Creative Copy Challenge #100

Can you believe it! This is our 100th challenge. I’m so proud of this site and the people that made it what it is. Can’t thank you all enough for the joy this site brings to my crazy life.

And as you know, our own Cathy Miller has been welcoming new CCC folks with personalized welcome messages since I can remember. I didn’t ask her to do this, yet she creates wonderful welcomes to everyone who submits. Nothing more perfectly explains what the CCC is about better than these, and this is why I asked her to pick for this special occasion. Thank you Cathy for all you do here. Now, onto the show.

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. Extravagant 
  2. Champagne 
  3. Accepted
  4. Lasting
  5. Unmitigated – not diminished in intensity, severity; (intensifier) an unmitigated disaster
  6. Who knew
  7. Yardstick
  8. Plethora  – an excess; An excess of blood in the circulatory system or in one organ or area.
  9. Swagger – strut, brag, or boastful; to bully
  10. Hope

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


114 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #100”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    I can’t think of any better way to celebrate the 100th challenge than a bit of adolescent male humor.
    Oh my god, that’s a yardstick of plethora swinging down. I hope he doesn’t hurt anybody with that unmitigated swagger. Man, if I was packing like that I’d have an extravagant party with champagne and hookers. Although I’ve accepted my allotment in life, who knew going to the zoo and seeing elephants would leave such a lasting impression of inadequacy?

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Shane-it’s a guy thing-so to speak 🙂
      And thank you for the honor of choosing the words for the 100th challenge. I know a lot of CCCers would agree, we are so happy for your gem of an idea. I’ll be back as soon as I figure out how to use the latest 10. Congratulations, and thank you, Shane!

  2. Hi Cathy,
    Thank you for my welcome. How welcoming of you! Here are your words uncensored.
    Who knew that one glass of Champagne would lead me to swagger into the special exhibits room at an extravagant, private club where only those who exhibit a plethora of hope have their applications accepted?
    I lost my balance and fell onto the “yardstick” sculpture, not only getting a lasting scar on my chin but also an unmitigated stare from the club’s president who subsequently burst into laughter and offered to freshen up my drink.

  3. Loran says:

    Congratulations on 100 posts!  It was too much for me to keep up with but I’m glad you are keeping on.

  4. Dear Shane and the CCC writers,

    I’d like to extend my unmitigated thanks to you for providing me with this site. Who knew that such a simple fiction exercise would bring me lasting pleasure every week? I’m glad I accepted to participate and am grateful this place exists.

    It’s my sincere hope that the site grows in extravagant strength (let’s set that yardstick high, shall we?) so that it can bring a plethora of joy to others as it has me.

    You deserve to have a good swagger for what you’ve done, and I raise my (soon to come) glass of champagne your way in toast.



    • Shane Arthur says:

      @James: I’m imagining you saying that to me with a tear in your eye as you man-slap my back! 😉
      Seriously, thank you for being here. I love your assassin stories, your ribbin’ of your friends, and your writing skill in general. So glad you decided to contribute here, too. Thank you kindly. (Ironic that this is the first comment that didn’t end up in spam. See what happens when you show your soft side to me. 🙂 )

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @James-so glad you have been along for the ride-:-)

  5. I spent most of that evening watching the champagne bubbles scurry up my glass.

    The party was extravagant, as hers always were. The room overflowing with a plethora of hors d’oeuvres, fine wines, and vanity. It was a yardstick of how far I’d fallen–or she had–this unmitigated, vacuous display of useless things and shallow people that seemed so foreign to me now.

    I’d held on to the ridiculous hope that, if I ignored the others in the room, they’d ignore me. The childish belief that if you can’t see them, they can’t see you. But his unmistakable swagger and the long-lasting stench of his imported cologne invaded my little corner once the evening reached that inevitable point of saturation in wine and bad manners. 

    “Keith! Well who knew you’d be here? Thought you were too good for us now.”

    “Apparently not,” I said.

    “Heard you were accepted at that fancy firm of Donny’s. How do you like it there?”

    “I didn’t take the position.”

    “No? Got a better offer?”

    “Yes, I’m teaching at the local elementary school now. Fourth grade.”

    His brow furrowed and he stood there for a long moment, apparently trying to puzzle out that nonsensical statement.

    “But, well, that’s… noble, of you. I suppose.”

    “No, it’s not, Harry. It’s a job that needs doing. Unlike Donny’s firm which does not need anything from me. He only offered the job because Megan pestered him.”

    “Not getting along with your sister still? Why do you come here, then?”

    “Study in human nature. And to remind myself that, no matter how bad things get in my life, they could always be worse.”

    “Oh? Worse?” he said, a bit twitchy now, as if he were anxious to escape this confounding conversation.

    “Yes, worse. I could be one of you.”

  6. Congrats everyone on 100 challenges!

    I know an addiction when I see one, and CCC was fast becoming that for me. Love the idea, and loved doing it when I did, but I had to cut myself off before I got too far in… Don’t think I won’t be coming by to cast a shadow on your door sometime in the future though.

    (Actually, I haven’t completely cut myself off – I’ve started my novel, writing one hour per day until it’s done, and blogging about the experience. That, as you can imagine, is a creative copy challenge in itself!)

    Even if I’m not always an active participant, it warms my creative heart to know that something like this is going on in the back alleys of the literary Internet.

    Congrats again, and here’s to (at least) a hundred more!


  7. Cathy Miller says:

    Death & the Detective series
    As Brett chowed down on his Food Court pizza, he wondered if the Lady Doc would consider his gift too extravagant. He wasn’t even sure why he bought the district’s shrink and profiler a gift.

    The 1998 Clos des Goisses Brut champagne went for $250 a bottle. For most cops, calling the gift extravagant was an understatement. Thanks to a very generous inheritance from Nana Connors, Brett didn’t need to worry about money. Yet he still worked some of the most gruesome murders in the state. After 25 years as a homicide detective, Brett Connors didn’t know any other way. He simply accepted it as his life.

    As if his thoughts conjured her up, Brett straightened in his chair, like a recalcitrant schoolboy, at the sight of the long-legged, Dr. Margaret Mary Sweeney across the mall. He silently cursed himself for the lasting effect the lady shrink had on him. She was trouble with a capital T.

    He watched as a guy with unmitigated gall wrapped his arms around Maggie, lifting her off the floor in a huge embrace. Her face glowed with the joy of the season as she laughed and kissed the guy – on the lips, no less.

    Brett watched as she grabbed the guy’s hand and dragged him over to an empty table. Removing her winter coat to reveal form-hugging jeans, Brett softly whistled between his teeth in admiration. Who knew what she had under that clinical white coat she always wore?

    Deciding he had enough of this guy, Brett tossed the remains of his pizza, and took his 6 foot 4 inch frame over to their table.

    “Hey, Doc, fancy meeting you here.”

    Brett watched as the smile faded from Maggie’s lips and her green forest eyes blinked in surprise.

    “Detective Connors, hello.”

    “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” Brett all but sneered.

    Maggie, uncharacteristically flustered, replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. This is my friend, Shane Arthur. Shane, this is Detective Brett Connors”

    “Hey, buddy, nice to meet you. Why don’t you join us?”

    Brett eased his tall body into the Food Court comedy for chairs and wondered if this guy was the yardstick the Doc used for what she found attractive.

    “So, how do you know the Doc?”

    “Oh, Maggie and I go way back. I guess you could say we met in a plethora of words,” he laughed, sharing a much too intimate glance with the Doc – at least to Brett’s way of thinking.

    “Shane is an editing genius and the creator of the hot site, Creative Copy Challenge. Maybe you heard of it?”
    Maggie smiled with an affectionate touch to Shane’s arm that had Brett’s eyes narrowing into blue ice chips of disdain.

    “Never heard of it,” Brett grumbled.

    “Maggie tends to exaggerate. It’s one of the reasons I love her so much. Look I promised the kids we would hit Sea World early. It was so good seeing you, Maggie.”

    Brett watched the two exchange another hug and kiss. Kids? Married? Divorced?

    “I am so glad I met you, Detective. Maggie has told me so much about you.”

    Brett’s startled look caught Maggie’s quick blush.

    “I hope to see you two again real soon. Happy holidays!”

    Brett watched the swagger of a confident man as he walked away.

    “Well, I hope you know that if it wasn’t for Shane, you wouldn’t even exist,” Maggie fumed, snapping her coat from the chair; she grabbed her belongings and stormed off in disgust.

    “Now, what the hell does that mean?” Brett mused.

  8. [continued from #99]

    Who knew the Concierge bot would try to kill me? I did.

    After we bumped into each other, he was apologetic. Concierge bots are notorious for swagger and unmitigated gall. That was one clue among a plethora of things that were not quite right in the lobby. So I accepted the inevitable and hung around to see if I could glean more information. The Franchise is known for being extravagant in their stunts; they are the Champagne of anarchoterror groups. Or at least that’s what their recruiting banners say. Their attacks are expensive and difficult to set up, so they like to make a lasting impression.

    I went up to my room and spent the next hour prying the Concierge’s smoking claw from my thorax. I knew I couldn’t stay here. The hotel room across the alley was empty, and had cheap window locks. So I transitioned over there after dark. Give the Franchise an inch, and they’ll take the yardstick, set it alight, and beat you with it; best not to give them a sitting duck.

    I settled in for a good night’s recharge, but woke up a few hours later. The hotel next door was on fire. I found out later it started in my room, probably a plasma grenade.

    In the morning I went back to see Tym.

    “Good to see you again, my friend,” Tym said. “Pardon me for not rising, I’m still being restored from backup.”

    “No problem,” I said, “I had hoped you’d be back together by now.”

    Tym paled and shuddered slightly. “Yes, 96%…97%…98%…99%………100%! Please accept my apology for my prior version’s insensitive remarks. I’ve upgraded my compassion and empathy subsystems, so it won’t happen again.”

    “I hope not,” I said.

    [to be continued…maybe]

  9. Congratulations on the 100th CCC post!
    It would not be extravagant to pop the Champagne and propose a toast
    to the Accepted Leader of Lasting Fame,
    the unmitigated author, Mr. Arthur, Shane!
    Barely a year ago, who knew that this schtick
    Would grow into a 100-post writer’s yardstick
    With a plethora of contributors
    Full of swagger and hope
    (Plus some drive-by bloggers
    Touting hookers and dope)?

    Happy anniversary, and 100th Post!

  10. Shane Hudson says:

    Lights, camera and ACTION!
    Okay, so its not quite a feature film but hey! who cares, it is our first film and I am taking lead. Yep, you heard that right… ME!
    Who knew that I would be in a film, I thought that my dreams would never come true. Is it too much to hope that now I am in a movie, I will make it to Hollywood?
    Oh just imagine the extravagant parties with champagne and unmitigated pleasure. Ooo just think, I would need so many yardsticks to measure my rooms!
    I am so ecstatic that I have been offered this chance, it is strange though because some of my best friends seem to be surprised that I accepted. Who wouldn’t!
    Whoops! I have not yet told you what part I am have I? I am the beast in Beauty and the Beast! Yay!


    Very impressive, 100 challenges! Well done! Might have to add another day soon?!

    I join very late into this challenge, so might start from the beginning heh

  11. Kimberly Young says:

    The plethora of extravagant bubbles in my champagne was unmitigated.
     My buzz it did cause me to swagger.
    Who knew
    that drinking a yardsticks worth would have me feeling like such a dope?
     I’ve  accepted the long  lasting hangover.
     And finally now, I’ve a feeling of hope.

  12. Kimberly Young says:

    where to now?

  13. Sara says:

    Truth be told…I’m not drunk 🙂 Congrats on 100!
    I had accepted that there was no time for fiction writing. Endless hours every day to let my fingers dance on the keyboard for other people’s writing projects would just have to be enough. If I wanted my eyesight lasting until retirement, I had to draw the line somewhere.

    As I sat down to plan my 2011 project schedule, who knew that I’d get an email from Shane saying he had hope that I’d participate in the 100th Creative Copy Challenge.

    “But there’s no time for creative writing,” I said under my breath.

    Then, in the corner of my mind, a voice bellowed. No one will hire you if your yardstick for success is about billable hours. You’re one of million writers with unmitigated customer service ethos. You need a plethora of creative ventures to truly reach great heights.

    This swaggering part of my conscience was right.

    I popped the champagne early this morning and set out for an extravagant venture: nothing but drunken creative writing for me today.

  14. Kimberly Young says:

    Thank you for all the welcoming remarks.  You all are very kind.
    The plethora of extravagant bubbles in my champagne was unmitigated.
    My buzz it did cause me to swagger.
    Who knew that drinking a yardsticks worth would have me feeling like a dope.
    accepted the  lasting hangover.
    After that I’ve a feeling of hope.

  15. Kimberly Young says:

    what,s next.  Thanks again

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kimberly: What’s next? Not sure what you mean. The next challenge is Thursday. If you’re looking for some more challenge fun, you can always go back and do the other ones you missed. 🙂

  16. Jesse says:

    Who knew I’d spill my champagne while digging behind the couch with a yardstick to retrieve the plethora of toys that the kids had stashed back there.
    I hope you can run to grab me one of those extravagant, holiday-themed paper towels for sopping up the mess.  I see, however, you’ve resorted to a slow, deliberate swagger while the bubbly soaks into the carpet, leaving a lasting stain.
    I’ve accepted the unmitigated disaster of the spilled drink and stashed toys.  It’s no worse than all the other messes that make up the fun, craziness that is our life.
    But I still don’t like champagne or decorating with paper towels.
    … Cathy, nice words.
    Happy ‘hunerth’ CCC!

  17. Stacia says:

    Hope shines anew
    Who knew this day would come?

    The age-old guests swagger askew
    Lopsided, directionless
    Of ostentation to over-come.

    Child-like strangers unmitigated in lieu;
    Of a wholesome clutch in His bosom,
    Guided under the second light, an advent
    Of lasting candles, a yardstick
    For getting in, accepted

    The party started
    A plethora of champagne glasses clinking in the air.
    From the dusty red wine bottles of age
    Of ripeness, of faith.

    Old, new, amended alike.
    Fill it up to an extravagant hundred
    Let it be, once again, birth.

    Raise the shining glass for love!

    Have a few
    Shall we all have some?

  18. margaret says:

    A Plethora of joy I cannot measure
    or guage the priceless treasure
    with any yardstick handy
    for what I think of as mind candy.

    Who knew I’d be accepted
    when with hope I was infected
    And dared to write with swagger
    with my poetic, crazy dagger.

    Creativity runs unmitigated
     our sanity should be investigated
    But this venture’s  been long lasting
    and from stories never fasting.

    A longtime fan I will remain,
    toast you all with great champagne
    and extravagent imported beer
    wish all of CCC was here!   Happy Holidays, from the Poet Godess 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ma: Just wonderful. Great addition to the CCC 100th.

    • Jesse says:

      Too funny…  I’d just finished reading “Apostrophe to the Ocean” by Lord Byron, to my kids – it wasn’t a disciplinary action, but an attempt to explain romantic poetry.
      Then, I checked email, and here was yours.  Perhaps it’s your “Apostrophe to the CCC”?
      Nice one. 😉

      • margaret says:

        Thanks, guys.  I love the CCC and I am sorry that I have not been able to take the time to
        comment on everyone’s submissions for the last couple of challenges. I am a florist and the last week has been insane with everything I have had to do, plus I am writing some articles for my son AND selling at the flea markets AND teaching two nights a week . (WHEW!)

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Ma: You’re writing, too? I’m probably editing them huh? I’ll see if I can guess which articles are yours. 🙂

          • margaret says:

            My stuff goes straight to Tracy, because she has to re-format everything. I have a prob with my word processing program, so I just have to email the content 😦  I’ve been doing articles for a pet site and a senior lifestyle site also. I wish I could get whimsical, but so far, they are pretty much formula but in my words.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Ma: Those articles will keep you sharp though. Good for you.

        • Cathy Miller says:

          @Margaret-my response got eaten by the Blackberry-with the risk of repeating myself –
          Poet Goddess, indeed – another fine example that you rule! 🙂

  19. Devin Jump says:

    Loved CCC, too busy but I’ll leave #100 on my todo list…

  20. Jeff says:

    Didn’t have time to get to this one today, but wanted to congratulate you guys on 100 CC Challenges.  Great job! This is a way cool idea that’s being run by and participated in by way cool people.
    – Jeff

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeff: “Bloggers driving Mercedes, BMWs, Jaguars, look over their shoulders in despair as they see the CCC. Where did I go wrong, their faces say.” 😉 Thanks buddy.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeff: ps. You have until Thursday before a new challenge goes up. 🙂

  21. Shenee says:

    Yay, I am excited about this one! : )

    When my uncle gets out of the hospital for the 20th time, his shoes are powder blue.
    My uncle pours champagne into his gas tank for fun. He likes that it makes his car smell like alcohol. He drives just below the speed limit with a light out and hopes that he gets pulled over by the police. He likes breathalyzers. Even more than that, he loves his swagger when he confidently walks in a straight line. The police officer is always the same. We live in a small town but he has a good sense of humor. He tells him that just because he can say the alphabet backwards, doesn’t mean his punishment for running a red light will be unmitigated.

    Sometimes the police officer arrests him, mostly on days when he is in a bad mood, for whatever reason. Who knew you could be arrested for wasting a police officer’s time. We do live in a small town.
    He uses yardsticks the measure the lasting effects of his conversations. We all aaccepted the fact that there was no way to understand what the measurements mean. I could say, Uncle, what time is it? He would answer and then take out his yardstick and measure out 3 yards.
    He wears extravagant shoes, the shiny kinds that you can see your distorted face in. His has a plethora of shiny shoes in every color. They never match anything particular, he just says they match the way he feels that day. My little sister started painting her penny loafers according to her mood. Apparently he is having a lasting effect on her.
    When he goes back to the hospital, his shoes are yellow.

  22. Sara says:

    Happy 100th Challenge, everyone! I haven’t been around lately but I have really loved playing here and there. 🙂
    “How extravagant!” Darcy squealed as she accepted the glass of champagne from the waiter. Who knew that they would be together this long? Who knew how lasting their love would prove to be? Though she’d received a plethora of doubtful comments, ridiculing sneers, and straight out in-your-face laughter, she’d never given up hope that it would last. Her love for Mark was unmitigated, as strong as it was the day she first trailed his pages with her fingers, and no cup nor yardstick could ever measure it. Every time he entered the room in his typical noble swagger, she swooned.
    Indeed, if a man could marry a roller coaster, or a doll, or his cat, why could she not marry a book?

  23. […] Copy Challenge Challenge #100, inspired by the many Pride and Prejudice lovers I […]

  24. sylvia r. says:

    Congratulations! Much champagne
    is flowing on your site tonight.
    The yardstick’s out; it’s measuring
    A plethora of write delight.

    Who knew that this extravagant,
    unmitigated pouring out
    of words would be perfected
    by writers near and far?

    Their keyboards full of swagger,
    hearts filled with ever lasting hope
    they cry “I’ve been accepted!”

  25. Shane this site is so great, it boggles the mind why there are not more.  This is where I will be staying though.  It is so much fun to have a goal to write to without any other constraints.  The CCC is good for the writing soul and can be just a fun place to hang out.  Plus, you know you have created something great when people feel guilty about not getting a challenge completed.  I point to myself.
    Thanks for all of the great words and the fun that is the CCC.  I am excited to be a part of the community for the past 66 challenges and I look forward to the next 100.
    Thanks Shane!  And thanks to all of you other writers who create such different and compelling content twice a week.  I really like reading other peoples submissions and seeing what people can do with the same 10 words.
    Now, on to more Fairy Tale Land Tales!
     Who knew that Cinderella was such a cold bitch.
    I couldn’t believe her, sitting up here in this extravagant castle sipping champagne while that Prince Charming sat there wallowing in unmitigated stupidity.

    People in the kingdom used to think he was someone. He is just the boy toy of Cinderella. How many other princesses have been dragged into some demented 3 way plot like poor Sleeping Beauty was. I haven’t seen Snow White for a while….

    Cinderella stood and began to saunter around the room, filled with such a plethora of swagger that I was almost sick. I could hope that she was woozy from the champagne and would trip on the worn stone floor. That would wipe that smirk off of her face.

    “I don’t exactly know who you think you are little man.” She said. “You should have accepted that this whole..” She fluttered her hand around while I noticed guards taking positions at the exits. “This whole situation was way out of your pay grade. The Lollipop Guild no longer is the yardstick for law in Fairy Tale Land.”

    I was starting to get nervous. This conversation could have lasting impact on the Guild and the Law. Cinderella was planning a takeover. The council would not like this one bit, if only I could survive long enough to tell them.

  26. Shane Arthur says:

    I’m at home with sick kids today, playing Mr. Mom again. I’m feeling nauseous now, too, so I’ll try to comment later today. Stay out of trouble until I return. 🙂

    • Jesse says:

      You are an awesome dad.

      Hang in there. At least you all are getting it out of the way before the Big Man in Red comes.

    • Sara says:

      Hope you and your kiddos are well soon, Shane!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      Ruh-roh-100th challenge hangover 🙂 Seriously, Dude, take care of you & the kiddies. We’ll keep the light on for you-no guarantee on the staying out of trouble. 🙂

    • Cathy Miller says:

      Tribute to Shane –

      Alas, but the extravagant champagne celebration of #100 was too much for our Shane Arthur. As he accepted our thanks and our lasting support, he is, after all is said and done, a devoted Dad. So, when the unmitigated attack of the seasonal bug hit his kids, Dad became Mr. Mom.

      All of us at CCC want to thank Shane for his creative idea, his devotion, and his unbelievable commitment to responding to each submission. Who knew when he set up this site what a great community was about to form. It is the yardstick for measuring all that is good about social media.

      CCC shows the world there is a plethora of kindness and support for each other. We just needed a place to come home to. So, Shane, if your walk has a bit more swagger, you’ve earned it. You bring hope to the writer inside all of us.

      Feel better soon and thanks. We love you, man. 🙂

  27. A. Hamilton says:

    The coming of Winter is evidenced by many things, most notable the barking of geese as they sore high, migrating toward the point of their formation, and, by Mother Nature at her extravagant best, turning leaves to colors of bright red, yellow and champagne. But who knew the coming of winter would be evidenced by the bodily pestering, sometimes excruciating, “Winter Itch?”

    Winter Itch is an invisible monster, ( Accepted as detrimental in arachnophobia), with gagged-ass teeth and an insatiable, unmitigated appetite for squamous epithelium. 

    Usually, Winter Itch will first recon appendages where it can succulently annoy persons to the edge of insanity. When encountering relief scratching, Winter Itch will retreat to an area in the center of the back where outstretched, contorted arms cannot  reach.  Here, it will safely bivouac with a plethora of torment that can make one’s self appear to swagger. This condition can be temporally overcome by unmercifully rubbing one’s back against a door jam, as a black bear does on the bark of an oak tree, or by employing an implement such as a barbequing fork or broken yardstick. Taking 100 CCCs, the write dosage of Tinactin, can be helpful. (Caution; Write or not write, 100 CCCs can be addictive.) 

    Relieving, hope is not without reward, for the coming of Spring is evidenced by the barking of geese soaring high, migrating toward the point of their formation, and, by Mother Nature, at her extravagant best, budding the bare branches of trees with greenery.

    Then, there will months of lasting peace with the death of that invisible monster, Winter Itch.

  28. Cathy Miller says:

    @A-who knew? LOL! Very funny-unless you have winter itch, I suppose. 😀

  29. Shane Arthur says:

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: I’ll still sick (stomach flu I believe). I’ll catch up on comments when I feel better.

  30. Kathleen says:

    Happy 100th to all of the CCC family!

    Isabelle gleefully accepted the invitation to the celebration. Getting the invite was a milestone many had used as a yardstick to measure their successes by. After reading it a third time she had called her long time friend and cohort Shaqweetah.  
    “You’ll go to help me pick out the right outfit… won’t you?”
    Three days later the friends got together to hit the stores.
    “Anyone who gets and invite to Shane’s sin-dig …. Well, Isabelle… gggiiirrrrrllll, you know you’ve arrived now! You know you’ve arrived,” her best friend had said throwing her hands up into the air and cocking her head off to one side causing the beads at the ends of her tight braids to clank together like a planned musical accent to her words. A generous smile of appreciation accented her face the day as headed off to shop for the right dress.  
    Who knew?” Isabelle modestly said as her checks grew redder as her friend made a fuss.
    “Oh, gggiiirrrllll, I knew. I knew.” Shaqweetah loved her friend’s modesty.
    It did not take them long to find the right dress, gilded shoes and matching purse.
    “I hope it’s not too much,” Isabelle said as she hung it on the back of her bedroom door.
    Days later she covered most of her 5 foot 9 inch frame with the cabernet colored velvet and satin gown.  The floor length velvet snuggly wrapped around her torso, beginning at her upper ribcage, down over her hips. The satin sleeveless bodice’s generous loose drapings drew attention to her generous breasts. The dragonfly pendent with garnet Safire’s hung on a light chain around her neck. It was an extravagant accessory, much like the minimal strapped deep red high heeled shoes she had purchased to go with the outfit, but with her auburn hair up the matching dragonfly earrings drew onlookers eyes up her long neck.
    She sat on the bench at the end of her bed to slid her manicured toes into the limited straps. After buckling the straps around her left ankle she repeated her movements around her right, wiggling her toes playfully. Rising gracefully she stood in front of the full length mirror making sure everything was in place. She grabbed up her jeweled clutch purse and headed out the door.
    The drive to the party’s location was uneventful, except for the swarm of butterflies in her stomach. Isabelle pulled up dropping the stick shift into neutral and pulling on the parking break. She allowed the young man dressed in black slacks and vest with a crisp white shirt to open her door and offer his hand.  As she swung her legs out of the car the slit in the dress opened fully as the velvet fell away exposing her long shapely legs. His smile telegraphed that she would be making a lasting impression.
    As she crossed the threshold her school-girl nerves were unmitigated. Maybe some champagne will ease my worries? She thought. She took a deep breath, gathered her confidence… which she knew she had a plethora of an hour ago, put on her best game face and swaggered into the room. She hoped to make the jaw drop of more than just her host.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kathleen: Great scene you painted with this one. I get the feeling you enjoyed this one. 🙂

      • KathleenL says:

        yes Shane, I did enjoy this ONE as I have enjoyed every post I am been able to build something about of … sure am glad I was lead to you; lead my daughter to this group, my sister and now a co-worker!

        I am proud to tell folks about CCC!

  31. Kimberly Young says:

    You all write so well. I hope I can keep your eyes on the screen with the tidbits  I have to offer up.  bye and thanks

  32. Courtney Cantrell says:

    Grace: In Three Parts (A Grace and Jack Story)

    Part One: Heavenly Grace

    The waiter sports a ridiculous moustache, a hint of eyeliner, and enough muscles to discourage mockery.  I order Mountain Dew and filet mignon and manage not to slur the syllables into something that might get me pounded.  My wife insists on mineral water and a platter of crayfish.  After our moustached, made-up waiter brings us our drinks and goes away again, Grace pours her water into a potted plant in the windowsill.  She pulls a small glass bottle out of her purse, and I freeze with my Mountain Dew halfway to my mouth.

    “What’s that?”

    She smiles, screws the lid off the bottle, and pours its golden contents into her former water glass.  The liquid froths, and I think of rabid animals.  “This, my beloved, is champagne.”

    The Mountain Dew retreats to the safety of the table, which location will help my suddenly shaking hand not to slosh the soda down the front of my shirt.  Or smash the glass against the wall.  I can’t speak.

    “I suppose you think I’m being extravagant,” Grace says.  “That our first anniversary isn’t enough reason for something special.”

    I clear my throat, and it’s like scraping all hope from my soul.  “That’s not fair, Grace.  I didn’t deserve that.”

    She sticks out her bottom lip, pouting, as though I hadn’t even spoken.  “It’s not even a plethora of somethings.”  

    “It’s not the number of somethings I’m concerned about.  It’s the nature of the one something.”  I take a breath, and the air shudders deep in my throat.  “Grace, please — you don’t need that to make this special.”  

    “It’s not about special.  It’s about creating something lasting, Jack.”  She sweeps her filmy red scarf over her shoulder and raises her glass to me.  “Sometimes, I think about having a torrid love affair.”

    Part Two: Amazing Grace

    Her lips haven’t touched the drink yet.  If I take the champagne away from her, maybe she won’t try this again.  If I take the drink away from her, maybe I can convince myself that I’ve steered her off this course once more.

    “I don’t mean like the one I had with you,” says my wife.  “I don’t mean something that happened in my heart and condemned me for all eternity.  I mean something physical.”

    But I know.  It’s not the drink that’s the problem.  It’s not the drink that’s taking her away from me again.  It’s my old nemesis: her guilt.  I know that sly thing in her gaze.  It’s coming out into the open now, and I recognize its swagger, too.  

    Her dark eyes don’t allow me my introspection.  “Do you hear me, Jack?”  She doesn’t even blink.  “I’m talking about physical.  Intense.  Secret.  Dirty.  Something that makes me feel accepted.”

    Her guilt knows me as well as I know it.  We’re two enemies who’ve met before — on the battlefield of her soul.  Damn it, Grace — I thought I’d won.  If I take the drink away from her, she’ll never forgive me for trying to be her god.

    Her tone turns hard.  “Accepted for who I am, Jack.  Do you know what that would mean to me?  To be accepted — the way you and Frannie never accept me?”

    My throat, mouth, and lips work together, creating a bitter noise against my will.  “Accept you drowning yourself in booze?  Accept you drowning yourself in cross-dimensional, time-travel fantasies just so you don’t have to face the reality of what you think you did?”  My right hand threatens the Mountain Dew, so I clamp my left hand around my right wrist.  “Sure, Grace.  I’ll just step out of your life and let you go make love to your Jack Daniel’s again, and we can forget that you’ve been whole enough for the past two years to accept me and my love for you.”

    Her eyes turn as hard as her voice.  “We’ve been over this, Jack.  We’ve measured me, and we’ve measured you — and the yardstick is in your favor.  You’re not allowed to love me, not really.  You’re worth too much for that.”

    I lunge across the table, sending Mountain Dew flying and fellow patrons into a buzz-hiss of frenzied murmuring.  I grab my wife by the shoulders and pull her halfway out of her seat.  Her hips slam into the table, but I’m leaning into it.  It’s not going anywhere, and neither is she.

    “We have been over this, Gracie.  You.  Do not.  Have the right.  To tell me if I can love you or not.  You do not have the right to tell me how to feel.  You’ve taught me how best to love you, and I’ve been the happiest man on earth, learning those lessons.  You don’t have the right to tell me to unlearn them.  That’s a hell of a thing to ask me, Grace.”

    Her eyes search mine, flicking back and forth, and for one glorious instant, I think I’ve reached her.  I think it’s over — this phase, this episode, whatever this strange funk is that my wife has been in since the morning of Libby Zion dot com.  For an instant, I think about how relieved Frannie will be when I tell her I’ve rescued her daughter once again from the clutches of this self-induced, guilt-driven madness.

    But then Grace’s eyes stop moving.  They fix on some point beyond my head, and I watch as they glaze over.  “You didn’t let me finish telling you about my lover,” she says.

    My hands and arms go numb.  I let go of her shoulders, and she sinks back down into her seat.  There are tears on her face, and I honestly don’t know if I put them there or not.  People are staring at us and whispering.

    “My lover would be pills,” Grace says.  “Or a razor blade.  I don’t really like the idea of cutting, but a hot bath sounds awfully appealing.  Maybe I’d get a Brazilian bikini wax first, just so I’d look my best.”  She giggles, belying the tears.  “Who knew I could be so risque?”

    Part Three: Unmitigated Grace

    My hand is a million miles away from hers when Grace takes her first sip of champagne.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Courtney: OUTSTANDING! I’m so glad you stopped by. I’m 99.5% sure you are Aaron’s friend right? Just want to make sure there aren’t two of you. 🙂 Again, wonderful submission. I hope to see more of you. The CCC is gonna love you, too.

      • Courtney Cantrell says:

        Aw, thanks, Shane!  And you can add a .5% to your certainty: Yes, I’m Aaron’s friend.  (If there are two of me, I’d like to figure out where the other me is, so she can do some of these chores I’ve let pile up!)  I first showed up on CCC #24 but sadly haven’t joined in since.  I’d like for the CCC to see more of me, too — I’m just always so involved in noveling, it’s hard for me to break away and write shorter stuff.  Even though I know very well that it would be an excellent way to hone my skillz!  😉  You people are all terribly inspiring!

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Courtney: You know, I looked back for other posts but could not find any under the current email you are using. I thought you may have.
          Thanks for the kind words. These folks are super talented. I’m so glad I get to read all the submissions.

  33. Kelly says:



    The depths to which it can make a man sink are said to be unknown, but I will know every subterranean subtlety. Starting tonight.

    The Inner Harbor’s a beautiful place at night, all lit up and full of the trendiest of the trendy, enjoying showing off their extravagant shallowness to each other in the early June moon… but the June moon and the tragically hip city dwellers are two clichés I could do without this night, so instead I stroll the dingy, homelike streets of Baltimore’s Italian neighborhood. Homelike if you have a tendency to leave a little trash around, let garlic odors linger too long, and wander out of doors on a morgue-quiet night with bursts of wine-soaked laughter.

    Maybe not your home, but with the yardstick I measure by, it feels right.

    My girl is gone, my dog won’t know who to be happy with, and there’s no one to cook me linguine carbonara but myself now. When you get that call, off on a business trip as I am, all the world is a damned cliché. With my brother! God, but I feel murderous. And if their ugly alliance is lasting, I’ll be forced to see her at holidays… to lift a glass of champagne at their wedding… to croon about my hopes for their children…. Those were supposed to be my champagne! my children! my smashed-to-smithereens hopes!!

    Who knew I could be played so easily. I step around a trash-can lid instead of picking it up… not really because I’m that lazy, but because I am getting back at the world.

    2 a.m. or not.

    Leaving the lid there feels good.

    Who knew I could act like such a… where the heck are my words?… like such a cliché. If I even think that word to myself again I know I’ll throw up, but it’s true. The unmitigated sap of a boyfriend who accepted every primadonna moment just to watch his lady smile on alternating Sundays under a blue moon. The blind fool who never sees a plethora of clues she left under his nose, who walks around with a pathetic swagger because the queen bee has chosen him for her special drone.

    She called me so I’d have time to cool off before I got back to New York, she said.

    It’s not your brother’s fault, she said.

    She called me, I know, so she’ll have time to get her stuff out before I get back to New York.

    So I’ll sit in the Lincoln Tunnel and imagine her behind her locked heart in her new apartment, smiling the smile she said was just for me as a new sun sets, cooking linguine carbonara in her new kitchen, sitting on our sofa in her new living room, moving languidly to her new bedroom.

    So when my heart explodes tomorrow, deep in that smog-encrusted tile surround of perpetually-jammed traffic, the noises I make won’t be heard in her new place.

    While she’s making love to my brother.

  34. Kelly says:

    Shane– Aww. Thanks a bunch! I can always get a story out of city neighborhoods, particularly Baltimore’s. As soon as I pictured the character walking around there, the whole thing just flowed.

  35. Laurie says:

    He was a swaggering, extravagant fool! How she wished she had known that before she accepted his invitation go out to this new nursery called the Yardstick. It was clever of the owner given the trees that he was selling would look like sticks in the yard! Really who knew, that people would actually buy those sticks? But that’s a different story. Back to the fool! He had hoped that the champagne and lobster dinner he had catered for her at his apartment would have landed him in bed with her. Her action was not unmitigated, no it certainly was deserved when she said that she was not staying no this evening was not lasting one minute longer! They hadn’t even sat down to the meal before he started groping her. She told him to stop and he kept on, that’s when she grabbed the metal yardstick in the corner and now they say he has a plethora of blood in his stomach from where she hit him with it.

  36. Stace is: says:

    […] Have a few Shall we all have some? Creative Copy Challenge #100 (Happy birthday!) […]

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