This writing prompt series is an irregular effort to force myself to write when I otherwise feel abandoned by a Muse of any sort, let alone the unfortunate specimen assigned specifically to me. If you don’t remember the origin of this series, you can catch up here with Part I, here with Part II, here with Part III, here with Part IV, here with Part V, and here with Part VI. But fair warning: reading those entries, while providing a modest sense of continuity, will very likely not help you make any sense of it beyond a vague feeling there may be a recurring character involved in some sort of questionable religious past. Or present???
The rules are simple: using the writing prompt book Write the Story, include the ten provided words (underlined in this text) in a story using the given title. Any failure to do this, no matter how fleeting, will result in a sharp rap on the knuckles with a ruler wielded by an angry, eagle-eyed nun.
The ruler, by the way, is metric only. As it should be.
Business as UNusual
As a full-time trapeze artist, I found it difficult to relate to people other than my fellow trapeze artists. The idea of working in an office, or spending time in a studio interviewing a politician or celebrity (or celebrity politician!), or being able to ignore the dangers inherent in space travel in order to go for a moonwalk were completely alien to me. I could no more embrace a new career than I could another man’s housewife.
And then I met the new nurse. She’d signed on with our carnival company after some sort of unpleasantness involving a cult. That was the scuttlebutt, anyway, though no one seemed to have any concrete details on the matter. Our chance encounter was triggered by, of all things, a possibly rabid dog, a frenzied dash of terror across an empty field during a rain storm, and a lightning strike.
Not of me, thankfully. As the hairs on my neck rose and the air began to crackle, my early days of open air trapeze training kicked in and I flung myself to the ground, pursuing foamy-mouthed stray be damned. The lightning struck the dog, and I heard the most heart-wrenching wail in its aftermath, louder to my unpracticed ear than the furious accompanying thunder. Whether it was the dog or me who made that sound, I cannot say. But when I looked up and around, the dog was gone, leaving me alone in the weedy field with the puckered wound of a dog bite on my thigh.
I stumbled into the old health clinic, long abandoned and therefore cheaply rented by our company to service, once again but temporarily, as a medical facility. She was on duty that night, her smile as bright and dazzling as the engagement ring, resting against a wedding band, on her left hand. I reported my injury as well as my suspicions about the hound’s health, and she gently led me down to a curtained off cot in the basement.
The examination was perfunctory and evidently found all to be acceptable. We both waited, breaths gasping, for her to conclude the series of injections to protect me from rabies, and then I found myself able to conceive many things I’d previously thought impossible, including the aforementioned embrace of an ostensibly unavailable woman.
She was just what the doctor would have ordered for a lonely trapeze artist. Or so I though at first…
I think the nurse will be going on hiatus for the foreseeable future. Actually, I know she will since the next three writing prompt exercises are already done and are all stand-alone stories. Feel free to let me know if you wish to see more of this crafty nurse, though, and I can work her into a future prompt.
Your Significant Other Will Dump You If You Order The Veal And These Other Items
If you don’t remember the origin of this series (or, more likely, you’ve just stumbled upon this posting in your quest for pictures of naive boy scouts and have no idea what I’m on about), you can catch up here with Part I, here with Part II, here with Part III, here with Part IV, and here with Part V. Just don’t expect reading those entries to help any of this make sense and you’ll be fine. The rules are simple: using the writing prompt book Write the Story, include the ten provided words (underlined in this text) in a story using the given title. Failure to do so results in finding yourself on stage, in front of an audience of your parents and peers, wearing nothing but a speedo and a cape that inexplicably has the word “PHOTOGRAPHER” emblazoned across it.
A Lunch Date Gone Wrong
Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Things were going so well, the relationship seemed back on track. And then…the carnival came back to town.
She started showing up late for dates, or putting them off. Without explanation.
I admit it. I got jealous. I began to assume the worst: she was going to leave me for that cult. When we started dating again, I made a promise to myself. OK, two promises:
I would get all the facts instead of jumping to conclusions.
I would never again roller skate nude under the full moon.
Without using mosquito repellent. You can only draw blood from scratching bug bites too hard so many times before you swear that oath.
So here we are, our brunch date now a lunch date due to her inexplicable tardiness, having a ‘discussion’ over a mango salad about her career, her needs, her hopes and desires. And how they don’t include assuming the traditional housewife role, or monogamy, or, worst of all, punctuality.
My sweet tea couldn’t taste more bitter. I struggle to hold back, to refrain from pitting my rapid-fire questions against her inconsistent logic. She was never late before the carnival returned. She never came over to my place smelling like pipe tobacco and my ex-wife’s favorite perfume before the carnival came to town. We never talked about marriage in the days preceding the cultists’ return.
So why now?
But her apparent calm and detachment only served to fuel my fears that she had tired of me and was returning to her old ways. Leaving me alone, divorced with no path back to my ex, doomed to online dating and online / offline rejection.
So of course I exploded, all of my fears and insecurities a festering eruption that poisoned the conversation, the meal, the entire ambiance of the restaurant. And as she stormed off, her sweet tea just as bitter now as mine but dripping from my face and hair, I had to wonder if this had been her intention all along.
Spread the word! Can't stop the signal!
Posted by ianmdudley on 20 November 2018 in Angst, Life, Writing, writing prompts
Tags: Am I mistaken or are the tags longer than the actual post this time around? If only I could say that was a first..., assume, balancing your life and your better half's career, career, carnival, cult, duogamy - sounds like it involves dogs so no thank you, eruption, fire, full moon, getting dumped, getting dumped over (an expensive) dinner is another recurring theme in my (past I hope!) life, housewife, I have never been late to a date where I was dumped. I suppose that's worth something. Right?, I lost so many girlfriends to cults that I am forced to wonder if possibly it wasn't the cults but something to do with me., I've been dumped over more salads than I care to (or can) remember. It's why I'm so averse to vinaigrette salad dressings., Is your girlfriend planning to kill you? Probably. You jerk., Is your significant other late because they've been kidnapped/in a car accident/due to a shopping mishap or because they're plotting to kill you? Hope for the best but plan for the worst..., losing your appetite due to being dumped while eating, monogamy, nurse, People never seem to fall into a cult of science...anymore., pipe smoke and your ex-wife's perfume - a devastating combination, promise, public breakup, public humiliation, public shame, punctuality is a virtue of the single it turns out, Riding the Deet train to Bugsville, Roller blading in the nude is an entirely different story. You can roller blade fast enough that the mosquitoes can't keep up., roller skate, salad, sweet, sweet tea as a repellent of bugs (and exes), The carnival coming back to town preceded an uncomfortably large number of the bad events in my life., Those of you who come here because of the childhood Boy Scout picture seriously need to seek therapy and / or stop using the internet., To be completely honest this title hit too close to home as I've never had a lunch date NOT go wrong, trigonogamy - only sleeping with people who fully understand trigonometry?, Turns out there IS a character limit to these tags. Rats., When my writing prompt posts get a hit I fear people found it by accident and stop reading a sentence in. If you read all of it please comment so I know it was just interesting enough to finish., writing prompts