Creative Copy Challenge #84

Today’s words come to us from Chris Pearson of DIY Themes fame. Show him some love, and if you have not heard of the Thesis Theme, make sure you look into it. We use the theme on this site.

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. Nervous
  2. Panoply – A splendid or striking array; Ceremonial attire
  3. Gaffe – A clumsy social error
  4. Prognosticate – To predict according to present indications or signs; foretell
  5. Extractor – something that draws or pulls out, often with great force or effort
  6. Putrid – Decomposed and foul-smelling; rotten
  7. Infallible – Incapable of erring
  8. Juice
  9. Inflate
  10. Akimbo –In or into a position in which the hands are on the hips and the elbows are bowed outward

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there

99 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #84”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    Kelly: Cover the Kid’s eyes
    He stood Akimbo, dick swinging infallibly in the breeze, inflated with pride, p#ssy juice dripping from the tip.
    “Excellent effort, Extractor,” he said to it, inspecting the panoply of sex gels and bodily fluids on the ground below.

    Prognostication for tomorrow? The forecast is chunky, frumpy and putrid. And that ain’t no nervous gaffe, buddy. I got my tractor and we’re going hoggin’!”

  2. Kool Aid says:

    Infallible means juice? 🙂

  3. Kool Aid says:

    She stood nervously, arms akimbo as she watched out the window. The putrid stench from the decomposing body behind her threatened to overwhelm her. She turned and looked again at the form, inflated from the gases and thought back to the week before.
    The man had approached her at the bar, his infallible panoply of clothes an extractor for her attention. Unable to prognosticate what it would mean buying that cranberry juice and vodka, he carried it deftly to her stool. However, he tripped and practically showered her with the drink. She tried to laugh it off and they tossed around a few sexual innuendoes which lead to bringing him back to her place.
    But clearly, she didn’t take that gaffe so well.

  4. The Extractor was dressed in full panoply and stood arms akimbo, looking at Gerald as though he were putrid. Gerald twisted his hands nervously. Who could have prognosticated that a single gaffe would bring the Extractor down on him?
    “It was only fruit juice, Your Eminency,” he said.
    The Extractor seemed to inflate; she took a deep breath and roared, “I am infallible and if I say that spilling juice on a Prognosticator is worthy of Extraction, then it is so!”
    Gerald wondered how much they would take this time. At this rate he would have no memories left by the time he was thirty.

  5. margaret says:

    Just because I stand akimbo, don’t you dare call me a bimbo.
    My knees won’t turn to jelly….I am not a Nervous Nelly.
    I’ll stand tall as a giraffe …won’t commit a social gaffe.
    Let’s not dare to prognosticate just so your ego to inflate,
    because that makes me quite irate….my time is short, I’m running late.
    My dentist waits to seal my fate!!
    OK, I’m not infallible, consider myself quite malleable
    but I need a shot of courage juice so my skin color won’t be puce.
    I hate that health’s a factor, and I might need an extractor
    and it really is quite stupid to let your teeth go putrid.
    His tools all seem quite frightful, not at all to me delightful….
    a torturous panoply (why can’t I be playing Monopoly?!!)

    This is just playing in my mind, as myself I do remind
    that I’m at home, not really there….but I need preventive care…
    and it’s been ages since I’ve gone
    for a checkup and that’s WRONG!!!

  6. "I’m nervous," whispered T’borntb, which was an understatement. If nervous had a smell, his would be putrid.

    "You’ll be fine, it’s just a little test of your progress," replied his teacher, Gened. "It’s pass/fail, and there’s no penalty if you fail. Either way you’ll be back playing with your friends in an hour or so."

    T’borntb was not consoled. A panoply of gaffes awaited him, and he had no delusions that he was infallible. He knew how important this test was to his beloved teacher, but still he was not comfortable with the deception. They thought he didn’t know, but he did. He could feel his discomfort inflate like a lead balloon.

    "Is it ready? Will it succeed?" the Proctor asked. He downed his cafjuice in a single gulp, and refilled it at the extractor.

    "He is ready," replied GenEd Technician 42. "Though I hesitate to prognosticate on the outcome." He shifted his arms from akimbo to palms-up, and added a shrug for emphasis. "Let’s get started."

    "Ladies and gentlemen," announced the Proctor, "welcome to the 2025 Turing Test Trials. Our first contestant is the program 2BOR~2B, created by the General Education Corporation."

  7. Pearson, eh? Hehehehe…
    “Mr. James!” The infallible tone rang through the manor halls, soon followed by a lanky, half-drunk lord waving a wineglass. “Ah, there you are.” He wove as he entered the room and approached. “What are you doing in this panoply of … of… ” The lord peered closely at James. “Have you been reading again? There are books all over the place!”

    “Sir.” James wrinkled his nose at the putrid smell of the lord’s breath and his fingers slid a cherished history novel safely out of reach of the contents of the man’s wineglass before the slopping juice hit the expensive covering. “I was doing research. As you requested, my lord.”

    “Research?” The lord frowned, puzzled, and then smiled before setting his glass down to stand akimbo. “Ah, yes. And what have you found? As your extractor, I must demand a report.”

    James raised his eyebrows. What a fool the lord was – and no less able to commit the same social gaffe in public. “Yes. My lord.” Extractor indeed. But lord nonetheless.

    He took a breath to inflate his lungs and deliver some useless drivel, but that proved a mistake, and a fit of coughing overtook him. When it passed, he took a careful step back, nervous about a repeat incident.

    “It was as I thought. I like to prognosticate but of course, we need proof. Sir.” Another step back, another cautious breath. “In short, your plan is infallible. Should you wish to… continue in this course of direction. Sir.”

    “Excellent.” The lord snatched up his glass, polished off the contents and threw his cup in the fire, where it shattered. “Carry on, James.”

    “With what, sir?”

    “With… with…” The lord waved a benevolent hand. “With whatever it is you do best. Good work, man.”

    And with that, James went back to his reading… but not before opening a window.

  8. Kelly says:


    Look, I’m not that kind of a girl.

    Isn’t that how these stories all begin?

    “I haven’t a violent bone in my body,” says the ingénue, batting her eyelashes a touch too nervously.

    “She was such a proper lady,” says the neighbor, “No, she’d never hurt a fly.”

    That’s how they all begin. Well, I’ll admit it, I have… tendencies. A panoply of tendencies that can scare people sometimes.

    Like the time I wantonly beat that one to death with my shoe.

    (Is that more than a mere tendency? It felt good.)

    Like the time one grabbed on to the lifeline that I threw him on purpose, which I then hauled out of harm’s way with much fanfare—only to land him right in the drink where I knew there was no escape. I revved up my engine and drove away from that in a hurry, before I had time to feel guilty.

    Sometimes I creep me out, because y’know, I’m not that kind of a girl.

    Ah. You wanted to know how I met him.

    He was a scruffy thing, not the type I’d normally associate with at all. But I was feeling my tendencies and hanging out in a bar I normally wouldn’t. A social gaffe, all right, but who was looking? Only that scruffy blond with dark eyes and dirt under his fingernails. Though I was probably past my limit, I was loose and sure of myself, and I didn’t want to go home yet. I heard him tell the bartender he was an exterminator.

    “What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever killed?” I asked, leaning in as casually as I could manage while still trying to hook his eyeballs to my shirt.

    “Whatever you need,” he said, “I can handle it. I’ll be the extractor of all your troubles.”

    “How much… how much do you charge?” I leaned in, just a discreet couple of inches more. I knew my skin was flushed, my legs may have been slightly akimbo, and I didn’t care if he noticed. No one’s infallible, but would it be enough to tease him into what I hoped for? In my juiced state, I couldn’t prognosticate.

    “For you, Miss? I think I can arrange a very… special… rate.”

    Mmmm, the response of my warped dreams. For 50 bucks he’d take care of you. For 250, he’d get rid of your whole family. At last I’d be free! I was gleeful.

    (I couldn’t resist asking what he’d do for me for $500… and you’d better believe it, when he told me, I almost begged him to take my 500.)

    So, hey. it turns out I’m pretty small-time. Just a silly woman with an inflated self-opinion. The guilt is gnawing at me. It must be. Otherwise why am I standing over your putrid corpse and telling this tale?

    I’ve discovered I’m not capable of the killing spree I’d been imagining for months.

    But thank goodness, Sven is.

    Stupid rat, you’ve made me doubt my beliefs; you’ve pushed me past my limits; you’ve made me question my sanity. You’ve infested more than my house, you’ve infested my soul. To the devil with all your family.

    (When Sven’s not busy with his extra services… he’s working on that.)

  9. Cathy Miller says:

    “I am so nervous. I think I might throw up.” Mary shuddered.

    “You’ll do great,” the stagehand and her best friend, Jacqui, responded.

    Mary anxiously chewed on her lip as she watched the actors racing around backstage in the full panoply of the period costumes. What if she wasn’t great? What if she fell on her face with the onstage gaffe of a total amateur?

    At that moment, Mary’s eye widened at the sight of a black cat dashing into her dressing room. If that didn’t prognosticate disaster, Mary didn’t know what did.

    “Did you see that?”


    “A black cat just ran into my dressing room.”

    Sighing in exasperation, Jacqui pulled Mary by the arm over to the closed door of the dressing room.

    “Now just how did the cat get in? By osmosis?”

    Mary blinked in surprise as she realized the door was indeed closed.

    Opening the door, Jacqui urged Mary inside. She gently pushed Mary down on the settee in front of the mirror and reached over to turn on the soothing sounds of the Adagio CD.

    “You have time before curtain, just sit here and enjoy the music. Relax, Mary. You WILL do great.”

    “Don’t mind me, J, I’m a mess. You’re right. I will do great,” she smiled with the desired extractor of hope.

    Closing here eyes to the sound of soft strings releasing their magic fingers of calm, Mary smiled at the tricks of the mind.

    “So, just how putrid do you think you’ll be?”

    Mary’s eyes flew open and her mouth gaped at the black cat sitting on the vanity. Placing a hand over her racing heart, Mary looked around the room for the owner of the flip remark.

    “You’re not going to find me that way,” came the droll reply.

    Snapping her head around, Mary stared into the marble-eyed gaze of the cat.

    “What, you want me to spray, ‘Sufferin’ succotash,’ to fit your pre-formed stereotype?”

    In the infallible remedy of shaking the cobwebs out, Mary violently shook her head from side to side.

    “You keep that up and you’re going to knock something loose – like your lines. Then you’ll have no juice left for your performance.”

    “This is not happening. It’s a dream – yeah, that’s it. This cat is not here and it is not talking to me – except in my dream.”

    “Well, I hate to break it to you, Mary, but this ain’t no dream and I’m not here to inflate your ego with platitudes. I’m here to give you some advice. Stop the self-doubt. It’s annoying.”

    Forgetting the aberrant situation, her arms akimbo, Mary snapped, “Well, I am so sorry it annoys you.”

    “Did you rehearse the part?”

    “Yes, of course.”

    “Do you know your lines?”


    “Are you good? No, don’t think, just answer, are you a good actress?”

    “The best,” Mary fumed.

    “Then go out there and kick ass.”

    Bursting with sudden laughter, Mary wiped away the tears of the absurd. Looking over she saw the vanity empty, save the usual cosmetics and personal touches.

    “What just happened?”

    “Five minutes. Mary,” came the knock on the door.

    “Well, all right,” Mary murmured, “Let’s go kick some ass.”

    As she closed the door to her dressing room, Mary swore she heard – “Sufferin’ succotash!”

  10. Aaron Pogue says:

    Hi again, CCCers. Guess who’s got a book on Amazon? That’s right! Gods Tomorrow, my science-fiction thriller, is available at online booksellers everywhere. Just $2.99 for the e-Book!
    Ugh. I feel unreasonably nervous, finally coming back. And it’s not even as though I’m really “back,” because this is more of a spam email than a story, huh? That’s a gaffe, and I know it. I’m supposed to be here to entertain, but instead I prognosticate.

    I can see you, arms akimbo, asking, “Where’s The Girl Who Stayed the Same? That’s what we’re waiting for! Not some putrid, self-serving ad.”
    Maybe I inflate the sin too much. I grew up with an industrial-grade guilt-extractor working deep in my subconscious, though, anxious to juice every last drop from any mistake I ever made (and believe me, I’ve made a panoply of ’em). It’s the inner editor, the vicious little critic, that unrelenting demand to be infallible, that keeps driving every one of us back to our drafts, to make them that little bit better.
    And, y’know…without that, my book wouldn’t be as good as it is. It certainly wouldn’t be for sale on Amazon. So maybe it’s not such a terrible thing after all….

  11. jaced says:

    “To prognosticate the infallible,” concluded the putrid juice extractor with inflated arms in nervous akimbo, “Would result in nothing less than a panoply of gaffes.”

  12. Thane Tierney says:

    Marty Winston mopped a drop of what he desperately hoped wasn’t flop sweat from behind his left ear and sipped at his juice, nervous that the paper’s art critic — whose taste, according to his rep, was nearly infallible when it came to predicting the Next Big Thing — was going to deem his work putrid… or worse.

    It wasn’t like he had a lot riding on the show, other than his present, future, and as much of the past as it had taken to create the seventeen paintings that lined the gallery wall. Had he picked the right ones out of the hundreds that littered his studio? It was impossible to prognosticate what mister art smarty’s predilection might be; one week, he was all over neo-realists like gesso on canvas, the next week he imperiously pronounced that video collage was the impending wave on which all right-thinking artistes were expected to surf.

    All Marty knew, and what he prayed his face didn’t betray, was that a gaffe, either in concept or execution, would consign him to yet another string of crap jobs, and probably get him bounced off the gallery’s roster to boot. As the critic stood mute, his stubby limbs akimbo, in front of one painting and then another, Winston silently wished there were some sort of thought extractor, that he could burrow under those arched eyebrows into the critic’s cranium to divine his verdict.

    “Finally, the reviewer — who by now had turned Winston’s mind into his own personal bête noir — pointed his snout at the artist and cleared his throat.”

    “Mr. Winston,” he began, in the unctuous voice that usually presaged the worst possible news, “I don’t intend to unnecessarily inflate your most assuredly outsized ego, but I can’t in recent memory recall such a panoply of— of —mas—”

    The critic cocked his head slightly and looked as though a bone had stuck in his throat, as the colour rushed from his face and he dropped to the floor like a sack of stones fallen off the back of a lorry.

    Masterful work? Mastubatory hogwash? Massive talent? Marty Winston wasn’t going to find out today, or maybe ever, he thought as he dialed 911.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Thane: Welcome to the CCC. That was a fantastic 1st submission. I could visualize that story the whole way through.
      People will like you here, this I know. Everyone welcome Thane to the addiction. I’ll add your name to the CCC Community Links Page now.

      • Thane Tierney says:

        @Shane: Molto grazie! This was fun.  I did, however, inadvertently leave out two words;  the sentence should properly read, “Finally, the reviewer — who by now had turned in Winston’s mind into his own personal bête noir — pointed his snout at the artist and cleared his throat.”

    • Kelly says:

      Thane—No fair!!! I want to know!
      Masterful work. I’m sure it was masterful. The story was, anyway.
      I gotta check my contract. I thought it was my job to drop folks around here with endings you have to imagine on your own. Oh, boy…
      Welcome to the CCC!

      • Thane Tierney says:

        @Kelly: Thanks for the welcome. And the kind words.  Was I supposed to have brought the piece to its conclusion? ‘Cause in that case, I’d just kill the art critic. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve capriciously punched a character’s ticket. And what’s one critic, more or less?

        • Kelly says:

          Thane—LOL. No, I really love (hate) stories where the reader has to do some thinking-work at the end. There’s some truth to what you say about critics, ‘specially those nasty art critics, I remember ’em well…

  13. That’s a great story! And welcome!

  14. Cathy Miller says:

    @Thane-Welcome to CCC!

    Never be nervous about critics here. Our welcomes march out with panoply flair, where no written gaffe ever occurs. We prognosticate an addiction of the sweetest kind as you craft an extractor of creative delight. Put behind you the putrid criticism of those who do not understand the infallible feeling CCC brings to your written word. It’s the juice of life that will inflate your pride, as you leave the critics with their arms akimbo to the silence of their own making.

    Welcome to CCC!

  15. sylvia r. says:

    Thanks, Chris, for the great words!

    I am so nervous.
    In the gathering dawn I can see the center square filled with hundreds of people. Some are carrying torches, still lit, but the approaching daylight will soon see them extinguished.
    Not a whisper can be heard from the crowd. They are waiting. Waiting for the sun and the arrival of their new High Priestess, the lovely and very young Lelena. Too young for this position in my opinion, but our desperate times made it necessary to appoint her, ready or not. The Prognosticators threw their painted sticks and pronounced the result satisfactory. Now there is nothing to do but proceed with the ritual.
    Just yesterday, while schooling her for the last time in the prescribed steps, and looking worried perhaps one too many times, she stood with her arms akimbo, head cocked to the side in that manner she has, and said:
    “Do not doubt my ability! You are afraid I’ll commit some gaffe, some offense that will make me look like the child I am today, but won’t be anymore tomorrow. Do not worry. You have taught me well, and all will be as it should be.”
    I always knew that this new High Priestess child has an inflated sense of herself. All I can hope for now is that she will live up to her self-enhanced image.
    The sun is about to rise over the mountains east of the city. If it was quiet before in the square, it is now absolutely still. No one moves.
    A quick glance to the side shows she has arrived at the top of the stairs. Dressed in the panoply of her high office she presents an imposing spectacle.
    She steps forward to the carved stone altar where the sacrifice is laid out in complete submission. Drawing the ceremonial dagger from her robes and raising it high above her head she turns toward the east, then toward the sacrifice.
    As the first rays of the sun clear the mountain there is the flash of sunlight on shiny metal. With infallible precision she plunges the dagger deep into the heart of the sacrifice.
    A rush of satisfied whispers rolls around the square.
    The Extractor steps forward with his basin. He bows to Lelena, our new High Priestess, and approaches the sacrifice. Removing the dagger, he uses the basin to collect the precious life juices that are now flowing freely down one side of the putrid-smelling altar.
    She has done well. The crowd is pleased, and so am I.
    There will be rain.

  16. A. Hamilton says:

    Slyvia; Descriptive enough to make me believe you were actually there. Nice

  17. It was opening night. I was nervous. Would I make a gaffe? Would I strut on stage akimbo with my dress hitched in my knickers? Or would my performance be infallible and inflate my ego?
    I began to regret the juice I had drunk earlier – laced with a shot of vodka to calm my nerves – as I now desperately needed a pee; which further led me to fear walking on stage with my underwear showing. I could do with an automatic extractor – a knicker extractor made from stage props , or maybe I should have worn my best underwear – a panoply of lace and silk; but they had been left in the corner of the washing machine for a week and turned into a putrid mass that needed industrial strength chemicals to deal with the stench.
    While these thoughts were going through my mind the leading lady was on stage, about to utter her line before my grand entrance and I had worked myself up into a frenzy of worry with my crazy prognosticating, which, as usual would probably not come true.
    All eyes turned to me. Hair – check. Knickers – check. Nerves – just about in check …

    • Shane Arthur says:

      Welcome to the CCC fellow member. Love what you did with this one. Everyone welcome Mrs. Green to the fun.

  18. Cathy Miller says:

    @Mrs. Green-Welcome to CCC!

    No need to be nervous when you visit CCC, where each week the words roll out in all their panoply to welcome you back. This is where a gaffe becomes genius and the flat becomes bold. We prognosticate great things for all who visit. CCC is the extractor of creativity, the master of the soul.

    No putrid submissions here – just the essence of what makes each of us unique. Here all are infallible and critics are banned. So, join us for the energy juice that revs our writing and will inflate your pride with all you have to offer. At the end of the day, arms akimbo with accomplishment, you’ll love the day you found CCC and its welcoming community.

    Welcome to CCC!

  19. Karetha says:

    Getting these to fit in order was difficult in the following short submission.  Hope ya’ll enjoy!
    I admit, I was nervous.  Therefore, the panoply of gaffes in my imagination was astounding.  I continued to prognosticate my failures under my breath until I glimpsed The Extractor looming above me.  The mega-sized ride caused putrid bile to rise into my throat.  I sensed that my stomach was not infallible either, as it churned and bubbled within my abdomen.  I regretted consuming mango juice a few moments earlier.  My lungs ceased their ability to inflate and I found I was falling backwards, arms akimbo in a futile attempt to remain standing.  You guessed it…I fainted!

  20. A. Hamilton says:

    The nervous Knight of Peesalot clad himself in a panoply of armor, but in a gaffe of design, the armor was without lubrication. Rust would prognosticate the failure of the newly designed, fireman’s hatch, penis extractor. With fruition, the putrid, infallible odor of human juices inflated the union suit in the Knight’s left leg. Still, he stood unwavering before the queen, akimbo, stuff seeping from the hip, knee and ankle joints of his armor.

  21. Avenged In Blood part 41
     I don’t know why I was not nervous. Perhaps my ability to prognosticate about the events to come had inflated my ego to the point I was going to have problems.
    “Get down!” I whispered loudly to Lola, realizing the gaffe I was making. She was an assassin. She would already be down. If not trying to kill me herself. I know it was hard to believe, but I am far from infallible.
    Suddenly she slid next to me. She was a panoply in the weak light from the stove. Hair moving just so over fine features, smooth skin, taught tendons in her neck. The way her breasts pushed against the fabric as she twisted. Damn it, not now! I yelled in my head.
    “Give me my gun back.” She said. “Why so you can finish me yourself?” I asked. “No you fool, there are two of them, I want you around for a while longer.” Came her reply.
    “I don’t know if I can trust you.” I said drawing her pistol from my belt. Her soft lips brushed my cheek as she breathed, “You have too.” And took her weapon. She rolled to the other side of the doorway and waited. Soon enough two people entered my house. Both had guns. One was smaller, obviously another woman. The other was a large man.
    The woman stood akimbo, framed in the light coming from the doorway. “We know you are here Stamper. Come out!” She shouted. I had the shot. I fired. The woman went down. At the same time I heard 2 quiet coughs from Lola’s pistol and a groan as the man went down. I went to him first. He was dead. His life juice leaking onto my floor.
    I went to the woman who was gasping for breath and dying as well. I had hit her in the lower abdomen as well as the chest. The putrid smell told me I had pierced intestines. Lola came up behind me and gagged slightly at the stench.
    I didn’t even bother to question the woman. I tried to put another round in her head but the extractor on my .45 had jammed. Lola leveled her pistol and fired into the woman’s forehead.
    “We have to leave now.” I said. “You can’t go anywhere but with me now. They will be hunting you too.” I cleared the jam and snapped another round into the chamber. She looked sad. “I know.” She said. “I just have to get some things from home.” “Me too.” I said and headed for my bedroom and the duffle bag on the floor by the bed. Lola followed behind me, her shock at the situation fading into determination.
    Strangely, I didn’t feel the least bit threatened by her anymore. Maybe I was getting soft. Maybe the thought of something soft dissolved my apprehensions.

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