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Friday is Prose Prompt day at Write_Away, where a situational prompt is posted. It is then your job to concoct a story using this element. I have given a brief description for each one and linked to the original prompt entry, as well. Again, these are free-written, un-edited pieces!
Brief description: This week, you prompt is to write a short story or scene during which one of the characters mentions a one-year anniversary. For an added challenge, make the one-year anniversary that of a historical event.
Well, I can't very well complain about the lack of posts if I'm not posting myself - Mr. Pot, there's a Mr. Kettle on line two that would like to speak to you... (yes, it's old but it makes me chuckle!) So here's a two for one, the last two Friday Prose Prompts rolled into one. I know there's a lot wrong with it, so flex your critiquing muscles!
She sighed as she watched the coffee drip into the coffee pot. Eleven months, 29 days and 4 hours. Her marriage had almost lasted a year. A bitter smile twisted her lips. Actually, it could have easily lasted that year if she hadn’t decided to come home and change her shoes. She wandered back up to the bedroom, where her suitcase lay packed on the neatly made bed. The plane ticket was sitting on the top of her open carry on bag.
She looked around the room for anything she might have missed. But very little in the spacious bedroom had belonged to her. He had picked out everything, down to the paint colors on the wall. She had known he was a control freak, but she could have lived with that. But to find him in bed with another woman… and then to have him blame her! She shook her head. It was so very cliché. She had at least expected better of him.
She knew he had married her for her money – men were only ever interested in her money – but if he had just been discrete. Played the good husband in public, took her out on the town now and again, at least pretended to be happy. Then she would have stayed. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror and scowled. Pretend is the only thing she could do. No man would truly want her, not since the accident.
Turning from the mirror, she went out of the bedroom and started down the stairs just as the front door opened. She froze at the bottom of the stairs and stared at him as he shrugged off his overcoat. He glanced at her, then walked into the living room and turned on the TV. She heard the nightly news intro start playing.
“Would you like some coffee, dear?” she asked timidly from the doorway.
“Yes,” he replied without turning around.
“Do you have any plans for tomorrow?”
He turned then, and gave her an icy look. “Not involving you, no.”
“But it’s our anniversary!” she cried, sounding hurt.
“It’s just another day. Where’s my coffee?”
She went into the kitchen and fixed his coffee just the way he liked it – two sugars and a bit of cream. Almost as an afterthought, she picked up the small brown vial on the counter and emptied it into his coffee as well. She carefully washed out the vial and wiped the outside of it clean before hiding it in the vent in the floor. Then she picked up the coffee cup and took it in to her husband.
Brief description: This week your Friday Prose Prompt is to write a short story or scene that uses the numbers one through ten. They can be used in any order, as digits or as words, and you can combine digits (e.g. 72 counts for seven and two). For an added challenge, use the numbers creatively in order. You have one hour. When you are finished, post your response to the community for the rest of us to see.
Oh, man, I just re-read the prompt and I guess I didn't have to do them in order, did I? Well, at any rate, I did, and used each number exactly once. I didn't realize how often I use the word "one." It may seem a little awkward in spots because I had to find alternate wording... And I'm not entirely happy with the ending. It feels... unresolved, and I think I should at least have referenced the beginning topic again. Or maybe it's just that it needs more - that the ending is just far too abrupt. I'm not entirely sure.
“Oh, I just need to duck into this store for one second!” I tugged on Alan’s arm, pulling him into the scrapbook store.
He sighed, groaned, and followed me in. I took a quick turn around the store before ending up by the photo albums. I sorted through the sale pile, coming up with a few good candidates for Jessie’s baby shower album.
“Which do you think?” I asked, holding up the two most promising options. The first was a light sea-foam green, the other was a soft buttery yellow. He looked at me skeptically.
“I don’t know,” he said in an exasperated tone, stealing a glance at his watch. “But the games starts at three, and I’d really like to be at the bar before then.”
I shot him a dirty look. “She’s your sister, and yet I’m doing all the work. The least you could do is express an opinion on something this simple. Is that asking too much?”
“In the history of the world,” he said levelly, returning my cold look, “men have had an opinion on exactly four things. Sex, sports, beer, and food. If it does not fall into those categories, I simply don’t care. I don’t care what color her album is, or what food you want to serve, or where you want to have the stupid bloody party. I. Just. Don’t. Care.”
I glared at him, “Look, you’ve already wasted five minutes with your ridiculous speech, when you could have just arbitrarily chosen and we’d be out of here. Now get off your macho ‘men don’t make style decisions’ horse and just point. Green,” I raised the green album, “or yellow,” I lifted the yellow. “Simple as that.”
He grunted as gestured vaguely in the direction of the yellow album. I gave him a disgusted look.
“The green is much prettier. Your taste sucks,” I said simply, putting the yellow album back in the stack.
“Then why the bloody hell did you ask for my opinion?!” He said through clenched teeth.
I patted his arm as I carried the green album up to the register. “Because I value your opinion, honey, it’s just that in this case, you were wrong.”
I paid the six dollars for the album and headed off to the car, Alan glumly following. I tried to cheer him up with some sports related chatter.
“I hear that the Bengals are a seven point favorite today,” I said nonchalantly, then sat back to nod and smile while he went on and on about the importance of a strong secondary, the relative strengths of the passing games, and how he hated field turf almost as much as the old Astroturf.
“I mean, I understand that college teams need something more durable that regular grass,” he was saying as we pulled up to the bar, “because they can't afford the maintenance cost associated with real grass. But there have been so many eye injuries because of the granules in it. I hear it settles down after a year or so, but until then…”
We walked into the bar and immediately saw Justin waving at us from a primo table. It looked like the rest of the gang was already there, too. Alan cut his eyes to me and mumbled, “At least someone got here early enough to get us a good seat.”
I bit my tongue. Looking about, I noticed that there were only a few corner tables left - but there was no way I was going to admit that he had been right in and way, shape, or form. If you can’t gloat about how you were right, it’s best to say nothing at all.
We sat down and the waitress came over to take our order. Justin took a quick headcount.
“Eight Fat Tires, please,” he said. I grimaced. I didn’t really like beer, but the whole ‘when in Rome’ scenario seemed to fit here. I smiled when the waitress set our beer on the table, and settled back to watch the game.
It ended up being a rather single-sided game, not at all exciting. Justin, Alan, and Mark chatted about work. Marcia and Jen were chatting about the latest sale at Michaels. Jeff and Craig were arguing over who could chug the most beer in a minute. Jeff won, pouring nine glasses of beer down his throat in just under a minute. Despite myself, I was a little impressed. Sure, he was a complete idiot and his bar tab was going to be astronomical, but you have to admire his dedication.
The Bengals won ten to nothing, and we drove home with heavy hearts. Our playoff dreams were over.
Brief description: This week, your Friday Prose Prompt is to write a story or scene that will chill your reader, but there's a catch. When writing, you cannot use "cold" or any synonyms (chilly, ice, freezing, etc). You have one hour. When you're done, post your response to the community for the rest of us to read.
Oddly, it warmed up here the last few days and we're enjoying quite balmy temperatures. Comparatively speaking, of course. It's still December, but I'll certainly take a high in the 50s over the sub-zero temperatures we had for awhile. Though I'm sure it won't last.
I sat in the brilliant white-encrusted cave listening to the howling storm outside. I was lucky I had found this little niche, out of the wind that was cutting through my goose down jacket like a knife. I huddled in a corner, my teeth chattering madly and my limbs convulsing. I was already losing the feeling in my hands and feet, and didn’t know how much longer I had before I risked losing a few toes and fingers; maybe even my nose.
Thinking back, I don’t know how I had gotten separated from the group. The storm had moved in quickly, turning the air into a curtain of white, but I had been right behind James… I thought if I just kept moving straight ahead, I was bound to bump into them. I trudged along for what seemed like an hour without a single sign of them. I didn’t know if they noticed I was missing. I couldn’t even be sure any of them had made it back down the mountain alive. Either way, I had no idea if there would be anyone coming to look for me. I felt drained and tired and I fought the urge to close my eyes.
But what could I do? At 27,000 feet I was up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
I laughed, and watched my breath form shapes in the air. I reached out one numb, gloved hand and swiped at the cloud. The swing threw me off-balance, and I fell to my side. I curled up, my arms and legs like dead weights and my lungs struggling to draw air. My eyes drifted shut. A quick nap… just a few moment’s sleep…
Brief description: This week, your Friday Prose Prompt is to write an advertisement relating to a book. You can write the script of a commercial selling Tom Sawyer's Painting Services, or take out a personal ad for Elizabeth Benton--be as creative or as serious as you like.
A three-for-one! An ad, the word "ubiquitous" slipped in, and a story of escape. In case you're wondering, the travel group in the ad comes from Maddy Hunter's "Passport to Peril" series, a light and fluffy humorous mystery series that I would highly recommend to people who like writers such as Janet Evanovich. There's a lot to be read between the lines - or, in this case, inside the ellipsis - if you know the entire storyline, but I'm hoping it stands okay even without.
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Brief description: This week, your Friday Prose Prompt is to write about a birthday party. Who's party is it? Is it for a person or a place? Or maybe it's for the family pet? You have one hour.
I think I erased more than I ended up keeping, and I think the idea worked better in theory than it did in execution. But I thought I'd post it anyway, give everyone an opportunity to flex their critiquing muscle, because this piece could sure use it...
Sonya sat, huddled down in the darkness, listening to the far-off sounds of the birthday party. Her left leg was beginning to cramp from the awkward position, and she tried to shift slightly to ease her aching muscles. Honestly, what was taking so long? Vito has said it would be 10 minutes a good 30 minutes ago. She shifted again, trying to get the circulation back in her right foot.
She sighed into the darkness, contemplating her life, her career, and her mission for this evening. No matter how you look at it, she was stuck here in the darkness because she was a woman. She had stupid sparkly pasties stuck to her nipples because she was a C cup. She had a g-string wedged in her butt crack because she was a slim, but muscular, size 6. She sighed and shifted again, feeling a bead of sweat begin to run down between her breasts. Damn, it was hot in here. You’d think they were baking this thing before they wheeled it out.
Suddenly she felt the platform she was crouched on begin to move. The sounds of the party grew louder and more recognizable. The steady beat of the music mixed with the low murmurs of the business men and the occasional shout of the rowdy drunkards in the crowd. She shivered with the thought of all those sweaty hands pawing at her. Being objectified was something you just never quite got used to, no matter how often it happened. At least this was better than her last assignment, she thought. She remembered standing on the street corner, freezing in sub-zero weather, wearing a miniskirt and stiletto heels.
The platform stopped. The crowd grew quiet, and the music stopped. Then her song began. She had just a few seconds to think through her routine. The birthday boy was the elusive Michael Milner, a rich CEO with supposed ties to the Mob. Getting anywhere near the man was said to be impossible; the police had tried just about everything. He’d been recently widowed due to a freak electrical accident that had claimed the life of his beloved wife. By all accounts he was devastated by his loss, and she rather wondered why his friends thought this party was a good idea for him. Perhaps this was their idea of therapy?
The music swelled, and just as the top of the giant cake flipped open Sonya reached down with her left hand and grabbed her last accessory. A sensual smile plastered on her face, she began to sway and dance her way towards the slightly tipsy-looking birthday boy. Keeping her left hand slightly behind her and out of sight, she slid gracefully onto his lap. She leaned her face close to his, her lips just inches from his ear.
“Happy Birthday, Mr. Milner,” she breathed sensually. His eyes glittered and he reached a meaty hang up to grab her.
In one smooth movement she whipped the Glock-9 out from its hiding place behind her back. A real smile spread across her face as she pressed the barrel of the gun to his temple.
“Police, Mr. Milner. You are under arrest for the murder of Louise Ann Milner.”