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Only slightly less well known? NEVER go in against a rabid dog in a lightning storm!

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.

 

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Posted by on 29 December 2018 in Writing, writing prompts

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on 20 November 2018 in Angst, Life, Writing, writing prompts

 

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Strange Request in a Writing Prompt book

This past Xmas, the Missus got me a writing prompt book as a gift.

Given that we had agreed not to exchange Xmas gifts, this resulted in me

A) noticing an extra package for me under the tree and
B) making a mad dash to the store on Xmas Eve to pick up something for her.

This is how the Missus ruins my Xmas every year.

But as the end of February approaches, I have finally overcome the trauma of last-minute Xmas shopping on Xmas Eve and reached a point where I can start using the book. And I’ve decided, unless I have something better to blog here, I will start posting these entries rather than letting this space lie ‘fallow’ for months at a time.

You have been warned.

Since the first page of this book clearly states that no part of the book can be reproduced without permission (I’m paraphrasing here, not flat-out reproducing!), I’m a little reluctant to spell out the prompts. Instead, I will underline the words I’m supposed to use in my narrative…in my narrative. Without further ado, my first exercise!

I went to the carnival to have fun. Instead I sprained my wrist fending off a pickpocket wearing a mask. Hardly inconspicuous. The pickpocket or the sprain.

There were some uncomfortable moments at the first aid station as I flirted with the attractive nurse while my wife and kids looked on, becoming less and less sympathetic towards my predicament.

Things only got worse when the police showed up. The pickpocket was a juvenile, and I’d sprained my wrist while grabbing him, causing the twerp to twirl sideways, fall down against a bike rack, and break his arm.

Apparently this had stirred up a bit of a controversy: a forty-something man breaking a thirteen year old’s bones. The only reason I wasn’t immediately arrested is because the kid fled when the cops showed up. Still, the arrival of the police and the departure of my wife (and kids) left me a little shaken.

However, the nurse was both sympathetic to my plight and receptive to my overtures, so the day wasn’t a total loss. She gave me an apple and instructed me to return in an hour when her shift ended.

I found a bench, had a bite of the apple, and then watched the white flesh turn brown due to oxidation as I waited for the hour to pass. That long, endless hour.

The nurse and I spent a pleasant afternoon walking and talking in the shade of the sassafras trees that ringed the carnival site. But in the end, as I leaned in for a kiss, she pulled away and invited me to join her cult.

Awkward! So I found a piano bar and requested “Particle Man”.*

* I feel I need to address that last sentence, which is itself more than a little awkward. You see, I got so focused on making sure I used all of the prompt words that I forgot that the story was supposed to be about a strange request made at a piano bar. In fact, when I went back to make sure I’d used all the words and discovered this oversight, I wrote underneath the subject the comment “Tots forgot about this!” and then went back and added that last line. You see, I had no choice. I’d literally used every available line on the page, and having written using ink, I could not erase the work to try again.

Strangely enough, the out-of-focus pictures properly show the paper as white, but the in-focus ones cast them as a yellowish pallor.

You see? When I say I left myself a comment in a writing prompt book, I Do. Not. Lie.

We've reached the end, my friend...

And when I say that I ran out of room and had to mash in an awkward last sentence to tie the whole mess together, I Do. Not. Lie. Again.

If you’re interested in the book I’m using, it’s called WRITE THE STORY. I make no endorsement, as I’ve hardly scratched the surface. Though I must admit, the title on Amazon is Write The Story Art Teaching School Kids Adults Class Project Leaning, which is not only awkward but appears to have a typo in it. But the two exercises I’ve done thus far are…writer prompty and have been fun.

 
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Posted by on 27 February 2017 in Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Life, Story, Writing

 

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