "If it works for Alice it should work for me right?"

Five pink ducks waddled by on the other side of the mirror quacking at her. They appeared to be saying that her list of words weren't really words at all, but rather phrases.

"What an odd thing for ducks to say," said shakysix.

She took a step into the mirror and smashed her nose against it's hard surface. She fell to the ground, rubbing her nose. "Oh, I suppose I am just insane after all.... Well at least now I know."

"Who are you talking to?" said the clock.



02-13-2011, 02:54 AM
Angelinabella was wearing a low-cut, clinging black dress, but fluorescent lights cast a harsh glow on her face as she took the witness stand.

“When you told your lover you would like to see your husband dead, isn’t it true that you were speaking figuratively?” her lawyer asked. “Isn’t it true that you never really wanted Felipe to murder your husband?”

Speaking through tears, Angelinabella said, “Walter was the foundation, the very staple of my life. I never, ever wanted anything to happen to the darling man.”

“So when Felipe talked Walter into going out on the lake in a canoe on the Fourth of July, you didn’t know the fireworks Walter was supposed to set off were really sticks of dynamite?”

At this point, there was a clamor in the courtroom as Angelinabella collapsed. Judge Poofberry declared a recess until the next morning.


02-13-2011, 04:34 AM
On a cautionary note: It is unwise to let fashion determine pectoral perkiness. I recommend that sensible young women invest in a well made brassiere with underwire support as well as accordion style straps. Take it from an old bra burner--once the bratwurst slips out of the casing there is no getting it back!--s6




Lyle Crocodile

Saint Clair of Assisi
(not a phrase but a small statue on my desk.)

Drachen Jager
02-13-2011, 09:30 AM
Drachen Jager sat at his desk and pondered. Was shakeysix trying to kill the thread? Perhaps she was trying to show off her knowledge of obscure words? What other purpose could there be for such a bizarre collection of words, they were certainly not intended for the next person in line to enjoy incorporating into a story.
Drachen racked his brains. How to use the list in the beginning of a novel, that was the question, "Begonia, Schlumbergera, Peperomia, Lyle Crocodile, Saint Clair of Assisi" Two of the words were so uncommon they caused his spell-checker to light up. How could he possibly fit them into a story....



02-13-2011, 05:04 PM
"My house plants are withering despite my obsessive care," mused Shakeysix. "There are spider webs all over my Peperomia, my once exuberant Begonia is covered with pepperoni sized brown spots and my christmas cactus is an arbour of webs and wilting despair!"

"Not the schlumbergera!" gasped Drachen J.

"Yes, your beloved schlumbergera. And I suspect the architect of this destruction is this minute sap sucking bastard!" Shakeysix plucked a tiny red spider mite from a Peperomia leaf and held it under Drachen's nose.

Drachen ran shrieking from the room.


02-14-2011, 12:30 AM
Shoving a forkful of waffles into his mouth and taking a gulp of coffee, Leon thumbed through the morning newspaper until he came to the horoscopes. "Let's see what it says for Gemini," he muttered to himself, skimming down the list of astrological signs. "Be very careful today," it read, "Someone close to you could find out about a dark secret you have been hiding. It's time to either come clean or mend your obdurate ways." Leon paused, scrunched up his face, then stood up and walked to the bookshelf adjacent to the kitchen table. He pulled a dictionary off the shelf and began turning its pages until he found the word he was looking for:

ob·du·rate adj. 1. a. Hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; stubbornly impenitent.

Reading the definition, Leon broke into a guilty smile. Suddenly he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. It was his wife. He quickly placed the dictionary back on the bookshelf and returned to his newspaper, being careful to cover up the horoscopes with the sports section.


02-14-2011, 01:25 AM
Jack was astonished to find a beach at the top of the beanstalk. He stood staring at the waves when a giant noodle washed ashore. Some very large creature must live here, he thought--either that or I am as psychotic as people say I am. Suddenly he heard a thunderous laugh, and a huge hand began to exfoliate the beanstalk. “How will I ever get back down?” Jack said to himself in a panic. But his fears had only begun, for something immense and yellowish was bearing down on him. At first he thought it was a weapon of war, but no--it was a toenail on the foot of a humongous man!


Drachen Jager
02-14-2011, 02:48 AM
"Let's see if Barbie can fly!" Jack dangled the doll over the edge of the Grand Canyon.
"Jimmy, give it back!" cried Suzie, elbowing her brother in the midsection to try to get him to release the doll to her. She pushed too hard. He went up and over the safety railing and began to fall.
"Mommy! Jimmy fell!" called Suzie.
Her mother didn't look up from her cell phone. "Uh huh, okay Suzie, he's had his tetanus inoculation, he'll be fine."
"Into the canyon Mommy!"
That galvanized their mother into action. But she was far too late. By the time she got to the edge all that could be seen of little Jimmy was a mushroom shaped cloud of dust, drifting up from the bottom of the canyon.



02-14-2011, 05:31 PM
It was the third discovery in a particularly nasty series of discoveries. The bloated body of a 30-something male was found floating on his back in the harbour in the early hours of the morning. Like the two other victims found in the same harbour, he was wearing a single water ski and had a pepperoni sausage stuffed in his mouth. Lacking a credible suspect to pin the crimes on, the police tried to frame a local butcher whose sausages resembled the ones found in the mouths of the victims. But the butcher was released after a gluttonous cop ate all the evidence. That's when I stepped in. I'm a private detective. They call me Joe Thursday. This murder, like the others, has the earmark of a mob hit. If I find the killer or killers, it could catapult my career as a detective story writer or I could find myself floating belly up in the harbour with a pepperoni sausage stuffed down my throat. Either way, when it comes to pizza now, I only eat vegetarian.


02-14-2011, 06:24 PM
Sheriff Shakeysix sighed and readjusted the knot in her dew rag. It was another 100+ day in Reno County, Kansas. The feeble southerly breeze merely stirred up the dust and tumbleweeds outside the precinct window. Pedr and Margett Pennr, an honest Mennonite couple sat before herdesk, victims of a particularly adroit buggy jacking. Jacob's chin whiskers had been singed in the attack. Obviously the violence was escalating. And, sadly, it was beyond the powers of Reno County Law Enforcement to exorcise the buggy gang from their peace loving county.

"This is clearly a job for Joe Thursday!" she exclaimed, picking up the phone.


lunch menu

ham and cheese pockets


Spanish Textbook

02-14-2011, 07:01 PM
Mrs. S wrote “menú del almuerzo” on the blackboard and said, “Lunch menu.” Tulio was throwing spitballs, Marta was shaking maracas, and Elpidio, who was passing ham and cheese pockets to Ramonita, said, “She gives us this lame Spanish textbook, and we’ve been speaking Spanish all our lives! ¡Ella es idiota!”


02-14-2011, 08:06 PM
Carrying a lit candelabra through the dark hallway, Count Szabó crept silently into the billiards room, his piercing black eyes darting back and forth to see if he was being followed. Entering the spacious room with its ornate oak paneling, the Count strode to the windows and pulled aside the heavy damask drapery. He was pleased to see the full moon high in the sky. The Count moved to one end of the billiards table and reached under it to release a lever. A hidden door opened, revealing a crystal goblet and two beakers, one containing a yellowish liquid, the other a green substance. He lifted the glass and beakers from the secret compartment and placed them on a baroque rosewood side table. He measured, then poured an equal amount of liquid from each beaker into the goblet. The substance foamed and hissed in its vessel as Count Szabó lifted the fizzy elixir to his pale, thin lips, glancing once more at the full moon outside the window. "Ah!" he cried aloud, "is this not a fine night to repudiate all natural laws of man?"


02-14-2011, 08:07 PM
oh nymmie, that is too close to reality. you must be psychic. sorry no time to play now--- i need to teach a spanish speaking kid some english for a change. --s6

02-14-2011, 10:27 PM
"There is a boar in my aviary," Countess Szabo announced.
She was a thin, fish faced woman given to histrionics. She and her husband, the count, were estranged. This is why she had removed the accent from the last syllable of her surname. (That and the fact that the insert table flummoxed poor Shakey.)

"A boar? Where?" Joe Thursday asked, giving the glass room careful scrutiny.

"Somewhere up there!" The countess pointed to a large, green brown stain on the elbow of her velveteen riding frock. "I know he is the result of one of my estranged husband's genetics experiments. He's destroying my precious peperomia collection and my insurance company is calling it an Act of God!"

"Sweet Jesus," Joe Thursday muttered. "Pigs really do fly!"


white whale



S.T. Coleridge

02-15-2011, 05:47 PM
In the summer of 1883, I sailed--along with a company of hearty adventurers, on a frigate bound toward the island of Krakatoa. After a brief stop on Java, where we each enjoyed a cup of fine coffee, we continued our course and on the way, sighted a white whale. He didn't notice us, as he appeared to be engrossed in the novel he was reading, Moby Dick. As I reclined comfortably in my deck chair on this lovely cloudless day, reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I felt compelled to read the words aloud:

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name...

Suddenly, as we approached the island of Krakatoa, a terrible rumbling could be heard, followed by a loud explosion. For myself and shipmates that was the last mortal sound our ears would hear. Nonetheless, it was pleasant to die while reading S.T. Coleridge.


02-15-2011, 10:34 PM
Miss Wednesday was banging away on an ancient Hermes that set on the reception desk. From his office Joe stole another discreet glance at her and sighed. A rapier sharp pain went through his heavy heart. Joe Thursday was not a man given to sighs but when Miss Wednesday wore her tight, cherry red sweater even her tits typed.

Joe mopped at his sweaty brow and cleared his pharynx. "M...M...Miss Wednesday, would you like to assuage your thirst with a screwdriver?"

"Pardon?" she murmured, her breasts aquiver.

"A screwdriver--a highball drink of orange juice and fermented potatoes. With me. This afternoon. At the Cactus Lounge."

"Well, Gee, Yeah," she bubbled, parking her gum under the desk and grabbing her cardigan.


Macaroni and Cheese

Gummy worms

Cold Duck


02-16-2011, 03:27 AM
Horace chewed gummy worms as he kept switching channels, looking for something worth watching. From the kitchen, his wife called, “Dinner’s ready--macaroni and cheese.”

“What!” Horace shouted. “You said we were having cold duck tonight!”

“I did, but this man came to the door asking for a handout, and he looked so pathetic I gave him the duck.”

She had barely spoken before she had to grab an umbrella to shield herself from the gummy worms Horace was hurling her way, along with the TV remote.


02-16-2011, 07:33 AM
Eric Waltz would describe himself, if he were ever asked, as carnivorous, and give the person asking an unsettling toothy grin. The NASDAQ exchange was his hunting ground by day, and by night, well...

His wife had recently met an untimely death at the hands of what appeared to be a cannibal with poor table manners. The mortician had done what he could, considering there were several missing parts. The funeral had gone ahead, but the biscuit tin Eric had clutched throughout the entire ceremony raised some eyebrows.


Roller Coaster

02-16-2011, 07:49 AM
"Come one, come all, to the greatest place on earth!" the master of ceremonies announced the second day during the chicken sumo wrestling competition.

The county fair was in full swing that summer. I remember the sounds of the roller coaster racing overhead and the screams of the riders. There were carnival games with basketballs and miniguns for people willing to shell out the dollars to win giant stuffed animals, too.

"Dear, is my wig on straight?" my husband asked, interrupting my reverie.


02-16-2011, 06:04 PM
On a remote beach somewhere in the Florida panhandle, with just enough illumination for them to see each other, Dolores and her lover, Antonio lay together on the sand, their entwined bodies writhing in wild and naked abandon. So involved were they in their savage lovemaking they they were unaware of the large jellyfish riding the crest of a wave that was moving violently to shore.

"Aaaaahhhh!!!" screamed Dolores, "get it out of my hair!!" With some difficulty, Antonio managed to wrest the jellyfish from Dolores's hair and then flung the creature onto the sand. A relieved Dolores invited Antonio to lay back down on the sand and pick up where they left off.

"I'm sorry darling," whined Antonio, "but I'm turned off now. I'm going back to the car."

"I loathe you!" shouted Dolores, throwing her sandal at Antonio. Thus ended their twilight tryst, and soon thereafter, their relationship. What had begun with so much promise was now utterly forgetful.


02-16-2011, 07:30 PM
The late actress Belinda Balooka, star of such silent epics as Lust on the Nile and Me and the Sheik, had a sardonic streak. Therefore, she had taken great care to calculate every aspect of her funeral. The hearse should be drawn by a camel, and a bevy of police should be on hand to filter out any disrespectful taunts from rival actresses who might infiltrate the crowd of her adoring fans.


02-16-2011, 09:17 PM
Sidney may have been a wimp and could be irritating at times, but when a fiery marshmallow caused him to burn to death at a weenie roast one summer, his wife, Moira was inconsolable. And she experienced more than emotional pain. Because they had had a symbiotic relationship, at the very moment that poor Sidney was being engulfed in flames, Moira's eyebrows spontaneously burst into flames. She managed to put out the fire, but her eyebrows never grew back. And this is where our story starts to diverge; apparently before the accident, Moira had had bushy eyebrows and few men outside of her husband thought her attractive. Well, now lacking proper eyebrows, Moira used an eyebrow pencil to enhance her appearance. And men started to take notice, to the extent that eventually a fabulously wealthy sultan fell in love with her and spirited her away to one of his seaside villas on the Arabian sea. Sidney eventually faded from memory.

feng shui

02-16-2011, 10:36 PM
According to Allen Ginsberg there is a vortex that runs along Kellog street in Wichita Kansas. It is not like me to make derogatory statements about the Beat Generation nor would I ever meddle in the poetic offerings of our high school textbooks, but I myself have never experienced said vortex and I travel Kellog Street bi-monthly. Therefore I must remove myself from the altar of Ginsberg worship. In summation I will say that there is an interesting Feng Shui, when one uses highway 96 to enter the Air Capitol. --A Bona Fide Kansas Farm Girl


Red Sharpie

Grade book

Cisco Kid


02-17-2011, 01:07 AM
When the Cisco Kid switched back to the wrong side of the law (the way he had been originally, in O. Henry’s story), he formed an alliance with the worst outlaws in the West. They recognized each other by the sign of a one-eyed, laughing skull drawn in the armpit with a red sharpie. They met each evening in Mrs. S’s attic, while she sat innocently downstairs working on her grade book.


02-17-2011, 01:37 AM
The next door neighbours were at it again, playing their loud music, disturbing the whole building.


"Arnold," she said her her husband. I just can''t stand to listen to that racket any longer. Did you hear those horrible words? Who on earth talks like that?!"

"I'm not sure, dear," answered her husband. A strange, secretive smile played about his lips while his right foot seemed to be tapping to a strange beat. "I don't know very much about that kind of music, but I'd say it's Eminem."


02-17-2011, 04:45 AM
The blue skies and heat of the first day of summer lured my son outside during breakfast this morning.

"Don't forget your omelet!" I called.

"I'm done," he yelled back to me, already straddling his new Mongoose bike, veering down the steep drive and turning into the neighborhood sidewalks.

I turned back toward the sudsy sink and stuck my hands in to finish washing last night's dinner dishes. I felt a shish kabob skewer in the dirty water and sighed. The kitchen was a mess. Ever since my husband's business partner had taken the money and run, we just didn't seem to function as a family anymore. I told him before he opened the store it was a swindle job. He never listened to me anymore.

"Have you cleaned around here lately?" Dave asked, coming into the kitchen in his shorts and scruffy faced. I didn't answer. His incendiary comments were just because he was looking for someone to lash out at.

Pooh Bear

02-17-2011, 08:14 AM
“You talk with your high-falutin’ language and with your boobs pushing out your Pooh Bear T-shirt and think you’re gonna win me over?” said the swarthy detective. “Your DNA is on the murder weapon.”

“Surely we can have a civilized chat,” said the curvaceous widow. “And would it be discongruous for me to suggest a cup of tea?”

“Skip the tea--I’ll take a melon,” said the detective. “And there ain’t no such word as ‘discongruous.’”


02-17-2011, 05:02 PM
Detective Joe Thursday was staked out in the trendy village of Chevy Chase, Maryland for an indeterminate period of time. He was hired by an anonymous client in Washington to stealthily spy on that client's wife, a dog groomer working in an upscale shopping mall. The unnamed client suspected his wife was having an affair with her boss. Joe Thursday had started his surveillance on a Tuesday and though he couldn't foresee it at the time, by Saturday, he and the dog groomer would be lying in bed together smoking cigarettes, sharing their life stories.


02-17-2011, 06:28 PM
"Turkish delights me but a moist Morrocan will do in a pinch," quipped Stella Nymphanitz.

Her remark, uttered in a thick, flacid purr, caused the unfortunate Ahmed Thursday to start and bump against a small but rampant statue of Pan, sending it crashing into a hundred pieces on the marble floor of the conservatory.

Ahmed took his notebook and a pencil stub from his pocket. "So you say your husband was last seen sunning in his wheel chair beside the goldfish pond?" he said in a tone that attempted to remonstrate but cried fluster.

word search

converse all stars

refried beans

soft tacos


02-18-2011, 09:15 AM
After robbing the shoe store, Jake and Paco went to Taco Bell to celebrate. Jake had refried beans, and Paco had soft tacos.

“Look at these bangin' Converse All Stars,” Jake said.

“That’s bootleg, man,” said Paco. “You should’ve took some Nike Huarache Air Zooms like these.” He held out a foot, grinning at the black-white-and chartreuse design on the shoes.

Doing a mental word search, Jake said, “Hey, I hope we didn’t leave no--what do they call it?--DNA back there.”

“Nah, but I feel bad about that guy we tied up in the back room. I hope we didn’t tie him up too tight.”

Jake nearly choked on his beans. “Don’t tell me you’re gettin' sentimental on me!”


02-18-2011, 09:28 AM
Josef grew up in a small city along the Bosphorus. He was a ribald cad, portly, working at one of the many oil tankers in the waterway. He could sling around the filthy language to shock an American longshoreman.

Driving home from his favorite Turkish restaurant one evening, he realized his 8-track player in his El Dorado was stuck on eject. "Dirty dogs!" he exclaimed, "how can I demystify the workings of these blasted electronic gadgets?"


02-18-2011, 04:50 PM
Filthy muse, to abandon him once again. Such egregious treachery. So easy to conform to the fast-food literature of a money-driven world, so difficult quality, originality.

Enough! Time for bed. His muse would return, no doubt while he was on the can, like it always did. Who knew why his imagination blazed while taking a tinkle or launching a log - such a magical porcelain throne.

He abandoned his slippers and was just retreating under the covers when a giant man-eating hamster crashed through his window...



02-19-2011, 05:16 AM
Dr. Weevil was determined to become master of the universe, but he was undecided about the best way to do it. Trying to placate the masses was too odious to consider. He might bring about an emergency by starting a conflagration in a church or something, but people might get upset if he wiped out a bunch of nuns. He kissed Tipi, his Chihuahua, on her cute little nose. Tipi always came up with super ideas.


02-19-2011, 07:07 AM
After the clumsy waiter spilled avocado dressing on Eunice's brand new silk blouse, she demanded in a loud voice to see the manager, fully expecting that the restaurant would recompense her for her stained garment.

"Oh, all it needs is a soak in Borax," he said with an air of indifference.

"I'll SOAK YOU IN BORAX!!!" screamed Eunice not too delicately into the manager's ear, perforating his tympanum. "AND AS FOR YOU!" she shrieked, turning to the waiter, "YOU GET NO TIP!"


02-19-2011, 08:08 AM
Too weird not to post. Well done Woof for getting in this time. From Nymtocs



Oh sweet pedastal, and cornice and capital. How fine the thrust of columns and buttress, the filigree of frieze and tympanum. So...arousing.

He had tried to perform his husband's duties but failed. All manner of encouragements had his wife produced: an avacado every night before bed, erectile disfunction drugs ("Borax, guaranteed to bore your wife!"), even swedish mechanical devices of obvious purpose, but to no effect. It was hopeless. He knew his problem, he loved another - cathedrals. There was no recompense for their beauty, and once he had discovered his proclivities there was no returning.

He had finally made this trip to Rome, and St Peter's Basilica. He had stolen inside with one thought in mind: the altar with Bernini's baldacchino - ooooh yeah. The spiralled ribbed surface of the supoorts made his mouth water.

The moment he saw the structure he approached and immediately began to delicately stroke the baroque bronze surface. He hugged and carressed and thrust his groin against it. Oh my ye-

"You there! What do you think you're doing?" interrupted a priest in important looking red garb.

Startled, he looked at the priest, then back at the support column. The column stared back at him, inanimate.

02-19-2011, 08:22 AM
From Woof's post, last post previous page:


A polyester scepter? Eccentric to say the least was King Carl Ludwig von Dusseldorf of the Greater Free Planets of the Orion arm, galactic sector Omega 4-23. Someone needed to excavate his brain and remove the defects. Easily enough done. Perhaps then some serious resistance to the Megallenic Paradigm swarming their territory for the past 1000 years. Mother preserve us.



02-19-2011, 05:39 PM
Walking through the scorching desert, feeling fatigued and disoriented. I was so dizzy, that I lost my balance and fell on my buttocks on a cactus. I emitted a loud cry and started to panic when suddenly I encountered President Obama. He made an eloquent speech that lifted my spirits and encouraged me to move on. I then encountered an eskimo pushing a baby pram. He invited me to look inside at his infant. I peered inside and saw with horror a face of unspeakable evil. "He has his father's eyes," intoned the eskimo. I then woke up screaming. That's it for me. I am never again eating enchiladas before going to sleep.


02-19-2011, 06:30 PM
I went to the bistro, to see if someone there could cauterize the wound in my side. Some scarab nipped me good, and here I thought they were only relevent in ancient Egypt times. If it weren't for that uncouth tourist, thinking it was soo funny letting one slide down my shirt, I would be back on the streets shopping, instead of lying in this doorway, drowning in the sounds of reggae music and a sea of concerned faces.


02-19-2011, 08:49 PM
I was seated in front of the insurance adjuster's desk while he examined a thick pile of forms. My palms were sweaty.

"I see from your list of items lost in the fire, that among various household furnishings, you are claiming an apple computer and a suede coat worth $9,650.35" He looked at me with penetrating eyes. "Can you explain how a coat can cost so much?"

I gulped. "Uh, well you see, that was a designer coat that I bought at that...uh...what is the name again of that high end leather...?"


"That's it! Prada!"

"Would you happen to have a receipt?"

"Receipt? Oh...uh...that was lost in the fire."

The claims adjuster looked at me darkly. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to reject that particular claim."

"Are you calling me a liar?" I countered.

"If the shoe fits...and oh yes, that reminds me, can you explain your claim here for shoes amounting to $14,572.97?"

I had heard enough. I pulled out a concealed dagger, reached over the desk and buried it in his suspicious heart. I never much liked insurance adjusters anyway.


02-19-2011, 10:18 PM
My wife and I were in the grotto we'd discovered on our last trip to Italy, eating this fabulous quail and macaroni salad with basil that she makes, when they attacked. We thought it was just hungry children swarming us until we figured out they were pirates.

"What's that mnemonic we learned for pirate attacks?" I asked my wife.

"What are you talking about?" she yelled. "Parlay!"

One of them responded to her with a sarcastic sneer. "Everyone who watches Pirates of the Caribbean thinks that works. They didn't canonize piracy, you know."


02-19-2011, 11:05 PM
Tobias Grimp trudged along the beach, looking at the aberrant waves of the shifting tide. He had been alone on this island for 25 years now, ever since HMS Wigglethorpe went down, leaving him the only survivor. He had been a suave young sailor then, in his well-tailored britches, but now he was naked except for the loincloth he had woven from kelp for modesty’s sake, though he was the only person on the island. Suddenly, he saw a water soaked envelope among the flotsam brought in on the tide. A message from another human being! He snatched it from the water and, with trembling hands, managed to pull out a fragment of a hand-written letter. It was dated 25 years previously and read “Help! I am stranded on a desert island! Tobias Grimp.”


Drachen Jager
02-20-2011, 07:48 AM
The mercenary turnip crept stealthily through the quickly coagulating concrete, intent on his target. He crouched and took careful aim. He took a breath, let half out and steadied the sights, then in a fluid motion he pulled the trigger.
In that instant, Santa Claus died, and the vegetable war on Holidays began.



02-20-2011, 10:07 AM
He was a walking alcohol sponge. He craved the bottle morning, noon and night. There was support there, from family and friends, but the very nature of that support - patronizing concern, condescention, and most loathed of all, pity - just drove him back toward that which he was running from, like some inescapable paradox from a Twilight Zone episode. At the AA seminar they'd given it a catchy name: The Addiction Boomerang, explaining that making the break at the furthest point of the arc was the key.

Pff, he thought. It was all balony. Well meaning people in a well meaning society made him more sick than the alcahol. He would conform when hell froze over, and not before. Just to emphasize the point he tipped the bottle up to his lips and drowned himself in the stuff. There would be a deluge of alcohol tonight, a river, and flood, a godamn cataract! He would not be sensible, or moderate, he would wallow in it to show them he was his own man.



02-21-2011, 12:57 AM
Quentin the quail catcher was on a quest. He had many a question regarding the Quark programming that was quickly becoming quadruple the work he had expected. Quite honestly, even mastering qwerty was too much for him.


02-21-2011, 03:07 AM
Biff was a rugged dude, and he couldn’t stand namby-pamby guys who used words like “eschew,” which was nothing but a fancy-schmancy way of saying “chew.” He looked at himself in the mirror: Tiger-striped muscle T-shirt, jeans hung low enough to show a hint of pubes, mirror shades and a really cool blond-streak job he got at the barber’s last week. Not too shabby. Why had that babe called him “farcical” yesterday? He didn’t understand women.


02-21-2011, 05:13 AM
A monotonous diet of tortilla and enchilada is always going to spell trouble for a group of people forced into close confines over weeks. Spicey hot and chock full of beans can only mean one thing: rampant flatulance. Cunningly constructed bamboo tubing to funnel away the smell can be effective, it's just not comfortable, especially when native birds like that pesky Mexican Stripe decide it's a good place from which to innitiate complex avian mating rituals. But, in the end, it's nonsense to think we would abandon this expedition, the El Castillo pyramid is just too big a prize.



02-21-2011, 06:53 AM
The once convivial atmosphere of the poker game had grown bitter and chilly. Even the marijuana laced brownies offered no cheer. b1 was down to his jester's cap with the lovely silver bells. (get the yeats allusion? ) Nymmie was shivering in his kangaroo hide jock and that Q ball wentworth was about to give up her genuine Viking Valkyrie iron under wire bra. Most obscene of all, Woof was about to pry out his titanium belly button plug--if only he could find his b. button. IT WAS NOT A PRETTY PICTURE.





botany bay

02-21-2011, 08:35 AM
Her long anticipated début at the Sydney opera house was heralded with much fanfare. Traffic was backed up to Botany Bay and along the sidewalks, throngs of adoring fans waited for hours in the blistering sun just to get a glimpse of the diva as her limousine sped past on its way to the gala performance.

The curtain rose, and a hush was heard among the spectators. Then a spotlight shone on the star. Dressed in a leotard and Australian outback hat, Shakeysix warmed up by striking a sexy pose in an attempt to dally with the audience. She then began to play the didgeridoo while singing a poignant rendition of Waltzing Matilda. When her performance ended, only a scattering of applause-- mainly from a group of bored kangaroos, could be heard, while a number of audience members rushed the box office demanding a refund. One irate patron unwittingly threw a boomerang at the star, injuring himself in the process. Shakeysix barely escaped the opera house with her life that night, eventually returning home to Kansas. She vowed never to return to a land of barbarians unworthy of her talents.


02-21-2011, 08:58 AM
Miss Fortin had been played. Her life heretofore had been well spent, she surmised, in the agreeable pastimes of painting, drawing, learning French, and needlework. Yet it wasn't enough for her. She was drawn to the handsome charlatan in Bath that winter. An extemporaneous introduction at a ball was all it took for Miss Fortin to clarify that her previously thought laudable goals were now laughable in light of her current situation.

She was walking along the lane that evening, hearing a nightingale chirping its merry tune in a nearby bush, and surmising how it was possible that the man had seduced her so thoroughly so as to impregnate her. Miss Fortin had been played, indeed.


02-21-2011, 05:07 PM
The Adventures of Captain Shoe and The Amazing Aglet - Part 1: Shopping for Shoes

Captain Shoe and his trusty sidekick, The Amazing Aglet, roamed the city streets looking for trouble. The Shoemobile's intimidating bulk announced its presence with screeching tires at every corner. It was fitted with all the gadgets a footwear superhero would need: laptops and wireless modem/router, microwave oven, frappe maker, extra-large sock draw, and lots of shoes.

The Amazing Aglet zapped a pie and fixed himself a frappe while waiting for a connection. As they came into downtown the modem blinked green and he quickly logged on to Stiletto's Facebook page and pinpointed her location.

"She's at the mall", he announced, and moments later they were on their way. Where else would she be but at the mall buying shoes. They headed for their usual disabled parking spot on the lower deck - but it was a trap. As they stepped out the Shoemobile they both lost their footing - some kind of friction mat had been laid down and they couldn't get any purchase, even with their renowned super-grip soles.

"I have you now Captain Shoe", came an ominously familiar voice from nearby.

"Holy blonde bombshell Captain, it's Stiletto. Throw your shoe!", Aglet screamed in panic.

"I can't get the damn thing off, I keep slipping over", came the reply. "Can you get her with your lightning laces?"

"I'm having some difficulty unthreading the third eyelet, dammit!"

Mocking laughter greeted this news. It echoed off the walls and seemed to penetrate their very souls. It wasn't looking good for Captain Shoe and The Amazing Aglet...


LGM-30 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

02-21-2011, 06:20 PM
Once upon a time little Shakey cowered under her school desk while thirty other baby boom six year olds crouched under their desk. They were praying the rosary in their quavering, baby voices. It was only a drill, Sister Dalmatia, their teacher, assured them but they could be certain that the air above them would be filled with icbms, atom bombs and angels of death some day soon. The Fatima vision clearly stated that the world would end in 1960. The Almighty was tired of warning the US to stop its sinful, frivolous ways. He was sending doom and destruction by way of Godless Russia and the only hope to save the world was to pray the rosary instead of watching Disney!

Now every little girl is a Disney Princess.

War paint


Wagon Bed Springs



02-21-2011, 07:09 PM
In Wagon Bed Springs, Oklahoma, Clem and his brother, Hiram walked out of the Bijou Picture Palace in disgust. "That was a bad remake of Cimarron," asserted Clem.

Hiram nodded in agreement. "I know. I was really lookin' forward to that battle between the Indians and the cavalry, but when the Kiowa showed up in their war paint all covered in glitter and rhinestones, you really had to laugh."

"Yeah," spat Clem, "Some warriors! They all looked like Liberace."

"But you know somethin', Clem," said Hiram.


"When the chief of the Liberace tribe started to sing, I'll be seeing you/ In all the old familiar places/That is heart of mine embraces/All day through...I got a real lump in my throat."

"You're such a wimp."


02-21-2011, 08:39 PM
Woof had set up his chewing-gum-and-porn stand in front of his house, but so far he had few customers--only a couple for the porn, and none for the spearmint gum, his specialty. He stood there wondering why his neighbors called his enterprise sleazy, or why that cop kept coming by to admonish him to close his business or face arrest. He felt a warm zephyr from the west. At least the weather was improving. But people’s attitudes toward him had been so volatile since he opened his little stand a week ago. Why?


02-22-2011, 05:32 AM
She was a gum-smacking whore, no doubt about it. Her meretricious clothing was, I figured, the impetous for what would forge the relationship she had with my husband.

Why did he leave me for her? Sure, I sat on the couch and ate a bonbon once in a while, had gained a few pounds, but I thought I would indemnify our relationship by being a good wife, a good cook, a caring partner. No, that wasn't enough. He had to look to the sludge of humanity for a sex slave who could give him what I couldn't. The filthy bastard.


02-22-2011, 07:26 PM
Deborah was halfway up the hill, her besandled feet negotiating the rough surface. As she chewed the beef jerky, her teeth encountered a chunk of gristle. Ugh! She spit it out, accidentally hitting a butterfly, which fell to the ground dead. “What a droid I am!” she thought. “I wish I could articulate my feelings to the harmless little creature.”


02-23-2011, 06:09 AM
The Adventures of Captain Shoe and The Amazing Aglet - Part 1: Shopping for Shoes (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5848512#post5848512)


The Adventures of Captain Shoe and The Amazing Aglet - Part 2: Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Shoes of War

She was splendiferous. Her name was simply, Stiletto. Her flowing white-blonde hair seemed to glow with a light of its own. Her skimpy red superhero suit showed off her toned body. She wore stilettos, of course, red to match her suit, and her fiery temper. She liked cabbage for some reason--this was her strength and her weakness, as she could be reduced to a mouth-watering stupor at the mere sight of the delicious vegetable. Her ride was both transport and deadly weapon.

The friction mat kept Captain Shoe and The Amazing Aglet flailing on the ground, but somehow Captain Shoe managed get off one shoe at half strength. It struck Stiletto square on the forehead and whipped her head back; when that head rebounded the shoe was still attached, along with a very annoyed expression.

All protocol evaporated.

Stiletto peeled the shoe off her forehead and tossed it away. "Your super-grip soles are no match for me, Captain Shoe," she hissed. "Time to retaliate."

With that, she pulled over her deadly-red trick bicycle, mounted, rolled forward, and balancing upside-down on the handlebars, legs spread wide for balance, she hoiked the back wheel into the air and swung it into Captain Shoe's face. Before his lights went out, Captain Shoe could think only one thing: how magnificent.



02-23-2011, 05:19 PM
Once upon a time, there lived in a kingdom in Arabia a wealthy sheikh. This sheikh owned twelve palaces, a storehouse full of gold and priceless gems, and he had one hundred beautiful wives. But the sheikh was not happy because every responsibility he had weighed heavily on him. The insurance premiums on his palaces alone caused his mind to be burdened. And so he retreated to his bedchamber and ordered all his wives, his servants and the rest of his entourage to leave him to sulk alone in solitude. But the sheikh was not completely alone, for in his bedchamber, on a marble table sat a fish bowl, and swimming in it, his beloved goldfish, Abdul. On many occasions like this, when the sheikh's heart was heavy, it was Abdul who often lifted his spirits. "Ah, Abdul," sighed the sheikh as he gazed lovingly at the fish, "what is mortal man but an insignificant speck in the universe, a mere monad?"

The goldfish looked at his master pensively before speaking. "Well, according to the metaphysics of Leibniz, a monad is an indivisible, impenetrable unit of substance viewed as the basic constituent element of physical reality. In essence, if you are a monad, your role in the universe is significant indeed."

"You always comfort me with your simple words, " said the sheikh with tears in his eyes. "What can I do to repay you, my friend?"

"A new castle for my bowl would be nice."


02-24-2011, 12:12 AM
Soon after I founded my Temple of the Immaculate Iguana, I searched for ways to bring my message to the world. I managed to broadcast on a small radio station for a few days, but the management accused me of “outlandish histrionics,” and my program was canceled. All my efforts at obtaining a TV show failed for similar reasons. However, I was able to provide some of my sermons by means of podcast, and that caused at least one person to write, “Hearing your inspiring voice makes me reminisce about the days when I used to follow the great Swami Gujingaloo, before he was imprisoned for tax evasion.” Of course, I do receive some letters that are not very nice, but I throw them in a dumpster.


02-24-2011, 04:39 AM
"So," asked my friend Sam, "whatcha taking for an elective this fall?"

"Electives? No time. I need some extra vocab classes to figure out words like concatenation," I said.

My Motorola rang right then. It was my roommate, reminding me I'd left the margarine on the counter unlidded and a fly got stuck in it. Well, it was one form of revenge. Either that or I'd be giving that chick a right hook soon. I think the student housing office purposely bunks the two most opposite beings together for a sociology study.


02-24-2011, 06:52 PM
Anatoly Grebna sat behind the wheel of his 1971 Volga, waiting nervously behind a long line of cars at the border crossing. He had spent the day in neighbouring Belugastan and was now returning home to The People's Republic Of Dhogestan. He was not looking forward to the interrogation he would be receiving at the hands of the ornery customs and immigration officer. The Carpenters were singing Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down on the 8-track cassette player in his car as Anatoly fretted over the paisley shirt he had purchased in Belugastan. As every Dhogestani knew, it was a criminal offense in his country to own or import any article with a paisley pattern, as paisley had been declared by the State to be decadent. If the shirt were found in his car, Anatoly knew he could face imprisonment, or worse. Still, he had hidden the contraband item in a secret compartment under the trunk, and the odds were slim that the customs officer would find it there.

"So, what have we here?" growled the burly officer with the gold tooth. "Is secret compartment, no?"

Anatoly had to think fast, he had to do something to placate the officer, or else he'd be headed for the gulag. "Officer comrade, I am wishing to ask with greatest of respect, what size do you take in shirt?"

"Me, I'm extra large. Why you ask?"

Anatoly reached into the secret compartment and lifted up a parcel, opened it and pulled out the paisley shirt. He then reached over to the customs officer and spread the shirt across his chest. "Ah," said Anatoly. "Is matching your eyes. Is definitely you."

"You think?" The officer smiled, snatched the shirt, then looked around to see if any of the other customs officials were watching. "Okay comrade, I let you off with warning this time."

"Thank you, comrade officer," said a relieved Anatoly.

"One other thing," said the officer, "Next time you go to Belugastan, you will please buy bell bottom trousers. 48 waist." As every one in Dhogestan knew, bell bottom trousers were illegal, because they too were considered decadent.


02-25-2011, 06:09 AM
Netta could hardly wait till the first patrons arrived at her Olde Tyme Café. The floral wallpaper and the sepia carpet were perfect. Unfortunately, just now the cement mixer outside was making a horrible sound. She put Rudy Vallee’s “My Time Is Your Time” on the Victrola. but it didn’t drown out the noise.

It was nearly eight o’clock. Why hadn’t anybody come in yet? My goodness, she thought, the Hollandaise sauce! She dashed into the kitchen and got the ingredients, using a wire whisk to emulsify the egg yolks over simmering water and gradually added melted butter.

She heard a car drive up. She ran to the window and saw a well-dressed couple getting out of a Ford Galaxy. Customers! But her heart sank as she saw them heading for the McDonald’s next door.


02-25-2011, 05:10 PM
Basque cooking was not Rita's specialty--in fact she had never prepared a Basque dish in her life, but she wanted to make something special for George. After all, she would do anything for her sweetheart.

"What is this crap?" he roared.

"It's paella, darling. Don't you like it?"

"No I don't. These mussels taste like shellac. And why should I be surprised? You're a rotten cook. I'm going out to a restaurant to get a decent meal."

"May I make a risqué suggestion?" asked Rita.

George scowled. "What?"

"How about if we skip dinner and go directly to the bedroom, my darling." Rita somehow believed that the situation was still manageable.

George looked at her with contempt. "Ha, don't make me laugh. If this food wasn't enough to make me vomit, the sight of you naked sure will."

Suddenly a light went on in Rita's head and for the first time in their relationship, she realized that she and George were at loggerheads. They weren't perhaps the soul mates that she believed them to be.

"George," she said firmly,"I'd like you to leave now. Besides, my husband will be coming home soon, and he doesn't abuse me nearly as much as you do."


02-26-2011, 12:47 AM
Herbie knew that most people considered him a misanthrope, but he really wanted to mingle more and not squander the rest of his life as a hermit. Maybe if he went around offering people free yogurt, they’d realize he was really a nice person. But first he needed to look more like a regular guy. Being bald, he couldn’t exactly grow dreadlocks, so he bought a dreads wig, and when he looked in the mirror, he saw a cool dude! With his supply of yogurt, he hurried into the streets and began handing out cups of the delicious stuff. Most people took one, but they walked off with barely a word of thanks. And when he saw them again, they didn’t even speak! People were so fickle!


02-26-2011, 10:22 AM
In the year 2076 the Yo-Yo Olympics surpassed the traditional Olympics in viewer numbers. The reason for this, the pundits argued, was that it had resisted attempts to sanitize its events. On the one hand you had Olympic boxing, in which the head protective gear had grown so large the top-heavy participants were constantly toppling over; on the other you had a sport like the Olympic 100m Sprint yo-yo variant, which allowed participants to throttle each other with their yo-yo's as they hurtled down the track. The more thrilling contest was clear as far as the crowd was concerned.

Another possible cause had been raised: that the traditional Olympics were not as well organised. This was never more obvious than in 2044 when one of the most famous athletes on the planet, John Smith, won the 100m gold, then almost died at the presentation ceremony. Not only did they mispronounce his name that night, but then almost crushed him under the winners bouquet, which that year had been a giant yucca plant taller than the athletes themselves.

Everyone was excited about the Yo-Yo Olympics this year..



02-26-2011, 05:30 PM
"The Chancellor of the Exchecquer has arrived, Your Worship!" announced the clerk.

And with that small bit of ceremony, the tall, elegant gentleman strode brusquely into the Cardinal's office. The older man looked up from his papers and said, "I should excommunicate you for your lack of respect for the clergy."

The Chancellor nodded in response, taking in the formal regalia that always reminded him of a gold-embroidered poncho. Such a tacky, saccharine facade for a foul, steaming mass of corruption that was all but dead.


02-26-2011, 10:36 PM
If his friends dragged him to another concert by the Petaluma Symphony Orchestra, Richie thought he’d die. The only way he could stand to listen to this junk was to be fortified by rotgut, and he had drunk a quart of it by the time the concert started. After the last banging of the drums and the last whining of the violins, he would head for the his favorite bordello. When Dildetta rode him like a horse, she always used a burlap pillion and sang “Take That, You Little Wimp.” Now that was music to his ears.


02-26-2011, 10:50 PM
She knew how it happened. Her pinball was lackadaisical, but pinching the pet muscrat in her apron pocket meant it's pathetic screech would decimate opponents chances. She'd make a fair amount already, but then Hank arrived.


02-26-2011, 11:17 PM
The marshmallow clouds lay strewn on either side of his path through the sky above the remote, rugged terrain of the foothills. His aircraft was a brush that drew a faint line of contrail across the azure canvas. He glanced down at the sheet of legal sized paper that had flowed out of his printer back in civilization, three hours and four hundred nautical miles in his wake.


02-27-2011, 04:06 AM
"Get that fucking birch bouillabaisse off the hot plate Mike, and this urchin pasta is burning. Pay attention man!", he screamed.

His kitchen was famous, and the punters loved his abusive style, even when it was directed at them. Some wowzer food critics argued this couldn't possibly be the case, but they couldn't argue with the lines stretching serpentine out the door, down the street, across the road and up the hill, causing gridlock for miles around.

"Oh, you like my food do you mate? Well fuck you gutter trash, I don't do this for the compliments. Piss off!".



02-27-2011, 08:21 AM
The denouement of the year's big controversy left everyone heaving a sigh of relief, thanks to Dr. Strauss. His feats of investigative derring-do had earned him the renewed respect of his peers, an overdue sabbatical, and an occasional good-natured jape at his expense in the campus newspaper.

"One should never completely trust a person who was raised on Miracle Whip instead of real Mayonnaise," he reflected as he stood in the long line at airport security. "That particular culinary perversion suggests a warped set of fundamental values."


02-27-2011, 09:35 AM
Alana Leigh Branchley admired herself in the mirror. She had been unyielding in her drive to make it in Hollywood through her talent alone (except for a few minor compromises on producers’ couches). She picked up the orchid some love-struck fan had sent her. Now that she was a success, the studio was doing everything to ratchet up her image, and even some unimportant AD--she couldn’t remember his name--had become a slobbering sycophant. If all those people only knew how little she cared about anyone but herself! Still, it was best to pretend to love everybody. For some strange reason, you were supposed to act egalitarian when you were a movie star.


02-27-2011, 10:12 AM
"Fred, you neanderthal! You can't eat that!"

"Why not? Abalone are edible. Aren't they?" he asked, using his tongue to coax out the raw meat. He spat it back out, gagging.

I stormed off back to our dually and trailer I'd parked by the shore's cliff. Nobody appreciated my altruism. I just had a gut-wrenching need to help people. It's not my fault.

Fred followed along after a moment, his head bent low.

"I'm sorry, dear. 'The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.' I just thought I'd give 'em a try."

"What are you now, some philospher? Let's just get back on the road." I realized I was being a little snarky, but neanderthal brings that out in me.


02-27-2011, 04:41 PM
There was a carnival feel to the air along Main Street. The soda jerk ladled gooey toppings over a banana split, his audience a quartet of pudgy little boys standing on the sidewalk with their noses pressed against the glass. The barber clipped and trimmed his way around the fire chief's sparsely-populated scalp, babbling a stream of drivel about the day's headline. The nattily-dressed banker inspected his new shoeshine, and with a magnanimous wave tipped the bootblack a miserly nickel. I marvelled at the inanity of it all; had none of them any idea what was coming?


02-27-2011, 05:38 PM
As an eminent and high-ranking member of the pneumatic drillers guild, it was my onerous task, after a long and bitter dispute with management, to call a general strike. The suits pulled out all the big guns, but we still had some heavy machinery in our arsenal. After all, it was hard to stare down a bunch of guys holding their vibrating tools in their hands. In the end, management backed down and we had all our demands met. And oh yeah, I forgot to introduce myself. The name is Hammer. Jack Hammer.


02-27-2011, 07:23 PM
My turgid bladder was screaming for relief as we sped along in Cleveland Zoo's Fourth Annual ostrich race. The good humor between contestants before the race was gone now, serious expressions replacing the jovial banter that we had begun with.

Trying not to fall off my ostrich, I smiled at a pretty opponent as I trotted past her. Wait, had I used floss this morning? My poppyseed muffin was probably still dotting my teeth. The woman was laughing at me now. Was it my aquiline nose? It was a little beaky, true, but that shouldn't be cause for laughing.

I waved back to her, determined to look good, and in looking back, noticed my ostrich leaving a trail of poop flying behind us.

a capella

02-27-2011, 07:40 PM
The exquisite tintinnabulation, dying in the echoes of the a capella quartet's last chord, was overwhelmed by the stampede of thunderous applause from the audience. The ovation was a vaccination of the quartet's collective ego against any future self-doubt, a shining reflection of their clandestine hopes for glory.


02-27-2011, 09:13 PM
Reginald had trained his pet pelican, Pouchy, to help with household chores. Tonight, as he prepared to host the Barbara Cartland Fellowship, he sent Pouchy to fetch some arugula for the shaved Parmesan and Balsamic vinaigrette salad he was making. Since he always got nervous before serving such an important dinner, he made himself a gimlet and sipped it as he worked. But as he was trying to use the blender, the damn thing sprang a sprocket, and the blender’s guts went flying all over the kitchen, with parts landing in the soufflé! He wept.


02-27-2011, 10:52 PM
The cataclysm of kinetic energy in the huge spinning flywheel burst in every direction, scattering the brains of the workers like chunks of bloody Gorgonzola. In the distant control room, a cousin of one of the casualties stared in horrified fascination at his monitor as alarms sounded and emergency lights flashed on. No amount of insurance could indemnify the loss in terms of sheer humanity.


02-27-2011, 11:24 PM
I took the streetcar down the road a ways, my trenchcoat trailing in the wind behind me. I adjusted my fedora and looked left to the row of brownstone lined up like a child's Legos. I was on the case, and had places to go, people to meet, a crime to investigate. Like the gumshoe I was, I took in everything around me. You never knew where you could find a clue.

I hopped off the streetcar when we'd arrived within walking distance to the derelict warehouse. I was supposed to meet my confidential informant.

Entering the gray building, the smell of mold and rat droppings was almost overwhelming. I walked further, shoes crunching on an unknown substance, when I saw him. The pugilist could undulate like a butterfly, his right hook a sting like a bee.


02-27-2011, 11:58 PM
"A costume party? Tonight? Er, well, OK, sure. I'll meet you over there around 8."

I hung up the phone. The call from the shy, reticent librarian had come from out of the blue. She must have gotten my number off the waiting list for the new Grisham novel; until the phone rang, I had not an inkling that she viewed me with other than professional interest from behind the enormous glasses that perched atop a slightly bulbous nose. But there was a glimmer of excitement in her voice over the phone, and I wondered what sort of costume she would wear tonight. Perhaps something more revealing than the baggy sweaters and long, tweedy skirts that struggled vainly to conceal her charms at the library.

Speaking of costumes, what in the world could I put together on such short notice? I sensed that the outcome of the evening would depend upon how well I rose to the sartorial challenge. And she had given me no clues as to what sort of response would appease her. Should I fashion an ad-hoc kilt from a swatch of the old drapes in the attic? Should I festoon myself with moth-eaten sports regalia from a previous life? Should I throw in the towel and run to the costume shop? Whatever I would do, I had less than two hours in which to do it.

I set about my task with a gleam in my eye, thinking to myself that tonight would be a night to remember.


02-28-2011, 12:42 AM
Yet another day, and once again I sat down at my desk by the open window, like so many times before, dreading the blank screen that would soon await my command, with its unrelenting white-faced stare. My creative juices have dried. I start keying nearly random words... is it working? No. I have no rudder. I need direction, aim, purpose. Like an hourglass of old, I've been uprighted, and my little teaspoon of sandy energy is sucked mercilessly down the black hole, unconcerned for my disquieted angst. There is no breeze in this stifling heat. I watch a centipede creep its way across the masonry sill and wonder if it knows distress. Absurd. Sooner a sardine might worry for the fisherman's net or the giant tuna coming from behind. What giant gaping-mouthed fish comes from behind me, I wondered.


02-28-2011, 12:59 AM
To the pernicious hooligan, mayhem was an aphrodesiac. He drove his booted heel again and again into the sternum of the prostrate form on the pavement, his eyebrow twitching with each blow. "How's that for CPR, you sonofabitch?" he grunted between strikes. With one victim clearly unconscious, he turned his attention to the girl.


02-28-2011, 07:34 AM
Now that they had a corner on the titanium market, Boris popped the champagne cork and poured glasses for himself and Natasha. “No more need whispering,” he said gleefully. “We defeat malignant moose and squirrel. Not even capitalist penicillin can save them!”


02-28-2011, 07:54 AM
The beauty in the bar continued to give me surreptitious glances from time to time. She was dressed in a pink eyelet blouse, which would have looked nice on her otherwise but tonight came off as bawdy since she had no bra on. I wasn't looking for yet another conquest. She would make a good subject for me to stipple, though, so I continued to examine her. Art was a favorite pastime of mine, and people watching while clubbing and subsequently bringing home beautiful women to paint or draw was only too easy.

She sauntered over to me, hips swaying. "What's your name?"

"Alex," I answered in a clipped tone. I had given her the wrong message. I really didn't want to take anyone home tonight. How could I backpedal without offending?

"I'm Honey." She stuck her hand out for me to shake.

"Pleasure." I turned back to my drink.

"What do you do, Alex?"

Ah, my opportunity. I turned to her and put on my glasses. "I actually work with silicon carbide, you know, carborundum, and it is quite useful. Our company uses applications of this substance in semiconductor electronics."

I went on for less than three minutes by my watch until she interrupted.

"Excuse me, I think I see a friend. Nice to meet you, Alex."