Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #129

Today we have Chris Garrett, one of the coolest guys I know on the Internet, choosing our words. Let’s show him how we crush a challenge.

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. Validation – the act of validating; finding or testing the truth of something
  2. Progress
  3. Epic
  4. Potential
  5. Incriminate – To cause to appear guilty of a crime or fault; implicate
  6. Effects – the noun
  7. Affect – the verb
  8. Plinth – A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed.
  9. Glee
  10. Malarkey – nonsense; rubbish

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


146 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #129”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    His attempt was an epic fail.

    He had potential, but any progress he made on his open turned to malarkey once the ladies saw it.

    And drop the excessive smiling, Glee man.

    Grin slightly and stand Contrapposto, like you’re Michelangelo’s David, atop a plinth with your dick swinging.

    The effects you aimed for missed their mark.

    That thing incriminates you, not helps you, and it affects your image in a negative way.

    You’re at a bar. It’s midnight. That man-bag you’re carrying is validation that the only thing you’ll be taking home is whatever is inside that man-bag.

  2. margaret says:

    I specialize in thoughts quite snarky,
    but don’t dismiss them as malarky.
    On a plinth I do not have to stand,
    but enjoy to have the upper hand.

    My ideas start out with great potential
    Sometimes follow through….inconsequential!
    I want my way, want validation….
    Sometimes that causes epic frustration.

    I’m accused of living my life with glee
    and I will admit, I like being me.
    But lest I forget and thus digress,
    Gotta forge ahead to make progress.

    If eccentric I be, it won’t affect my health;
    just minimize my effects, cause my lack of wealth.
    But let me hush my mouth,
    lest I incriminate myself!

  3. Anne Wayman says:

    In order:

    They claimed validation, said it was progress providing epic potential. Their copy seemed to incriminate me if I didn’t bite. The effects, they promised would positively affect my bank account – so much, it was implied, I’d personally decorate the plinth beneath their statue with glee. I’m so darn tired of all the marketing malarkey!

  4. Just a fast one…
    Chris sighed happily as he leaned back in his lawn chair. “James, that was an epic party… they nearly had you on a plinth!”

    James eyed Chris with a sidelong glance. “What the hell is a plinth? Is that some fancy-pants UK word you dragged out?”

    “Come on, you’re the writer around here.” Chris took a swig of his beer. “Don’t you know what a plinth is? It’s like a pedestal.”

    “Oh.” James pursed his lips thoughtfully and then leaned back in his own chair, turning his Men with Pens cap around so that it was backwards. “I like pedestals. Good place to be.”

    Chris snorted. “You could incriminate yourself with an ego like that. Feeling the validation, eh?”

    “Eh.” James grinned and flicked a beer cap at Chris. “I’m feeling the glee. Or should I say the potential…” He lifted his bottle to his mouth and pondered the shiny future ahead of him. “The effects of that party could be pretty damned good for business, y`know. Progress, Chris. It’s all about progress.”

    Malarkey,” Chris retorted in his clipped accent. “It’s about people, James, and how you affect them.”

    “Malarkey?” James’ eyebrows rose. “Are you trying to be a fancy-pants Brit again?”
    “Sorry.” Chris picked at his beer label, then glanced up. “Eh.”
    And James grinned. “Eh.”

  5. Cathy Miller says:

    This was his validation moment. Eric knew he was the master, but the world was about to know it, too. His progress had been slow and steady. Now he was ready for an epic performance.

    Taking a deep breath, Eric was ready to demonstrate his full potential. No longer would he incriminate himself in the game of doubt. He had too long felt the ill effects of that path. No longer would he allow the past to affect his life. It was time to place his talent on the illuminated plinth of success.

    As the murmuring crowd silenced in anticipation, Eric could barely contain his glee. He heard the whispered encouragement of his Irish grandmother,

    “Eric, my boy, you can do anything you want. Don’t listen to the malarkey of others. Listen to your heart. You will always have mine.”

    And so the journey began.

  6. Anne Wayman says:

    Lovely… love the grandmother… good job, as usual.

  7. Tiffany Hudson says:

    I walked down the empty corridor, late for first period.
    Posters taped to the wall catching my eye. My sister had been chucked off the cheerleading squad. Now lay an empty place. It affected my deeply that my sisters place would be given to someone else.
    I shock my head and walked into class.
    “Your late.” Mr Kean said, a suplie teacher who took over from miss Clemintin while she had an operation. I nodded and took my place.
    “you know, just because she’s late you don’t have to say it.” Alfie Sneered from behind me.
    “Mr Cambell, it has come to my attiention you like to speck alot. So much you don’t shut up.” He smiled at the class. He had a realy nice smile. It went well with his chizeled features and dark brown hair.
    “Sorry, sir.” Alfie laughed.
    “I want you to find out what three words are. By the end of this lesson. And all you are aloud to use is your friends.” He stopped. “The words are: Plinth, Incriminate and Validation. Oh and your friends can’t give you a straight answer.”
    We all looked around.
    I sighed.
    “In Mulan 2 what does Mushu obsess about?” I asked him.
    “His pedestal. What has that got to do with any of them words?”
    I growled low in my throat.
    “A pedestal would go on top of the first word.” I answered.
    “Plinth. So it’s what holds pedestals.”
    I nodded. “And statues.”
    “If you were told you were incriminate what would you think it was?” Sam asked him, bored.
    “I would think I have done something wrong. You know cause it says crime.” He stopped, his eyes widened and he grinned. “To be guilty of a crime. Right? Right?” I nodded at him at he gave a cocky smile to Mr Kean.
    “If you said you loved school what would you be doing?” I asked.
    “The oppisite.”
    “I hate school.”
    “What did I just do?”
    “Validation. Finding the truth.”
    Mr kean smiled.
    “You three are deffently the best at team work. It’s obviouse you know each other well. Coral, what would you do if you didn’t know him.”
    “Find what he’s intrested in so I could ask questions around the things I know about.”
    “And she knows alot.” Marla muttered.
    “You got to admit that was epic progress. Alfie learnt something and everyone had fun listening to the banter.” Tina Vee laughed. “He could have some potential, if he keeps Coral around.”
    Tina could get anyone lauhging. With her big green eyes and pixi cut brown hair with blue and purple streaks.
    She was beautiful, popular and nice. Perfect combo.
    “What do you meen keep me around?” I was fuming.
    “Well, he’s most likely to become…well, your brother.” She froze and looked around everyone was silent. Half the class looked scared or wozy and the others looked like they agreed.
    “Okay, I know everyone always believed that but come on anything could happen.” Alfie stuttered.
    Sam stood up slowly.
    “Everyone believed?” He asked calmly and quitely. Many nodded. Some shrugged.
    “Well of course. You two are bloody hero’s. You were the alpha couple before you were a couple. Now stop the marlarky and sit down before this effects all our grades.” Mable shemlock told everyone. Her in charge voice and take charge attitude made people do what ever she wanted.
    Everyone was giddery and happy. Like they were full with glee but not sure why for the rest of the day. I kept on going through that convesation in english. Not realy understanding it’s value. What people expected from Sam and I was more than I thought.
    I walked home alone wanted to talk to Jenny about it. Weird how my relationship with my sister has grown.

  8. Chris Fries says:

    Hey, this is who used to be ‘Chris F.’  I’ve udated my log-in here now that I’ve created a blog for myself and can give it as a link.  I figure that if I’m going to be serious about writing, I need to have a site.  It’s still very early in construction, but you’re more than welcome to check it out and find out a little bit about me if you’re interested. 

    Shane, can you update my info on the ‘contributors’ page?  Thanks!

    Anyway, on to the prompt:  I’m offering the 3rd entry in my series.  The story so far:

    It’s 1949.  Nick Sharpe is a struggling PI in Detroit, and has been hired by Margaret Thurston to find her husband, Charles Thurston, the rich president and founder of Thurston Motors.  Margaret thinks Charles is missing and is worried about him based on a disconnected phone call, even though Charles has gone off before without any contact.  Margaret did not want to go to the police, but wanted Sharpe to investigate, although she didn’t want him asking Thurston’s secretary or partners about his whereabouts.  As a first step, Margaret had sent Sharpe to see if Thurston was at the cabin on his private lake north of Flint.  Once there, Sharpe found the cabin ransacked and Thurston dead, beaten with a heavy camera and tripod.  The police burst in as Sharpe was examining the body, and have left Sharpe in jail overnight.

    “The Look of Murder — Part 3”

    Samuel Dotson met me in the Flint post of the State Police.  He wasn’t technically my lawyer; I couldn’t afford ten minutes of his time.  But he was one of the few lawyers I knew in Detroit, I’d done some work for him over the years, and he’d been the one that had suggested Margaret Thurston hire me.  Hell, if you looked at it that way, it was his fault I was in this mess.  So he was the one I’d called and he said he’d come right away.

    But it had taken him until mid-afternoon to get up here from Detroit, and the cops had left me to cool my heels in a cell until he finally arrived. 

    When the cop led me into the small room where we could talk, Dotson rose from the chair.  He didn’t look too happy to see me.  He looked at me with a heavy scowl and there was no warm greeting when we walked in.  Instead, he spoke to the cop who’d brought me.

    “Can you take his cuffs off?” Dotson said.  “Then leave us to talk?”

    The cop gave his own scowl to Dotson.  “Yeah, sure.  But I’m going to be right outside the door.”  He removed the cuffs and I grabbed one of the chairs at the small table.  The table was cheap and shaky and covered with cigarette burns along the edges.  You’d think the cops could afford an ashtray, but maybe they thought it would be used as a weapon.

    Dotson sat and offered me a cigarette after pulling one out for him.  He didn’t seem to mind the lack of an ashtray.  I declined the offer; I’d never gotten the taste for cigarettes.  I guess I was missing out on all the soothing health effects they advertised on the radio, but I still hated them.

    “So what the hell’s going on?” Dotson said, white smoke billowing out of his mouth.  “Did you kill Thurston?”

    So much for small talk. 

    “Of course not,” I said.  “That’s a bunch of malarkey.  I’d never even seen the guy before finding him in a pile on the floor of his cabin.”

    Dotson’s face didn’t register any change.  Maybe he didn’t believe me.  “The desk sergeant said the coppers had come in with you standing over Thurston with the camera and tripod in your hands. He almost squealed with glee when he told me.”

    I could picture it.  The fat oaf had been a huge smart aleck when I’d been put in the cell.  “Yeah, OK, I was standing there, but I didn’t knock him off.  I’d just gotten to the cabin and didn’t see any signs of activity other than Thurston’s car.  The door off the back deck was unlocked, so I stepped in to check, and there he was.  I almost fell over him.  I had bent down and moved the tripod off of him right before the cops burst in.  I wasn’t holding it in my hands.”

    “It’s still a pretty awkward position to find you in. Enough to incriminate you.”

    I shook my head and crossed my arms.  This was ridiculous.  “Come on, Dotson.  The guy had been dead for at least a couple of days.  The blood was dry.  There were flies all around him, and he was starting to get pretty ripe.  The cops can’t be stupid enough to think I’d just killed him.”

    Dotson took another drag off his cigarette.

    “I don’t think they’re stupid.  They haven’t charged you.  They said they’re only holding you as a material witness.  Temporarily, of course.  But it’s clear they consider you a potential suspect.”

    “Witness?  So why haven’t they interviewed me?  All they’ve done is shove me in a cell and leave me there.  Doesn’t seem like they’re too interested in making any progress in finding out who dusted off Thurston.”

    Another drag, and Dotson’s face was lost in a swirl of smoke.  No wonder he didn’t have to worry about an ashtray — he never set the damn things down.

    “My guess is they’re waiting for the Detroit detectives to come up and give them the background on Thurston,” Dotson said.  “Then they’ll have enough suspects to film a Cecil B. DeMille epic.”

    “What about you?”  I said.

    Dotson met my eyes, his jaw set.  “What do you mean?”

    “You were one of his lawyers.  You could probably suggest plenty of people who wanted to rub out Thurston, right?”

    “Not really.  I was merely a junior lawyer with the firm that handled his business, so I wasn’t that involved.  After I started my own personal law practice, I only worked with them on a few minor matters.”

    “But you were close enough that Mrs. Thurston would come to you for advice.  Close enough that she’d take that advice and see me based on your recommendation.”

    Dotson paused, pulling another cigarette and lighting it off the dwindling butt of the first, then snubbing that one out on the heel of his shoe and tossing it in the wire trash can by the door.

    “One of those minor cases I worked with the family on had involved Margaret.  She’s come to trust my judgment.  But we’re not what I would call close.”

    Margaret, not Mrs. Thurston.  That was enough validation for me. Dotson wasn’t being totally up front with me.  But he’s a lawyer.  It’s natural for him.

    “Has she been told?”

    “Yes,” Dotson said.  “I spoke with her this morning before I drove up.  A couple of detectives from Detroit had informed her during the night.”

    I pictured her being woken by the knock on the door, answering the urgent pounding, and then collapsing when she got the news, maybe knocking an expensive ceramic statue off its plinth as she fell.  I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead.  I didn’t like how deeply the image could affect me.

    The door opened and I looked up to see a burly man in a bad suit stroll in.  He had that cocky air of a cop, but he didn’t immediately start throwing his weight around.  He stood for a moment, looking over Dotson and me before speaking.

    “I’m Detective Sergeant Don Alden, stationed here in Flint.  I’ve got a few questions, if you gentlemen don’t mind.”  He pulled out the seat next at the end of the table, and sat down with a smile, like we were gathering in his basement for a Saturday night poker game among friends.  “And I’m going to ask them even if you do mind,” he said.  His smile broadened.

    Dotson shifted into his lawyer role and began to protest, but I cut him off.

    “It’s no skin off my nose,” I said.  “I got nothing to hide.”  Dotson shrugged and took another drag on his cigarette. 

    I turned to face Alden.  “But I have a few questions of my own, Sergeant.  And I’m a man who likes answers.”

    (…to be continued…)

    • Shane Arthur says:

      Chris: I changed that link for you. Great news that you’re jumping into the writing game full force. Excellent storytelling. You’re a natural. Loved the ending too.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Shane!
        Both for the update and the kind words.  And yeah…  I got the writing bug, Lord help me.
        Not quite quittin’ the day job yet, but…  We’ll see what happens.  It’s the journey that’s the fun part, right?

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Chris: I once did a road trip to Cali. We were so eager to get there, we passed up so many places. I look back at all the places I should have visited and regret it. The journey is indeed the most important part.

    • Hey, Chris, I loved part 3. I get such a kick out of this period piece because my wife loves old movies and I keep picturing the whole thing in black and white. LOL
      The characters are Maltese Falcon tough! Great workout!
      P.S. nice blog, too

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Mitch.  Your support is always appreciated!
        Hell, yeah — this story is absolutely filmed in black and white.  Grainy, too.  Dark with spot lighting that creates harsh contrasts and deep shadows.
        And thanks for checking out the blog.  Its still kind of empty — I just moved in, and everything’s still in boxes.  But I’ll keep unpacking and adding to it.

  9. Cathy Miller says:

    @Chris-I ♥ this story & congratulations on the blog!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Thanks, Cathy!  I appreciate it!
      Not sure how the blog will evolve, but I’m envisioning it as a site to highlight some of my writing.
      But hopfully I won’t get so focused on using the blog to write about writing that I won’t do any real writing. I gotta watch it — I put the ‘pro’ in procrastination!
      …and not to be a noodge, but did you ever check out my belated post to your prompt words? I think you might get a kick out of it…  ;^)

  10. Tanja Cilia says:

    ….Miss let’s-call-her-Samantha… she was the one who took a girl called Shirley around the classes, pushed her onto the teacher’s desk plinth, showed the students her homework, and yelled at her. In each class.  Shirley was a child from a broken family, with no one to defend her, or help her reach her potential.  The teacher was a short, frustrated spinster with an epic speech impediment. So she needed validation for her sorry self. Her breath smelled.  Maybe it was alcohol, but at that age, I would not have known. I have another terrible memory of Miss let’s-call-her-Samantha.  One that concerns me, directly. I, too, had no one to defend me; and she tried to affect my potential… by ruining it. My father had died just weeks before, and my mother was still in shock.  There was no counselling those days. I was just six years old, and I took my father’s death badly; one effect of many was that I began to wet my bed at night. One day, I made progress and woke up just in time. I was so proud of myself.  That was the day Miss let’s-call-her-Samantha decided to humiliate and incriminate me in front of my peers. She called my name and asked me to stand up. She asked me whether I had wet my bed – remember, I was six years old – in front of my classmates… some of whom sniggered with glee… I said I had not.  She called me a liar.  I cried.  She said I was a baby, and told me to sit down.  I call that type of malarkey abuse.  Don’t you?

    • Shane Arthur says:

      Tanja: Allow me to pass a message along to dear old Miss let’s-call-her-Samantha…”Hey Miss Samantha. F you!” Any teacher that would do something like this deserves equal abuse.” Great write, true or not.

      • Tanja Cilia says:

        Alas, it’s true. Actually, what she did to Shirley in front of us was worse (that year I was not in her class, and that is why she “visited” us), actually.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Tanja: I wish all people in your situation had family members like mine (Big Al from New York) that could pay these types of people visits. 🙂

          • Tanja Cilia says:

            Well, if we had Big Al, we wouldn’t have been treated like this in the first place.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Tanja: I remember 2nd grade I had to go to another school for some odd reason for the year. The teacher we had had tenure and nobody could fire her even though she was a joke. My mother came to a parent/teacher day and was shocked at what she saw that day (so were the other parents). They tried to get her fired but to no avail.

            I came back to my regular school the next year and I’d forgotten how to read. I had to read with the slow group for some time before I caught up. Our whole class suffered for a year. That’s child abuse in my mind.

          • Tanja Cilia says:

            Everyone has these horror stories. Try and mention something about it in a queue, or at a clinic, and you’ll see.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Hi Tanja!  A very compelling and emotionally heart-wrenching story — I hate seeing little kids being the victims of cruelty, especially from very people who are supposed to be caring for them.

    • Tanja, truth has the harsh ring of validation in every bitten-off word. Somehow, I knew this was true.
      I second Shane’s motion. The one where we toss an F-bomb in her general direction.
      To you, I toss a bouquet of virtual flowers. Great prose!

  11. sefcug says:

    Here we go in no particular order, with today’s word as a bonus:
    A Writer’s Tale

    Mickey was working on completing his epic novel, and making great progress from his perch upon the plinth.
    He did not want to incriminate himself within the writing community by misusing effects and affects.
    His online research regarding the issue resulted in a lot of malarkey, until he stumbled upon the Grammar Girl’s explanation of the issue <http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/affect-versus-effect.aspx?commentid=29800>. After reading the post, which gave validation of his intended usage, he was filled with glee at the potential to be finished, and the prospect of being published after editing and proofreading the tome.
    Unfortunately, hebdomadal editing revealed that it was going to be a long time before it would be ready for publishing. He had failed to realize that creating his masterpiece should have been done in a serialized manner. It turned out to be over two thousand pages, which was going to take a lot of editing and proofreading.
    Plan things before you start, to avoid frustration and disappointment at the end of the project.


    @Chris – Great words to work with.

    @All – Sorry for the late submission, did not have enough time to finish during lunch.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Steve: Great stuff. Love the 11th word especially. You make me laugh with these. Thank you for that.

      • sefcug says:

        @Shane – Glad you enjoyed it. I am running so much lately, I haven’t been able to read the other submissions as much as I would like. In fact, I have to go in a few minutes for a meeting.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great piece.  I sympathize with the “I’m-never-going-to-be-done” writing situation, LOL!

    • Wait, there’s a time-limit? Naaaah. I can wait all day for your fables, Steve. (Plus I’m even later than you!)
      The whole thing comes together with that serendipitous word of the day! I was cracking up when I checked out the definition.

  12. Shane Hudson says:

    “The epic story of the potential electrorial candidate progressed”
    Or at least, that is what the live blogger over at The Guardian was writing with glee. Personally I think it is a load of malarkey, but sadly the effects of this so-called ‘leader’ were apparent as soon as the unshaven man in the dark sunglasses (presumably to hide his demonic red eyes) took centre stage on the plinth and started to incriminate his predessessors. I do not know how one idiot could affect the entire People but it was working. All I can hope is that he does not pass validation!

  13. Michelle Baker says:

    Whilst writing my hebdomadol progress reports, I was asked to give a validation on the
    effects of the new plinth as a potential new home for the latest statue which was bought at the auctions yesterday.
    I tried to write my report in such a way as to not incriminate myself after Cindy and I had an epic battle to see who would be better if we were on Glee, our malarkey had a devestating affect on the now broken plinth.

  14. Shane Arthur says:

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: I was wondering why I was seeing the word habdomadal in the submissions. That word of the day is just something I thought was cool to keep our vocabularies fresh. It isn’t a requirement for the posts in case that is what some of you are thinking. If you knew it wasn’t and did this, that’s pretty cool. 🙂

    • sefcug says:

      @Shane – I knew it wasn’t a requirement. It was just such a good word, I could not resist. Good addition to the site.

    • Michelle Baker says:

      Hi Shane,
      No, I knew it was not a requirement. Although I find it personally challenging to add it, as someone suggested on Monday when I wrote my first post that I could use it as a signature for my posts, I decided to try it. 🙂

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Michelle: That’s neat. I was scratching my head wondering what was going on. DAre I was it was a “challenge” to figure out.

  15. Some great stuff here 🙂 Here’s my attempt …
    Clearly Shane was looking for validation and I just didn’t have the patience today. I had already had enough of his malarkey.
    “Yes, yes, you have made a lot of progress dear boy, now leave me alone”.
    I stepped down from the speaker podium as Shane’s tiny legs were scrambling to get purchase up onto the plinth.
    “But don’t you want to see my latest project? I think it has epic written all over it!” Shane squealed with obvious Glee.
    I tried to affect an air of interest while a yawn worked its way up my system, doing its level best to incriminate me as to my true feelings.
    “Here, you will need these 3d glasses if you are going to see all the special effects”.
    “If I give you an A+ will you kindly GO AWAY?”
    So you see, Dean, sir, this is why young Mr Arthur, with so little potential, and against all expectations, actually graduated.

    • Shane Hudson says:

      @ChrisG – Hahahahaha!! Fantastic entry, absolutely loved it!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: I think I’d rather get my ass kicked again by that bouncer in your last submission of me! 🙂 Chris! I had to wipe away laugh-tears from my eyes. Thank you kindly. You’re a good sport for actually taking the time to do the challenge, and you’re wit is sharp as a tack.

    • Michelle Baker says:

      What a fantastic post!  This is by far my favourite post.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Shane-I know he probably won’t see it, but, hey, it’s my job- 🙂
      @Chris Garrett -Welcome to CCC!

      It may be validation we seek or simply a good time, but we are addicted to the lure of CCC. While many of us are a work in progress, the sheer joy of this welcoming community has reached epic proportions as the potential of dreams evolve into reality.

      So each week we return and incriminate our fellow writers in this driving need with the lasting effects. How will it affect us this week? Will we laugh, will we cry, will we marvel at talent’s door? For CCC is the plinth to all that we share with glee and anything less is pure malarkey.


    • Chris Fries says:

      Too funny!!!
      But I would think anyone who puts special 3-D effects into their project clearly has at least some potential.
      Great job, Chris.

    • Oh, GAWD, Chris! this was fantastic! I was giggling uncontrollably after seeing an image of Shane’s tiny legs were scrambling to get purchase up onto the plinth.
      Thanks for the great words today!

  16. meke willed says:

    After having destroyed the alarm clock I realised I didn’t own one and that it had been lent from a friend, Sue.
    She is a nice 18-year-old girl with a skinny form, fare tanned skin along with inventivity and a hyperactivity of epic proportion.
    I had to get rid of the evidence that incriminated me(the bits of alarm clock now scattered across my room floor) and hope I’d have a chance to get her a new clock.
    I got dressed and tried to pick up as much of the the clock that was left and put it’s in the kichen bin to hide it from my mum (in all honestly it had Potential of working).
    But as I walked to the bin in the kitchen only to fine Sue being served breakfast by my mother and as an affect  of the shook i have thrown what was left of the clock at myself and then having draw more attention to myself, I smiled widely to try and distract for the clock on the floor with no effects as my mother said, “Clean up that malarkey.” Whilst turning  back to cook more fried eggs as Sue got down from her plinth walk up to me and started glaring, “Is that my clock that;s destroyed on the floor?”
    I stutter in reply, ”Ye..yes but I promise I’ll get you a new one,” to which she gave me a mock cold shoulder and said, ”Ok, but i want something more as well.” She tapped on her cheek to suggest for me to kiss her and I did kiss her lightly and she walked in utter glee back to the table to finish her breakfast.
    I had to admit she fancied me since we had first met and to my Validation she had been making Progress as I was falling for her slowly.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Meke: No such thing as falling slowly! 🙂 Nice one.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great clock story.  That was fun!

    • Awwww…Meke!
      That was an adorable story and you know I love the British perspective. Makes me want to watch one of the Harry Potter movies, now.
      Great job!

      • meek willed says:

        I must say I’m sorry for all my spelling mistack’s.
        I even misspelled my aliases lol.
        Please for give my mistack’s.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @meek: Forgiven. I’ll try and change any I see, but I won’t do them all. I edit, so I’m constantly looking up words to make sure I spell them right. Good rule of thumb – if you are not 100% sure you are spelling a word right, look it up. Before long you will spell no words wrong.

  17. For some reason the word “validation” brought out my day job in me as an IT Manager, and it set the mood for the whole poem.
    This poem is dedicated to IT Software shops and in particular QA Testers who spend their time testing new software for bugs and making sure the end users never see errors in applications.
    Quality Assurance
    Progress toward this epic validation
    potential for malarkey defects too great
    each upgrade a plinth supporting new features
    effects of which can lead to glee or frustration
    a negative experience; incriminate the developer
    the job of the quality assurance engineer himself
    making sure no problems affect the end user
    Thanks for the words @Chris

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: Outstanding. Super tight poetry.

    • Hear, hear! Nice one, Justin!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great job, Justin!
      I always love your poetry, Dude!
      But: “…in particular QA Testers…”
      They still make those? I thought the users had become the de facto Beta Testers.  That way you get the product to market sooner, and the people who find the bugs pay YOU for the privilege of doing so. I mean, “we can always fix it in the patch, or maybe version 1.1, or 2.x, or….”

      • Was in the office today so there is a QA Validation team I work with which also served as inspiration for the poem.  Yeah with all the bugs in products one would think there isn’t any Quality Assurance anymore, but it exists in some places.

        • Chris Fries says:

          Yeah, I know.  And it’s a hard, pressure-filled, and much under-appreciated thing that is frequently dismissed as an unneeded after-thought.
          I did some of it for a stretch back in the early 90’s and was too-often looked at as the enemy:  Bugs and issues that we found delayed the schedule, negatively impacted the budget because they added more (re)development time, and even bruised sensitive developer egos.  It was too often a “blame the messenger” vibe, especially when we brought bad news.  Not often enough did the development team realize that it’s better to find and fix bugs in-house than to have the users have to call tech support after the fact.  When that release deadline is looming, QA can become the pariah.
          I apologize because in my original reply to your post, I was not clear enough that my tongue was firmly in-cheek, and I was going for humor, not rant.

          • I understand, no problem.  I agree that text comments can misconstrue “meaning and articulation” sometimes.  I kind of used “incriminate the developer” here as well with the same intention you just mentioned.  QA gets flak for finding bugs when the developer should for writing code with bugs.  If you only knew how many levels of testing exist in my environment, it’s scary.

  18. In the valley of the mind, malarkey becomes epic; madness, enlightenment. Into this cranial coulee went Dr. Jacob Malkovitch. The date was 12 December, 2012. We never heard from him again. Good riddance, too. Lest you think I’m some bitter rival, you should know that I was on the research team that made the connection between smooth molars and dementia. I guess I should explain.

    Ten years ago, I was assigned to analyze the dental hygiene of mental patients. At first, I simply gathered routine data about daily brushing, prophylactic care and the effects of fluoride rinses, if any, on the well-being of the patients. I discovered an unusually high rate of malocclusion – bad bite – amongst the study participants. When I reported these findings to Dr. Malkovitch, he flashed his trademark wolfish grin, congratulated me and hustled me out of his office.

    Six months later, he published the first of over two dozen papers linking prefrontal abnormalities to various diseases. This first paper included my research, after elevating my malocclusions to bruxism and mental patients to demented subjects in general. Though I was puzzled, confused and even hurt, I kept silent. However, Dr. Malkovitch was too smart to let his plagiarism affect the productivity of his golden goose.  Instead of receiving credit for my discoveries, Dr. Malkovitch offered to reward me with more lucrative research assignments. His only request was that I focus primarily on his theory. Blinded by his sob story and a twisted sense of loyal affection, I agreed.

    He told me that he was in a race against time to thwart the deadly genetic bomb in his head. Apparently, his mother’s side of the family had a history of Huntington’s disease. He had tested himself for the tell-tale marker on chromosome 4. Sadly, the abnormally long section was a grim validation of his impending illness. Thus, he was determined to find a cure, at all costs. After he told me about his defective DNA, he lectured me on brain anatomy, including a wild theory of brain malfunction.

    That night, he shared with me two of his most closely held secrets. Together, they would cost him his life.


    I returned to the lab, preparing myself to deal with Dr. Malkovitch’s insane theory. He believed that a piece of gray brain matter, scientifically known as the dorsal striatum, had a vestigial section or, as he put it, “nature’s version of a slip-and-fall accident.” He asserted that motor impairments were the result of the invasion of the intraventricular portion of the dorsal striatum into the ventricular system, through which the cerebrospinal fluid flows. While most of the gray matter was outside of the ventricular system, this so-called accident pokes right into it. It actually made sense, in a way, because the dorsal striatum has indeed been incriminated as the culprit in a host of maladies, including Tourette’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.

    Soon, I was gallivanting through MRIs of patients suffering from motor impairments. I made good progress, finding all kinds of fascinating anomalies between ADHD, OCD and environmental contaminants. These were duly reported to the good doctor. Within months of each of my discoveries, his imprimatur graced yet another published paper. Eventually, I had my own wing and team of assistants. How big of him. We mere mortals – his lab assistants – were but a plinth to support his putative monumental genius.  Loyalty, twisted or otherwise, always extracts a price.


    During the long Memorial Day weekend of 2012, I took Dr. Malkovitch aside, hinting at an “explosive” discovery. His greedy eyes glinted with glee as I explained a revolutionary treatment for chorea. I told him I had examined hundreds of coal miners and found lower incidence rates for motor impairment diseases. In painstaking detail, I offered a hypothesis based on his own assertions,  showing  him chemical analyses that implicated oxygen deprivation.  As a grand finale, I slyly pointed out the high concentrations of methane to which miners were routinely exposed. With his usual grin, he took the research and dismissed me.

    On the eve of 11 December, 2012, at a widely attended press conference, Dr. Malkovitch announced  that he had finally found a potential cure for Huntington’s chorea. In true comic book fashion, he’d arranged to have himself injected publicly. He patiently described the procedure to the medical journalists and visiting dignitaries. Basically, he would undergo an epidural for the purpose of introducing methane gas directly into his spinal fluid. In this way, he hoped to acquire the pharmaceutical benefits that he had discovered in methane, while bypassing the oxygen-deprivation side-effects.

    He had taken the bait! I watch dispassionately while a nurse carefully performed the epidural injection. Within minutes, his skin turned beet-red as if he were straining mightily. Within an hour, he had lapsed into a deep, irreversible coma.  A day later, with zero brain activity, his wife pulled the plug.

    The inglorious anonymity of the faceless, uncredited researcher was the backdrop for the perfect crime. Yes, dear reader, Dr. Jacob Malkovitch had suffered a fatal brain fart.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: You took me for a ride. Up and down, over and under, back and forward. and BAM! Hit us with a brain fart. Fantastic ride as always.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Oh, man!!!  Mitch, you just completely killed me!
      Deep, full of valid science, articulate, precise, and then… then… THEN, after all that high-falootin’, high-brow, esoteric, jargon-filled, insightful, and intricate setup, we get WHAT???
      A punny fart joke.
      Say wha???
      I TOTALLY did not see that coming, and fell for it hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, and F’in’ BOAT and ANCHOR!!!!!
      Absolutely brilliant and utterly infantile in the same fell swoop — I absolutely LOVED it!!!!
       (oh, and very deft use of plinth, by the way!)

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Wow, what a story!  That is incredibly clever.

    • @Shane, LOL! Thanks, man. I’m glad you enjoyed the ride. A bit of experimenting with Larry Brooks, here. Mind you, I have yet to complete the book, but the insights are helping!
      @Chris, Oh my! Thanks for the kudos. The ending actually presented itself halfway through. I had discarded a ton of scientific mumbo-jumbo, hoping that what remained would seem authentic. 🙂
      @Anne, thanks! I’m always afraid that this type of tale would be too dull. I enjoy the genre, though , so I tackle it here from time to time.

    The Saga of Bayou Billy…
    So I’m sittin’ on the front porch eatin’ a big old bowl a gumbo when my wife, my sweet Yvonne, done told me to hurry up wit that there reporter from New York City cuz she’s missin’ her favorite show – Glee. I watched that there show with her three or two times and it’s a bunch of malarkey if you ask me. If I wanted to listen to that there kinda music I’d start goin to church again. Come to think of it, I was in the choir for a while until the kicked me out. Weren’t nuttin’ to do wit my singing, that validation was done proved back on anudder challenge when me and the Swamp Cat Gators done sung the epic bayou song, Jambalya. If you ain’t done heard it yet you can lissen to it rights here:

    [audio src="http://kenncrawford.com/audio/bayoubillysings.mp3" /]
    My singing ain’t ’bouts to win me no awards none to soon but lord a-migty, my sister’s cousin’s brother’s father sure does play a progressive accordian. He done gone hog wild on that there number. Me thinks that song gots plenty-a potential, it’s just a shame we can’t release it cuz of all that there legal stuff. Comes to think of it, maybe it be bestin’ if I done kept quiet b’fore I incriminate myself any further.
    Anyways, what was I talking bouts b’fore I interupted myself?
    Oh yeah… My wife, my sweet yVonne, she’s standin’ in the doorway workin’ up a good mad cuz her show is startin’ and that there reporter with nice rack ain’t commenced to leavin’, so I say’d to myself, “Self,” and I recognized the voice right away cuz it sounded just like me. “Self,” I say’d, “Yvonne’s cold stare ain’t havin’ much of an affect on that there reporter but it’s scarin’ the b’jesus outta me.”
    So done told that there reporter to quite playin’ with the damn dog, gather up her personal effects and get gone b’fore Yvonne done puts me in the hospital again. I think that there little comment done knocked me down three or two notches on the plinth she had me on but that’s okay… if Yvonne done got any madder she woulda knocked out six or maybe even half a dozen of my teeth.
    I remember the last time Yvonne done got real mad at me. I went out for our anniversary and bought her some sexy lingerie. Weren’t nuttin’ to the damn thing exceptin a three hundred dollar price tag. But I gots it and brought it home and gave it to Yvonne and ask’d her to go model it for me. Lord a-mighty askin’ her to do that hurt more than payin’ for it. Anyways, I done forgot to take off the price tag and when she saw’d how much it cost and how see thru it was, Yvonne figured she might as well just be naked. So she stuff’d it back in the bag plannin on returning it and gettin the money back but she didn’t wanna hurt my feelins, so she come downstairs naked and struck a pose.
    I look’d at her and say’d “For three hundred dollars you’d think they’d iron out the wrinkles.”
    When I woke’d up in the hospital I couldn’t help but think women are like tea bags… you never know how strong they can be until you add some hot water.


    • Music to read by. What a treat! I don’t hear well, but the beats and melody fit perfectly with your hilarious story. You had me cracking up with the wrinkles remark.
      Great job, Kenn.
      I’m usually a little slow on the uptake – Monday, I thought Shane H. was doing a response post to Michelle B.
      Today, my question is, are you the original Bayou Billy that wouldn’t share your gumbo with Shane A.’s Billy what done got hisself strung up by the oysters by that James Feller? 🙂

      • @Mitch… thanks for the comments. Yes, I am the original, one-and-only, true, Bayou Billy… okay, enough patting myself on the back Hahahaha LOL  Seriously though, I took a Bayou Billy writing break for a while to concentrate on my other writing projects (a couple of novels) and Shane was kind enough to fill in the gap with his country bumpkins who interacted with my Bayou Billy. I’m still going back through the challenges reading some of his funny stories.
        @Shane… using Billy’s line at parties huh? LOL  Cool. Funny that you mentioned that… Someone at work was reading the Bayou Billy book and changed their facebook status to “So I said to myself, ‘Self,’ and I recognized the voice right away cuz it sounded just like me.’ ”  hehehe The book is circulating around the office and now when some one sees me they laugh… I don’t know if they are thinking about the book or if my fly is down. LOL
        @Chris… the string huh? Yeah, I can see where that was headed LOL

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Kenn: You’re a bleepin’ rock star at work! That’s so cool. YOu see everyone, you guys need to write books. 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kenn: Oh my goodness!!! The wrinkles! The wrinkles! Super funny. I’m going to use that one at parties.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Loved this.  Great Billy bits, and added a new wrinkle to Yvonne’s characer, too…
      And I liked the ‘woman are like tea bags’ analogy.  I was trying to think of something funny to add, but I can only think of something crude about the string, so I think it’s just best that I just leave it be…

  20. Anne Maybus says:

    It had the potential to incriminate her if she went ahead.  She hadn’t allowed for the way all this sneaking about would affect her nerves and she was tired of peeping through windows.  The effects of the adventure were already showing themselves.  She was tired and jumpy all the time.   
    She had made great progress filiming the whole malarky but knew that they would instantly trace it back to her.  Did she really need validation of her story?  Deep in her heart she knew that she had to go on because she could no longer tolerate being picked on for her choices.
    She was very tired of peeping through windows at night.  They were all safe and warm inside. feet up as they watched TV.  It was time to get out before they saw her.  Tripping over the ivy swathed plinth on her way out of the garden, she cursed to herelf. Why do blokes have garden ornamtents, anyway? Luckily she hadn’t dropped the camera so the evidence was still secure.
    When she got into the car she pulled out her mobile and called the girls. 
    “I’ve got it!  I’ll be there in a few minutes.  Fire up the computer”
    As she opened the front door, the girls raced to meet her, yelling “Show us! This is gonna be hilarious!” 
    She plugged the camera into the computer and uploaded the file.  In a few seconds the screen burst into life with the image of a loungeroom, a TV , four bopping heads and a series of fake microphones.  Yep, the blokes were singing along to Glee as they watched.  
    “And they said they didn’t watch it!”, she giggled.  “Watch it?  They are living it!”  
    Turning to her friends she smiled, raised one sneaky eyebrow and said “Youtube?”   
    Epic!” the girls snickered and gave each other high 5’s.   

  21. Britnie Reed says:

    “This is a bunch of bullsh- malarkey!” Jessica exclaimed, but instantly replaced the frown that was surely going to etch itself permanently onto her face, as she heard the door to the locker room screech open.

    “I hear you’re still trying to stop cussing. I’ve been wondering when you’re going to give up on that,” Caleb wrapped his arms around her waist. “What happened?”

    She sighed in relief. It was just Caleb. “Whew! You scared the sh- crap out of me.” Caleb attemped to hide the smile creeping onto his face. “Wipe off that smirk off your face! I’m trying.”

    “The validation?”

    “Yessss. We’re making so much progress, and they won’t just give us the validation! I don’t understand this, Caleb,” she buried her face in his broad shoulder.

    “This could be epic, and it has alot of potential, but it could also greatly affect the general public. You knew it could be denied, and I told you-”

    “If you say I told you so I swear you’re going to have to do yourself tonight.” Caleb smashed his lips together in an attemp to keep quiet. “Good. Those pricks at the DA’s office better be getting of their plinth and actually look at the effects this could have on the city. Hell, even the world!”

    Caled opened his mouth, and was interupted by Jessica, again. “That didn’t count!”

    “Okay,” he raised his hands in defense, “Be careful with what you say, Jess. The wrong person hears you and you’ve just signed your death warrant. Some things you say could incriminate you pretty damn quickly.”

    Just then, the DA himself walked into the office locker room, deposited a few things into a locker in the next row, and exited just as quickly.

    “Looks pretty happy to me,” Jessica commented hatefully.

    “Its false glee, Jess. Nothing to worry about. You’ll get the validation sooner or later.”

  22. Chris half-smiled as I shoved the microphone towards him. “If you wait for validation,” he said, “progress will be elusive.”

    I nodded and smiled. Interviewing famous bloggers was easy!

    After a mildly awkward moment, he continued, “If you wait for epic potential, for that One True Idea that shines atop a plinth of gold, for the world-shaking notion whose effects will affect the planet, you will wait a long time, and achieve nothing.”

    I nodded and smiled. How cool was this? Chris sure made my job easy!

    He peered from under a Men With Pens hat, smile fading. “Drop the grandiose malarkey. Turn off Glee, start small, but do something.” He walked back inside.

    The last two words hung in the air, accusation and verdict. I stood in incriminating silence.

  23. Kelly says:


    “Ah, yer full of malarkey, Ben Tierney, so y’are.” I was moving my effects around the tiny flat Ben and I were letting for the summer in Waterford, and listening to him go on about a girl he thinks I like back home. I was in no mood to listen, but that hadn’t a cheese in Cheshire’s chance of stopping him from jawing on.

    A few irritated words from me, was only validation for his epic tale. “See there, now, I knew you had it in for her. Bridget Flynn’s a fine one and everybody in the village is waitin’ for you to speak to her.”

    “Maybe so, maybe they are. But I’m nowt speakin’ to anyone, Ben. I want t’ finish this internship without another thought of girls, get my last credits, and head of to New York for a real job. Tha’s what’ll give me glee. That and you helpin’ with the move-in, here. Let’s make a bit of progress, can’t we?” I threw a sack of bedthings at him. “This ain’t mine, you old hag, did yer mum send you with lovely purple linens?’

    Faced with the lavender sheets, Ben finally left the subject of Bridget alone. “Ah’m throwing ‘em out, first paycheck, all right? They was blue ‘til I warshed ‘em wrong, and now they’d sooner suit a sister I don’t have. Quiet down about ‘em.”

    Of course, Ben would do no such thing. Like me, he’d let the sheets or any other silliness stand to incriminate his terrible skills with the wash while he sent every penny he could home this summer. My mum and da had helped in any way they could while I went through university. Would I spend on a bedsheet even if mine were the purple ones?

    Only if there was any potential that Bridget Flynn might have a peek at it.

    Well, it was true I had an eye for her. My da was keen that I should speak to her as well as bloody “everybody,” but Bridget was too busy with anything but me. It was a small town and she had bigger plans. She seemed to think I should have all manner of whispered stories of girls from university. Seemed a mite put off that I didn’t, to be truthful. I was off to New York because everybody knew that an engineer in small-town Ireland was like a fish in the queen’s bonnet, eyed with terror and a damned sight uncomfortable as well, but not because I wanted to leave home or have adventures. I was a disappointment to the prettiest green eyes in all the south, and her displeasure affected me something terrible.

    Aye, it seemed I’d set her up on a plinth long ago when we were kids, with her alabaster face and mocking green eyes, my sculpture of home and hearth as I wished it; though I tried and again to tell “everybody in the village” that I’d have none of her, it was she who’d have none o’ me and I knew it.

    I’d no idea what to do about that, and if you must know, I bored myself to death with my mooning. So I’d have my summer in Waterford, easy and free, then off to Amerikay it was.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: I was reading the whole thing with my best accent. Great story, which you should continue.

  24. […] To participate yourself, or just read other’s submissions, go to https://creativecopychallenge.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/writing-prompts-creative-copy-challange-129/ […]

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