Creative Copy Challenge #110

Today we have professional writer, Holly Jahangiri, choosing the words for our writing prompt challenge. These are the toughest words we’ve ever had! Rise to her challenge. Speaking of challenges, Holly will be out next week as she’s undergoing a breast cancer procedure. She wanted me to tell everyone not to “pink out and go all smarmy. Because if they do? My next batch of words will be a REAL bitch.” Good luck Holly.

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. Eleemosynary – Of, relating to, or dependent on charity; gratuitous.
  2. Fecund – Capable of producing offspring or vegetation; fruitful; Marked by intellectual productivity
  3. Taphephobia – pathological fear of being buried alive.
  4. Panoptic – taking in all parts, aspects, etc., in a single view; all-embracing a panoptic survey.
  5. Tesla coil  – An air-core transformer that is used as a source of high-frequency power, as for x-ray tubes.
  6. Verve – Energy and enthusiasm in the expression of ideas; Vitality; liveliness
  7. Canid – Any of various widely distributed carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, which includes the foxes, wolves, dogs, jackals, and coyotes.
  8. Semaphore – A visual signaling apparatus with flags, lights, or mechanically moving arms, as one used on a railroad.
  9. Wisp – A small bunch or bundle, as of straw, hair, or grass.
  10. Aegis – Protection; Sponsorship; patronage;

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


122 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #110”

  1. NEXT week, Shane! 🙂 I’ll be around – reading and commenting, and working, this week. But thanks – and thanks for passing along my “warning.” (Only fair to warn people, so they can’t whine about how hard the next list is!)

  2. Are these really the toughest words you’ve ever had? That just warms the cockles of my heart and makes me proud, it does.

  3. Shane Arthur says:

    “It done started in eleemosynary school.”

    “You mean it done started in elementary school, riiight, Billy?”

    “Yeah, that’s what I done said. It done started there. In second grade I fecund.”

    “You mean it done started in second grade you reckon, riiight, Billy?”

    “Yeah, that’s what I done said, Bobby. It happened then, that there Taphephobia.”

    “You scared’a the taffy, Billy?”

    “Nah, ya backwards bumpkin. I’m scared’a bein’ six feet under.”

    “Billy, you’s always been ‘bout 5 foot even. My teeth aint good, but my eyes is panoptic.”

    “You ain’t never been able to cook nothing in no pan, Bobby. Yous always burning the Tesla Coil.”

    “You mean I always burn the vegetable oil, riiight, Billy?”

    “That’s what I done said, the vegable owwl. You’s getting on my verves, Bobby.”

    “You mean…”

    Canid, Bobby. Not anudder peep!”

    “But, Canids don’t taste no good in vegetable oil, Billy…Hey Billy, ain’t them bullets? What semaphore?”

    “Yous gonna’ wisp you done never woked up today, Bobby.”

    ‘Yous absolutely right ‘bout that, Billy. I done shit my pants just now, and I’s so scared and time be moving so slowd, it feels like it’s been drippin’ down my legs for aegis.”

  4. Leave it to the Charleston Ladies’ Eleemosynary Society to schedule their annual Graveyard Beautification Project during the hellishly hot month of August, when the air was fecund with mosquitos, sweat, and the smell of cooking grease. Under their aegis, the old cemetery would be beautified, almost inviting, if one could use such a word to describe such a place, by Memorial Day.

    “Elizabeth, you’re looking pale,” remarked Mrs. Hopkins. The octagenarian wore embroidered gardening gloves to protect her hands from the sun as she worked. Elizabeth, feeling slightly woozy, closed her eyes and wished she had a tenth of the old woman’s verve.

    “It’s nothing,” lied the girl. “Nothing.” The panoptic view of the cold white marble church, the historic markers atop the old graves, and the broken slabs, weeds, and scattered beer cans triggered a wave of Taphephobic nausea. Elizabeth focused on moving one foot forward. She could do this…she WOULD do this… The hair at the back of her neck stood on end, as if she had touched a Tesla coil. A low growl, emanating from behind an imposing mausoleum, startled her. A mangy canid, its prominent ribs underscoring its hunger, stood poised to attack.

    Elizabeth shrieked and raised her arms, clutching multicolored cleaning rags, waving them in a desperate semaphore of distress. As the dog leaped, it was brought low by a staggering blow from the caretaker’s shovel. “What’s a wee wisp of a girl doing out here, anyway?” the man asked as Elizabeth fainted in his arms.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Holly: Outstanding. I could see this as the opening of a book for sure.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Holly-dang you are really, really good at this! Ever think of doing it for a living? 😀 Love how you make these words sound, well…normal.

    • Holly, first, thanks for the awesome word list. Anybody getting some serious vocabulary-building benefits on the CCC?
      Second, your entry rocks. I learned something else, too: I’m not going to stick to the given word form if a better sentence can be crafted with a variant. For instance, taphephobia was truly a challenge. I had a nice sentence with taphephobic but, until I read your entry, I didn’t think it was fair to change the word. Heck, if it’s good enough for the word provider, it’s good enough for me!
      I enjoyed being in the hot sun with your characters.

      • Thanks, Mitch! I had the same hesitation, initially, about sticking strictly to the form of the word given – but I’m pretty sure I got the idea that it would not break any rules somewhere in a previous entry by someone else. I don’t think I was the first to at least bend them a bit. It’s certainly FINE by me – better to use the word correctly and creatively than to shove it into a convoluted sentence where it stands out like an ugly wart.
        I wonder if anyone who’s been to Charleston knows the graveyard I had in mind when I wrote that.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Mitchell: no rules here. You can bend them at will. As long as you write, that is the most important thing. 🙂

  5. Cathy Miller says:

    If we thought Holly would offer an eleemosynary list, these words shatter that notion. She challenges all of our fecund imagination as we suffer from a taphephobia of words we do not know.

    The words offer a panoptic stain of our innermost doubt as we search for the tesla coil of enlightenment. What verve we feel upon finding it. We attack the words in canid delight to rip the flashing semaphore of fear, leaving a wisp of forgotten agony behind. They are no match for the aegis of CCC.

  6. The one where I write like nobody talks… and channel evil Holly…
    – – – –

    As I rounded the intersection, I did one of those inelegant stutter steps so I didn’t shatter Dr. Virgil. As I prattled an apology, I became cognizant she was so engrossed in thought, she didn’t even comprehend I was in the vicinity.
    Dr. Virgil, was one of those characters whose verve for science was exhilarating. She was one of my antagonists, but I always tried to engage her at any opportunity – even if it meant almost giving her a substantial prang. She was a wisp, not much bigger than I actually, but the way she carried herself made her seem more fragile.
    “Dr. Virgil!” doing my best imitation of a semaphore to get some cognizance. “Aprise me of your exploration of the canid!” As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew the inquiry was too eleemosynary.
    Her surveillance penetrated as if I was sustaining the percussion of a Tesla coil.
    “Rather panoptic,” she expectorated, “use that fecund imagination of yours and be more specific.” Aside from my taphephobia, appearing frivilous made me despondent.
    Feeling the aegis of the moment, I bit her on the neck.
    She was now one of mine.

  7. margaret says:

    I get taphephobia of panoptic proportions when asked to risk being buried under ridiculous, heavy-handed words.  I feel I may need a semaphore powered by a tesla coil to alert the word police and
    extricate myself from verbal manure.

    I tend to get grumpy and regress to my canid nature and any wisp of my normally sweet self is nowhere to be found. Although usually overflowing with verve and a fecund wellspring of ideas, I
    fear I may have to rely on eleemosynary aegis to keep me from going postal…..


  8. As grassroots movements go, the Feed Wile E. Mission barely fluttered. Gemma’s love for animals was greater than her fiscal commonsense. Thankfully, her mother had left a significant portion of her estate to her only daughter. Under the aegis of the family’s law firm, the bequest had been grown systematically and rolled over into an endowment which was administered by an impartial bank trust. Jonah Johnson had to figure out how to revive his moribund foundation and his contrivance in getting Gemma to go out with him was a key ingredient. The first two dates were promising, as was the offer to join her board of directors at her stupid but essential organization.


    Gemma, upon reaching 18 years of age, wasted little time in assuming control of the monthly disbursements from the endowment. She had the lawyers create a non-profit,  cutely christened Will of the Wisp. She envisioned the eleemosynary contributions from this charitable organization making a difference in her community. She hired staff, created a board of directors with herself as the chairman – of course – and embarked on a panoptic whirlwind of project launches.


    The board of directors, eager to match the boundless verve of their vivacious leader, approved one dozen recipients for the coming fiscal year. Getting Gemma’s approval, however, was going to be a challenge. She insisted that all donations directly impact the lives of animals – with one inexplicable exception: screw the cats, feral or otherwise. When asked about this odd restriction, Gemma calmly jumped up onto the boardroom conference table, ran down toward the offending director and slapped him on the top of his head. Raising herself up to the limit of her five-foot, four-inch frame, muscles twanging slightly like an over-charged Tesla coil, she spoke in the most menacing way she knew how:

    “As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you’re unconvinced that a particular plan of action I’ve decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you and I promise you right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion.”

    She twirled on the balls of her feet and regally walked the length of the table to return to her seat, wiping her palm on the butt of her pantsuit, as the directors stared, first at her and then at poor Dan, whose bald pate was rapidly turning as crimson as his shocked face.

    Jonah snickered; he and Gemma had watched Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic “Kill Bill” the night before.


    Of the dozen pre-selected recipients, Gemma approved only one – Jonah’s. When she’d read the proposal from the Canid Protection Foundation, she raised her fist in the air and mouthed, “Yes!” She talked for a few minutes about how she always thought the poor coyote from Saturday morning cartoons had gotten a raw deal. She hated that he spent so much energy for the prospect of a scrawny meal of a bird.

    Gemma really liked the fact that, not only was Canid going to provide meals and shelter for the misunderstood coyotes whose habitat was rapidly being displaced by evil developers, they also planned to ensure the survival of the species by creating a coyote fertility clinic. Modeled after their own world-renown Fecund Foxes Fertility Foundation, the proposed Copulating Coyote House would have state-of-the-art equipment, the best clinicians and of course, a safe, warm and inviting haven for the coyotes.

    She instructed the board to donate the entire year’s distribution to both arms of Canid: the Feed Wile E. Mission and the Copulating Coyote House.

    Jonah thanked Gemma and the board of directors for their generosity.


    Jonah was annoyed. Due to errors and omissions not caught by his team of lawyers, the funds from Will of the Wisp was only half of what he’d applied for. He knew he had to plow the money into the Copulating Coyote House, now that Gemma had practically eloped with the proposal. This meant that he’d have to cannibalize funds previously earmarked for the Feed Wile E. Mission, which, ironically had more community support. In retrospect, thought Jonah, it was stupid to make the project sound like a house of ill-repute. The success of the four F project must have put blinders on the PR team responsible for these things.

    With a sigh, Jonah turned on his computer and started making some calculations. Half-heartedly moving figures around a crowded spreadsheet, he almost missed the row of consecutive hash marks in the sub-total cell of the credit column. The digital semaphore stood out like a border sentry, alerting him to the extra-large number hidden just out of sight. He double-clicked the line between the credit and debit column. His eyes opened even wider than the adjusted column for, instead of the usual six-figure number, the sub-total read:


    Jonah’s heart leapt into his throat before swan-diving into his gastric juices. Breathing with the shallow rapidity of a chronic narcoleptic with taphephobia, he scanned the column for the mistake. There! Will of the Wisp, Inc. 1,222,000.00.

    “Bank error in your favor!” Laughing maniacally, Jonah magically transformed into his venal alter ego. Clicking keys, cascading windows and scrolling the mouse with criminal efficiency, Jonah confirmed that the deposit had cleared. The time on the wall clock read 14:55. Grabbing a satchel and his passport, Jonah ran out the door.

    “To hell with the coyotes, too!”


    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mitch-how you could see those words and come up with that great story is the magic of CCC! Love it! 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: The detail of that submission was outstanding. If you haven’t written a book yet, I suggest you do so. (Check out that Story Structure Demystified link in our side bar, too).

  9. Amazing! Mitch, you have to turn some of these into full-length novels, one of these days.

    • Thanks, everyone! I just get such a kick out of the support and appreciation here.
      I think I’ll build up Gemma, little by little. I really need to take a creative writing course, too.
      @Shane, I’ll be checking out the sidebar in a minute. 🙂

  10. Cheryl says:

    It seemed like only yesterday when Agathe had taken Heinrich under her aegis, tasking him with a panoptic study of the nature of life, and of death. Townspeople whispered about their peculiar relationship – her, a widow of a certain age, and him, a young university student who had barely a wisp of a beard. It was easy to assume that the boy had provided Agathe with certain “services” in exchange for an education. That he had long since finished his formal schooling, and continued to live in her magnificent home, further convinced some, and vaguely baffled others.

    She watched from the hallway as he worked, and recalled the shy student who had come to her door one evening nine autumns ago, inquiring about lodging as several canids howled in the nearby woods. His shabby clothes had made it clear that he possessed no wealth. Heinrich had roomed there for several weeks before he had admitted that he suffered from taphephobia, the same condition that had plagued Agathe’s beloved Wilhelm. At that moment, she decided to open her entire home to him, including the laboratory and the library. He had heard rumors of her late husband’s experiments, and when he saw the long-dormant rooms, full of dusty journals and test tubes and a large Tesla coil, Heinrich’s face lit up with such verve that Agathe knew she would allow him to stay indefinitely. It was an eleemosynary gesture, of course, but she delighted in the fecund spirit that filled house while he was at work.

    Heinrich stood facing a device that appeared to be a small wood stove with semaphore arms attached to either side. After adjusting several pieces, he looked up and saw his patroness in the doorway. “I think it’s ready,” he said. “Would you like to be the first to try it out?”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Cheryl: Excellent first submission, and you did so with a super hard word list, too. Well done. Welcome to the CCC. What did you think of the exercise? Hope you stop by every Monday and Thursday when we do these challenges.
      Everyone say hi to Cheryl. Adding your name and url to our CCC Community Links page now. (Sorry for the moderation delay. Caught me on that rare occasion when I’m asleep. 😉 )

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Cheryl-Welcome to CCC!

        No eleemosynary welcome here as you venture on to the fecund site of wondrous words. It’s where the only taphephobia is if you have a fear of too much praise from the panoptic response of our community.

        CCC is the tesla coil of verve, fueled by the canid community of creativity and the semaphore of each week’s challenge. Have not a wisp of regret as you sign on for the addiction that becomes the aegis of all we hold dear.


        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Cathy: Yeah, Cheryl, what Cathy said. 😉 As always Cathy, a wonderful welcome.

        • Now, Cheryl, wasn’t that fun? (Both the writing and watching Cathy come up with an original welcome using all the current list words – she’s a brave woman, taking on the challenge so many times!) Go tell Sand and Mary what they’re missing out on them, and tell them I’m over here doing the Chicken Dance in their honor!

          • Cheryl says:

            Thank you for the warm welcome, everyone. Holly dared me. What else can I say? I can still hold my head high in her corner of the internet.

  11. Ha ha – I tried to edit the last comment and took too long.
    Cancel that creative writing course – I’m going to go ahead and get the Story Structure – DeMystified.
    (Soon as my funds come through)
    Does anyone here recommend any of the other offerings? I bet I could use The Three Dimensions of Character.
    Thanks again, you all!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: The Three Dimensions is awesome, too. Basically anything Larry writes is awesome to be. The Demystified book opened my eyes the most, though.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: P.S. I’ve said it before and I’ll mention it to you. If you don’t think that Demystified book is worth it, I’ll buy it back from you. Seriously. I loved it so much, that’s how much I think you will too.

  12. “It’s eleemosynary, my dear Watson.” Holmes was hitting the pipe hard this evening, and talking too fast. “Fecund imagine how to use the words properly, so we fake it. We say ‘taphephobia is the fear of taffy’ or ‘panoptic is a kind of Greek mythological spectacles’.”

    Watson tried not to laugh, certain that the great Holmes knew what all of those words meant. “Or a Tesla coil is a defense mechanism for electric eels!”

    “Precisely,” said Holmes, relighting his pipe. “The verve of a verb is its candid canid,” he puffed. “The semaphore of the metaphor may be a wisp on the floor. But still we adore the man who can stand without aegis, a rock of the ages, proud of his ignorance, and publish such pages!”

    Watson eyed Holme’s violin suspiciously. “It is going to be a long night,” he thought. “Perhaps if I hit him with his violin he’ll pass out and stop this nonsense.”

  13. […] at Creative Copy Challenge says this is the toughest list of words he as published. Since he’s done 110 lists, that’s saying a […]

  14. Joe Passmore says:

    There she was, on the dancefloor, arms like a semaphore, moving to Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve. She always relied on the eleemosynary of strangers. Fecund despite wearing a Tesla Coil, that didn’t prevent a bad dose of Panoptic Canidia picked up in Canada aegis ago. But then, being foxy has its downsides. It’s a bit like suffering from taphephobia when you enjoy the underground scene. Wisp of hair coyotely over one eye, let’s be canid about it, most men would have chewed their own arm off to take her home.

  15. Anne Wayman says:

    Okay, Holly and guys, how’s this?

    Oh no, another eleemosynary opportunity to practice my fecund taphephobia which always involves the panoptic view! I wish I had a Telsla coil. It would add verve to me and help keep the canid from the door in spite of all this philanthropic grave creativity. Maybe I can semaphore for help, and be granted a wisp of aegis as I escape the crypt.

  16. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: Take a peek at this. I’ll shake the rust off soon.

    • Anne Wayman says:

      Shane… this is excellent except if a copy editor did this to my copy I’d kill him… you’re doing substantial, significant editing… and it’s darn good… maybe change the title? Editing tutorials?
      Will this be a class… can I endorse you? Sell as an affiliate? Really good.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Anne: One reason why I so dig Sean Platt is he’s big enough to show his rough drafts, faults and all. Most writers would never do this, but we talked about it and we both agreed the benefit to writers overrides any desire to keep the roughs out of site. And Sean may not keep all the edits in the final draft. He has final say on that and we both understand my suggestions are only that. We have big plans for the site. You’ll be among the first to know when we’re ready to promote.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Anne: p.s. I wanted to lead off with this article because it did have more edit suggestions than most articles I do for Sean. More learning ops right from the bat. Some of the later tuts will be shorter.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Shane-so much work-truly incredible. A couple of ideas for your consideration –

      Explanation – I like under Notes how you gave a brief explanation of why they should change certain words-in that vein, for the 1st Note, I’d add a reason – e.g., Start your sentences with verbs or nouns whenever possible [and eliminate unnecessary words like “these” or “there are.”] or whatever reason you have 🙂

      The Why Page – Not trying to create even more work, but it would be great if there was a page of your copy editing tips that you use in Notes – e.g. 1) Start sentences with a verb or noun to add power to your writing. 2) Beware of flabby words and phrases. Cut out the excess. (PS-it also serves as an already written page for your book on the subject) 🙂

      You have far more energy than I ever will! Good luck!

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Cathy: You’re the 2nd person to mention the explanation/why page. I’ll probably create an abbreviated page for that, but I don’t want to spoil it for the info product. 😉

  17. Thanks Holly!
    I run through the old forest, past abandoned Tesla coils and semaphores, screaming on the inside. Despite the fear of being devoured by the rabid canid hot on my trail, my body perspires verve.

    All five senses — and maybe a sixth — act as a panoptic uploading data to my brain, where I subconsciously create my options, surprisingly fecund given the dire circumstances.

    Up ahead lies the entrance to “Amityville Graveyard.” Soggy soil under my bare feet suggest the earth could give way. I attempt to keep my taphephobia in check. But it is not easy for me, the daughter of a grave digger killed by a toppling headstone, to run over the sacred underground land of the dead.

    Why did I rebuff the aegis of Voxran back at the bio-engineering lab? So, he reached over and swept a wisp of bang off my forehead? Must I take my innate need to always be fierce so seriously and assume every male advance has an eleemonsynary agenda?

    Now, with a delusional white fang of sorts only a few yards back, I have only one viable option: stab myself prophylatically with the syringe of rabies serum and do battle with the drooling wolf.

    Suddenly, the ground gives way and I fall down what can only be described as a rabbit hole. I fall for several minutes my arms hitting roots, stones and clay.

    Then I land on something brown and soft. I sit up and look over the side. It’s a Black Trumpet mushroom.

    Must figure out how to get down. I’m 45 feet off the ground…

  18. Aaron Pogue says:

    I never really understood taphephobia…until I faced for myself the prospect of being buried alive. Not in a literal sense (sorry, folks, this one’s nonfiction), but even facing it in a metaphorical sense it made the real condition seem real.
    I used to be a player at CCC. What started as a one-off answer to a pretty fun challenge provided a fecund cast of characters, and a panoptic theme driven almost entirely by the strange personality of the Stranger — as homeless and wide-ranging as a wild canid, but that only touches on the man he is. He’s also a human Tesla coil, sparking with verve, and driving otherwise sane people into fantastic situations like some Semaphore-age will-o-the-wisp (albeit surrounded by the mystified residents of our own internet age).
    I just impressed myself with that description of Jonas. Man, I need to get back to that series! I’ve been saying that since last June, though, and I’ve touched it exactly once. My only aegis against the shame, is the knowledge that everything I’ve done in the meantime has been valuable. Not just valuable, eleemosynary. Really! I’m changing the world. I’m building a better future — for writers, for artists…for my children.
    I can hardly let that stop me writing, though. Right? That was the beginning of it all, and that’s the dream for the end. So consider this my holy confession, my statement of intent, my New Year’s Resolution. Call it want you want, I need to write.
    Thank you Holly, and thank you Shane, and thank you to everyone else at the CCC. You’re inspiration and motivation, and you’re exactly what I need.
    Aaron Pogue,

  19. Thank YOU, Aaron! A splendid use of my words. I’m delighted with all the challenge entries – I can’t stump you guys, and I tried. Which means I can’t resist sticking around and being part of this community.

  20. Shane Arthur says:

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: Another copy editing treat for your viewing pleasure. Twenty nine more notes of editing goodness for you to digest. Mmm mmm!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Charles Dickens. When I think of greater eleemosynary overtures, I think of Dickens. Whether this is justifiable, well, I’ll leave that to you. As crazy as his works make me with their off-putting length and panoptic vision of early British hierarchical society, I often also see an element of charity. I can’t help myself.
    I imagine him writing his sprawling tales, no mere wisps of literature, I envision a Tesla coil of creativity and verve. His characters demonstrate the fecund imagination of a literary genius with an obsessive, canid need to deconstruct his characters, his content and form, to devour the the culture in which he lives, to stand as a critic of his own society.
    Because his novels are rife with strange beings, from the taphephobic Duchess (not really, just go with me here) to the child under the aegis of a filthy criminal, I often feel I need a semaphore in the midst of reading, some small sign to show the way through the maze of his people, his thought, his world, until I get to the end and sigh in relief and awe.

  22. Kelly says:

    Under the aegis of the Physics Department, Joan toiled for years on a revamped version of the Tesla coil. She was sure that old Nicola was looking down on her. He’d been on to something—his grand ego and his rampant paranoia aside. Tesla believed we could communicate far beyond the boundaries of this planet if only he could create a revolutionary new source of power,* and his amazing coils, some as large as whole rooms, were the first step in his grand design.
    Afraid of everything from canids to dustmites to Edison, his former employer, Tesla evetually lost the intellectual race in his race to the brink of insanity. Joan had the benefit of modern medicine to keep her taphephobia at bay… more like an amusing idiosyncracy than a career-ending character flaw… and so even in those dark, late nights alone in the lab, she was able to remember that the walls would not close in on her—and keep their vital, century-delayed work alive.
    Joan was a wisp of a thing, and the object of many professors’ kind concern when she drove herself too hard, which was always. With her panoptic view of the possibilities in modernizing Tesla’s work, it was only that Joan often felt she had no time to stop.
    Only? Joan rarely socialized; rarely stopped to chat except if a student needed her help (must inspire the next generation); in fact, without imitated brass bands and occasionally a real semaphore brought into the lab by a sympathetic coworker, Joan rarely even stopped to eat. This worried… everybody but Joan.
    After all, her mind was still fecund and she managed to keep alive one of the last quasi-eleemosynary positions at the university, but all that could change in an instant if her progress wasn’t fast enough. Why would she let up?
    “Pure verve,” said the department Chair at her funeral. “That’s what she survived on so long. She worried about the walls closing in on her, but it was her body that did. She did physics a great service in her 20 years of tireless research, but in all those years, she didn’t do herself much justice.
    “I picture her now, sipping an espresso on a cloud next to Nicola Tesla, hatching a plot to implant their obsessions in some fresh young mind. We all loved Joan dearly, but a message to the next obsessive scientist, if you’re among us today—rememberto take a break now and then.”
    *Not exactly what he believed. But he was a paranoid egomaniac.  —K

  23. Avenged in Blood Part 52
    As angry as I was, I couldn’t help feeling like a parody of a video game. I was Death, I was killing everything that moved, and I knew that the reckoning would come one day. Whatever deity gave me aegis this day would surely abandon me at some point, but who was I here and now to make that decision? Why was I reliving this “kill ‘em all, let God sort it out” situation over and over?
    My fecund mind had a lot of verve for killing and ridding the world of bad guys. Without a cape or gimmick, I work with only finely crafted firearms and the tesla coil of my rage at the criminal underbelly of society. If I took a panoptic view of myself, I wondered if there was any wisp of humanity left in me.
    The basement door. The chair was still blocking it. I could hear nothing but a few groans from the dying. I had a fleeting thought for Lola, I hope she makes it. But she is no longer part of the mission.
    It was finally time to enter the basement. I have never had taphephobia but something about that basement gave me the creeps. I opened the door anyway. I saw a semaphore flash of lights as the door opened. They must know I am coming now. I started down the stairs and heard a the low growl of a large canid. Great dogs on top of everything else. It is time to do some eleemosynary violence.

  24. Laurie says:

    Too bad aegis for the Telsa coil was backed by J. P. Morgan who had economic concerns about its impact. It was a device that was panoptic in its potential to power the earth and prevent its destruction by wasting fossil fuels and various other things mined out of the earth to carry these fuels and create electricity. Its potentials were amazing especially for the early 1900’s. But J.P. Morgan, a big banker was not of the eleemosyrnary type and withdrew his funding when he found out the communication device that Telsa had such a verve interest in creating could also produce free power for the world! Morgan was more of the canid personality type and wanted to devour the money that would enable him to control the people of the world. Telsa’s mind was fecund and Morgan had to put a stop to it! He could be the downfall of the bankers with a mind like that. He couldn’t get Telsa to stick to the single focus of the invention and keeping it in a semaphore fashion waving its arms and flashing its lights, all the bells and whistles but not doing anything much. In the end it was Telsa’s metaphorical fear- taphephobia that would come to be realized, he just as well had been laying with his head on a straw wisp as he lay dying with nothing of his own in that dank hotel room. All because Morgan withdrew his aegis from the project so he could continue to financially dominant and control the world. What a loss of Telsa’s fecud mind who came up with so many other amazing things as well, so far ahead of his time!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Laurie: that was great. Reminds me of a book I recently read called Web Of Debt. Excellent read.

      • Laurie says:

        Thanks!  I was actually researching something for one of my classes which involves reading quantum physics from a spiritual perspective (otherwise I would never get it).  Either way it actually made this easy and I was quite pleased that I even knew who Telsa was!  🙂  Not sure I didn’t stretch things a bit but it was the gist of his story.
        Will check out Web of Debt.

    • Kelly says:

      Oh, rock on, Laurie! Another fan of Tesla’s!! I got interested in him when The Kid did a project on him in 5th grade. (Was I smarter than my own 5th grader? Sometimes not!)
      Fascinating guy, Tesla, ahead of his time in many ways. And his ideas were lightning rods for controversy, eh?

  25. […] First order of business: Give the flea-bitten bag of bones a workout. Floppy little fella just swayed back and forth by his tail, looking dumber than ever. Early on, I’d tried to blame it on the Vicodin, but one of my friends pointed out that for that to be a credible excuse, I’d have to ease up on the spelling and grammar a bit. Third epiphany: I may scoff at writing prompts, throwing random words out there for inspiration, but several decent short stories – and my second children’s book, A Puppy, Not a Guppy – used writing prompts as a springboard into existence. And so I became determined to complete all of the challenges of the Creative Copy Challenge that I had missed after making my evil debut as the word picker with Creative Copy Challenge #110: […]

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