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These are all pieces I wrote for Muses Stewpot, a prompt-oriented writing community on Livejournal. I've linked to the original promtps as well as tried to give a brief description in each case.

Love me, Fear me
I to G on the way to Herrota
W to V in a Xenobiology lab
The Ghost in the Castle
The incident in the library
Babbling Brooke
Melanie vs. D
A day in the life
Lighthouse
Tables from a Jayhawker
You can only speak in song titles...
A Fable
Disappeared off the face of the earth


Found writing
I was (sort of) cleaning my desk and I found this scribbled on a piece of paper. It was intended to be part of a response to a challenge at write_away, but it didn't make it into the final piece. It could be an ending to it, sort of, so if you want to read the submission it is here (the challenge was to use specific previously created characters and made-up words).

But all you really need to know is that 'he' is a god who has appeared in 'her' apartment. I"m mostly concerned with the way I handled a lot of dialogue mixed with movements - I'm not sure if I managed that at all. That would be my main hope for crit. Thanks!


“Love me,” he whispered in her ear. “Fear me. And together we…”

He stiffened as she giggled, snorted, and pulled away.

“Okay, that was cool when David Bowie said it in Labyrinth, because, let’s face it, he was oh so hot and yummy in that movie. Though,” she pursed her lips and tapped a forefinger against them, “never since. Or before, actually. But oh my god – not you – he was so perfect for that roll.” He stared at her blankly. “But that’s not my point,” she rushed on. “It’s really not possible to both fear and love someone, at least not by my definition of love. Love is built on trust, compassion, and mutual understanding. Fear gets in the way of that.”

“But you…” he started, but she cut him off.

“I’m attracted to you, certainly. Physically, you are…” she ran her hands down his bare chest, her tongue darting out to lick her lips, “magnificent, to say the least. And there is nothing more – forgive me, my feminist friends – that I would like than to lay under you, cowering in my fear – oh, yes, I do fear you – as you dominate me in every sense.” She paused, gasping slightly, her eyes hungrily roaming his taut frame, “of the word. But to delude yourself into thinking that is love… no, lust, passion, animal instinct, yes. But never love.”

“That’s fine, he said bemusedly. “The fear part is good enough.” HE grabbed her and roughly dragged her back to the bedroom, where he did, indeed, dominate her in every sense of the word.

Afterwards, as they lay in bed, she turned to him and said, “The first couple of times were great, really… but once the thrill and fear wore off…” she trailed off and shrugged. “Perhaps I could give you some pointers…”


Challenge 24 Response(s) -
The story is 26 sentences long, and each sentence begins with a different letter of the alphabet, although not necessarily in a-z order.


Title: I to G on the way to Herrota
Challenge 24
Rating: G

I really wish it hadn’t come to this. Just ask anyone - I didn’t have a choice. Killing him was the last resort; it saved other lives at the cost of one. Lives that had been entrusted to me. Me, a minor priestess in the lowest temple of the House of Illia. No one would talk about why I was chosen, but I knew. Out of the twenty of us that were available, I was the only one they thought could kill if need be. Perhaps that had been the only reason they had accepted me to begin with; I had been brash and outspoken. Quite the opposite of most of the prospective priestesses. Rather than give me the boot, though, they had not only accepted me, they had accelerated my training. Soon I was as proficient with a sword as I was with poison. They had groomed me to be an assassin. Used me, however you looked at it. Very well, I had danced as their puppet, but now my duty was discharged. We’d be in the next village by sundown. Xeronia would take over care of the initiates, and I’d sneak off to… You know, I don’t know where I’d go. Zero responsibility means I don’t have to make plans. A leaf on the wind, going wherever it blows me. Behind me are the days of ferreting out spies, foiling plots, and never again would I kill in the name of the House. Certainly I’d be able to find work. Didn’t every town need an apothecary or two? Every town I’d been to had needed one, it wasn’t training you could get most places and well-trained apothecaries were in short supply. Fortunate, then, that training as an assassin would have such practical purposes. Good could still come of my life, starting tomorrow…

Title: W to V in a Xenobiology lab
Challenge 24
Rating: PG – one mild swear word

“What the hell?” she asked.

“Xenobiology troubles again,” he said grimly.

“You don’t think I have anything to do with it, do you?”

“Zebras, m’dear!”

“Are you insane?” she asked. “Because you’re staring to sound like a raving idiot.”

“Carol, I’m talking about the old saying. Don’t think zebras, think horses. Except, in this case, I think it was zebras. Forget about what seems impossible, m’dear!” he said excitedly.

“Granted, I think we’ve been through every seemingly possible explanation. Hoof beats heralding zebras… It could be the answer,” she mused.

“Just think outside of the box. Keep in mind that the proteins don’t react in any way we’ve seen before, so it’s not reasonable to think that the old rules apply. Let’s start from the beginning, work our way through the evidence again.”

“My research doesn’t amount to anything. Nothing we did got a reaction from the sample. Our cultures didn’t grow, but they didn’t die, either.”

“Perhaps we are testing the wrong substance?” he asked.

“Quit second-guessing yourself. Remember, the test subjects showed a reaction when we exposed them to it,” she chided gently.

“So why, outside of a living, breathing human, does this stuff show no reaction? There’s something that we are missing.”

“Unless you have any other ideas…” she trailed off.

“Very well,” he sighed, and they went back to work.


Challenge 21 Response
Title: The Ghost in the Castle (for lack of anything more creative)
Challenge: 21 - A dead narrator. Ghost, zombie, etc.
Rating: PG for two instances of a mild swear word
Notes: I have no idea where this came from. I seem to like rambling narratives, though. It's voice posted in abridged version in my journal if you're too lazy to read... ~.^

You would think there would be something left to inspire me in this moldy old castle. Some nook or cranny I hadn’t explored that would move me to write great sonnets. Well, not ‘write’ in the literal sense, as I am non-corporeal and unable to hold a quill. Perhaps ‘compose’ would be a better word. Yes, I’ve composed a sonnet to each and every bloody thing in this castle, even if I can’t remember all of them exactly. I remember I had written them; I remember that they existed at one time.

Ah, yes, memory. You thought, perhaps, that when you died your memory, your mind, was infinite? That’s a cosmic joke. I wish I could tell you I remembered my death as clearly as if it was yesterday – okay, no, not my death. I don’t remember much about it except it was exceeding unpleasant. I’d rather that remained a vague memory, thank you very much. But my last day with… oh, what’s her name?! The love of my life, the woman I adored… Henrietta? Helen? Heather? No matter, I remember I adored a woman, and I must surely have spent a last perfect day with her (at least I would have romanticized that last day after my death, regardless of whether it was truly perfect). And I wish I could tell you I remembered that day as clearly as if it were only yesterday, but I don’t. I remember it as if it took place 564 years ago. Coincidentally, that’s roughly the time it did take place. Nifty, that, eh?

See, after you die time doesn’t slow down or speed up; your mind doesn’t expand, you don’t gain infinite wisdom. At least I didn’t. But then, maybe this is hell. Just like life, only, no touching. No women, no food, no wine. Just… being. If you can call this being. Funny, I remember wishing I could be a fly on the wall so many times back when I was alive. Unfortunately, I now realize that the fun part about the whole ‘fly on the wall’ bit was afterwards, when you’d get to spread what you heard. Simply knowing things – for as long as you could remember, at any rate – is no fun. I had even stopped eavesdropping entirely by the time the castle walls began to crumble and all of the people left.

It was rough there for awhile, I won’t lie. If a ghost could commit suicide, I might have at least attempted it. But then even if I had succeeded, I’d be a ghost’s ghost, and would that be any different? I mean, could I be less substantial? And what, you might ask, would drive a ghost to such desperate measures?

Well, you see, as all the old things I knew and had composed volumes of poetry to had faded and decomposed. It’s very depressing to watch everything you know turn to dust. And, yes, I’ve tried to leave the castle to explore the countryside, but every time I get too far away I get so very weary, and when I fall asleep – if the dead can ‘sleep’ – I somehow return to the castle. I wake up sprawled on the dining table, of all the indignant places. Something in my memory from long ago tingles, there’s something special about this table. I know it. But I can hardly remember who I was, let alone why a table would be important.

Ah, yes, who am I? My name is… was… Sir... something. I was a knight. I think. The clothes I wear are rich enough, so I must have been somewhat successful in life. I’d reached a fairly advanced age, too. So I was either a really good knight, or… what? That, I admit, is a bit of a mystery. Then there’s the whole poetry thing. I couldn’t tell you if that was something I started after my death, or if I was a bard in life. I realize that sounds pathetic but these things happened well over 500 years ago. Seriously, can you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? No? Then cut me some slack. Perhaps had I drilled it into my head each and every day I would have remembered. I could have reaffirmed who I was and what I did and how I died every single day so I would never have forgotten. But I think I wanted to forget. I just don’t remember why.

But, luckily, just as I was at my worst – I was actually standing on top of the castle wall contemplating throwing myself off, and yes, I know that makes no sense but I was a little crazy, you understand – some more people came. They weren’t like what I thought I remembered, though I hadn’t seen anyone but the odd traveler in the distance for years. Centuries, perhaps. And admittedly, my memory is a bit fuzzy.

I don’t mean that they don’t look like people – they had the standard two legs, two arms, one head combination. But they didn’t dress or act quite the same. And they talked rather oddly, but I’m getting used to it. Even picking up some slang here and there!

It was also clear from the start that they were looking for something. And not a physical thing, either. They didn’t dig through the rubble or search the secret passageways. Instead, they just walked around, talking. And at first I thought I was completely unhinged, because it seemed they were talking to me! They would say things like, “Is there anyone here who would like to tell us something?” and wave a little gizmo around. And at first I would answer. I tried talking. Nothing. I tried yelling. Nothing. Nothing I did seemed to elicit a response. I figured they’d eventually give up, and that group finally did. But then another group came. And another. And more and more of them kept coming, with even more weird and scary gadgets.

I have learned, through careful observation and listening, how most of these gadgets work. Like the computer and the telephone. Very handy, indeed! They have access to vast amounts of information, though I do wonder how much of it is accurate. Evidently there’s quite a story behind this castle. Supposedly there was once a mystical amulet called the Stone of Sargon. And some nasty chap stole it and hid it long ago. There was bloodshed – murder – and plenty of mayhem. The sort of things that tend to encourage ghostly activities. This must have taken place about my time, according to my calculations.

I know, I know, it seems so obvious that this is me, right? I stole the stone-thing and got killed for being a bad person, and wanted to forget, so I did. And here I am, centuries later, still bound by the stone to the place I hid it. So very neat. So very predictable. Possibly true, of course, but there’s no way of knowing. I rather doubt it, but they are persistent.

You’d also think that if they wanted to research the legend, they’d be looking for the stone. And, to be fair, there have been a few archeologists that have poked through the castle. I take the most interest in them, because they make me think… I mean, what if they do find the stone? Am I suddenly going to remember or transcend or what? What if the stone doesn’t even exist, or isn’t here? What if I was nothing more than a nobleman who had a heart attack and died eating dinner? What if, what if, what if. It’s pointless to speculate, trust me – I spent the early years doing just that. Came up with nothing, or I wouldn’t still be hanging around this dump composing stupid little poems to all the new things I see. There was the recent classic, “Ode to the fresh dog turd” and “A sonnet to the new mold growth,” plus the every popular “Spin a spider web, spider!” None, sadly, destined for print and not only because I lack the capability to commit them to paper.

But back to the people. Most of them that come here call themselves ‘Ghost Hunters.’ They wave around these little instruments and claim to catch ‘hot spots’ and ‘voices on tape.’ Of course I know it’s all crap. I’m never where they say I am, I never said what they thought they heard, and I’ve never caused anything to move or made any strange noises. It’s an old castle, people. It’s falling down around your ears. That thumping sound? Loose rocks, nothing more.

And don’t even get me started on the ‘mediums.’ They claim to be in touch with their ‘spiritual guides’ who tell them all about the ghosts that inhabit the castle. Thing is, they talk about a tragic love-lorn maiden, a small child, a young man… Funny how they never mention the ghost of the middle-aged slightly pudgy man that’s standing right in front of them. And if these other ghosts they speak of exist, I’ve never seen them.

The really ironic thing? I am the proof that they seek, and yet I know they are frauds. They have to make things up because they can’t prove I exist – hell, I can’t prove to them I exist. I’m not even sure that I exist any more


Oh, Darling!
Title: The incident in the library
Challenge #: 19 - A place challenge: The library
Rating: PG
Disclaimers: Um, just... "I'm sorry" ought to cover it.

She crept through the hallway, shielding the candle with her free hand. If any of the other guests caught her creeping around after hours there would be hell to pay, but she was bored to death of the house party and gossip and just wanted to curl up with a good book. When had it become so bloody fashionable for members of the ton to have week-long house parties, anyway?

Besides, she reasoned to herself, it’s not like she hadn’t tried to procure a book earlier in the evening. If the gentleman hadn’t staked out the library as a men-only lounge, she’d be snug in her bed right now, reading comfortably in the safety of her own room. She wouldn’t be creeping about the hallway, worried about her reputation for the sake of a book! A board creaked in the hall to her right and she started, ready to dart back up to her room. But she forced herself to take a slow, deep breath and edged forward once again. Just a little further and she’d be in the library.

The sound came again, closer this time, and she darted into the massive, dark library. Standing close to the door, she heard men’s voices coming down the hallway. Quickly, she blew out the candle and raced around to the back side of the huge oak desk. A moment later, the door opened and the library was illuminated with a dull glow. She scrunched herself as far down under the desk as she could.

“Blackwell,” a man said urgently, “I’m sorry to disturb you at such a late hour, and here of all places, but this couldn’t wait.” The voice was gruff, and while the speech had a polished air she could hear a faint, coarse accent.

“That’s all right, Matthew, if it’s about The Black Medusa, it’s important.” Blackwell’s voice was low but powerful. She struggled to place the name. It was familiar, but…

“It is indeed, sir, we have news of a shipment in a week’s time. She’s to be anchoring off Coventry Point, and the men will row the cargo to the caves beneath Mulberry Hill. I assume you’ll be sailing with her when she heads back out?”

Smuggling? Her head spun. They were talking about smuggling? She knew Mulberry Hill, the crumbling old mansion on the coast. Her family summered in a cottage on the next property, and she’d explored the ruins as a child. She’d even been in the very caves they were discussing. Blackwell chuckled softly, and suddenly she remembered who he was.

“I do indeed. I’ve been on land too long. I have a few things to take care of first, but I’ll be in time to sail with the tide.”

Matthew murmured assent and she heard the door close after him. A chill went down her spine as she realized that she was in a library, unchaperoned, in the middle of the night with James St. Irving, the Earl of Blackwell. He may be the most eligible bachelor in all of society, but mothers still herded their daughters away from him at parties. His reputation was so bad that even the title – and fortune that came with it – wasn’t enough to entice any but the most desperate matrons to foist their marriageable daughters upon him. And on top of it, she’d just heard evidence that he was involved in… well, something. She couldn’t be sure it was smuggling, but what else could it possibly be?

She heard him moving about the room, rustling papers on the top of the desk, and prayed he didn’t come around to the other side. She pictured him, his tall muscular frame bent over the desk, a frown on his handsome face. Well, she thought him handsome, despite the scar that ran across his check and the almost permanent scowl he wore. But then, she grinned despite herself, she’d always been attracted to dangerous men. No wonder she couldn’t find a man she wanted to marry amidst the powdered and dandified ton.

At least he didn’t know she was here. If only he’d move on before the cramp in her leg got any worse! She bit back a groan and winced as she tried to shift slightly without making any noise. Above her she heard the faint scratching of quill on parchment.

“Lady Elizabeth,” his voice said softly, and she jumped so hard her head hit the underside of the desk. She crawled out from under the desk and looked up to find him staring at her, a bemused smile on his face.

She felt her heart skip a beat. If he’d been handsome with a scowl, he was devastating when he smile. Shakily, she got to her feet and drew her up to her full five feet.

“Yes?” she asked haughtily, as if she had every right to be hiding under a library desk in the middle of the night.

“It seems unfortunate that you should have chosen this evening to… what, exactly, were you doing?”

“I was looking for a book,” she said stiffly, craning her neck to look him in the eye.

“Ah, yes, I hear Lord Kensington keeps quite a collection of novels under his desk,” he said sardonically.

“Well, I… I…” she broke off, biting her lip.

He waved away her explanation. “It matters not why you are here, but you are, and that has put me in a bit of a bind. I can’t have you talking about what you heard here tonight, even though it wasn’t enough to prove anything.”

“I… I didn’t hear anything, milord,’ she said stubbornly.

He laughed again. “I admire your courage, I do.” His face softened. “And I am sorry.”

“For what?” she asked cautiously, as he started moving towards her. She backed up until she bumped into the desk, and he followed her, stopping when he was but inches from her. She stared at the broad expanse of his chest, then tilted her head up to look into his eyes. There was a hint of sadness there, and she felt her stomach drop.

“What…” her voice cracked, and she cleared her throat, “what are you sorry for?”

He reached up and caressed her check with one hand. She felt dizzy and put her hand on his chest to steady herself. She felt the muscles leap beneath her fingertips, and unconsciously she leaned into him. His mouth was creased into a hard frown, but his eyes were still gentle, roaming over her face.

“You’re the perfect one – I need you, and with your parents… this is the only way. I only hope… I only hope it works out.”

She frowned back at him now, more confused by his words than anything. “Me? Perfect?” Her lips twisted in a unhappy smile. Then she heard men’s voices in the hallway and she tried to pull away. “I need to hide.”

“No, I’m sorry,” he said, holding her tight. He leaned down and as his lips inched closed to hers, the library door swung open.

“I say!” cried a chorus of voices.

“Elizabeth!” a shocked voice she recognized as her father’s cried out.

“Father, I…” she looked bewildered.

Blackwell stepped forward, thrusting her slightly behind him. “Sir, I’m sorry you had to find out this way, but the truth is, your daughter and I wish to wed. Certainly you agree that under these circumstances, a quick wedding is the desirable thing. I have already procured a special license.”

“We’re... wait, we… what?” she asked shakily.

Blackwell turned and smiled down at her. “Married, love. We’re getting married.”


What was that?
Title: Babbling Brooke
Challenge #: 18 - "I really have no idea what you just said."
Rating: G
Disclaimers: I have to stop watching the Disney Channel. Seriously. This is very 'emotional teenage girl angst' ridden. At least, I think it is, not sure if the tone and language is quite 'on.'

“Did you ever have a feeling, you know, where you knew you should do something, but it was for all the wrong reasons, and you’re not really sure if you even wanted to do it, but you thought you should?” Brooke paused and took a breath. “I mean, I feel like I should, but then I don’t, because I don’t know, it just seems right, but wrong, because I can’t justify it and I don’t want to be petty. Even though I don’t really think I am, I mean, people grow apart, things change, you move on, right?”

“I really have no idea what you just said,” Jason said slowly.

“Look, I’m trying to decide if I should end a friendship. I mean, we are drifting apart and all, and it’s not like he’d probably even notice, all wrapped up in his new friends like he is. But if I refuse to hang out with him any more, then I’ll look petty, maybe, that is, if he even asks me to go anywhere again. Goodness knows he hasn’t come by in awhile, anyway.” She bit her lip. “And I in a way, I want to be the one doing the dropping, you know? I want to get it circulating that I’m not interested in seeing him anymore, before it gets out that I’m off his A-list.”

“I’m still a little lost, here…”

“Because,” Brooke went on as if she hadn’t heard him, “there’s nothing worse than being the dumpee. I mean, not a dumpee as in we’re dating - because we’re not, you know – we’re just friends, but it’s still a relationship and everything, so I think the term ‘dumpee’ and ‘dumper’ are still relevant. But then, that’s – a dumpee - what I’m trying to make him, so does that make me a terrible person? I mean, if we just drift apart, then it’ll be no fault.” She smiled, and then frowned. “Please. Who’ll believe that. He’s the cool one, in the ‘in crowd’ – they’ll all know. I have to snub him publicly, and first, or everyone will know, or at least assume, that he’s the one who moved on.”

“I have no idea…”

“But I don’t want to hurt his feelings,” she continued, cutting him off again. “Because despite him deserting me, he’s still a nice guy. I think. But then, maybe I never knew him? I think I knew him, I felt like I did, but did I? Really? Would he think twice about hurting me? I just don’t know. All I know is that it’s awkward and weird right now, but that could be just on my side. He could be just fine, not seeing anything wrong. That would be just like a guy. No offense.”

“Uh, none taken.” Jason looked confused. “But…”

“In fact, he probably doesn’t think anything is wrong at all.” She paused, looking thoughtful. “Unless he’s laughing about me with his new friends behind my back. Then I’m a joke and I don’t even know it. Poor, plain, sad Brooke. They probably tell all kinds of stories and laugh, poking fun at me. No wonder I’m not invited anywhere anymore. Can’t make fun of me if I’m there, now, could they?”

“Oh, I really doubt…”

“You’re probably right. I’m too inconsequential to even make fun of. They’re just out having a good time without me, creating all sorts of new in-jokes they can toss about in front of me to show me how out of the loop I am. Not on purpose, no, because that would imply I was good enough – important enough – to spare a thought about. No, I doubt they think about me at all.” She shook her head and sighed. “There’s only one thing to do about it. Thanks, you’ve been a big help!”

She beamed at him and walked out of the café.

He sat back in his chair, a bemused smile on his face. “No problem, glad to be of help,” he said softly to no one in particular.


Title: Melanie vs. D.
Challenge: Sixteen - "So that's the way it's gonna be, huh?"
Rating: PG
Notes: Nothing particular, just… light and fluffy.

“So that’s the way it’s gonna be, huh?” Melanie stared at her opponent, as if she could actually bend will by her mere gaze. She squinted her eyes, trying to look even more ferocious.

This was difficult, because Melanie stood a petite five foot even, and weighed 100 pounds dripping wet. Her round face looked almost comical screwed up in an expression of utter contempt and her blonde ponytail bobbed as she thrust a finger at her adversary.

“You think you’re so tough. Let me tell you, I can be tough. I’m tougher than I look, I’ll tell you that. People think they can push me around – hell, YOU think you’re assured victory – just because I’m little. But I’m determined.” And, indeed, her eyes did glint with steely determination and her small chin jutted up in defiance. “And you know, determination means a lot. I know my cause is just. I know that I am in the right.”

To prove her point, her hand darted out to grab her foe, but there was a ripping sound and her hand just came away with a small hunk of green. She stared at it a moment before tossing it on the ground. “Oh, think that proves anything, do you? Still think you can hold your ground? Think you’re mister tough guy, do you?”

She was aware her voice was rising, and saw her friend glance over from where she was seated at the patio table. But she couldn’t help it. She was mad, and she wasn’t going to take it anymore.

“Well, I’ll show YOU!” she shrieked, and grabbed with both hands. Then, suddenly, she was on the ground, her rear end smarting and globs of dirt in her eyes and clinging to her cheeks. Her friend, Vanessa, hurried over to her.

“You’re a loon, you know that,” Vanessa said, leaning over her. “Are you okay?”

“I… I…” Melanie stuttered, her eyes watering. “I think so.”

“Well, I think you showed it, all right.” Vanessa said.

Melanie blinked again to clear her eyes and looked down at her hands, still firmly grasping the dandelion. A large tap root was still attached, proving that she had, indeed, won the battle.

“That’s one weed that won’t mess with me again,” she grinned, and Vanessa, still shaking her head, helped her to her feet.


Response to Challenge 15
Title: A day in the life…
Challenge: 15 - Tell a story backwards
Rating: G
Disclaimers: This story was rather thrown together, and even though it’s written in first person I’m nothing like the main character. I did it more for the ‘groan’ quality of being ‘punny.’


Title: The Lighthouse
Challenge: Thirteen - Lyrics Challenge:

Like a beacon in the cold dark night
A star is born
Told ya ev'rything would turn out right
A star is born.

~ Hercules, A Star is Born

Rating: ‘S’ for Silly
Notes: Goodness. Coffee on an empty stomach does weird things to your brain. But at least I finally finally finally titled it properly with this header bit. Someone should have smacked me earlier. It’s the only way I learn.

Janice crumbled up the sheet of paper she’d been working on and sat nibbling on her pen. Writer’s block, she thought, really sucks. Her agent had been screaming at her for the last two weeks to get the book finished, but she just couldn’t find a suitable ending. Tossing the pen down on the desk, she got up and climbed to the top of the lighthouse.

It had been her agent’s idea that she come to this remote location, a crumbling old lighthouse on the eastern shore. For once, they had been in agreement. She had felt so sure that the change of scene would blow out the cobwebs and get her writing again. Instead, she had spent the last three days staring at a blank sheet of paper. Even the usual brainstorming doodles refused to emerge from the tip of her well-gnawed pen.

She walked around the top of the lighthouse, letting the cool ocean breeze blow through her hair. She took a deep breath and looked out at the ocean, the rocky shoreline, and the chunk of cave-riddled land jutting out to her left. It could have been the setting of her latest novel, except for the giant “Joe’s Crab Shack” neon sign she could see advertising the run-down little restaurant. Neon signs weren’t around 200 years ago. But other than that, it was perfect. That’s probably why her agent picked this particular location, hoping that scenery would inspire her to finish the book.

She continued around the top of the lighthouse until she came to the small brass plaque set into the wall. Her fingertips traced the engraving.

Like a Beacon in the Cold Dark Night.

A chill went through her as she read the words, and she laughed at herself for being so melodramatic. She wasn’t one of her adlepated heroines, ready to swoon at the drop of a hat. She was sadly level-headed and surprisingly unromantic for a romance author. She’d never done a book tour, though her agent oft tried to convince her to, because she was afraid if the fans saw how truly pessimistic and sour she was that they would stop buying her books. Not that she could figure out why they bought them anyway.

Barbie cookie-cutter heroines, standard plot devices and the usual dashing hero was all there was to her career. Hell, she could probably just change the names in an old book and re-sell it and no one would notice. They were all so alike anyway.

A sudden blast of a boat horn jolted her out of her reverie. She shook her head, ashamed at herself for having become so maudlin. Her books were fine, they were what the fans wanted, and they kept food on her table and a roof over her head. Maybe a bit too much food at times, she thought, patting her slightly ample hips. Then she frowned. A ship? This lighthouse had been deserted because there was no more ship traffic here. She looked out at the ocean, but a thick fog had begun to roll in, obscuring her view.

Glancing towards the Joe’s Crab Shack sign, she strained her eyes but couldn’t see its neon glow. Suddenly she saw a large black shape looming out of the fog coming straight at her. A ship – a large ship – was coming towards the lighthouse. Desperately she whirled around towards the bulb and saw...

A lantern. Where there once had been an electric lamp now sat a lantern. At her feet were a bottle of oil and a packet of match sticks. Without thinking, she reached down and grabbed them, adding oil to the lantern and lighting the wick. As the lighthouse blazed, she heard the shouts of the men on the ship.

“A star is born! Heave to Starboard! No, STARBOARD. YOUR OTHER STARBOARD!”

She saw the great black hull start to jerk around, straining at the sails. With barely a foot to spare it turned enough to slip past the jagged rocks and into the small cove. Curiosity overcame her and she hurried down the steps of the lighthouse and out to the cove. As she neared it, she saw men in rowboats coming to shore. As they pulled the boats up onto the beach she could make out snippets of their conversation.

“Told ya everything would turn out right,” a tall dark man said, striding up the beach with the authority of a captain. He glanced about the beach uneasily, as if he could feel her eyes on him. Suddenly, his eyes found hers and she was drawn into them, walking slowly forward. “Oh, yes,” he said, his eyes gleaming at the sight of her, “A star is born...”

And her grabbed her and pulled him into his embrace kissing her passionately. And they lived happily every after. No, wait. She was dreaming. No, she realized she had gone back in time and decided life without TV and microwave dinners wasn’t for her. Besides, he had bad breath. Lot to be said for dental hygiene. So she went back to the lighthouse and back to her own time. Or maybe he wasn’t dashing, and beheaded her on sight. Or she wakes up in an insane asylum. Oh, cripes.

Danielle crumbled up the sheet of paper she’d been working on and sat nibbling on her pen. Writer’s block, she thought, really sucks. Her agent had been screaming at her for the last two weeks to get the book finished, but she just couldn’t find a suitable ending. Tossing the pen down on the desk, she got up and climbed to the top of the lighthouse.


Response to Challenge 10 - original prompt here (A Place Challenge ... and the place I have come up with is a dormitory)
Okay, so I actually had an idea!  And it drove me mad that I was 'crazy busy' at work today and couldn't write it until this evening... :(  What's up with that, them expecting me to work?!

Anywho, the stories told within the story are true, though the vehicle I used to tell them is fictionalized.  Though the characters are based on people I work with, no such luncheon has (yet) taken place.  But the portrayed events did actual happen to me while I was going to college.  I'm sorry that only a small part of it is truly dorm-related, but I only lived there a year!  :)

Tales from a Jayhawker

I looked at Jasmine and Katie, sitting across the lunch table.

“You mean I never told you that story?”  I asked, bewildered.  I’m not usually one to keep a good story to myself, especially since I knew it would give me the chance to nettle Katie about her superstitions.

“No, I’m positive you haven’t,” Katie chirped, “I would have remembered.”

“Yes, you would,” Jasmine said slyly.  Jasmine has the same view of the supernatural that I do, but while I was somewhat taciturn in my dealings with Katie, she was… not.

“Well,” I broke in quickly, “there I was…”

“This is no shit, thought I was gonna die!”  Jasmine and Katie chorused together, completing the obligatory opening phrase to all of my stories.

I grinned at them, and leaned forward in an almost conspiratorial manner.  “It was my first year of college, and I was living in Corbin.  Rumors abound that it was the original campus building, and once housed not only the meager dorm space, but classrooms and… the medical ward.  Stories say that Corbin is haunted by the unfortunate souls that lost their lives long ago.  Of course, the same stories were probably told of several of the other buildings on campus, but my roommate and I chose to humor the ‘legends.’  After all, steam radiators heated the rooms and there were all the requisite spooky sounds for a haunted house.  Then one day…”

I paused, and raised both hands in front of me, wiggling my fingers.  “Doodly-doo doodly doo, doodly doo,” I said in my best Wayne’s World-esque flashback.

*****************************************

I was lying on my bed, lazily flipping through a book.  I wasn’t really reading it, but there was nothing on the television and there was very little else to do at 4 pm on a Wednesday.  My roommate, Darci, came bustling in through the door and dropped her heavy backpack on her desk chair before plopping on her bed.

“So,” she said, looking at me.

“So, what?”  I yawned lazily.

“What are we going to do tonight?” she asked, getting up and starting to paw through her closet.

“Do?” I asked stupidly.  “I don’t know, what is there to do?”

“Oh, all sorts of things.  You don’t have to work tonight, right?”

“No,” I smiled happily.  “I have the next two days off.”

“Well, then, we should so something, don’t you think?” she whined, holding up a rather hippie looking skirt and shirt combination questioningly.

I arched an eyebrow.  “Um, sure.”

“I think we should go to The Wheel.  If we get there soon enough they probably won’t have started carding…” she trailed, looking hopeful.

The radiator started up with its infernal clanking right about then, and she and I both turned to glare balefully at it.  Suddenly she smiled.

“Maybe we should ask the ghost’s permission first!”

I rolled my eyes.  “Oh, screw the ghosts!” I exclaimed.

Just then, the top edge of the poster above my head came loose and the stiff cardboard flipped down, striking me squarely in the face.  I heaved a great sigh from under it, then lifted it and pressed the tape firmly against the wall.

When I had once again secured the poster, I turned back to look at her.  She had set down the outfit and was moving towards her backpack.

“But then, staying in might be nice, too,” she said softly.

*****************************************

“And that,” I said with a smile, “was my run-in with the famed Corbin ghosts.”

“Oh my god!” Katie exclaimed, but Jasmine cut her off.

“What a freakish coincidence,” she said firmly.

“Indeed.” I agreed gravely.  “And a much funnier than the time I was reading…”

They both leaned forward eagerly.  I chuckled.

“This one took place two years later.  I had moved out of the dorms and was living in an apartment…” I paused, and they looked at each other and simultaneously gave me the flashback effect.

*****************************************

I was sitting in the dining room come reading nook of our apartment late one weekday evening.  My boyfriend was working the night shift, and our other roommate had already gone to bed.  All the lights in the apartment were turned off with the exception of the lamp next to my chair.  It was probably about 3 am and I was at the ‘just one more chapter’ point – almost falling asleep sitting up, but so into the book I couldn’t put it down.  I think it was a Louise Cooper book, but I honestly can’t remember.

The book is important, though, because it was about, in part, musicians who could ‘talk’ to one another using notes as words.  And one of them was doing… something, I can’t remember, where he threw a bunch of coins up in the air.  They landed on the floor in a ‘note speak’ pattern.  And it said: ‘We are watching.’

The instant after I finished reading those three words, the light bulb in the lamp went out.  And it didn’t just go out, no, it flared incredibly bright, went ‘POP’ and died.  The room was plunged into utter darkness.

*****************************************

Katie gasped and put her hand over her open mouth.  Even Jasmine looked a little disconcerted.  I grinned.

“My first, immediate thought was, of course, ‘Oh, crap.  I’ll never make it to the light switch without tripping over something.’  I’ve never been a great housekeeper, as you know.  So my main fear was killing myself trying to turn on another light.  But I have to admit it was a unsettling experience.”

“And you don’t believe it was a message?” Katie squeaked, her eyes wide.

Jasmine lifted an eyebrow at me.

“Not so much, no.  It was a coincidence, nothing more.  Though it makes for an interesting story!” I replied.

“But… but…” Katie stammered.

“Look,” I said firmly, “there are two instances of weirdness that stand out in my 31 years.  Coincidence more than alone covers those two bizarre happenings.  In fact, you’d think there would be more.  But, alas, I’ve led a very un-paranormal life.”

“Un-paranormal,” Jasmine chuckled.  “Good one!”

Katie pouted.  “I bet you would have a lot more if you’d just open up.  If you embraced the spirit world, I’m sure they’d have loads to tell you.  You’re probably a natural.”

Jasmine and I glanced at each other.  We both knew that Katie was taking classes to try to ‘enhance’ her ‘psychic ability.’  And we both also thought it was a crock.

I glanced at my watch.  “I don’t know about the spirit world, but good ole Mr. Timex is telling me that if we don’t run, we’re going to be late getting back to work!”


Challenge 8 response - Original prompt here
I actually went the way of "Whose line" with this, and my characters speak only in song titles. That's right, every phrase my characters utter is an actual song title. So while the dialogue might not be stellar, I think I did a right fine job and am really proud of myself! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Breaking up is hard to do

I walked into the bar and sat heavily on a stool.  The bartender peered at me for a moment, then said, “I remember you!”
 
“Hey, Jude,” I reply morosely. 
 
“Simon the Bullet Freak,” he chuckled, “Bullets to spare!  Tell me what you want.”
 
“Shot of poison?”  I replied, and he shook his head. 
 
“Poison?  Leave that thing alone.”
 
“Tequila,” I replied, “Straight up.  Just between you and me… I’m so worried… I think I’m going bald.”
 
“How about that.  Don’t know what you got til it’s gone,” he sympathized.
 
“Nothing to say,” I sighed, “One thing leads to another… Nothing else matters.”
 
He set the drink down in front of me, and gestured to the plane tickets protruding from my pocket.  “Leaving on a jet plane?”
 
“Where ever I may roam!”  I exclaim, and smiled, leaning forward to add, “Margarittaville!”
 
Just then the door opened and a tall blonde woman walked in.  I could see Jude’s eyes bulging as he said, “See her?  Centerfold!  A world of fantasy…”  His eyes got even bigger as she turned to hang up her coat on the coat rack.  “Big bottom,” he grinned.
 
“My wife,” I said grimly, “here comes trouble!”
 
“Tell me!”  He said, not looking at all ashamed at having been caught ogling her.
 
“Never ending nightmare.  Crazy.  Nasty piece of work.  The hellion.  Cold hearted woman – cold as ice.  Bad Attitude.”
 
“My oh my,” he replied, “goodbye to romance!”
 
“Sad but true,” I said as she approached, “Jack-A-Lynn.”
 
“Here again?” She sneered.  “In the Court of the Crimson King?  How about that.”
 
“Here I am!”  I responded, trying to sound a little happy to see her, but it was difficult.  Suddenly she spied the tickets.  Her eyes slowly bored into mine.
 
“What you don’t know sure can hurt you,” she said slowly.  Her eyes glanced toward Jude and she grabbed my arm.  “Follow me.  C’mon, c’mon.”
 
“You should know by now,” I said as she dragged me to her car, “This is not love.  We’re no good together.”
 
When we were both in the car, she turned to me and said, “I don’t want to lose you.”
 
“Do I have to say the words?”  I pleaded, “I’m leaving you.”
 
She pulled away from the curb, and without looking at me, said, “Don’t leave me this way.  We belong…  The way I feel…”
 
“Don’t tell me you love me,” I said, as she broke off, choking back sobs.  “I don’t want to know.”
 
“All I wanted…” she broke off, taking a deep breath, “If only…to be with you.”
 
“Give it up,” I said more harshly than I should have, “That was yesterday.  Living in the past!”
 
“If not you…” she left the question hanging in the air.
 
“Better love next time!”  She started at me, and I reddened slightly.  “Slip of the tongue.”
 
“Anything you say,” she said, starting to sound angry.  Her driving was becoming a little frightening.  “Do anything you want to do.”
 
“Easy does it,” I said nervously, watching the road ahead.
 
“I’m mad!” she retorted.  “Tell the truth.  Too late for love?”
 
“Can I tell you,” I grimaced as she took a corner a little quickly for my comfort, “what’s on my mind?”
 
“No more tears,” she said tersely.
 
“She said she was a dancer…” I started, but broke off when I saw her expression tighten dangerously.  I sighed.  “Truth hurts.”
 
“You took the words right out of my mouth,” she said levelly.  “So tell me why.”
 
“Why?’  I shrugged.  “Manic depression.”
 
“I hate myself for loving you.”  She sighed, and began to mumble sarcastically under her breath, “Don’t stop believing… love conquers all… always look on the bright side of life…”
 
“Still, I’m sad,” I said softly.
 
“To be sad is a mad way to be,” she said flippantly.
 
I fought the urge to grin as I shot back, “I’m going slightly mad.”
 
“One little victory,” she said hollowly, “I want it all.  Dharma for one!”
 
“I won’t forget you,” I said hesitantly.
 
“Liar!” she said, her voice sharp and dripping with venom.  “Wasted years.”
 
“Rocks on the road,” I said suddenly, as I noticed some rather large boulders blocking part of the lane.  She jerked angrily on the wheel and the car careened off the road and toward the low stone wall that topped the culvert.
 
“The wall!”  I screamed, “Turn!  Turn!  Turn!”  She wrenched the wheel again, narrowly missing the wall.  But now we were heading directly for a small copse of trees.  “The trees…” I croaked, but my words were lost as the car slammed headfirst into a large oak and the airbag exploded in my face.
 
I lay back in my seat, stunned and not able to draw a breath.  She leaved over me and shook me gently.  “Breathe!”  She cried, “speak to me!  Keep yourself alive!”
 
I groaned, “Who wants to live forever?”
 
She jumped up and ran back to the road, waving her arms and screaming, “Hey you!  Doctor, doctor!”
 
I lay there, stunned, and soon a heard a small group approaching.  An older gentleman leaned over me and peered into my eyes.  “Hold on,” he said gruffly.
 
His face began to waver as my head started to pound.  I groaned and grabbed my head slurring, “My favorite headache.”
 
I saw his lips move, but didn’t hear what he said over the sound of the blood rushing in my ears.  The last thing I remember before passing out was looking over at Jackalynn’s concerned face and saying softly, “The mouse police never sleeps.”

cross posted to my own journal 'cause I'm so darn proud of it!  :)


3 p's response (sort of) and a fable
I really tried, but all I could come up with for the 3 p's was a tongue twister sort of thing:

"Pretty parading princesses perkily prancing to prison"  Eeek!

But, I also wrote a fable, and it's a new genre for me (not to mention writing kids) and since we got the okay to post non-prompt responses here, I thought I'd ask you guys to give it a gander.  The ending is incomplete, it's a fill-in-the-blank right now.  I haven't decided on the appropriate ending, and maybe you could give me some suggestions?   Thanks!


“Gather ‘round, children,” Mrs. Anderson called out in her soft, sing-song voice.  She waited patiently as the children arranged themselves in a large semi-circle around her chair.

When they had settled down, she asked, “Do you know what time it is?”

Four little hands immediately shot up in the air.  One began waving wildly.  Mrs. Anderson smiled benevolently down on the little boy.

“Yes, David?”

“Is it,” David hesitated, chewing his lower lip, “story time?”

“Yes, it is,” she said, and David beamed.  “But it’s a special story time.  This is a story that teaches a lesson.  Does anyone know what that is called?”

The children looked at one another, some of them with frowns creasing their small faces.  One girl finally put her hand up tentatively.

“Yes, Melissa?”

“Is it like the story of the rabbit and the turtle, written by the A-slop guy?”

Mrs. Anderson smothered a grin, and replied, “Yes, exactly that type.  The author is Aesop, and he writes fables – stories that teach us a valuable lesson.  Do you know what the lesson of that fable was?”

Melissa looked thoughtful for a moment, and replied, “That being slow and steady wins the race?”

“Precisely,” said Mrs. Anderson, “and now I’m going to tell you another fable, but pay close attention, because the ending is up to you.”

The children shifted slightly, all trying to get comfortable, and Mrs. Anderson waited until all of the bright, shining faces were turned her way before she began.

“This is the story of a group of children, not unlike yourselves, that lived at the North Pole.  They were a happy group, all getting along and playing in the snow every day during recess.  It was tradition at this school to build snowmen, and every day the children would go out and each would build a snowman during recess.”

At this, a little girl raised her hand.  “Yes, Tammy?”

“Mrs. Anderson, can’t they build snow-women as well as snowmen?”  Tammy asked timidly. 

“And what about snow dogs?”  Cathy blurted out.

“Cathy, remember to raise you hand,” Mrs. Anderson chastised gently, “but you are both correct.  Let’s say ‘snow sculptures’ from now on – the children could build anything they wanted, okay?”

The children smiled and nodded, undoubtedly dreaming of the magnificent snow sculptures they would build, if and when it ever snowed.

“So, the children would build snow sculptures every day at recess, and it soon became apparent that some of the children were better at it than others.  So some of the better children started helping the other children finish and improve theirs.  It was a grand system, and soon all of the children were helping with all of the sculptures, and the lawn of the school was covered with magnificent ...” Mrs. Anderson paused and looked at the children.  “What would you have built?  Let’s go around in a circle,” she said, pointing to the young boy on her right.

“A dragon!”

“A puppy dog.”

“A castle.  But not just any castle – Hogwarts!”

“I was gonna say Hogwarts!  Fine, a quiddich field!”

“A mermaid.”

“A princess... with a puppy dog.  And a kitten.”

“Um, a vampire snowman!”

“King Kong!”

“A pony.”

“I don’t know... maybe a robot?”

“So,” continued Mrs. Anderson, nodding approvingly at the children, “all these creative and unique snow sculptures sat on the lawn, and passers-by would often stop to take pictures and give compliments to the children.  Especially on how well they worked together.  What was the important lesson they were learning?”

Two hands were raised.  “Yes, Jeffery?”

“That they needed to work together and share and play nice,” he responded promptly.

“Yes, but what else?  Tabitha?”

“That they all had different things they were good at, and if they worked together they could ...” she paused, struggling to think of the correct word, “compliment each other and create something perfect.”

“Yes, although nothing is ever perfect,” Mrs. Anderson said gently.  “They learned that working together, they could build things better and faster than working alone.  They learned to accept help from others, and to give help graciously and kindly.  And so the sculptures, over time, became more and more intricate and detailed.  The children were learning all sort of tricks about snow and ice, some from each other, some from others who stopped by to lend a hand or give a compliment.”

The children were smiling, imagining a fantastic snow-covered world where they were playing out in the snow.

“It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?”  Mrs. Anderson asked, and the children nodded.  “And it was, until one day, they got a new student.”

The children glanced at one another, looking apprehensive.  They didn’t want anything bad to happen to their beautiful fantasy world.

“So, one day, a new girl named Angela transferred from another school.  She seemed nice enough, if a little withdrawn, and the children tried to be friendly and draw her into their games.  When it came time for recess, Angela went out into the playground with everyone else, and stopped to gaze at the sculptures.  ‘Isn’t it grand?’ asked one little boy, but Angela merely shrugged and replied, ‘I’ve seen better.’  Rebuffed, the boy went off to start on his own sculpture, leaving Angela to find her own pile of snow to play in.  At the end of recess the children, as had become their custom, walked around and looked at the sculptures.  They started with Angela’s, a moderately nice set of snowmen playing poker.  ‘Not too bad, for your first try!’ The first child said, and several of the other children chimed in with other compliments and comments about how she could make it even grander – not that it wasn’t nice, just that it could be better.  Angela got huffy, and replied, ‘Your snow is inferior to the snow I’m used to working with, and I had very little time.  It’ll work itself out.’  The children were taken aback, as they were only trying to help.  But, they shrugged, maybe she was just sensitive.  So they moved on.  They visited sculpture after sculpture, each child giving positive comments as well as tips to improve the work.  Except Angela.  When she said anything, it was short, curt, and rude.”

Tabitha raised her hand.  “Yes, Tabitha?”

“Why didn’t the teacher say anything?  You always tell us to say something nice, or not say anything at all.”

“That is true, but there was no teacher out in the yard.  Only the children played there, and there had never been a reason for a teacher to intervene.”

Tabitha nodded, and looked thoughtful. “But they could have told a teacher, right?”

“Perhaps, but the children were afraid that if they couldn’t resolve it themselves, a teacher would step in and ruin their fun.”  Mrs. Anderson said, thinking on her feet, “They might have been told that if they couldn’t get along and play nice, they wouldn’t be allowed to play at all.”

Tabitha’s face cleared in understanding and she nodded knowingly.  A few other children mumbled in agreement, and Mrs. Anderson resumed the story.

“In the following days, Angela was harsh to all of the children, saying that one’s sculpture was too sloppy, another’s was too bland, and that one child clearly did not even understand the art of snow sculpture.  But when asked to help pitch in with the work, she scoffed and turned away.  Her own sculptures were good, though she refused any help with them, and some of the children did admire her.  But her attitude had hurt many of the children, and they longed for the days when everything out on the playground was fun.  Soon, some of them began drifting away from snow sculpting, and went to play on the swing sets.  A group of children finally decided that they needed to do something about it.”

Mrs. Anderson paused and surveyed the children.  “So, dear children, you are the leader of that group.  What do you do?”

The children looked around at one another, uncertain.  Finally, one child raised their hand, and said...


Response to Challenge 6
Another cliche challenge ... it's "Disappeared off the face of the earth". - Original post here

This isn't very good - it's not quite my style (a la Scott Adams) and I don't think I made it work quite right.  So, why am I posting it?  Because I'll never get better if I don't get some criticism and feedback.  So, this is a series of memos written to employees from the big boss.  It's supposed to be absurd and over the top kind of stuff, but I think I missed badly.  Please help!


October 5, 2005

Dear Valued Employee,

In recent weeks, we (members of the upper management level) have noted a marked increase in the quantity of office supply requests coming from your department.  We are left to wonder what is happening to the supplies that were ordered previously (which were, according to past trends and predicted uses, enough to last through the rest of the year)?  We are also curious about some of the non-standard office supply items being requested, such as (but not limited to): premium paper glue, glitter, decorative hole punches and scissors, thread, and whole bean coffee.

I, personally, took a stroll through the office and its supply cabinet last night and noted that the 24 packs of multi-colored highlighters ordered just three (3) days ago were no where to be found.  The 17 new staplers, as well, seem to have disappeared off of the face of the Earth, or at least off of the desk of the individuals requesting them.  And despite having ordered 150 reams of paper in assorted colors over the last month, there were only 2 reams of white paper left in the store room.

I also noted that the count on the copier, which is reset monthly by the technician that services it, read 487,561.  Our typical copier counts have ranged from 50,123 – 156,342 (depending on the time of year).  We have also noticed that this department is using three times the number of ink jet cartridges in its printers than are other departments that serve similar functions.

While we understand that, occasionally employees will use office equipment and supplies for their own purposes, this should be kept to the barest minimum to reduce the cost to the company.  We do not want our greatest asset (our employees) turning into our greatest liability.

I appreciate you attention in this manner.

Philip Harold Brown, President

~~~

November 2, 2005

Re: Memo dated October 5, 2005

Dear Valued Employees

In an earlier memo I had addressed some irregularities in our office supply ordering and stock.  The situation, instead of improving, seems to have gotten worse.  Orders have increased three-fold, however, when I toured the office there was a distinct lack of any office supply stock.  Even some of the potted plants (which are, by the way, rented) had vanished.  Unless the plants spontaneously evolved and have left the office of their own volition, I would strongly urge those that facilitated their remove to return them as soon as possible.

I refer you to the contract you signed when you joined the company, which reads, in part:

“And theft of office property, including ideas or confidential information, will be dealt with through the HR department’s disciplinary action plan, up to and including involving the authorities and making an arrest and pressing formal charges.”

Need I also remind you of the part of the contract that reads:

“And thoughts, ideas, or action plans conceived by an employee while employed by PHB Co. will become the property of PHB Co.   Any profits, patents, or inventions from such enterprises will also be property of PHB Co.”

Thank you for your attention in this matter,

Philip Harold Brown, President

~~~

December 7, 2005

Re: Memos dated October 5, 2005 and November 2, 2005

Dear Ex-Employee,

Patricia, you owe the company $5,496.15 from the profits of your hand-made card company, and will be brought up on charges for stealing the company’s client list.  According to the employee handbook Section Q, Sub-Section 314, Part 4 you also are required to hand over your first-born child.  James, I believe his name is.  We have also frozen your bank account, repossessed your house, and published your picture in the local paper.  All of these are legal  actions, according to our team of lawyers, based on the contract you signed.

Yours,

Philip Harold Brown, President

~~~

December 7, 2005

Re: Memos dated October 5, 2005 and November 2, 2005

Dear Ex-Employee,

Matthew, you owe the company $10,597.54 for self-publishing your book (on our copier) and the subsequent profits from selling the book.  According to Section R, Sub-section 6, Part 87 of the handbook I am also permitted a night with your wife.  Thankfully, you have good taste, so Susan should report to my house Friday evening, 5ish.  Please have her wear the red dress she wore to the cocktail party last month.  Also, we retain the rights to the sequel, which you must have finished no later that June 13th of next year.

Yours,

Philip Harold Brown, President

~~~

December 7, 2005

Re: Memos dated October 5, 2005 and November 2, 2005

Dear Ex-Employee,

Becky, your gourmet coffee basket business has been operating in the red, and therefore you are simply required, as per Section Y, Sub-Section O, Part 1 to serve coffee to the board during all meetings for the next year wearing a dunce cap.  Please bring fresh-baked coffee cake, as well.

Yours,

Philip Harold Brown, President

~~~

December 7, 2005

Re: Memos dated October 5, 2005 and November 2, 2005

Dear Craig,

You have been operating a successful office supply company, selling stolen office supplies to other corporations.  Said corporations include our own, and according to Section 5, Sub-Section H, Part 50 of the handbook we are now pleased to offer you a position in upper management.  Resourcefulness and ingenuity are highly prized in our corporation.  The stipulation is that you must never tell anyone that we bought our own stolen goods.  That would look bad to the shareholders, and with your new stock options, you certainly wouldn’t want that!

Sincerely,

Philip Harold Brown, President


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