Creative Copy Challenge #114

I’m beyond excited to have Writer’s Digest choosing the words for today’s challenge. If you have not bookmarked their website, why not? Now on to the show.

Writing prompts cure writer’s block. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying 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, do those too.)

  1. Lair
  2. Sequel 
  3. Hire
  4. Amass
  5. Red
  6. Whimsical – spontaneously fanciful or playful.
  7. Smile
  8. Grill
  9. Disable
  10. Gnome – One of a fabled race of dwarf-like creatures who live underground and guard treasure

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


123 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #114”

  1. Another poem from me today, this one heavily influenced by my RPG background..  Too many words brought out the D&D geek in me.

    Gamers Paradise
    Some dungeon master’s whimsical sequel
    another adventurer with a wicked smile for hire
    grill another innkeeper for rumors in the area
    amass ancient treasure from dark gnome lair
    and disable the monstrous red dragon while at it
    another Friday night get together at gamers paradise

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: Super! I love how that flowed effortlessly. Write on.

    • Hey, Justin, you and I are twins! This poem really captures the flavor of the monster world.
      I haven’t played since I was a teen, so my lore is rusty. You have the authentic touch!

      • Been a while since I gamed, have about $1000 worth of D&D 3.5 books in my library and about 200 dice.  My kids are still kind of young for me to get them into pen and paper, but we play D&D board game and watch D&D like cartoons like “Dragon Hunters” regularly.

        • Whoa. That’s a lotta D&D.
          I used to just make up stories for the kids when they were too young for the game. I would let them decide where the “team” would go next. I used a simple graph paper and kept track of where everyone had wandered off to.
          We never did graduate to the full blown game, though I did buy the monster manual and a couple of other books.

    • margaret says:

      I’m all ready to dress up for the Renaissance Faire and sit down to watch “Reign of Fire” and “Dragonslayer”! never played D&D, but I could totally have gotten into it!

  2. Anne Wayman says:

    Writer’s Digest! The big time. 😉

    The whimsical gnome amassed an amazing amount of red herring to grill. Serving them with a smile she promised to hire a second server and disable self-help in her lair for the sequel.

  3. Anne Wayman says:

    no, it’s a secret – wait for the wikileaks leak

  4. Shane Arthur says:

    “You’re a lair, Billy. Writers Digest ain’t pickin’ no words for the CCC.”

    “I’m not a liar, Bobby, I gnome well. We goes way back. And you needs to spell stuff correctly. They’s watchin’ and they’s gonna’ grill you for amassin’ errors like dat. Just smile nice-like and remember… people lay and chickens lie”

    “Billy, I ain’t never been hired as an editor, beings how my readin’ skills are disabled, but ain’t it the other way round with them chickens?”

    “Yous right, Bobby. We’s both red-faced nervous I guess. It’s like I took NyQuil when I shoulda taken DayQuil and now I’m all whimsical and wishin’ for a sequel.”

    “But, Billy, don’t you mean yous wishin’ for a redo?”

    “Every time I look at you, Bobby. Every time!”

  5. Ember Bianco says:

    Annie picked up the whimsical creature from the glass shelf.  Not knowing why she’s particularly attracted to this one trinket over all the others, she holds it with a delicate touch, studying it up close, a small porcelain creature with a disturbingly silly smile, pensive she feels uneasy… “Are ya a God fearin’ women?” The funny looking little old man inquires with his dark bushy eyebrows turned inwards. “Be careful,” says the Inn keeper. “That one is a special one,” “Sorry Mr. Clue, didn’t mean to interrupt, lookin’ out for ya, I thought she should know.”  

    The funny looking little old man turns sharply towards the Inn keeper and charges at him with a stern approach, then stops short and says calmly, “Best be on yar way boy, before I cut you tills yar blue blood taaarns red.” 

    Not too many people come to visit outside of the village, there is no reason to with all of the modern hotels scattered along the roadways and in and around town. The Inn keeper, the funny looking little old man, and just a handful of others are all that tend to the affairs of the place. Intrigued, Annie caught a chill and knew there was a story here, and now she needed to uncover that story no matter how long it would take. Then without a second thought, she gently returns the little porcelain creature to its rightful place on the shelf. 

    Annie was only one hire out of many, but she was persistent and she held a fervent passion for anything she did. Her exuberant passion for all things great and small is what set her apart from all others. That passion is what made her unique.  Maybe that’s why she was chosen to be one of the few, one of the few to have ever held or even touched the Gnome.

    Little did she know; Annie was about to embark on a journey that would reveal “… THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN LAIR.” 

    Ready for work, Annie needed a few sequential resources to help guide her along her serendipitous path.  Among many things Annie needed several important books that would help her learn what she had to do to complete her task. Within days everything started to come together, oddly enough things were falling into place so fast it was as if it was meant to be that way all along. Soon hundreds began showing up to find out what was going on, one by one Annie had a specific detail for each person that came her way. It was no small feat to be able to amass a crew of this size, but if anyone could do it, Annie could do it best. 

    Grazing through each book page after page, story after story, Annie finally had an idea. One early Sunday morning just after breakfast, Annie went back to the Inn. The Inn keeper was nowhere to be found, yet the funny looking little old man was there sitting in a rocking chair, he looked  up at Annie and said “Backs been actin’ up, forgive me, I’m a little disable’ this morning.”  Then as if knowing what Annie came for, with a grin he slowly rose from his chair, taking cautious steps, he walked over to the glass shelf; without another spoken word he hands the Gnome over to Annie, and there it was… That weird polished golden smile, a smile as big as the Grill on a old Cadillac, and right there wedged in between the middle of his teeth, almost in plain sight, was the Magic Key, the key that would unlock the tale of  “IN THE LAND OF PRINCESS TALIA – THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN LAIR” …

    … After all this is Disney World – Mr. Disney had a story to tell; and now Annie holds the sequel.  

  6. Ember Bianco says:

    Sequel to the latest turf war in the holding cell …    


    Whimsical as it was to watch this going on from the other side of the bars, with a smile the officer knew he had to break this one up, otherwise his job would soon be up for hire.



  7. Bah, crappy ending… Oh well, here goes!

    “So… is there a sequel to this?” John raised an eyebrow at James. “It’s pretty good shit, y’know.”

    “What, this?” James blinked at the red cover of the manuscript John held. “Oh, come on. That’s just playing around. I can’t write a book about some random gun for hire I happened to name after myself.”

    “Ah, yes. Whimsical literature. That’s all this was,” John agreed affably as he went to toss the papers in the fireplace. “Let’s grill it.”

    “WAIT!!” James launched out of the chair and snatched the manuscript before it hit the flames. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

    John had a satisfied smile on his face. “You looked like a lion leaping out of your lair,” he quipped as James clutched the papers to his chest. “Not too shabby for someone your age.”

    “Yeah?” James’ eyes snapped fire. “Let’s see how shabby you look after I disable your arm. Or both your legs. You could pose as a garden gnome,” he muttered, heading back to his chair.

    “Nah. Spend your energy finishing that thing.” John pointed at the papers. “Then you can amass wealth and put me up in a nice place, baby.”

    James gave his buddy the finger. “Get your own place, asshole. What the hell do I look like, your sugar daddy?”

    “Nope.” John grinned. “Just some writer playing around. Like I was saying.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @James: I’m glad you have lion-like reflexes. If you burned that assassin series, I’d cry. Well done again.

    • James, I liked this. The ending is not crappy. I makes me think of all of us who might be just playing around instead of really going for it. CCC is a safehouse (last week, I called it a crackhouse, go figure) – it’s a place where we can experiment and build up some muscle.
      So actually, thanks for that ending 🙂

  8. Cathy Miller says:

    The seed of doubt lures like the false embrace of an abusive lover. He had been here before, in the lair of hope, searching for a sequel to another time, only to have it shatter into a dream gone by. Why did they not grasp the magic for hire and amass it for all the world to see?

    Emotion wrapped itself in red velvet warmth, sharing a whimsical smile or two as once more he lost. A soundless cry escaped through the battered grill to his soul where all would disable the heart and the gnome of the story within.

  9. The gnome placed the boy over the grill . Below charcoal glowed red , yet on the boy’s lips lingered a whimsical smile .

    The gnome had tried everything. His blades had simply splintered on touching the boy’s skin. He had even attempted cooking the boy, but to know avail. He could go outside and hire extra hands, but he was a wanted gnome.

    He sniffed the air. It was devoid of the aroma of burning flesh.

    With frustration lining his face, he inspected the lair yet again for a sign of a stray mouse. But all that clustered around him was the gold treasure he had stolen from his master, Mr. Goldfinger–a man who could turn anything into gold. He hadn’t eaten for weeks.

    He turned to the boy–human meat that had appeared out of nowhere yesterday demanding he relinquished his gold. “Roast please. I need you to roast.”

    “You can’t roast me. I’m young Clark Kent”

    “Clark. Where did you learn all those strange words?”

    “Bozo. No wonder ugly creatures like you are extinct in the future. “

    “Ugly?” He grimaced.

    “Do yourself a favor. Give me the gold, then we can talk about sparing your live,” said Clark.

    The Gnome laughed. “I’m not the one over the fire.”

    “Now you’ve pissed me off.” Clark blew at the gnome’s hand and it froze.

    The gnome cried. “What did you do?”

    “I will disable the other one if you don’t comply.”

    “What does a child like you want with so much gold?”

    “A goblin strayed into our time and wheedled half of the world’s treasure from us. Now it controls half the world’s economy. In order to save the financial market and avert a sequel , I need to amass as much gold as I can. Goblins love gold. And I’m sure this one will give up his share of the economy for as much gold.” The boy gestured at the cluster of gold on the floor. “Then after it has signed the necessary documents, I will steal your gold back for you.”

    “Okay. You can have the gold, but only if you disable Mr. Gold finger for eternity.”

  10. Ember Bianco says:

    Wow, amusing, clever,  thoughtful , excellent story!

  11. margaret says:

    There was once a wizened old gnome
    who called an old oak tree his home.
    He wore a red hat, and smiled at his cat,
    and fed him grilled mousies and corn.

    Many treasures he did amass
    and shared his lair with a lass…
    They sang whimsical songs for hire,
    hoping someday to richly retire …

    The town jukebox they did disable,
    so to serenade table to table
    As troubadours there was no equal,
    but alas, I have no sequel.

  12. The aroma of fireflies roasting on the grill greeted Ambiguous Sprite when he peeled back the bark covering the entrance to his lair. He placed Larkspur gently on the communal food stump and playfully swatted Whimsical Sequel as she deftly flipped fireflies onto a stone platter. Her eyes lit up when she saw the purple flower.

    “Oh, Ambi, how thoughtful! Delphinium spice for the Lampyridae!” With a huge smile of anticipation, she reached for the plant.

    “Lawd ha’ mercy, Whimsy, speak plain, woman! We can’t et this here living creature. I got his friends in my rucksack – they dead.”

    Whimsical snatched her hand back as if shocked. “What do you mean by uprooting a living creature, Ambi?”

    “Ha-ha. You know better than that. I was rummaging out by the storm leavings from this morning. I could not believe this little one survived. Started making noise, liked to scare me into next week. Here, take these.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a handful of wilted flowers and weeds.

    Whimsical took the offering and began to clean the dead flowers. “I want to hire Flighty Stone for the termite problem. He only demands twenty dust packets.”

    “Well … that is less than half of what Charming Speaker demands. I suppose that is acceptable.” Ambiguous set his bag on the dirt floor.

    Whimsical nodded in thanks and continued her cleaning.  Larkspur began keening. Whimsical looked over at Ambiguous, a question mark in her expression.

    Ambiguous shrugged. “I reckon this here little one misses his kin. Maybe I can help calm him. I could use a bit of compost, too.”

    “That’s disgusting, Ambi. Meal’s on the stump. ‘Little one’ will be fine until after. Sit. Eat.” She punctuated her firm order by plopping down at the stump and grabbing a fistful of fireflies.

    Fearing she would get all the tasty red ones, Ambiguous hastily seated himself behind her and waited for her hand to fill him with nourishment. Whimsical took the handful of food, nibbled on five or six that stuck out between her fingers before reaching back and shoving the rest into Ambiguous’ mouth. Both hands free now, she continued cleaning the dirt and weeds from the wilted plants. When she had gotten most of the crud from it, she gently tore the flowers into tiny bits and sprinkled them over the platter of bugs.

    Larkspur hadn’t stopped wailing. He couldn’t sense his non-living brethren, but the shredding had released a tell-tale scent that could only mean one thing: gana. Grazers. Certain that he was about to be consumed, Larkspur reacted in the only way his young mind knew how – amassing an overload of sap in his xylem and screaming wildly. In fact, Larkspur knew this exercise was futile but he did not know how to disable the chemical reactions coursing madly through his stem.


    After the meal, Ambiguous Sprite reached over to pick up Larkspur. The keening stopped abruptly. “I’m a tell you a story about why that storm ripped your little field to rubble.” Ambiguous was certain that, even though he didn’t speak Larkspur’s language, the plant would, somehow, understand.

    “In the age before apes, the Gnome race was lord of the realm. They were peaceable enough, so long as you didn’t cross their path or swipe their gems. They had a fondness for the fauna and a respect for the flora. They ate no meat and took from the flora only what they needed for nourishment.”

    “As they grew, they taught themselves many things. They learnt to care for injured fauna, mine for jewels, and extract medicine and nutrients from flora. They learned that their diet was missing something that meat-eaters get from meat. So they learnt how to get this thing from a special plant. It is a purple little thing, sorta looks like you but it isn’t.”

    Whimsical interjected, “Vicia Sepium, Ambi. Vicia Sepium.” Larkspur, confused, chittered.

    Ambiguous shrugged. “I guess little one only understands me. ‘Viss see uh Sep peeyum’, little one. Bush vetch. Anyhow, the Gnomes became a little bit bigger and a whole lot stronger after a couple hundred years drinking vetch nectar. As I call it, they also got a little bit more daft. You see, one day, a forest Gnome got lost, wandered out into a meadow and came upon a herd of sickly fauna.”

    “The Gnome saw that they were standing in a purple field and, already frightened because of being lost, he didn’t investigate. No, that boobily loobo ran back into the forest yelling that the bush vetch was uprising. He must have sounded convincing, because a whole tribe of Gnomes followed him back to the meadow. What they saw made them ill.”

    Larkspur was enthralled. In a way, the story was unfolding twice – first, through Ambiguous Sprite’s hand as he gently held the pant and, second, through his hypnotic foreign voice. As such, Larkspur began to sense the direction the story was taking, even before the words were spoken. Gnomes were bad news – tanee molana. Larkspur shivered.

    Ambiguous stopped cold. “Rabbits? Whimsy, did you say rabbits?”

    Whimsical laughed. “I am sitting quietly, listening to my Ambi. I said nothing.”

    “Well, tarnation. I think I just learnt some Flora. No, little one, Gnomes ain’t rabbits. They about the same size, though. They have two legs. Like me and Whimsy. Only we ain’t Gnomes, either. We’re piskeys. ‘Cept we can’t fly anymore. But that’s another story.”

    Larkspur seemed to nod, conceding the point. Ambiguous continued:

    “What those Gnomes saw in the meadow was their beloved fauna retching, heaving and falling over as if dead. Throwing all caution to the wind, these boobily loobos ran into the meadow to tend to the herd. When the last had been healed and shepherded off to safer pastures, the Gnomes put a curse on the patch of land.”

    Whimsical, annoyed, interrupted. “That’s just a myth, Ambi!”

    “Sure as I’m settin’ here, Whimsy, those Gnomes brought down the wasting storm! If it warn’t true, why does that storm come like clockwork every summer to rip that field up?”

    “Aw, poo, you say so. Just finish the story.”

    “Little one, you and your kind have been cursed, along with Viss see uh Sep peeyum, to be blown off the realm at every solstice. Now, honestly, you deserve it, but not the bush vetch. That poor plant never hurt anybody. Now, they are a banned substance in the Gnome lands, ‘cept for maybe those nasty Siberians, who drink it before mating with trolls.”

    Sensing the condemnation, Larkspur shuddered in shame. Yet, why should he feel this way? No gana ever ate his flowers. He felt this new friend of his was being a bit unfair. “tana gah!”

    “Ho-ho!”, boomed Ambiguous. “I’m no sissy. Talkative, maybe. But you’d best mind your manners, little one. I have no qualms with you or the larkspur flora. I’m just tellin’ the story. And the fact is, your people caused a lot of pain for the bush vetch, simply because y’all all look alike!”

    Suddenly, the calm that Larkspur had been feeling dissipated. The plant and the pixie had crossed metaphorical swords.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      LoL – How you come up with your stuff never ceases to amaze me! What a vocabulary! – Dam, and I thought I was a wordologist but boy do I have a lot to learn.

      Thanks Mitch for another vividly entertaining entry.

      • Thanks Ember!
        As for vocabulary, if you’re talking about the flowers and bugs, check this out: I was looking up information about gnomes, to see if I could work them in. According to one website, they are vegetarians and get their protein from Vicia Sepium. When I looked that up, I was wildly excited to see that it was another purple plant! So, I just plopped that in there. I wanted to contrast Ambi as a simple man, with his mate as a gifted woman. Who knows? Maybe she invents something later… 🙂
        I appreciate your compliment!

        • Ember Bianco says:

          <giggling> Mitch:  I’m talking about the whole vocabulary, really, the way you spin a story,  totally unique –  BTW LoL – I don’t think there is a word on this earth, or out of it for that matter, that you couldn’t figure out how to whip into your stories. It’s pretty cool though what you came up with after the research.  

    • margaret says:

      I think you and Walter have been smokin’ that funny stuff together, Mitch! great imagination.

      • @Margaret Ha-ha! If Walter’s not telling, then neither am I. You didn’t hear it from me, but I was part of the group that ventured from the sewerage to harvest things…
        Thanks for your compliment!

  13. Jace McCoy says:

    I’m standing looking at the last place on earth I want to go. An old bar sits between two apartment buildings looking disconcerting. The inside is packed to the gills with  people . And a whole slew of other creatures. The bronze etched glass reads The Red Gnome but don’t let the whimsical name fool you. It’s nothing more then a lair to some of the fiercest Fae in Brooklyn. Since it has opened it has  amassed various local awards including a full page write up in the New York Times. Anyone who is anyone has been to The Red Gnome. It is the the hottest spot in Brooklyn and one of the top ten bars in New York. Which is precisely the reason no one notices when a few people go missing.  But people don’t just go missing; they’re erased. Peoples memories of them, the photos with them, all evidence that they had ever existed disappears.

    A year ago I got a call from a woman as it was happening. At first the phone was quite with only the sound of people talking over each other. But then came a soft voice “Jared..,” she whispered “ I’m, at The Red Gnome.”

    I knew the voice but couldn’t place it. I felt like I should know it. How could I not know who this woman was. A lump started to form in my throat. “Who is this?” I asked hoarsely.

    She started crying “ I don’;t know. Don’t you know who I am?”

    And that’s when I looked  at the photo of me and my parents at NYU.  Only there was a woman with her arms around me smiling at me.  A woman I had never seen. Or maybe I had seen her but why was she hugging me. Who was this woman in the picture. More improtantly who is this woman on the phone. “Sorry I don’t…” I stuttered as the woman in the photo slowly started to vanish “I don’t know who you are.”

    “Jared, I…” she said as the people in the background slowly quieted “I love…you.” the words evaporating.

    “I love you too,” I said shocked by my own words. But somehow I knew they were true as the phone disconnected leaving me standing there feeling like I had just lost something with only the dial tone to keep me company.

    Now after a year of searching for answers I am finally ready to take the next step. But looking at the well lit bar the hopelessness sets in. The things that run that bar aren’t even human. How am I going to get answers. But just as I was thinking of giving up I spot the in I was looking for; a tattered sign reads Now HiringGrill cook. Slowly I make the short distance across the street taking a deep breath  as I enter crowed bar. I quickly reach the bar. When a large balding man with a fiery beard and a glint in his eyes asks “What ya drinking?”

    “I don’t drink. I’m here about the job.”

    “What’s that you say; you don’t drink,” letting loose a thunderous laugh

    “ You disabled or just retarded.”

    “No, just looking for work.” I said

    “Your the first person to apply. Everyone else is too busy having a good time,” he said taking a shot of some strange purple liquid. “ I’m Fern,” daring me to comment before letting out another gut wrenching laugh “ You hired as long as you can make our special; The Sequel.”

    “ I’m Jared,” I said holding out my hand  “But what the hell is The Sequel,” I asked while Fern’s monstrous hand shook mine.

    “Double beef patty with two slices of American and Swiss.  With our famous horseradish sauce. Its a local favorite,” he said proudly scratching his beard.

    “I think I could manage.”

    “Good then. You’re hired,” he said with a wide grin

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jace. WELCOME to the CCC! Wow, that was one hell-of-a story plot. May I be the first to say that should be a book my friend! Well done. We have a challenge every Monday and Thursday so I hope you continue this tale in a series.
      Everyone welcome Jace to the addiction. Adding your name and url to our CCC community links page now.
      ps. like your site. Did they come up with a Windows version of Scrivener yet?
      pps. sorry for the moderation delay. I conked out for a wondrously long time.

      • Jace McCoy says:

        Thanks. I had a hell of a time using: Sequel and Disabled. But I managed. And will check back Thursday.
        Yes they have released a beta for Scrivener for windows. It’s at and most of the features are already available. The official release was scheduled for some time in Feb. but it looks as though it might have been pushed back.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Jace: I think I’m going to have a hell-of-a time keeping you and long time member Jaced straight. Jaced just picked the words for our last challenge. 😉

        • Welcome, Jace! I totally enjoyed your story. I’m glad you weren’t felled by those two tough words. Now I want a fresh Sequel and Coke, hold the pickles. LOL
          See you Thursday!

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Jace –

        Welcome to CCC, the writing lair of genius. You’ll love it so much, you’ll want a sequel to the feeling. The words are not for hire, as creativity has no price, but the energy will amass as you take on the weekly challenge.

        The words begin as a red ember of inspiration, building into a rage across the screen in their quest to be freed. Victory is theirs as they celebrate in a whimsical dance of fire, bringing a smile to all who bask in the warmth. They are welcomed by a community that serves them up on a grill of sharing that will never disable the spirit or the gnome who protects the treasure of words.


    • Ember Bianco says:

      Thank you Jace for a really cool story! 

      Definitely brings back the taste of that ole New York Flavor; your submit was tight, captivating and extremely entertaining!    Welcome!  Welcome!  Welcome!  
      I’m Looking forward to seeing much more  –  I also think you have a great  blog! I’m very new to writing fiction, I’m actually learning from all the great writers on this site and I always welcome all the help I can get.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Ember: Check out our right side bar. Story Structure Demystified is a must read.

        • Ember Bianco says:

          Thanks for the lead Shane,  I think you’re right it looks like it’ll be very helpful. : )  

        • Jace McCoy says:

          Thanks You everyone for the warm welcome. Writing prompts are such great practice. And it’s a great break from the MS. See ya Thursday.
          -PS My twitter handle is: @JaceMcCoy

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Jace: Damn Twitter won’t let me follow anymore people. I’ve reached an imaginary 2k limit. They feel until I get more followers, I should not be allowed to follow more people.

  14. Jenna Avery says:

    The gorgeous red-haired evil scientist smiled whimsically as her acolytes brought the first gnome before the white hot grill over the reactor core.

    The gnome was all but disabled with terror.

    “You dare to pilfer the fortunes I’ve amassed from the heart of my sacred lair? YOU WILL BE PUNISHED!” she shouted ferociously. “We hired you to protect our bounty, not to seize it for your own.”

    She ordered dismissively, “Throw him in.”

    The gnome clawed frantically to get away, but the acolytes showed no mercy.

    “Next!” she called imperiously over the searing screeches. “Let us see what the sequel to this betrayal shall bring.”

    The next gnome was marched forward, trembling.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jenna: Well, hello there. Excellent picture you painted there. That red-haired character reminds me of your Princess Ardala you did 18 challenges back. Too funny.

    • Hi Jenna, thanks for giving us a vivid story. That was hawt! (puns intended)
      This is the kind of intro that makes me buy books.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Mitch: Exactly my thought. I have Aaron’s book, and Kenn Crawford’s book, and I’d like to get more books from more CCC folks.

  15. nebunia says:

    I just found out about the new challenge, so here it is :
    “Journal entry. I didn’t believe I will be making a sequel for the first jurnal entry, but here I am, making it. Two days have passed, we’re still laying low in our lair and I’m happy to report that no one resorted to cannibalism. Another group said to me that it’s safe to go outside by using the safe word ” hired”, so,  even though I fell a little whimsical, I’ll have to go and check it out.
    Everything is red, blood everywhere… I found only one survivor, a man who looked like a gnome because he didn’t have any legs. I had to kill him in order to put him out of his misery because no one had the medical support needed for him.
    I called everybody and put them to harvest anything useful that they could find and bring it down to the sewerage because we didn’t know if it was safe to stay outside. They managed to amass some useful stuff, like a med kit and some breed and some water and a grill and some weed and a gun and lot more things. We’ll use about everything we have, but even so, tomorrow we’ll have to go and hunt for food.
    I disabled the function of hope, but it looks like it enabled itself. As I looked at the 20 or 30 survivors who were working their asses off, a smile appeared on my face for only a fraction of a second and then I remembered that my wife and my friends and almost the entire world is dead, only because of the jews. I swear revenge. Entry over.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Nebunia: Powerful write.
      This submission made me think of the book Alas Babylon. If you have not read it, it’s a must read.

      • nebunia says:

        No, I didn’t read it. I’ll try to go to the library to see if they’ve got it, but it seems old and they don’t have such a good collection of foreign language books.

    • Nebunia, I like the journal-style of your submissions. This one is starting to fill out the story a bit.
      I had to smile: the survivors really shouldn’t touch the weed – what are they going to do for munchies? 🙂
      Cannibalism, after all?

  16. Anne Maybus says:

    With a mouth like a red lipped lair, she slid onto the bar stool beside me, reeking of greed and venom.

    “Give her another” she said to the barman and manoeuvred her lips into a smile.

    Pink Floyds “The Gnome” played in the background, sucking me back into the psychedelic 60’s. 

    She waved a hand full of painted talons across the room and demanded “Get rid of it all.  I’m too good for this low budget sequel of a place.  I want a premiere! Something with style and taste.”  She nodded to herself, swaying backwards and forwards on the stool.

    I looked around.  The 60’s had smashed all over her walls in a frenzy.  She looked pretty smashed, too.

    I chose to say nothing, just toyed with the salt shaker in front of me. 

    The grill spattered greaseballs in the air as the barman sweated in the heat like a tap on hire.  He leant tiredly against a wall painted with dusty orange and lime swirls, one whimsical eyebrow raised at me like he’d heard it all before . 

    If the intention of the previous designer was to overload and disable the senses, the plan had certainly worked.  Even the heat was loud.

    i sipped my drink, lifted its coolness to my arid forehead and looked at her.  She preened and pinned me with her eyes.

    “Fix it” she said again.  “He’s trapped me here long enough. Do I look as though I belong here?”  She pulled her glass to her mouth and kept on talking.  “No eyes for anyone ‘cept that fleabag of a dog of his, anyway.” 

    I was angry.  Suddenly and meanly angry. I looked down at the pile of salt I had managed to amass on the bar in front of me. With one breath I blew it all away, raining grains all over the floor.

    “I can change it just like that” I spat at her, “but what’s the point?  You don’t own the joint.” 

    She swung around to face me and hissed “He’s only got a few days left and then it’s all mine. Consider yourself booked, hon. ” 

    The lair opened wide as she smiled in anticipation.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne M: Outstanding write. I’m putting “Even the heat was loud.” in the CCC Swipe File.

    • Anne, I loved the attention to detail in this entry. The image of her lair is apt.
      Dang that’s another 9.99 at the bookstore checkout.
      We could go broke up in here!

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Mitch: I can’t wait until our old-time member Kelly catches up and posts when the rest of you post. She’s been catching up on EVERY post for months now. She’s about 3 away from getting current. You have to check out some of her latest stuff, too. Throw Anne B and her together and I’m sure they could bang out a hell of a novel.

        • Dude, seriously. Stop. 🙂
          I took a nap and was supposed to be coding.
          Not only did I read some of Kelly’s compilation, I checked out her beautiful blog.
          Actually, don’t stop. Your tip led me to her blog, where I got some valuable, free advice.
          I have to go, now. is calling. And yes, that will be books with an s. I saw that! 😉

          • Kelly says:

            Mitchell–THANKS!! Glad you liked the fiction and the “real life” work!!

            (Shane–You are such a wonderful booster for me. Thank you as well!)

      • Anne Maybus says:

        Shane, I love the idea of a CCC swipe file.   Might have to borrow it sometime.  😛

        Mitch, thank you for taking the time to comment.  I know what you mean about the bookstore.  Even in my short time here I have seen some excellent stories.  I can see them taking their place on bookstore shelves. 

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Anne M: When we get time, we were going to compile every example of super wriring we could find from all the challenges and put those gems into a book.

  17. Ember Bianco says:

    Hello Ann,
    This was a very colorful read – you painted a really great picture. Great story!

  18. Joe Passmore says:

    There once was a gnome on the phone
    Who asked was I from Tyrone
    I replied with a smile, ‘I’ve lived there a while
    In a lair where I sit all alone.’
    He started to grill, in a tone whimsical
    If he could hire or amass a car-loan.
    I replied with a koan
    ‘I’ll disable your smile, and I’ll crack all your bones,
    … the sequel will just make you moan!’
    And so it is said, painted in red, on the grave
    Of the unfortunate gnome.
    ‘I once called a man to help with my plan
    But he beat me to death with a poem.’

    The End.

  19. (Read with the movie trailer guy’s voice in your head)
    Gnome for Hire: This ain’t your grandma’s whimsical fairytale.
    Exchanging his quest for selfish gain in order to free a country and his fair maiden, this gnome for hire stands, er, tall, in the face of despotic rule. He smiles in the face of anarchy and sounds the cry of the uprising. From his lair in the depths of the Red Forest he will amass the downtrodden, the underserved, the meek and mild, calling his warriors to him.
    Our hero and his soldiers will stand up to and stare down the enemy threatening to ruin their earth. But when our hero learns his one, true love has infiltrated opposition’s HQ, can he still trust her? Or will her undercover operation disable him completely?
    Searing on the grill of indecision and love, he must decide where his loyalties lie. And if it’s worth his life.
    Gnome for Hire: Sequel to Gnome is Paris

  20. “It’s not fair,” said the gnome
    “i’m not going in that lair.”
    “In fact, i’m going home!”
    The red knight, whimsical,
    with a smile diabolical
    threw him in the hole, alone.
    “Go on and disable
    “the grill, if you’re able”
    (if you don’t like the prequel,
    you’ll really hate the sequel)
    “That’s what i hired you for, alas,”
    “and if you’re successful”
    “and survive (most regretful)”
    “a fortune we shall amass!”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Steven: Great rhyme form here. Super job. I”m starting to believe we could put together quite a strong poetry team with the CCC.

    • Lord of the Wings. LOL
      I’m sorry. It was the first thing that popped into my head.
      I love this poem, Steven. It’s a sorta kinda different meter and rhyme scheme that I’ve not seen before. Care to share?

  21. Kelly says:


    He heard her, he heard her… his wife had wandered in three or four times already, making louder grunts each time, bumping around loudly for effect, trying to get him up without… trying to get him up. Her “subtlety” was a killer.

    The kids were already nattering away, down the hall. He could hear their muffled voices, begging for breakfast to hurry, and grilling Mama— “Why do we always have to wait for Papa, even today?” —but he didn’t care. His back was sore. His eyes were glued shut. And when all was said and done, he was just so damned TIRED.

    He rolled over and tried to pretend he didn’t know he was holding everyone up. For all the fuss, you’d think the entire town was in real danger without him. This was his lair, the one place where he thought he should to be able to shout, “I’m tired and I want to be left alone” on this ridiculously icy day, but it was clear that no one else thought so. Within his own home he was amassing a world of resentment, and on the outside, just the world… well, he had a job to do. His conscience pricked at him, albeit sleepily… lot of nerve he had, with so many out of work, to wish he could shove this job back in the faces of those dull, black-suited gnomes he was working for.
    But he wasn’t disabled, just disheartened—so at last Henry, poor sequel to their last hire, sat himself up, rubbed his red-rimmed eyes with stiff fists, and got ready to face the world.

    Smile, Papa,” said his eldest as he headed for the door. Easy for her to say. She got breakfast and now the world’s rosy to her.

    “Try to look… a bit more whimsical, Papa,” said Mama. Whimsical? How the heck do I look whimsical?
    Better figure it out, because by the time he got near the front door he could feel the greedy hands of the gnomes reaching in to for him to give them his best performance…

    “And here he is, folks, Punxutawney Phil!”

    Henry. Punxutawney F-ing Henry, was all he could think, while the camera glared at him in the bitterly cold, early morning light.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: You got me. Loved this.

      • Kelly says:

        Shane–You know when you’re going to write something entirely different, and then the words keep yanking you in a different direction? (Is it just me?) I had something in mind, but oh, the pull of the black-suited gnomes was just too strong. (I kept thinking that’s what they might look like to poor Phil… I mean, Henry.)


  22. Gerald, the lawn gnome, had grown tired of being “cute.” He had looked it up, one night, in a dictionary Elizabeth had carelessly left lying on the front stoop. It did not mean handsome, or manly, or noble. No, “cute” was something whimsical and trivial and Gerald had been in a foul mood ever since he’d learned the real meaning of the word. Near midnight, he crawled into his lair, where he had amassed the tools of his trade.
    Among the gnomes, he was known as a skilled mechanic. The humans would probably call him a mere tinkerer, but Gerald liked to invent things. He also liked to dismantle things. The other gnomes liked to hire him as a sort of handyman. He wished he could dismantle his own red hat – a stupid, unfashionable, cliched “gnome hat” as envisioned by the stupid humans. It was permanently affixed to his head, and should he get a notion to try knocking it off, as Henry had done, he risked cracking his own skull. Gerald envisioned a sequel to his life, wherein humans wearing 1970s velour jogging suits and big hair frolicked lifelessly in the tunnels of Gnomeville. It made him smile, a little, inside.
    When he emerged from his lair, just before sun-up, Gerald took his tools with him and gleefully disabled his humans’ gas grill. And then he began to tinker with it. Finally, he crossed this wire with that wire, and enabled his own version of the propane cooker. So much for their big Fourth of July plans. Their party would be a blast, all right.

  23. […] this poem as part of the Creative Copy Challenge #114 back on January 31st and thought I would reprint it on my blog as well.  In this creative game […]

  24. Laurie says:

    She was looking for Tia the whimsical fairy  who was so full of delight and always brought a smile to her face.  She had just had it out with Zee- that liar!  Zee was the  garden gnome and he knocked the grill over again.  He was always knocking things over and would often disable the hoses as well.  He was upset that she wouldn’t hire him so he could earn money to amass yet another red ring.  This was a sequel to many nights of similar stories, Zee would want to earn money, once he learned she wouldn’t just buy him things.  Then when she wouldn’t help him acquire even more he would cause her all kinds of havoc.  If she could find Tia she knew her spirits would be lifted as they made fun of the garden gnome and what he was going to do with all those red rings!

  25. Laurie says:

    🙂 thank you!  I enjoy the feedback.  Gnomio, off to look that movie up.  I don’t watch t.v. and haven’t since ’97 and that means I don’t know about movies until someone tells me most of the time as I also live in the middle of nowhere…well close to it.  🙂

  26. Aaron Pogue says:

    The First Myth (part 4)
    Addan looked up at the flame for a moment, uncomprehending. Then he climbed to his feet. “I do not know this word.”
    “War,” the flame said. “Battle. Conflict.” At every word, Addan shook his head, and the flame gave a bitter laugh. “Ah, what a whimsical world you have here. I suppose you have no want, no hunger, no death?”
    Addan did not smile. He took a step closer to the flame (and closer to the ledge). “We have death. It is the story of the hunt, and darkness is its sequel.”
    “Oh, well said!” The flame chortled, and its red hues gained a tinge of violet. “If you had more than six stories to tell I’d have hired you in a heartbeat, just to bring such clever wit to my tired old court.”
    Addan shook his head. “I don’t understand you.” He wasn’t really paying attention, anyway. He took another step closer, right up to the ledge, and cast his eyes down, considering.
    The flame flared again, one brilliant pulse, but Addan didn’t even look up. Then it tried its other trick, washing out in a brilliant blossom of fire, but Addan was too close to react, and though the light washed over him he felt no heat. He shivered once at the strangeness of it, and then put the flame out of his mind.
    But the flame was not so easily forgotten. It spoke into his mind. “You are a tenacious little gnome, aren’t you?”
    Addan knit his brows, then turned his back and started back across the ledge. “I grow tired of this pursuit,” the flame said. “You are not going to jump.”
    “I am.”
    “I have waited a thousand thousand years for some living soul to find me here,” the flame said, and its voice rang with a furious authority. “I will not allow you to terminate this meeting so quickly.”
    Addan didn’t even look at the flame. Instead, he retraced his path, from one end of the ledge to the other, kicking aside rocks and branches and smooth away the disorder made by his first failed attempt. He found a large stone and with seven blows he severed the root that had given him a handhold, and tossed it casually over the ledge. A moment later, the stone followed it.
    Even if he tripped now, there would be nothing to stop him. He turned and walked back again.
    “Wait! You foolish– You don’t understand.” The voice was desperate, pleading now, and that gave Addan pause. “Listen to me! Please!”
    Addan turned his head slowly, and stared right at the flame. “Who are you?”
    “I am Prince Redd,” the flame answered. “I was once lord of a land you cannot even imagine. From my palace it was more than a hundred days’ march in all directions to reach our borders. I found my people living in…in poverty. Like I imagine yours must.”
    “What do you know of my people?”
    “I can feel the shape of your thoughts,” the flame said. “I can feel the resonance of concepts you do not understand, and that gives me an idea. I speak of houses and the echo from your mind tastes like…huts. If I tell you of my palace…you think of a cavern. A lair.” He chuckled, and there was a sad sound to it.
    Addan had no fondness for that condescending tone. “Stay out of my thoughts, great prince.”
    “I can’t. It is apparently an ability of my kind in your world. I would disable it if I could, but….”
    “It doesn’t matter,” Addan said. “I will be out of your reach in a moment anyway.”
    “Don’t go,” the flame said. “I beg of you. I can offer you everything you dream of. In my lifetime I have amassed a great wealth of stories, and every one of them is a better tale than a boy of great promise throwing himself upon the wind.”
    “No,” Addan said, and he sounded sad about it. “I cannot stay and listen. I am too tired to listen through the shadows of the stories I’ve heard before. I do not have the patience to grill you for some new secret, some new gimmick, that might entertain me for a day or a week. I don’t have the strength left to hope. I have chased that dream for too long.”
    “Then do not do it for the story,” the flame said. “Do it for me. Please.”
    “Why?” Addan said. “Hallucination or will-o-the-wisp, what would you have of me? You are living fire, what could I offer?”
    “I am living spirit,” the flame said. “Like you. I am bored and alone. Like you. I am a prisoner here. No.” He sounded frustrated. “You do not know that word. I am…trapped. Yes. Exactly. Like an animal in a snare. Helpless, alone, and waiting to die.”
    Addan sighed. His gaze sank to the edge of the cliff, just beneath the flame. Then he closed his eyes. “I know that feeling.’
    “Then share a moment with me, son of man. Hear my tale, and give me an hour’s companionship. Linger for an afternoon, so that for a moment, for both of us, the spell might be broken.”
    Addan opened his eyes, and for a long moment he simply sat staring out into empty air, out into forever. And then he reached down with his uninjured hand and pressed himself up to his feet, and he could feel the fear of the flame inside his mind, could see it dancing in the flame’s fickle colors.
    But he only moved over to the left, off the path he had cleared, and tore aside two shallow-rooted scrub brushes to uncover a small boulder to use as a seat. He sank down on it, and cradled his right hand against his chest, and nodded toward the flame.
    “Tell me your story,” he said. “I will give a moment of my time.”

  27. Rousing applause! Encore! Movie script! Yay!
    All that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s