Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event


Before we get to the specifics of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event, for a little extra boost of motivation let's give a quick shout out to the past contest finalists who have since gone on to be published or soon-to-be published authors:

Staurt Neville! Victoria Schwab! Terry DeHart! Michelle Hodkin! Michelle Davidson Argyle! Joshua McCune! Natalie Whipple! Josin L. McQuein! Jeanne Ryan! Peter Cooper!

Stars are born in these contests. STARS ARE BORN.

Will you join their ranks?! Let's find out.

Now then. The premise of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event is thus:

Write a funny scene.

Simple, right?

IT IS NOT. Funny is hard work, people.

Your prizes!

The ultimate grand prize winner of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event will win:

1) The pride of knowing you are one seriously hilarious individual.

2) A partial critique from me.

3) A signed ARC of JACOB WONDERBAR FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE, the sequel to JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, which will be released in April 2012:

Space monkeys!!
The runners up of the JWFWCSHE will win query critiques or other agreed-on substitutes.

Yes, there are rules. They are:

I) This is a for-fun contest. Rules may be adjusted without notice, but this one will always remain: please don't take the contest overly seriously. Hear me? YOU WILL HAVE FUN WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

II) Please post your funny scene in the comments section of THIS POST. Please do not e-mail me your submission. The deadline for entry is THURSDAY 6pm Pacific time, at which point entries will be closed. Finalists will be announced.... sometime after that.

III) Your word count limit: 350 words. You can do this. Your entry can either be from a work in progress or something you compose for this contest spectacular happening event.

IV) Please please check and double-check and triple-check your entry before posting. But if you spot an error after posting: please do not re-post your entry. I go through the entries sequentially and the repeated deja vu repeated deja vu from reading the same entry only slightly different makes my head spin. I'm not worried about typos, nor should you be.

V) You may enter once, once you may enter, and enter once you may. If you post anonymously, make sure you leave your name.

VI) Spreading word about the contest is strongly encouraged.

VII) I will be sole judge of the finalists. You the people will be the sole judge of the ultimate winner.

VIII) You must be at least 14 years old and less than 189 years old to enter. No exceptions.

IX) I'm on Twitter and may be posting contest updates! Follow me here:

That is all.

GOOD LUCK! May the most hilarious entry be extremely hilarious.

JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, about three kids who blast off into space and find their way back home, was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in May and is available at:

Amazon (hardcover)
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (hardcover)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)


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Kimberly Lynn said...

Ordered your book the other day, Nathan. I can't wait to read it. I'll spread the news about your contest too!


AlisonMiller said...

“Wesley Pike,” he said, “Let me remind you that your existence is the bane of Emeraldson Middle School and your clumsiness is a humiliation to humanity. Actually,” Evan turned on his heel and began to pace. “I forgot you even existed until now. But now…” he turned again, “Now I remember you. You live across the street from us, right? And you’ve got a really dumb dog.”

He paused, glaring at me as if I were supposed to confirm or deny these facts. I said nothing, but it was true about Jet not being the sharpest dog on the block. I really wanted to say that dude, if you expect me to argue with you about Jet being dumb, you’ve got another thing coming.

Even if I wanted to offer a rebuttal, it's kind of hard to make your brain move your mouth when you've got seven-zillion lasers aimed at you.

Simon Haynes said...

345 words from my Middle-grade WIP. (British spelling) Junior fic is new territory for me, but I have had adult books published. If that means I'm ineligible, no problem.

Half an hour later Hal stood at the dishwasher, placing dirty plates and cutlery on the moving belt. As the items emerged from the other end, shiny and clean, he put them away. He'd heard others complaining about 'doing the dishes' but it didn't seem that bad to him. Their machine was old and slow -- what was the word Teacher had used? Obsolete, that was it -- but it sure beat eating dinner off dirty plates.
Ever impatient, Hal added more and more items to the dishwasher, cramming them in until they barely cleared the intake. The machine chugged and groaned with the extra weight, and when it ground to a complete stop Hal turned to the controls. The dial was fixed on Slow, and Hal reckoned his parents left it there to keep him busy after dinner. They’d warned him not to touch it, but surely one little tweak wouldn’t hurt?
He reached for the big plastic dial and turned it to Medium.
The machine started to move again, and the plates coming out the other end were clean enough. There was a speck of food here and there, but who was going to notice? Hal eyed the pile of cups and cutlery he still had to deal with, and decided to do the whole lot in one go. He put all the items on the belt and twisted the knob through 'Fast', 'Very Fast', 'Very Very Fast' ... all the way up to 'Ultra-Fast'
The belt fairly flew as the machine kicked into top speed, and the crockery disappeared into the machine as though sucked into a black hole.
Gleaming cutlery arrowed out of the dishwasher, streaking towards the wall in a blur of silver.
Gadoiinnnggg! went the knives and forks as they stuck into the wall, quivering with the force.
Spat-spat-spat! went the dishwasher, rocking on its feet as it hurled teacups around the kitchen.
Clatter-clatter-crash! went the plastic cups and plates as they bounced off the walls and cupboards.
Hal ducked under the barrage and turned the knob back to 'Slow'. The last plate had just stopped spinning when his dad appeared in the doorway.
"Don't look at me," said Hal. "It just went wrong. I think it's ... obsolete."

Hillsy said...

Just 350 words, for a scene?...Ouch...well I managed to yank a "set piece" out of a WiP I've got. It's Sci-fi and adult fiction.

I faced them again. “OK, OK. Any questions then? Yes? Right, you with the big nose. Go!”
“Err.” The reporter I indicated seemed both unsure whether or not I meant him, and throttled by eagerness. “What happened, Strafe?”
“A man died.” Strafe 1, Press 0. “Next. You, there, with the ill advised beard.”
“What was the cause of death?” His beard was actually two beards; a thumbnail sized smudged under his bottom lip, and a spot hanging from his chin. He looked like he’d been poked by a magic marker.
“Something got lodged in his stomach.”
“Which was?”
“An extraterrestrial. Next. Over there. With the ugly shirt.”
“Hey! This is a genuine Fioracchi!”
“OK. In the ugly Fioracchi.”
“How big was this alien? Did he swallow it?”
“That’s two questions. Pick one.”
“Err….this first.”
“About four feet tall. Five and a half if you count the spike on its head.” I was on a roll now, slipping into the natural rhythms I used during these tedious press statements. It’s about playing to the crowd, working out which answers will elicit which reaction from the gathered masses and picking the best one. My arms shot about, selecting questions like a conductor indicating when an instrument should add to the orchestrated swell of an opera.
“The woman with menopause face!”
“Err…The other question the guy asked.”
“Did he swallow it?”
“No. It was rammed through him like a skewer.” There was a comical collective ‘ewwww’ from the crowd. Like gothic teenagers feasting on the morbid facts, the reporters, almost as one, scribbled down notes.
“You, over there, with the…Woah!...What happened to your face?”
“Eh.” The reporter said, his uneven eyes regarding me with incomprehension.
“Your face. With the…” I pushed my nose in a couple of different directions. “And the…” I did the same to my jaw and my ear.
“Oh right.” I gave him a nervous smile as means of an apology. “Right, ok, your questions.”
“How did the alien…”
“I’m sorry, I can’t do this. You’re too distracting. You over there. The plain, normal-looking dude.” I said, pointing.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm terrible at this kind of thing, and I never win anything on here anyway, but I will enjoy watching and reading!

James M M Baldwin said...

“What do you mean ‘something under the bushes’?”
“Remember the flash I told you about. I don’t know what caused it, but I swear it had a direct connection to my thoughts.”
Jack stayed quiet for a minute. “I know what it was.”
“Okay Einstein, what was it?” Spencer knew one of Jack’s extraordinary explanations would follow.
“The two guys in the woods were probably aliens from another planet! And they didn’t have a regular gun; they had a mind control gun. They must have shot you with a thought ray and that’s what flashed. I bet you’re under their control right now. Yeah, if those two guys are as big as you say, and one of them had a name like Gustav, they have to be from another planet.”
Spencer grabbed his chin and looked down, pretending to consider the out-of-this-world theory. He went back to work.
Jack continued to try to nudge him out of his catatonic state. “They could have been ghosts! Yeah, that’s more likely than aliens. I bet they were ghosts. You’re probably under the influence of some supernatural force from a fourth dimension”
After another make-believe thoughtful pause, Spencer still did not reply.
A few minutes later, Jack followed with yet another theory. “I know. I know what it was… Bigfoot! It must have been Bigfoot. You know Yeti. Sasquatch! The Abominable Snowman! Those two guys must have been Bigfoot hunters, and they didn’t want you moving in on their catch.”
Spencer shook his head. “I’m glad you have everything figured out. So let me get this straight. You think the flash came from the ghost of an alien Sasquatch named Gustav, right?”
“It could happen.”

Outtake from “Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor” by James M M Baldwin

K.S. said...

This is an excerpt from Ch.6 of my unpublished mid-grade fantasy, THE WOON OF BINK, where the tyrant descedant of Humpty Dumpty has made everything against the law, and a silly band of "Desperate Criminals" are on the lam.

===== 345 Words for Submission====

When they went to the judge's house to stick out their tongues at him, they discovered that the judge was asleep. (In fact, he had actually fallen asleep grading the last batch of pop-quizzes – and was in fact, using the tests as a crumpled pillow. He had drooled so much that he had not only smeared black ink all over the right side of his face, but had also made the tests completely illegible.) A round of “Shh! Shush! Be quiet!” rippled through the group of Desperate Criminals, and Aggie, Billy and Funny-Foot knocked on the door, and then tiptoed right on in. They woke him up as nicely as possible, and even offered him a wet rag and a cup of tea, but it was no use. He marched outside with a half a red face, half a black face, and a temper like a full nest of angry hornets, and they had no choice but to follow.
“HOW DARE YOU INTERUPT A JUDGE IN HIS JUDICIAL CHAMBERS WHILE A JUDGE WAS IN CLEAR POSSESSION OF, UM, A JUDICIAL RECESS!” roared the judge. (He was a very important person and was a Dignitary of the Law, so he never spoke in anything but capital letters.) “THE VERY IDEA! THE NERVE! TO STAND IN MY COURT, I MEAN HOUSE, AND WAKE ME UP! I AM SENTENCING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU TO BE HUNG AT LEAST TWENTY TIMES. TWENTY TIMES, I TELL YOU! I WILL BE SEEKING THE MAXIMUM!” And he gave them his most fiercesome judicial glare. (He was very proud of that glare, and practiced it every day in the mirror.) “IF YOU THROW YOURSELF ON THE MERCY OF THIS COURT RIGHT NOW, I MIGHT CONSIDER REDUCING YOUR SENTENCES TO ONLY BEING HUNG NINETEEN TIMES WITH A PUNCH IN THE NOSE TO GROW ON.” The Judge expected them to turn pale. He expected their lips to quiver at the very least. Instead, they were all standing around him grinning. He frowned. Something was very wrong here. Maybe his judicial glare was broken?

christi said...

I stood up, overlooking the living room, some fifteen feet below. My balance was incredible as I scaled the bar with no difficulty. Then an idea hit me as a gazed down at the floor~~a scary idea, an exciting idea…a very, very stupid idea. I straightened, took in a deep breath, closed my eyes and simply stepped off!
It was as if I fell in slow motion. My body turned and balanced itself as I glided the long distance to the floor. I wasn’t afraid and landed gracefully on my feet just below the point I'd stepped off.
“Holly crap—that was…AWESOME!” I exclaimed.
Now, logic would dictate I should have enjoyed my momentary triumph and not pushed my luck by another attempt. However, like a kid who’d just ridden her first rollercoaster, I was hooked on the thrill. Within seconds of landing, I was back upstairs, ready to do it again!
If I had simply chosen to step off the edge the second time, I have no doubt, all would have gone fine. However, I reasoned if stepping off was fun, jumping would be even better! With that, I squatted down slightly and then pushed myself into the air!
Now a ‘normal’ human would have probably managed a leap of around six feet, I’m guessing. However, I was no ‘normal’ human at this time. I was a human pumped up on supernatural energy. So, you can imagine how surprised I was, when I went a wee bit further than six feet. Okay, a lot further.
In fact, I completely over shot my target and went sailing nearly twenty feet to the other side of the room, hit the coffee table, then the couch, flipped it and me over, and crashed into the opposing wall!
I lay unmoving with my legs twisted halfway over my head, in a mangled mass of furniture and curtains. Almost instantly I began laughing hysterically at my chaotic predicament! I was just about to attempt unwinding myself to get up, when suddenly my front door burst open with a loud crack!

Thief of Life-The Chronicles of Daniela (Book 3 Torn)

Brigita said...

This is an excerpt from my MG WIP (British spelling).

Tessa grinned as she remembered her last visit to the pictures with her two best friends and their stop at Starbucks later on. She had had two Coca Colas at the pictures and had to go to the loo badly. Jenna and Clarissa waited for her at the table, sipping their frappuccinos.
On her way out of the restrooms, Tessa skipped across the tiled floor, smiling at her friends. She was so excited about the coming holidays; she had no idea yet she would be leaving for Slovenia on her own in just two weeks.
Jenna returned her smile but then her eyes widened and her mouth formed an ‘O’. Her face was a mixture of horror and amusement. Tessa couldn’t remember ever seeing such expression on her friend’s face.
“What?” Tessa asked as she reached the table. Jenna pointed at something just behind Tessa. Clarissa, too, looked and her face mirrored Jenna’s horror.
As she sat down, Tessa turned to see what was behind her. It hit her instantly when her bare thighs touched the cool metal of the seat. Her face flushed crimson as she checked and saw that her skirt got hitched in her panties. She flashed the entire coffee shop. Panicked, she glanced around and she was horrified when she was met with several amused looks.
Tessa exchanged a look with Jenna and Clarissa and they burst into laughter.
“Oh my God,” Tessa gasped while laughing so hard her stomach started to cramp.
“Priceless!” Jenna squealed, tears streaming from her eyes.
“That was …” Red-faced from laughing, Clarissa tried speaking but couldn’t get a single sentence out. “O. M. G.”

Thanks for organizing another great comp. :)

Caleb said...

After the Church service, the congregation milled outside and visited in the pleasant spring weather. A maimed veteran, Brandt was his name, came to talk to Adler. He had no left leg beneath the thigh, and used a wooden crutch that looked as if he had carved it from an old tree to support his weight. He had a kind face under a clean haircut. He seemed a nice enough fellow, in his mid to late twenties. Old enough to not be a fool of the Empire. He wore the uniform and insignia of the infantry that followed in the path of the deadly tanks of the Nation. This gave Adler much respect for him. Brandt hobbled over and shook the war hero’s hand.
“Pleasure to meet you, Captain,” he grinned. “You gave us some good stories on the front line!”
“Looks like you have some stories of your own,” Adler deferred, nodding to Brandt’s crutch.
“I made it through the whole goddamned war-” Brandt began. “Oh-excuse my language.”
“No goddamned apology needed,” Adler smiled.
Brandt laughed, glancing at the congregants milling around them.

Mira said...

This is a seriously funny post.

I think my favorite line was that if people post anonymously, they should be sure to leave their name.

Ha, ha. :)

So, I don't know. I'm in a very SERIOUS mood lately. I don't know if I can do humor....I'll see if I can dig up something from the past.

Either way, this will be a very fun contest! Fun to read all this funny stuff. Thanks so much, Nathan.

Matt Peterson said...

“Mom, what’s our insurance carrier’s name?” School had ended a few weeks ago, yet I was still filling out paperwork. Typical. This time, though, it was a permission slip for summer camp.

“I already filled out your permission slip, sweetie, it’s on the counter” came the reply from the laundry room. I thought that being twelve meant more responsibility, but Mom had already done my assignment and was doing my laundry as we spoke. It’s hard to feel grown-up when your mom is folding your underwear down the hall.

I was excited for summer camp, though, and it would be my first extended time away from home. We were headed up to the mountains as for a week-long backpacking trip. I guess there was an embarrassing incident at the “regular” Boy Scout camp last summer involving the archery range, the camp director’s dog, and two Scouts from our troop. (I had to piece the story together from fragments of rumors I heard, but I think I have a good grasp of the episode.) As a result, Mr. Bailey decided to take a year off from Camp Pinewood and put on his own camp. He said that we could go back to Pinewood next summer, but he wanted us to experience backpacking in the wilderness this time.

Honestly, I was happy to avoid the Boy Scout summer camp. I’d heard horror stories of over-zealous staff chasing you out of the dining hall for having your shirt un-tucked or for wearing white socks. I could take that from an adult, but not some fifteen-year-old with seven merit badges and an attitude.

More importantly, I wanted to avoid skits. Nobody really enjoys performing in skits. I had to be in one at a camporee last fall and I felt like I was seven years old. Only I never had to do anything so silly when I was actually seven, so that made it worse. I think adults make you do skits to ensure that they maintain control over you—who would disobey a leader when he has a video of you pretending to be a wheel on a bus or a news reporter or something? Anyways, I was glad to avoid camp this year.

[written by Matt Peterson, excerpt from Middle Grade WIP]

M.R. Jordan said...

Funny, you say. Well, I shall try. Excerpt is from experiment that just... well it just is. the MC is a vet.
Forward 2:

You sorry cheep ass sons of bitches!

I had to stop drinking beer to write this and here you go tell me to make this here book longer. I’m a busy man. My services are highly demanded around these parts. As I’m sure you’ll are aware, I run the East of Somewhere Mobile Veterinary clinic. Today we’re parked east of, well hell I don’t know. I was drunk last night when I parked. All I can tell is the front end is hanging off a cliff. Guess it’s a good thing I tied that elephant to the bumper.

My ex-wives say I don’t know when to shut up. I’d of shut them up but I ain’t allowed to hit any more women. Now it ain’t what you’re thinking. The woman I hit was actually a man wearing a dress. I got all his clothes off of him and there’s Mr. Happy waving hello.

“You ain’t no hoe,” I said.

“I’m a man hoe,” he said.

“No, you didn’t bring no man hoe back to our trailer!” My wife said.

She divorced me after that. And can you hardly blame her?

Well, actually I didn’t hit him. What I did was get real drunk after she left- my wife and the man hoe. Then I drove down to Get Your Hoe Here, a bar just outside of, well hell I can’t remember. Now I wasn’t driving no car ‘cus my wife done took off with it, and I couldn’t drive the mobile vet clinic- that’s just bad taste- so I took the tractor. And along comes Barney pulling me over saying he’s going to give me a DUI.

“I know you,” I says. “You’re that man hoe.”

Except this time she wasn’t no man in a dress. But lord have mercy I ain’t seen a more masculine woman in my life, dress or not. Anyway, she punched me.

“I ain’t no hoe.”

“You’re shitting me?” I said and hit her back.

That’s why I can’t hit no more woman.

Tricia Gillespie said...

This is really short, but it's from a story I'm writing on my blog for fun. A preacher's wife, Patty, begins a writing a secret blog and this is a small excerpt.

Our children, Jayne and Derek are adjusting extraordinarily well to life in Happy Valley. Jayne came home from school yesterday and told us all about her classmate’s adventures over spring break. Apparently several children enjoyed setting sail on the wide ocean, cruising to a destination where suntan lotion and flip-flops are in season.

“I told them we went on a cruise once.” Jayne said.

Now I know I’m on the fast-track to memory loss, but I would have no less than five hundred and forty-two photos of our suntanned faces and sandy feet.

Jane had to do some explaining in order for me to remember that cruise, but truth emerged unscathed.

“Honey, that was a ferry ride to Staten Island, not a cruise ship!” I sputtered.

I can’t wait to plan this summer’s vacation. Maybe we’ll take a car ride to the rain forest. I wonder if the men at the car wash will make exotic bird sounds for us….

Not My Life,

Margie said...

Thanks for the contest. This is a 348 word excerpt from my YA novel

“Hey, shrimp bait, who are you looking at?” A brutish boy barrels toward me.

What is it about bullies that can bring a bustling hallway to a complete stop? One minute everyone’s chatting up their friends, ripping open lockers, and rushing off to the next class. In less time than I can gulp, the hall is devoid of any action, except for the volley of heads between me and Brutus.

“Look.” I hold my hand up in the universal halt position. “I don’t want any trouble.” Which is what all movie ass kickers say before they start serious trouble.

“Yeah. Well, you got trouble.” He takes a step toward me.

Doesn’t he realize I just spoke the code phrase for “I can kick your ass anytime I want to, but am refraining”? He really needs to start watching more movies so he’ll turn tail when I make baseless threats.

He flexes his fingers and rolls them into a fist. Which I have no trouble understanding. I get universal sign language, it’s him who’s behind the curve.

I back up and bump into a trash can. I sneak a peek inside.

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t upend you.”

“I’ll give you five.” Five for every minute I’ve got to use up before the bell rings. “Number five.” I tick off my fingers beginning with my thumb. “This trash can isn’t dirty enough. You should make sure the can has some really nasty surprises in it. For example, stale coffee grounds, spaghetti noodles, freshly spit out bubblegum-the bigger the wad, the better. Maybe a biology experiment or some good ole excrement…” If I’m not careful, I could end up head first in the girl’s bathroom trash.

“Two.” Up goes my index finger. “At this point in my life, garbage dunking isn’t the worst thing you could do to me. In fact, it’s not even in the top 100. So, if you really want to humiliate me, you’ll need to get more creative.” I knock my L-shaped fingers against my forehead. Surely, even this fool can decipher that.

Deb said...

The book I have written is a true story about the Holocaust. Not much funny material in there. But here is a scene from the dinner table when my husband was out of work. You can’t make this stuff up.
-- Deb

One of the blessings of unemployment - and one must look for blessings as well as a job - is being able to sit down with the family and share meaningful conversation over dinner. Even if you have three boys ages nine and under who are incapable of sitting.

“Daddy,” says the five-year-old, “I did not want you to marry this girl!”

The girl he points to is his mother who has the nerve to ask him for the 15th time not to pick at his food. She has no patience, and a sharp tongue. “Well, if Daddy didn’t marry me, you wouldn’t be here.”

The eldest son, a 3rd grader, elaborates. “That’s right. If he didn’t marry Mommy, you’d still be in Daddy’s penis.”

The five year old is silent.

“Yeah,” says the big brother, “you’d still be a seed in his penis.”

This intrigues the baby of the family, who at age two comprehends far more than it should seem. “I want to be in Daddy’s penis,” he says.

The middle boy wrinkles his brow. “Would we all roll around together in Daddy’s penis?”

“I want to be in Mommy’s penis,” says the two year old who has a change of heart. The five year old is still confused. He turns to his father and asks, “Would you pee me out?”

There can only be one response. “Who wants more challah?”

Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches said...

He had picked up the guitar during his two years of college. At first, only behind closed doors, tuning the strings on his instrument using an Internet site and searching out simple, but masculine songs. It was also important that the songs were well worded; meaningful. After all, he was a self-proclaimed word-smith. Each lyric had to be carefully analyzed. What would it say about him in future years if his college comrades remembered him as only playing Garth Brooks? That does seem a little too folksy for a renaissance man, does it not?

As he expanded his chord knowledge past C, G, and D to include E, he was confident enough to put his skills forth for the world to admire. He could frequently be found just outside the library, near the emergency exit seated atop the lone picnic table, playing a song he had carefully screened, his bowl-cut laying impossibly flat, no matter the product used for tousling. With any luck, he would have one or more girls sitting near him, often at his feet. He did not know why they did that. He urged them to sit on the table beside him and sing along. Sitting at his feet did not coincide with the meticulously crafted image he had been working on. He was not looking to be a father-figure. He wanted to be a serious writer who just happened to have some other pretty amazing talents that made girls wild.

Once, a waif with particularly long, blond hair had danced lightly and aimlessly in front of him, her arms swaying and hair catching the breeze. Her eyes mostly stayed closed. He panicked for a moment, never having envisioned this before, but he calmed his nerves and cracking voice, wishing that he knew some songs by Alanis Morriset, but alas, her chord progressions were far beyond him. He had scoured each and every chord sheet under her name online. No, it was simply above his ability. He settled on a slow Beatles tune and it kept her there, for a song.

JasonF said...

“The chute! The chute!” Father Franklin cried, as he held Ricardo Froog’s leg somewhere above a tropical ocean. There were but three parachutes aboard “The Happy Bee,” and since Captain Albert refused to go down with the plane, Sylvie devised a solution with some rope, Franklin’s waist, and Ricardo’s right leg.

“At least it’s not raining,” Albert thought as he tried rather unsuccessfully to swim toward the other three descending figures. Ricardo, Sylvie, and the Father, were too preoccupied with their own descent and the impending nuptials to pay much attention to Albert.

“I love you,” Ricardo said.

“Above me?” Sylvie asked, confused since nothing was above her but wide open skies and the smoking husk of “The Happy Bee.”

“AAAAAAHHHHH!” shrieked Father Franklin.

Below, palm trees swayed gently in the breeze, unaffected by the shrieks from the falling Father.

Ricardo’s ears were not so lucky.

“Please, Father, yelling won’t bring the plane back,” Ricardo Froog, ever smooth, ever suave, pleaded, “why don’t you just marry us here and now?”

“Oh, what a splendid idea!” Sylvie cried, clapping her hands together. “Come, now, Father, the chutes needn’t be opened for another eighteen thousand feet at least,” Sylvie, ever the model of decorum, and complete sky-diving novice, proclaimed.

“Aaahhhhh,” Father Franklin repeated, ever terrified of heights.

“I can’t quite see you,” called Albert, ever so much further away.

“Oh, that Albert,” Ricardo chuckled.

“What a joker,” Sylvie replied.

“Muh. . .leg. . .pluhhh. . .” Father Franklin squealed, clawing at Ricardo’s gartered sock.

“Ow, really, Father, that’s quite enough!” Ricardo said, jokingly kicking at the priest’s white knuckles.

“” Father Franklin cried, tears streaming.

“Yes, I do, and please don’t pull my pants down any further,” Ricardo grinned.

“You. . .marry. . .love. . .oh dear God.. . .” Father Franklin cried, slipping another inch.

“I do,” Sylvie squealed.

Somewhere above, the “The Happy Bee” exploded into huge plumes of black smoke.

“I really must stop trying to cook my hamburgers on the engine before take-off,” Albert thought in a moment of clarity before a seagull smashed into his nose.

Cathy Yardley said...

Thomas Kestrel had become a millionaire by the time he was eighteen years old, a billionaire by thirty. He was said to be one of the smartest, savviest street-wise self-made businessmen to hit the country in a century.
And here I am, lost in my own office building.
He scowled as he tried taking another turn. In his defense, he’d only transferred to the new headquarters a day ago; he’d been too busy tying up loose ends in the old building in North Carolina, including its demolition. And the labyrinthine design of the new headquarters, while deliberate, was also a real pain in the ass to figure out.
He was getting ready to try his phone’s GPS when he heard the strange noises. There was a ribbon of light spooling out from the bottom of a closed doorway.
His heart started pounding.
Who the hell is in my building at this time of night?
He approached cautiously. Fiendish Headquarters was built specifically to be an impregnable fortress, in more ways than one, but he knew better than to let his guard down.
“My anaconda don’t want none unless she’s got BUNS, hon…
His eyes widened.
Apparently, whoever was skulking around at one in the morning was a Sir Mixalot fan.
He opened the door cautiously, peering inside. The woman he saw was skinny, average height, wearing a gray-green blouse and a shapeless khaki skirt. That alone told him she didn’t work for Fiendish: his employees wore strictly Fiendish Fashion clothing, and he’d know if they sold anything that damned ugly. She had long red hair pulled up into a haphazard ponytail, with straggling curls escaping.
She was also “shaking her money maker,” every now and then shutting a file cabinet drawer with one jaunty hip shimmy.
“….baby got baaaaaaaacccck!,” she shrieked, finally catching sight of him.
He couldn’t help himself. He grinned broadly. She had square framed glasses that were slipping down on a cute nose. She looked like an absent minded librarian or a vaguely frumpy co-ed. She held up a stapler defensively, like she meant business.

Ava Jae said...

Awesome contest! I dug out and old WIP just for the occasion. 316 words from my YA Paranormal WIP:

Doc glances around. “Where’s Farrell?”

Farrell. The point of giving me a roommate, I suppose, is to make sure I don’t lose my sanity to boredom alone. Two seventeen-year old guys diagnosed with a form of psychosis should get along marvelously. Farrell, however, is anything but a roommate. He’s a room devil. And it doesn't help that only one of us is psychotic.

I flip on the television and sit cross-legged on my bed. “Maybe he went commando in the senior wing again.”

Don’t ask. All I’ll say is naked teenager and bingo.

Doc knocks on the bathroom door. “Are you in there Farrell?”

“Go…go…go away you kil-kil murderer!”

Oh yes. And did I mention his speech impediment? A regular psychotic roomie evidently isn’t annoying enough, so God gifted me one who couldn’t finish a sentence before Forrest Gump.

“Murderer? What do you mean?”

Look at that. Farrell’s professed father, James Bond is on. I set down the remote on the cluttered nightstand sandwiched between our beds.

“I know, I know uh…you’re all trying to…trying to kill poison my dinner let me…let me tal-tal speak with…that guy, my roomie friend guy Gavin.”

I have to agree with moron, Daniel Craig is definitely a superior Bond.

“Gavin, he’d like to speak with you.”

“I’ll bet.” I lean back on the bed, cross my arms behind my head and focus on Daniel Craig playing poker. I never did learn how to play poker. I’ll have to add it to my list.

“Gavin’s right here,” Doc says. “Why won’t you come out and see?”

“I’m not…I’m not falling for tha-tha your tricks. I only trust…only know Gavin…Gavin wo-won’t lie to me.”

I don’t suppose this is partially my fault. When I wouldn’t eat the nasty tofu burger they tried to shove down my throat last night, I told him it was poison. It seems he took it literally. Oops.

Christy Elkins said...

You are right, I think funny is the most difficult. Humor is not something I write well but I really want your book, so it's worth a try!
350 words excerpt "Dandelion" (work in progress)

“You haven’t said much,” he said gently prodding my shoulder. I swallowed hard and took a drink of my soda. “Well, I guess I am just enjoying this culinary masterpiece. So what else do you do besides seduce women with deli treats?”
A look came across Jordan’s face I hadn’t seen yet. A look that both excited and terrified me; I quickly wanted to retract my question. “I’m sorry,” I said trying to close whatever door I had mistakenly opened. “I didn’t mean to pry.”
His gaze went right through me, as if he were seeing into another dimension. He slowly opened his mouth and a sharp current of fear ran through me as I awaited his words, “I’m…an actor.” He finally said with a mischievous grin.
I let out a sigh of relief, “Woo and a darn good one at that!” I said through nervous laughter. “I was ready to bolt through that door.”
He gave a satisfied chuckle and took a bite of his sandwich, stuffing it into his cheek like a hamster. His boyish charm was heightened by the little exposed pieces of bread showing through his infectious smile and I couldn’t help but to grin in return.
“So, have you been in anything I would have seen?” I wanted to sound interested rather than star struck.
“Nah, nothing you would be interested in.” he blushed.
“Oh, come on, surely I have seen something you did; maybe a commercial or print work?” I urged.
“Okay.” He sighed heavily, “I’m Kiki.” He answered ruefully. I wasn’t sure if he was being serious at first but the embarrassment on his face convinced me of his sincerity.
“The pink parrot on Big Bens Fun Show?” I asked with excitement. “My son loves that show!”
“Yah…well…I’m Kiki,” he said again with obvious distain.
“What’s wrong with that? It must be exciting! You do something you love and you make millions of children happy.”
“I’m a girl! I’m a big pink parrot who dances around to silly songs and teaches lessons about friendship and flushing the potty. What’s so great about that?”

D.C. Sargent said...

Elfie jolted sharply and dropped the book. It rolled down her legs to the floor with a plop. “Yes! Mr. Huff?” she blurted, giving her grim-faced supervisor a winning smile.
Florescent lights glinted off the man’s sleek brown hair and fiercely ironed slacks. “What are you doing?” he barked.
Elfie tucked a lock of unruly brown hair behind her ear and adjusted her plain glasses. “What? Uh, w-working. Working.”
“Working or reading a book?”
“Book?” she echoed, kicking the open book behind her trashcan.
Mr. Huff gave the liar a blank stare, then craned his head to see beneath her desk.
With a jerk, Elfie crossed her legs and cleared her throat.
The man glared at her. “Suzie said you were late this morning.”
Heat crept up Elfie’s neck. She hated Suzie. Suzie was blond and stylish and trim and had a perfect nose and perfect hair and manicured fingers and small feet and was never late and blah and blah and blah. Bitch. “Yes. I-I-I was,” she fidgeted nervously with a pencil, “by a few minutes. I stayed up late last night and accidentally overslept which, as you know, is entirely unusual for me.”
His face brightened. “Must have been a good book!”
Elfie gasped. “Oh, it was! It is! It’s about this girl who becomes telepathic with a man she doesn’t know, and he’s a commando and—”
“I don’t pay you to read!” he snapped loudly.
All eyes turned her way, and Elfie slouched in her seat.
“If you oversleep again tomorrow, don’t bother coming in. Get back to work!”
Mortified, Elfie faced her boring computer, set her chin in her hand, and called her next customer. “Mrs. Daniels.”
The customer, a mature woman in stylish attire, took a seat across from Elfie. As she did, she noticed the rather long nameplate on the desk—Elfonzo Mortimer Edda, III—and hesitated. “I have an appointment with Mr. Elfonzo Mortimer Edda, III. Is he here?”
Sigh. Elfie extended her hand. “I am Miss Elfonzo Mortimer Edda, III.”
The woman blinked at her.
Another sigh. “My father wanted a son,” she grinned. “I’m the youngest of seven girls. Do you have your account number?”

Tim Roast said...

I can’t do funny stories; I can only do sad stories at the moment. You see my pet, Anthony the Ant, died.

We were out playing in the garden. I turned my back just for a minute and the next-door neighbour’s pet, Declan the Anteater, jumped over the fence and started to hoover up little Anthony. Well I ran across as quick as I could but I was too late; I could only retrieve little Anthony’s head.

I shooed off Declan before looking down at little Anthony’s head inside my cupped hand. He beckoned me towards him, which was hard because he had no legs, and he I heard his dying words. “Avenge... My... Death...”

Well I organised a little funeral for him. I was hoping for a better turn out but Declan had eaten all his little friends too.

Funeral over I set about avenging Anthony’s death so I got a new pet – Sid the Snake – and he ate Declan.

My neighbour then asked me where Declan was. I said I didn’t know. Then he saw Sid the Snake and the anteater shape in his belly.

“Is that Declan?” he asked.

“No, that’s a different anteater,” I replied. My neighbour looked satisfied and started to walk away but at that moment Sid had a coughing fit and brought out all his food. My neighbour saw the half-dissolved anteater and knew it was Declan because of his distinctive nose. He was outraged. “Watch your back,” he said.

The next day I was out playing with Sid in the garden. I turned my back just for a minute and the next-door neighbour’s new pet, Nancy the Mongoose, jumped over the fence and ate Sid.

So you see I am in grief and can’t really do a funny story at the moment.

Diane Henders said...

Here you go: an excerpt from my soon-to-be-self-published novel, "Never Say Spy".

“Tell me something that I can’t possibly know, and that I wouldn’t be able to imagine.”

He sat in silence.

I sighed again and stared at the sky some more.

“Hellhound crochets afghans in his spare time,” he said.

I jerked upright, staring at him. “Bullshit!”

“No word of a lie.”

“Nah, you’re just messing with me.”

“Seriously.” Kane grinned. “He broke his leg in a training accident right after we joined the army and ended up in traction for six weeks. He was bored, hitting on this pretty nurse, and he figured he could make time with her if he asked her to teach him to crochet. It worked, too.”

“And he still crochets because...?”

“He says it gets him in touch with his feminine side.”

I gaped at him. “Now that is a truly scary thought.”

“Actually, I am messing with you on that one. Hellhound doesn’t have a feminine side. He says he still uses crocheting as a ploy to get the chicks.”

“Thank God,” I sighed. “The thought of Hellhound’s feminine side was just...” my voice trailed off.

Hellhound minced toward us in high heels and a white Marilyn Munroe halter dress, the light fabric contrasting appallingly with his full beard and hairy, tattooed body.

He came to a stop in front of us, simpering while the dress blew up around his legs and he held the front down á la Marilyn. Then he winked, gave us his trademark leer.

And turned and mooned us.

“Aaaaagh!” I shrieked, shielding my face with both hands. “My eyes! I’m blind! Make it go away!” I flopped back and caught a glimpse of Kane, who was prostrate on the sand, laughing helplessly.

“You!” I pounced on him, belabouring him with my jacket while he feebly defended himself, tears of mirth rolling down his cheeks. “I’m scarred for life because of you! That was all you! That was... that was horrible!” I collapsed in laughter beside him.

He gasped for air, wiping his eyes. “It wasn’t me,” he denied. “That dress... I would never... in a million years... Admit it, you did that.”

Melinda said...

Wyatt was in the bowhunting aisle among spare barbs and targets, singing “A Country Boy Can Survive” under his breath as he restocked the camo duct tape. He saw me and brightened. I just about shrieked and ran away, but stood my ground.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” he asked.

I would have answered, but my brain gleefully leapt out of my head to snuggle up under Wyatt’s arm. “Don’t mind me, just go on with whatever you were doing,” said my brain.

What was I doing, anyway? Oh, yes, I had to give Wyatt a plausible reason for visiting him – not that I wanted to gaze adoringly upon his hotness and in this way ease my aching heart. “Um, um, um, I was … why, this is the very thing I was looking for!” I suddenly exclaimed, scooping up a couple of duct tape rolls that Wyatt had set down. I clutched them to my chest. His hands had touched these! “I was, um, going to wrap stuff up in it. And make it vanish.”

“Make what vanish, the tape?”

“No, the stuff! Because this is camo tape! Obviously.” My Ditz-O-Meter was flashing, but without my brain I was helpless. I slid the three rolls of tape up my arm like industrial-sized bracelets and said, “My brother will be first on the list. Mister Moody. I shall wrap him in duct tape and roll him down a hill.”

I imagined duct-taping Brandon to the couch when he fell asleep playing video games. That would teach him to hog my Grand Theft Auto game.

“I stuck my brother to the wall with duct tape once,” Wyatt said. “We wanted to scare Mom when she came into the garage. It worked.”

Truly, Wyatt was a man after my own heart.

Holly Vance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather G. Davis said...

I hope non-fiction is okay...

As a field biologist, I met my arch-nemesis – the cow who loves you. Their first stomach is home to billions of microbes that do the business of digestion by fermenting the grass. Cows need to help the process along, so they throw up into their mouths and chews the cud.

When the cow who loves you is presented with a truck that is obstinately not bestowing hay bales, she will encourage the recalcitrant horn of plenty. She does this by licking it. A licked truck is a green truck. A licked truck really, I mean really, stinks.

Once, I stood in a shallow little vernal pool searching for endangered fairy shrimp. They swim upside down, their teensy legs beating in graceful waves. A cow figured I must have something delicious in my dip net and moved in to investigate. Soon I had a baker’s dozen putting my rubber booted feet in jeopardy. I shouted and brandished my net. They jumped back in shock, but soon began creeping forward as if I were a powerful magnet and they helpless as thin iron shavings.

To my horror, I saw a fresh contingent of cattle headed toward my truck. I could perceive the one thought in their minds as if they had a cartoon bubble over their heads. Must-Lick-Truck. I broke into a trot but the clop of hooves sounded behind me; my fan club followed. Clopping turned to pounding and then thunder. I spun around, “STOP!” The cows skidded to a halt, their faces a study of hurt and betrayal. I turned my back on them. The Must-Lick-Truck cows were almost there. I ran. The clopping, pounding and thunder resumed. Again I turned, screamed and lunged with my net. But like a cowed dog who fawns on the feet of a cruel master, they still loved me. Finally, I arrived…inches behind the Must-Lick-Truck cows. As I sadly regarded my stinky truck, it dawned on me that I was going to have to embrace cowdom’s loving nature. Thereafter, I always brought a little alfalfa.

Stephanie Garber said...

Thanks for this contest! I think it's great!

Here's my entry:

As a child I never understood why my mother didn’t stuff her bras. She was a petite woman, and I always imagined that if she had bigger breasts she’d be able to get me another daddy. I told her my idea, but she just patted my head and smiled. Maybe if she’d explained why my idea was bad I would have never gotten the nickname T.P.

It happened in the fifth grade, when I decided I wanted a boyfriend. I asked my mother for a training bra. She pointed out the obvious, that I didn’t need one, but she bought one for me anyway. It was pink with white lace, and it didn’t contain nearly enough padding to get me a boyfriend.

At first I tried socks, but they were too big. So, I grabbed two handfuls of toilet paper. Finally, I looked like a woman. I might have only been four and half feet tall but I had a C-cup that day.

I noticed the stares of the other kids at school and I smiled at them proudly. The girls had to be jealous, of course, and I imagined all the boys were fighting over who would ask me to be their girlfriend on the playground that day. If only the clouds hadn’t chosen to let go of their rain.

I grew up in Florida, so this wasn’t a regular spring shower; this was a downpour. By the time I made it from recess to my classroom I was soaked, from my t-shirt to my bra, to the special little pads beneath. I could feel the wet toilet paper sticking to my chest in uneven clumps. I’d gone from a fluffy C to a soggy A-. And the stares of my classmates had changed as well. The girls no longer looked at me with envy, and when one of the boys came over to talk to me, he didn’t ask me to be his girlfriend. He said he needed to use the bathroom and asked if I could spare some T.P.

Curtis Edmonds said...

“I’ve got a job for you,” Nicole said.

“No.” I said. I hated to disappoint her, but it was for the best.

“Hear me out, please. My best seventh-grade teacher got called up for jury duty.”

“Stop right there,” I said. If I was going to do anything in my condition, it wasn’t going to involve seventh-graders.

“You’re being negative. These aren’t bad kids.”

“That’s what you said about the ones last fall who locked me out of the classroom. I had to climb in through a window.”

“I need somebody for the next six weeks. You do a good job with them, and I’ll try to get you on full-time next semester.”

“I want to help you,” I said, and it was true. I liked Nicole, and if she was a little young to be a principal and I was a little old to be a substitute teacher, that was all right. I just didn’t think I could leave the house, much less deal with seventh-grader hormones.

“Give me one reason why you can’t help me.”

Nothing like honesty.

“I grew a tail last night.”

“Get real.”

“It is real. It’s red, about three feet long, and bushy. Right now, it’s poking me in the ear.”

“Then stuff it down your pants and get over here. I’m serious.”

“So am I. And I can’t. I wish I could. The tail" (I hadn’t gotten around to thinking of it as "my tail" yet) "seems to have a mind of its own.”

“But you can still teach.”


“Maybe not seventh-graders,” she said. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I need to go to the vet.”

“Is it... is it pretty?”

I took a closer look. The coloration was subtle, with gold highlights amidst the red. “It kind of is.”

“Look,” she said. “I get out at four. I’ll come over and you can show it to me, and we can figure things out. How does that sound?”

My new tail started wagging. “Sounds good.”

“Okay. You need anything? A brush? Conditioner?”

“Surprise me.”

Jen Maschari said...

Thanks for hosting this! This excerpt is from my MG WIP. In the scene, the main character, Matt, is talking with his genius little brother. (349 words)

He put on a headset that made him look like he should be asking if I wanted fries and a shake and turned to the robot. Pointing to a pile on the floor, he said, “Frankenbeans, pick up that shirt.”

“You named him Frankenbeans?” I asked as I watched the robot’s conveyor belt-like legs roll over to the pile. A mechanical arm extended and grabbed a blue t-shirt.

“Yeah, after my favorite food.” Maybe we did have more in common after all. “Oh and it’s a bit of an homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Okay, maybe not. What did homage even mean? It sounded like a piece of furniture rich people put in their house.

“Cease and desist. Do not touch me,” the robot monotoned, swatting my hand away with a metallic karate chop. The largest of Robert’s robots, its neon green eyes were level with mine. Bright yellow and blue lights on its rectangular body flashed as it continued to chant, “Do not touch me,” in an increasingly frantic way. Robert’s parakeet, Darwin, flapped its grey and blue wings, squawking, “Cease and desist, cease and desist.” Our family had a thing for weird pets – my cat, Mr. Chips, named for the junk food he loved to eat, Robert’s bird, Darwin, and Jane’s giant tortoise – Mariah Carey – who had taken over the basement. They seemed to fit in with our family just fine, though.

I heard a door slam. Hoping it was the bathroom, I jumped up, narrowly escaping the thrashing robot arms, and ran down the hall.

“Jane,” I yelled even though I was right in front of her door. It was covered with pictures of some singer named Adam Drew with the words “I’ve Got the Drew Flu” written on each one. “Are you done in the shower?” I pushed it open.

“Do. Not. Come. In,” she hissed, popping her head out and whipping her towel-covered hair around like a crazed bobble-head. If Jane’s moods had to be organized like those “How are you feeling today?” posters, there would be two faces: Dramatic and More Dramatic.

Laura Pauling said...

This is terrific, Nathan! I'll retweet. :)

Holly Bodger said...

The first 350 words from my MG novel:

Miss Pencilskirt stops at my desk, holding out her clipboard so it’s facing me. I don’t look at it. I just write even faster, pressing my number two pencil so hard it almost rips through my journal. She should know I would rather stick a fork in Justin Jameson’s hair and use it to eat brussel sprouts, than I would sign my name on that form but I swear, it’s like her skirt has cut off the circulation to her brain. She actually moves it—-the clipboard, not the pencil skirt—-even closer.

“Elly,” she says, in case I haven’t noticed the clipboard blocking my right nostril, “don’t you want to enter the pageant this year?”

I put down my pencil and take a deep breath. There are two kinds of girls in Devon County:
1) Those who dream of being the Devon County Winter Carnival Ice Princess so they can ride on the sleigh and stick their frozen, dripping nose up at all of the girls who aren’t Devon County Winter Carnival Ice Princess, AND
2) Me

I know I should tell Miss Pencilskirt this. I should tell her that no girl in her right mind would want to sit on a moving ice sculpture and pretend she’s happy about the fact that she’s probably going to lose three fingers to frostbite. I should tell her that Grandma Bernice didn’t burn her bra so I could turn into a tiara-wearing popsicle. But I don’t tell her this because I don’t know if Grandma Bernice actually burned her bra. I don’t want to know. After she asked me if I was ‘developing’ during the middle of Thanksgiving turkey, I decided that discussions of bras are off limits, whether there's a dead bird present or not.

Miss Pencilskirt starts to drum her fingers on the clipboard so I do what I always do instead. I make something up. “Sorry, Miss Penc—-I mean, Miss Taylor, but I’m going to be out of town during the carnival this year. I… uh… I’m visiting my grandma. In Florida.” Yeah, that’s it. F-L-O-R-I-D-A.

Anonymous said...

NOOOOOOO i' just off the age limit :( :( y cant it be 12+

Megg Jensen said...

This is pulled from a contemp WIP. Tabitha lived around the world with her mother, a preeminent archaeologist. Her mother's current assignment took her to North Korea, so Tabitha has to live with her grandparents on their farm and attend school for the first time in fifteen years.


“There’s nothing in your file about playing an instrument, right?”

I’d learned elementary didjeridu during a quick stint in Australia. I couldn’t imagine they had a section for that here. I shook my head.

“You are required to participate in an extra-curricular sport. Marching band is out. What skills do you have?”

I thought quickly. I didn’t want to end up on an awful team. Too short for volleyball. Too slow for track. No penis for football. What did that leave me?

“I'm a third degree black belt in taekwondo,” I said, sure that I could get a spot on their martial arts team. I could probably disable them all with a glance.

Mrs. Jordan’s eyes widened. “Taekwondo? You can beat people up?”

“Well, kind of,” I said, puffing up my chest with pride. Not many people would suspect tiny me to be dangerous. I liked that. “It’s more self-defense than attack strategies, but if pressed, yes, I can hurt someone. I have this amazing jump-kick combination that never fails to knock people off their feet. I also learned how to flip over someone’s kick to avoid being hit. It’s really amazing.”

I stopped when I realized Mrs. Jordan was staring at me. Yes, I was babbling and sounded a tad like Becky. But hey, how often did I get to discuss my martial arts experience with a fellow fitness enthusiast? Mrs. Jordan didn’t have an ounce of fat on her. Obviously she would understand the amazing things the human body can accomplish when pushed.

“Perfect,” she said. “Then it’s decided.” A smile spread across Mrs. Jordan’s face. It echoed on my face. Not only was I being invited to join their martial arts team, but I bet she was about to make me captain.

“I’m honored,” I said.

“Wonderful!” Mrs. Jordan clapped me on the back. “You’ll be a cheerleader.”

How many circles of hell did Dante discover?


Thanks Nathan!

Megg Jensen
Megg on Twitter

Cyndy Aleo said...

He threw the door wide only to find a girl standing there, looking pissed. There was nothing on his computer about a girl, especially not a girl who looked this, well, odd. She had light-brown hair, cut in a rather severe-looking bob thing that reminded him of flappers from the 1920s, although how he could remember flappers and not his own name was beyond him. She had fire-engine red streaks in her hair, a ring in her lip, and eyes that might have been gray or green, but the thick, black make-up caked all around them made it sort of hard to tell. She was wearing tight jeans, generic sneakers, and a t-shirt with a zombie Care Bear on it. If they were friends, that cemented his thoughts that he was definitely not popular.

“What the hell, Tray? You're usually ready when I get here. Why am I having to pound on the door?”

He stared at her. The instructions promised a Donovan. Where the hell was Donovan? And exactly who was this girl?

“Crap on a crumpet, again?” she asked. Absolutely none of this was making sense, and he hoped Donovan would show up soon.

Either she was psychic, or he looked that confused, because she answered his question before he could even ask.

“Tray, you ass, I’m Donovan. One of these days I’m just going to get myself a name tag like those dolts at Disney World wear. ‘Hi, I’m Donovan, your best friend. Welcome to the magic kingdom of your mind once you’ve fried the hell out of it. I’ll be filling you in today on your entire life during the twenty-minute ride to school. We ask that while the ride is in motion, you keep your hands, arms, feet, legs, and head inside the car at all times. Also, we request that there be no eating, drinking, smoking, or flash photography.

"Now get in the damn car so I can remind you who you are and why your brain resembles an anti-drug PSA.”

Terry Flamm said...

Thanks for holding this contest. Here's an excerpt from my MG novel.

“Aha! You like Aldebara because she’s so pretty, but when it comes to Aoiffe, with that weird green hairdo, you get freaked out.”
“Aoiffe’s mean!” Lilly said. “How could anybody like her?”
“Something’s got her ticked off at humans,” Gylffe surmised. “I just hope that’s not the prevailing mood among the fairies.”
Aunt Madeline took a sip of iced tea and looked out into her yard. “So how many fairies do you think are around here?”
“Hard to tell,” Gylffe said, picking up her magic detector. “The meter goes berserk every time I wave this thing around your yard. A lot of it could be coming from the pond, but my estimate would be in the thousands.”
“Wow!” Lilly said. “Is that unusual?”
Gylffe set her magic detector back on the wicker table. “Unheard of.”
Aunt Madeline startled to giggle. It was a girls night out after all. “So Gylffe, do you think the Tooth Fairy is out there?”
“Absolutely,” Gylffe said in mock seriousness. “And her sister, the Snot Fairy.”
“Snot Fairy!?” Lilly asked, laughing.
“Whenever you have a bad cold, just put your used tissues under your pillow,” Gylffe continued. “And the Snot Fairy will take them away and leave you a silver dollar.”
“That’s gross!” Lilly said.
“Not any more gross than picking up someone’s bloody tooth!” Gylffe countered.
The three of them laughed, but then Lilly saw a darkly clad figure with a hideously deformed face pressed up against the screen window. She wanted to scream, but Gylffe frantically waved for Lilly to keep quiet.
“He can’t see us in here,” Gylffe whispered. “And unless you scream, he can’t hear us either.”
“It’s a monster!” Lilly whispered back.
“It’s just somebody wearing a mask,” Gylffe told her.
“Gylffe, are you sure?” Aunt Madeline asked.
“Oh come on, you’re an adult!” Gylffe scolded.
“And you’re an elf!”
As far as Lilly was concerned, Aunt Madeline had a point. Now that she had been introduced to a world of fairies and elves, it didn’t seem so far-fetched that a monster might come trudging along as well.

Kelly Evans said...

Part of a series of short stories I'm writing. Imogen and Constance have decided to write a horror novel:

“I’m certain that between the two of us a great novel is about to be born.”

“How shall we start? I’ve got a rather nice pad of paper in my room and an idea for an opening line.”

“Oh no Imogene, you mustn’t jump right in with an opening line, no, that won’t do at all.”

Imogene looked slightly hurt at having been chastised in such an undignified manner but deferred to her sister’s obvious experience in such matters as these.

Constance continued. “No, we shall start this undertaking as we mean to continue. The Right Way.” Constance indicated the capital letters with a tilt of her voice as well as a tilt of her eyebrow. “First of all, we should change out of our present outfits into something more literary.”

The girls dressed appropriately and returned to the gazebo with the necessary supplies. Imogene had her writing pad and a pen; Constance a number of pens of differing colour and weight, three different types of paper, a glass paperweight that had belonged to a long-dead ancestor, a hat, four antique books of varying sizes from her father’s library and a glass of sherry.

She proceeded to assemble the pens, paper and paperweight in front of her, donned the hat and drank the sherry. Imogene asked about the books.

“They’re for the table. Atmosphere. Very important when you’re trying to create a mood.”

Imogene knew better than to question her sister’s wisdom. “Now shall we record the opening sentence?” Imogene enquired.

“Oh no, Immie, not yet. First we must have a discussion.”

“About what?”

“About our lives, our ennui, our disappointment and anger at the current establishment and how all of it is affecting our creative skills.”

“What current establishment?”

“Any one will do. Shall we use the board of the Pinner Operatic Society as our establishment? I am certainly very disappointed with them.”

Chris V said...

This is from my unpublished YA humorous fantasy novel called "A HIRO'S TALE."


King Bob said to Grand Vizier Hanzmorro, “Now what are we gonna do? We need to find the next savior before the Dark Lord has a chance to lay a hand on him. And we need to try to find some way to mend the burnt Prophecy.”
“The Prophecy…The Prophecy…The Prophecy…” they both murmured in unison, hands forming prayer symbols.
“That way,” King Bob continued, “we can find the next saviors on and into the future, too.”
“Yes,” Hanzmorro said. “If you don’t mind my saying, Sire, I propose you hold a meeting immediately to discuss a way to find the next savior. And in the meantime, I’ll see what can be done about mending The Prophecy.”
“The Prophecy…The Prophecy…The Prophecy…” they murmured.
“Excellent plan,” King Bob said. “I’ll gather the royal subjects. You carefully take what’s left of The Prophecy…”
“The Prophecy…The Prophecy…The Prophecy…” they murmured.
“…And see if there’s any way to put The Prophecy…”
“The Prophecy…The Prophecy…The Prophecy…”
“…Back together.”
Hanzmorro said, “You just like saying The Prophecy…”
“The Prophecy…The Prophecy…The Prophecy…”
“…Don’t you, My Lord?”
“It is a very sacred name,” the king said. “And therefore bears repeating.”
“Okay, then. I’ll just go and pick up what’s left of the Proph…”
“It’s getting tiresome now,” King Bob said brusquely.
“Yes, Your Honor.” Hanzmorro removed a sheet of paper and a small wooden box from his pocket, knelt down, tenderly slid the paper under the ashes of The Prophecy on the floor, and dropped them into the box. He slid the lid over the box. “Watch this.” He waved his hand over the top of the box, then lifted the lid.
Nothing was inside.
“Ta-dah!” he cried.
“That had better be another magic trick!” King Bob roared, fire sparking under his skin.
“Of course, My Lord. The box has a secret compartment.”
“Okay.” The flame drained from King Bob’s face. “Be gone, then. See if the document can be restored.”
Hanzmorro bowed, and then skittered away.
“I’m gonna need to hire someone else to be the part-time jester,” King Bob muttered.

Rick Daley said...

"The Queen of Wal-Mart"

It all started when they opened that new Wal-Mart at the corner of Renneck and Hylbly Street…you know the one, the Super Center. I knew from the get-go it was going to ruin our community, and I was right. You wouldn’t believe the class of people started turning up. Rich folk from across the tracks. Well, they was about to get out-classed by yours truly. I am the Queen of Wal-Mart.

I saw her from the checkout line. She was easy to spot ‘cause of her lack of fashion sense. She didn’t wear nearly enough eye makeup and her hair was too short to pull back with a scrunchy. Her clothes fit all loose…If I had hips that tiny I’d wear Spandex every day. Course I do wear Spandex every day but that’s beside the point.

She was in the produce section, her son standing next to her pulling on her skirt and pointing to the display of chips. She kept pushing his hand away and picking out vegetables, which is just dumb because the chips were buy-one-get-one-free and vegetables just suck.

I snapped when she said “No” so loud even the people in line 18 heard her and then she dropped the carrots in the cart. Not even proper carrots, so a kid can nibble on one like Bugs Bunny and then spit that nasty shit out. She had baby carrots. I hate those things and everything they stand for.

I marched over, footsteps thundering so hard they made the Muzak skip. I grabbed that poor boy away from her, grabbed two bags of chips, and carried him back to the checkout line.

She followed me and kept looking back at her cart all protective-like, as if someone was actually gonna steal her vegetables. Not in this Wal-Mart, sister.

She got the manager, who took my side until she explained that it was actually her kid. Apparently they got laws that let rich people abuse their kids, so I had to let him go. But the best part?

They let me keep both bags of chips.

WORD VERIFICATION: seses. A collection of sayings from my Granddaddy. "A man asked me how I live so long, and I ses to him, I ses...". Also, a palindrome.


Caleb said...

“The most action Brookfield’s seen in awhile?” Moore asked.
“I’m a probie. Everything is action.”
“This isn’t the fire department,” Murphy said leaning forward in his chair.
“Yeah, I know. It’s still probationary though.”
“We’re part time FBI field agents you know,” Moore said, pulling out his credentials. “We can arrest you for falsifying your identification.”
“Really? I didn’t mean to.”
“Ignorance is no excuse. Impersonating a firefighter is a serious crime too,” Murphy said, reaching for his cuffs and clicking them around as he stood up. “Read him his Miranda Rights.”
“He’s a probie, he can read them to himself. In fact, recite them. You’re just out of the academy.”
The probie’s voice began shaking as he rattled off his rights.
“Do you understand your rights?” Moore asked him.
“Yes,” the probie said.
“I didn’t hear you,” Moore shouted. “Do you realize that so many people have died to defend your Miranda Rights. And you can’t even acknowledge that you understand them with pride and motivation. What do you think Ms. Miranda Lambert Shelton would do if she found out about your gross misuse and appropriation of your pride for understanding the rights that she gave you. You disgust me. Get out of my sight but consider this a warning.”
“Thank you, Sir,” the probie said, doing his best to stand at attention.
“Get out, before I change my mind. Probie!” Moore said, turning his back on the probie and facing Murphy. Moore’s mouth was huge with glee, but Murphy kept staring without cracking a smile.
“He will change his mind,” Murphy said as he began to smile, watching the probie waddle back out of the office, closing the door quickly but not slamming it.
“Woo-we,” Moore said when the door clicked.
“I thought he was going to stand there all day,” Murphy said, rolling back in his chair in laughter.
“Rookies,” Moore said, wiping the tears out of his eyes.
“Probies,” Murphy said, sending both of them into a high pitched fit of laughter.
“All seriousness aside,” Murphy said. “Even if you’re theory is right…

From "Heavy Traffick" Crime Thriller 2012

rachelslessonslearned said...

Ive been having trouble finishing this WIP. Maybe this will motivate me to try harder. From the intro:

“I have decided,” announced Zoya between sweeps of her paw over her ear, “that Master Zander must have a mate.”

Zoot opened one yellow eye. He twisted his body to catch a fleeting ray of sun coming through the window above his tabletop perch. Parchment crackled under his weight. “I don’t think Master Zander wants a mate.” He said.

“Nonsense! He’s human. All humans need mates. I assure you, the Master wants a woman whether he knows it or not.”

“A woman?” Zoot sat up and swished his tail. A crumpled scroll fell off the edge of the table and rolled across the carpet. “But they’re so…loud. And they bring little humans! With grubby hands and sticky mouths. This is a terrible idea.”

“It is not either a terrible idea. Humans need love and copulation. Master Zander is quite unhappy without a mate, even if he doesn't know it yet. And yes, of course a woman. What do you think a mate is?”

He bent himself in half and cleaned his bottom. He did not approve. “You’ve been reading those books, again, haven’t you?”

Zoya flicked her ears back and made herself retract her claws. “What of it? They’re very useful for understanding human ways.”

“They’re trash. Everyone knows that. Besides, you’re a familiar. The only books you have any business reading are grimoires and spellbooks. Not smut. Warriors ravishing maidens, how absurd!”

Zoya narrowed her eyes and curled into a ball in the sun. She tucked her paws under her. “Humph. You say you’ve never read a single one of those books, and yet you know what smut is. How very odd, don't you think?”

He didn’t reply. The silence stretched out as the two cats eyed each other while the sun climbed higher into the sky. Tails swished on crisp parchment and ancient vellum.

“So,” said Zoot, just as Zoya almost dozed off. “Just what is this spell that you propose will get Master Zander a mate?”

Zoya purred. “Unicorns. We shall summon unicorns.”

MAFW said...

I'm not big on housecoats, especially this time of year when it is so hot. I don't have central air, I have three window units but only two can be turned on at a time.

This results in taking certain liberties within my own home. Namely, I like to air dry myself when I get out of the shower. Since there is no air conditioning in the bathroom I usually go into the kitchen and stand in front of that unit--which is right beside the door--which also has a window with a curtain but no shade.

Recently, I had an unexpected visitor, the UPS man. He and I have become friendly this past year. He usually backs the truck down the driveway because there isn't anywhere to turn around out back. Usually, I hear the truck because they are pretty loud. I don't know if it was the radio blasting, or the window unit roaring, or I just had my head up my ass because I heard a knock at the door and then everything seemed to go in slow motion.

I jumped, saw him looking through the window, screamed, and then crossed my arms across my chest.
Brown's eyes shot straight up, he stumbled backward nearly losing his balance and dumped my packages on the chair outside. "Nothing to sign," he said. "Have a nice day."

I didn't move becasue I was too mortified to budge. I had just flashed the UPS guy. Goodness, with my luck, the Jehovah Witnesses will be pulling in next. After the shock wore off, the worry set in: What was his reaction? Will it make things weird between us? Maybe, I do need to wear a housecoat?

Later in the evening while sitting out on the porch I was surprised to see another UPS truck pull into the driveway. Yep, it was him and he had a package in his hand. Oh crap! What am I going to say to this guy?

"In all the excitement this morning,” he said. “I forgot this one, and by the way, nice package."

Kitty said...

Great contest! Just spent an hour looking through all the wonderful submissions so far. I can do funny, except when somebody says "do funny." I'll have to dig through my WIP and see if there's something appropriate there!

H.E. Ellis said...

I stood in front of the mirror dressed in my dad’s best button up shirt and pants, wishing River were here to save me the trouble of having to kick my own ass.

Gus stepped into the room and dropped the keys to his Lincoln on my dresser. “Don’t even think about bringin’ her back empty.” He looked me up and down with his eyebrows raised. “Well now, don’t you look spiffy!”

“Spiffy? Seriously Gus is that even a word?”

“Sure it is. It means…well now, I don’t know what it means. You look good is what I’m tryin’ to say.”

“Thanks.” I picked up the keys and my wallet and slid them into my pocket.

Gus rubbed the back of his neck and looked like he might be sick. “Have a seat son. There’s somethin’ I’ve been meanin’ to talk to you about.”

I sat on the end of the bed as my mind ran down every ailment he’d ever complained about and assigned each one a terminal illness. “Whatever it is, just tell me straight out. I can take it.”

He sat down next to me and put his hand on my knee. “Son…there comes a time in every young man’s life when he finds himself alone with a girl—”

“OH MY GOD!” I threw myself back on the bed. “I’m almost eighteen! What part of ‘the talk’ did you think I didn’t already get?”

“Well how am I supposed to know what your old man did or didn’t tell ya’? What I do know for sure is that you’re not gonna earn your stripes while on my watch.”

I squeezed my eyes shut. “Earn my what?”

He stood up to face me. “Your father shipped me an enlisted man and I sure as hell ain’t shippin’ him back an officer, if you catch my drift.”

I looked up at him and raised an eyebrow of my own. “What makes you think I’m still enlisted?”

The blood drained from Gus’s face as he grabbed his chest. “Oh Lord, the angina.”

Anonymous said...

310 words from COUNT DRACULAMB, a Cautionary Picture Book for Parents:

Every night, right after the lights had been turned down in his room, Vladdie the Lamb opened his bedroom window and began to howl at the full moon.

Baaaaa Baaaaa Hooooowl!!!

As you can imagine, this ruckus made Vladdie’s mom and dad quite mad.

“You stop howling right now, young lamb” Vlad the Ram gruffly said. “And get your fluffy little rumpus back into bed!”

“And if you can’t fall asleep,” his mother sternly added with a bleat, “then close your eyes and count sheep!”

“Yes ma. Yes pa,” Vladdie softly baahed.

Once he was alone in his room, Vladdie closed his eyes and tried to count sheep because, more than anything, he just wanted to fall asleep.

He counted big sheep, small sheep, short sheep, tall sheep, red sheep, black sheep, blue sheep, green sheep.

But still Vladdie could NOT fall asleep.

And so when not a peep or creak or even a squeak of a mouse could be heard anywhere in his house, Vladdie snuck out of bed and began to prepare for a secret midnight adventure.

He brushed back his bangs and polished the fangs that he had won at a Halloween fair. Then he pulled a black sheet over his head and said:

I am not Vladdie the Lamb!
I am Count Draculamb!
Son of a Dragon!
King of the Undead!
I suuuck peeeople’s blood as they sleeeeep in bed!

And with that, Vladdie leaped out the window and went in search of his first victim.

Not long into his journey, a pack of hungry wolves appeared from out of the forest.

They howled and growled and hissed and spit as they looked at Vladdie, licking their lips.

“Which part of him should we eat first?” the leader of the pack ravenously asked.

“How about a Boiled Lamb’s Tail?” one wolf growled.

“Or some Stuffed Lamb Chops with Apple Sauce and a Glass of Ale...

Michael said...

April shined the flashlight into the hole so Matt could see where he was going. He grabbed the gold ring on his end, and we wrestled the heavy chest out of the ground, just as we had done when we first discovered it. It suddenly all seemed so familiar, like we had been in the same place doing the same thing before.

“Hey, Matt,” I said, after we had placed the chest on the ground beside the hole. “You ever have déjà vu?”

“No.” He shook his head. “But I had a flaming yawn once.”

“A flaming what?” April asked.

“Yawn,” Matt answered. “A flaming yawn. It's really good.”

“What's a flaming yawn?” I asked.

“It's a steak,” Matt began. “It's round. It’s not very big, but it's really tender. They wrap a slice of bacon around it and hold it on with toothpicks. Definitely delicious.”

“Oh.” April laughed. “You mean a filet mignon!”

“Yeah, that's what I said. A flaming yawn,” Matt replied. “So what is that other thing?”

“What?” I asked.

“You know,” Matt replied. “That déjà vu stuff. What is it?”

April answered before I could respond to Matt's question. I listened in amazement as her imagination went into overdrive and she made up an imaginary definition, just to tease him.

“Oh, Matthew!” she began weaving her yarn. “You'd love it! It's like a big old pancake. It has powdered sugar on top of it—lots and lots of powdered sugar—and inside, oh, my gosh! It’s filled with peanut butter and chocolate chips. And then they drizzle hot fudge all over it and plop down a huge dollop of whipped cream. And last, but not least, they plunk a big, fat, juicy, red cherry right on the very top of it. Yummy!”

“Holy cow!” Matt smiled, exposing the wide space between his front teeth. “That sounds awesome! I think I'm going to have me some of that déjà vu real soon! Definitely!”

“You've probably had it before,” April continued.

Matt shook his head. “No,” he said. “I would remember it if I had déjà vu.”

Jenny Peterson said...

Trying to get answers out of them was like trying to make a carrot sing karaoke. Frustrated, Bea latched onto the one idea she did have — talk to Caleb.

“Hey,” she said as he slid into a chair. He didn’t look up. “Uh, you wanna come sit with me and my friends?” She glanced over her shoulder only to see those friends staring at her, their eyes beady.

“Um, they’re really nice.” Just to prove the point, Ros deepened her glare.

Caleb took a big bite of apple, chewing slowly, so Bea stubbornly plopped into the seat across from him. “Come on,” she needled, “you said you’d think about it.”

“I am,” he said, his mouth full.

“So,” she said, picking her sandwich up. “How was your weekend?”

Caleb raised an eyebrow, but looked slightly less annoyed. “Well, I had to stop a girl from being killed, so there was that.”

“Wow, sounds fun.”

“Loads, I think I’m going to start a saving people business, actually.”

He paused, staring at Bea. “You really want me to eat lunch with you guys?”


tamw said...

In this excerpt Jess (a guy) and Cacey (a girl) are debating who would win in a duel to the death, Aslan from Narnia or Iorek from His Dark Materials. Cacey believes Jess is a straight A student, who attends church weekly. In reality, everything he’s told her about himself is a lie. In this scene, she's getting suspicious. We pick up from Jess's POV.

Jess explained, “The way I figure, Iorek can’t battle with his soul hanging out. It’d get all torn up. Then what?”

Cacey rolled her eyes, “His soul is his armor. The whole point of armor is that it doesn’t tear easily.”

Ignoring that, Jess continued, “Plus, even if Aslan wasn’t supposed to use his God powers-- during a duel to the death, they’d probably slip. It’d be kinda like asking Jet-Li to fight without using any martial-arts skills, you get me?”

She nodded.

He shrugged, “So that’s it then, really. That’s what God’s do. They tear up souls. It’s kinda their thing, like penguins swim or birds fly. The second Aslan’s power accidentally slips--BAM! Iorek’s dirt.”

She spoke slowly, “You attend church every Sunday, but you think it’s, ‘kinda God’s thing’ to tear out people’s souls?”

Crap! He frantically backpedaled, “Naahh, course not. I’m messing around. I love Jesus. And… Mary and…you know. Everyone.”

Cacey looked at him like he’d lost his mind.

He shut up.

Her eyes narrowed. “So, what’s your favorite Bible story?”

He played for time. “Hmmm? What?”

Cacey spoke slowly, “The Bible. What’s your favorite part?”

“All of it’s great.”

She persisted, “If you had to pick.”

Deep breath. He could do this. Everyone knew Bible stories. “Noah’s ark.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Noah’s ark. Really?”

“I like animals. What’s so surprising?”

She gave him a strange smile, almost sneaky. “How about from the New Testament?”

What the hell was she talking about? Was there some kind of new Bible? Since when? He went with the one story everyone knew. “Jesus’s birth in the stable. Cause there was no room at the inn.” Since Cacey knew he talked about music constantly, he added, “I especially liked the little drummer kid.”

Cacey frowned, “You’ve got to be kid--”

He put his head down and moaned loudly, before blurting, “I think I’m gonna get sick” and bolting off the bus. He had no idea what had tipped her off. Maybe Jesus wasn’t in the new Bible? Why the hell not? Wasn’t he supposed to be pretty important?

Anonymous said...

“Do you have the stuff?” Aggie asked.

May Francis nodded and tapped her support hose. “It’s right down here.”

They were headed to Ginny’s house to smoke an illegal substance for the first time in their lives. Aggie had paid; May's grandson had acquired it. "Good. I have snacks," Aggie said.

May Francis glanced down at the leather seat and pointed to Aggie’s purse. “What is that button on your shoulder strap?” she asked.

Aggie had hoped May Francis wouldn’t notice the button. “I saw it in a shop on the other side of town.” The button on her purse read, “Hillary 2012.” It wasn’t as if she was saying I told you so to anyone. She didn’t go around complaining about the sad state of affairs in America anymore. She was just expressing her personal opinion about something she believed in. And as far as she knew it was still America; everyone was still speaking English; she had a right to be smug.

May Francis set her hands on her hips and turned. “The last time we got into politics with Ginny we wound up not speaking for three weeks. We promised no more politics from now on.”

“Oh stop warbling at me,” Aggie said. “If it makes you happy, I’ll take it off before we go inside.” She lifted her right hand from the steering wheel and pointed. “But if Ginny says anything about my new Cadillac and starts talking about buying ugly hi-bird crossovers and me being environmentally irresponsible, I swear I’ll wear that button on my tit!” The last time Ginny had gone into a tirade about something called fracking. Aggie finally had to say, “Shut the frack up before I club you.”

May Francis sighed. “I just hope she doesn’t feed the dog.”

Aggie laughed. Ginny had started her dog on the new raw diet all the hopey and changey left wingers were doing now. The last time they’d been there she’d tossed old Rover a whole raw pig’s foot, toes and all.


beegirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R.S. said...

Here's the funny, in 348 words.

“There’s a long wait for Dr. Rose. Do you want to see Sally? She’s the nurse practitioner,” the nurse said.

“Um, sure, I guess,” I said, pulling the gown tighter.

“You’re all set, Petunia. She’ll be in to see you in a few minutes.”


Crap. I came here for Dr. Rose. Everyone comes here for her. She’s fun and comfortable. She’s the best. She’s a big piece of chocolate cake, the warm and gooey kind. Anyone else is a stale, chocolate wafer.

So, I’m waiting on Sally. Sally, the Wafer. As usual, a prerequisite dinner and a movie wasn’t included. The coming experience required a co-pay.

The door handle turned. “Hello, Petunia. Nice to see you,” Sally said.

“Hi.” My insides curled to a fetal position. Don’t look so excited, Wafer.

“Any questions?”


“Any concerns?”

“Nope. Everything is pretty much the same.” Look at the chart, Wafer. I’m a good girl.

“Okay. Let’s get started. Slide down to the end.” Gloves snapped. “Take a deep breath.”

Done this before. Nothing to it. Think about something else. Dinner and a movie. Dinner and a movie.

“Hang in there, we’re almost done.”

Nice touch, Wafer. Dinner and a movie.

“This might feel a little cold.”

Thanks for the heads up, Wafer. Something new this time. Wafer. Cake. Wafer. Fingers went deeper. “Cake.”

“What did you say?”

“Uh, nothing.”

Sally's face scrunched.

“What the heck are you doing?” Digging for the lost pyramids of Egypt?

Sally bit a lip. “I can’t find it.”

“You can’t find what?”

“Your cervix.”


“Don’t panic. I’m sure it’s here somewhere.”

Don’t panic. Think. Dr. Rose found a cervix last time.

“No. It’s not there.”

“Oww.” I want Dr. Rose.

“Hold on, Honey. It won’t take long.”

“I need a doctor, a real doctor with real experience.”

“I have lots of experience. Wait. Hold on. I found it.”

“Should I be relieved?”

“I would be.”

My insides froze to a lifeless curl. Next time I’m waiting for cake. I don’t care if it has to bake for an hour. Wafer sucks.

Mike Cyra said...

This is an incredibly scrunched-up 350-word version of “Cottage Cheese,” an excerpt from Emergency Laughter: It Wasn’t Funny When It Happened, But It Is Now! by Mike Cyra.

The old woman in the back of my ambulance had just finished lunch. Her mouth was in perpetual motion as she searched for something with her tongue. She was deaf as a golf ball so I put my face in front of hers and yelled, “How are you do…?” That’s as far as I got.

I saw her mouth suddenly stopped moving. Sensing imminent danger, my brain went into emergency mode. Time and space was now an ultra slow motion movie.
Her tongue protruded from her dry crusty lips and then…a huge curd of cottage cheese exploded from her mouth.

In slow motion the curd came at me, like a huge asteroid tumbling through space, throwing off little balls of spit in all directions. Slowly, tumbling, towards my open mouth. In a deep, drug-induced dream-like voice I heard my brain trying to warn me, “Clooose your mouuuth!”

Time raced back to normal as the cottage cheese asteroid entered my mouth’s atmosphere, became a cottage cheese meteor and slammed directly into the back of my throat. I immediately made the international sign for choking. Gagging and coughing, I tried to dislodge the curd from my throat.

There are seven different types of shock. I was in five of them. This was the grossest thing that ever happened to me in my entire life. My partner saw this and he too began gagging. This is known as ‘sympathetic choking.’

I performed the Heimlich maneuver on myself by throwing my body against the gurney. This dislodged the curd from the back of my throat and moved it into my mouth.

This was the second grossest thing that had ever happened to me.

I instantly spit it out, but not before reminding myself that this curd of cottage cheese had just been in a 90-year-old mouth. I began dry heaving.

My partner began sympathetically heaving.

I haven’t eaten cottage cheese in over five years now. I used to like cottage cheese. I used to like a lot of things-milk, spitting watermelon seeds, white chocolate-covered raisins, talking to people without flinching and little old ladies.

ASilver said...

349 words from my YA WIP, DIVINE INTERVENTION. Enjoy...

Sadi knew her mom was up to something. “Are you hiding crystals in my jeans pockets again?”

“Not exactly.”

Sadi’s eyes narrowed to hazel slits. Worse than crystals?

“I’m not sure you’re ready for this...” her mom drew a deep breath. “I’m a demigoddess,” she exhaled. “I’ve been hiding out in this body for over two thousand years. I’m originally from ancient Mesopotamia, or thereabouts. My true identity is…Humerishiti-Aya!”

She announced this last bit boldly, as though thunderclaps would sound on cue.

Yep, definitely worse than crystals. “That’s your final answer? You’re a demigoddess from Mesopotamia?”


“Which is where?”

“Modern day Iraq.”

“Or thereabouts.”


Sadi cocked an eyebrow. “And dad?”

“He thinks I was born in Akron, Ohio in 1968.”

“Uh-huh.” Sadi had no trouble imagining her father mistaking an ancient Mesopotamian goddess for an ex-waitress from Ohio. “You realize this is a bit much to swallow?”

“You don’t believe me?”

“Prove it,” Sadi shrugged.

“I can’t. When I chose to mate with your father,” her mom explained delicately, “I trapped myself in this mortal form. I can’t escape it now.”

Sadi’s father waltzed sleepily into the kitchen, his bulging abdomen, which he referred to fondly as ‘table muscle’, bouncing over the top of his red boxers printed with dancing monkeys and bananas. He yawned and lazily scratched his butt with one hand before getting a glass of water with it.

“Ladies…” he nodded.

“Dad seriously, you’re going to drink with that hand now?”

Eddie looked at his daughter, mystified.

Sadi shook her head in disgust. “Never mind.”

He shuffled back out of the kitchen. His mismatched tube socks pooled limply around his furry ankles where the elastic was shot from too many washes.

“Night dear,” Aya called over her shoulder to the man she’d given up godliness for.

“Ni-” was all they heard in return.

Sadi looked long and hard at her mother. “You expect me to believe you traded immortality and divine power for a night with that?”

“He’s really very charming.”

“Mom, he wears tube socks and monkey underwear.”

“I see your point.”

Barbara Silkstone said...


I lay on my stomach on Belgian cream-colored sheets in my suite on the 370-foot yacht rocking in the waters somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. I had finished a pitcher of screwdrivers before the sun came up and was feeling woozy. As I dozed in my bikini, something jumped on my back. I tried to fight it off, rolled over, and found myself looking at a giant tongue and two beady eyes. It was like being married again.
All six feet of Hook’s bony body retreated when I brought my knee up catching him in his man-berries. He turned, rolling off the bed and abruptly slamming his johnson into the teak nightstand. His penis was huge, dark, and engorged. I was right about the blue pills in his master suite. They were erectile dysfunction drugs. Of course, with the name UpUGo, it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure it out.
“I knew you were taking that junk. Don’t waste your time,” I said to the naked old man with the flabby butt as he held himself with a panicked look on his face. “And get out of my suite. The door was locked for a reason! How’d you get in here?”
“It’s been more than four hours, Wendy,” he whimpered. “I’m still hard and it hurts like hell. Help me!” His once chiseled features hung like melted wax from his cheekbones.
I snatched the ten-pound white hairball called Tinkerbelle from the foot of the bed and made my way to the sun deck. Hook’s Predator was a yacht on steroids. It took ten minutes to get from my suite to the upper floor. Hook had spent over $200 million of Ponzied money on this floating erection. He recited the Predator’s talents daily, like a mantra he hoped would keep away the feds, investors, and victims who wanted nothing more than to see him keelhauled.

annievictory said...

Well here it goes.

Kate watched her friends file out of the Orgasmic Sex Toys and Other Erotica Store. As the door closed, her breathing quickened. Her chest hurt. She leaned against a glass display filled with pink, plastic vibrators. She wondered whether it was cancer or her aching heart.

“What’s your problem?” Charlie asked as he reapplied his red lipstick. Kate looked up. Charlie, the store’s resident transexual, had been giving her group of friends sex toy lessons for the last four weeks. Kate frowned. It wasn’t Charlie’s fault that she couldn’t do this anymore. Three months ago it had seemed like such a good idea. “Hey everyone, the cancer came back and the divorce is final, let’s go buy a vibrator.” But now she couldn’t pretend that cancer was cute, and sexy and fun.

She fanned her hands over the glass, “Charlie, did you forget that I’m one or two orgasms away from dying?” Charlie didn’t even put down his mirror. He put the lipstick back in its case and started curling his eye lashes.

“Kate. There are things in this world that are way worse than dying,” he said. Kate took her hands off the counter and put them on her hips. Back at her house, she had three months of sappy cards, dying house plants, and wilting flowers. She couldn’t believe she’d have to fight about this. She drew in a long breath. She hoped it would be enough for what she had to say,

“Charlie, you’re out of your mind. What could be worse than dying?”
Charlie placed the eye lash curler on the counter and he turned toward Kate.
“A penis,” he said. “Having a penis is worse. It’s not even close.” Kate looked into the case. The penises stared back, erect, inert, ready for action. She covered her mouth but the laughter rolled through her fingers. And it wasn’t her polite I have cancer laugh, it was her racy, deep I’m alive laugh. Then she walked behind the case and gave Charlie a hug. She hadn’t been the lucky one in a really long time.

Mike C. said...

Once, I was nearly crushed to death by Chuck, a drunken stranger whose wrists were thicker than my thighs. It happened in a living room in Duxbury, Massachusetts moments after the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918.

We were in Duxbury visiting my wife’s cousin Amy. Chuck was Amy’s boyfriend, though I doubt that his feelings for her matched his raging passion for the Sox – or his quenchless thirst for Miller Lite.

I’m a lifelong Yankees fan. A week earlier, I’d prayed for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz to suffer a freakish and deadly accident. For safety’s sake, I was determined to conceal these facts from Chuck.

His excitement mounted steadily as the Red Sox built a three-run lead over the Cardinals. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, he reminded me of the space shuttle rumbling at the launch tower before takeoff.

Chuck went bananas after the final out. The floor shook as he rampaged about the living room, hurling deeply profane oaths of love and devotion to various Red Sox players as they appeared on the TV. A framed photo of Amy’s smiling parents toppled from the top of an upright piano. Chuck didn’t notice.

When I offered a congratulatory high five, he swept me into a crushing bear hug that drove the air from my lungs. I felt my ribcage contracting while he screamed “They did it! They did it!” as if I had expressed some doubt about the matter.

Such a funny way to die, I thought moments before Chuck released me. I gasped, curious about whether my lungs had collapsed. They hadn’t.

Chuck clapped me on the back.

“Can you believe it?” he asked, tears wetting his blue eyes.

Out of thin air, he produced a bottle of rotgut whiskey and two shot glasses. We toasted the Red Sox. Rather shamelessly, I toasted the Yankees’ epic collapse in the American League Championship Series. Chuck roared with delight. Mercifully, he passed out on the couch soon after. I gently covered him with a pink afghan and crept off to bed.

Gale Martin said...

This is an excerpt from a comic novel about a small-town opera guild who encounters ghosts, seduction, and murder, coincidentally mirroring 'Don Giovanni,' the show they are struggling to produce:

New York agents reacted to Leandro Vasquez like he’d come out of nowhere, saying things like, “Where’d they hide a baritone like you? Under a cactus?”

He wasn’t hiding now. Leandro Vasquez, an Argentine gaucho who was discovered crooning to his cattle, had been seen by all of New York. Now that he’d earned their applause and smashing reviews, more than anything else, he needed release. Or he’d burst. He needed to get the head.

“I want to—get the head,” he whispered into the ear of the svelte actress seated beside him at the gala.

“I want to get ahead, too. First,I have to use the little girl’s room.” And she slid out of her chair with rubbery ease.

Get the head? That was the expression. Then, why had the young blonde deserted him?

A matronly woman slipped into the empty seat. As Vasquez turned to face her, she held out a hand with diamonds as big as coffee beans on every finger.

“I’m Jeannie Jacobs,” she said as though she lacked for nothing. “And you are an incredible specimen of a man.”

Then she shuddered, and the casaba-colored beads flanking her melónes rattled softly, creating flashes of light.

He wondered if this older lady gave the head. Could he pull her aside and say, “Madam, would you give me the head?”

Back in Argentina, he would say, “Haceme un pete.” If he said that to a girl from the Chaco, she would crack him across the mouth. Then she would tell her father. Then her father would shoot a hole in his heart.

He kissed her hand and pulled her into an alcove, tasting her flowery scent, whispering, “Haceme un pete.”

“Oh, I could buy and sell you many times over,” she said, covering his face with hungry kisses.

Leandro heard her say, “Buy and sell.” A little old for a prostitute, no? He fished out some crumpled bills and stuffed them into her palm.

She gasped. “You think I’m a hooker? A goddamn hooker? Here, I thought you were a nice boy.”

And she stalked away.

Jayne Moraski said...

I didn't know how young you intended your audiences, but here's 350 words from my picture book manuscript, The Clicker King:

My sister, Molly, and I couldn’t agree what to watch on TV. I wanted pirates and she wanted ponies. The Clicker King would decide. So I tugged and she tugged. She’s bigger so she won. I sat watching ponies and schemed for a minute. I swooped like my favorite swashbuckler and stole that remote. With a grin I turned the channel. Then I shoved the whole thing down my throat. But Molly just stood up and turned off the TV.

She smirked, “Now what are you gonna do?” Before I could blink my stomach answered. I hiccuped…and the TV came back on. “Yes-s-s! Now I am really the Clicker King.”

I hiccuped again and the pirates got louder. I hiccuped and hiccuped and hiccuped some more—ponies then pirates then ponies came on. Hmm…this was not quite what I planned.

On again, off again, over and over. The hiccups just wouldn’t stop. Soon the lamps and appliances started to flicker, from my bellyful of clicker. So that’s what Dad means by ‘universal remote.’

I had created a Clicker-Monster. I held my breath. I ate peanut butter, slurped pickle juice, and stood on my head. I even pulled on my tongue. Each time we counted to ten. Eight…nine…hiccup…drat. The news channel flipped on, now who would want to watch that?

“I’ll help you,” said Molly, “but only if you promise we can take turns watching shows on Saturdays.” Ugghh. Share the TV--what else could I do? I had to stop hiccuping, I was starting to feel not-so-good. I nodded in defeat.

Then Molly did something so freaky that I couldn't believe my eyes. She....she walked to the wall and unplugged the TV! It gave me such a shock that the hiccups stopped right then.

Mom and Dad never could figure out how to turn on the TV. As for Molly and me, we pinkie swore not to squeal. And we’ve kept that promise to this day. We don’t watch TV. We go outside to play.

Carol Riggs said...

I'm having fun reading these--what a wide range! Humor is definitely subjective, and I don't envy your task of choosing, Nathan...I suppose in the end it will be whatever tickles YOUR wonderbar-ous funny bone!.

Christi Goddard said...

Bit of dialogue back and forth between a couple zombie-like characters in MS who just met:

"You're like me, right? You look it. Dead, too?" She leaned in close and sniffed. "You look it, and kind of smell like it, too. What are you driving? You're driving, yeah? Going where I am, I bet. You have the dreams? Of course you do, or you wouldn't be here. Brown, huh? I got red, obviously. Thank God. I'd look horrid in brown. Not that you do. Well, you don't look fabulous or anything, but not bad."

"Did you actually…I dunno… want me to give answers here?"

"Huh? Sure, I guess. I mean, I already figured it out, except what you're driving."

"I'm not." I was curious how she was able to drive, but she already annoyed me, and I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to her anymore. The only thing that kept my feet planted was the fact we were obviously connected somehow, and it was more linear than the Kevin Bacon Factor.

"You're what, then? Hitchhiking? That's dangerous, you know."

"Yeah, well lately I sort of feel invulnerable."

She smiled in a way that made me very uncomfortable. In a flash, she twirled a butterfly knife in her hand then stabbed me in the chest.

"Ow!" I hissed, turning towards the wall to yank it out before someone came along and saw. "You trying to kill… okay. I'll stop there, but OW! What the hell did you do that for? You tore my clothes."

She rolled her eyes, her hand open and expectant of her knife's return. "If you're going to be such an infant, you can stab me back if you like."

I was tempted. Won't lie.

I slapped the open blade into her palm and said, "I'm not being an infant. I just think your flare for the dramatic is out of place in broad daylight where anyone can see us."



"No, Scarlett's my name, dumbass."

"You're being pretty antagonistic to someone you just met, don't you think?"

"No different than I treat anyone. You're not so special I'll change my ways."

"I don't think you're… stable. Have a nice death."

Kreann said...

Thanks for the contest! Don't know why I'm submitting - the Anteater story is my hands-down fav! ;-) This is my WF WIP "TABLE MANNERS" and is 310 words:

They remained lip-locked long enough that I began to grow even more uncomfortable than I already was. After a while I had to look away, and tried to subtly clear my throat...

As Xavier looked lovingly down into Dawn's eyes, he called out, “A massage therapist?”

I didn’t know if he was still speaking to his fiancée or me. “I beg your pardon?” I finally squeaked when no one else responded.

“It that truly what you are?” he asked in a dreamy voice, still lost in Dawn’s eyes.

“Yes…yes, I am.”

“And why did you stop by today?”

“Well, I--”

“Never mind that, are you any good?”

“Well, I--”

“Excellent. Whatever your current employer is paying you, I’ll match.”

“Well, actually I--”

“You drive a hard bargain, Miss…”

“uh, Williams--Liz Williams. Really I--”

“…Miss Liz Williams. Fine then, I will supply you with all of Dawn’s current clients, so long as they’ll have you, and waive your table rental while you are here with us.”

“Wow, that’s very--”

“Still not enough?” he asked, his voice tightening ever so slightly. “Fine, I’ll give you Thursdays off. That’s my best offer—take it, or leave it.”


“Excellent. Be here at 7:30 on Monday morning. We’ll find a smock in your size prior to then. Size 6, I believe?”

How could he know that with only once glancing my way? I wondered, amazed.
“Yes, I--”

“Done. Thank you, Liz, for helping us out in this time of need,” he said, and Dawn quickly chimed in “Yes, thank you so much,” though neither bothered to look my way.


I stood there for a second before I realized our conversation had ended, and so I slowly made my way for the door...

Anonymous said...

I’d ventured into the world of online dating at the behest of my very Catholic mother, who believed I could and would find a mate on C-date. C-date, the ugly brother to J-date, the more sophisticated brother to OKCupid, the cheap-ass, socially retarded brother to Match.

Outside, leaning on my doorbell like the reset button on life-support, stood C-date Number 46. My roommate stood up, hiked her Snuggie around her waist. It was her favorite one, a Patriotism-themed blitz of fabric which she had picked up from our local VA. Yes, some people shop there.

“Oooh,” she says. “You didn’t tell me you had a date!”

Of course I didn’t. You’re wearing a Snuggie for veterans. You’re 25, you have three cardboard vampires in our living room and one in dangerous proximity to your bed, and you’ve spent the last 23 weekends watching The Wire. The Wire is an exceptional show, yes. But you talk in a gangsta accent for days afterward and you’re a Long Island Jew and my delicate social consciousness can’t handle it.

“It’s not going to be good anyway.”

“What? Why not?”

“Bad grill, a questionable limp, too many references to chimpanzees.”

“You can’t tell a limp from pictures.”

“I feel like I can.”

“Well, look, at least he’s Catholic. Right?”

I’m not even Catholic. I mean, I was, but that was before I lost my virginity on a tennis court to some guy named Rufus with an IQ of 74. His name wasn’t really Rufus. And he spoke three languages, so the IQ may be an underestimate. But hard courts? Really? Scarred for life. Thanks, asshole.

The doorbell rings. And rings. Endlessly, like the slow whine of a dying cat.

I’ve done the Walk of Shame, I’ve lived it, I’ve even spoken of it with a distant, embarrassed pride. This moment, this descent into the unknown, is an entirely different, uglier beast.

I take a breath. My cell phone beeps with a message, a glorious send-off from my beloved roommate.


Birch. Bitch? Must have auto-corrected.

My mother would be proud.

~by KK (350 words exactly! whew)

brianw said...

From my debut novel, Dreamworld. (My publisher said it was okay, but if that's a breach of the rules, Nathan, I totally understand).

I remember it like it was yesterday…

We were walking around side by side. She looked nervous and I felt extremely awkward. My hands felt huge, and I wasn’t sure if my arms were swinging differently than normal or if they always looked this weird. I wondered if I should try to hold her hand. Maybe I was supposed to kiss her. I looked at her and thought she looked very pretty. She looked at me and I looked away, both of us blushing.

“Let’s ride the Gravitron,” she said. As soon as the words left her mouth, I felt sure something terrible was about to happen. I wanted to say no, but I didn’t want her to think I was afraid.

“Sure, I love the Gravitron.” Which was the truth. It was the one that went in circles so fast people got pinned to the wall. At first it was fun.

After one revolution she was smiling. After two she started to turn green. At the fifth revolution we looked into each other’s eyes for the first time. I saw my doom in those baby blues. I tried to escape but it was like a bad dream.

She puked on my face halfway through revolution number six. Then the machine really started to pick up. She cried next to me as we went faster and faster. I’ve never been much for the smell of puke. I wanted to return the favor, but I couldn't get my head to turn.

I vomited straight out in front of me and the Gravitron pulled that puke right back onto my face. It was, without a doubt, the worst moment of my young life.

Eric Housel said...

This is a scene from my WIP children's book "Sam Likeable".
-Eric Housel-

Sam didn’t feel like going through the typical new kid routine of standing in front of the classroom for introductions.
On the other hand, this was his chance for a second first impression. Maybe the other students would be so overjoyed by a new kid in the class that they would have forgotten about disastrous crash into the bike rack. The huddled masses would line up to see him and get a chance to be near him. He could picture the flashing cameras and the microphones shoved into his face as the paparazzi and the crowds begged to be closer to Sam.
“Oh my gosh it’s him! It’s Sam Likeable!” yelled one of his admirers.
“Can I have your autograph?!”
“Sam, will you marry me? I love you!” came another voice from the crowd.
“Now, now, let’s settle down everyone” said Sam, as he held his hands in the air calming the crowd. “There will be plenty of time for pictures. I’ll be here all year. I want you to treat me like any other average student, even if I am extremely popular, attractive, and wealthy.”
Laughter broke out, and he realized it happened again. Sam got caught up in his imagination and had acted out his little scene in front of his new classmates.
“Well, we’ll certainly try our best to treat you like any other student.” came a soft voice from the front of the class. “I’m Mrs. Wheeler, and you must be Sam Likeable. I was told you would be joining us. Why don’t you come in and take a seat. It is a treat to have you here.”
Sam chose a seat next to Jackie, from the Principal’s office. He pretended to search through his bag so he could ignore the stares and suppressed laughter from his new classmates. He had managed to embarrass himself twice in one day and felt that he was maxed out on embarrassing himself.
“Well, that’s one way to make an entrance,” said Jackie mockingly. “Next time, I suggest knocking and than entering, rather than announcing your greatness to everyone.”

Tracy N. Jorgensen said...

Madam awoke late and was carried in her bed to a large tub where she would soak for several hours, demanding anyone who wished to see her to come to her bathroom, as she couldn’t be bothered to get out until her fingers were perfectly pruned. After a fresh manicure and a change of wardrobe, Madam would stroll through her hall of mirrors admiring her beauty and fine taste: her long flowing train, her long flowing hair, her long elegant face, her bosom, which wasn’t long but still rather attractive.

Another change of clothing and she took the time to allow others to feed her dainty mouth large quantities of food. Of course, Madam never gained weight (her on-call plastic surgeon saw to that), and insisted on eating whatever suited her fancy at the time. The cooks tried as they might to anticipate her whims, but often resorted to a frantic preparation of some sort of strange cuisine Madam had concocted in her mind.

The unused food was given to the servants. After all, Madam could not bear the thought of wasting one morsel of food while children starved in Uthida. She was very concerned with children starving in Uthida though she had never met one. She had once sent them a postcard explaining her concern, but no starving child in Uthida ever wrote her back.

The remainder of her day was spent as she willed, usually with shopping and grand parties and gossiping about the neighbors. Often, she would forget which neighbor she was gossiping about and would have to clarify if she was discussing the one to whom she spoke. When such a misfortune did occur, the neighbor would quickly assure her it was all too true and they should probably reconsider their actions. Madam could then continue on, telling them how very clever they were to come to her for advice.

dcamardo said...

The car pulled up to a small, tan building. They hustled through the blustery winds to the glass doors. Once inside, her father went to the front desk while Suzy waited on a hard, plastic chair.

The receptionist took out a form and pen, ready to write. “Name?”

“Frank,” her father said.



The receptionist glared at him over the frames of her glasses.

“Sorry, I thought you meant me.” Her father forced a fake laugh. “This is the hamster I called about. The name is Mr. Snugglymuffin.”

“Is Mister abbreviated or not?”

“Does it matter?”

Again, the receptionist looked up at him as if he was ridiculous.

After a few awkward seconds, he scratched the back of his head. “I guess you can abbreviate it.”

The receptionist focused back on the paperwork. “And is Snugglymuffin one word or two?”

“I don’t know. I never spelled it before.”

“Here.” The receptionist put the form on clipboard and held it out with a pen. “You fill this out.”

Her father took the clipboard and pen and sat down next to Suzy. After glancing over the document, he whispered to Suzy, “Is Snugglymuffin one word or two?”

“Does it matter?”

“Apparently it does.”

“One, I guess.”

Jackie Brow said...

Breaking Benjamin is breaking up over the radio when dead ahead there’s a giant turd waddling toward the car. I hit the brakes, swerving to avoid hitting what turns out to be a little wiener dog.

“Fu…Blasted mutt! I could’ve been killed!” Angry, I kick open the rusty car door, grab the dog by the scruff of its neck, and storm up to the nearest house.

“This yours?”


“You know who it belongs to?”

“No. You a cop?”

“I look like a cop?”

“No.” Door slams. Stoner.

I park the dog on the side of the road, wish it good luck, and proceed on my way. Five minutes later, I’m opening the door to my rented bungalow. Bungalow’s generous, this dump’s mother was a shanty and its father an outhouse, but it’s all I could afford.

Strange sounds at my door. I reach for the bat stowed under the sagging sofa.

“Who’s there?”

No answer. I crack the door and, poised for a home run, kick it open. Nobody. I step out and down I go, dude’s tripped me and I relive the past six months: Katie. Katie kicking me out Me buying a one-way ticket to L.A. Katie. Eyes squeezed tight I hope the guy’s a good shot. Instead, the freaky serial killer's licking my face. I open my eyes to the backside of the road near-kill strolling into my house.

Filthy little beast gazes up at me as if I’m a giant hotdog bun waiting to embrace him.

“Don’t be looking at me.” His tail is on turbo wag.

A heart-shaped dog tag lists two telephone numbers.

A raspy-voiced geezer lady answers. “Righteous! My grandniece’s ankle-biter Oscar split last week right before they were leaving and Rachel was all freaked out over some major happening back east, so she like ran all over papering everything with flyers and calling the shelters and…”

The old broad stops to take what sounds like a hit off a bong and I take the opportunity to butt into our one-sided conversation.

“What’s your address?”

Of course she's an hour away.

Megan Stirler said...

“What happened in here?” her mother asked, exasperated. The little girl pulled at her ruffled princess pajamas as she surveyed the carnage. She stood in a sea of stuffed animals and books.

“I don’t know, Mommy,” she said. “It was like this when I got up.” Her mother just stared at her, incredulous.

“Really. Then who made this mess?” the mother asked, tone cold.

“I wasn’t me, Mommy. I promise!” She was so endearingly earnest, but her mother sensed a con in progress.

“Sweetie, no one has been in here but you. So tell the truth – who made this mess?” The little girl’s eyes widened as she whispered.


Old Red waited, surrounded by the elders of the tribe. His nose twitched and a tiny hand reached up to scratch it, twirling his luxurious whiskers. His tail curled magnificently behind him. That tail proclaimed his right to rule.

“Bring forth the candidate,” he chirped. Humans called him cute, but no one here mistook the violence behind those limpid brown eyes.

A young squirrel was propelled forward from the crowd, his ears unmarred by combat. His tail was imposing for such a youngling, though, and Old Red knew that this one would bear watching.

“So,” Old Red intoned. “You embark upon your vision quest.” The young squirrel nodded imperceptibly. Old Red barked, contemptuous.

“You are timid to have such a flamboyant tail,” he chided and the assembly laughed. The young squirrel hunkered lower. Perhaps Old Red had nothing to fear, after all. He raised a paw to silence the crowd and then piped his declaration.

“You will go to the house of the twin dogs and destroy the room of the small child on the second floor. She has many stuffed toys to disembowel and books to shred. Bring me the button eye of the black bear as proof of your victory.” He leaned down and whispered into the trembling ear.

“Do not come back without proof, young one, or I shall rip your tail from its base and drive you from the burrow.”

Justin said...

This is just too much fun! It gets me out of my funk.

"Whatever!" I screamed as I slammed the door in her quickly retreating face. "I don't need you anyway!!" I was upset to say the least. I was muttering under my breath and kicking through piles of old newspapers on the floor when I struck a box. Not just any box. A doughnut box. Now, for years I have been adamantly opposed to doughnuts. Fried dough just doesn’t go well with my strict diet of burgers and booze.

But today, as I stared at the box, I was drawn to the contents. I withdrew one of the stale rings of sweetness and bit into it. I was instantly transported to sugar glazed bliss. I had never tasted anything quite so good. "Damn her" I muttered as sugar crumbs fell from my mouth to join the ketchup stains on my shirt.

I was enjoying this way too much. "Damn her." I muttered some more as I finished off the rest of the box. That girl, to whom I had devoted 3 whole months worth of my hard earned lifeblood for what? A sugar monkey riding my back and something that resembled Tourette’s syndrome?

At least I know who to blame my doughnut habit on. She was such an ...interesting...person. I loosely use person. She was strange. Her name was Lola, she liked to be called Bob, but everyone called her Jen. That should have been my first clue to her strangeness.

Well, technically my first clue should have been the hot pink hair. It seemed exotic and cool at the time but it just wasn’t. Oh well. At least ZXC Investigations is still running. I have had 2 clients over the past year and have actually made enough money to afford a room with a door on it. It sure beat the box I was living in before that.

“Damn her!” I muttered again and started kicking garbage aside looking for that fifth of bourbon I had opened last night. I couldn’t find it but I kept muttering anyway. I had to get out of here and Krispy Kreme was calling. Damn Her.

Neil Larkins said...

Right, Nathan: Funny IS hard work. Relates to comedy. Whether you like him or not, Jerry Lewis was right when he said that comedy is the highest form of drama. Same for writing funny. Funny - odd - thing is, something I wrote completely serious, my wife thinks is hilarious. Not going to submit it, though. (I'd like others to think it's serious.)

Grapeshot/Odette said...

The title of this is: I was a Catfish for the DEA.

As I tooled along in the water just miles north of the equator my receptors picked up satellite phones and GPS devices off the Somali coast.

Sky Sat chatter at 2°, 47 minutes North, 46°, 21 minutes East.

No sooner had I transmitted this information than I swam into a mass of flailing swimmers. The crew of a rust bucket boat was tossing people into the sea. I signaled my handlers for a delivery of lifeboats and beach towels.

The First Law of Robotics is that a robot may not allow a human being to come to harm. I swam among the weak, nudging flounderers to the surface, when I got caught in some netting and was heaved out of the water, caught by brutish sailors in a seine.

I signaled my handlers: captured by seafaring thugs.

The motley crew gathered and gaped, shouting “Foodda! Foodda!” I didn’t need to access my international dictionary to understand that.

A message came over my emergency frequency: Somali pirates have grabbed you. Get the hell off that boat. Assistance will arrive.

Those bastards would have made catfish stew out of me, but I extruded my alternate hidden fins to slit the seine. While those lawless loonies gaped, I thrust out tiny mobility wheels, shot between their legs, crossed the deck and plunged into the water. I also deployed a few grams of my special “slime” that made the deck “slippery as snot on a marble.” When the pirates tried to run to the railing, they careened and crashed into each other like Keystone Cops. I dove under the boat and lurked among exhausted swimmers. Again, I requested life-saving assistance; again I bumped the sinking ones to the surface.

My sound sensors detected a helicopter. The Seahawk chopper dropped a basket for me and inflatable rafts and MRE for the swimmers. From my basket aerie above the water, I saw two pirates pointing their AK47s at me. Maybe they noticed the Penguin missiles, because they didn’t shoot. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Being a fish out of water wasn’t so bad.

The Sasquatch said...

I drank some scotch and wrote this. I hope it doesn't suck.


Josh and Brian sat on a park bench, talking.

“I went out with Beth the other night,” Josh said.

“Was that the girl you met at your uncle’s funeral?” Brian asked.

“No. That was Chrissie. This was the blind date from my cousin’s bar mitzvah.”

“What ever happened to Amy?”

“She had a mole, and that wrecked it for me.”

“Come on, man,” Brian said. “You have to look past those things. It’s the twenty first century. Be a bigger man.”

“What about Alexis?” Josh said, smiling sarcastically.

“That was different.”


“She had Fred Flintstone feet.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She had four toes, each of which fanned out to a flat circle at the end. They looked like little hammerhead sharks. She had flippers instead of feet.”

“Wicked,” Josh said.

“She couldn't walk straight, but get that girl in a pool and there’s no stopping her."

A car drove by. An old man on the bench next door leaned over to kiss his wife.

“Remember Jessie?” Brian said.

“Was she the one with the mustache?” Josh asked.

“No. That was Adrienne.”

“Adrienne,” Josh said, laughing. “She looked like Tom Selleck, like Magnum P.I. with tits!"

“Jamie had Tourette’s,” Brian said.

“That’s where you swear in public, right?”


“Didn’t your mom have that?” Josh asked.

“No. She was just mean.”

“Jamie. Weren’t you going to propose to her?”

“I did," Brian said. "Took her out to dinner, popped the ring, got down on one knee and everything.”

“What happened?”

“She was so excited she swore like a sailor for five minutes. There was a Girl Scout troop next to us. It was awesome.”

“How come you didn’t get married?” Josh asked.

“Political disagreements,” Brian said.

“Was she a brainless lib?”


“A wingnut conservative?”


“What then?”

“Caught her f**king the mayor,” Brian said.

“That’ll do it every time,” Josh said.

A dog barked. Some kids laughed in the park.

“How’d that date with Beth go?” Brian asked.

"Alright," Josh said. "We're going out again next week."

“That’s good,” Brian said.

myimaginaryblog said...

This is NOT a contest entry because the person I'm submitting for is 11, but my daughter invented a facebook character called "Stupidsaurus Rex," and just for the fun of it I wanted to share some excerpts from S.R.'s wall:

Stupidsaurus Rex added Eating People to his activities.

BH Eating people is bad for you--they are full of toxic substances, and if the bones don't hurt your teeth, they hurt your bottom.


BH You're welcome. But remember, toxins.
StupidsaurusRex added Coca-Cola to his interests.

BH Drink lots and lots of Coca-Cola. That way you'll die sooner.

StupidsaurusRex OH THA-WAYT

Stupidsaurus Rex

BH Whew, glad to know that screeming at you could save my life.


JH I imagine that in person it's even harder to decipher your intentions than online.




MW [Creator of Stupidsaurus, posting as herself.] I'm pretty sure you mean dancing, but...I could be wrong. I think I remember a time when you pronounced Walmart "Wurmlart". Took me a couple days to figure it out.

JH I wouldn't worry so much about my spelling as a hole in my skin, were I you.

Stupidsaurus Rex OW

BH: Rex, do you have a girlfriend?


LH I had a feeling your answer would be something along those lines...

BH So many love stories end that way.

[There's even more, but that's 350 words' worth.]

Jillian said...

Appalled by the necromancer's utter lack of compliance with deathly protocol, I pointed an accusing finger at the walking corpse. "That's a soul that belongs in the Beyond, not just...not just wandering around as if it has a right to a corporeal form!"

"Hey, hey, dead guy right here, remember?" The zombie in question  spoke with an injured tone. "Show a little compassion for the once dearly departed."

"It could have been worse," the necromancer said, a mischievous smile coming to his face as if he weren't about to face major fines for raising a zombie. "She could have called you a hunk of rotting flesh."

"I would settle for hunk by itself, but I doubt the word's in her vocabulary," the zombie replied. A maggot crawled along his hairline, but he just swiped at it as if it were an itch of some kind. Nausea roiled inside me; zombies always made me wish I had skipped a few meals. "She obviously doesn't know a fine piece of human specimen when she sees it."

Anger boiled away my nausea. Now all I wanted to do was take out my scythe and cleave that smile right off the zombie's face. "You belong in a morgue, not a modeling catalogue," I snapped.

"Ouch." The zombie raised his decaying hands to his chest. "If my heart were still beating, reaper girl, I would be scarred for life."

The necromancer's smile grew wider. "Life, of course, being an oxymoron in this instance."

Then I watched as, to my dismay and confusion, laughter overtook both necromancer and zombie.

It seemed that boys, alive or undead, still had a tendency to be idiots.

"Enough," I said, using my best 'I am a reaper, and you will fear me' voice. An unnatural chill settled into the air, and the boys' laughter dissolved into silence.

"Wow, special effects," the zombie eventually said, awe in his voice. "I thought being dead meant I couldn't get any colder!"

The necromancer chuckled. "Parlor tricks."

My curling smile flattened, astonishment stealing away my one moment of pride.

Now I knew what people meant when they said Death didn't get any respect these days.

Anonymous said...

From my WIP younger MG...

The king makes a sweeping bow. “Tis my pleasure, Princess.”
“Why do you keep calling me that?”
“Are you not aware of your royal heritage? That you and I are linked through blood?”
My mouth drops open. “Are you saying I’m a troll? Are you kidding me?”
“Hmph.” The king sniffs and lifts his chin. “You say ‘troll’ as if it were some repulsive insect that has sullied your soup—truly, you should feel honored to be descended from our majestic lineage.” He taps my hand. “I bid you lift me up.”
I scoop him up so he rests on my elbow. He leans in close, studying my face.
“Sadly, there is little sign of the noble troll in your visage.”
I sigh in relief and tuck my hair behind my ears.
“Ah!” The king stretches his finger to touch the top of my ears where they’re a little pointy. “All is not lost. I detect proof of troll blood right here. I had feared the human influence had diluted all traces of your magnificent ancestry.”
I set the king down on the floor and quickly shake my head so my hair covers my ears. I’ll never wear a ponytail again.
“Why should I be happy about being part troll? Everybody knows trolls are ugly! And mean!”
King Brix’s hair flashes an even brighter shade of red, as his face turns a matching color.
“Who doth tell such lies? The gnomes? Or is it the leprechauns spreading mistruths again?”
I stifle a laugh. Gnomes and leprechauns! Really! But considering I’m talking to a twelve-inch man who claims to be the king of the trolls, maybe it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Tambra said...

349 words from my older YA contemporary fantasy: THE BLACK ROSE by Tambra Kendall
(slight modification for word count)

A deep, rumble shook the room. Tara grumbled. The sound returned, but this time her bed shook. She cracked her eyes open. Darkness. Her sleep-fogged brain slogged through her thoughts. A goddess and her boyfriend Druce saying training takes place early in the morning. Her eyes opened wider as her brain attempted coherency. Druce was right. This is the butt crack of dawn. Correction, the crack hadn't even appeared so she could sleep a little longer. . She grabbed the butter soft quilt and rolled over.
“Get up, Tara. It’s time to begin your training.”
She jerked awake. The Morrighan's voice scared the crap out her.
The Goddess stood in the middle of her room with an aggravated expression. Tara wasn't sure if the cold air or the presence of the war goddess made her shiver. “I’m up. Give me a second to get awake and dress. Can you tell I’m not a morning person? I need coffee.” Was she terminally stupid? Using sarcasm and snark on a war goddess could get your ass fried.
The goddess lifted a dark brow and waved her hand. Red sparks flashed.
Tara looked down. A black t-shirt, black yoga pants and high top aerobic shoes instantly appeared. Her fighting attire. Okay, so maybe there were a few good things about this situation after all.
“Thank you for the clothes. I really need my caffeine fix.” Might as well ask. While she waited, she yawned again. Before she could breathe or scream; the goddess transported them…somewhere.
Tara fell on her butt.
She scrambled to her feet. I'll bet she did that on purpose.
The Morrigan grinned. “This is the Celtic Underworld and my domain. I’m going turn your training over to Scatha's, another war goddess. She’s trained many famous warriors and ran a school for them on the Isle of Skye. Oh, I forgot, no breakfast until you finish to Scatha's satisfaction. And no coffee while you're here.” The Morrigan gave her wicked grin before she left in a bright red flash.
“No coffee? Damn, that’s cruel and unusual punishment.” Tara called out.

Holly Vance said...

Does the entry have to be middle school appropriate?

Nathan Bransford said...

No no, humor of all stripes is allowed and encouraged.

Rob said...

The AC was out for the service. It was dry as a bone outside, but everyone looked as if they had just come in from the rain. Southern belles in their Sunday best made fans of the church bulletin. Gentlemen in seersucker affected a repose that was -practically speaking- impossible. In the swelter, it would have been easier to pass out than to relax.

Following the lead of his father, Eugene Smith flipped open the top button of his shirt and pulled his tie loose. He had grown three inches since the start of summer. His white sleeves stretched out of his jacket like brazen groundhogs. The skin between his sock and cuff was on display for voyeurs across the entire pew. He slid a forearm across his forehead, rubbing oil into sweat.

Eugene was conscious of everyone’s rapt attention on the pulpit and his own wandering eyes. Elizabeth Graham was sweating into a silk blouse. Eugene had no idea what he was going to do when it came time to rise and sing the hymnal. Possibly, he would lose the button at his waist.

His sister leaned close. “They’re just boobs,” she whispered. “You’ve seen bigger ones in your magazines.”

Blood rushed to Eugene’s head. He clenched his fist, but thought better of violence. Mr. Smith gave his children a look of ambiguous scorn: I don’t know what you’re doing but I know it’s not appropriate. The good reverend called the flock to song.

Christina Baglivi Tinglof said...

(Family Obligation)
“Well, that’s the last of it,” I said, nodding towards the box by the door.

“I just pray you don’t get knifed to death,” my dad said not even looking up from the paper. He’s always been the optimist.

“Don’t worry, Daddy," I said. "New York’s not so bad. I hear muggings are much more common.”

“From your lips to God’s ears.”

“Besides, there are more than a million single men in New York. Maybe I’ll find a husband.”

“Well you had no luck here. Got enough money?” As he stood up and reached into his back pocket to pull out his wallet, the front door to the restaurant opened and in slid Nicky Donofrio, Mary’s favorite loser nephew. His entourage for the week consisted of two blondes that looked to be in their early twenties. They stood behind Nicky giggling, waiting for a family introduction that never came.

Nicky was bad. And I don’t mean the wet-your-panties kind of bad. He was more of twenty-years-to-life-in-the-state-pen kind of bad. Never one to toe the line, Nicky was always looking for a way to make a quick buck. And that usually meant in some illegal capacity. He was a couple of years older than me but a few feet shorter. He had this habit of always wearing his blue jeans two sizes too small and then spent the better part of the day adjusting himself. I’d never been to his place in Newark but I was pretty sure he lived in the sewer.

"Hey! Hey! I see I got here just in time!" Nicky said. "How's it goin' Marie? You're lookin' a little cold."

"I'm great," I said crossing my arms across my chest. "I see you haven't changed much. Oh, wait. Your face cleared up."

Bret Wellman said...

The new Z-Track, turbo charged, nitric injected, twin engines, It was the greatest lawn mower ever conceived by man. Though I would never let my wife know it, I had just peed in my pants a little.
“Honey get down, you’re not supposed to touch the prototypes.” She said up to me.
We were at the lawn mower auto show and this little puppy just happened to be unguarded. “Do not touch.” A little red sticker said. I had already crossed the do not cross ropes, why stop there? I pressed the button next to the sticker.
“Honey no!” My wife called. After ten years of nagging, I was pretty good at ignoring her.
A screen flicked on asking if I wanted to exterminate humanity. I meant to hit no but I accidently hit yes…
The Z-Track roared to life and started heading for the crowds of people. It immediately began syncing up with other mowers, building an army. A stronger man would have hit the stop button but not me, I bailed out. And then everybody died and it was the apocalypse.
So yea honey, if you don’t stop nagging me this is what could happen… It is football season, can’t I take out the trash after the game?

Beth Overmyer said...

From my MG novella - In a Pickle:

Had Charlie not been tied from knees to neck, he would’ve bolted. Scarred and dirty, the beast stood a whopping six feet tall and boasted breath that made Charlie's nose hairs stand on end. Charlie tried to scream, he tried to squirm, and just as he thought he was a goner, the monster spoke.

"Hey, pal, who did this to you?" The voice lost some of its roughness, but Charlie knew the monster wanted to lure him into a false sense of security—right before eating him.

"Here, hold still," the beast said. The thing moved in closer, poised for the kill, reached down its hand-like claws, and… patted him on the knee? That wasn't a monster-like thing to do. "It's gonna be all right, kid." It pulled out a switchblade. Now that was a monster-like thing to do.

Charlie let out a muffled scream as the monster sawed at the ropes. This was the end. He was going to die. In all his Travels, he had never been attacked by monsters. Well, as Sister Mary Ruth would say, "There's a first time for everything." This first time would be his last.

Instead of dying, however, Charlie felt his bonds begin to give. Within two minutes, he was free. He ripped off the gag. "Ahhh!"

The monster froze. "Are you all right, kid?"

Then Charlie remembered something: he didn't believe in monsters, garbage or not. He stopped screaming and looked his rescuer in the eye. He meant to thank him, but all that came out was "You're kind of creepy."

River said...

Stephanie Lilley
This is from my WIP--A Woman, A Man, and a dog named Stan:

Belle held out her hand. “I can take your dog into my office. Just leave him home next time you come to the library.”
The man touched his hat. She paused. Something familiar about him…
“I appreciate your help with Stan, m'am. I was to ask for a MayEtta Honeybelle Honeycutt for help in researching my kin,” he said.
“Oh.” Her grandmother had sent him. The clue: using her full name. Another prospective ‘husband.’
Stan leaned against her. She looked down. “Uh, I’ll just take Stan to my office. My cousin, Starr, can show you where to wait.” In her office, she tied the hound to her chair. “Stay here,” she ordered. The bloodhound flopped down and closed his eyes.
Starr was waiting for her.
“One fine man,” she whispered.
The stranger had taken off his CAT cap. He ran his fingers through blonde wavy hair and smiled at them.
Belle gasped. “I know who that is.”
Starr shrugged. “He just introduced himself, hon.”
Belle waved her hand. “I’ll tell you later.” She walked away.
Starr stomped her foot. “I can’t wait that long.”
Belle scooped up a huge dictionary on the way then slammed it down on the table next to the stranger. He jumped. Starr jumped. Stan howled and a chair flew down the aisle pulled by a wild-looking hound dog.
Stan hit Belle at a run, knocked her onto the stranger’s lap. All three swayed for a minute. The chair’s metal legs moaned then bent then spread out like a pinwheel. Everybody hit the floor.
Belle grimaced. “Sorry.”
He grimaced. “I’m thoroughly convinced you’re bonkers.” His accent had changed to British. He looked at her rear end on his stomach. “And I am in considerable pain.”
Patrons had gathered around them. Belle pushed Stan off and pulled herself up.
“We are okay," she announced. "It was an accident.” Well, not exactly, but she did manage NOT to hit him on the head which was what she desperately wished to do.

JennaQuentin said...

Just before my 190th birthday - whew! Thanks for this opportunity!

Jousting - 272 words

Calm. Authoritative. Loving. I am all these things. As a mother, they come naturally.

“Get in your stroller now!”

The toddler squints his eyes and heaves a sigh, as if to say he can't believe that I'm going up against him. After all, he had had twelve hours of sleep, eaten a full breakfast, filled a diaper and gotten a clean one and is wearing his shoes; in short, he is well-fed knight in full armour.

“Lucas, you have two choices: ride in the stroller or walk beside me.” He holds up his arms to be picked up.

I am not as well-equipped for this joust. A night of tossing and turning, morning sickness, a glass of juice; in short, I'm the shabby country squire about to be unhorsed. Still, I'm determined to win this one.

I grasp my first lance. I have to make it look like it's not a command. I walk a few paces away. “Come baby, we're going for a walk. Walk with Mama.”

The toddler shuffles and looks up the street.

Ok, one lance broken. Lance two. Two steps closer and I crouch beside him to deliver two swats to his bare leg. “No, Mama said 'come'.”

Screaming. Shrill my-mother-is-abusing-me screaming. I hug him, then hold him at arms length. “Ok, we're all done. In the stroller or walking beside Mama. No more fits. All done.” I shake my hands, the sign language word “finished.”

I stand up. He signs “finished” back to me and smiles broadly. Then he holds up his arms to be picked up. I've been unhorsed.

Natasha said...

My 331 word submission. Thanks for the contest!

This morning I had my teeth cleaned for the first time in a year. The hygienist worked on them for about an hour and now, as I slide my tongue over my smooth yet swollen gums, I’m wondering how my teeth still manage to remain in there. There was a lot of tugging and bleeding. If a tooth falls out tomorrow I’ll know the enormous plaque buildup had an important job after all.

Normally I’m not averse to the dentist but I am convinced that after regularly seeing one for the last seven years, he’s the reason my teeth are crooked and my gums receding. And any apprehension I may have during these visits has never been about the pain but rather that dreaded flossing question. Without fail they always pull away with my precious B+ blood still clinging to their gloves and ask how often I floss. This is followed by a little routine where I pretend I've never heard of the benefits of flossing and he pretends the reason I don’t do it is because I don’t know how.

“Flossing? Really? How do you spell that? Nope, never knew….”

But today was a little different. I was getting my teeth cleaned in Geneva, Switzerland. They do things a little differently here. Like, for example, they don’t speak English. This adds a whole new level of hysteria to the process. If she, by chance, told me she was going to do a root canal I’m pretty sure in my ignorant bliss I would have been hunky dory with it until I saw the drill. As it happened, she barely asked me any questions and we sat in silence for most of the time. It was slightly disturbing because I was so unfamiliar with it. Usually, I’m inundated with bad television, dental advice and stories about Tanya’s sister’s boyfriend’s cousin. But I think, in retrospect, when someone’s hand is in your mouth silence is really where it should be.

Jo-Ann said...

“Eat your broccoli,” she’d nag every dinner. “Full of vitamins and antioxidants.”

Antioxidants are supposed to protect me from free radicals, but something free and radical would be fun to have hanging around. Unlike broccoli. I wonder if the antioxidants caused those ugly green bumps.

I’d never heard of antioxidants ‘til dad’s girlfriend moved in. Lotsa things have changed since then.

It happened because of the Kombi. No room in our garage for it, so he parked it on the road. Our Kombi had been made up of spare parts, but somebody smashed into it and turned it into spare parts. Nobody’s been making new ones for years, so I reckon one day there’ll just be a single Kombi left in the world, made up of all the Kombis that came before it.

Dad’s girlfriend, who wasn’t his girlfriend then, bought it for parts for her Kombi. It was like ours except it had dolphins painted over it. Dad looked interested when she said she ran the car off cooking oil. Poisoned the body; it was best for fuel.

She wasn’t joking. Soon after she moved in, she and dad went collecting stinky brown leftover oil from every fish and chip shop for miles, to convert into biodiesel in the garage. Soon it smelt of fried food, but in a bad way, like a witch dipping snails and small children into the oil.

If it was a trick to stop me ever eating chips again, it was working.
Maybe once I’d gone off fried food completely, they’d run it off ice-cream and chocolate, to turn me off all my faves.

I figured the dolphin Kombi would love healthy antioxidants better than greasy food. So I collected my broccoli and other veges over a few days and smashed ‘em into a goo. Antioxidant soup, just for the Kombi’s fuel tank.

It took them ages to figure why the engine was smoking and spluttering. But it proved my point: if a hippy van hated veges, why did they expect I’d like them?

SonyaTerjanian said...

(From a short story I am hoping will some day give birth to a novel. Sonya Terjanian)

Dear U-Haul,
I am writing to explain that the reason your ten-foot, low-deck truck ended up upside-down in a ditch next to I-95 is that there was a bat in the glove compartment.

Let me rephrase that: the reason that everything I own in this world, including every picture I ever took and every letter I ever got, plus some really nice home accessories and a lot of clothes, is now decorating the I-95 corridor is that there was a goddamn bat in your truck’s glove compartment.

A bird would have been different. A bird would have been like a sign from God that life is beautiful. A bird would have been perfect because at that moment I happened to be crying over a story on the radio about fracking, and if anything could make me feel better about the sorry state of our planet, it would have been a beautiful bird flying out of my glove compartment like a Disney character that was going to go find some bits of ribbon and sew me a dress.

I was hoping there might be a box of tissues in the glove compartment. I think that might be something you should consider: tissues in every glove compartment. That’s the kind of thoughtful touch that could really make a difference for your corporate image. Don’t get me wrong – I like the pictures on the sides of your trucks. Mine had a giant firefly, and it said “Indiana,” and the caption said I could learn more about bioluminescence at Which I would definitely do, if my laptop were not road kill. But my point is that you should think more about what’s happening on the inside of your trucks. That people driving your trucks are probably, more often than you realize, crying. And that they need a tissue. Not a bat.

Ramona's Story Time said...

My submission, from a short children's story titled "George and the Boomerang"

"They're coming to take you away, sonny-boy."

Nurse Velma turned the chair backwards and straddled it. George noticed that her legs were covered with dark, wooly, hair.
"Listen George - " her voice came out deep and raspy, " - the cops are bad news for you all right, but it's not the cops you should be worrying about."
George had opened his mouth to either ask "How do you know my name?", or "Why don't you wear dark nylons to cover your wooly legs?" but he forgot these questions under this stunning communication.
“What should I be afraid of?” he asked. Nurse Velma leaned in close.
"The Boomerang, George - the Boomerang. It will keep on following you; it always returns to its owner. Sometimes, you get more than you bargained for - take me, for instance!”
Nurse Velma rose from the chair and pulled off her -- his wig to reveal a head that was nearly bald, with erratic tufts of white hair sprouting on the top like a scraggy, un-mowed lawn.
"Who are you?" gasped George.
"My name is not important," said the man. "Know this, young George: the police may catch you, lock you in an icebox with bats and keep you on broccoli and water for the next 10 years. They may volunteer you for their sadistic police-dog training practices, and call it ‘community service’. They will, admittedly, be likely to hang you by your thumbs and leave your feet exposed to the legendary, flesh-eating prison rats. But George … the Boomerang will kill you."
George heard the sound of heavy, clomping shoes, the click and scrabble of canine feet, and the jangle of a chain leash.
"It's the police, and they've brought their rabid, child-eating attack dogs," whispered the strange man. He turned his mad, twinkling eyes on George.
"Grab your clothes, boy - you'll have to go out the window."

Ramona's Story Time said...

Oh, er whoops. The name is Rachel Oja.

Kathryn Elliott said...

Libby whipped around, Cheeze-Its spewing. “Me?”

“Yes you! Calling Stacy Warner an uneducated silicone whore and posting her pre-lypo pictures on Facebook must cross into defamation of character?” Caroline looked to Bob for confirmation. “Counselor, your professional opinion?”

I love my wife. “Lib, we’ve talked about this.”

“Do not use that Ward Clever voice with me or I’m wearing the Don’t-Touch-Me flannels for a month!” More crackers, minimal chewing. “I know I flew off the handle, but come on! I raised over $10K for that school and we desperately need a reading teacher. But no, absolutely not, silicone whore and her evil minions have a wicked-great idea!” An unladylike gulp of wine chased down the crackers; savoring the vintage was secondary to feeling effects.

“Do I want to know about the wicked-great idea or can I safely assume it is crap?” Bob asked.

Hands on her hips, sarcasm dripped. “Oh honey, its wicked great. The PTO is going to spend $30,000 on a Kiddie Kardio Slide! Isn’t that wonderful?”

“Wait, didn’t we just have some cookie fundraiser deal for playground equipment?”

Caroline groaned, “Crap Bob; way to poke the bear.”

“What did I say?”

Fuming, Libby screeched. “Two years ago we completely renovated that damn playground! I sold more freaking cookie dough than Tollhouse! Half of which I consumed!” Hands waving madly overhead, she paced the room. “Cookie dough for exercise equipment, really? Does no one see the irony? I had to buy new pants and join Weight Watchers, but we got the flipping equipment.”

Digging into her purse, Libby tugged out the brochure. Happy, Stepford-esque children graced the cover. She read. “The Kiddie Kardio Slide has TWO ladders!” Gasp. “This exceptional bonus feature allows multiple students to experience the cardiovascular benefits of free play sliding while fostering an environment of team building and turn taking, thus successfully combating the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. Tremendous plan, don’t you think? Damn Michelle Obama and No Fat Kids agenda. Now we’ll have a school comprised of thin, team oriented illiterate children. They’ll speak without verbs, but look good in yoga pants.”

350 on the dot. From Adding Lib - my always working - work in progress. Fun idea - thanks Nathan.

Darlene Underdahl said...

Wolfie’s (Surefire) Weight Loss Plan

(Transcribed By Darlene Underdahl – Wolfie doesn’t type well)

Convince at least two young, hot (to you) individuals to parade undressed and in a heightened state of sexuality in front of your house at least twenty hours a day. They are required to make eye contact through the windows.

Run up and down the stairs, pausing to look out the windows, at least twenty hours a day (if you live in a one-story house you will have to scamper from room to room).

Whine constantly, howl occasionally, pausing only if your life seems to be in peril.

Don’t eat (unless it is during the four hours the hot bodies are not in front of your house).

Don’t sleep (unless it is during the four hours the hot bodies are not in front of your house).

At the end of six weeks you will have:

Died of violence or starvation.

Lost fifty percent of your body weight.

To enroll, send a SASE and $500 to:
Wolfie (C/O Darlene Underdahl)

(Address omitted)

Wolfie will consider a blog and PayPal button, interest permitting.

Adam said...

This is from the start of an older project. Hope you enjoy. :)

Adam Slade

Gregor stooped and plucked an ashen skull from a pile of bones in the bottom of one of the stasis pods.
"Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well." He peered in through the eye sockets. "Always wanted to say that."
"That's not Sergeant Yorick." Craig pointed to another pod. "That is."
"Oh. Then who's this?"
He brushed the dust from the name plate on the pod. "Private Steve Cooper."
"Bah." Gregor dropped the skull. "I hated Steve."
Craig watched, mystified, as his superior pushed past him and picked up the correct skull then began to recite the same verse. Another of the troops stepped forward.
"Commander, what are your orders?"
Gregor spun, the skull still in his hand, and regarded the private for a few seconds longer than necessary. "I wasn't finished."
The private glanced at the skull, then back at the commander. "With respect, sir, Yorick was a friend of mine."
"Then you'll want me to finish his send off, no?" He didn't let the private reply. "There's a good man!"
"Then you'll want to say it right," a voice added from behind them. "It's 'Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.'"
Gregor shrugged. "I prefer the misquote, thank you, doctor. I cannot stand Shakespeare."
"Then why--"
The doctor was cut off by the sound of the skull shattering on the steel floor.
"Too late, you spoiled the moment."

Whirlochre said...

Ever the shameless opportunist, I’ve come over all space kid in the hope of winning a prize.

Rolan swallowed hard. There was something about the creature’s eyes that disturbed him — particularly the fourth and the sixth. “I guess this is the part where I get eaten, right?”

“Wrong.” The creature teased out a comm device from a curiously evolved flap of skin perfect for something a little smaller. “Stop my Ma tracking me all over the time-space continuum and you can live. Then I eat you.”

Icons twinkled from the comm screen, all proclaiming: YOU MAY BE A TECH WIZ, ROLAN — BUT NOT IN THIS SECTOR. But at least a device he couldn’t fix might buy him a little time with the being eaten deal. He dug around in his guitar case for a tuning fork. “Where I come from, this thing works wonders...”

The creature eyed him suspiciouslylylylylyly. “No funny business, kid.”

As Rolan tinkered theatrically with fork and comm, the absence of leeway for any kind of funny business bore down hard on his skull like a black hole vacuum set to BLOW. In desperation, he struck the fork against what might have been an earphone socket and — tink — the opening note to Meggerdetth Mayhemme resounded through the grim subterranean hangar.

The creature’s eyebrows danced in a frenzy and Rolan ducked instinctively, fearing the gnash of teeth and the swish of claws. Instead, the creature purred and rolled onto its back. “Ooooh! Me likey!”

“Really?” said Rolan. “You wanna some morey?”

The slirruppy dual bratwurst nightmare which passed for the creature’s mouth formed itself into a beaming smile. “Tickle me till I can’t take it no more, Earth-beest.”

Rolan didn’t need telling what to do (even though he just had been) and with deft rinky-tinks of the fork along the hangar walls he lulled the purring creature into a state of submission that was half slumber, half orgasm — and a quarter something he didn’t recognise at all, but was nonetheless very glad about. When weird oozes began squirting from hitherto unseen spiracles, Rolan picked up his guitar case and headed back in the direction of his band’s tour saucer...

elephanta said...

Sarah Diehl-349 words:

Ruby Dee was standing on Barley Street at two in the afternoon, in flannel pajamas decorated with popsicles. The popsicles- had they been real- would have melted on the spot in such sweltering August heat. And the patent leather shoes- what were those for! A jazz recital? Had Ruby been a girl of six, not much would seem off, but she was older than that for certain. One might even assume she was a legal adult, from the Marlboro red dangling out of that pout. I happened to know that Ruby Dee was a tall fourteen.

She dropped the bogey and gave it a decent stomping before she marched across the street. She boarded the porch at 1212 Barley and let herself through the unlocked door. All with such ease, no one would suspect that she was in fact an intruder.

At the foot of the staircase was just what Ruby was here for: the shoe rack. Ruby tip-toe hopped over with arms retracted like Dracula. She fondled shoes; men’s loafers, espadrilles, old tennies- and then her pupils dilated. She slowly removed the glossy patent leathers from her offensively red (presumably odorous) feet and lifted up a lovely pair of chestnut brown lace up sandals. Jesus sandals to be precise- as if this villain had a saintly bone in her body!

Ruby put them on; there was an inch at the toe, but no matter. She crisscrossed the laces in an ecstasy. When it was done she lit another Marlboro red and stood up. The staircase creaked.

“Hello Ruby,” I said.

She saw me and bolted. The oversized sandals slowed her down some, but she made it down the street in good time for a cigarette smoker. I wondered at the injustice- I was struggling mightily to keep up- me a healthy eleven year old kid in Nikes.

This girl was sick, and I don’t just mean in the head. She stole shoes; in return she left behind the previously stolen pair. The most heinous of all charges- Ruby Dee was a spreader of Trichophyton. That’s right: foot fungus.

Watcher55 said...

Disclaimer: The account you’re probably about to read is semi-fictitious. Any resemblance to a real person or event is entirely intentional, but I have already notified my Wit-sec handlers and I’m filing suit against me next week.

“Nine two-six--one oh. Nine-two--six---one-oh.” I always sing my new zip code when I move - it helps me decide if I’m going to like a place or not. I think I’m going to like Foothill Ranch California. My name is Pen’ninde` Pende` (from the Greek for fifty-five) Waters; it used to be Karl P. Bensley, but that was before I ratted out a Memphis-based Don -- Don Pardo -- who isn’t really a Don. He’s just a well connected thug who’s taking advantage of his unfortunate name. Here’s what happened.

My pretend agent and I stopped at Huey’s to have a sandwich and to discuss my impending fame for the book I’m going to write: CINDY SHELTON HAD A LITTLE LAMB. Well, we finished our sandwich and we were using our straws like blowguns to stick toothpicks in the ceiling when Don Pardo walked into the place, and every conversation stopped. Naturally, I thought everyone was just amazed at my skill with a straw so, forgetting that my head tends to make me top-heavy, I took a bow and fell down. By the time I lifted my face off the floor, every potential witness (including my pretend agent) had left the building.

It was just me, Don Pardo, and the unfortunate man trapped in a corner booth. Don Pardo pulled a gun and showed me the answer to that old question: Who killed Cock Robin? So -- here I am, hiding from a petty mobster in Foothill Ranch California until it’s time to testify against Don Pardo later this year. The Marshals told me the trial, and my testimony, is a secret; that’s why I’m posting about it. This is a blog isn’t it, and isn’t a blog where writer’s are supposed to keep their best secrets?

“Nine two-six--one oh. Nine-two--six---one-oh.”

Emily said...

The woman stared at us through her sunglasses. She was one of those suburban mom types.

An iphone ping sounded out from somewhere in her purse. It wasn’t one of those designer purses or anything, but something from Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters. You know, the kind of purse that would survive a trek on Everest. Probably reminding her about piano lessons or lacrosse or something. She took the phone out of her purse and looked at it.

“Frak,” she said under her breath.

Mel and Jen stopped counting their money and looked pointedly at me. “Starbuck, did you hear that,” Mel whispered. “She’s one of us.”

“Frak doesn’t mean anything,” I said with conviction. I tried not to look at the woman who was trying to order donuts. Instead I watched my friends count their money. Jen had piles of dimes stacked in front of her, ten high and was starting on the nickels. Mel had a sandwich bag full of pennies.

We were at Donut Wheel for our first CCFBM. Comic-Con Fund-raising Brainstorming Meeting. Mel insisted on acronyms for everything, which was why her dog was named LC for Little Chewbacca. Watching them count the money was depressing. I mean, we wanted to have enough money to go to Comic Con and we didn’t even have enough to buy a frakking donut.

And then suddenly the woman was sitting at the table next to us with a box of donuts. She opened the box and spun it around our direction so that the open box, full of the best hand picked assortment possible, faced us. I swear I could smell the maple bar.

She dusted a little powdered sugar from her finger and said, “Want some?” Jen and Mel practically dove into the box to grab some chocolate raised. I, with a little more dignity, took a maple bar, licking the sugary frosting from my finger.

“Nice bag,” she said as she bit into a raspberry filled. “The Eye of Jupiter?”

I looked down at my hand-painted canvas bag. “Frak me,” I said.

“So say we all,” she said wisely.

Catherine Lavoie said...

This is a scene from my women's fiction WIP.

"There he is," Shane says, pointing to a man who’s cursing and struggling with a suitcase. "That's my friend Nate."

I notice the pained expression on Nate's face and the way his feet seem to be stuttering on the sidewalk. "Why is he limping?"

"Old rugby injury. His knee flares up whenever it's humid. I guess it wasn't a good idea to bring him to a tropical island, was it?"

Nate's eyes are so close to shooting actual daggers at us that I almost feel like ducking. "Maybe not."

He stops in front of Shane and takes a deep breath. "How was First Class? Did you enjoy your flight? Awesome. Dude, there was no leg room in Coach. No. Leg. Room. And the stewardess or flight attendant or whatever you're supposed to call them these days gave me a vegetarian meal because apparently I requested one in advance. Do I look like the kind of man who enjoys broccoli with a side of spinach? No. I wanted the gray chicken with the side of runny mashed potatoes that the guy next to me was having. And don't get me started on the guy next to me. The snoring..."

"Zoey, this is Nate," Shane says, interrupting him mid-sentence. "He's a bit cranky today."

Nate nods in my general direction and I bet that the rest of his rant is playing inside his head and we'll get to enjoy the second half later.

"Nate, this is Zoey. We met on the plane. We’re all going to the same resort. Isn’t that great?"

"Bloody awesome," I hear him mutter under his breath.

Shane points to a long-haired man wearing a straw skirt and holding a sign: MOMENT OF ZEN SPA AND RELAXATION WELLNESS CENTRE. WELCOME TO PARADISE! "That’s us."

Nate looks me in the eye for the first time since we’ve met. “Please, Joey. Kill me now.”

“It’s Zoey,” I say, helping him with his suitcase. “I’m sure it’s not as bad as it sounds.”

"C'mon, it'll be an adventure," Shane says as we walk (and limp) to the waiting car.


Thanks for the contest, Nathan! :)

patti wigington said...

“Whatever became of your husband, Jenna?” cooed Lucia.

“Oh, we divorced when Steffi was just a few years old,” I said, spearing a crepe with my fork.

Lucia’s eyes went wide with horror, and flicked towards the camera, humming along in all of its reality-show filming glory. “Oh, surely you mean he died, don’t you, dear? After all, no one in proper society gets divorced these days.”

I lathered my toast with butter and dipped it into a bowl of jam. “No, really, I divorced him.”

Alex cleared his throat at Lucia’s feigned look of shock. “Now, Lucia, let’s not mind other peoples’ business. I’m sure Mrs. Montrose doesn’t want to discuss it.”

“Oh, I don’t mind,” I admitted. “We had a problem with the neighbors.”

Lucia paused, her spoon in mid-air. “You got a divorce because of a problem with the neighbors?” she asked incredulously.

I nodded, nibbling a bite of toast.

“My goodness. It must have been a rather dramatic problem. What was wrong with your neighbors?” Lucia leaned forward eagerly, eyes wide.

“Well,” I said, licking jam from my fingertips daintily, “my husband couldn’t seem to keep his penis out of them. Pass the kippers, please.”

Valerie Rieker said...

My humor is gentle at best, but I wanted to play. :D
Excerpted from a WIP.

Bridget had also hoped that changing directions would make traveling easier, but going North was a lot like going East: they got scrapes, rashes, bug bites, struggled to find food, and bickered with each other. The food was always cold, the nights even colder, and they still weren’t sure if they were going the right way.

“Keppeh nah! We will never find it at dis rate,” Reece said.

“Would you stop whinen?” Nissa said.

“Well! Dis place looks like all de others. Here, dis tree! I swear I hev peed by dis tree.”

“Reece…” Bridget said.

“Whot? Et least I deed not sey I poo—“

“Reece!” Nissa and Bridget cried.

Reece looked to Lorne, who clapped him on the back without a word and kept walking.

L. Vendrell said...

She is still there. I just know it. There has to be some way to kill more time. Because of that, and because my hangover is in a rage, I stop at Taco Bell. In line I realize that my roommates will tear into whatever I leave unguarded. The revelation forces quantity over quality and I order just about everything on the menu.

The aroma of processed Mexican food mixes with the gerbil stench of my car for the whole of the drive to my house.

I turn into my cul-de-sac. Something is wrong. A giant black truck spit black exhaust in my driveway. Big chunks of metal lift its body off the axle. Maggie and her son are caught in some argument near the back tire.

I open the door and get out. Both of them stop and shoot me down with glare the equivalent of gatling guns. The weight of those stares is too much and I have to look away. Three young girls skip robe across the street. They shouldn't have to see this. Hell, I shouldn't have to see this.

Maggie pulls away from her son and starts towards me. “The hell did you go?” The rolled up openings of the bags crumple in my hands. “You son-of-a-bitch, you leave me in that shithole of a room. I should let Thad kick your ass. He wants to, oh how he wants to."

I swallow. It's not like I can blame him.

Maggie screams, “What, you think that you can screw and run?”

Her words are a punch to her son's gut.

So much for her being gone when I returned --so much for my nap. I know I need to do anything, but I'm kind of locked in place. She gets closer, and I hold up the only thing I have: the bags of Taco Bell.

“The hell is that?” she asks.

The bags move back and forth -- a pendulum between us, ticking off the seconds until my reply. “I went to get us breakfast.”

wry wryter said...

“Why is it,“ Meg said as she sipped her seltzer, “when you have a baby no one tells you about the gross parts, like finding baby poop under your nails after you’ve washed your hands, or constipation or leaking nipples.

“I’m never giving birth,” Viv said.

“I wish I could say that,” the waitress walking by added. “I’ve got two kids. Three if you count my husband”.

“We’re talking about the yucky stuff no one tells you about after you have a baby, “Viv said.

“Gas,” the waitress said, “it was the worst. I could fart a blue haze; even out-fart my husband.”
The women at the next table heard the conversation.

“My farts used to wake up my baby.” A woman said.

“Hey girls, my son is twenty-four, my daughter twenty-one and the only thing those kids ever gave me was hemorrhoids.”

“That’s nothin’” another said, “I had twin boys. My boobs got so big I couldn’t walk upright until they went to kindergarten.” Women in the crowded bar joined in.

“After thirty-two hours of labor I had to have a C-section anyway.” The females groaned.

“Must have been a male doctor, they love to see us tortured.”

A man in a baseball cap spoke up, “I had a tooth pulled once.” Silence. The woman next to him pulled his hat off and hit him over the head with it.

“I delivered our baby,” A brave man said while looking lovingly into the eyes of his wife. “We were on our way to the hospital when our little girl couldn’t wait to be born.”

The room went quiet. “My wife was so strong and I was so proud. One big push and into my hands my beautiful daughter appeared. I cannot express how grateful I was to my beautiful wife for presenting me with such a wonderful gift. It was a miracle.” The wife smiled, the crowd quietly sighed.

“But” he said in a firm voice, “I don’t think I’ve seen anything as gross and disgusting as that kid squirting out and sliding home.”

minorleaguemom said...

Condensed version of a blog post entitled, "Pam the Android"

Charley and I enter the bedroom together. He has already brushed his teeth and flossed, while I was cleaning up the kitchen. He takes off his clothes, throws on an old tee shirt with his shorts, and sets the alarm. I am lucky if I have even put away my shoes, earrings, and watch, while he turns out his lamp. I finish changing into my pajamas by the light in the bathroom. I used to wear sexy lace babydolls, but that was twenty years ago. I graduated to full-length lacy nightgowns, but that was ten years ago. Now I wear flannel pajamas as a courtesy to my legs, that twitch or cramp after long tennis matches.

In the bathroom, I rub ointment on my rotator cuff. I reach for my three containers of vitamins, then my soy supplement, cholesterol pill, calcium, fish oil. I hear Charley's rhythmic breathing coming from the bed. How do men do that? I still have nine steps before I hit the mattress.

I must use water to transform fiber powder into a thick, yellow liquid I can barely swallow. A rinse of antiseptic follows brushing and flossing - I don't know why I bother with the antiseptic, since the only person who might smell my breath is sound asleep!

Next I insert a clear plastic appliance in my mouth that will keep my jaw from grinding at night and forming ridges in my teeth. I wash my makeup off with an exfoliant for my clogged pores and carefully wipe eye liner off with astringent pads. I smear green goop that promises miracles under my eyes, around my mouth, and across my forehead. A topcoat of polish goes on my nails. That stuff stinks! Almost finished.

I reach into the bottom of the closet and grab the contoured foam pillow that I will position between my legs, in case my dislocated disc acts up. I grab wrist braces for my carpal tunnel and turn out the bathroom light.

Charley rolls and kisses good-night, a token to our yesterdays. "I guess we won't be having spontaneous sex tonight," he mumbles.

Jean said...

The kitchen window was open and Eddie could smell lunch cooking as he walked up the back steps: fried bologna sandwiches. His favorite.
"Hello, brother," Tina said, smearing a slice of soft white bread with a wave of mayo. She topped it with a slice of bologna, shrunk from being fried, and burnt around the edges, just the way Eddie liked it, and gently set another airy slice of bread on top. Tina lifted the plate to her nose and sniffed.
"Mmm mmm, good!" she said.
Eddie didn't say anything.
"Do you want it?" Tina asked, holding out the plate. Eddie knew this trick by heart.
"No," he said.
"No, really," Tina said. "Do you want it?"
"No!" Eddie said.
"I mean it," Tina said. "You can have it if you want it. Want it?"
Eddie hesitated.
"It's still warm," Tina said. "And the bread's really fresh. And I put lots of mayo on it. Do you want it?"
"Okay," Eddie said, holding out his hand. "Yes!"
"Sucker!" Tina said, pulling the plate back and laughing.
When Tina stopped laughing she pushed the plate against Eddie's chest.
"I was just kidding," she said. "Here, you can have it. Eat up, before it gets cold! Um. There is one little thing I wanted to ask you."
"What?" Eddie asked, grabbing the sandwich and taking a bite before Tina could pull the plate back again.
"Can I borrow those good marker pens you got at Goodwill last week?"
"I don't know," Eddie said with his mouth full of a second, larger, bite of sandwich. "Those are really good pens. Professional artist ones." Eddie didn't use marker pens himself. He only bought them because they were cheap and he knew Tina loved marker pens and would secretly drool when she saw they were the kind real artists used, and would start making plans on how she could get her hands on them. Eddie's had made plans of his own, about what he could get out of Tina if he let her use them. Fried bologna sandwiches were an excellent start.

Stephanie {Luxe Boulevard} said...

I think mine is a tad different, more sarcastic humor. But funny is funny, right? It is 204 words, I believe, just a small excerpt from a suspense romance I'm currently working on.

I stared dumbfounded at him and the fact that he was even speaking to me. One of the nice things about being me was that people generally steered clear of me. Sure, they meant it offensively, but at least they left me alone.

“Sorry you got kicked out,” he said. “That wasn't cool of him.”

I remained quiet. I was the last person an all-star like him would associate with and I was certain the moment I spoke, tar and feathers would materialize all over me.

“Wow. You really don't talk, do you?” he said.

I thought maybe I would put some of the rumors to the test and curse him somehow. I squinted real hard, thinking of the most demeaning things I thought would be good to conjure up. Maybe I could turn him into a unicorn. I'd like to see him lead an undefeated soccer season with hooves. Rumor had it the Los Angeles Galaxy were considering him to play professionally. He'd be the talk of the team sporting a horn on his head that sparkled. I suppose I could do him a little justice and make him brown. He did have exquisite skin, the color of brown sugar.

Ambassador Arts said...

It started as a simple thing: “Can I have your cookie?”
Steven wasn’t very hungry anymore, and was rather distracted picking the tendons from his teeth; Nevil wasn’t thinking, and that was normal enough. Satan was on his throne, and the rest of Hell was either feasting or beginning their belching rendition of a bullfrog choir.
The question itself was excusable; it could have been ignored as sniveling stupidity. But Steven’s permissive grunt, mixed with a half-shrug, brought the festivities to a fingernail-grinding halt even as Nevil’s mangy hand grasped the cookie and raced it towards his mouth.
Eternal time slowed thusly:
1. As Nevil’s claws sunk into the doughy delectable, Satan’s armrests exploded beneath his white-knuckled grip.
2. As the cookie journeyed through space towards Nevil’s mouth, the hordes of Hell wretched, then gasped, then fell deathly silent.
3. Nevil slowed in not-understood fear, even as the joints of the vaulted cavern popped, raining gristle and grime from the mortar in the joists.
4. The cookie bumped to a halt, its first crumbs already wet with saliva, pressed against the foolish demon’s front teeth—and a guttural, dry-heaving wail lurched out of the Lord of Hell’s innards.
“Who..?” the Lord Satan gasped, air whistling over his dripping fangs, “…shared…!” he demanded; white eyed demons trembled with fear, not knowing whether to flee or search for the offender, “… their COOKIE?!?”
A low howl sounded far off, and an icy wind began to blow through the halls of Hell…

Jadi said...

Excerpt from High Fantasy book. 300 words.
It's at least a little humorous.
"I don't know where the honey comes from, but the fruit's fairy grown," said Zarek.

Naren's eyes widened as he looked at the elf. "Why didn't you say anything sooner?"

Zarek shrugged. " While fairies might use their magic to help them grow and taste better, they make sure they're fit for human consumption."

Zarek took one and bit into it. "Just making sure, you know." The whole apple disappeared into his mouth. "That one was safe. Let me check this one." He grabbed another and took a bite.

Naren grabbed one and examined it. "So the fairies use magic to grow them?"

Auden nodded and snatched one. This time, Naren lifted the bag up out of their reach.

"Just a little," Auden said, rubbing the apple on his shirt, unoffended by Naren's action. "Mostly, they use a lot of common sense. The magic just helps it along."

Naren nodded and tossed apples to the men and to Strela and Kamra.

"We'll have the honey later. Puill, put it in your things. You can't possibly eat it and ride."

Puill hurried to put the honey jar away. He wanted to sneak his finger into the golden, gooey goodness. Just for a taste. He tried to pry the jar open. It was sealed shut.

Disappointed, he shoved it into one of his bags.

"I saw that," Naren told him when he returned to where the group were standing.

Puill grinned at him, but said nothing.

Naren took out one of the unidentifiable fruits and turned it around in his hands. "So, what's this?"

Zarek shrugged and then looked at Auden. They both looked at Naren. "We don't know."

Naren took a bite of it. "Whatever it is, it tastes good."

Holly L'Oiseau said...

“Alright, that’s my song.” Mom rolls down her window, singing like she’s the only one around. And horrible, too. Like a yelping cat. Her red curls dance every time her head bobs.
I cringe in the back seat and stick my backpack over my face, hoping no one sees me. The first day of middle school is going to be just as awful as I imagined. I haven’t even made it all the way up the packed car rider line, and Mom’s already embarrassing me. And it’s not even cool music. Some band called Pearl Jam. Who names their rock band after something you spread on a sandwich?
But that not what I’m focusing on now. I see, out of the corner of my half-hidden eye, Janie Sanders walk by. Her blue eyes catch mine through the glass, and she laughs, whispering something into Katie Ross’s ear. Probably something like: ‘Simon Pierce is a geeky freak.’ And would she be wrong? She’s a goddess in Hello Kitty, and I’m still wearing Star Wars shirts Mom buys for me—and playing with Star Wars Legos.
Enough is enough. I take my shirt off, not caring who sees, and turn it inside out before slipping it back over my head.
“What are you doing?” Mom furrows her brow in the rearview mirror.
“I’m being a man, Mom. No, wait. I’m being the man.” I throw open the door and sling my backpack over my shoulder. “Don’t worry. I can walk from here.”

Darley said...

My blouse smells like hot dog again.
Damn it. How does this happen?
I showered, dressed for the interview, walked to the subway…
Hot dog.
#%&^ !!
They’re made from hedgehogs. I’d eat one if there was a chance it’d get me sex.
Not sure how that circumstance would arise.
8:05. I’m late. Avery Insurance. Twenty yards.
I swing through double glass doors and check in at the desk. Temp badge.
The elevator is… dear Lord… is everyone late?
Pile in. Pile in.
“I need the fifth floor.”
I can feel something on my ass. Wedging itself in.
Was that a ding?
I find door 522.
“I’m here to see Mr. Benevidez.”
“Be right with you, Miss…”
The receptionist nods at me like I’m hot. Score.
I sit. These magazines are older than my mom. I’m too nervous anyway. Have to nail this.
A door opens.
“Miss Adams?”
I look down. He’s four feet. Maybe less?
“I’m Ray Benevidez. Let me take you back.”
He just spit on my crotch.
His desk is like an arc. He seems to be hanging from it.
He stares at me. Hard. He smells something. I know it.
“Do you know how to make copies?”
“We need someone to make copies.”
“I thought this was sales.”
“Who told you that?”
“You did. On the phone.”
“Now it’s making copies.”
“You were late. You smell like Wienerschnitzel.”
“I have no idea.”
“About the copies?”
“About the food. Does it matter?”
“Do you want the job?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
I shake his hand.
Outside I see a hot dog vendor. He eyes me creepily.
I don’t know. I think I slept with him once.

Gem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monica B.W. said...

Oh, what an awesome idea! Thanks, Nathan.

Okay, for fun’s sake!
And because I REALLY want that ARC! ;)


The hens clucked and pecked at the corn around my feet. My two-year-old chased them, trying to touch their feathers—or maybe he was just trying to pluck one to play “Indians” later. He deftly avoided the chicken poop on the ground and weaved his way around the trees. The hens clucked some more.

“Can’t catch them. Too hard,” he said.

“Here, grab some bran and feed them. They will come.”

He smiled and opened his little hand for me to pour the bran in there. I’d thought he’d be happy to take the food, but instead he looked at the husks in disgust, frowning, and clapped the bran away.

“What happened?” I asked.

“My hands dirty.” He spat onto both of his palms, and then rubbed them together. “I’m washing hands now, Mommy, see?”

[Btw, this happened to me yesterday… so it’s a true story ;D]

pauline said...

I can’t walk. Every muscle is screaming in pure agony when I do anything, like say, breathing. My thighs are on fire and with the way I was hobbling around today, I am pretty sure I could have parked in a handicapped spot without being questioned.
I’d like to say that it’s the result of really good sex, but nope! I’m walking bow-legged right now because I am so out of shape that two days into my Wii Active 30-Day Challenge has me wishing I could reach into my television set and strangle the perky little electronic bitch of a personal trainer I have.
The program works the hell out of you, I have to admit, and blows the Wii Fit out of the water when it comes to a real workout. There’s a calendar that helps keep you on track with work out days and rest days, an option for logging in time spent on other activities, and keeps track of calories projected versus calories. Plus, the character I put together actually looks like me. Chia pet curls and all.
“Am I that fat right now?” I asked The Husband as I was trying to decide between full hips and “Baby’s Got Back.” My mother and Pati, both home because it’s hard to make friends when their social circle has yet to extend beyond my own, look at The Husband, eyes wide in expectation.
“Am I going to get hit if I say yes?” He dodges an imaginary pillow. I say nothing and click save on the chick with the badonkatonk butt while my mother and sister collapse into laughter.

Michelle Levy said...

346 words

The dusty Old West façade is littered with actors in various cowboy costumes preparing to audition for our western TV series. One wears chaps, another spurs, but the one that stands out the most is the guy walking toward me. He wears gray wool pants smeared with dirt, his flannel shirt is tattered in a very theatrical manner, his hair is greasy and tousled, and his face is in desperate need of a washing. He looks like he might even give off an authentic odor. But above all that, what gets me is the eye patch. An eye patch!
I make myself look busy in the hopes that he doesn’t approach. But then I have to look again; it’s just too hard not to look. Now he’s made eye contact with his one “good” eye. Great. He nods a hello and then asks me a question about the material. But I don’t hear the question. I only hear the strange way the words come out of his mouth. Is he doing an accent? Is it Irish? Is it Pirate? I ask him to repeat the question. He does. He IS doing a pirate accent! I tell him that the writer will be in the audition and he can answer the question better than I can, but this doesn’t get him to leave. He continues to talk to me in character. Not creepy at all.
Soon we start the auditions. After several actors, it’s the pirate’s turn. When he comes into the room, the producers look over at me and raise an eyebrow. I shrug. I warned them about him before hand, but they obviously thought I was exaggerating. He then proceeds to audition as a pirate and he adds this little dance where he holds his knees together and sort of prances side to side.

When he leaves we all look at each other. No one knows what to say. And then the executive producer finally speaks. “Was that a pirate doing a pee pee dance?”
Why yes, yes it was.
He didn’t get the role.

christinewaldman said...

“Meg, it would be great to date such wonderful chef.”
“I might even be able to get past his crazy nostril hair if he cooked for me every day,” I said.
“Nostril hair, huh? I guess genius doesn’t need to look pretty. I mean, Einstein had that disheveled look, while Edison had those freaky intense eyes, and I heard that Mozart had a third nipple,” Alex said.
“How could you possibly know that Mozart had a third nipple?”
“That’s just what I heard on the street.”
“People on the street are talking about Mozart’s nipple?”
“Okay. Listen; forget about Mozart’s nipple for a minute. We need to drop by Adrianna’s office on our lunch break.”
Once we arrived at Garner Industries, we headed straight for the elevator which was bigger and much fancier than my bathroom. Two businessmen got on with us, eyeing our scruffiness with distaste. Business Guy # 1 looked at us with a sneer, while business Guy # 2 tried not to make eye contact. They hastily moved to the far side of the elevator.
The elevator was playing a jazzed up rendition of ‘The Girl From Impanima’
Alex started humming along and then switched to some realistic trumpet sounds to accompany the music. The businessmen took a step further away.
Alex then switched to singing in a high falsetto voice and I acted like it was completely normal.
The men were now practically hugging the wall of the elevator.
I leaned over to Alex and said,” Did you take your medication today?”
“I don’t think so.” he answered in the falsetto voice.
“Just promise that you won’t take your clothes off again.”
“I’ll try,” he answered, now in a wonderful imitation of Ethel Merman. Despite his promise, he started fidgeting with the top button of his jeans.
Business man #1 reached over and frantically pushed the next floor’s button, and when the doors opened they almost knocked each other over in their haste to get out.
When the doors closed, we collapsed in laughter.

Kevin said...

I sell heckacool Jeeps. And I sell them in a way that kicks the butts off people. After they’ve signed the paperwork, most folks step out of my office with their faces melted clean off. In a good way. In a “I just bought the crap out of that Jeep” kind of way. The Toyota dealership across the street thinks I’m a god. I don’t let them anywhere near me though. I don’t want their snot-nosed sales numbers getting stains on my sequin jacket.

This morning my crew arrived at 2am to prepare for the 6am opening. And no pansy-butt bagels or pastries to eat. Just coffee beans to chew on and some Slim Jims. My beagle, Macho Man Randy Savage, was there and he howled at them if they didn’t work hard. He doesn’t take crap. Macho Man Randy Savage will gnaw your freakin’ thumb knuckle off.

Three minutes before six, I began the “Call of the Jepo,” (pronounced Heh-po). At my signal, Jennifer the temp pressed the Red Button which set off explosions on the sidewalks in front of the store and sent confetti into the sky. I donned my Jepo cape and ascended a mini-Mayan pyramid parked near the street (I bought the pyramid half off after it was rejected as a float for the Macy’s parade). At its pinnacle, upon a Mayan sacrificial altar, sat a new Toyota Prius. I took a chainsaw to that little carbon candy foot until its front bumper and headlights rolled down the steps of the pyramid and crashed upon the street in front of the Toyota dealership. I could see one of their new salesmen wetting himself. I gave Jennifer another signal, and four more explosions went off, this time with fireworks. I jumped on the Prius and cried out in a great voice, “Bienvenidos al Hhhhhepoooooo!” The Call of the Jepo was completed – the same Call given every morning.

And it worked like a charm. Within twenty-four minutes, there was probably about fifteen kabillion trillion people on my lot wanting to buy one of my heckasweet Jeeps.

ashleyolsonrosen said...

This is a condensed entry from my blog, funnier with wine. It's a horrifyingly true story.

Early in our marriage, my husband and I considered renting a carriage house on the grounds of a gorgeous mansion. My mom and I went to check it out.
The cordial homeowner even offered us – the little house wannabees – a tour of the Big House. We jumped at the offer and I had visions of future Christmases in their parlor.
As we wandered through the rambling abode, my mom chatted on about clubs and decorators and other things to let this lady know that we were not as white trash as we appeared, and thus would not have keggers or hang my husband’s tighty whities in their backyard.
Talk then turned to dogs and mother admitted to having “four big dogs and a horse named Bimbo who sticks his head in the bedroom window.” The woman, holding her Pomeranian in one hand and her strand of pearls in the other, was trying to act like we didn’t remind her of the Clampetts.
In the amazing, glass-walled solarium, I peered out at the formal gardens and saw Mom – in my peripheral vision – lean over and pick something up. In the hall, I noticed her holding her hand cupped as if cradling a baby chick.
Except it wasn’t a chick at all.
Oh my God, I whispered. Why are you holding a turd?
I thought it was a leaf.
Well, it’s not, so how about you put it back where you found it?
About this time, the woman heard us whispering, turned around and was aghast that a) there was poop on her floor and b) this woman was parading through the house with it.
Let me get you a paper towel, she gasped.
And what did mom say? She said, Oh, no, it’s fine… I do this all the time.
Seriously mom? I do this all the time???
We finished the tour in silence born of mortification, society lady’s heels click-clicking faster on the gleaming hardwoods, me still coveting the Big House, and mom, bringing up the rear, cradling the turd.
We got an apartment. And we had keggers.

Beth said...

Kristen went in first. “Isn't this breaking and entering?” she asked
“Nah,” Staci replied. “The door was wide open. What did we break?”
The a chorus of chortles were hastily stifled when they heard a slurred voice call out, “Who's there?”
They froze in their tracks. Lizzy's heart pounded. “No,” she thought to herself. “Not him. Not here. Not now.”
“I'm warning you, said the voice. “I'm armed.”
Phil, the Inebriated Cajun, Lizzy's nemesis and one-time fiance.
“Staci,” whispered a pale Kristen. “Did you bring your nunchucks?”
“No,” she mumbled, digging in her pockets. “But...oh, lemme see...I've got a dime. And a used wet wipe.”
“Not to worry, ladies,” said Lizzy. “I've got this.” She didn't feel too worried. She was wearing her new stylish-casual tennis shoes.
Phil sauntered into the hall as Lizzy reached into her purse to retrieve her cell phone.
“Phil, my old nemesis. Somehow I thought you might be involved in all this. Stealing refrigerators indeed!”
Phil the Inebriated Cajun took a swig of something brown in a bottle.
“Lizzy!” He said her name with undisguised affection. “You always were the meddlesome type. It's been a while since Nicaragua, eh?”
“Not long enough. Tell me the whole plan!”
“Lizzy,” Kristen squeaked. “Are you sure you should be aggravating this guy? He looks kinda mean.”
“I know what I'm doing,” Lizzy said, her eyes fixed on Phil's.
“Muhahaha!” laughed Phil. “As if I'd tell you.”
“Then you leave me no choice.”
“Lizzy, don't you think we should call the Police?” hissed Staci.
But it was too late. Lizzy had already pressed the call button on her cell phone, which activated the alcohol-seeking missiles hidden in her new stylish-casual tennis shoes.

Tom Bentley said...

Megan gave a fluttery little laugh, which immediately made me think of a plastered Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story when she’s canoodling with a plastered Jimmy Stewart on the night before her wedding. Megan is kind of like Katherine Hepburn in some ways. Here, though, Jimmy never made it to the stage; here we substituted a drunken copyeditor.

And Hepburn probably never actually got loop-dee-looped with the help, and never while wearing a come-hither-to-the-Casbah outfit.

Since Megan had flipped a couple of big pillows under and around her, and sort of draped herself under and around them, said harem-girl’s outfit had now opened up around the midriff, exposing a band of soft, pale tummy. Sweet tummy, thought the half-blind man. That man was me.

I patted her stomach a bit like you’d pat an agreeable daschund. That didn’t seem right, so I put my palm flat on her warm belly and stroked it a little, watching my hand make its weird path. I didn’t want to look at her face, because sozzled as I was, I was still conscious that this was Megan, the Empress of the Day Planner, the woman who silenced the conversation of various minions when she moved past cubicles, the woman who I thought might actually push my novel in front of some gullible, rich publisher. Megan. My boss.

Freya said...

Hi Nathan, :-)

Here's a chunk out of my historical gothic adventure novel,


Most people have worries of some kind in their lives. An actor, for example, might worry about forgetting her lines, while a plumber probably worries about what would happen if he got his head stuck in a drainpipe during a rainstorm. You may worry about the multiplication tables, or about whether your baby brother is being eaten by ants while you're away at school. But unless you're very unlucky, your worries are nowhere near as disturbing as Sebastian Mortimer's.

That's because, in the days when this story happened, the word “insane” meant something quite different from what it means now. Nowadays your mother might yell, “PHOEBE!” (Or “CAMILLE!” if that happens to be your name.) “STOP SHOOTING ARROWS IN THE HOUSE! YOU'RE DRIVING ME INSANE!” If you ignored her, the worst that would probably happen is that some of her hair might fall out.

But in Sebastian's day, insane people were truly terrifying. They screamed and muttered for no reason. They dressed in filthy grey rags (the men), or else in moth-eaten old wedding gowns with mice nesting in the hem (the women.) They usually lived in the attics of their relatives' houses, fastened to the wall with a length of chain.

Sebastian made another note:

If Uncle Osric’s not a lunatic, why didn’t my parents ever tell me about him?

Maybe they just forgot. Both of Sebastian's parents were Egyptologists. Their brains were crammed so full of rock tombs and secret passages that they often forgot they even had a son. Once Professor Julian Mortimer mistook him for a very short footman and ordered him to fetch the whiskey. Once Professor Julia Mortimer mistook him for a burglar and almost pushed him out an upstairs window before she remembered who he was.

Dearth of Reason said...

Something about restaurants seemed to get Jack in a lot of trouble. So he told Dad it was crazy, taking Mom out for an elegant brunch on Mother’s Day. But Dad insisted, and that was that.

Awash in sunshine, the serene French restaurant, La Belle Fleur, sounded like a bus crash with cutlery clanking and howling babies. Kids, looking dandy in their dresses and suits, sat neatly combed, polished, and angry, cheeks and chins sandpapered as red as a sunburn. Mom looked beautiful, smiling in a patch of sunlight in her pink floral dress. She wore a red rose behind her ear, cut from her garden by Dad that morning. It made Jack happy to look at her that way, until he saw behind her what was surely the ugliest baby in the universe.

The creature gagged at Jack as it tried to suck milk from a salt shaker. Jack frowned, sad that somebody had tricked that family into taking home a tortured space monkey instead of a human baby.

He glared to make it stop staring, but it waved, showering salt all around. Its hair was a swath of black rat fur and it leered at Jack like a gargoyle. Jack swiped at it to shoo it away, but the horrible creature imitated him and flung the salt shaker, which conked the head of an elderly lady.

“Oh!!” she cried.

Jack tried to look away, but there was Space Monkey screaming and pointing at him. Jack snarled at it.

“This is lovely,” said Mom. She turned to Jack. “What do—”

“Knock it off!” Jack hissed at Space Monkey, right behind Mom.

Dad frowned. “What did you say to her?”

Space Monkey shrieked.

“Shut up!” Jack said.


The sonic blast from Space Monkey spiked Jack's brain. It had a similar effect on a passing waitress, who recoiled and dumped her tray, heavily laden with whip-creamed waffles and omelets, on Dad.

The entire restaurant went still.

“Told ya, Dad,” Jack said.

“Lovely,” said Mom, taking a raspberry from Dad’s arm. “And we’ve only been here five minutes.”

Thomas Sullivan said...

Thomas Sullivan (
This is excerpted from my memoir of teaching driver education (titled Life In The Slow Lane)

* * * *

I'm driving with two students when I see one of our cars on the road. I'm not sure who is instructing, but it's probably Thomas. I abandon my route for the moment and have my student turn each time Thomas does.

Five minutes into this tailing, my driver asks, "Are we following that car?"

"Yup," I say, "it's one of ours. You two want to have some fun?"

"Sure," the driver says.

Her sister in the back keeps quiet. Thomas's car turns left and we follow, maintaining our distance.

"Now," I say as we stalk our prey, "you guys know how much you hate getting honked at, right?"

My driver glances over and says, "Definitely."

"Okay, this is a learning exercise," I say. "We're going to practice what not to do by doing it. Should we ever honk at someone just because we're in a hurry?"

"No," the girls respond in unison.

Thomas's car turns right after halting at an intersection. Focused on her slow pursuit, my driver does a California stop, rolling past the stop sign. She does check for cars, so it's safely illegal and I let it slide. We've got bigger fish to fry here.

"What do we do when someone honks at us?" I ask.

The girl in the back doesn't say anything, but her sister up front says, "Ignore them and do what's safe."

I'm impressed and tell her so. Thomas's car stops at a four-way intersection and we slink up behind it. I glance at the girl driving.

"Okay, honk. But do it gently."

I forget that she's probably never used a horn before. She punches the steering wheel and it blares out a sharp, extended honk. The girls erupt in laughter and I see a face pop into the side mirror. It's Thomas all right, but I doubt he recognizes us. Our car lacks the required student driver marking on the front, so we probably appear to be just another impatient jerk. A moment later Thomas's car turns right and we turn left. We all agree that his driver handled the situation perfectly.

Holly Vance said...

Contest Entry: 349 words

Nothing beats a weekend in Solvang with my two best friends boutique shopping and WINE TASTING.

Except the four-hour drive home when we are all broke and hung-over.

I have known Lisa and Cher for over thirty years. As teens, we had similar music tastes; as adults, we have definitely struck out on our own. It was my turn to drive, so I created a playlist with songs from our youth that all of us could enjoy.

The Bee Gees’ hit, "You Should Be Dancing," ushered in a gorgeous view of the ocean. Instead of commenting on the scenery, Cher said, “It sounds to me like he’s saying, ‘Do you do it in your butt?’”

Blinking, I realized that she referred to the linefrom the song, "What are you doing in the back, ahhh?".

As we curved around bend, the ocean disappeared from my line of sight until I could straighten out. I turned to recapture the majestic view of blue water . . .

“Do you do it in your butt?”

. . . but instead I see the Bee Gees wearing sliver, skin-tight body suits, bending over as tall, seemingly naked men pump them from behind blinds me. A disco balling spins above their heads.

After that, every time they sang the chorus, all I could do was guffaw like a 16-year-old stoner.

But, Cher was not finished ruining my playlist.

During TLC's song, "Silly Ho" she asked, "Did she just say 'I am not a chicken head'?"

Yes, Cher. R&B artists often use farm animals as metaphors.

“No,” I said. Between giggles I sputtered out, “She is saying, ‘I ain’t--no-- chick you can-- hit.’”

From the backseat, Lisa said, “But, do you do it in your butt?”

“Daily,” I reply, glancing in the review mirror and winking.

“Only to prove that she’s not a chicken head,” Cher added.

The song, "She's Crafty" by the Beastie Boys thumps from the speakers.

“It sounds like he’s saying, 'She's crapping'."

I can't wait to get a hold of Cher's playlist. Although, not sure what more I can do to, "They all gather 'round my teepee [ . . . ]to catch a peek at me [in] my buffalo briefs."

Janet Johnson said...

Okay, I'm taking the plunge, too. Mine's 342 words.

Annie reverently pulled out the dead peanut butter and jelly sandwich and handed it to Jason. The center was smushed flat. Purple jelly spots seeped through the now gray bread.

"The two-liter of soda fell on it," Annie explained.

Since they had started the cemetery five years ago---after a tragic incident involving a fanny pack, an orange, rock jumping and several falls---they had scrupulously followed the SPB&J (Smushed Peanut Butter and Jelly) Burial Rules. And rule #1 was clear: Thou shalt bury all smushed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which are unfit to eat, in the secret cemetery.

"How old is it?" Jason asked

"Three days. I had to save it from the trash when my mom wasn't looking."

Jason performed the inspection, turning the sandwich frontwards, backwards then rotating it to check the sides. "I hereby pronounce this sandwich mold free and worthy of burial."

Thanks to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich Jason found squished at the back of his desk last year, they'd added rule #7: Thou shalt not bury any sandwich with any non-peanut butter and jelly growths in the cemetery.

Some things were just too gross.

With her mom's gardening spade, Annie dug a sandwich-sized hole then winked solemnly at Jason. Rule #3: Thou shalt not speak during the ceremony, except the official sermon.

Jason extracted the sandwich from the baggie and held it up with outstretched arms. He squinched up his face and looked away.

"Time out," Annie said. Rule #6: If an emergency shall arise, thou shalt call a time out to allow speaking. "Don't be such a drama king. I haven't missed in ages."

"You missed last time it was your turn. And the time before that."

"And that was ages ago. Time in."

Jason raised his eyebrows, but held still. Annie formed a wad of saliva in her mouth then spit on the sandwich with all her might. Rule #4: Thou shalt spit on the sandwich to give it a taste of what it would have experienced if tragedy hadn't struck.

Davy said...

Here are 348 words from "Gone, Kitty, Gone: A Brock Rockster Mystery", starring everyone's favorite mustachioed detective prodigy.

We followed the clown into the house and down the most elaborate and terribly decorated hall I’d ever seen. Cat vomit on the walls would have been an improvement compared to the random combinations of sky blue, magenta, and lime green that jumped from their painted frames.
Statues of creatures that appeared to be part human, part porcupine, and part dragon stood in random places, turning the walk down the hall into a dizzying maze. The ceiling was covered with a large, complex portrait, but of whom I couldn’t begin to guess. Abraham Lincoln came to mind, but after closer examination I think it may have been a hippopotamus.
The hall was dirty, too. Food wrappers skittered across the floor in packs, like tumbleweeds in a cowboy’s backyard. The dust on the floor was so thick, the cockroaches had taken up swimming through it rather than crawling. At some points, even the piles of dirt were covered with piles of dirt.
“Madame appreciates your willingness to come so quickly, Mr. Rockster,” the clown said as he walked beside me. “I don’t know if you’re familiar with the relationship between Madame and Ms. Poofytail –”
I held my hand up and he stopped talking.
“I work only for the world’s finest celebrities, and make it my duty to fully invest myself in every detail of their lives, large or small. So yes, I know just what is at stake.”
The reporter spoke up. “Who is Ms. Poofytail?”
I smirked at her funny joke, and then realized she wasn’t kidding.
“You’re serious?” I said. She nodded, and poised to take down notes. I was momentarily unsure how to begin. What kind of person didn’t know who Ms. Poofytail was?
I gave it my best shot. “Ms. Poofytail is the most famous cat in the world, and I’m here because she has been stolen.”
The reporter wrote something down in her pad. “Stolen? You mean she was kidnapped?”
“Catnapped, to be exact,” I said. “The crime was almost certainly the work of a cat burglar.”

Janice said...

Cole had a learning disability. At least that’s what my dad said whenever anyone remarked on how dumb our dog was. But my friend Tyler and I were going to prove Dad wrong.

Cole had already mastered “Sit.” Our method had been simple: holding a treat, I said, “Sit, sit, sit,” while Tyler pushed on Cole’s hind end. When Cole didn’t seem to get the point of the exercise, I started saying, “Shit, shit, shit,” just to see what he’d do. But then Mom came in and said Tyler had to go home, I had to go to my room, and shame on me.

Two days and three boxes of treats later, Cole got “Sit.” Now we were ready for “Shake.” We set up operations in the kitchen. I said, “Shake.” Tyler picked up Cole’s paw and shook it. I gave Cole a treat. We did this fifty times. Then came the moment of truth. Tyler stepped away. I said, “Shake.” Cole tilted his head to one side. He opened his mouth. He drooled. He did not lift his paw. Tyler stepped forward, hand extended. Cole tilted his head the other way and drooled some more. Tyler assisted him. I gave Cole a treat. We took a break.

I said, “We’re not giving up, Tyler.”

“No, no,” he said. Tyler was my best friend.

We returned to the lesson. Then Tyler started to laugh. I was a little cranky, what with the lack of progress and all. I said, “What the hell?” forgetting Mom might be somewhere nearby. Tyler spluttered, “Say ‘Shake’ again!”

I realized then our other dog, Klondike, was behind me. I said, “Shake.” Cole added to the puddle on the floor while Klondike raised his paw, doing his darnedest to shake. You knew what he was thinking: “Cole, if you were any dumber, they’d make boxes out of you.”

So that was that. I was forever to be known as the kid with the dumb dog. The only question was whether it was worth starting a fight when the kids on the block called Cole a retard.

Mister Fweem said...

Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there;
and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures;
and owls shall dwell there,
and satyrs shall dance there.
And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their
desolate houses,
and dragons in their pleasant palaces:
and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Isaiah 13: 19-22

I don’t like the sound of that one bit, Chylus.
The bit with the dragons and all.
Why do there have to be owls, Chylus? We shrews don’t like owls, much.
I wish you’d all stop whining. There’s a human in this after all and he’s the one who ends up-
Chylus, stop! You can’t tell them everything, not on the first page. The story hasn’t even started yet!
Well, they’re going to figure it out anyway. . .
I just don’t understand. What’s Isaiah doing in a children’s book?
Is that the name of the dragon?
No, the owl. You know they eat shrews.
They’re not the only ones who do.
There goes Chylus showing off again. He’ll ruin to book for everyone.
Shut up!
Is it true fire comes out of dragons’ noses?
I once told a joke to an owl and when he laughed a shrew came out of his nose.
I think I’m going to be sick.
You all can make jokes about owls! Filthy Holstein pheasants!
Shaddup, Pops, or Chylus here. . .
I told you to knock it off or you’re going to spoil the story!
I don’t take advice from earth-diggers like you, Runt!
If I were you I’d take less advice and more frequent baths!
That was nice.
Who was that?
Probably Chylus. Better make a headcount.
Isn’t anyone going to explain what’s going on?
Well, somebody burped and we’re short two shrews here.
Quick! Tell Chylus a joke!
What are you talking about? His nose isn’t big enough.
Not that. I mean about this Isaiah thing. . .
That was a crisis ago, Mabel. Mabel? Mabel!
Anyone seen Mabel?
Whew. Wet shrew.

Brian said...

Carter picked me up for our missions of revenge at 10:15. Colbert was on at 11 and I had a calc quiz first period the next day, so I was kinda banking on this being a relatively expedited revenge quest. We did not have months and years to plan and simmer. We had 45 minutes, round trip. Teen revenge is often served hot due to curfews and calc quizzes.

“Sup, Master Brendan,” Carter said.

He said a lot of stupid things while we were questing.

“Sup, douche-rocket,” I said back. I always tried to even him out, but it was an uphill battle.

“Did you get everything?”

I lifted by green army duffel slightly and nodded. Inside was a roll of duck tape, a pack of salami, seven powerfully offensive porn magazines, paper machete I’d stolen from the 1st graders’ art-room, and a Batman action figure. I always scavenged supplies because strangers trusted me intrinsically and were unlikely to realize I was in the process of stealing something from them. A well-intentioned smile and casual demeanor is the best cover for petty crimes.

I leafed through the porno mags while Carter drove. For all his antics, he drove like an eighty-year old who wasn’t sure how he’d ended up behind the wheel, so it look a while to reach Principle Gilmore’s car.

“Dude drives a piece of crap for a rich guy,” Carter said.

“It’s a Willys CJ. It’s historic.”

“It’s stupid. Grab the porn and everything.”

It took half an hour to finish. Five minutes in it was quickly evident the salami was superfluous, so we munched on it as we plastered the porn onto the outer surface of the Willys CJ. It was $60 Hungarian-style salami that had no business with vandalism, anyway. I only nabbed it because I couldn’t find the Kraft packs at the deli.
When it was done we stepped back to admire the job.

“That is a whole lot of genitalia,” Carter said.

I tore off the CJ hood ornament and replaced it with the Batman figure.

“That’s justice.”

Terri Coop said...

A fresh afternoon rain brought me out of my stuffy apartment to sit on the front stoop and enjoy the Baltimore twilight. A clash of tinny club music, squealing tires and a car door slamming broke my reverie.

“Yo yo, Doc T-Bone! I see you got the fever relievah. What be the toll on my jelly roll?” he said, snatching the baggie from me.


“Hometown, do not be gamin’ on this playah. My boy there is strapped. I said how much dough-ray-me so I can fa-so-la-tee-GO?”


“Are you feeling me?” he said, tugging on the bill of his sideways Ravens cap.

When I didn’t answer he dropped two twenties and they peeled out.

“Toll on my jelly roll? What the hell was that? And your name is Walter, not T-Bone,” said my roommate hanging out the first floor window.

“Dunno, HBO must be re-rerunning ‘The Wire’,” I said.

“Hey, check out what came in the mail today,” he said, showing me a package.

“Is that the new iPad2?”

“64 gig and 3G.”

“Man, I’m still on DSL. At least I have a 3.5 GHz clock. Hey, let’s go grab some dinner. Courtesy of my jelly roll,” I said, waving the twenties.

“Be right down. By the way, what was in that baggie Vanilla Ice grabbed from you?”

“Tylenol and Tums.”

“So, you actually did have fever reliever.”

“You can be such a Charles Dickens sometimes,” I said, pocketing the cash.

Robena Grant said...

A scene from Don't Mess with Mick.
Michael walked into the kitchen.
“The sweats aren’t going to cut it,” he said, all thoughts of seducing her vanishing from his mind. She would never find him hot in this get up. He looked like farmer Joe. Well, he would if he had a straw hat and a corncob pipe. “And look at these jeans.”

Her eyebrows raised and her eyes widened as they traced his frame. He knew the tight jeans left nothing to the imagination, and if she kept gnawing on her lower lip like that…well, hell.
“I look like I’m waiting for the flood.”
“The jeans are two inches too short.”
She looked down at his feet and laughed. “Yeah, and the dress shoes…now that’s a good look. But hey, the tee shirt fits you okay, and I like the red and green checked flannel shirt.” She gave him a thumbs-up. “Good choice there.”
He ran a hand over the faded green tee shirt that stated in white letters that birdwatchers were awake at sparrow fart. He’d tried to cover that with the flannel shirt. Kill me now.
“Anyway, nobody will see us,” Rachel said, opening the cupboard and grabbing a couple of coffee mugs. “We’ll be on the boat. It’s tied up out back. Grandpa has his own jetty.”
“The sea is right behind us?”
“Duh. For a perceptive undercover agent you’re lacking in directional skills.” She poured a mug of coffee, and then slid it toward him. “There’s powdered creamer—”
“Thanks. I’ll take it black,” he said, with an exaggerated shudder, and then shuddered again when he tasted the potent brew.
“Yeah, me too. I hate that powdered stuff.”
He walked to the small window set above the cracked enamel sink, and pulled aside the faded yellow curtain. The huge expanse of the Salton Sea gleamed in the sun. And tied to a small jetty bobbed an old motor boat named Henry’s Woman. It was a long time since he’d been in a boat, or with a woman, and this one looked like it had weathered one too many storms.

Kevin R. Bridges said...

The man was not a woman. He had long hair, long legs, and a slim figure that any woman would envy (though he was flat-chested).
On the dark sidewalk, I momentarily thought that my first armed robbery was going to be against a woman, and I was comfortable with that. I was used to disappointing women. It was only after I told the lady to hand me her wallet that I realized that she must have a penis hidden somewhere.
“Whoa!” the guy said, putting his hands up. He dropped a metal object on the ground.
“What was that?” I pointed my gun at his decidedly masculine face.
“Hand exerciser.”
“Why are you carrying a hand exerciser?”
“I need a stronger handshake.” This seemed entirely plausible.
“Well, give me your wallet.”
“I have a wallet, but I keep my money in my sock.”
I sighed. He was an idiot. “Why would you tell me that?”
“I'm nervous.”
“I just want your money. Get it out of your sock.”
He sighed, and proceeded to remove his left shoe and sock. The sock smelled like chicken soup and CornNuts, which are good smells only when they are not coming from a sock. He poured out less than a dollar in change.
I put the gun away. “Forget it. Have a good night.”
He was crestfallen. “I'm sorry. I just brought enough for the hand exerciser”
“Just go. I don't want your money.”
“Then why are you robbing me?”
“I'm not. Go home.”
“I was going to my aunt's house.”
“Then go there.”
“I don't know where she lives.”
I resisted asking more questions. “Then go anywhere you want.”
“I'd like to go to MacDonalds...” He was hinting at something, and it only took me a moment to realize what. I gave him a five dollar bill, and sent him on his way.

Adam Heine said...

Dang. I searched and searched, but although my novel has plenty of funny moments, I couldn't find any condensed into one 350-word scene.

Next time, Bransford! Next time!

Anonymous said...

“Taste this,” he said. He’s holding up a spoonful of something gooey and brown. Or is it green, no, brown, definitely brown.

“I don’t want to taste it.”

Why is he asking me to taste anything? He knows I hate new things, especially new food. He should remember last summer when we went to Paris for our first big travel experience together. I wasn’t too sure our relationship was going to work out when he came up that that hair-brain idea. We live in a perfectly nice city, why would we need to go that far away to have a good time? I went because he was trying to make it work between us.

But snails? Really? I tried French food. Croissants are French, baguettes are too. He was disappointed when I wouldn’t try lots of new things and furious when I wouldn’t kiss him after he ate the snails. You can call them escargot, but if the slimy creatures pass over your lips, I’m not picking up what they leave behind.

The girls at work think he’s amazing with his fancy foreign car and all those exotic restaurants he books. I wonder if he is losing interest.

Friday night he picked me up for work and said, “I’ve been busy and didn’t get a booking for tonight. Anywhere you’d like to go?”

“I could kill for a hamburger,” I said.

The look on his face! He glanced over at my workmate, Rhonda. She looked away.

I’m know I need to put in a bit of effort so I’ll try that stuff. I open my mouth. He carefully pours some on my tongue.

“Gross. Yuck,” I yell, as a drop of brown spittle hits the floor.

“That bad? I thought so,” he says. He’s smirking.

I step backwards.

“I’ve booked for two at the Ethiopian place,” he says. As I stumble towards the door, he adds, “I know you won’t be interested in going.”

On a table by his cell phone, there’s piece of paper with a telephone number I’m sure I recognize.

Later I look up the number. Ronda!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous poster of the scene of the chic who won't eat anything new is me...Barbara Mayo-Neville! sorry ;0

Ken Williams said...

One night, Rosie Bartlett was being horrible to her bum – yelling all kinds of horrible things at it, ‘I hate you! You’re always in the way!’
She was trying on her old jeans, but the darn things wouldn’t stretch around her waist.
So Rosie kept yelling, ‘I hate you! You’re the worst bum ever!’

Rosie’s bum felt really sad. So as Rosie slept that night, her bum ran away.

When Rosie woke the next morning without a bum, she felt wonderful. She slid out of bed, put on her favourite jeans, tied them with a belt and ran downstairs shouting, ‘Mum! Mum! I don’t have a bum!’

‘What?’ said Mum.
‘My bum ran away. Isn’t that the best news?’
‘Rosie, you look ridiculous!’ said Mum. ‘You need a bum. Everyone needs a bum!’
‘Okay then,’ said Rosie, ‘I’ll buy a new one, a small one, a teeny-tiny one.’
And she ran down the street as fast as she could.

Rosie stopped outside Bums R Us! and read the huge sign on the window:
All Bums At Rock Bottom Prices.
Inside, Rosie tried on a Tiny Heinie. Unfortunately, it was too tiny to be Rosie’s heinie. She tried on a Cutie Patooti but it was too small for her booty, and the Comfy Caboose kept coming loose. She tried on sixteen bums but nothing fit. Total Bummer!
It’s no use, thought Rosie. I’ll never find a bum that fits!

‘Don’t despair, dear,’ said Miss Buttocks, the sales lady. ‘I think I have just the bum you’re looking for out the back.’
She returned with the fanciest bum Rosie had ever seen – the Dainty Derriere.
‘It’s brand new, just in from Paris – the capital of fashionable bums,’ said Miss Buttocks.
‘Wow!’ said Rosie, who didn’t hold much hope of fitting into the fancy French bum, but she tried it on.
It was a little tight around her waist, but it stayed on. It actually stayed on. And, best of all, Rosie still fit into her jeans.
‘I’ll take it!’ said Rosie excitedly. ‘Don’t bother to wrap it up, I’ll wear it home.’

Robin Storey said...

Reuben was trying hard to forget his first and last night as a waiter at an Italian restaurant, tripping over the leg of a chair with his arms full of plates of pasta. An elderly customer found her lap full of tortellini and her husband garnished with slivers of parmesan cheese. The boss sacked him on the spot, threatening to deduct their dry-cleaning bills from his non-existent wages.

The next job was an improvement – he lasted two days as a brickie’s labourer. On the first day he left the cement in the cement mixer while he went to lunch. When he turned it on afterwards the mixer jumped into the air and crashed to the ground, still grinding, like a huge insect stranded on its back. The cement inside it was rock hard.

His fate was sealed on the second day when, as he trudged through the site with a plank of wood on his shoulder, someone called, ‘Look out, Littledick!’ As he turned around, the plank of wood gave the foreman, passing by at that moment, a resounding whack on the side of the head. That afternoon he was given two days’ pay and fired; he never found out who’d called out the warning.

‘I’m trying to be positive,’ he said. His heart swelled as he gazed at Lucy’s perfectly sculpted neck, the curve of her jaw and her pale chest, lightly dusted with freckles. She wore a jade blouse that matched her eyes. He felt another part of his body swelling and he wrenched his eyes away from her breasts. Get a grip, this is your parole officer, for God’s sake.

‘But it’s difficult when selling is the only thing I’m good at and I’m not allowed to do it.’

This was only partly true. Fraud was the only thing he was good at, the only business he’d ever been in. And that involved selling yourself – if you could do that, you could sell anything. But now he had to harness his powers for good, not evil.

Danielle Spears said...

350 words exactly! Here goes:

Being tipsy and lying face down on my living room floor while ‘90s music blares on the satellite television, is not exactly my idea of a good Friday night. I hadn’t intended to spend my night that way but it just sort of happened. Just like it always sort of happens, every Friday night. OK, so maybe I do this often. But who’s to say that most girls don’t do this too?
I felt my cat’s course tongue on my earlobe.
“Yuck, William!” I rolled over to pet him, inducing purrs and him rubbing his whiskers against my face.
“Stop,” I laughed and he purred some more.
That’s William. The only other male I trust. He was actually sort of a second-hand cat from my sister who has a fondness for British royalty. When she moved to London, after meeting her husband-to-be over an Internet dating site that connects American women to British men, she left both her cats, William and Harry, in the loving care of me, Rosaline A Dresden.
Most call me Rose, close people call me Rose-A knowing the A stands for absolutely nothing, thanks to my parents. The two could agree on only two things in their brief marriage: Rosaline would be my first name and my middle name would start with an A. They wanted my initials to be RAD. Apparently, they argued about what the A would stand for and ultimately they’d decided to just leave it as A. Yes, you heard me correctly, my middle name is A.
When confronting my mother, when I was old enough to understand, she told me the A stood for anything I wanted it to stand for. “The possibilities are endless,” she said looking up from her dinner plate with a bit of corn stuck in her front tooth.
I rolled my eyes.
“What? It’s not like it’s a Scrabble game where you have to use at least two letters.”
“No, Mom, but it is my name.”
“What’s in A name any way,” she giggled as though she enjoyed branding me for life.

Greg said...

I stand with eyes closed and allow the locker room shower to message my shoulders. It’s 6:30AM on a Friday, and I feel strong and confident. I finished my swim just moments ago, and the wonder of positivity reverberates untamed throughout my body. I let a smile stretch for a moment before turning off the warmth and flip-flopping toward my towel.

I’m startled from my bliss by the sudden appearance of another early gym member. I pardon myself, and I notice him double-take.

“Mr. Horner!,” The excited, half-naked man said.

I scanned his face over in an instant and glanced over his bare chest. I couldn’t place the gentleman.

The toweled fellow noticed my confusion, smiled and said, “Jennifer and Jason Green’s dad. From Dickson High School”

It took a moment for the names to trigger a memory, but then the faces came to me--students I taught a couple years back.

“Oh, yes. How are you?” I asked, wondering if I should switch my bar of soap to the left hand so that I could shake politely. Instead, I used the bar of soap as a sort of visual shield to hide my naked manliness.

“Jenner and Jason always spoke so fondly of you.”

Did he say fondle?

“They really enjoyed your history classes. Jason is even considering studying history in college.” He slapped me on the shoulder. The impact of flesh echoed throughout the enclosed showers like a whip.

Mr. Green exploded into a barrage of compliments. I phased out somewhere near the opening paragraph, and I smiled dumb, nodding incessantly without hearing a word. I peaked over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of my towel, hanging lonely on the wall. Should I reach around him and grab it, I wondered briefly. Instead, I stood naked, dripping wet.

“I usually don’t catch people while they’re naked,” he said, slapping me again on the shoulder before entering the showers.

He left me momentarily immobilized, scarred from the unexpected engagement. My earlier strength had dripped off into the puddle below.

With head lowered, I sulked into my Friday.

Red Boot Pearl said...

He wanted a haircut, that’s all. Easy. I’d seen a boy cut a couple of times, get the buzzy thing out for the sides, use some scissors on the top, and shabam! A haircut.

“You know what you’re doing?” Luke asked.

“Obviously, why else would I offer?” I stood behind him, not mentioning that all I really wanted was to get my hands in his sexy blonde hair. I’d never been this close to his ruggedly handsome locks (complete with sideburns). I’d been coveting his hair since he moved here last year, but when someone has a psycho-over-possessive girlfriend, you know better than to touch his hair. I ran my fingers through it. Silky, but thick. Sigh. A boy should never have hair this nice. And was that Jasmine? Oh my gosh, he used Jessica’s shampoo. It smelled better on him than his twin sister, a.k.a. my best friend.

“Uh, what are you doing?” he asked.

“Oh!” I pulled my nose from his scalp. “Just trying to get a feel for the texture.”

Jessica handed me the clippers. Fake it till you make it.

“Tilt your chin down.” I ignored the gleam in Jessica’s eye. I buzzed the back of his neck, so far so good. I dumped the wad of hair next to him, making a mental note to snag some when I swept up. There was kind of this funky buzz line, but I’d fix it later. Time to do the sides, with my heart palpitating, I took his face in my hands and tilted it as slowly as I could. I had to treasure this moment. And two seconds later I was glad I did, because it probably was the last time he’d ever let me touch him again.

I zipped up the side of his head with the clippers, when I pulled back I couldn’t stifle my gasp. HOLY CRAP! I just cut off Luke Hartwell’s sideburn! Seriously. There was nothing under there; it was like a hang-over… versus a comb-over. I slid my fingers over the newly bared skin, soft as a baby’s bum.

Neil Larkins said...

[Decided to enter. Not a WIP, composed specifically for the competition.]

Wally knew nothing about department store retail sales but the ad said no experience necessary so he applied. Asked if he could spell, he said he'd completed eighth grade and that seemed enough. Show up at nine in the drapery and floorcovering department.
So here he was. He'd put on his best suit, which happened to be his only suit, but no one seemed to notice the pants and jacket didn't match. Mrs. Grotchnik, the department head, got him started. "See if that lady over there needs assistance."
The lady, one with a formidable build and white hair piled on top of her head was holding a long drapery rod over her shoulder and had her back to Wally. Just as he began to say, "May I help you?" she swiveled around the other way, the rod catching him just above his ear.
Down Wally went to his hands and knees. Just as he began to get up the woman turned back, didn't see him and stepped smack into his side. She began to do a front flip over Wally's back as he twisted around in an attempt to stop her but only grabbed her skirt. She was too far gone to stop and he pulled the skirt down to her knees. To free both hands to brace for the fall she threw the drapery rod away. Wally was nearly half way up and the rod caught him on the other ear. Back down he went, still holding onto the woman's skirt. As his shoulder hit the floor his bottom flew up, caught the woman's feet and flipped her completely over onto her back, causing her legs to fly upwards. The skirt, now pulled down to her feet went up too. With the garment still held tightly in his fist, Wally was jerked up and flipped face down onto the woman's substantial bosom. It'd happened so fast neither had made a sound. Wally recovered his composure, looked up from his pillowy landing spot and said, "Uh...while we're down here, may I interest the lady in a new carpet?"

Laura Renegar said...

Marc Turner. President of the Sigmas. Goalie of the soccer team. The Marc Turner had something for me. What was it? A formal invitation? They did have one coming up.
I thought back to yesterday’s laundry room encounter. He piled his lights in a duffle bag, cussing when he got to a towel.
“Mind if I stick this in with your things to dry?” he asked.
I took his slightly damp, once-had-touched-his-body towel and threw it in with my clothes. “Not at all,” I said.
He winked, and I melted into a happy puddle on the trembling floor.
That Marc Turner had something for me.
I slowed down as I approached his window.
“Kaylee!” he hollered. “Wait right there.”
I planted my feet and looked around. A group of cheerleaders fluffed their hair and opened their mail at a picnic table. One of them looked my way and whispered to another.
Marc popped up behind me, so close I could smell his toothpaste.
“I believe these belong to you.” He handed me a brown bag, rolled shut at the top.
“Um, thanks?” I said. “What is it?”
“Remember when you put my towel in with your stuff?” he asked. “A pair of your panties must have clung to it.”
I stared at the bag, wishing I had x-ray vision. One question plagued me, meant the difference between being a hottie and me shriveling into eternal geekdom.
Which pair?
What if it was the granny panties with the blown out elastic waistband? I imagined the Sigmas dancing in a conga line around Marc’s room with my powder-blue uglies waving like a flag from a broomstick.
Please, oh please don’t let it be those.
I took the bag from Marc’s hand. Maybe it was one of the two pairs I’d bought at Victoria’s Secret. Lord, please let them be lacy and cute.
Marc relaxed when the bag was out of his hands. “See you around,” he said.
I was too flustered to even answer.
“And Kaylee?” he added. “Nice panties!”

Hilary Hattenbach said...

From my MG manuscript, "Curtis Crumb's Creature Cafeteria."

My arms start to itch. I’m probably breaking out in hives. I feel light headed and queasy. The alien guy points a barbeque tong hand at me and blasts warm air against my face. I suck in my breath and squeeze my eyes shut. He’s going to vaporize me. When I don’t combust into a million particles, I open one eye. The alien smiles, exposing his tiny, sharp cat-like teeth. “Scribboo. Glorp eep Garbij,” he says, and hands me the broken camera pieces.
I shake my head. “Great. This was a birthday present.”
Bigfoot grunts, scribbles a note on his pad of paper and hands it to me. No disrespect to Bigfoot, but the note looks like it was written by my left foot and I’m a righty. The letters are in all caps. It says, “YU BORING FUD TWO US OR B DELEATED.” I read it out loud to try to decipher what the heck it means. “You boring food to us or b deleated?” Gulp. I’m not sure if “deleated” is a typo for “deleted” or some kind of Bigfoot word for being eaten. Either way, it sounds bad. And what’s boring food? “Boring?” I repeat. “You want boring food?”
Bigfoot scrunches his eyebrows, yanks the note out of my hand, crosses something out and hands it back. He’s crossed out the O, and now it says, “YU BRING FUD TWO US OR B DELEATED.”
Holy Hot Dog on a Stick! I don’t want to be DELEATED, or even EATED. I wobble a bit on my shaky knees.
“I can bring you guys food. Just let me go home and grab it,” I say.
The alien speaks gibberish. Bigfoot takes notes holding the pencil between two of his four long fingers. I’ve really got to give him credit for figuring out how to write without a thumb. The dragon dog drops onto his back, points his paws in the air and wriggles around on the ground like he’s got a bad case of mange and fleas.

Vinyl and Mono said...

We rejoined my aunts in the living room. After a while Mom asked me to run next door and see if Dad was ready to go home.

“Come watch this, honey,” Uncle Dom greeted me. “This TV is incredible. You can see what color it is when they spit.”

I sat on the arm of Dad’s chair. “Mom wants to know if you’re ready to go.”

“Hey, Gianna, you want us to take care of that lawyer bastard for you?” Uncle Petey asked. “Didn’t want to mention it in front of the women.”

Uncle Joe rolled up a piece of newspaper and slapped it against his palm. “I’m still South Philly. We take care of our own. Name the time and place. He’ll be picking up pieces of his ass for weeks.”

“I really don’t think that’s appropriate…” I didn’t know what to say. “I’d rather you didn’t.”

“Why not?” Uncle Dom demanded. “He’s got it coming.”

I turned to my father for help. “Dad, say something.”

Eyes never leaving the TV, he replied, “The Westies can provide tactical support.” “Westies” was my Renzelli uncles’ nickname for my dad and his brothers, after an Irish gang in New York.

“Daddy. For God’s sake, everybody, don’t assault my ex-boyfriend. It’s over and done with.”

“If you say so, honey.” Uncle Dom looked disappointed.

Dad stood up. “Get me a cup of coffee, and we’ll go find your mother.”

“Dad, I think you should let Mom drive home.”

“Your mother doesn’t like the interstate. Anyway, I haven’t even been drinking today.”

“Wine is still alcohol.” I led him toward the door. “And if you’re seriously considering night ops with these hooligans, Mom should drive.”

“Too bad you didn’t get a cellphone picture of those two,” Dad mused, reflecting the Harrigan propensity for political blackmail. “If that Dennis thinks he’ll ever be a judge in this town, he’s got another one coming.”

“You know it,” Uncle Dom agreed.

“I can’t believe this,” I moaned.

“We’ll back off, since you asked,” Uncle Petey acquiesced. “But remember, we’re all here for you. Any time.”

Princess L said...

Wow, these entries are awesome. Here's an exerpt from my YA contemporary "The Perfect Mess." Some background- Riley is Kara's best friend, who she's secretly crushing on.
Thanks! Lynn Lindquist
I’m not a materialistic person. I'm not. I don’t care if you live in a double-wide or a penthouse. I don't care if your ugly boots are counterfeit knockoffs from China or if your cell phone has more apps than Steve Jobs’. And I’ve never once cared what kind of car a guy drives.

Until now.

It’s 6:30, and Luke is walking up the driveway to pick me up. Now I know why Luke asked if I’d mind going in his mom’s car. Luke’s mom is a Pink Lady Cosmetics Consultant, and apparently a very good one, because she earned herself a Pink Lady VW Bug. And isn’t it clever how they made the car look like a “pink lady-bug?” Complete with black polka dots and metal eyelashes over the headlights. I wonder if it also comes with a bag I can wear over my head.

Luke sees me staring at his car. “Thanks for understanding about the ride. We’ll take my dad’s Hummer next time. Maybe I’ll treat you to a nice dinner to make up for this.” But the way my karma seems to operate, I’m sure it’ll end up being the nice dinner they serve at Riley and Sara’s lavish wedding.

“Don’t worry about it,” I tell him.

Any other time, I would probably get a kick out of this. But all I can think about is how much I want to punch Sara. It should be me in that car. That’s my friend foursome, not hers.

Twenty minutes later, I’ve learned everything I need to dominate if Jeopardy has a category about Luke’s ex-girlfriend Chelsea. By the time we get on the tollway, I’m in a boredom trance. I only snap out of it when a van veers dangerously close to my door/wing. The driver is trying to take a picture of the Pink Lady-bug on his cell phone. I feel like the Grand Marshal in the front car of the Rose Bowl parade. All we need are some Shriner’s hats and a giant, helium-filled Elmo floating above us.

Cristin said...

From my WIP, "Ellie All Ears Investigates":

Every day after school and before dinner, Ellie All Ears slid the mattress off of her bed, propped it on its long side, and affixed to it a cardboard sign that read “K-ZOO News.”

At 5 p.m. sharp, Ellie stood behind her makeshift news desk and donned her horn-rimmed glasses. She had seen a movie once where an elephant wearing shiny blue tights and a red cape magically transformed into a reporter, just by putting on glasses. If only it were that simple, Ellie thought. Glasses are helpful, but glasses alone are not enough. A truly great reporter also needs theme music. She pressed the orange “Play” button on her Casio mini-keyboard. A drumroll of dignity! A trumpet-blare of truth! And then, at last, the voiceover:

LIVE from La Menagerie Semi-Luxury Apartments, THIS is K-ZOO News with Ellie All Ears.

“Good eeeevening,” Ellie said.

“Our top story tonight: New developments in my struggle for ultimate brown-bag-lunch control. This morning, mother refused to let me pack a yellow American cheese sandwich for the tenth day in a row, citing health concerns. This afternoon, I walked in on her eating yellow American cheese, slice by slice, straight out of the refrigerator. Join me for an update on Cheesegate 2011 tonight after dinner.

Thanks to a K-ZOO investigation, the source of that smell in the back of Mrs. Spottleson’s fourth grade classroom has been identified as Flagstaff Giraffe’s lucky neck sock. Mr. Giraffe attributed his success in the latest school basketball tournament to the sock, which remains unwashed. Mrs. Spottleson removed the offending item. Many held their noses. No one was hurt.

Shocking national news tonight: K-ZOO has learned that Kansas City is not the capital of Kansas. Who is to blame for this gross oversight? Stay tuned for an investigative report.

Until next time, I’m Ellie, and I’m All Ears.”

timdibulator said...

After discovering his moldy muffin at breakfast, Brick had walked out at lunch to a flat tire. This meant he would spend his lunch hour in the smoky break-room of the grocery store he worked at listening to his black-lunged coworkers drone on about their white trash families.
A bagger, Jim, entered the break room and sat down on a stack of upturned milk crates. Jim had worked at the store since retiring from his lifelong job 15,000 years ago.
“Howdy there, Brick.”
“Hi, Jim.”
Some time passed without words. A fly landed near Brick's wrist. He tried smashing it with his hand to no avail.
“Sorry. I forgot to warn you,” Jim said. “I’m an artist. I draw flies.”
Brick gave a sympathy laugh and kept eating. He had one more piece of the deli's dust-dry chicken left.
“This fried chicken is terrible,” he said more to himself than to Jim.
“You heard the one about Colonel Sanders and the Pope?” Jim asked.
Brick shook his head, and Jim wagged his tail in excitement.
“Well, Colonel Sanders was looking for new marketing. He had an idea and called the Pope.”
Brick had abandoned the lamp-heated chicken.
“He said, ‘Pope, I'm gonna donate $100 million to the Catholic Church.’ Pope said, ‘Great! I’ll send someone your way to collect it.’ Colonel Sanders said, ‘Well, there’s a catch.’
By this time, Brick saw no chance of avoiding the joke, so he settled in and took it like a man.
“You know that part in the Lord’s Prayer that says give us this day our daily bread? Well, I want it changed to 'our daily chicken!’ Pope said, ‘I don’t think we can do that.’ ‘Why not?’ the Colonel asked. Pope said, ‘Because I think we’re still under contract with Wonder Bread!”
Oh, Jim. Where does he get this crap, Brick thought.
“Jim, where do you get this crap?”
“I dunno. I heard that one back when I was still drivin’ a truck. Back then I could get to California on about $500 worth of diesel...
Brick nodded many, many times.

mutive said...

From The Adventures of King Bryant, Sekrit Genius (WIP)

"Your majesty, I am flattered but...I'm not interested," Jayna said. She removed her long fingered hand from Bryant's and walked back towards the barracks.

There goes my best chance at Garum, Bryant thought to himself. Most of the women here were unappealing at best, and the camp followers were unfit for a squire, let alone for a king. It was so unfair. Bryant wondered why she wasn't interested. After all, he was impossibly handsome and charming, and a king, too. There was no reason for her to reject him.

As Bryant walked back to his tent, he considered why she'd said no. He supposed it was possible that Jayna was in love with someone else. But he'd never seen her with anyone, so that seemed unlikely. Another thought was that she'd taken vows as a nun. But she didn't seem like the religious sort, so Bryant brushed that thought aside. At last he was forced to accept the inevitable – Jayna wasn't interested in men. It seemed quite probable, considering that he'd never seen her close to any men who were not part of the army.

But if she did prefer women, what sort of women did she like? Bryant settled on his bed and considered the matter thoroughly. Probably a strong, physical woman like Jayna would prefer her absolute opposite. Likely someone delicate and intellectual and golden blonde. Someone like his wife, Maura.

Bryant leaned back on his coverlet and considered how this would play out. Jayna would return early to the capitol and find a very lonely Maura waiting for her. Of course Maura loved him best, but surely she had needs, too. Needs that only her most loyal knight could fill?

That seemed plausible. Jayna would find Maura crying on their bed, so sad that her husband wasn't here to pleasure her. Jayna would suggest another solution. Maura would protest, of course, for she loved Bryant and was entirely loyal to him. But a whirlwind of passion would overtake her, and before long she'd be naked in Jayna's arms. And there would be breasts. Lots of breasts.

CS said...

Excerpt From Bumble, an unpublished middle grade/ YA manuscript:

Ashe woke early Thursday morning with a terrible taste in his mouth, only to discover it was still dark. Turning on his side with difficulty, he searched for the bedside clock, finding only more darkness.

What the heck? Dang.

He was buried under the blanket. Flopping and struggling with the fabric that felt heavy for some reason, Ashe worked his way toward the edge of the bed—and then dropped out of it. Well, plopped out of it might be a better term. The word aptly described the sound he'd made after falling out of bed. Ashe looked around, blinking in astonishment. Everything was huge. Really huge. And he could see popcorn and cookie crumbs on the carpet beneath his nightstand.

What is going on?

Ashe crawled toward the nightstand in question. The space between the wooden legs, normally a spare two inches off the floor, now resembled a massive cave entrance. Ashe fumbled his way toward that entrance. What was the matter with him? Was he dreaming? This might be the strangest nightmare he'd ever had, except he could feel the carpet fibers beneath his—wait.

Those aren't hands.

Forcing himself to remain as calm as possible, Ashe flopped and tumbled toward his dresser. A mirror was there and he'd get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible. Provided he could climb up the dresser, which now resembled a forbidding mountain of polished wood, that is. Hooking a tiny claw into the crack between the side of a lower drawer and the dresser, Ashe heaved himself up. Then, hooking the opposite claw in a higher position within the same crack, he heaved again. With much slipping and scrabbling, Ashe eventually made his way to the top of the dresser.
Panting as he reached the top, Ashe navigated around the brush, comb, deodorant and pile of books that now dwarfed him. Hooking a claw into the bottom frame of the mirror, Ashe cautiously lifted himself up.
Dude, you're screwed, Ashe thought as he examined his reflection. A tiny, not yet fully-grown bumblebee bat frowned back.

Ted said...

I’m meeting Jane at her parents’ beach house and I’m supposed to pick up her brother at the Immortals Conference in Stonehead, Connecticut on the way. I get there early and weave through elves and wizards in the hallways, then spot Elliot exiting the men’s room, pale and sweating.

“Chris!” he gasps. “I’m in trouble!” He says he just puked up his lunch of Teriyaki meatballs, and breakfast may be next. He’s moderating a panel in five minutes! Looking miserable, Elliot hands me an index card and pulls me toward the dais, then staggers back toward the bathroom.

“ZEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IMMORTAL MIND” is written in caps on the card, but the questions below are illegible scribbles. My stomach flutters – I’ll have to wing it. I mount the dais and nervously take my chair.

To my right sit Gandalf the Grey and Superman’s father, Jor-El. To my left, Yoda and… who? A cribsheet on the table says it’s Master Po from the TV series Kung Fu.

I smile at the immortal audience, introduce the panel, and ad-lib an opening question: “In a few words, could you summarize your Zen philosophy?”

“My son,” says Jor-El, channeling Brando. “All pain is an illusion. Except Kryptonite pain.”

In the audience, Dumbledore nods knowingly. I turn to Yoda, who looks like Danny Devito with green rubber flesh.

“Mindfulness is Zen?” he says. “Not when FULL is the mind! Empty must it be to see what mind obscures! Blind are you otherwise!”

Master Po’s blind, bald head snaps toward Yoda.

“You have eyes,” he says in a thick Bronx accent, “but you cannot see da grasshoppuh at yuh feet! I see da grasshoppuh wid no eyes. Den who is blind?”

“Pebble from your hand take?” sneers Yoda. “Bigger pebble have I!”

“E-QUA-NIMITY!” cries Gandalf, thumping the floor with his staff and startling Po, who loses one of his white contact lenses. Po’s uncovered eye spots the “Red Sox 45” tattoo on Yoda’s forearm.

“Pedro!” he hisses, rising from his seat as the audience murmurs apprehensively.

“Zimmer Don!” Yoda replies, reaching for his light saber.

Ranae Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Easier Read than Done said...

My daughter’s voice woke me from a drunken slumber.
“Where are the presents?” she said.
My head was pounding, and I had no idea what time it was.
“Get back to bed,” was all I could manage to grumble before she started to cry.
I kept my eyes closed and did my best to ignore her. But it was Christmas morning, and she wasn’t going away.
“What’s going on?” I heard my wife call out as she came down the hall.
“Oh, God. Not her, too,” I thought to myself.
“The Christmas tree fell on top of Daddy,” Sarah said. “And there’s no presents.”
Their voices made my head feel like it was under assault. I mustered the strength to roll slightly further under the tree.
Images from the night before began playing in my mind. I remembered how happy everyone had been as we decorated the Christmas tree and sang carols. Eggnog had been flowing, and I remembered that at one point I had hugged my mother in law and told her how much I loved her.
But that was before I made the switch to red wine.
“I’m never drinking again,” I promised myself.
My lips felt sticky and there was a bitter taste, like pine, in my mouth. It was then I realized the glass of water I thought I had drunk at some point in the middle of the night must have actually been water from the tree stand.
“Why didn’t Santa come?” my daughter whined.
It was too much to take.
“Why?" I said. "Because he’s pretend. "There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”
“That’s the last straw,” my mother in law say.
“Oh, please,” I said, while still keeping my back turned to them. “Come on, Sarah. You’re in the second grade. Please don’t be the last kid in your class to figure it out. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
That’s when my mother in law gave me a sharp kick to the kidneys. Later that night she would try to blame it on my wife, but I knew it was her.

C.F. Cameron said...

This is a scene from a short story (in which a father explains to his children how he fell in love with their mother):

Vomit falling five storeys is a spectacular sight, but not a pleasant one when you are standing directly beneath the window from whence it came.
The sleeves of my suit took the brunt of the attack, but there was plenty to go around. I looked up to find a pale face looking out of a window. ‘Gosh! I’m so sorry!’ it said. I scowled. ‘Would you like to come up and get clean?’ I grunted assent, and stumped over to the door, while a piece of carrot slid slowly down my nose.
The door of flat 10a opened to reveal the face, now accompanied by a body in a dressing gown. ‘I really am sorry,’ the woman repeated as she led me to her bathroom.
‘So, you do have a toilet then,’ I said, ‘and a sink. Wouldn’t one of these have been a more appropriate receptacle? Or did the window seem more exciting?’ A blush appeared through her pallor.
‘It was an accident. I was just getting some air, and then suddenly… you know how it is when you have flu.’
On inspection, I discovered that only my boxers and socks had escaped the splatter. I handed shirt, trousers, jacket and tie around the half closed door before stepping into the shower. ‘How quickly does your machine work? It’s my first day at a new job,’ I called, and the woman promised to use the fastest cycle.
Ten minutes later I found the woman in her kitchen, staring down at the large pool of grey water seeping out from under her washing machine. ‘I think something might have gone wrong,’ she said. ‘But this is ok. I hand washed it.’ She held out my now clean, but very soggy tie.
I left her apartment wearing tracksuit bottoms and a jersey. Both were far too small for me, and displayed large portions of my hairy arms and legs. I left knowing that I would have to return and see the awful woman again, since my clothes were stuck in her washing machine. I left without even knowing her name.

Chris Phillips said...

“Have no fear, little girl! Herbie is here!” he said flying down to where the girl was sitting.
“But… my Miss Kitty is stuck in that tree!
Herbie looked up. The tree was 30 feet tall. A small gray and black kitten was sitting on a high branch.
“I can get her,” he said.
“You can? Oh, will you please? You’d be my hero!” she said.
Herbie liked the sound of being a hero. He flexed his arms and neck like his favorite super hero, Captain Kerblam. He turned his hat back on and gently flew up to the branch where the kitty was.
“Come with me, kitten!” Herbie said heroically.
“Meow!” said Miss Kitty.
“I just want to get you down. Is that okay?” asked Herbie, much less heroically.
“Hiss!” The kitten showed her teeth and swung a paw. He flew back down to the girl.
“Where is Miss Kitty? You said you could get her down!” the girl said. She started to cry again.
“Calm down. I’ll get her. Do you have any treats? I don’t want to get my face scratched off,” Herbie said, covering his face with his hands.
The girl went into her house. She came back with a yellow slice of cheese. She handed it to Herbie and smiled.
Herbie frowned, “Am I helping you get a kitten or a mouse?”
“Just get her! And do be nice to Miss Kitty. She is so very gentle,” she said.
“Gentle like a chainsaw,” said Herbie under his breath.
Herbie flew back up to the branch. The kitten hissed and shook its paw. Herbie wasn’t so sure about being a hero anymore. He held out the cheese. The kitten sniffed it and then hissed.
Herbie put the cheese at the end of the branch. He backed away and waited. Miss Kitty crawled out to the cheese licked it. He picked Miss Kitty up mostly by her tail. She wiggled and waved her paws violently at Herbie’s face as they floated down.
“Oh, thank you!” cried the little girl.
“Uh-huh,” said Herbie, glad to be alive.

R J Edmundson said...

Five minutes before the meeting, I plastered a smile on my face. Four minutes later, I dropped a jar of pickles, slipped and fell in the puddle, which, of course, was the precise moment that the committee walked in. All six of them. In heels.

Heels intimidate me. It started in 1972, when I had to wear heels to Aunt Julie’s wedding. I loved them - until I stood up. Then things got a little dicey. As I was sitting down at the wedding, I fell off the shoes. My flailing hand caught the first thing it found. Grandma’s hat. Which came off her head, along with her wiglet and thirty hairpins. Now, Grandma was a lady. In one swift movement she grabbed her hat and ten hairpins and before you could say, “Pour me a double,” she had it back on, never realizing that half her hair was gone. Somehow, one of the hairpins hit Grandpa in the eye and he spent the next half hour swatting imaginary bugs away, which wouldn’t have been so bad, itself, but his balance wasn’t so good, and every time he swatted, he lurched into Betty. Betty was tiny and the last time he lurched, he knocked her right off the pew, and into a bridesmaid walking up the aisle. At that moment, someone found Grandma’s wiglet and tossed it at the bridal party, shouting, “It’s alive!” The bridesmaids fled. Luckily the organist was at the end of Pachelbel’s Canon so there were a lot of notes and the organ drowned out the screaming. Eventually, the minister got everyone back and married Aunt Julie to Husband #1.

People still talk about it, but no one blames me because Husband #1 turned out to be a lying cheating son of a hillbilly. Also, I blamed it on Jimbo. He was a lying cheating son of a hillbilly, too.

I remembered all that while I was sitting in the pickle puddle trying to maintain my dignity before all those heels. All six heads turned and looked down. Then all twelve heels backed up a step.

Allan Petersen said...

My entry follows. I tried to make a self-contained story within my fantasy genre. Cross posted from my blog at:


Unwelcome Suitor
by Allan Petersen

Thomas heard familiar sobbing followed by a whiff of air, footsteps on the staircase, and the crash of door against frame.

"Danni, what's this all about?" He strained to listen, but heard only the sounds of the night. Thomas flicked his blindman's cane and shuffled towards the front door. "Did you leave the door open?"

He halted and screwed his lips into a frown. "Is there someone out there? Don't try to fool me. I may be blind but I'm afraid of no man."

"I'm here for your daughter," came the booming reply.

"You made her cry and you expect me to give her up for a date?"

"I don't think you understand--"

"Oh I understand. Your night is done here. Go."

"Not without your daughter."

Thomas laughed. "I like persistence in a man. Let me ask you a few questions then."


"Do you drink wine?"

"What? Er, no. I don't care for the taste."

"How would you know the taste if you don't drink it?"

"Uh, I--"

"Do you plan to have sexual relations with my daughter?"

A pause. "Sir, you should know that--"

"Yes or no."


"How about a job?"

Another pause. "You could call me independently wealthy."

"Well what in bloody hell does that mean, son?"

"I have a hoard of treasure. Gold, jewelry, trinkets, gems--"

"Don't try to impress me, boy. I'm likely to say no. How about a home?"

"Atop a mountain."

"Atop daughter is seventeen years old. Treasure and mountain abodes make you sound like a man. Just how old are you?"

"Nine hundred and twenty years old."

Thomas furrowed his brow until it touched the bridge of his nose. "You're a dragon," he muttered.


"Here to take my daughter because she's beautiful, and you wish to gaze upon her as she lives luxuriously amidst your treasures."


"Young knights and the like will come looking for her, you know."

"They will. But no man will touch her until I release her on her twenty-fifth birthday."


"Right. She's yours, then."

Emily White said...

Even knowing what to expect, the sight that greeted me in the front foyer made the bile rise to my throat. I clutched my waist and doubled over. Eric wasn’t even trying to hide it anymore. His mess was splattered all over the floor and the walls.

“Eric?” I wheezed, trying not to breathe in too deeply. The smell was sickening.

Something crashed to the floor and Eric came creeping around the corner. “My dear? What are you doing home so early?”

The innocence on his face sickened me even more than the mess he left in the hallway. I straightened up and glared at him. “Oh don’t ‘my dear’ me! You promised me!” I screeched.

He sheepishly wrung his hands and shrugged. “I tried, Violet, I did. But I got hungry!”

I stormed up to Eric and slapped him across the face. The sting on my palm felt good, liberating. “I promised I would stay with you if you would only renounce your zombie ways! But I’ve had enough! I’m leaving you for Bob, the pool boy.”

“But, but, Bob is a vampire!”

“He’s a recovering vampire,” I said with my nose in the air. “And you don’t seem to be recovering from anything!”

Without even a second glance, I stormed out of the house, kicking the empty cranium of Eric’s last victim out of my way as I went.

I stopped at the curb and leaned against our steam mobile to catch my breath. I clutched at my chest and let the tears pour down my face. My heart was breaking in half like a speeding locomotive that took the turn too fast. So much of me wanted to get back in there and wrap my arms around him, but Eric had lied and I couldn’t sit around waiting for him to suck my brains.

Lisa Shafer said...

This is from a YA manuscript of mine. In this tidbit, the 16-year-old protagonist is babysitting for the very first time:

The mini-van had barely burned rubber pulling out of the driveway when I heard the first war whoop from the front porch. I looked up in horror to find five-year-old Aiden with feathers in his hair, smearing something on one-year-old Kate, who was being immobilized by three-year-old Ellen.
“What are you guys doing?” I asked, running to the porch.
“Playing Peter Pan,” Ellen answered. “Kate’s Tiger Lily.”
Tiger Lily? Doesn’t Captain Hook try to drown Tiger Lily? Uh, not good. Better keep them away from the bathtub.
“Is this fingerpaint?” I asked, pointing to the thick stuff Aiden was smearing on the baby.
“Nope. It’s Mom’s stuff. But I mixed it with flour to make war paint!” Aiden said.
I took a good look at the war paint. It was oily, thick and dusty rose in color. Holy crap! He’d mixed a stick of blush with flour! And he’d streaked it all across his tee shirt and his own face as well.
“Hey, that’s enough of that on Kate,” I said, tugging the squirming baby out of her sister’s arms. Kate immediately began to scream. “I think we’d better play the clean up game now!” I was trying to be cheerful.
“No way!” Aiden screamed and ran off the porch and around to the back yard with Ellen following.
I took the holwing Kate into the kitchen and wiped as much goo as possible off of her. Distracting her with a stuffed elephant, I managed to get most of the flour off the floor before the realization hit me. Where was the other kid? There were four of them, but I’d only seen three so far.
I ran to the kitchen door and threw it open. I was just in time to find Ellen holding two-year-old Ricky’s arms behind a croquet post while Aiden was dousing him with lighter fluid. A box of matches was on the grass near them.
“We captured him!” Aiden announced to me proudly.

Ulysses said...

A barbarian crashed into the temple clearing and opened his mouth to shout.

Zarek-Amun stopped sweeping the six-hundred and sixty-six steps of the temple and cut him off. "Can I help you?"

The barbarian's sword wavered and his glare dissolved into a squint. "Uh. Is this the Black Temple of Ee?"

Zarek looked up the long staircase to where an enormous tentacled monstrosity, carved in black stone, draped the temple entrance. "Why do you ask?"

"There's supposed to be priests here and naked ladies and heaps of treasure." Kor waggled his heavy eyebrows and grinned. "You know?"

"No I don't," Zarek said. "We've got dust. And rocks. That's about it. And a bit of dried mud that someone dragged in last week. I don't know why I bother putting out the boot scraper when nobody uses it."

"Are you sure? Can I look?"

"Are your boots clean?"

Kor lifted first one foot, then the other. "Um," he said. "No. The forest is kind of damp, and there are lots of animals."

"Then kindly stay out."

"But..." Kor drew himself up and his voice grew deeper. "I'm Kor the Northlander. I tread the jeweled thrones under my feet..."

"Fine. Just don't do it where I've swept."

"Look. I'm here to pillage and slay."

Zarek smiled. "Oh, well. I'm afraid we were pillaged last week, and it's going to be at least a month before anyone comes by who needs a good slaying."

"Really?" Kor's shoulder's slumped. "Look, do you know anywhere...?"

"Well, I could point you to the Ancient Brotherhood of Soth Yogurt in the Forbidden Forest."

"They sent me here."

"Oh, they did?" Zarek gritted his teeth. "Well, have you tried the Eldrich Grotto of Murku? North side of the Dark Tower, fourth temple on the right? I hear the high priestess doesn't go in much for clothing."

Kor brightened. "Ah! A foul temptress?"

Zarek pictured the high priestess of Murku, mentally trying to reverse the ravages inflicted by eighty years of tending to an incontinent god in an unlit cave. "Something like that," he said. "You're half right."

magpiewrites said...

From a WIP, Death Hires An Assistant:

”Hey. What’s up?”
”You stole my earplugs,” Lidia announced.
”Nope, only borrowed them.” Dar rummaged in her pocket, finding only one squashed and waxy earplug.
”Ugh. They are now your earplugs.” Lidia was smiling and that worried Dar. It was a ‘cat that got the cream but never managed to put on any weight’ smile.
“Man, am I glad I got to you before you disappeared into the library. I hate going in there. They all look at me.”
“That’s because you’re usually bouncing off the walls and making too much noise.”
“Oliver likes it when I bounce.” She demonstrated how bouncing might make Oliver happy.
“Please, don’t tease that boy, you know he’s crushing hard on you.”
“Yeah. I know. Not my type. Too quiet.”
“Lids, he’s a librarian. He has to be quiet at work. What do you expect?”
“Yeah, but he’s all repressive and shit with his‘sh’s’ and ‘Can you keep it down?’ bullshit. Brings me down and you know I’m naturally exuberant.”
“Again Lidia, it’s a library. People need quite in there to read and think.”
“Well, I do my best thinking when it’s really noisy. And if someone is talking to me at the same time, even better. Like if I have ET or TMZ on. Then, watch out. Big thoughts. And anyway, how can you think in that place? It smells.”
“It does not. Okay, Mrs. Coxon smells a little bit like wet wool, but the library itself smells gorgeous,” Dar said dreamily. She wished was at seat number 127 right now instead of waiting for her crazy roommate to drop whatever bomb she’d carried across town with her. With Lidia, there were no coincidences and no good surprises, only monumental, well-intentioned ‘oopsies’.
“Why have you run me to ground, Lids? Rent’s not due for a week.”
“Not rent. In fact not any kind of bad news.” Instead of relieving Dar’s mind, this only managed to coalesce her rising sense of ‘Uh Oh’. Her beloved friend had gotten Dar into some serious trouble in the past.
“Brace yourself.”
“Always, when talking to you.”

JAW said...

WIP "The Boy with the Mustard Mustache"

The second bell rang. Marshall was now officially late for class. He shoved the rest of the liverwurst sandwich in his mouth, smearing the globs of mustard – that his mother lovingly… uh… well, globbed onto the sub – above his upper lip. It made an astonishingly precise, yellow mustache on his face.
He could feel the condimental nose tickler, but had nothing to wipe it off with. He couldn’t use the sleeve of the dress shirt that his mother had forced him to wear (and threatened him within an inch of his life if he got it dirty) and he wasn’t going to use his hand. He had to go to class like this. As he raced down the hall, he imagined all the comments he was going to get… something he didn’t relish.
As he turned the corner, Marshall ran into Mr. Brost, the principal.
“There you are!”
Marshall stopped in his tracks.
“We’ve been looking for you. You must be Mr. Wishwell.”
Marshall cocked his head. What the heck was he talking about?
Mr. Brost looked him up and down and gave a brief scowl. “You’re kind of short for a substitute teacher.”
“And we don’t approve of facial hair here at Norman Z. McLeod Elementary.”
“You don’t understand, it’s a mistake. I—“
“We’ll let it slide for today. Come along.”
Mr. Brost grabbed Marshall by the elbow and escorted him down the corridor. Without looking at Marshall further, he said, “Maybe the kids will identify with someone more their height.”
Marshall protested. “I can’t teach them anything!”
“Who can?” said Mr. Brost.
“I mean… I don’t know anything.”
“It doesn’t make a difference. We’re going on a field trip today. They’ll do whatever you tell them, the lemmings.”
“Lemmings? Those are rodents that jump off cliffs.”
“So, you do know something,” Mr. Brost said, depositing him at the door of his own homeroom.

Nikki said...

Captain Snotbeard and his ragtag crew of miscreants, malcontents and mummys' boys were trudging back down the tunnels to the inlet where their trusty ship, the Bain Marie, was moored.
The trouble was, no one could agree on where they'd parked.
'I'm sure it was near that mermaid over there,' said Rat Nose.
'Mermaids can swim, you idiot,' said Soap Dodger, one of the brainiest pirates. 'They don't just stay in one place all day.'
'Oh yeah,' said Rat Nose grudgingly.
'It was definitely moored to a rock,' said Spot Face.
'That's very helpful,' said Rat Nose sarcastically, trying to deflect the badge of idiocy onto someone else.'
'Quiet, all of you!' snapped Captain Snotbeard. 'I be trying to think.'
'Shush, you bunch of scurvy dogs!' said Rat Nose, seizing the opportunity to assert his authority.
'That includes you, Rat Nose,' said the captain, with a heavy sigh.
The captain scratched his green, crusty beard. He hadn't got his pirate name for nothing.
'Ah!' he growled in relief. 'I know where I put it. Next to the rock with moss shaped like me old mum's face. Oh mummy...'
He curled up into a little ball on the ground and started to suck his thumb. The other pirates stood around and looked at each other. They were never quite sure what to do when he started acting like this. One Eared Joe had once made fun of him for doing it. That was back when he was known as Two Eared Joe.
Rat Nose cleared his throat. 'Ahem. Maybe we should start the search, cap'n?'
Snotbeard waved his hand, signalling for them to begin looking, while he continued to lie on the ground sucking his thumb.

Timothy Davis said...

Nothing much has been happening here. Except, yesterday I was surfing when I saw a tsunami towering on the horizon. I swam out to catch the wall--caught it right in the curl. What a ride. I saw the tip of the San Francisco pyramid peaking out of the water as I flashed by. After a few hours I saw the Rockies looming ahead and that’s where the tsunami finally broke. I think I might have been crushed in the break if I hadn’t been lucky enough to get tossed onto a ski slope. I flashed down the slope at about 120 miles per hour. When I got off it took two miles to slow me down with sparks flying off the bottom of my surfboard. I finally stopped on the outskirts of Denver. I decided to abandon my surfboard with much regret--all that was left was the logo. I tried to hitchhike back west, but nobody would pick me up. Probably because of the wetsuit. So I pawned the wet suit for $20 and ran naked to the thrift store, where I bought some plaid pants and a polka-dotted shirt. Then a grocery store--Medico pipe, some Captain Black, and a can of beans. But still no luck with the thumb! So I walked to a train yard and hopped into an empty boxcar on a train pointing west. I had been savvy enough to gather wood for a fire before I got in the boxcar, and also picked up a newspaper for kindling. You know, it was that special edition New York Times in which the Republicans and Democrats both admitted to vast corruption and resigned, handing the government over to Venezuela. I used that paper to start a fire on the steel floor, and kept warm as the freight trained rolled west. Ate my beans, then sat dangling my legs out the door, smoking my Medico, and thinking philosophically. In the morning I was in the Oakland freight yards and only had to swim across the bay to get back home. Otherwise, nothing much has happened here.

Shane said...

Donald walked into class with the witch’s words still tickling his ears: “The little girlies will love you, be drawn to you like flies on socks.” He trusted the blue-eyed blond witch playing Angry Birds on her iPad implicitly. “Young love,” she said, “is the sweetest nectar, but here’s a safe word in case you disagree.” She handed him a scrap.

With a steely breath Donald plopped down in front of Candy and dared her to defy his new powers. She turned her great big eyes in his direction, but instead of seedy disgust - interest.

“You look different Ronald.”


“More…distinguished.” She smiled and reached out a hand. He so wanted this lollipop beauty to touch him, trying not to wonder how her stick body held up her anime balloon head. His insides shivered as she touched his nose. Nose?

“So big,” she cooed. As on command a wet ‘pop’ sounded, like extricating your fist from a jar of preserves and Donald’s nose doubled in size. “Oh, my,” her urgings grew and she stroked his nose harder. It grew again, the weight pulling his face down. It started to drip. Another touch and his nose covered his mouth, bouncing against his lips and causing him to sputter with each breath as his sinus troubles magnified tenfold.

Donald pulled back horrified, splattering Candy with a sneeze like a hurricane.

Agnes walked by, stopped, her waxy, black-painted mouth curling up, arching the twenty-three silver lip-rings in a smile. Agnes never smiled. “God, what ears.” Her breath like sulfur and Donald’s head slapped to the desk, pulled down by the elephantine size of his left ear. So much wax.

“You have great elbows!” said another soft voice. The bowling ball joints slammed him to the ground.

“Your teeth!” A gap like a canyon.

“Sexy mole!” A manatee sprouted on his neck.

A dozen beautiful girls swarmed, crushing him under their love.

“Impotence!” His safe word snapped him back. The girls scattered. Alone. He breathed in relief and sadness.

But one girl still had eyes for him: tall, gorgeous … cross-eyed.

Flurple said...

The recycled air of the spaceship whispers around me. I dodge a breath before a shuriken would’ve sliced through my throat.


I yank off the blindfold. “Adequate?”

My training master frowns. “I got another complaint about you, Red Ninja.”

I grit my teeth. “I’m completing my missions, master. There’s no reason to complain.”

“Purple Ninja says you broke protocol. When you jumped through the pirate ship’s space window you failed to yell sneak attack.”

I resist yelling that Purple Ninja is a know-it-all snob. A ninja keeps composer. “I was trying to be quiet. Yelling sneak attack would have undone that.”

Blue Ninja drifts across the room in a bubble of calm. “It doesn’t matter what you think about the protocol, Red Ninja, you must follow it. What if Yellow Ninja felt like wearing pink one day? Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue?”

“I wasn’t defying protocol, I just thought I’d skip the yelling step is all.” I wipe the sweat off my forehead. Calm, calm.

“You just thought?” Blue Ninja’s eye twitches. “Yelling your attack beforehand is a matter of honor. Without honor you are nothing more than a pirate. Are you a pirate, Red Ninja?”

I sigh. “No, master.”

“Then follow the protocol. “

Unable to stand it any longer, I blurt out, “What if the protocol is wrong? What if it’s killing us? The protocol is what told us to paint ‘Super Secret Ninja Base’ on the side of that ship that got blown up by pirates.”

“The protocol is sacred. We do not question it.”

“The protocol is based on a cartoon-”

“Quiet! Do no reveal our secrets. There are spies everywhere.” Blue Ninja’s eyes dart around the room as if pirates could be hiding behind the water cooler.

“We’re not a secret! Green Ninja has his own talk show!”

“Would you shut up? You’re going to hurt our ratings.”

“You know what? My name is Ronald. And I quit your stupid ninja society.”

Karen Cantwell said...

Fun contest! This is from my current WIP,Silenced by the Yams, my third Barbara Marr Mystery. Barb is at the dentist with her daughter and mother-in-law and they have just been talking with a male patient who leaves just before this scene:

“He was nice,” Amber said sweetly as the door closed behind him.

“Yes, he was,” I agreed.

She nodded. “And well-hung, too.”

Uh oh.

Here’s the thing: scientists really need to work on inventing that beam-me-up transportation device like they have in Star Trek. Not so we can explore brave new worlds and boldly go where no man has gone before. No. We need it for mothers whose child has just unleashed the most embarrassing comment of the century before an entire room of people with perfect hearing.

Of course, we don’t have transporters or cute, Scottish engineers to rescue horrified mothers yet, so there I stood—pale, wide-eyed, and speechless.

And I still had to pay my bill.

Mama Marr broke the awkward moment by piping up. “What does this mean, well-hung?” She said these last two words so loud that I’m sure the FBI, the CIA and QVC picked them up on satellite.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a woman had to get judgmental and vocal at the same time. “Where on earth would such a young girl hear that kind of language?”

Amber pointed to Judi. “Dr. Horner’s house.”

Judi Horner gasped, compelling Mama Marr to ask again. “Tell me what this means, ‘well-hung’?”

By now, mothers were evacuating their children from the office with the speed of Olympic runners racing to the finish line, until the only people left were Judi, her stunned receptionist, me, Amber, and poor, uneducated Mama Marr.

“Judi, I’m so sorry,” I stammered while part of me silently wondered, was he?

A mortified Judi tried to talk, but it wasn’t going very well. “I . . . I . . .”

Sadly, she never finished that sentence.

Mama Marr was simply in a fit. “Would somebody please tell me what this means, ‘well-hung’?”

That must have been the well-hung that broke the dentist’s back because Dr. Judi Horner fainted dead away.

Amber finally spoke, a halo of innocence glowing over her springy red curls. “It means he wears nice clothes, Mama. What’s the big deal?”

Cory Clubb said...

Fun contest Nathan thanks.
It’s ironic really, being invisible and having to go into the girl’s locker room only to locate your sister.But there I was, in the hallways of Harrelson High, trying to find Wendy, the only person who would understand “the situation”. My hope was she didn’t think I was trying to make a Jersey Shore reference and remembered the nagging “forever cursed” part that didn’t bode well for me. I took a deep breath, as if holding it would make me even more invisible, and opened the door.

Luckily, it was quiet and empty inside. The room itself smelled of flowery lotions and orange Creamsicles. Although, isn’t this the place every guy answers when asked the question, “If you were invisible, where would you go?”
I let out a sigh.

Still standing in the door’s threshold, I counted to eighty trying to make sure I gave myself enough lead time. Wendy was part of the swim team, so that meant she’d be changing clothes and into her team bathing suit. I shuttered at the thought of catching my sister in the buff. Ok, time was running out, I needed a different approach.

“Wendy.” I said, calling out.

“Who is that?”

Rounding a row of lockers, fully dressed in her swimming suit was Wendy. I released my wincing face. Wendy was looking right at me, but I knew she didn’t see me when she gave up and went back to her locker on the other side.

I went after her.

“Wendy? It’s me Sam.”

She jerked her body back, obviously spooked.

“Sam!” Her face melted in horror as she searched the room for me. A realization hit her and she sucked in a gasp.

“You didn’t!” Her arms where raised, still on edge, looking like she was ready to put up a fight.

"Where are you?”



With my thumb and forefinger I pinched an article of her clothing lifting it in mid air.


“You are so dead and put my bra down!”

The Editors said...

Being a ghost these days sounds too dull. All the ghost shows on TV are all spooky, hard to understand EVP here, cold spot there, maybe an odd shadow in the room, in short BORING! It makes a spirit long for the white light. But, no I’m stuck here and in this horrible neon orange bridesmaid dress my cousin Ashley made me wear on what turned out to be the last day of my life. Who heard of a ghost in bright tangerine ruffles; or for that matter anyone but the bride being the one that became a ghost on a wedding day? But then again most ghosts get someplace cooler then a McDonalds to haunt too. Although, I can’t complain too much, no really it’s a rule like in “The Little Mermaid” or something. (The original one where she ends up drowning or stabs herself, I don’t remember which but she ends up sea foam and then floats around in the air being punished for running into random brats , not the happily ever after Disney princess one.)
Want to know some other fun ghost rules? Let’s check the “Ghost Record Official Book.” I know odd word order, it’s translated from something. Title page, acknowledgements, table of contents . . . OK here is something useful, “this book is abbreviated as the GROB and the abbreviation is usually pronounced as Borg, or The Borg due to the unusually large number of Star Trek fans or “Trekkies “ who have become ghost in the last few decades.” Great, now if I run into another ghost they’ll ask me to pet their tribble or something.
“So, now you’re a ghost,” that sounds like a good place to start, give me a moment to read this. Great, dead for only a day? week? Since last Saturday? I really need to check the TV for a date, being dead totally messes with your sense of time. But still only dead long enough to know I’m surrounded by speakers of Klingon and already talking to myself!

ginny martyn said...

Robert exploded from his parent’s SUV like a cat from a car carrier. Sloppy southern heat hung off his freckled skin while he attempted to make his flimsy poster board to behave. Walking in late for career day was the worst possible thing for a boy like Robert to do because militant Mrs. Hildebrandt would punish him by making him go first.

“Mr. Dirksmeyer, I did not realize my class began at a quarter past eight. Please enlighten us with your oral report.”

Robert wobbled up to the front of the class in mismatched shoes. While he unrolled the crumpled poster board, his voice broke embarrassingly as he began his speech about the topic: Public Relations Consultant.

Giggling bubbled up around the room, but Robert was used to the class’ laughter. His frizzy hair and clumsy limbs evoked snickering from the first day he came to Bentwood High. At the end of his presentation, he stood and waited for Mrs. Hildebrandt’s judgment. Laughter grew louder as he stood fumbling with his poster. Soon a cacophony of smothered coughs revealed a classroom full of laughing peers. Robert noticed blushing female faces and scornful male ones. He let his eyes travel to Mrs. Hildebrandt who had placed her head in her palm in obvious annoyance.

“Hey, DORKSmeyer!” A jock called out.

“Yes,” Robert whispered.

“Why does your poster say, PUBIC Relations Consultant?”

Somewhere the invisible dam holding back riotous laughter busted and embarrassment drenched Robert in a deluge.

He tripped out of the room.

After hiding out in a moldy utility closet for nearly an hour, Robert heard a knock at the door.

“Robert?” The accent was unmistakable. “Robert I hear the children talk in the hallway.” Juan, the school’s custodian was checking on him. His.Life.Was.Over.

Juan’s broken English echoed through the door. “Roberto, don’t let them get you. Is there anything I can get you? Anything you need?”

Robert slumped against an old dirty mop. “Yeah, my dignity.”

“Ha, Si! Very a funny nino! Kids come around. You'll see.”

Anonymous said...

Luck and Co. (Middle-grade)

The moment I leave the Principal’s office, I rush to find Becca Creuser. I spot her easily in the schoolyard, her ponytail decorated with a fake flower the size of a cabbage.
“Becca,” I pant, “may I join Your Gardening Club?” I stress all the capital letters with my voice.
She gives me a once-over. “It’s not mine, and it’s not a ‘Gardening Club.’ It’s the Franklin Park Middle School Botanical Society.”
“Right,” I say. “Can I join that?”
Becca puts her hands on her hips. “And why do you want to join us, Skye?”
“I…well…love plants and…flowers…and animals and…mmm…fertilizers.”
She frowns. “We don’t deal with animals.”
“Okay,” I say. “I won’t either. Not a single darn animal.”
Becca drawstrings her mouth. “Well…you can try joining us. Fill out this questionnaire, and we will review it during our next session.”
She pulls a stack of paper out of her bag and drops it into my hands. I read the first question: “List all the plants you have ever grown in a chronological order.”
I’ve never even owned a plant.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Roy wriggling with laughter a step away from me. He heard everything, and his grin’s reaching his earlobes. Now I absolutely must join that blasted gardening club.
Clutching the questionnaire, I look at Becca with despair, and that’s when it strikes me that today I have a currency more valuable than gold at our school.
“Listen,” I whisper, “I know how to tell boys from girls. You know…without looking under their clothes.”
Becca leans in so fast her forehead knocks against mine. “How?”
“Only girls know the names of flowers.”
Becca blossoms. “That’s so true!”
There’s so much spirit in her voice that I vow to learn some flower names. Because if this test comes around, I’ll flunk it myself.
I push the questionnaire back to her. “I’m in, right?”
Becca straightens the cabbage on her head. “Fine. But you still need to answer the questions.”
I surreptitiously stick my tongue at Roy, and he narrows his eyes—it’s his turn now.

Thanks, Nathan. This is so much fun.


Jabez said...

I glanced over at Rebecca, resplendent in her evening gown, as we stood together on the doorstep of doom.

“We should go back to the hotel.”

“Ring the bell.”

Oh hell.

I leaned on the buzzer and the door swung open. A wave of nostalgia broke over me, borne on a sensory tide: the twittering pulse of electric ornaments, the soothing sounds of Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Christmas album, the mingled aromas of candy canes and deep-fried turkey.

My mother stepped out from behind the door. She wore one of her usual holiday sweaters (Currier & Ives as dreamed by Timothy Leary), plus a coat-hanger-and-garland halo. The sweater and halo were festooned with a dozen strips of duct tape with wishes scrawled on them in magic marker: “peace in the Holy Land,” “prayer in schools,” “dollar-a-gallon gas”; and a few in my father’s handwriting: “free beer” and “an honest man in Congress.”

“Matthew!” she said, and pulled me in for a hug. When she let go she twirled around for me to see. “How do you like it? I’m a Christmas miracle.”

I groaned and started to loosen my tie. “You didn’t tell me it was a costume party.”

“I said to dress up.”

I sent out a silent prayer that Uncle J.C. brought his hip flask and was up for sharing.

“Mom,” I said, “this is—”

“REBECCA! Oh I’ve so been waiting to meet you, we have so much to talk about . . . .” The words dribbled away as she led Rebecca off toward the kitchen. I took a deep breath and went to find my father.

He was in the den, feeding wood into the fireplace. His costume consisted of a flannel shirt, a Santa hat, and a dead squirrel pinned to his back. Of course: Clark Griswold, from Christmas Vacation.

As the question rose to my lips, I already knew the answer. But I couldn’t keep from asking.

“Where’d you get the squirrel?”

“Backyard. It died of lead poisoning this afternoon.”

Mortification, apparently, kills much more slowly.

Daniel Gardina said...

Enough was enough. Seamus wanted to launch up from the dentist’s chair and run down the halls, warning the other patients to turn back to save their teeth, tongues, and co-pays. Grizelda and her fellow hygienists were out for blood with devices intended for mining and medieval warfare.

He’d run down the stairs, out the building, and up the street, dental bib flapping in the wind, to the next dentist’s office and the next dentist’s office to spread the news. Droves would follow Seamus on his quest. In time, he’d become the leader of the Dental HMO Revolution. He’d blow the whistle on the likes of Grizelda, her fascist regime, and all those primary care physicians supporting her cruel and unusual escapades in the name of preventing gingivitis.

Masochists would keep the HMO’s afloat, but only for so long. Seamus would instill a new dental procedure—one done with pillows and fairy dust. If a hygienist accidentally hurt their patient at any time, she would apologize, sincerely, and amend her transgression with a tarter-control lollipop. People would leave happy and say, “Thank you, Seamus.” Yes. They’d say this to his smiling picture on the wall in every dentist’s office.

Bronze monuments would be erected to honor the hero Seamus and his Crusade for Better Dental Care. He’d tour universities and visit with heads of state as a touted problem-solving guru. Then, with his free time, he’d fish the streams, lakes, and oceans of the world. He’d mount marlins and sharks on the walls of his Victorian estate as trophies of his mastery as an outdoorsman. Libraries and medical schools would be named in his honor. Parents would name their children after Seamus—Seamus the Great. Yes! And when those children would grow up, they’d tell others of their birth-name blessing and those people would say, “Wooww.”

Yes, he could change the world one mouth at a time. Yet, he couldn’t manage to budge from his recliner. The pain was too great to move faster than slow motion.

[Excerpt from “Gone Fishing” by Daniel Gardina. Thanks for your consideration, Nathan.]

Joan Strading said...

The choices on the playground stink worse than Dad's farts on BBQ night. On the swings, the quiet boy from class (his name is Lyle or Leonard or something) picks a winner from his nose . . . and eats it. Ew. No way am I going over there with him. In fact, I'll probably never swing again.

A group of hot girls pretend to be gold medal gymnasts on the monkey bars. They're easy on the eyes (especially the blonde in the skirt that shows her Hello Kitty underwear every time she swings across), but if I go over there the guys'll think I like girls. Which I do, but, according to my older brother (who's an expert in the Guy Code), I can't admit it until next year in fifth grade.

Captain Awesomeness (a.k.a. Brad Wilson . . . everyone says both names) gives the girls a nod. "Wuzup?" he says as he passes.

The girls giggle and swoon, except Hello Kitty girl. She glares at him, increasing her likeability factor by at least a hundred.

"Whacha lookin at?" Brad Wilson says when he reaches me.

"Whatever I want to," I say.

He glares. "You better watch it."

I raise my eyebrows. "I thought I was."

His eyes say, "if I get you alone you're dead." He marches past.

I didn't want to be his friend anyway. In my past life (before the disaster at my last school), I was Captain Awesomeness. I don't miss it . . . well, not much.

Kitty girl is staring at me . . . and she's not scowling. If it weren't for the Guy Code I'd say something to her. Of course, I'd have to remember how to speak first.

The speech problem is probably why the Code says to ignore her. I start toward the twisty slide but Troy and his over-sized gorilla gang charge over there. Since I don't want my underwear to double as a hat, I turn toward the baseball field.

The prospects aren't much better on this side of the playground.

Paula G. said...

I was nine years old when my sister gave the gum baby up for adoption. I was pretty clueless about the whole thing, leading up. I mean, not so clueless that I didn’t notice that Ellen was getting fatter and fatter. We shared a room and all. And at night, when she laid in her bed, snoring, which was another new thing about her, in the light that came in the window from the flashing “Munchies” sign on the boardwalk, her stomach just mounded up there under the covers like the soccer field they built on the old landfill on County Rd. It’s still stinky up there, so you have to hold your breath while you play, and Ellen was stinky, too. She farted in her sleep. Another new thing.

I didn’t want to make Ellen feel bad about getting fat, and snoring and tooting, so I told Mom in the car on our way to soccer. I thought she should know. Good thing, Mom knew already. She said that it was all Ellen’s fault for swallowing gum since she was my age. Everyone knows you don’t swallow your gum, that it grows in a big ball in your tummy for seven years. And that’s what happened to Ellen – she just kept swallowing it, and didn’t even tell Mom she was doing it, and then she had this big ball of gum in her stomach, and it was making her gassy, and clogging up her lungs, too.

But I shouldn’t worry, cause in about a month, Ellen was going to the hospital and they were going to take the gum ball out of her. “Just don’t make the same mistake Ellen did,” Mom said. Like I ever would. I did sorta worry about the six Chiclets I swallowed in first grade when Ms. Nolan asked me if I was chewing gum in math. But even if there was a gum ball in my belly, it’d be pretty small, like a marble, and I only fart once in a while. I sucked my tummy in flat all through practice.

Amy Mullis said...


“I’m supposed to touch my toes.”

“With what?”

The dog put one paw over his eyes and limped out of the room on three legs.

Bill peered up at me from knee level. “Yoga is the ancient Eastern art of obtaining balance. To ensure your Yin and Yang compliment each other.”

“Well don’t look now but you’re about to get rug burns on your Yang.”

“Every exercise program has drawbacks.”

“I think you’re supposed to wear clothes.”

About that time, Son Two came through the back door. This kid is 19, and he’s so cool he sweats permafrost. At that moment he had achieved Nirvana and was one with a Klondike bar.

As usual, the cat came in with him, purring around his legs like they were from the same litter.

The Captain snapped into a position that caused his Yin and Yang to become one just as the Klondike bar in turn became one with the floor. My maternal superpowers kicked in and I flung the nearest article of covering, a tasseled blanket from the couch, over the offending object. (Not the ice cream bar.)

This move was interpreted as an invitation by the kitty who, as the instinct of a thousand generations kicked in, sprang into action, claws in attack position, intent on consuming the dancing tassels.

Teaching moments are everywhere. I didn’t know there was a Yoga pose that made cats fly.

Lem Thomas said...

I awoke to Mary Lou standing in the doorway. Naked. She had one foot raised behind her on the door jam, her head back and chest thrust out to display her ample assets. A goddess in shades of platinum and gold.

It was the last thing I needed. I couldn't perform. Not before coffee. I should have known better than to marry such a younger woman. Too groggy to move, I stared, feeling the cool wetness under my cheek where I had drooled through the night. My mouth hung open.

"Don't get excited," she said. "I'm just heading out back to sun."

Her husky voice jerked my mind out of its haze like an adrenaline shot to the heart, disappointment rising as I realized she didn't want me. I needed her then more than I'd ever needed any person or substance. Well, maybe not quite any substance. There was that time before I was clean, dying for a fix in Provo, Utah and my only hope a septuagenarian transvestite demanding a unique form of payment...

I closed my mouth and grinned. I would seduce her with my eyes, my words, coax her into bed, prove to her the old man still had it.

"Now darlin'" I said, raising myself on one elbow. Which slipped, and I rolled out of bed and my head hit the bedside table and the glass resting there toppled. It held a thick, brown liquid, and in the eternity it took for me and it to complete our spill I thought: White Russian, Lord how I missed you. But when my tail hit the floor and the drink splashed over my head, I realized it was not my old signature cocktail but chocolate milk. The nearest substitute I allowed myself.

Everything felt sticky. Mary Lou lit a cigarette. Where she had pulled it from, I couldn't imagine.

"Jack, I need to tan, but listen..."

"You're a dadgum walking tumor." I shivered and felt shriveled in my shorts.

"I got a book deal. And you're moving out."

TeresaR said...

Thanks for a fun contest! Below is an excerpt (299 words) of a spec fic novel that I've been working on. :)

Mariana stopped with her fork half-way to her mouth from her plate and turned pale. "You cannot do this, Calliope; you simply can’t."

The alien named Bob, who had been imitating Mariana, over-shot with the fork and jammed the side of his mouth, making a little whimpering sound.

"Mother, I’m not willfully bucking tradition, and I’m not trying to ruin father’s chances at re-election," said Calliope, peeling the finger appendages of the alien, "Mac," off her sleeve as he had been feeling the fabric of her dress. She placed his hands on the table in front of him.

"Sweet Calliope," said Jornas in what he hoped was his most tender fatherly voice. "I know how you must be feeling. I was once a rebellious young person."

The third alien, who had told Jornas that they were his descendents, nodded as though he were delivering a sermon, and tapped a bunch of buttons on her instrument.

Mariana muttered, "oh, right." Bob-alien leaned toward Mariana to hear what she said and fell to the floor with a clatter. The maid-bots rolled silently into the room. They picked Bob up, placed him sideways into his chair, and cleaned the floor beneath him.

"However, your marrying someone for love, and someone not compatible with our standing, is not something your mother and I can allow."

Calliope threw her napkin down and stood up abruptly. "OW!" she yelped. Mac had started to examine her intricate braid and still had his hand in her hair. Tears welled in her eyes. "I thought you would support me, father." She ran out of the room.

Jornas pushed his chair back, but Mariana gripped his arm to stop him from getting up. Bob-alien extended his tentacle-like arm across the table and placed his hand on Jornas’ arm too.

Michelle said...

Have you ever seen a twenty-pound cat try to fit into a shoebox? Truthfully, it's all in the approach. Let's take Cam's shoebox as our example.

Cam excitedly approaches our cat, while proclaiming the existence of a new box. He sets the box on the floor. "Simba, I have a box for you." Obligingly, the cat lumbers over to see what the fuss is all about. Upon discovering a new item made out of his all-time favorite material, cardboard, Simba begins his investigation.

Said investigation commences with a sniff and a slow walk about the perimeter to gauge the dimensions. He next nibbles the corners. He must really like this box. The face rub follows. The face rub means possession, as in, "This box is now mine, oh simple human." For Simba, the box has become his whole world.

Our small family gathers to witness a kooky tabby in action as he gracefully hops into his shoebox. We cheer when he sits, tap-dancing with front paws, because we know what's coming next. Yes, a twenty-pound tabby can fit into a shoebox, and Simba is about to prove it.

Simba tucks his paws, and lays down, contorting himself in the process. Comfort is not a factor of this conquest. He achieves his goal, even if that means key parts of his furry-awesomeness lap over the edges of the now-stretched shoebox. Cam's shoebox has been successfully repurposed, and the world is a better place, at least until tommorow brings more cardboard.

I wonder what Simba will do with two shoeboxes?

MMRule said...

This is an excerpt from my thriller INCORRUPTIBLE. Enjoy!

Jenna opened her eyes to make sure her bedroom door was still closed. She felt like someone was watching her, like she just discovered that there really was a Big Brother videotaping her every move and recording her every thought. And in this case Big Brother just so happened to be whatever it was floating in the realm of heaven, ready to judge her after death with a less than complimentary record of her life.

8:07:15 AM: Jenna questions whether God really exists.

8:07:16 AM: Jenna pushes giant turd into toilet.

Stop being paranoid, she thought, but a voice in her mind filled her with unease.

"You'd better worry girlie. Mary can pop into your life whenever she wants. No one else can see her, right? That's because she can't get enough of you. Don't start doubting her. What would happen then?"

Jenna pictured the apostle Thomas who needed to stick his fingers into the wounds of Christ in order to believe.

"Blessed are those who have not seen and believed," the Bible said. She had the benefit of seeing and hearing Mary though. She saw the Mother of God wearing a suit of something that looked like real flesh and blood. What happened was improbable but not impossible. She was sure of that.

She just hoped that God didn't think she sucked as much as she thought she did.

CourtLoveLeigh said...

“Oh my god,” Christine said with a loud groan. Her co-workers eyes flicked away from their computer screens, and she read the offending sentence, keeping her voice emotionless. “‘Oh yeah. Right there. Just like that baby.’”

“Oh no!” The ensuing groans matched Christine’s.

Monique cried out with mock despair, shaking her hands up at the skies, “Commas save sex scenes, people!” Then she lowered her hands and plopped her chin into one of them, her eyes returning to the manuscript in front of her. “Who do you have, by the way?”

“Brittan Gold.”

“Gross. She’s like a friggin’ Wookiee when it comes to direct address. I had her last manuscript. What was it? Like Song of the Wolf or something?”

“No, Howl of the Wolf, I think.”

“Oh yeah! With those hybrid wolf-zombie-shifter-things, right?”

“Okay,” Janine said, peeping her head around her screen to address Christine, her glasses slipping down her nose. “What is the rule on shape-shifter sex scenes again? Are they allowed to be all the way shifted? Or is it still only partial-shiftings because if so, there are some questionable activities going on over here.”

“Unfortunately, shifters are now allowed to be in complete animal form when they get it on.”

“Like...fully shifted and furry and stuff?”

Christine nodded once, solemn.

“Even if the non-shifter is not...?”

Christine nodded again.

“Ew!” Janine said and then darted back behind her screen. “I’ve got a lot of comments to delete then.”

“Are you reading that new Sage Hushchild we just got?” Monique asked. “She has the grossest sex in hers. And it’s always wolf-shifters. She never does anything else. I want to be like, ‘Sage, listen, go to the zoo. There are hundreds of animals you can choose from. Just get creative or something.”

“Oh my god,” Christine said, her eyes lighting up. “Someone needs to an exotic bird-shifter series.”

“Yes!” Monique squealed. “With flamingo-shifters and toucan-shifters. And the hero’s all, ‘My bright feathers will seduce you, m’lady,’ and then he flies off over the rain forest with her.”

HGL said...

Long time reader, first time commenter.

I was 13 miles into a marathon I’d only trained up to 17 miles for, and hating every minute of it. My right knee flashed pain with every bend, and I was slowing up. I — and everyone around me — wore a permanent scowl.

But one person wasn’t feeling down.

“Halfway there runners, you all look great!”

Oh no.

“Only 13 miles to go — you’re almost there!”

Please stop.

“Pick up your pace everyone!”

Even though the crowd of well-wishers was small, I couldn’t find the source of these cheers. Then I saw a short, large woman sitting in a blue folding chair next to the 13.1 miles sign. On the right side of the chair was a plastic bottle of soda bursting from the chair’s cup holder. The woman clapped her hands with the rhythm of the yells, smiling all the while.

“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!”

She had a friendly face, like you might find on a kindergarten teacher explaining a particularly vexing subtraction problem. No Jimmy, the answer is five. Five! As she bobbed in her chair more and more energetically, it looked like she might be able to make her way out of it. But, no, between yells she inhaled and leaned back into the mesh.

I was almost beside her. I was limping worse as time went on, and regretted passing the first aid tent without stopping a mile back. The pain was getting horrific.

I locked eyes with her. Her mouth opened into a large, frenzied grin.

“You can push through the pain! Run through it! THE PAIN ISN’T THERE!” She leaned out of her chair with that last exhortation, pointing and wagging an index finger that looked like one of those miniature carrots that's been out of the bag too long.

I’m going to snap.

I thought of those tragic headlines you sometimes see: “Marathon kills woman” This would be during a marathon, it just wouldn’t be from running it. Only a two letter difference, though.“Marathoner kills woman.”

Ryan Stuart Lowe said...

An excerpt from my WIP. Edgar has joined a platoon of superhero children:


“My name’s Siren, and I’ve got supersonic screams,” said one girl.

“That’s a pretty good superpower,” said Edgar.

“And I’m BB Dude,” said another boy. “Demolitions expert.”

“That’s good, too,” said Edgar. “But why are you called BB Dude?”

The boy’s eyes widened. “That’s my thing,” he said. “That’s my--all my bombs are shaped like basketballs and baseballs and stuff. Look.” He hefted a perfect replica of a baseball, his thumb pressed firmly on an unlit fuse. When Edgar failed to comment, he added, “I have a catchphrase. Whenever I drop a bomb, I say, ‘That’s one slam--that’s a slam dunk!’ ”

“So what’s your superpower?” asked Siren.

Edgar frowned for a moment: the truth of the matter was that he hadn’t discovered it yet. He had tried fight and flight, lifting boulders and running on water. He had pressed himself against red walls in order to soak in a new color like a chameleon--and pushed against walls in order to pass through. He tried to conjure a superpower out of the air by merely naming it--lightning power! firebreath!--to no avail. So when some nosy busybody asked what his superpower was, he simply responded like this: “Oh, I’m a master swordsman. This is my sword, the Durandal--” and then he whipped out the blade and did some special move. “And if I beat anyone with my sword, I get their powers, too.”

“That’s cheating,” said another boy, dark-eyed and skinny, whose name was Loop.

“No, it’s not,” said Edgar, turning back to glower at him. “All you do is stop other people’s powers. That’s cheating.”

“Superpower nullification is a single, isolated ability,” said Loop. “Getting other people’s powers is like asking a genie for more wishes.”

“You’re no superhero. You’re a regular unsuperhero, a mega-anti-hero,” said Eddie.

And so they fought.

Anonymous said...

Oral Porter fished two slices of bread from the no-name brand bag. He dropped them into the slots of his mother’s toaster, once the newest thing in the entire house, and poked at the touch screen to start it.

“Ouch! Watch where you stick that finger!”

Oral froze. He could never forget that voice. “Pong? I thought I deleted you!”

“Interesting conclusion, but no. We’re software - ever try to erase spam on your computer? We’re tougher than spam. Spam to the 10th power of tough.”

“Why are you inside my toaster?”

“We were demoted,” cut in Ping, “but thank you for asking. We have been copied into this earthly machine and sent to live among the savages.”

“That’s you,” added Pong.

“They stuck you down here? With me?” Just when he thought life couldn’t get any worse.

“It’s all your fault, Porter,” wailed Pong. “All your bloody fault.” The toaster went silent. Oral gaped, speechless. He took a closer look at the display screen, where two tiny toast icons – one white and one black - appeared. “Is that how you really look?”

“We have been confined to this tiny ship with strict quarantine coding - we cannot transfer anywhere else,” said Ping. “And this on-board graphics processor is extremely limited.” He lowered his voice. “Do I appear sufficiently threatening to you?” The white toast jiggled aggressively.

“Threatening?” Oral thought about it for a moment. It was probably safer to have them where he could keep an eye on them. “Oh yes, very…threatening. Humans are quite frightened by…bread, and… baked goods. In general.”

“Good,” Ping sniffed. “We are the superior race, after all.”

“Thank you for the reminder.”

“Not at all. Now, how do you fly this thing?”


Laurie L Young said...

This is from my WIP MG novel:

Most kids didn’t like Hilarie. She was not very nice. But most kids tried to be friends with her because it was worse if you didn’t.

She started all the most horrible rumors, made faces at Mrs. Felter behind her back, and was an expert at getting kids into trouble.

Hilarie got Mark Mendes expelled from science lab because she told Mrs. Felter he was licking the frogs.

She got Alexander Green sent to the principal’s office for shouting at her. She had poked him with her finger exactly twenty-seven times, (just to see how many pokings it would take to get him to lose it. Twenty-seven.)

She also excelled in breaking up friendships. One time, Hilarie told Cara Capelli that her best friend Teeney Friedman was only friends with her because her mother made her. She told Teeney that Cara called her stupid and told everyone Teeney still sucked her thumb.

It was best to stay on Hilarie’s good side.

dark mistress said...

Thursday morning Quentin and Daniel walked up to the Media Center where Silver usually hung out before first bell. At first, Daniel didn’t see her anywhere. Then he saw her sitting up against the wall with her knees folded up in front of her and a book propped on them. She was wearing a red hoodie with the hood up. Daniel recognized the book as one of those Japanese graphic novels that you have to read backwards.
“Hey, Silver,” said Quentin as they walked up.
“What?” Silver scowled.
“Let’s just go,” he said to Daniel, starting to turn away.
“No, wait,” said Daniel, grabbing Quentin’s arm. To Silver he said, “We’ll be at the library after school if you’re still interested.”
Silver snapped her gum and stared at them. It was amazing how sometimes just a look from her could make you feel like you’ve been slapped in the face.
“Okay, well, we’ll see you later, then,” said Daniel.
“Whatever,” she mumbled. She turned sideways and opened up her book again.
Daniel and Quentin started toward the band room.
“She is cold, man,” said Quentin once they were out of earshot. “Frosty. Are you sure we want her in on this?”
“I think we just caught her off guard,” said Daniel. “This is her territory. She probably didn’t want to be seen talking to us in front of her friends.”
“Friends?” said Quentin, snickering. They both looked back. The kid sitting next to Silver was covered head to toe in black and chains, and could have been male or female. Or animal or vegetable, for that matter, thought Daniel. A kid with spiky blue hair and a pink ballerina skirt was pacing back and forth and holding her MP3 player right in front of her face like she was in a trance or something. Another kid had hair and skin (and clothes) so pale that he blended perfectly into the off-white cinderblock walls like milky camouflage. He moved slightly just then or they never would have seen him. Quentin and Daniel looked at each other and just started cracking up.

(Dark Mistress is Diana Geller)

dark mistress said...
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dark mistress said...
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JohnO said...

At Chihuahuas Without Borders headquarters, Gracelyn Maude Hearl was sitting at her desk and stroking Maverick’s patchy fur. As she did, she caught a whiff of urine from the little dog’s preemie diaper. But at the moment her attention was focused on something more important.

It was a problem with “CWB: The Series,” their TV show filming somewhere in the blasted, treeless plains of Mongolia. They were supposed to be giving dogs to needy, grateful native families, but two weeks ago, the Chihuahuas started dying. They lost one when a native dog galloped over and ate one for dinner. Another tried to go all Rambo on a marmot, and lost. One more froze to death when the translator bartered its red Chihuahua sweater for booze. They found vultures at work on the little doggie Popsicle in the morning, shredding flesh away from his carcass. They lost another dog, named Chardonnay, to a fatal Yak kick.

On top of all that, a local TV news station ran a segment on the “suspicious deaths.”

Gracelyn Maude told her producers to film some happily-ever-after video to garner a little good PR. But the first family had bartered their dog for a sheep, the second family couldn’t be found, and the third simply pointed at the barbecue spit.

Maverick was getting restless, so she let him down. He scampered across the floor, wrapped his twiggy legs around one of her fuzzy slippers, and began humping it. Gracelyn Maude watched enviously, trying to recall the last time someone had humped her with that kind of ardor … probably not since Bible camp.

Gracelyn Maude bellowed, “Cyrena!”

Her assistant, Cyrena, appeared in the doorway holding a steno pad. Gracelyn Maude jabbed a pudgy, bejeweled finger at the dog-on-slipper sex scene on the floor. “When Maverick’s finished he’s gonna need a change.”

Cyrena cast a baleful glance at Maverick, his face scrunched in ecstasy as his tiny thrusting hips scooched the slipper across the floor. “I ain’t cleanin’ up no doggie jizz.”

“Aw, just put on some dish gloves and throw him in the sink.”

Ishta Mercurio said...

None of my WIPs had anything that fit the bill, so I wrote this for the contest. I hope you enjoy it!


Bartholomew Ophelia Treebottom IV was bored. He swung his legs, heels banging in time with the bonging of the clock tower. Bored...Bored...Bored...

Tuesday was always a boring day. It was the day his parents reserved for their weekly trip to the taxidermist’s shop. His father was a world-renowned specialist in stuffed dead tarantulas, and was always on the lookout for a new specimen. His mother accompanied him, because the taxidermist’s wife made excellent omelettes. Bartholomew never went; dead tarantulas were boring.

Just then his neighbor Mandy tripped by, her eyes gleaming. “I’m breaking into the haunted Whaley House.” She cocked her head. “Want to come?”

Bartholomew considered. Haunted houses never really were. They were always just full of old junk. And dust. Dust made him sneeze. Bartholomew hopped down. “Alright, then.”

The door was locked, but the window opened easily, so they clambered in. It reeked of rot, and Bartholomew gagged. The room was covered in an inch-thick layer of dust, and stringy cobwebs stretched from corner to corner. His father would have loved to see the spider that had woven those webs. Bartholomew reached out to touch one, when a loud moan rolled down from upstairs.

Surprised, he fell forward, grabbing at the web - which was much more rope-like than he had expected - and bringing it, and a nearby lamp, crashing down. The lamp snagged on the curtains, which tore from their rod and landed with a whump upon Bartholomew, setting off a sneezing fit as he flailed about in a frantic attempt to free himself. Mandy screamed. Bartholomew jerked his head free just in time to see Mandy, covered in fake cobwebs and stuffed tarantulas, careening backwards into and over the side of an overstuffed armchair, upsetting a basket of something that, Bartholomew belatedly realized, looked like eggs. Peals of cackling laughter drifted in from the hallway.

As he sat, rumpled curtains hanging from his shoulders, rotten egg dripping down his forehead and off his chin, it occurred to Bartholomew that his parents, and Tuesdays, were not as boring as he had thought.

Kate Smith said...

I was finished!
I was always too late or too afraid of failure, too tired or just plain forgetful, but this time, I'd done it.
I read through the short draft for the fourth time, intending to do at least another four rounds of that. It was ok. It was better than ok. It was good. I swirled around the last dregs of coffee that lurked in the bottom of my cup and chucked them back.
Minutes later I had changed my coffee stained T-shirt and jeans (there had been more dregs than I'd realised and my aim was clearly as good as my eyesight) anyway I raced down the steps, two at a time. That of course was my second mistake and infinitely more frightening than the first, I'd never feared actually drowning in the coffee after all.
I picked myself up from the floor and dusted myself down. I'd have bruises but so what? All the cool cats had a bruise or two, maybe not a limp and a dodgy hip (now) but we live and learn, right?
I headed back to my study, hands actually trembling in anticipation with what awaited me there. I could see the event horizon right before my eyes; glory, acclaim, admiration, a fantastic dress I'd designed for just such an occasion.
The chair was already pulled out from my desk so I moved towards it quickly. Obviously I missed the puddle on the floor, from the coffee incident, and slipped suddenly, tumbling catastrophically until I grabbed a handful of curtain. My upholstery skills are on par with my agility and accuracy, therefore I ripped them from their inferior casings and fell face first into my umbrella plant. It was recently pruned so it could've been worse.
Slowly and very carefully, as even for me this was pushing it, I edged back towards my computer. One more proofread and I'd send it off, otherwise it seemed likely I might not survive long enough to do that.
"What?" I screamed, reading through the rules.
Entrants 14 to 189? No exceptions?
Sod it!

Susan L. Lipson said...

From the opening of my MG novel-in-progress:

When Fergal Clearie was born, near Dublin, Ireland, he created a new category in The Guinness Book of World Records: The Biggest Baby Bum. Like a pair of basketballs was the tiny lad’s rump, on his otherwise normal body. His angelic face was but a fraction of the size of one fanny cheek. His mother, Sheela, first gaped, then gasped, and finally grasped the enormity of her son. His father, Ennis, first froze, then fainted, and finally fled from his wife and odd son.

Three years later, on the floor of the Clearies' Dublin flat, little Fergal sang a lively melody with nonsense words while bouncing upon his gigantic bum. Each bounce created a tuneful toot, like a saxophone playing from his butt. His mammy chuckled while she sewed extra-wide-bottomed trousers for Fergal. The door knocker interrupted the happy scene.
“Fergal, darlin’, we have a visitor,” Mammy announced, in a voice that sounded unnaturally flat to Fergal's musical ear. "A toy seller, it seems."
Fergal stood up slowly, on account of his hefty hiney. His long, wavy, red bangs flopped against his forehead. He pushed the hair out of his eyes to see the visitor who had dissolved Mammy's smile. An odd-looking man, with thick black eyebrows and pale blonde hair. Crooked-looking hair. And a matching blonde moustache above a square chin coated, it seemed, with black pepper.
The visitor, wearing a handwritten sticker that said “Toys for Boys, Inc.” on his wrinkled, grease-stained jacket, gaped at him. “Such a handsome lad, you are!” whispered the man. His eyes were sparkling blue, like Fergal’s.
Mammy glared at the man. She shook her head, and then clucked her tongue. “So yer glad ta see him, are ya’… ENNIS?”
Her disguised former husband blushed like a child caught tossing Brussels sprouts to the dog under the table. Sheela rolled her eyes. “Aye, Ennis, he's an extraordinary lad. Taller sittin’ than standin’, he is, on account of his BIG, BEAUTIFUL, BLESSED BEHIND!” She balled her hands on her broad hips, and smiled defiantly.
Fergal's eyes twinkled. “Big, beautiful, blessed behind,” he sang, while simultaneously tooting a string of perfectly pitched, vibrato-filled notes from his tuneful tush: E-G-A-D. He proudly wiggled his hiney at his Da.

LEXIKON said...


Being the star pitcher of my high school baseball team had its perks, but on the day after a game my sore shoulder muscles had me considering switching to soccer.

I changed from my school clothes to gym shorts when I got to the field house and went straight to the trainer’s room and laid face down on the table. Maybe I could catch a short nap before Roy, the assistant trainer, came in.

The door opened and a female voice said, “Roy’s sick today, Coach asked me to work on your shoulder.

I flipped over and nearly had a coronary. I’d never seen a female in the locker room, but wasn’t going to complain. The pretty young student teacher walked towards me as I closed my gaping mouth and dove to my stomach. I grinned as I thought to myself - wait until I tell the guys.

She put her bare hands on my shoulders and went to work. She wasn’t as strong as Roy, but who cared because -- damn, she smelled good.

And I liked what she was doing. I liked it so much that I turned my head towards her long legs and imagined what it would be like to touch them. Then I thought about what it would feel like to pull her down on top of me.

Hmm…my little fantasy was getting better and better. As I was plotting the ending to my daydream I felt my breaths coming faster and then - holy crap – I realized it was too late.

My body went stiff on the table and my eyes flew open. Damn, I could be such an idiot. I hit the table with my fist and said, “Shit.” The teacher took her hands away and at the same moment, Coach Burk came in and said, “Son, we need you at the front to measure your inseam for the uniforms we’re having custom made.

Holy shit, my body had just grown an extra tent pole – what could I do?

I rolled to the floor, clenched myself into a ball and yelled – “food poising”.


Katherine Posselt said...

Errors and Omissions, a Funny Story

During a non-psychotic break, Alice observed the head doctors tripping. Poor lost souls who had fallen down the rabbit hole, they’d evidently forgotten the subtle logic of their hearts, so trapped in frantic mind games devoid of reality, and what is worse, they’d forgotten to check the facts. Alice smiled and sipped a cup of tea with the Cheshire Cat. As usual, the Cheshire Cat smiled in return.

Alice scratched her head. Perhaps the Cheshire Cat knew more than she. Smiling might be the only logical response to nonsense. Alice smiled while the head-tripping head doctors tripped, stumbled and fell, now five levels down the rabbit hole. Always curious, Alice peered into the ever-widening space, down five levels of the rabbit hole. The Cheshire Cat remained in his chair, sipping his tea, complacent and smiling. But Alice could not resist the temptation to stare and take notes.

What? The Red Queen, now on a rampage, chasing the tripping head doctors with potions and wielding her silver baton like a sword. “Off with your heads,” she shrieked. Alice sighed and looked back at her tea party companion, the Cheshire Cat. The Cat still smiled. Alice sighed. Then suddenly, so abruptly, the Cheshire Cat opened a door he created in thin air. The Mad Hatter entered. The Mad Hatter accepted a cup of tea from the Cheshire Cat and gulped it down, wiping his lips with a brisk brush of his hand, then motioned to Alice to sit down with her companions. Alice sighed. She returned to her chair and smiled like the Cheshire Cat.

“So you now see,” the Mad Hatter announced like a professor.

Lynn Deasy said...

From WIP, memoir. word count:345

With spring’s early arrival, John and I decide it’s time to get some outdoor work done. Our first stop is the garden. He grabs a hoe to turn the dirt while I attack the nearby weeds. He is in mid-swing when suddenly he jumps, dropping the hoe.
“What is it?” I ask sensing a bit of panic.
“I think it was a bee”, he explains.
“Did it sting you?”
“No, but I might have just gotten in its way. There are a few beehives not far from here.”
Looking at my worried expression, he reassures me, “But stay calm. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.”
“Okay”, I reply and hesitantly go back to pulling weeds.
John picks up his hoe again, but drops it immediately with a cry, “Oww! It stung me!”
He inspects his arm and then suddenly starts jerking to the left and right; he bobs and weaves like a boxer in training, swatting at the angry buzzing in the air.
Within seconds, a swarm of bees is upon us. Now, both of us are darting up and down swatting the buzzing air.
“Run, Lynn, run!” He screams.
“What?” I ask since I can hardly hear over the noise.
“Run! Get inside the house!” John cries as he bolts past me. He strips off his sweatshirt while galloping at full speed and uses it to swat the bees away. I take off steps after him with a cloud of bees right behind us. We hurdle over a fence and charge up the hill; the house and safety is within sight.
“Arrgg!” I scream as I lose my battle against a bee in my t-shirt. It has stung arm and is still buzzing angrily. We reach the house, swing the door open, and slam it behind us. Panting like dogs, we shake out our clothes. John hears a buzzing in his t-shirt, jerks around, and rips it off. The bee falls to the ground and he stomps on it with a resounding “boom!”
“I might have been mistaken,” he says sheepishly.

Silvia said...

After a long and grueling battle against an enemy organization called Janus, our lovable heroes go down a secret tunnel slide and arrive at the door to their grand destination. One of them was invited to this grand event.


The door was imposing. It wasn’t even a pair of doors, like the forbidding kind, but it was large and cedar, and with a title in embossed letters: The Conference Chamber.

Evelyn jiggled the doorknob. Instead of opening, more letters appeared across the door’s shaved surface, enough to complete an alphabet soup. They rearranged themselves.

Welcome to the Conference Chamber. Please state your name and country.

“My name is Felix Jernegan, United States of America, but no longer affiliated. Open the door.”

The letters stirred into a cloud, then shuffled.

I’m sorry, but that name is not on our list. Please try again.

“Felix Jernegan. That’s J-E-R-N-E-G-A-N.”

I’m sorry, but—

“Give me options, will you?” Felix snapped.

The door graciously conceded.

If you are an invited guest, say ‘one.’

“One,” said Felix.

If you have fallen into the slide by accident and lost your way, say ‘two.’

“I said ‘one,’ you stupid door!”

“Maybe you weren’t invited,” said Evelyn.

If you are a member of Janus, say ‘three.’

“Let’s say that,” said Skyler.

Felix rattled the door. The letters scattered for a second, as if jarred by his indignant rattling, before they regrouped once more.

Thank you for your patience, Mr. Phoenix Mulligan. Have a nice day.

It added a tart Goodbye.

“That’s it,” said Felix, drawing his saber. “I’m turning this door into kindling.”

Skyler pushed him back. “Let me handle this.”

They couldn’t tell what he did—or said—exactly, but soon enough, Skyler turned to them with a pleasant smile and the door swung open without further encouragement. Felix gave it the finger before they stepped into the Conference Chamber.

Eileen said...

They call me little brown boy, but I'm not brown. I'm blacker than anyone in that school-
"Whoa whoa whoa. Wait one minute bro. Why are you telling this story? It ain't your story. Besides, I'm white, and this is my story."
"Is too! Mom said it was my story!"
"It ain't. You ain't goin' to jail for somthin' your homie did."
"No, I watched him do it and testified for my brother."
"I ain't your real bro."
"Adopted brother, then."
"That still don't make it your story."
"Would you quit talking like a gangster? Mom doesn't like it."
"Oh, no, she likes your good English and your pretty French."
"Just because you're adopted doesn't mean you have to hate me. And your English and your French could sound the way mine does if you'd stop trying to act tough. We went to the same school."
"Anyways, this story is about two racially different brothers and how they hate each other.""We don't hate each other."
"Ok. What is it then?"
"Um. Hate's a strong word, you know! It's just a deep dislike."

SAVanVleck said...

A woman’s scream torpedoed through the sky With a large ‘plop,’ she landed, on her ample belly, in front of the brothers.
“Ello!” she said as she blew a hunk of hair from her mouth. She was up on her hands and knees now. “Blimey, where am I?”
“Realm of Yellowwood.” Cody answered.
“That can’t be right. I’m—I should be in the city—at University—you know, lots of lights, cars, beep-beep—horns, telly’s blaring. I could really use a cup of coffee.” Her hands came to rest on her hips and she huffed again. “Where’s the Starbucks?”
“No Starbucks! Only woods,” Cody said.
“Well, I can see that.” She looked around. “It’s very—quiet here.”
“Was very quiet.” Cody whispered to Austin.
“What’s your name, ma’am?” Austin asked.
“Are you highwaymen. What are you doing out in the forest alone at night?” She moved closer to her suitcase. “You’ve got weapons.” She added as if she had just noticed.
Jesse stepped forward. “My name’s Jesse and these are my brothers, Cody and Austin, and you are?”
“Portentia Meriweather.” She spit it out as a challenge. “If you’re not highway men, why do you have weapons?”
“As my brother said, you are in Yellowwood Forest.” Jesse quietly said.
“No, he didn’t. He tootin did not! I distinctly heard him say I was in a realm.”
“A realm is a territory and this forest is the territory of Yellowwood. What city were you looking for?”
She pulled a wadded, stained paper from her blouse.
“Bother, the ink is running. It was wet coming over the pond you know.” She lit her wand and held it to the wrinkled paper. “Elm and Wood? No, Elm and Fellow? Oh, I don’t know. I’m supposed to teach at University and I have to be there for a meeting in one hour.”
“What pond did you cross? Do you mean Lake Lemon?” Cody asked.
“Lake Lemon? No! You know, THE pond. The one between England and America,” she blustered.
“The Atlantic Ocean? You flew all the way across the Atlantic ocean?” Cody nearly hyperventilated.

Ryan Chin said...

A scene from my soon to be released multimedia memoir...

The dictionary, for all its usefulness, sometimes doesn’t tell you the whole story. Take the word sneaky, for instance. The dictionary fails to note exactly how much fun it can be. I’m not condoning crime, but a bit of mischief is perfectly healthy—a discovery I made at an early age.

One day in Kindergarten, I slipped out of my chair with all the stealth of a leopard on the African plains. (Well, maybe not so much—I’ve seen time-lapse video of a leopard taking all night to close in on a herd of gazelles.) As I snaked face-first across the floor, I stopped occasionally to turn my head up and hold my index finger to my mouth. I needn’t have worried--my fellow students were just as bored as I was, so they weren’t going to tattle. On I went. The sight of my teacher’s legs came and went in between the legs of students, chairs, and tables. When she turned around, I stopped moving, my face hovering just millimeters off the floor. As every little kid knows, if I couldn’t see her, she couldn’t see me. I was invisible.

The stalk continued once she turned to the board again. How I knew she wasn’t looking anymore I couldn’t say; some children are just naturals in the classroom. My friend Albert, my prey, was leaning forward on his chair, making for a perfect target. From two chairs away, I lunged and found my mark, jabbing him in the rear pocket of his navy blue uniform pants with the point of a pencil. I laughed maniacally as he sprung off his seat with a yelp. My teacher snapped to attention, and I knew I was doomed. I was a kamikaze pilot, with no escape plan. But the laughter echoing through the room made it all worthwhile. If the hiring committee at RPG only knew what kind of man they’d hired to teach their children…

"Without Rain There Can Be No Rainbows" A Teacher's Journey to a Maori Village Launched by the Death of his Dog.

Nathan Oser said...

A bit later the doorbell rang. I sat up at the tumbling-thumping sounds of sock-feet in the hallway.
Dustin swung open my bedroom door and whistled like a slide whistle. “Man!” he said. “You gonna be okay?”
Casey came in behind him. “Yeah, your leg looks like one of those rockets they strap to the bottom of the space shuttle.”
“Ain’t as bad as it looks,” I said with a shrug. “So, you guys wanna sign my cast?”
“You’re gonna let us sign your cast? Cool!” Dustin picked up the marker.
“I can practice my autograph,” jumped Casey, who was always practicing his autograph. “I gotta perfect it for when I become the best shortstop in the history of the majors.”
“Better than Barry Larkin?”
“Of course. My autograph could beat Larkin’s any old day of the week!”
Dustin and I grabbed our stomachs and burst out laughing. Then Dustin said, “He might be right, though. You seen his trading card collection?”
“Every last one signed, right?”
“Yep. But if you look close, all the signatures are the same. They all read ‘Casey Albright!’”
This time Casey laughed with us. “It looks more genuine to sign a baseball card than it does to sign your math notebook. I can’t help that they haven’t made any cards with me on them yet.”
Dustin squiggled in his name on the top of my foot. Casey streaked his across my shin, above my dad’s name. I leaned forward for a closer look. “Thanks, guys.”
Recapping the marker, Casey said, “Keep that thing and you’ll be rich one day.”
Dustin smiled. “Yeah, cause of my name!”

Tara said...

Tell me if this has ever happened to you. It’s the first day of your fifth year of high school. You ask yourself, “How could I let this happen again?” I ask myself the same question, and I realize that I didn’t let this happen on my own. I had help from Bristol Palin, the ABC network, and the Tea Party.

Because of “Dancing with the Stars” and every conservative in America, I am repeating the 12th grade. I know what you’re thinking: Don’t blame the Republicans just because the Democrats did. Who else voted to keep Bristol Palin on the show after that disastrous jive in a gorilla costume? Jane Goodall?

Week after week, I watched that teen mom waltz, rumba, and paso doble (whatever that is) her way to the bottom of the pile and still make it to the finals. Instead of reading the CliffNotes version of Macbeth, I watched Bristol Palin make a mockery of the musical Chicago.

The season finale was months ago, and I still can’t tell you what made me tune in each week. Bristol Palin’s long brown hair? Her curvy figure? Her fiscal conservativeness? She was one hot mess shimmy shaking her way across my TV screen every Monday night (live) and every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday because I recorded it.

My first senior year went by in a blur of sequins and spandex. This year, however, I am capital D determined to graduate. As my twice-divorced father told me, “Your fifth year of high school is like my third marriage. You better make it work.”

Graduation is not an option. Neither is living in my parent’s house next year. I’ve got three choices after I receive my diploma: Get a job, join the army, or go to college preferably one with “state” in the name and not “community.”

It’s time for me to get serious, memorize the periodic table, and stop confusing the Wright brothers and the Righteous brothers. Bristol Palin can just cha-cha-cha her way out of my second senior year. I have chemicals to remember.

abc said...

How do you know if a girl likes you? Not likes you like she wants to talk about movies or the best Clash songs or share your French fries at the diner. But likes you like she wants to see you with your shirt off and call you in the middle of the night and tell you how much that awesome David Bowie song makes her think of you.

It’s very possible she doesn’t like me that way. She makes fart jokes and snorts when she laughs, and she orders giant, messy burgers and eats them in front of me without shame. Girls don’t do that when they like you, right? But maybe Lyla is different. Maybe she does want to stick her tongue in my mouth as well as sing karaoke "London Calling" in my basement.

I haven’t told Lyla about my theory yet. I want to, but if she likes me in that way (the way I want her to) then she may spit out her coffee and abandon ship, and if she doesn’t like me that way but really cares about me in the friendship way, she may feel obligated to have a special conversation with my mother about this really nice mental hospital in Tucson that she read about on the internet. (In my
mind, Lyla knows way too much about plush mental hospitals.)

I try to imagine the conversation. Hey, guess what, Lyla? Remember when we were talking about past lives? About you wishing your best life was still yet to come? (God that was deep. And cute. So unbelievably cute). Well, my best life is almost certainly behind me. How can I ever top E=mc²? Not to mention the atomic bomb! Although, yes, I agree, that was kind of shitty.

At least the dude felt bad about it. And I feel bad about it, which matters because, Lyla--adorable, smart, sweet, cool, Lyla--I was Albert Einstein. At least I’m pretty sure I was.

I hear Tucson is a nice place to visit.

--Alison Coffey

Angela Brown said...

Angela Brown here to give this the old college try :-)

MG story in concept mode – Mallory’s Teachable Moments

Submission: 344 word count

“I did it mama! Come look and see.” I was in my room, holding a perfect back bend. I hoped she’d hurry up from the kitchen. My arms were shaking.

“What is it now Mal – oh – well, look at you. Not giving up paid off.” She smiled down at me just as my arms gave out. It was okay. All my practicing made it a good idea to put pillows under me so falling wouldn’t hurt.

“Let me try it,” she said, dusting flour handprints all over her apron.

I didn’t think it was a good idea, but teachable moment #3 meant I had to stay quiet. It wasn’t a kid’s place to tell grown ups what to or not to do. A few bones cracked as she lay flat. She got her hands above her head, pressed her palms against the floor, and struggled up, moving as slow as the inch worm I found the other day.

“Any…second…now…” She grunted, trembling, but she was only half way up. When I had a hard time, she always encouraged me, so that gave me an idea.

“You can do it,” I said, giving her my best smile. “Besides, I heard daddy tell you that all your sweet meat was the softest in the world. At least it won’t hurt if you fall.

And fall she did. She flopped to the ground, arms and legs flying all around as she scrambled to her feet. She rubbed her hands down her apron over and over again and I swear her cheeks looked like Aunt Matilda got a hold of them.

“I don’t know how you heard that but –” She slapped her hand over her mouth, turned and shot out my room. Laughter and an “Oh my God” drifted down to me from the kitchen.

I quickly got my little book, flipping through the pages until I found it: Teachable moment #14: never, ever, no matter what, repeat what you overhear. Then I scribbled an extra note: Especially about dad and how he likes mama’s sweet meat.

NRH said...

Like most kids his age, Lester possessed the vague understanding that chubby boys with glasses weren’t supposed to be popular, and yet here was B.J., standing before the class, basking in the reverence of his peers. Lester began to wonder if going immediately after B.J. was such a good idea.

“My poem title is Sexy BeeJay.” stated B.J. He had magnetic personality and a heavy Korean accent and blossoming self-image, and these things together had served him well in life. Lester found himself wishing for an accent of some kind.

B.J. breathed an exaggerated breath and began to read. His voice assaulted the class in a harsh and halting chant, as though channeling at once the restless spirits of Tupac Shakur and some washed-up beat poet. His shoulders dipped and rolled with the words. Lester looked across the room, and watched as the class followed B.J.’s performance in rapt silence.

When I am old
All girls will love B.J. Kim
I will live in a big house
With fancy BMWs
I will rap at my partys
I will be a worldfamus raper

When I am old
I will drive BMWs
Roling on the street
With the top down
And girls will screem
SEXY BeeJay!!! SEXY BeeJay!!!

B.J. looked up and exhaled loudly.

Several kids cheered, and from the back of the room Trevor bellowed his appreciation, but Lester ignored the plaudits. He couldn’t help but feel pleased. His poem was much better than B.J.’s.

“Very interesting, B.J.,” Mrs. Wilson said as the applause died down, “Of course, you’re missing a very important letter in that poem. You realize the word ‘rapper’ has two P’s?”

“Oh,” said B.J., “Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Mrs. Wilson replied. “Just understand the difference between a world-famous rapper and a world-famous raper. It would drastically alter the kind of big house in which you would reside.”

“Okay.” B.J. said. He reached across the row and tapped knuckles with Trevor and sat at his desk in a self-satisfied manner that suggested his teacher’s critique was but a pebble in the road toward social glory.

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