Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #122

John E. McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for The Baltimore Sun, chose the words for our writing prompt challenge. Show him you will have the last laugh with these most challenging of words.

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. Botulism – A severe, sometimes fatal food poisoning
  2. Bouillabaisse – (by-bs) A highly seasoned stew made of several kinds of fish and shellfish; A combination of various different, often incongruous elements
  3. Bougainvillea – (bgn-vl) South American woody shrubs or vines
  4. Boulevard 
  5. Bouffant – Puffed-out; full
  6. Boudoir – a woman’s bedroom or private sitting room
  7. Boulangerie -[boo-lanzh- uh-ree] a bakery that specializes in baking and selling bread.
  8. Boondocks
  9. Bosun – a petty officer on a merchant ship who controls the work of other seamen
  10. Bosom – The chest of a human; A woman’s breast or breasts.

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


117 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #122”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Bobby, hurry up and give me dat Lady Marmalade 8-track tape.”

    “Stop bosun me around, Billy—which one you mean anyway?”

    “The one from Patti LaBosom dat goes…Bouillabaissebouffant boudoir avec boulevard ce boondocks.”

    “Oh, dat one. It’s under the loaf of bread I got from dat boulangerie dat entered me into a raffle to win a vase full of them there pretty bougainvillea…the place dat gave me the Mocca Chocolata that done sent me runnin’ to da outhouse. I’d gives it to ya, Billy, botulism all da time.”

    “I ain’t gonna loose it this time, Bobby, and if I do, I’ll Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya a new one.”

  2. No man had ever entered princess Ellyn’s BOUDOIR much less seen her BOSOMS because none of her suitors had ever passed the tests set for them.

    Ellyn, holding her BOUFFANT-burgundy-haired head high as usual, said all suitors should come with twenty of anything ‘nut’ for today’s unsaid test.

    Apart from the BOSUN, Radbora, there were only two suitors today. One worked in a BOULANGERIE, and the other was an apothecary who resided amidst the BOUGAINVILLE in the eastern BOONDOCKS.

    Though the apothecary hadn’t arrived, people believed he’d win, as he had been the one that made the BOUILLABAISSE that had cured Ellyn’s BOTULISM.

    The first suitor came with twenty cashew nuts. Ellyn’s equerry took the nuts, forced the suitor’s slacks down, and began to shove the nuts into the man’s anus. The man cried and quit before the equerry got to the fifth nut.

    Radbora gasped. Thank the gods he had come with groundnuts.

    The equerry came to him, took the groundnuts, and began to shove them into Radbora’s ass.

    Radbora stifled a groan. He was taking in the fifteenth nut when he glanced up the BOULEVARD and saw the apothecary coming. He began to laugh.

    The equerry winced, stopping short of pushing in the sixteenth nut. “Why are you laughing?”

    Radbora’s laughed louder. “The apothecary is coming with coconuts.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Walter: OH MY BLEEPIN GOD!!!!! I can’t believe you went there…but I’m SUPER GLAD you did. You nailed that one Walter. I never would have thought someone would take this submission in this direction.

    • Now, see. This is why my kids can’t practice hear until they’re 21 ! LOL
      That was a great piece of fiction!

    • Chris F. says:

      In the common inner-webs parlance:  OMFG!!!
      Hilarious!  But if this is what the suitors have to endure to capture the heart of the fair Ellyn, methinks it might be better to pass on the opportunity…
      And by the way:  Flatulance from last week and now rectal insertion — I’m detecting a definite theme in your February submissions. ;^)

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Walter I am laughing my ass off this was F’n great……. haaahhhaaahhhaaahahaaaaaaaaa………………

  3. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: My son is sick so I have to take him to the doctors. I’ll check back later. if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll get to you as soon as i can. Sorry.

  4. John McIntyre says:

    I wouldn’t ask you to do something I’m unwilling to do myself:

    My uncle, after he retired as a bosun in the Royal Navy, settled down in Marseille and married a Frenchwoman with a bosom like the prow of a battleship.
    My family, living in the boondocks, thought I needed culture, and so I was sent to visit Uncle and Madame on school holidays. She owned a boulangerie on one of the main boulevards in the seaport, and in my little room in their apartment above the shop the aroma of baking bread mingled with the fragrance of the bougainvillea outside.
    Next door lived a family with a daughter my age over whom I swooned, dreaming through the long nights of the possibility of someday being invited into her boudoir for unimaginable delights. And Madame, who had a Frenchwoman’s penchant for facilitating romance, and who had spotted my crush, contrived to invite the daughter over for dinner. Uncle was away for his night at the bar, and Madame, after ladling the bouillabaisse for the two of us, contrived to absent herself.
    We sat side by side on the sofa after dinner, and I had nearly worked up the courage for a tentative stroke of her blond bouffant hair when suddenly I grew pale, hot, sick, and I saw my love mirroring my ghastly turmoil before all went dark.
    In the morning, I woke up in a hospital with Uncle and Madame  talking in low tones at my bedside. “Botulism,” they murmured.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @John: That flowed so effortlessly. Great picture you painted for us. Thanks for choosing and thanks for doing the challenge. Not everyone does.

    • Nicely wrought tale, John. I reckon he got more than culture in the Old Country, eh?

    • Chris F. says:

      Great story, John.  I loved how effortless it was to read — great scene-setting and pace.  Excellent use of the prompt words!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @John-Welcome to CCC and thank you for the bodacious words.

      When your mind withers under the botulism of writer’s block, do yourself a favor and come back to CCC. Here the community mixes a bouillabaisse of challenges into a masterpiece of words. The stories blossom along a bougainvillea boulevard of hope, filled with bouffant characters and boudoir dreams.

      Let this place be the boulangerie that entices you back, as we move from the boondocks of mediocrity to the aurora borealis of creativity.  Each challenge will be your bosun, guiding you to your destiny, back to the comforting bosom of words.

    • Julie says:

      See, you did what I did. But with a lot fewer words. Bravo!

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Bienvenue Monsieur McIntyre, and welcome to our little corner of writing panache. Just one word of caution –  This place is deliciously addictive.  

  5. Julia Martin says:

    How could I resist?

    Bethenny’s bouncy bouffant bosum barely blended in to her badly barnacled boudoir aboard the boat Boondocks. Bored, she blared: “Bosun, bring me bagels from the Boulangerie on Bougainvillea Boulevard. I’ll be barfing with botulism if you boil more bad Bouillabaisse.”

  6. Anne Wayman says:

    ahhhhh the bbbbbbbs:

    But the Bosun almost died from botulism in the bouillabaisse. The bright bougainvillea bordered the boulevard where she strolled with her bouffant do, straight(?) from her boudoir to the bolangerie for bread that can’t be had in the boondocks. The Bosun used his whistle as he oogled her bosom fully recovered.

  7. Chris F. says:

    Great words today! (And I really hope your son’s OK!)

    Here’s my entry (and as usual — proably much too long):

    “Come See It”

    Morris held his breath, peered over the rear window, and saw it again.

    There it was, dancing among the shadows that flew across the trees along the road.  A pulsating, swirling mass of darkness, it swooped and swerved, keeping pace alongside the car, but always staying out of the glare of the headlights.  Morris almost cried out, but clenched his eyes shut and twisted away from the rear window, pulling his pillow close and burying his face.  He didn’t want to say anything.  It would only get his mom and dad upset.  They had already told him to please stop making things up and just go to sleep.

    Morris shivered and fought back tears.  He didn’t understand why they couldn’t see it.  His mom kept looking out the window in that direction, but she never seemed to notice the whirling blackness.  How could she not see it?  It had started following them ever since they turned off the interstate highway onto this road.  It was like a fluttering swarm of small, glossy black bugs, flitting and heaving, with pinpoint flashes erupting in the middle of it, like a million tiny eyes all blinking and staring at him.  When he tried to focus on any part of it, it would stretch and thin, vibrating and fading, but it never became invisible.  He could always still see it.  Why couldn’t his mom?

    Whenever they went through any well-lit area, it would disappear, climbing until it vanished into the dark, cloudy sky.  But as soon as they drove away from the lights, it would come back, a little closer, a little bigger, and always following them as they sped along the dark and empty road.

    Morris had screamed out when he first saw it, and his dad had stopped the car.  But the spinning blackness had dissolved as Morris watched, trailing away in wisps of murky shadow, and his parents were never able to see it, even when they looked right at it.

    They didn’t bother to stop the second time Morris cried out; they looked out the windows where Morris was pointing, but still couldn’t see it.  The third time Morris tried to get them to look, his father didn’t even slow the car, and Morris could tell they were getting irritated.  And they never saw it.

    His mom said she thought Morris might just be feeling the effects of the spicy bouillabaisse he’d eaten for supper when they’d stopped at that truck stop at the Interstate exit.  She was worried that Morris was getting hallucinations, maybe from a case of botulism.  She felt his forehead and made his dad stop to get some Pepto-Bismol at a dingy gas station, and insisted Morris get some sleep.

    But the Pepto hadn’t helped, and Morris couldn’t sleep, and the blackness kept coming back.

    Now, after crossing another lit crossroads, it had returned again, bigger, coming closer, and swirling faster than before, and Morris was terrified.

    He ground his face deeper into the pillow and tried to stop thinking about it.  He tried to listen to his parents, who were talking quietly in the front seat, without any hint they knew the horrible thing that was still following them, or that Morris was wide awake and listening.

    “I really wish the place had electricity,” his mom said, probably for the tenth time.  She didn’t enjoy camping or being out in the woods, and normally wouldn’t have joined him and his dad on a trip to “somewhere out in the boondocks,” as she called it.  She usually said she preferred “to sleep in sanctity of her own boudoir.”  She usually said she’d rather “stroll along the boulevard of some shopping district and pick up lunch at a quaint boulangerie” than to “be surrounded by bugs and have them crawl across her bosom while she tried to sleep.”  She usually said her hair would get so frizzy without soft water that it would “look like she had a bouffant.”

    But this time his mom hadn’t said any of that. This time she had come along, although Morris wasn’t sure why.  At first Morris thought it would be fun to have his mom with them to share Morris’s first visit to his grandfather’s cabin, to see her try to fish and to hike in the woods.  Now he was wishing they none of them had come, and that they were all back at home.

    “I guess the Bosun wanted to keep it rustic,” his dad said.  He called Morris’ grandfather “the Bosun” because they had served on the same ship in the Navy.  Morris had heard a gazillion times how his mom and dad had met, with his dad always laughing that he ended up marrying the bosun’s daughter.  Normally it would make Morris smile to think of his dad’s goofy grin, but Morris couldn’t bring himself to smile now.

    “I’m going to hate it,” Morris’s mom said.

    “Come on,” his dad said.  “You didn’t mind it when you came up to the cabin as a kid, did you?”

    “I never went.  Mom wouldn’t let Dad bring any of us kids up here.”

    “Really?  I never knew that.  Why didn’t your mom want you coming?”

    “I don’t know.  She never told us.  Maybe she just wanted us to be like her, planting daisies and bougainvillea in her flower beds instead of traipsing around through poison ivy.”

    Morris’s dad snorted.  “I can see where you got it from,” he said.

    “Well whatever the reason, all I know is that it was a very sore subject.”

    Morris shifted and removed his face from the pillow, but he couldn’t bring himself to look outside.  He knew it was still there.  Why was it following them?  What did it want?  Morris felt tears forming in his eyes.  He thrust his face back in the pillow, as much to hide the tears.  He didn’t want to cry.  His parents probably already thought he was being a baby.

    “So now, with your mom gone, I guess the Bosun is happy he gets to share it with us,” Morris’s dad said.

    “I guess,” his mom said.  “He’s sure excited about Morris coming up, though.  He said he has something special to share with him.  Something he found when he was a kid.”

    His dad grunted.  “Probably an old tree house or something.”

    “Who knows?”  His mom sighed.  “I think he’s getting kind of senile.  But this is one thing he really wanted, and he’ll probably have to sell the place soon.”

    Morris felt the tears coming harder.  He didn’t want to be here.  He didn’t want to see whatever his grandfather had to show him.  He wanted to be home, away from here and whatever that hideous black thing was.

    “Although,” his mom said. “When I tried to mention about him selling, Dad said that after seeing the place and the ‘special thing,’ that Morris would want us to take it.”

    Morris shuddered and pushed his face deeper into the pillow.

    He didn’t want to see anything.

    • You just killed me. Cannot believe you did not say what the shadow was. Not fair. But the suspense kept me going. I hope someday you would unveil what the shadow is. Good job.

      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you Walter.  I appreciate the kind thoughts.
        And I almost went a couple of ways in ending it, but decided I liked the uncertainty at leaving it here.  Is it all in his head?  Or is it really something threatening — maybe related to the ‘special thing’ his grandfather wants to show him?  Or perhaps even some sort of guardian angel that will actually turn out to protect him from the ‘special thing’ that his grandfather will reveal?
        I couldn’t decide, and so I left it for the reader…
        Artistic literary license, or simply laziness?  I’ll let the reader decide that also.  😉

    • Shane Arthur says:

      Chris: Man, what a great submission. But, I’m with Walter. You’re killin’ us by leaving this in the air, but you know how to end a section of a great story. Outstanding.

      • Chris F. says:

        Thanks, Shane!  The kind words are always appreciated.
        But, yeah…  Maybe my ambiguious ending was more like a case of terminal ‘intrigue interuptus’.
        Tell you what — you pick what you think the best ending would have been, and I’ll tell you, “yeah!  that’s exactly how I was going to end it!”  ;^)

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Chris: Nah. I’m not picking. I’ll let the person who picks on Thursday choose the direction with whatever way their words move you.

    • Chris, you’ve got the magic touch. I know a lot of us went “B” crazy, but your story was just as natural and flowing as honey.
      I’m digging the shadowy thing. Through a kid’s eyes, your treatment of it is perfect. Some things we never did fully understand, growing up. You captured that nicely, in my opinion. By hinting at a special thing, our imaginations are free to link these pieces of your story, or simply wait for the sequel on Thursday. 🙂

      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you very much Mitch!  I’m really glad you liked it.
        But three comments, all highlighting the lack of resolution in the not-so-much-of-an-ending, clearly point to something missing.
        I suppose a wide-open ending is not much better than a, “and then I woke up” ending, huh?
        But on the bright side: At least it’s no mushy, foo-foo, romantic spewage, huh?  (LOL!)
        Hmmmm…   I do kind of like your idea of perhaps resolving it on Thursday.  If Shane can give us some words that lend itself to it…

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Chrisssshhh I can’t believe you did that – OMG, seeing that you left us hanging and all, it’s simply unforeseeable  that you did not finish this awesome story .AAAARRGGGHHH
      Oh and P.S. In this case your story wasn’t long enough  :p

      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you, Ember.  I really appreciate the positive feedback!
        But, while I think it’s always good to “leave ’em wanting more,” I have to admit you’re right,:
        I think I pulled the plug a little too early on this story.  ;^)
        But I am thrilled you enjoyed it, and I promise I’ll try to figure out some way to ‘finish’ this piece in an upcoming CCC prompt.

  8. margaret says:

    The bored bosun bailed on his job at the boondocks ,venturing instead to the boulevard,which was bountifully bejeweled with bougainvillea, in order to banter with the barber, buy bread and bagels from the baker at the boulangerie, and barter some bass from the fish market to put in his basket for the  bouillabaise he planned to make for dinner.

    He had a boner for the bawdy babe with the bouffant beehive and bodacious bosom. He hoped to
    bait his way into her boudouir with a bit of bravado and a bistro atmosphere created for this beauty.
    He hoped her beauty was natural, and not a result of shots into her face based in botulism.  That would be a real bitch!

  9. “Catastrophic Colony Collapse Threatens America’s Economy” was the screaming headline that greeted the early morning readers taking tea and scones at Boulangerie on the Boulevard. Ignored by the bourgeoisie and misunderstood by the proletariat, the Wall Street Journal’s front page story nevertheless signaled a shrugging of Atlas unlike anything foreseen by Ayn Rand and her Libertarian disciples. 

    Pearl Filisame had written the most compelling article since Vermont Royster’s missive on the bountiful blessings of our fair land. Unlike Royster, who noted that this long-enduring society of free men had governed itself without the benefit of kings or dictators, Pearl ruefully pointed out that our downfall would come at the hands of queens.

    Such irony! The mass disappearance of millions of workers was foreshadowed neither by threats of national strikes nor by off-shore outsourcing. Quietly, without warning, an ecological shift occurred between the hardy bougainvillea bush and the honey bee.  Of course, this connection was not established until it was much too late to restore the balance.

    Pearl had learned of the botched xeriscaping project in the boondocks of southern California. Originally doing research into the usurious pricing of ecommerce sites like MommyFlowers.com, she uncovered a conspiracy to flood the market with inferior bouquets, rotten fruit baskets and toxic sugar beets. Monstratos, the agribusiness firm behind all three scandals, unwittingly gave Pearl the rope she needed to hang them.

    Posing as an insipid reporter of human interest stories, Pearl flew out to Calico. She was given the standard tour of the company’s headquarters.  Her guide, an equally insipid public relations puff wearing a bouffant hairdo to clash with a pink frill bosom blouse over white capris, cheerfully showed her everything from the cafeteria to the president’s boudoir. However, when she requested permission to snap some photos of the mountainside gardens, her tour guide frowned in disapproval. The woman glibly explained that the site was only accessible by hoist and that the bosun’s chair was broken. Pearl correctly assumed that the gardens were off-limits.

    Pearl hadn’t needed to physically examine the gardens. She’d gathered a ton of information the old-fashioned way – bribery. While most of Monstratos’ poorly paid gardeners were happy to babble for the price of a bowl of bouillabaisse broth, she did have to pay cash for the bombshell that led to her article. Monstratos had developed the equivalent of crack cocaine for honey bees. After indiscriminately spraying their crops with this pheromone, honey bees were abandoning their hives, content to forage among the bougainvillea bushes.
    Those that did manage to pollinate neighboring bougainvillea also spread the chemical attractor. The obvious result was that a bumper crop of bougainvillea beckoned to billions of honey bees, causing massive crop failures, from cornfields to orange groves.

    As she dug deeper, the plot thickened worse than her own uneatened bowls of stew. She deftly navigated the maze of corruption and agricultural disasters, finding connections between the honey bees’ colony collapses and everything else. The crop failures were directly responsible for the corn futures crash, which destroyed Monstratos’ razor-thin profit margin on high fructose corn syrup. Forced to sell product at a loss, Monstratos cooked the books on their de-regulated sugar beet yields, covering it up by purchasing poisoned sugar beets from Ukrainian exporters with ties to organized crime. Eventually, she had enough material for the scoop of a lifetime.

    Pearl had no illusions about a Pulitzer; she merely wanted to strike a blow at the baleful monolith that was responsible for the blight that was slowly billowing out from the unassuming hills of San Bernardino County, flicking fingers of famine north and east.

    Monstratos filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection within two weeks of the Journal’s article. While Monstratos’ stock tanked faster than a botulism face-lift, the price of scones tripled and the bourgeoisie lamented the scarcity of agave and organic cane sugar. The proletariat grumbled about the high price of corn flakes and syrup.


    Fun fact:

    Pearl Filisame is an anagram for Apis mellifera, the genus of the honey bee.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: DUDE! Turn this into a book THIS MINUTE! Outstanding job. Going back to read that again!

      • Thanks, Shane. I can’t compete with Ayn Rand, but I am working on a very unusual society novel.
        I really enjoyed having the weekend to play around with these words.
        Want to hear something funny? I developed the habit of carefully counting my bolded words before hitting “Submit”. Imagine my surprise when I only came up with 9! It turns out that “botulism” was separated from the main list in my email. I wrote that whole story without ever realizing botulism was part of it.
        I stuck in that last bit this afternoon. LOL

    • Chris F. says:

      Wow, FABULOUS job, Mitch!
      This was compelling, captivating, and completely pulled me in.  You spin a great story, adding a great twist to the real-life bee decline.
      This Bee Awsome, Dood!!!

      • Thanks, Chris. I’ve been trying to sort out the health claims of HFCs, Stevia and the like.
        It’s amazing how one giant company can control so much of the food supply.
        And the bee thing, well, I happened to have seen articles about colony collapse, so this B-list natural brought that to mind 🙂

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Mitch – you know how I love your “bouillabaisse” mix of fantasy and reality and this one took the cake, loved this story!

  10. TuxGirl says:

    (first time posting. just discovered this site a week ago. hope this submission’s okay. criticism/suggestions welcome! i’m still a newbie writer)

    I’d never left the boondocks before. All through school, I’d ridden the old beat up yellow bus for forty-five minutes just to get to the little country school. Only twenty-three students in my grade, and we were the largest class at the school.

    Most of the kids dropped out by the time they got to high school. The girls were all getting pregnant, and the boys all had to get jobs. Some of them were married by sixteen, and within months, they had babies hanging off their bosoms. The high school teacher only had ten of us, with all four years combined together. We were the rebels here. We were the few kids who had the guts to believe we could make it out of the nowhere we grew up.

    We knew the odds were against us. Three years ago, one of the boys had made it out when he joined the Navy. His ma got letters from him sometimes, and brought them to the school so someone could read the letters to her. He was a bosun on some Navy ship, traveling the world and seeing places that most of us had never even read of before.

    One of the girls who finished school a year ahead of me, Bambi, almost escaped. She was accepted to a small college in the city. It was only a few hours away from here, but it was at least a step in the right direction. The month before she was going to leave, her ma died of botulism. Her pa’d run out on them years ago, so Bambi was saddled with the three young children. Nobody else would take ’em, but she couldn’t take them with her, so she stayed home.

    I remember the day I was accepted. My hands shook as I opened the envelope. I hadn’t told anybody that I’d applied for college. My ma wouldn’t have allowed it if she’d known. As for the other kids at school, I didn’t want to risk the embarrassment of admitting if I was rejected.

    From that day, I began to show off my “city” refining. I talked about what I would do when I could walk down the boulevard in the big city, and how I would find a nice girl with “bouffant” hair. Honestly, looking back, I didn’t have the slightest idea what that meant, but it sounded good, so I said it.

    Finally, the day came. I still hadn’t told my ma that I was going to college. All I’d said was that I was moving out. She told me not to come bugging her for money, since she didn’t have none. I packed up my clothes and rode a bus to the city.

    My first week in the city, I discovered how little refining I had. I saw a sign for a boulangerie as I walked the busy street, and decided it was time to get some nicer underwear. After all, if you lived in the city, you couldn’t wear homemade hickville underwear, right? I was certainly in for a surprise when the sign inside advertised Bouillabaisse! Another day, I saw a pretty girl carrying a large plant down the street toward my apartment. I opened the door to the building for her, and tried to make conversation by asking about the plant. She told me it was a bougainvillea that she had purchased. I wanted to impress her with my refined vocabulary, and asked if she was planning on putting it in her boudoir. She looked at me like I was insane, and just walked off.

    I managed to finish school, after four long years. But, I didn’t escape after all. Instead, I ended up as the new high school teacher, back in the boondocks where I grew up.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Tuxgirl: That was AWESOME! I loved it. Welcome to the CCC and I sure hope you submit each Monday and Thursday from now on. Everyone welcome Tuxgirl to the club. 🙂

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Tuxgirl-Welcome to CCC!

        Move away from the botulism of inner doubt and join our bouillabaisse community with their bougainvillea verses and boulevard of dreams.

        Each week brings a bouffant challenge that paints a picture from a boudoir setting to the science of imagination. Here words surround the senses like an early morning visit to your favorite boulangerie or a first look at the boondocks of a different place. The bosun has been struck down and all are free to write as you are welcomed to the bosom of freedom.


    • Chris F. says:

      Stellar first offering, TuxGirl!!!
      This reads very smoothly:  Friendly, welcoming, and consistent voice — perfect for the setting; excellent story structure, bringing us full circle back to the boondocks;  solidily crafted with a good command of language and sentence construction; and a very skillful insertion of the prompt words, neatly interwoven into the story.
      Well done. :^)

    • Julie says:

      Really good. Great characterization, nice pacing. I liked this a lot.

    • Welcome to the CCC, TuxGirl. That was a nice introduction you shared with us. You captured something special and transferred it perfectly!
      Can’t wait to read more from you!

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Tux-girl – Welcome!!! This was a charming and captivating story – Great first entry!  And I look forward to seeing many many more.

  11. Julie says:

    So there I was, boots pounding down the boulevard, the bosun in hot pursuit, but there was no way they were getting me back on that boat.
    I don’t know how I came to this. I’m just a boy from the boondocks who got bored of beef and beer and struck out for some adventure. So, one day I just up and walked out of town. I knowed where I wanted to end up: the coast. I was weaned on pirate stories. Dreamed of seeing the world. Didn’t matter which way I walked, the ocean was just as far in any direction from landlocked hellhole that spawned me. I never looked back. And in spite of it all, I still don’t regret it.
    I hitched, I walked, I slipped unnoticed onto a cargo train once. Regular hobo. I was pretty hungry and dirty by the time I got there, but I did it. I reached the sea. ‘Course, being off the cargo train, I ended up in a port town – I’m not saying which, though I don’t suppose it matters now. No-one’s going to find me until it’s too late to do anything about it. All I’ll say is that there’s a dance named after that town and I’ll leave it at that.
    I wa’nt crazy enough to enlist in the navy or nuthin, but I did get myself hooked up as chef’s mate on a cargo ship heading east – so far east I’d almost be home again.
    But things on board weren’t any better than at home. I was still stuck doing the same thing day in and day out. Stirring a big pot of bouillabaisse that we never seemed finish, just topped up with new ingredients every morning and left bubbling. Scrubbin dishes and crusty old forks all day. Smellin diesel oil in my dreams. I was just as trapped as ever.
    So when we stopped to unload in a place the bosun called Lay Hayver, I did my 100 yard dash and left the high seas behind.
    I ducked around the corner of the port buildings and this time I did look back. I could see the bosun standing there, bouffant hair blowing in the sea breeze, hands on his hips, bulbous belly heaven. There’s no way he could caught me and he knowed it. I was gone, baby.
    Well, I’m pretty good with languages, and I’m a charming SOB, if I do say so myself, so it didn’t take me too long to find some work (more kitchen scrubbing). But this time I had a plan. I worked my way from creperie to boulangerie, to restaurant until I was at a real upscale place, real nice. Sure I still scrub but they gived me some training too. I looked out for the smoked meats and the chef’s special preserves. I’m the one supposed to monitor the temperature in the cold storage room, there.  And I got to take all these little gems out to the patrons, dressed in my little black jacket. And then, why it was a snap to charm my way into the affections of a blowzy, bored madame with an older husband and nothing to fill her afternoons. ‘Cept me.
    Just this afternoon Marie-Pierre opened her front door with a smile that almost overpowered me. I was dizzy in a way I hadn’t felt before. I thought maybe it was lust. Or maybe, I thought at the time, that was the smell of the bougainvillea that filled her hallway.
    She led me down the windowless hallway of her home to her boudoir and I spent the afternoon in the bosom of a family where I truly did not belong. Sweet nectar, sweeter for being stolen.
    But now the afternoon sun is slanting through the blinds on the outside of the windows and I’m still here, lying in silken sheets, unable to move. Marie-Pierre started to urge me in whispers to go, go now, before Jean-Henri comes home. Now she’s standing by the bed, her short white gown pulled clumsily across her chest, hiding a little of the treasure I spent the afternoon plunderin. She’s screaming at me to go, viens, get lost.
    Well, I’m going. Not the way I would choose…but in a way I guess it was my own choice.
    Busy with flirting I have been neglecting my kitchen duties back at the restaurant.  I’m the one who was too busy to check if the smoked meats were stored right. I’m the one’s been helping himself to a few samples, standin in the cold storage, door propped open with a brick so’s I didn’t freeze.
    I’m the one who spent the afternoon in heaven only to find I was going to hell tonight. Botulism’s a bitch.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Julie: That was outstanding. Your best yet, and to do so with such difficult words. I loved going through this tale you spun.

    • Talk about just desserts! Great story, Julie! I’m loving the port-town descriptions, all mysterious like 🙂

    • Chris F. says:

      Very well done, Julie!
      A very captivating tale.  It held my interest throughout, and led me eagerly to a great finish.  I really enjoyed it!

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Julie –  This was a really exciting tale.  I love the way you portrayed the young man’s personality and the simple nuances you gave the characters like Marie – Pierre…. She’s screaming at me to go, viens, get lost.

  12. Julie says:

    Thanks! What a hoot I had, writing it 😉

  13. Ember Bianco says:

    Sunday at dusk: Clutching the piece of paper tight to my bosom, running as fast as I could from the boondocks down towards the boulevard, my hair messed up from the wind, standing straight up bouffant style, looking more and more like the Bride of Frankenstein; tripping over the café tables in front of the boulangerie then immediately getting swapped in the face from the twigs of the bougainvillea bushes gracing the edge of the sidewalk, and feeling like I just got a case of botulism from the bouillabaisse I ate for lunch (that hasn’t quite settled yet,) clearly today wasn’t my day; all I was trying to do was make it to my boudoir in time to transfer my thoughts onto my laptop to get in my early submission for the CCC 122.
    Monday morning: I had the story all ready to go and the only thing holding me up was that silly word bosun, I couldn’t quite figure out where to fit it in to my awesome story.
    Tuesday just before the stroke of midnight: Still unable to fit the word into my story with time running out I have nothing to offer;  unfortunately not only am I late with my entry, I don’t even have a story to tell either, woe is me :sob: :sob:


    • Awwww, poor you. LOL – You managed, though, right? I found myself reading rapidly to keep pace with the narrator. That was a good set of sentences!

      • Ember Bianco says:

        Thanks Mitch! and I didn’t really notice the rapid pace until you pointed it out I had to go back and re-read it, and even though I really did have an original story, I’m glad this one raced to the front line instead J

    • Chris F. says:

      Wonderful job, Ember!
      I love the word placement and pacing.  The rythym of the phrasing was perfect for the hurried scene presented.
      And I also love the “I’ll work it it by saying I can’t work it in” way you got ‘Bosun’ out there. 🙂

      • Ember Bianco says:

        Chris Thanks, and the irony of this is I almost had a 1000 word story also, except I really couldn’t fit in that word and then it occurred to me just ditch it – glad you liked it!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ember: But you do have a story; the story of not having a story. That’s a story. Well done. 😉

      • Ember Bianco says:

        And you know what Shane, the second story is almost pretty much what really happened, I live in florida, Iwas on the beach and my story was in my head and I was trying to run to my car to get it down on paper and blah blah blah and I was so pissed that I couldn’t tell my story because of that last word – but you’re right I had a story within a story and the Good Lord carried me through!

  14. “It’s botulism,” said DocBot-12 over the hiss of an injection. “It will be painful but it will pass in 24 hours. Don’t stray too far from the head.”

    I blame the boondocks bouillabaisse. Fishheads do not belong in a stew.

    DocBot-12 stored the spent hypo in his bosom locker. “Don’t eat at the Bouffant Boudoir again. You’re the fourth case today. Try the Boulangerie on the corner of Bougainvillea Boulevard, Bosun.”

    “Sure doc,” I said, putting my uniform back on. “I always take culinary advice from mechanoids with no tastebuds or digestive tract.”

    DocBot-12 saluted. “It’s got to be better than getting drunk and eating the bait bucket.”

    He had a point.

  15. Chris F. says:

    Tight, terse, and terrific!  Economical excellence, Steven — I loved it!

  16. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: I’m doing the Mr. Mom thing all day today. I’ll catch up on comments tonight. Be good CCC.

  17. Okay, I was terribly busy at work this week so just got to this now.  I don’t usually write a story but these words kind of inspired the following:

    Bougainvillea that causes botulism?” Captain Smith asked incredulously.

    “Yes sir, all the people down in the boondocks from the same boulevard are showing up with the infections” the soft spoken lieutenant croaked.

    Captain smith who had been a bosun years prior longed for the isolation of being aboard a Navy vessel at that moment. He would much rather be tucked in the bosom of an invincible class carrier fueling planes and doing minor repairs than out here dealing with some freakish incident reminiscent of the movie Outbreak.

    This incident could have been contained better if some bouffant doctor hadn’t misdiagnosed a patient and set him loose on the town like a human time bomb. When the phone rang last night rousing him from the arms of some cheap floozy who at least was worth the money he had thought it some prank. Soon he found himself scurrying out of this girl’s boudoir realizing he didn’t even know her name but not having the time to follow up and ask.

    That was two nights ago, and now finding and treating the cause would not be as easy as picking the right pastry in a boulangerie. No sir, this would take investigation and countless interrogations of the sick and soon to be sick. The only saving grace was that no reports had come yet from outside the town, but he wasn’t that optimistic.

    So here Captain Smith found himself with an inadequate amount of men dealing with some unknown disease that turned human flesh into bouillabaisse and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Things were going to get ugly and fast but at least there were no lost lives…yet.

    He had to come up with a plan of action…

    • Chris F. says:

      Great concept, Justin.  Excellent use of the prompt words to set up an enticing story tease.  This would be a fabulous intro for a full-blown novel that promises a wld ride.

      • Thanks Chris, I have always wanted to do longer short stories or novels but never can find the time.  So I am usually content with poetry, I have like “writers ADD” I really bore after about 1000 words and prefer something else, so blogging is a better fit than being a novelist for me.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: I couldn’t imagine being in a situation like that. I’d be bunkered down on my farmhouse for sure waiting it out.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      This is great Justin – I like your stories as much as your poems – glad that you had time to write this one out and yea it looks like this one could use a sequel too. Of course if you have time J

  18. Holy Crichton, Batman! You’ve got a winner here, Justin.
    I had to re-read that first sentence after I’d finished the chapter – it didn’t register the first time.
    When you hit me with that money phrase, the whole picture cleared up:
    some unknown disease that turned human flesh into bouillabaisse
    This is great!

  19. Tanja Cilia says:

    What passed for a boulevard in the boondocks  was lined with a carpet of bougainvillea blooms. They’d fallen off the vines entwined in the avenue trees – pinks, purples, yellows, whites, reds.   Bo’sun  Smythe, back from his travels to Peru and Brazil, had thought it was a good idea at the time; but now the residents of Benedict were annoyed at how they had proliferated within two years. The paper-like blooms were not even suitable for recycling into animal fodder; the beasts got sick when they ate them. But did he care? Slurping his bouillabaisse, the self-styled, nouveau-riche Mayor had commandeered the boulangerie  and turned it into a tavern; the breads were now only a side-line. Ladies with bouffant hairdos and deadpan faces in perfect rictus, thanks to  botulism toxin, and motley bosom enhancements,  made the place look like a Louis XIV boudoir. Like that of the Sun King, Bo’sun  Smythe’s  word was law.

  20. Hey, Tanja! I enjoyed this today as much as I enjoyed your preview of it this past weekend. I’d have to say, you were the first to use these difficult words. Great job. Are we getting chapter two tomorrow? 🙂

  21. Tanja Cilia says:

    Tomorrow?   Oh!  I didn’t realise it was Wednesday today! Tomorrow is less than two hours away.

    • @Tanja – karma, balancing out last week’s head-start. LOL
      Never fear, we’re ready when you are.

      • Tanja Cilia says:

        Go on then, smite Smythe. His fault for doing a Mrs Bucket. Yes. As we say in Maltese, he “borrows” (does his hair like Bobby Charlton), he wears a signet ring with a gold sovereign to press into sealing wax, on his piggie, and he has a couple of gold teeth, too. Need I say more?  Oh, yes, I do.  He has halitosis. And I think his shoes are built up from inside. Rumour has it he wears a corset.

  22. John McIntyre says:

    I hope that this is not an imposition. If it is, please ignore it, with my apologies.
    At my blog, “You Don’t Say,” I have been posting installments of my third hard-boiled copy editor serial, “Grammarnoir 3: The wages of syntax.” If you are interested, here are links to Parts 1-3. Part 4 will be posted Friday on National Grammar Day.

  23. Kelly says:


    “Land Ho!”

    Sure, it sounded silly, especially out here in the boondocks where Land was all the Ho there usually was, but it made Arnie, the underpaid, unappreciated third assistant director, feel important. “Land Ho!” he yelled again for effect, from well off-camera.

    The director fed him a glare. The assistant director, like the follower that she was, shot an identical steely glance in his direction. Share a boudoir, it seems, and you get all sorts of privileges. But the third assistant, johnny-come-lately to those two bosom buddies (sigh!), was on his own.

    Meanwhile, the wind coming across the prairie puffed up the prow of the ship like a bouffant hairdo, blowing it too far back in the scene… and rendering Land Ho moot, as well.

    “I told you to make me a little lake,” the director yelled at her third-in-charge. You dug it too deep, and now we’re at the mercy of these darn winds. Drain this hole some for tomorrow, Arnie. Make sure the ship’s stuck in the mud under the surface so it stays put,” she barked at him. “Let’s get on with the shore scene,” she said to the AD, who dutifully shuffled a few papers around and then escorted the lead actors toward the fake New Orleans boulevard they’d created from a surplus of ambition and a deficit of skill.

    The crazy twisted-twine bougainvillea that wreathed the entry to the tiny shotgun-shack boulangerie that was the focus of the scene made Sergio Leone sets look like Peter Jackson’s finest, but the two in charge (and poor Arnie, more bosun of the equipment room than director of anything) were proud of their efforts on an anorexic bank account and a whirlwind schedule.

    “Oh, come on. Where are the café chairs, Arnie?”

    Arnie looked at the shopfront, where a miniscule table awaited the two leads, laden with bowls of bouillabaisse and a slightly worse-for-the-wear baguette they were reusing from yesterday’s shoot… Arnie had been standing at the table a few minutes ago, so busy examining the small loaf, looking for its best angle so it wouldn’t look like something that could cause botulism on screen, that he forgot to bring in the chairs.

    “Just hang on,” he shot back, and he pushed the crude black wire chairs onto the set. As he shoved the second one into place, its legs bent under itself, and it crumpled like an exhausted… well, like an exhausted third assistant director.

    It was all too much. Arnie gave up.

    In a very diva moment for a mere crew member, Arnie sat down on the dusty ground beside the crumpled chair.


    Arnie’s oldest sister was beside herself. Arnie jumped up, but it was too late. He wished he were anyplace besides where he was, too, as he realized that his tired butt had just crushed one of the ants they’d spent weeks training for this movie. His other sister, Miss-Assistant-Director-Know-It-All, gathered up the hero of the story into his cushy pillbox trailer, crying softly for the loss of his wife. With clipboard and pillbox she stepped carefully over their three-mast leaf-ship, sailing further away on the backyard lake Arnie had dug, while imparting a look of death over her shoulder to the little brother she’d never wanted in on this movie deal anyway.

    “What a pain you are,” she spit at him. Even though he was seven now, she still knew how to make him feel small. “What’ll we do now, without his wife?”

    “Make it a monster movie,” he said. “Starring my big, ant-crushing BUTT!”

    With that, Arnie marched inside to tell Mom, and left his two older sisters to do their own dirty work.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: I’ll say it again…this is your best yet. Such a neat, neat, neat story. Stands and claps.

    • Well, That was priceless! Kids sure have a huge imagination! Almost as huge as yours, Kelly.
      How in the world…? Ah, nevermind. We’re all smoking the muse pipe up in here!

      • Kelly says:

        Mitch—How in the world indeed!! The image of the ants’ little leaf-ship puffed up like a bouffant hairdo got in my head, and the rest demanded to be written. Sometimes the words are just like that.   🙂

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