Weekly Prompt Prose: Phone Bump

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone is reading a book on their phone while walking on a city street. They bump into someone who is less than sympathetic…at least at first. How does the meeting end?


Phone Bump
by Jamie DeBree

Abby glanced up briefly, her true attention still on the small screen in her hand. She didn’t normally read while she walked, but her lunch hour was so short, and the heroine was just about to meet the guy she’d been texting with on and off for weeks, and Abby was sure they were going to hit it off right away – well, after she forgave him for that whole misunderstanding several chapters ago – and declare their love and it was going to be so…sigh.

Looking up again as she reached the curb right before her block, she forced herself to make sure the light was green and the walk sign was on before she stepped out into traffic, forgoing the story long enough to cross. Safely on the other side, she eagerly looked back down at the screen. She might be able to finish the chapter before she got to her front door.

Someone – her text buddy, she assumed – tapped Maeve on the shoulder and she turned around, her smile falling as she realized just who she’d been communicating with…

And Abby gasped as her left shoulder slammed into a solid wall she was sure hadn’t been there just a second ago. Jarred, she looked up, her mind still half in the book as she clutched the phone hard to keep it from slipping out of her grasp.

“And that’s why you shouldn’t text and walk,” the tall blond suit said, his voice much deeper than she would have expected. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “I wasn’t texting. I was reading.” She realized how stupid the words sounded the moment they came out, and felt her cheeks warming. “I’m sorry. I don’t normally, but I was just at the spot where…” she stopped again. He didn’t care what she was reading or why, just that she’d plowed right into him on the sidewalk. “Well, I’m sorry. I should have been paying attention. I…are you okay?”

He certainly looked okay to her. Annoyed, of course, but the frown lines looked good accenting his square, Calvin Klein-model jaw. The green eyes glaring at her reminded her a little of fresh leaves unfurling in spring. The tailored charcoal suit set his broad shoulders and strong lines well, and the cream button-down underneath made an unassuming backdrop for the surprisingly artistic abstract black and gray tie that pulled it all together.

“If I looked you up and down like that, I could get arrested for harassment.” He checked his watch, thick and silver. “And I’m late for an appointment in one of these buildings. Do you know which one the Hansen building is?”

Abby tried to ignore her flaming cheeks and nodded again, pointing around one of those big shoulders. “Right behind you – that’s my building, actually. Who are you meeting with?” She put her phone in her purse, stifling a sigh. Finding out if Maeve and Toby would get past their differences and fall into each others arms would have to wait until after work. Dammit. She started walking towards the building and charcoal suit fell in beside her.

“Anderson-Pearson. The law firm,” the man said, reaching out to pull the door open for her. “Which company do you work for?”

“Thank you.” She crossed the threshold and moved toward the elevators. “I’m at Eldrige DocuServ. We do legal document service as well as courier services for most of the firms in the building.” There was an elevator waiting, and she got in. Charcoal Suit followed. She pushed the buttons for three and seven, and watched the doors close.

“I’m Abby Eldrige, by the way.” She held out her hand, and smiled pleasantly. The man took it, and squeezed – a good, firm handshake. Always a good sign.

“Toby McIntyre,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Abby. You own the company then?”

She shrugged as the elevator doors opened on third. Her stop. “I might someday. For now, I’m just working my way up like everyone else.” Stepping out, she put a hand against the door. “Good luck with your meeting, and I’m sorry I bumped into you.”

He raised an eyebrow and gave her a smirk. “I’m not. Have a good afternoon. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Abby nodded and stepped back, letting the doors close between them.

Toby was also the name of Maeve’s currently estranged love in her book. What an interesting coincidence.

 

Two hours later, she was sitting at the front desk wondering if she could sneak in a few more paragraphs of her book while things were quiet, and of course just when she reached for her phone, the door opened. She looked up and smiled, her cheeks warming again.

“Well hi there. What can I do for you?”

He handed her a thick envelope with a sticky note on top. “Pearson asked me to drop this off on my way out. He said to charge it his account.”

Abby took the envelope and nodded. “We’ll get that delivered for him before five. Anything else?”

He shrugged. Smiled. “Maybe later. You have a good afternoon.” He turned and left, and Abby sighed. Why couldn’t she find someone that good looking and potentially smart for herself?”

Looking down at the envelope, she read the sticky note and grinned.

Text me when you find out how the book ends. His number was scrawled below.

Well then. Maybe she would.


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Stories: A Scrap, a Shirt, & a Shirtless Man

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Let’s solve a mystery. While walking down the street, your character finds: a scrap of fabric stuck in a rose bush, a torn shirt in the gutter ten yards away, and a shirtless man lying on a lawn several houses down the block. What happened?


They Never Listen
by Carol R. Ward

Lanie shut the front door behind her with her foot, juggling the two bags groceries in her arms and dropping her keys on the small table near the door.

“Hey, a little help here would be nice,” she called. “Gordon?”

With a sigh she continued on to the kitchen where she just made it to the counter before the heavy bags slipped from her grasp. Grumbling under her breath she put the groceries away. She folded the reusable grocery bags neatly and placed them in a drawer for next time.

“Gordon?” she called again once she was done. “What did you do, fall asleep?”

Padding out of the kitchen she checked the couch in the living room first, then went down the hall to the bed room. There was no sign of him. They were supposed to be going out to dinner. Where could he have gotten to?

As she was leaving the bedroom she glanced towards the en suite bathroom – well that didn’t look right. Going over for a closer look she gasped aloud. It looked like a war zone. The tub was partially filled with water, a few small islands of bubbles floating on the surface. Water was everywhere – the walls, the sides of the tub, the floor…

Several towels were crumpled on the floor. A couple looked like they’d just been pulled from the towel rack, but the one she picked up had blood on it.

“Oh, Gordon, you didn’t! I told you not to.”

Leaving the towels behind, Lanie followed the faint trail of water out of the bathroom and towards the back door. As she expected, the door was slightly ajar. There was no sign of Gordon in the back yard and she rounded the house towards the street. Her eye was caught by a scrap of white, fluttering in the neighbor’s rose hedge.

Plucking it free she realized it was from the shirt Gordon had been wearing earlier. “Damn it Gordon, you never listen, do you?”

Lanie glanced up and down the street. There, about ten yards further up, it looked like the rest of his shirt lying in the gutter. She went over and picked it up – it was torn up pretty badly and there was blood on it.

“If this is how bad his shirt is, I hate to see what Gordon looks like.” She felt a flash of sympathy, after all he’d probably thought he was doing her a favour.

She continued up the street, a little worried about what she might find. There didn’t seem to be any blood on the sidewalk and she took that as a good sign. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as she thought. There, several houses up, was that a body laying face down on the lawn?

Lanie hurried over. “Gordon?”

With a grown he rolled over onto his back. She winced at the bloody furrows on his chest and arms.

“Are you all right?”

“No,” he said.

She looked around. “Where’s Princess?”

Gordon slowly pointed upwards.

Lanie looked up into the tree above them. There, looking down at them, tail swishing angrily, was a small white cat, wet fur making her seem even smaller.

“There’s mommy’s little angel,” Lanie cooed. “Come to momma.”

The cat moved closer until she was able to reach up and pluck her from the tree. Lanie cradled her in her arms and turned back to Gordon.

“Don’t think this gets you out of taking me out to dinner,” she told him.

“But I’m injured!” he protested, making an attempt to sit up.

“It’s your own fault,” she sniffed. “I told you not to try and bathe Princess. You never listen.”

###

Headlights
by Jamie DeBree

Karen took a deep breath as she stepped out of her apartment expecting a whiff of fresh morning air. Instead she got a big, choking taste of her new city-life: cigarette smoke, skunk, sewer gas and open dumpsters. Chasing it quickly with a sip of hot coffee, she noticed a bit of white fabric stuck fluttering in her new neighbor’s rose bush. It shined in the sun, and she frowned, reaching down to feel it.

As she suspected, the satin was smooth and cool, and certainly not something one would expect to find torn as it was. Had a bride run this way last night, tearing her beautiful gown? A prom queen or debutante, perhaps? White satin wasn’t really an everyday kind of thing, and she carefully detached the piece from it’s prison, wondering if she’d ever find out what happened.

A few houses down, she caught another glimpse of white fluttering in the breeze, only this time it was fluttering in the gutter. Frowning, she looked down, and saw that it was more of the same white satin, but not a dress or skirt. It was a button-down shirt, almost certainly custom-made and not cheaply at that. The bead work on the front suggested a female wearer, but that wasn’t terribly surprising. Karen couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen a man wearing satin, aside from the ubiquitous suit-pocket handkerchief.

The shirt seemed special and she picked it up carefully, checking for any mysterious stains before committing more than two fingers to the task. When she finally stood and held the shirt up in front of her, she could see where a piece had torn from the bottom right side – and the swatch she’d freed from the rose bush matched perfectly.

She would bet money that somewhere nearby there was a very unhappy woman trying to remember what happened to her very expensive custom shirt, and she tucked it over her arm. She’d post it online after work and see if anyone recognized it. It was a long shot, but maybe the owner would see it and want it back.

Her heels clicked heavily on the sidewalk as she continued toward work, and considered what could possibly have happened to get the shirt off the woman with only a small tear. Thank goodness there was no blood, but was the woman possibly in trouble? Maybe she should alert the police. There was no evidence of anything aside from a woman losing her shirt though. And that wasn’t necessarily a crime – although with a shirt like this, it kind of was.

Coming up on the left just before her bus stop, she spied a man laying face down on his lawn, wearing only a pair of jeans with rhinestones on the pockets and a large snake tattoo that covered the majority of his back. He was just starting to stir as she drew near, and pushed off the ground with a groan.

“That was some night,” he mumbled, shaking his head as if to clear the cobwebs. Karen kept walking, figuring it was smarter not to engage, but when he saw her, he called out.

“Hey! Just because you tore that off me last night doesn’t mean you can just take it! I paid good money for that shirt!”

Karen stopped and turned to look at him. “This is your shirt?”

He nodded, pushing to his feet and stumbling toward her. “You should know. That was some party last night, wasn’t it? I was so wasted. Thanks for letting me snooze on your lawn. I hope I didn’t get too crazy after…you know.” He reached out and took the shirt from her – she was too shocked to resist. Pulling it on over those broad shoulders, he quickly buttoned it across his chest, and Karen wondered why she’d barely noticed his nipples when he was bare-chested, but now that they showed through the light fabric, they seemed…more ‘out there’, so to speak.

He grinned, noting the direction of her stare. “All the ladies seem to like that. Headlights out – gets ’em every time. I’d let you have another lick, but I’ve got to get to work. Sorry darlin’. Call me for your next party?”

Karen couldn’t think of a single thing to say, so she just stood there as the strange man leaned in, kissed her on the cheek, grinned and walked away.

Her parents might have been right, she thought as she forced her legs to move toward the bus stop again. The big city just might be too much for her to handle.

Later that day, she reached into her purse for something and her fingers brushed the bit of satin she’d found stuck to the bush that morning. She remembered the man and his ‘headlights’.

###



Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prompt Stories: The Fortune & All in the Cards

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: A character went to get his/her fortune read six years ago. Today, that fortune is coming true in the most unexpected way. Tell us about it…


The Fortune
by Jamie DeBree

In six years exactly, love will find you.

Mandy looked out at the sunrise reflected in the still lake as she sipped her coffee, remembering the words of the woman who’d read their fortunes so long ago. She and Jeremy had laughed it off at the time, making note of the date so they could be together and make the fortune come true.

That was before the accident. Before he’d died and left her all alone. It had been two of the hardest years of her life since, and she’d come out here and rented a cabin far away from civilization in the hopes of finding herself again.

She’d made a certain peace with his death, as people do when they loose the person they love most in the world. The hole in her heart was still there, and would always be there, but this morning, as a gentle breeze rustled through the aspens and small animals skittered through the underbrush, she could almost stomach the thought of letting someone else in. Not someone to fill the hole, but someone to talk to, to laugh with, to keep her company on lonely nights.

A gentle smile played across her lips as she took another sip off her cooling cup. Love was going to have to work awfully hard to find her up here.

Sliding off the boulder she’d been using as a seat, she drained the last of her mug and headed back to the cabin. Some breakfast, maybe, and then a hike to the berry patch she’d spotted yesterday on the other side of the lake. A bear and her cubs had been feeding then, so she’d left quietly, but perhaps if she beat them today, she could help herself to some fruit for dinner. If not, maybe some good pictures of that furry little family instead.

She’d just finished a bowl of oatmeal when she heard a noise on the front porch. Moving carefully to avoid making noise, she went to the door and peeked out the side window, expecting to see something fuzzy, four-footed and hopefully not too big.

Instead, she saw a six-foot-not-so-hairy biped complete with hiking pack and fishing cap who looked oddly familiar, despite the tribalish tattoo on the side of his lower left leg.

Who knew Ray Ellis had a tattoo? Or anything other than expensive tailored suits in his closet?

More importantly, what the hell was he doing here? He knocked on the door, the sound making her jump and the fortune teller’s words flitted through her mind.

“No, no, no,” she mumbled as she straightened and reached for the door. “So not him. Anyone on earth but him.”

Pulling the door open, she didn’t bother smiling. He knew she wasn’t fond of him, and the way he treated her at work, she figured he felt the same.

“Oh good – you are here. Allison said you would be. Can I come in?”

It was the same serious expression he always wore, the same intense stare. But there was something odd about his voice – softer than she remembered. If she didn’t know better, she’d describe it as vulnerable, but Ray didn’t do vulnerable. Ever.

“Uh, sure, I guess.” Mandy moved aside, making a mental note to have a very serious talk with her best friend about sharing sensitive information. “Why are you here?”

He put his pack on the floor, and stood again, looking more uncomfortable than she’d ever seen him look.

“I wanted to talk to you – away from work. I know you don’t like me, and I promise I’ll leave as soon as I’m done, but I need you to know something.”

She took a deep breath, let it out slow. “Okay. Let’s sit down. I’ll listen.” She gestured to the worn green paisley couch and waited for him to take a seat before situating herself in the matching armchair. Neither were comfortable, but hopefully this wouldn’t take long.

“I know I keep you at arm’s length at work, but it’s only because I have to. I…have always been attracted to you, Mandy. The way you deal with people and keep your department running without alienating your co-workers is pretty amazing, and your creative problem-solving skills are the reason our company is where it is today.”

She gave him a sideways look. “So are you attracted to me, or to my work ethic?”

He gave a nervous chuckle. “I…uh…think you’re beautiful too. I just thought it would be better to lead with the intelligent stuff.”

Mandy smiled, surprising herself. “Definitely a good plan.” She wasn’t sure what else to say, but she had noticed how good-looking Ray was. He filled out a suit very nicely, though she had to say, this casual look was definitely working for him too.

She tried to remember why she didn’t like him, other than his standoffish, professional-to-the-point-of-boring persona. It’s not like she even worked very closely with him. He always seemed so dismissive though. Like he was “above” interacting with her.

“You know it’s juvenile to treat someone badly because you like them, right? Not to mention un-PC.” As soon as she said it, she knew it wasn’t really fair. He hadn’t done anything to her, really, aside from not exactly being friendly. This was quite possibly the strangest conversation she’d ever had. “I guess not being friendly isn’t the same as treating someone badly though.”

“I knew you were married, and I didn’t want to be…more attracted to you, I guess. I was protecting myself, at the expense of your feelings, and I want to apologize for that.” He looked down at the floor, over at the window, down at his hands. Everywhere but at her, and she felt herself softening. So many things made sense now – so many little actions, little withdrawals, unexpected bits of help that she wouldn’t expect to come from him, but did over the years.

She thought about what this meant. About him trekking all the way up to this cabin in the middle of nowhere, just to explain himself. About how long it had been since her husband’s death, and how he might have wanted to say something sooner, but didn’t.

There was no way he could have known about the fortune teller – she hadn’t told a soul, not even Allison. Hell, she didn’t even really believe in fortune tellers. Surely this was just a coincidence. Right?

“…coffee sometime. Mandy?”

She looked up, realizing he’d been talking while she was thinking. “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“I asked if you might want to get a cup of coffee sometime. With me, I mean. No pressure.”

She nodded, slowly. “Yeah. I think that would be a good idea.” He nodded, apparently not really sure what to do next. She looked at the door, and looked back at him. “We can do that later. But I was just getting ready to go pick berries when you got here. Want to hike over to the meadow with me? We’ll have to watch for bears…”

He grinned. “I’d love to. Lead the way.”

###

All in the Cards
by Carol R. Ward

Now that it’s too late I can remember the day clearly, almost six years ago. Bruno and I had just started dating. He was always trying to come up with something different for our dates and he thought it would be fun to go to the county fair.

From what I can recall of the fair itself it was fun. We went on a few rides and ate cotton candy and greasy fair food while wandering through the crowd. Bruno was amazing at the games and won me a giant pink elephant that sits on the chair in my bedroom.

The fortune teller’s covered booth was sitting between a chip truck and a vendor peddling handmade jewelry. I had actually stopped to have a look at the jewelry. Bruno got bored pretty quickly and moved on, but then called me away.

“Hey Jeanie, look! A fortune teller.”

“Which one do you think I should get?” I asked, holding up two necklaces for his inspection.

“Get ‘em both,” he said impatiently. “We really gotta get our fortunes told.”

“C’mon Bruno, I don’t believe in that stuff.”

“Me either. Who cares, it’ll be fun. Now hurry up.”

I made my purchase and joined Bruno where he was going over the fortune teller’s list of services.

“Look, she’s having a two for one special. Two readings for the price of one.”

“Bruno, I don’t think–”

But he was already turning to the woman standing at the entrance to the booth. “If we get the special, can we split the readings – I can take the palm reading and my girl can have the Tarot reading?”

I clearly remember the flash of pleasure I had at being called his girl. More the fool me.

“Of course,” the woman said smoothly. “Right this way.” She held the flap to the inner part of the booth open and we went in.

To be honest, it felt kind of creepy to me in there. It was dark inside and she had some kind of incense burning. Bruno was so busy looking at all the crap she had hanging up that he missed the start she gave when she took his hand. She almost seemed to go into a trance, she was so still, and for a long time she never spoke a word.

“Well?” Bruno asked impatiently.

She gave herself a little shake. “Forgive me,” she said. “I see that you are a man of strength – strong passions and desires.”

“You got that right,” he chuckled, nudging my knee with his.

She babbled some more generic stuff about life and work and money, and then hesitated before adding, “I must warn you I see darkness in your future, you will be faced with a choice. The darkness calls…” She shivered and let go of his hand again.

Bruno looked startled for a second and then laughed. “That was great. You really had me going for a minute there. Now do her.”

She handed me a deck of brightly coloured cards.”Think of a question you wish answered while you shuffle.”

“I don’t know what to ask.”

“That’s easy enough babe, ask about our future together.”

I smiled at him as I shuffled. When I was done I handed them over and the fortune teller cut them and then laid them out in a pattern. If I hadn’t been paying such close attention I might have missed the quick inhalation she made when she looked at the spread.

“I see that you have not been together long,” she began. “But your relationship is already … intense.”

“Hear that, Jeanie? We’re intense.” Bruno nudged me again.

Again she made several generic predictions before saying, “The many swords in your reading suggest conflict.”

“Is that in the past or in the future?” I asked.

Before she could answer, Bruno jumped it. “Cut to the chase, will we make it as a couple?”

She looked down at the cards, a troubled look on her face, then up again. “I see that you will be together until the end.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear,” Bruno said with a smirk.

After paying her, he lead the way out of the booth. I rose too, but as Bruno cleared the canvas the fortune teller grabbed my arm. “There is a great darkness in that one,” she hissed. “He is not what he seems.”

“What are you talking about?” I tried to pull away but she held me fast.

“He has a dark soul.”

“You’re crazy. Let go of me.” I pulled free and hurried after Bruno.

“If you stay with him you will die,” she called after me. “It is all in cards, they do not lie.”

By the time Bruno and I left the fair I’d forgotten about the fortune teller. And for the next five years Bruno and I were happy together. It wasn’t all hearts and flowers, Bruno did have a bit of a dark side but he never took it out on me.

I read the news reports of the missing girls, of course, but I had no reason to connect them to Bruno. At least not until his birthday when I decided to surprise him at the old warehouse he called home. In all the time we’d been together I’d only been there a handful of times. He was more comfortable at my place.

But I wanted to make his birthday special. His favorite take-out, a Black Forest cake, champagne, and me. It was going to be such a great surprise.

Only I was the one who was surprised when I got there and he wasn’t home. He wasn’t, but there was a girl chained to a metal frame in the center of the space below his loft. She was barely alive, cuts and bruises all over her. I had just about gotten her loose when Bruno arrived.

To give him credit, he was pretty upset at seeing me. But that didn’t stop him from tying me up and leaving me in a corner while he finished off the girl. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize he was behind the girls being mutilated and killed across the city. Dark soul indeed.

I hear him coming. This is it. Guess the psychic was right.

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prose Prompt Stories: Monkey Shines

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone figures out how to beat the carnival games and wins a big stuffed monkey. He/she gives it to a stranger – what happens?


Monkey Shines
by  Carol R. Ward

“You can’t keep that,” Irene protested. She stopped in her tracks as they headed away from the game.

“Why not? I won it,” Chad replied, arms holding the giant stuffed monkey drooping a bit, big grin fading. “I won it for you.”

“You cheated.”

“I did not!” he said indignantly. The grin reappeared. “I just figured out a way around it, that’s all.”

“Same thing!”

“Is not!”

It was difficult for two people to stand nose to nose to argue when one of those people was holding a giant stuffed animal, but somehow they managed.

“These games are all rigged anyway,” Chad said.

“That doesn’t make it right.” Irene crossed her arms under her breasts, still refusing to take the monkey.

“C’mon, baby, don’t be like that.” Chad waved the monkey’s arms at her. “Look how lovable I am.”

“Stop that.”

“Look at that little monkey face, how can you say no to that face?”

“Easy.” Irene went nose to nose with the monkey. “No.”

“But he’s so cute! Isn’t he cute?” Chad asked one of the bystanders lingering to watch their antics.

“Adorable,” the woman said with a laugh. She seemed a little over dressed for a carnival, more like a business woman who escaped from the office for a few hours.

“Isn’t he the cutest monkey you’ve ever seen?”

“Absolutely.”

“There, see?” Chad turned back to Irene. “He’s adorable.”

“Not to me he isn’t,” Irene said firmly.

“What is your problem?” The monkey sank a little lower in his arms. “I went to a lot of trouble to win this for you, the least you could do is accept it graciously.”

“Look, I never asked you to win me anything in the first place. And just because you figured out a way to get around the game doesn’t mean you should.”

“But–”

“And I don’t even like monkeys.”

“How can you not like monkeys?”

Irene looked down and scuffed the toe of one shoe in the dirt. “One of my mom’s boyfriends had a monkey. They’re noisy and smelly and they throw their feces around. And the guy was a real creep. Monkeys just bring up a lot of bad memories for me, okay?”

“I didn’t know.” Chad shifted the monkey so he had a free hand to lay on her arm. “I’m sorry. Why don’t I find someone else to give it to?”

“That’d be great,” Irene said with a tentative smile.

Chad glance around and saw that the woman he’d spoken to during their spat hadn’t moved too far away. “Hey,” he called to get her attention.

She turned to see what he wanted.

“Listen, you’d really be doing us a favour if you took this guy off our hands.”

“Why me?”

Chad shrugged. “You like monkeys. And I’d like to see him go to a good home.”

Hesitating a moment, she finally smiled. “Thank you, I accept.” She took the stuffed monkey from him. “I have a nephew who’ll go absolutely bananas over him.”

Chad and Irene both laughed with her. Arm in arm, they watched the woman wind her way through the crowd towards the exit.

“That was nice work,” Irene said. “I didn’t even see you slip it inside.”

“It’s amazing how tiny, yet powerful explosives can be these days,” Chad said.

“What would you have done if she refused to take it?”

“I did my research, I knew about the monkey loving nephew.”

“But still…”

He shrugged. “And if she hadn’t, we would have found some other way to get the bomb into the hotel.”

“C’mon,” Irene said, pulling at his arm. “I want to get a good seat for the fireworks tonight.”

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

 

 

 

 

Weekly Prose Prompt Stories: Metamorphosis

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write about some sort of metamorphosis, what triggered it and whether the outcome was expected or not. 


Metamorphosis
by Jamie DeBree

They’re all staring. This was a really bad idea.

Mary Coulter adjusted the strap of her new leather satchel for the one-hundredth time on her shoulder and kept walking, trying to avoid eye contact. She’d thought she could do this, thought she could make a clean start and leave her past behind, but everyone knew who she was – it was inevitable in a smallish town. Everyone knew what she’d done, even if they didn’t understand the reasons why. Girls like her don’t change, everyone knew that, and they all took great joy in reminding her of it too – even those who’d taken advantage of her “services”.

Her parents had been gone for six months now, and the need for treatment money gone with them. Her dad had decided it was time to check out, and politely took her mom with him. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She’d kept working for awhile, numb and alone. Not sure what else to do, really.

A man had passed through a few weeks back who hadn’t wanted anything from her, but he’d paid her well to listen to his advice.

What he’d said made sense. But now here she was, the center of attention again in a way that she had no idea how to deal with, and she wasn’t so sure this was a good idea after all. Maybe she should have waited longer. Or just laid low for awhile, until people forgot.

Except people never forget.

“New costume for the clients, Mary? I bet that one’s really popular, but you know you’re not supposed to be on campus…”

Daisy Newsome laughed with her two best friends, Bonnie Spinner and Lila Tate as they watched Mary walk by. Lila had been Mary’s best friend in grade school – they’d been inseparable. She’d hooked up with Daisy in middle school when Mary’s mom got sick (her dad had always been drunk) and she’d dropped out to care for her, and that had been that.

Just keep walking. You can do this, just like you did the other thing. You don’t have to be that person anymore.

She kept walking, ignoring the giggles and not-so-quiet whispers. She’d done what she had to to take care of her family, and those girls would never understand it. But she didn’t have to be that person anymore – the kind that swore and hurled insults right back before she ran off to lick her wounds. Her clothes weren’t the only thing that had changed, and eventually, they’d realize it.

Or not.

Marry lifted her head at that thought. It really didn’t matter whether those girls ever came around. Thier lives and opinions hadn’t mattered to her in years, and a new wardrobe and new goals didn’t change that. Her own opinion was the only one that mattered. Even if people did point and stare and…whistle.

It came from her right, but she ignored the urge to look. That’s what they wanted, she knew. They wanted her attention, her fear, her prey-like reaction to either run or freeze while they verbally assaulted her just because they could.

Not today, she thought, a small grin flirting at her lips. Today, she had far more interesting and important things to do than spar with a bunch of idiots. Well, that, and last time she’d responded, the police had almost arrested her for rearranging that one guy’s nose. She never did apologize. It would have been a lie, and she tried never to lie.

She reached the large building, the imposing red brick and brown trim looking almost more judgemental than any human she’d run into so far. Taking a quick, deep breath, she marched up the stairs and through the doors, and then up another flight of stairs past people she thankfully didn’t know or recognize. Encouraged by the lack of attention, she found Room 201 and went inside, pausing only momentarily before choosing an empty seat in the third row.

A few familiar faces stared back at her when she glanced at her new classmates, but no one flinched or sneared, so she figured things were looking up.

Then the professor walked in, and they dropped right back down into the gutter.

“Good morning, class. Professor Heinrich had a family emergency at the last minute, and had to leave, so I’ll be filling in for him until he returns. My name is Theresa May, and this is English Literature 101. Please go around the room and state your name and your favorite book.”

Definitely some familiar names. Client’s kids, some of them.

Former clients.

“Mary Coulter,” she said when it was her turn. She made sure to enunciate clearly, not wanting to leave any confusion, and Professor May looked up from her ledger. Her expression was grimm, tired. “The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite story.”

For a moment, Mary thought the professor would say something. Maybe ask her to leave. But the next student said his name, breaking the immediate tension, and the rest of the class went quickly and easily.

It had been a long time since she was in school, and listening to the professor go through the syllabus and test dates and everything they were going to study was overwhelming. But it was just one class, and the start of something better, Mary hoped. More classes, more opportunity. One day at a time.

She was tucking her things back in her notebook at the end of class when the professor approached.

“I was sorry to hear about your parents. That must have been very hard for you.”

Mary nodded. “Thank you.” She never knew quite how to respond to that, since it had probably been more good than bad for all involved. But she supposed in this case, a reciprocal apology was due.

“I’m sorry about your husband.”

Ms. May shrugged. “I was angry at the time, but I realize it would have happened eventually. Good riddance.” She stood there while Mary zipped her bag and stood, slinging it over her shoulder. “I’m glad to see you here. If you need anything at all, even after Professor Heinrich returns, please let me know. I’m happy to help.”

She smiled. Not an obligatory smile, but a real one. Warm. Friendly.

Mary couldn’t remember the last time one of those had been directed at her, and she smiled back.

“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

She left campus to more catcalls, a few giggles, a few jeers, but none of it touched her. When she got back to the trailer – the only thing her parents had ever actually owned, there was a man waiting on the steps. A regular. He smiled when he saw her. The obligatory “I want something” kind.

She smiled back, pulled out her friend’s card and pressed it into his hand.

“I’m sorry. I don’t do that anymore. Call Amy.”

He nodded.

She watched her old life walk away without a backwards glance, and went into the house.

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

Weekly Prose Prompt: Meeting a Dragon

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  Someone who’s never seen a dragon before is just seeing one for the first time. What do they see? Feel? Hear? What happens to them after (do they run, stay, escape, get eaten)?


An Unconventional Arrangement
by Carol R. Ward

Princess Noreen was putting away her clean laundry when she heard a thump from outside. She looked in surprise at the large creature perched on the stone rail of her balcony. “What manner of creature might you be?”

“Me?” returned the creature in astonishment. “Why I’m a dragon of course. A fearsome, fire breathing dragon.”

The princess looked him up and down. “Are you sure you’re a dragon?”

“What else would I be?”

“I don’t know, a featherless bird perhaps?” She shrugged. “Or maybe some kind of giant, hairless bat?”

“A bat? A bat?!” The creature nearly lost his perch. “You are a princess, are you not?”

She drew herself up huffily. “Of course I am! I am the youngest daughter of King Manfred the Third.”

“I don’t know,” the dragon said dubiously. “I would think a real princess would know a dragon when she saw one.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why should a real princess know a dragon when she sees one? Dragons are only myths after all.” She said this in a matter-of-fact tone of voice as she finished putting her clean clothes away.

“Only myths?” The dragon bristled on the railing. “My dear child, what are they teaching you girls in princess school these days?”

“Oh.” Princess Noreen looked a little crestfallen. “I never went to princess school.”

“Whyever not?”

“King Manfred has an abundance of daughters and a lack of gold. He couldn’t afford to send all of us to school.”

“How very unfortunate,” said the dragon sympathetically. “Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it I suppose. I am a dragon.” He turned his head to one side and belched out a big gout of flame.

Princess Noreen took a step closer to inspect her visitor. It had great, bat-like wings and beautiful golden scales. Its head was long and narrow with a ridged crest. The eyes glowed orange and were filled with intelligence. It smelled faintly of sulphur.

“All right,” she said finally. “Just suppose I do take your word for it that you’re a dragon. Why are you perched on my balcony railing?”

“I’m here to carry you off, of course.”

“Why do you say “of course,” like it should be obvious?” Noreen asked crossly. “And why would you want to carry me off?”

“Well I suppose if you didn’t know I was a dragon then you certainly couldn’t know that’s what dragons do – carry off princesses.”

“You’ll forgive me for saying so, but your wings, large as they are, look barely able to support your weight, let alone the weight of another person.”

“I’m stronger than I look,” the dragon said proudly.

“Well then,” Princess Noreen said. “Let’s get on with it, shall we?”

“I beg your pardon?” The dragon drew back slightly.

“You said you were here to carry me off, let’s get on with it. Shall I climb on your back? I’m sure that would be more comfortable for both of us than you trying to grasp me in your claws.”

“But … aren’t you going to scream or cry or otherwise carry on? Most princesses do, you know.”

“Most princesses aren’t to be wed to King Edward of Ballentyne a few days hence,” said Noreen grimly.

“But…”

“I told you,” she continued, folding a spare dress around several books to make a neat packet. “My father is low on gold. He’s been marrying us off for the dowries we bring. King Edward is fat, old, and has a wart on his nose. I’d much rather be carried off by a dragon.”

“But…”

“I expect you live in some sort of cave?”

“Yes, but…”

Noreen nodded. “Well I’m sure I’ll be able to make do.”

“But that’s not how it works,” the dragon said a little desperately.

“No?”

“No!”

“Well how does it work then,” the princess asked with what she considered a great deal of patience.

“I’m supposed to carry you off and then your father pays me a ransom to get you back.”

“But my father doesn’t have any gold.”

“Exactly. So there’s really no point–”

“Oh no you don’t.” Faster than the dragon expected, Noreen darted forward and grabbed him around one leg.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m not letting you leave without me,” she said with determination. “I may not know much about being a princess, but I know a lot about running a castle. I’m sure I could make your life so much more comfortable – cooking, cleaning, organizing your hoard…”

The dragon thought about it for a minute. “Well my cave could use a little sprucing up,” he admitted.

“Sprucing things up is my specialty!”

“Well, I guess we could give it a try,” he said slowly.

“Excellent.” Noreen beamed at him. “I’ll make sure you never regret it.”

Which is how Princess Noreen, youngest daughter of King Manfred the Third, came to become a dragon’s housekeeper.

And she lived happily ever after.

###


Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…

 

Of Grasshoppers & Spats in the Park

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a grasshopper/grasshoppers.

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: 
 A fight breaks out at a picnic in the park. Passing by when it happens are a woman jogging with a stroller, a man with ear buds connected to his cell having a loud discussion with someone, and a teen on a skateboard with an army-style canvas backpack. Which of the passers by breaks up the fight, and how?


Grasshopper
by Carol R. Ward

Grasshopper, grasshopper, creamy green
you’re the prettiest drink I’ve ever seen
a subtle kick, not strong at all
but lots of flavour for a drink so small.

Philip Guichet, he knew your worth
in New Orleans he gave you birth –
a splash of this and a splash of that
shaken with ice in a minute flat.

Use crème de menthe, a quarter ounce
and crème de cacao to give it bounce,
and don’t forget to include the cream
for a drink that tastes just like a dream.

You taste like mint but chocolate too
like a liquid thin mint in a brew.
Grasshopper, grasshopper, creamy green
you’re the prettiest drink I’ve ever seen.

***

Lovely Weather
by Alex Westhaven

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the bee.
It is indeed, replied the bee,
and buzzed off toward his hive.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the ant.
Can’t stop to chat, replied the ant,
carrying a leaf on his back.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the fly.
Putrid scents are the best, replied the fly,
and the garbage is perfectly ripe.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the frog.
Hop along or I’ll eat you, replied the frog.
You’re just the right size for a bite.

Isn’t the weather lovely?
Said the grasshopper to the bird.
In one bold, heartless crunch,
the bird got himself lunch.

Lovely weather, indeed, said the bird.

***

Best Game Ever
by Carol R. Ward

It started out innocently enough. Jeffrey and Alex were friends, best friends as a matter of fact. It was a beautiful summer’s day and they found themselves with some unexpected time on their hands. But what to do with it? They were easily bored and after much consideration they’d come to the park to play ball…

Even those who witnessed the altercation couldn’t say what started it. One minute the park was calm and quiet, the next the two had resorted to name calling and insults at the top of their lungs.

Sandra Covington was jogging by with the stroller and saw them, but she was hesitant to get involved. She knew both Jeffrey and Alex but her time was limited. There was a stirring from the stroller and she shook her head and continued on. Whatever had set the two off she was sure they’d work it out themselves. She had one more mile to go and didn’t want to take the chance on the baby waking up before she was done.

Though cutting through the park was a quicker way to the office, Lawrence Thompson hadn’t expected it to be so … busy. He attached the ear buds to his cell phone and tucked the phone in his pocket, using the blue tooth feature for his conference call. He shot the combatants a glare. This was an important call and he could hardly hear over their noise.

“Hey! Can you keep it down? I’m on a call here,” he yelled at them.

They didn’t even so much as spare him a glance. Whatever they were arguing over threatened to become an epic battle. Lawrence raised the volume on his phone and turned away. The nerve of some people. Just because this was a public park didn’t mean he should have to put up with this crap.

Teenaged Kevin Masters thought the crowds were great as he wove back and forth around the people. He narrowly missed Sandra with her stroller, but was forced off the path by Lawrence, who was taking his half of the walkway out of the middle. He landed in an ungraceful heap near some long grass, all scrawny elbows and knees.

“The path is for everyone you know!” he yelled after Lawrence, who was practically yelling into his phone, gesturing with both hands. Lawrence was too focused on his call to pay any attention to one skinny teenager.

“You rich old farts think you own the world,” Kevin said, voice raised so the businessman could hear him. “You’re lucky I don’t sue for reckless endangerment or something.” Okay, so maybe he didn’t know the first thing about suing someone, but it sounded good anyway.

Shaking his head, Kevin picked himself up and dusted his hands over his low slung pants. Picking up his ball cap he smacked it on his thigh a couple of times and put it back on his head, bill turned firmly backwards.

As he picked up his skateboard he noticed a flash of red in the long grass. It was a ball.

“Hey little dudes,” he called over to Jeffrey and Alex. “Did one of you drop your ball?”

“It’s mine!” Alex yelled first.

“Is not, it’s mine!” Jeffrey insisted.

As Kevin stood there watching, the two six-year-olds fell to arguing again, the assertions of “mine” flying back and forth like a ping pong ball. The truth of the matter was it belonged to neither of them. They’d found it when they were at the park three weeks ago and had been taking turns taking it home.

He watched them for a few minutes but what started out as kind of funny turned boring after a few minutes. With a shrug Kevin tossed the ball in their general direction. It landed several feet away, in plain sight, but the two didn’t pause in their arguing. Setting his skate board on the pavement again, he pushed off with his foot and was on his way again, weaving in and out through the passersby.

The prize lay forgotten on the ground as Jeffrey and Alex fell to pushing each other back and forth, which then led to wrestling. As they were thus occupied, a stray dog happened by.

He was a nondescript brown with the gangliness of a very young dog. He sniffed at the bright red ball and his tail began to wag. He showed his sophistication by executing a perfect downward dog pose, then his exuberance by barking at it. As quick as lightning his head shot forward and he snatched it up in his jaws, flinging it upwards then scampering after it with a joyful bark.

The boys stopped their wrestling and stared in disbelief.

“Hey!” one of them called out. “That’s ours!”

They raced towards their ball and the dog barked again, snatching it out of the grass and leaping away, tail waving madly. Yelling and laughing the boys gave chase as the dog bounded away.

This was the best game ever.

###


Thanks for reading! Feel free to submit your poems/stories for the week in the comments if you’d like. And check back Monday for new writing prompts!

“Fireworks”, “Boom, Fizzle, Pop”, & “The Decision”

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about fireworks or firecrackers.

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  ‘Tis the season for fireworks! A couple is sitting outside on a blanket, watching fireworks go off. They’re making a major decision – what is it?


Boom, Fizzle, Pop 
by Jamie DeBree

Hiss, crackle, fizzle & pop,
all so much noise.
When will it stop?

Bang, boom, sizzle & smoke,
so close and so loud.
The dead are all woke.

Red, blue, pink, white & green,
light up the sky
like some magic machine.

Explosions so bright to celebrate war,
nothing like the bombs
used centuries before.

Ohs and ahs mask screams of pain,
bright pretty patterns
mask reality again.

Don’t whine, please don’t cry,
let us have our
war-themed fun.

Hide from the crackle, bang-boom & pop,
come out when the show
finally fizzles to a stop.

###

Fireworks
by Carol R. Ward

Twinkle, twinkle little star…
That’s not really what you are
You burst into a vibrant light
Stark against the blackest night
Like the lightning in the sky
Followed by the thunder’s cry.
With colours of a rainbow hue
Each time the starburst is brand new.
You thrill the crowds with oohs, and ahhs,
Shooting sparks without a pause.
But all too soon the show must end
Just wisps of smoke left to descend.

###

The Decision
 by Jamie DeBree

Bright colors exploded over the lake in a bouquet of stars that slowly melted back to earth, and Dani couldn’t help but wonder if it would be the last time she’d ever see fireworks.

“It’s really dangerous,” she said, as another pop filled the air with a thousand shimmering white lights. “There’s a good chance I’d end up completely blind, or worse.”

Aaron reached out to stroke her arm, his skin hot against hers. She was always cold these days, it seemed. Colder than she’d been before the diagnosis, though the doctors brushed it off as anxiety.

“I don’t know what the right answer is,” he said, moving closer on the blanket. His arm slid around her shoulders and pulled her close, surrounding her with his heat. “If you don’t go through with it, you’ll be blind within a few weeks anyway. It’s the ‘or worse’ I’m worried about.”

The water lapped along the shore, illuminated by another burst of brilliant colors in the sky. Why her? Why now? What had she ever done so wrong to deserve this?

“How are the headaches?” he asked, when she dropped her head to his broad shoulder. “Have they gotten any worse?”

“A little better, actually,” she lied. The pain was almost constant now, but he didn’t need to know that. He saw enough of her struggle, carried enough of the burden. She wasn’t sure what she’d do without him.

“It would take twelve hours. We’d know two days after.” She wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know, but she needed to hear it aloud again, for herself. “But I have to decide this week, or it will be too late.”

He nodded, hugging her tight. Stroking her arm. twitching slightly at a louder boom as the grand finale began. Fitting, she thought. Without the surgery, she had six months, max. Most of that she’d be blind. Not even enough time to learn braille.

“Would you pull the plug, if it all went wrong?” She turned her head, looked up at the face she held so dear. “Would you make sure I don’t suffer if it doesn’t work?”

He sighed, didn’t answer right away, which was comforting. It shouldn’t be an easy decision, should it?
“I would,” he acquiesced. “If that’s what you wanted me to do.”

She nodded. The sky was quiet now. The lake still lapped at the shore, bugs still buzzed, the wind still rattled through the trees. Life moving on, just as it would whether she was here or not. Just as it always did, always would.

“I can’t just sit back and accept it. I have to fight. I have to try. Even if it costs me everything.”
Aaron touched his lips to hers, gently once, then twice. Smiled.

“Good. I love you. We’ll schedule it tomorrow.”

###


Thanks for reading! Feel free to submit your poems/stories for the week in the comments if you’d like. And check back Monday for new writing prompts!

“Roses”, “Planting Trees”, and “The Great Debate”

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week:  It’s the time of year when gardens everywhere are just begging to hear people’s private thoughts. Write about a character sharing his or her inner monologue with the flowers…and whether or not the garden (or a garden eavesdropper) replies…

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Roses are blooming everywhere, and are always a popular theme/subject in poetry. Write a poem about roses – love them, hate them, or use them as a metaphor.


Roses
by Carol R. Ward

Traditional symbol of love
or is that just what Hallmark
would have you believe?
They may be in cahoots
with the florists –
can’t have a rose
without a gift card.
So many colours,
so many names –
Soft velvet touch at odds
with the sharp, piercing thorns.
Much sought after fragrance
that I find too cloying –
what does that mean, anyway?
Cloying – a sweet excess
of scent and sentiment.
A rose by any other name…
still smells pungent to me.
Genus Rosa in the family of Rosaceae
Latin for pretty flower/nauseating odor.
As you may have already guessed
roses are not my favourite flower.

###

The Great Debate
by Jamie DeBree

“I don’t know if I can do this.”

The pale pink rose blooms nodded in the breeze, as if they were sympathetic to her plight. She reached down to rub a velvety petal between her fingers, releasing a bit of fragrance into the cool morning air.

“I mean, how can I? It’s such a big risk. I could end up stranded and alone. I might get lost. What if I can’t find my way back? What if I never see my family again?”

Tall sprigs of lavendar rustled as she strolled by, tiny purple blooms dancing with the fabric of her skirt. All new adventures come with risk, they seemed to say. How can you not take the chance? How can you not find out for sure? 

“I’m not really the adventurous type,” she replied to no one in particular. “I have a lovely life, a beautiful home, and parents who love me. I have this wonderful garden to enjoy. What if I never see it again?”

Tiny coral bells swayed near the base of a mightly oak tree. What if this is your destiny? Who knows what wonderous things might be waiting for you, if only you’re brave enough to seek them out? This isn’t the first chance you’ve gotten, but who knows when it will be the last? 

“Perhaps I shall only dream about it,” she mused. “Perhaps I shall write stories about what might have been, had I gone. I could imagine what it’s like without taking the risk of actually going.”

The daisies seemed to bow their white and yellow heads at that. Imagination is a very fine thing, they whispered. But it is no substitute for experience. Go, child. Find out what lays beyond, and then write about it. 

The oak leaves rattled in the breeze like a bell tolling the hour. The large knot near the base started to churn and enlarge to just the perfect size. The white rabbit appeared as he did every week, pulling his pocket watch out to check the time, wriggle his nose and motion for her to follow before darting back into the hole.

This time she did.

###

Planting Trees
by Carol R. Ward

“That one, I think,” Millicent decided, pointing out the flowering pear tree. “And the planting is included in the price?”

“Yes ma’am,” the nice young man in the green jumpsuit told her. He checked the sheet on his clip board. “We can send someone out today to dig the hole, and your tree can be delivered … let me see…” he flipped the page. “I’m sorry, but it’ll be Wednesday before we can get the tree delivered.”

“Wednesday would be fine,” Millicent said with a smile.

“Great,” the main said. “I’ll make sure you’re at the top of the list so you’re the first delivery of the day.”

“Thank you, that would be perfect.” Actually, that would be more than perfect. It would give her time to get things prepared.

Late Tuesday night, or more precisely, early Wednesday morning, there was movement in Millicent’s back yard near where the hole to her new tree had been placed. Had there been anyone around to hear, they would have heard the sound of a shovel. Had there been anyone around to see, they would have seen a shadowy figure emptying several bags into the hole and covering whatever it was with loose soil so that the hole looked undisturbed.

Wednesday dawned bright and sunny.

“It looks beautiful, doesn’t it?” Millicent said to the men from the nursery, motioning to the newly planted tree.

“Yes ma’am,” one of the sweaty men agreed. He held out a clip board to her. “If you’d sign here please…”

* * * * * * *

The tree was planted in the fall and the following spring Millicent had a small, circular garden placed around it. “You know,” she said as she dug another small hole, “Pansies are one of my favorite flowers.”

What’s happening? Where am I?

She looked up at the tree. “Did you know another name for a pansy is heart’s ease? Fitting for a grieving widow, don’t you think?”

Widow? No…I remember. You killed me!

“It was so fortuitous that the river near the cabin flooded the same weekend we were booked to be there.”

We were supposed to spend the weekend together to see if we could work things out.

“It saved me the trouble of having to come up with a reason for you to be out on the water by yourself.” Cocking her head to the side she surveyed her work. “A yellow one next I think.”

How could you do this to me?

“Most fortuitous, the cabin washing away like that. Such a logical reason for why there was no body.” Millicent dug another hole. “It’s not as though I could have produced your actual body now, was it? I mean there would have been an investigation with those forensics. Why they might have discovered I had something to do with your death.”

You had everything to do with it you monster! You whacked me over the head with a cast iron skillet!

“It’s really your own fault you know,” she said, looking up at the tree again. “If only you hadn’t made such a fuss over Brian, we could have been together for years.”

You were cheating on me, you gold-digging tramp!

“How could you not have realized what a bore in bed you were?” She shook her head and planted another pansy. “A woman like me needs a little passion in life, and if you weren’t up for it who could blame me for looking elsewhere?”

I could! I could blame you!

“But then you had to go and spoil it all by having that detective take pictures. You made me so mad in the kitchen, threatening to divorce me – I just grabbed up the frying pan without even thinking twice.”

No, you just kept whacking until my head was a bloody pulp.

“I guess we both just overreacted. It’s not as if Brian was the first you know. Just like you weren’t my first husband.”

Not your first…No, I didn’t know!

“I guess I’m just unlucky in love,” she said, sitting back on her heels to survey her work. She glanced around the back yard, at the tulip poplar, the sycamore, and the red maple trees, all with their circular gardens.

Just how many others were there?

“You were my favorite, Larry,” she said, climbing to her feet. “Really,” she laid a palm on the trunk of the tree. “So delightfully naive.”

Not as naive as you, my dear. Especially when it comes to trees. This species of pear tree has a poor branch structure prone to breaking apart. All I have to do is wait until my tree matures – accidents happen all the time, accidents like getting killed by a falling tree branch.

###


Thanks for reading! Feel free to submit your poems/stories for the week in the comments if you’d like. And check back Monday for new writing prompts!

“First Kiss” and “Skills” by Jamie DeBree

Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Write about a fictional first job interview.

Poetry Prompt of the Week: Write a poem about a (yours, or someone else’s) first kiss.


First Kiss
by Jamie DeBree

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Smooth, slimy skin mashing my lips,
like a snail spreading awkward wetness.

His energy and eagerness overpower
my need for slow, gentle seduction.
Too much, too fast, too hard, just…

Stop.

Maybe we’ll try this again later,
when the newness wears off and
I’ve caught my breath again. Dried off.

###

Skills
by Jamie DeBree

“I must admit, while your resume is very impressive, we’re a little confused about the lack of previous job history included. Can you tell us a little about where you’ve worked before, and what kind of experience you have?”

You knew this was coming, Tracy silently coached herself while forcing a smile at the man across the table. Keep it vague, but relevant. All he needs to know is that you can do the job he needs you to do. That’s it.

“I’ve been employed privately by someone who wishes to remain anonymous for most of my life,” she began, pleased that the words sounded far smoother than she felt. “I’ve been performing fuctions that included the same type of tasks you’re looking for. I’m excellent at keeping a calendar, scheduling meetings, and organizing files, and I’m also very good at research and creating documents when needed. I’ve also successfully planned several large-scale events that went off without any problems whatsoever, and I can arrange and organized trips if needed.”

Mr. Englebrecht sat back in his chair, a confused look on his face.

“You’ve only had the one employer then? How many years were you in his or her employ?

Tracy considered that for a moment. “I’d say probably thirty-two years or so. Ever sincel I turned twelve.”

Mr. Englebrecht tapped a pen on the dark, cherry surface of his desk.

“There are laws against chid labor in this country. I’m surprised your anonymous boss was able to get away with that.”

“And much more.” Tracy nodded, wishimg they could end this line of questioning. “I’m sorry I can’t give you details, but I promise I’m good at everything you need me to be, and possibly more. I won’t let you down, Sir.”

“Well, this is highly unusual. Normally we would never even consider an application like this, but I’m inclined to believe you, and we’re desperate to fill this position. Do you think that in lieu of your job history you’d be willing to give us a day’s worth of work, and then we’ll make a decision.”

Tracy nodded. “Of course. Just tell me when, and where. I won’t let you down.”

He smiled. “No time like the present, unless you have something else to do today.” When she shook her head, he went on.  “I’ll have you work in the business office with Stephanie Thomas today. My secretary is just outside the door, and he’ll show you how to get there.”

Tracy worked hard all day, smoothly following her assigned mentor and grateful that she could. At the end, she found herself back in Mr. Englebrecht’s office.

“You really must tell me who trained you,” he said, looking over a form she’d created. “Your work is exquisite. You’re hired, of course. Can you start tomorrow?”

Tracy nodded. “Thank you, Sir. I promise you won’t regret it.”

“And the person who trained you to do all of this? A hint, even?”

“I’m sorry, Sir, but it really doesn’t matter anymore. He’s dead.”

###


Thanks for reading! Feel free to submit your poems/stories for the week in the comments if you’d like. And check back Monday for new writing prompts!