Creative Copy Challenge #93

I’m honored to have Larry Brooks of Storyfix choose today’s words. If you wish to write a book, Larry will save you a ton of time, effort and heartache. Show him some comment love and visit his 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. Understand
  2. Rhetoric
  3. Embalm – To treat (a corpse) with preservatives
  4. Flagellation – whipping or flogging, either as a religious practice for the mortification of the flesh, or as a sexual activity, for sado-masochistic pleasure
  5. Guacamole
  6. BougianvilliaAny of several South American woody shrubs or vines of the genus Bougainvillea
  7. Passion
  8. Noir – Of or relating to a genre of crime literature
  9. Stigmata – marks resembling the wounds on the crucified body of Christ
  10. Impudent – offensive boldness; insolent or impertinent

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


43 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #93”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “This isn’t a noir novel, Kenny. And I understand your passion, but four-letter rhetoric will get us nowhere.

    “Here’s what happened.

    “We smoked a joint laced with embalming fluid.

    “It looked like bougianvillia and smelled like balogne.

    “I saw stigmatas in my guacamole.

    “I kicked your dog for being impudent.

    “Your girlfriend begged me for some phallic flagellation so I did…right after I shit in your stove and burned down your house.

    “Lighten up, Kenny! Your dog’s fine!”

  2. margaret says:

    Part Deux of  Thanksgiving Culinary Delights with Margaret

    In our last installment, we spoke about the proper way to embalm your turkey. I have a real passion for cooking, though I am not one of those wackos who sees stigmata in the tortillas while preparing guacamole. 

    understand that time is precious and most of us have no patience for rhetoric, so I will be impudent and say that if you have no desire to wait for a turkey to cook, (I myself  just sit by the window that has the beautiful bougainvillea growing outside and watch a good film noir till it’s time to baste).  But I digress….Just get yourselves a great steak and practice a little flagellation to tenderize it (great eating, and lets you vent your frustrations).  And if that’s still too much to handle, aw, screw it! Go eat out!!

  3. “You don’t understand,” James muttered from where he’d slumped forward, forehead to desk so that he could close his eyes.”

    “Oh, I understand alright,” Larry put his feet up on James’ desk. “What is this, some kind of rhetoric? It’s mental guacamole, James. You’re wasting your talent and making excuses.”

    “Don’t say that word.” James could feel water in his mouth as his stomach turned uneasily.

    “What word?”


    “Why not?”

    “Got sick as a bastard with food poisoning once.” He tried hard not to feel like vomiting even as he spoke of the dreaded avocado mush. “Flagellation would’ve been kinder. Or dying.”

    Larry mused at the back of James’ head. “Ever think of what it’s like to embalm someone?”

    “What?!” The head came up and James glared at Larry. “No! What the hell kind of question is that?!”

    “Just askin’.” Brooks’ impudent grin grated at James’ moodiness. “So you gonna write that novel or what? You have the passion for it – got the stamina?”

    “I’ve got the stamina, Mr. Hot Shot Pro,” James snorted, his eyes snapping like diable noir. “What, you think I’m some bougianvillia pansy?”

    Larry picked his pearly whites with a toothpick. “You said it. Not me. Bougianvillia pansy… ” And he grinned again. “Could get that tattooed on your ass, y’know. We could call it your creative stigmata.”

  4. Cathy Miller says:

    Death & the Detective Series
    “Soon they will understand, ” the killer silently spoke to one no longer there.

    He was tired of all the rhetoric in the news. Couldn’t they come up with something more creative than the “torturer of women”? Journalism was not what it used to be. So-called writers would embalm words in placid replication, whipping the public with the senseless flagellation of mediocrity.

    “There is no sense of pride in one’s work, Robert,” he muttered.

    “I’m sorry, did you say something?”

    Frustrated at the interruption, he calmed himself as Robert offered a soothing response in his ear. 

    “No, I’m fine, thank you.”

    “Did you want another margarita or more guacomole?”

    Battling for control, he wrapped his hand around the bougianvillia, surrounding the outside patio. Crushing it, he imagined it to be the skinny neck of the unattractive, annoying waitress.  She was not worthy of his passion.

    “I’m fine. Just bring me the check please.”

    “We should have dined at home with the fine bottle of pinot noir, Robert,” he mumbled, tracing the stigmata wounds left by the the sharp thorns of the bougianvillia, “instead of enduring the impudent behavior of someone so beneath us.”

    Flicking his coat in disgust, he rose – the incident soon forgotten.

    The waitress tracked his exit with a cautious look at the man who had dined alone.

    “Freakin’ nut case.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Cathy: You’re a bad-ass! 😉 Love this tale. He’s one twisted mojo!

    • margaret says:

      Creepy, creepy, creepy!  Love the way you used “senseless flagellation of mediocrity”. Gotta get this weirdo off the street before he turns someone else into guacamole!

    • margaret says:

      creepy, creepy, creepy, we need to get this weirdo off the street before he turns
      another victim into guacamole!.  Love your phrase “senseless flagellation of mediocrity”. Great job, Cathy.

  5. “They tell us that we’re not nuanced enough, that we don’t understand the complex and lofty issues of the day.” The speaker was o’rileyed up, and still building steam.
    “I say bull! We understand that the purpose of their rhetoric is to embalm the issue, to engage in public flagellation of strawmen, to display their imaginary stigmata as if the impudent usurpation of the Crown was somehow less important than the passionate scrutiny it has caused them to endure.” The crowd murmured in agreement, hungry for satisfaction.
    “They have made a paste of Bougianvillia and sold it to the people as guacamole. And we have tried to choke it down, but it does not rest easy in the stomach, and festers in the bowels of our consciousness. Their story noir is still shrouded by layers of public ridicule, aided by those who should be exposing the fraud, and ignored by those charged with discovery, but it will not remain this way.” The crowd was growing larger, with more arriving every minute. Almost to a man they were texting or talking on their cell phones, calling sympathetic friends to join the Revival and rally ’round the flag-waver.
    “November was but a warning shot. Circle your wagons and wait for the charge, because we are coming for all of you.” The crowd cheered wildly, cleaned up their trash, and went home.
    The papers said only “Glenn Beck Rally Fails to Start Riot”.

  6. KaseyS says:

    A word to the wise…snacking on guacamole while trying to embalm a recently deceased member of the Gallino crime family…probably not a good idea.
    It was his passion for film noir that distracted Carl from his duties. He loved the snappy rhetoric of the impudent, yet quite admirable private eye.
    With one eye on the TV screen, and one eye on the dead body, Carl slowly moved a tortilla chip towards his mouth.  GLOP! A rather large dollop of green dip landed square in the middle of the corpse’s forehead.
    It was at that very moment that Vinny Gallino entered the funeral home with a man known only as Saint Cristo. But you have to understand, Cristo was anything but saintly.
    He got his nickname from bullet-hole scars in each of his hands, creating the appearance of stigmata. Unlike Christ, Cristo was not the one whipped, beaten and bruised. Instead, he took pleasure in the flagellation of his victims.
    The hardened killer would leave a young bougianvillia shrub at the scene of each crime to make his mark.
    It was Cristo’s little brother lying on the table. Cristo was holding a flowering plant in his arms.
    Carl extended his bowl of guacamole towards the two men. “You guys hungry?”
    Those were Carl’s last words.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kasey: Fantastic visual read that was for me. You are a storyteller my friend. Carry on.

      • KaseyS says:

        @Shane – Thanks man! I’m loving the challenges. Great way to break up the day of blogging about personal finances and writing product descriptions for personal check designs! 🙂

  7. Kelly says:


    Crazy ‘conomy
    Everybody loses
    On good newses
    Do we understand
    What we absorb
    Or float in its orb?
    The flagellation
    of public figures
    Declaring missteps
    Promising new rigors
    Is enough
    for some of us.

    Bush defends the war, though fainter
    than his rah-rah rhetoric once was;
    “We all should have seen it more,” says Cramer
    of embalmed Bear Stearns ‘midst media buzz.
    Cut down a bougainvillea switch
    Tell your leaders it won’t hurt a bit
    We only holler for a minute
    Then we go back to our
    New presidents will take a shellacking
    though Washington will still be backing
    whoever’s flacks do the best job flacking
    and throwing the money around.
    Personally, I’d rather view
    the kangaroo step in the guacamole again
    than read about
    the faux-stigmata of not-very-great men.

    “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”
    We’ve put that old saw up on the shelf
    with the noir movies our grandfathers watched
    while Roosevelt fixed what Hoover had botched.
    Now we let our fears be the tool
    of impudent fools
    writing ads full of lies
    about public outcries
    that only exist in the minds of the ghouls
    paid to pen attacks from Madison Avenue.
    And the fright goes on.

    Crazy ‘conomy
    We don’t know what to do
    So we stay home and cocoon
    Don’t shop don’t vote
    don’t yell don’t stoke
    the fires
    don’t make new hires
    don’t call out liars
    just Wait.
    When we give up
    after a fashion
    stay home and let the Big Interests choose;
    The folks who’ve paid to stir up passions
    win the battle. We lose
    the war.

    File in, now
    Take the medicine
    that apathy buys.
    (It’ll cost.)
    Crazy ‘conomy
    Everybody loses
    On good newses.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: Wonderful! This submission reminded me of the day I switched to a non-affiliated voter. It wasn’t until I was free from a one-letter label that I was truly able to live up to my viewpoint that they’are all rotten, the lot of ‘um! I put all my energies now on being as self sufficient as I can (gardens, canned goods, survival skills, and not relying on election outcomes for my own happiness). I’ve turned the television off, too, which allows me to read a boat load of books which I love the most of all.

      • Kelly says:

        Shane—No matter who’s rotten, the key is to get out there and be heard, right? When I saw the numbers of folks who sat at home two weeks ago while this country (and many others) sits gripped with fear—and let someone else’s vote on what to do about it count extra—unbelievable! Folks howl (and listen to the entertainer-howlers on the quasi-news shows) but can’t drive to the polling place to put those howls into action. Ack.

        Thanks, Larry. The word “flagellation” sent me off on a tear. Most enjoyable.

        (Would love to see what Larry would do with his Challenge…)

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Kelly: Oh, I still participate. I just consider it an excercise in choosing the lesser of two evils. Once the votings over, I get back to my own thing. 😉 Same holds true for those money shows, too. I’ve found other sources on the net that cut through the crap on both sides too (and I check their data, too, just to make sure they’re not getting lazy.)

          • @Kelly: love it!

            @Shane: I haven’t voted for anyone in decades; I can only vote against.
            I think they like it this way. Of course, anyone who wants the job should be disqualified automatically.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Steven: I just read a book called Web Of Debt. I suggest reading it. Find out who our true rulers are. 😉 (ps. I had no idea Wizard of Oz was an allegory for our money systems – Fascinating stuff. I don’t agree with some of the authors solutions, but the exposing of the problem was dead on.)

    • margaret says:

      That was great, Kelly.  I will forever be a child of the 60’s, thinking we are the ones who can make a difference.  I don’t understand apathy (and those who do nothing are the ones who bitch and whine the loudest). I was sooo revved up for our gubernatorial election and don’t really give a crap what anyone thinks, but am elated that my guy, Jerry won! He’s a good man with our state’s interest at heart and no hidden agenda. Things have really gotten F’d  up economically and my business has taken a huge hit.  Flowers are a luxury 😦 

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Ma: I think you should affix your poetry to your bouquets. You’d make quite a name for yourself huh! I’d buy one with a patented Ma poem with it.

        • margaret says:

          Everybody should buy flowers
          happiness they will give for hours
          They are nature being true
          will keep you safe from feeling blue.
          They are not fattening, and not a vice
          just pretty, fragrant, and plain damn nice! 
          Will comfort the sick, and apologize
          say I love you and please your eyes.
          And for you guys who are just plain crass,
          it sure to get you a piece of________  😉

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Ma: That’s what I’m talking about. You could put samples of your poems on the counter that have your wit and humor and I bet people would eat those up. Sell them for a buck per poem. You could even offer custom ones for a higher price once they see some of your awesome samples. I know if I was buying flowers and I knew someone was a witty poet, I’d pay $5 or $10 for a custom poem to rib at my wife.

  8. KathleenL says:

    He had a passion for the impudent oaf who was not content to sit still and watch his father work. The little one wanted daddy to play with him, but James knew that the Bougianvillia was out of control and needed trimming. He has seen it whip around like a cat’s tail in the wind. It needed to be tamed. James perched himself upon the ladder, nippers in hand.

    “Yah stay back now Johnny, ‘til I get this chore done… understand?”

    He did not wait for an audible answer, the gleam in his boy’s eyes told him he needed to work fast.

    He prayed that Johnny would not make his way under one of the whipping maroon, green and brown branches. Flagellation with one even one of the thorny branches promised to leave stigmata marks that rhetoric filled noir, loir, and fables could be written about… especially once Johnny’s mom nearly embalms herself with margaritas, chips and guacamole while pecking away at the keyboard.   

  9. Kathleen says:

    Shane — You know me… I gotta try for the family image… even if it is a slightly disfunctional family… Glad you liked it though! It was fun. 

  10. Epae Savoy says:

    His forehead might have accused his long locks of flagellation had there not been the wind to blame. The day had proven impudent in its ugliness. Surt Zeller popped the tan collar on his long coat and continued towards the black tails of the storm with all the finesse of noir’s Philip Marlowe, though Padre Pio’s stigmata burned under his skin. “We understand each other,” Surt muttered miserably to the unfavorable weather.  
    A thousand Bougainvillias with pouting pink lips kissed his side, as he marched alongside a black iron gate set against the north wind, stopping only to read a swinging plank overhead as he turned to enter the estate: Rhinestone Villa. Not that there was a need to read it, except perhaps to excite some renewed passion against his own freshly embalmed hatred for the place; he had glanced over the sign many times in his haste. “Beast of a man!” he shouted skyward, though he was speaking of himself. It began to rain.   
    He solidly rapped the door with the brass dolphin knocker. The maid, Duchessa, answered the door, and the smell of guacamole momentarily snatched Surt’s breath.
    “Oh, I ca-an’t open the door for you, sir! – The Captain would have your head and mine too!”  Her red curls stole all the color from her face, and she moved to leave Surt out.
    “Please,” he stalled, “he must understand that I didn’t mean for her to – to.” He didn’t finish.
    “To kill herself?” exclaimed Duchessa. “Well, she did, and that’s done – And the Captain understands that his daughter understood that you meant your words, Mr. Zeller – There’s no denying that now! Your baneful rhetoric is most unwelcome here!” She successfully slammed the door with enough force to rival the wind.
    In attempting to rid the world of its blackest pebbles, the detective, Surt Zeller, had hung a millstone around Ms. Rhines’ innocent neck and pushed her over the edge with his accusations. It was then that he learned sincerity meant nothing in a world full of fallible judges. The truth was uncloaked one hour after Ms. Rhines’ untimely surrender to despair. Instead of saving the world, he had put out one of its brightest lights. “I deserve a fate worse than death,” Surt muttered quietly.
    All of his words were mutters lately. Before the incident, he spoke like thunder, pointed like lightening, and rained mercilessly upon all, but now he was the eye of the storm, silent and still as the grave, as his life – a wicked funnel of wind – wobbled around him.
    Surt still faced the brass knocker. He fumbled inside one of his pockets, pulling out a silver lighter and then a cigarette. He lit the poison and turned to face the storm. He stood puffing for a few moments longer. “All men who play God share this fate,” he murmured, as he put out his light and descended the stairs.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Epae: That was outstanding. I believe this is your best yet? What do you think? I think you were on fire with this one!

      • Epae Savoy says:

        Thanks, Shane. 🙂    I enjoyed writing it, and I’m glad you think it’s an improvement! I hadn’t really considered it in light of my previous entries here, but now that you’ve pointed it out – I think you’re right. 😉

        I’ve really enjoyed some of the word lists lately (even though I haven’t posted until today). Some of them have been quite challenging… I like it!

  11. Devin Jump says:

    Let me understand you correctly: you say that as you were teaching one day on the topic of rhetoric an impudent and haughty female student of yours came to the front of the class room with her body in rhythmic flagellation, not to be confused with the word flatulence ‘as you told me’, and while she, still walking, removed her stillettos and asked you to place your hands on the desk, you recall that at that very moment you began to sink into a dissociated state of surreality, not previously familiar to you but similar to that of a noir film you said you had seen about four years ago, when all of the sudden you were falling to the ground with red oozing from your hands as if a spiritual stigmata had made its mark upon you; and in your cry of passion to the sky you began to notice that you were no longer in the classroom but rolling down the side of a hill with shrubbery, which you noted to be that of the bougainvillea variety, falling so traumatically slowly that you knew by the time you were at the bottom you would surely find yourself next to an individual ready for the procedure to embalm your remains, and just when you thought you had breathed your last, you lifted your eyelids only to find yourself reclined in your lazy boy with a large glob of guacamole on your chin and the television faithfully playing repetitive infomercials — did I get the whole story right?
    -DR JUMP

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