Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #135

Sherry Jones, author of the “The Jewel of Medina” and “The Sword of Medina” (controversial novels about the youngest wife of the Prophet Muhammad), and “Four Sisters, All Queens,” scheduled for spring/summer 2012 by Simon and Schuster/Gallery, picked the words today. Show her what we do twice each week.

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. Serendipity – The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
  2. Indigo – a blue dye; a shrub
  3. Motorboat
  4. Scold
  5. Entity
  6. Delicious
  7. Alabaster – a fine-grained usually white, opaque, or translucent variety of gypsum used for statues, vases, etc.
  8. Hiding
  9. Fluctuate
  10. Cartoon

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


78 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #135”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    Kelly, cover The Kid’s eyes again. 😉
    “Billy, where you at? Come look at dis here strange entity I done found hidin’ in the cushions of da couch while I’s watchin’ cartoons. It got a long, ribbed shaft and a smaller one curvin’ up from the base dat look like a finger. It look like it could be an indigo-colored alabaster rocket or something, and it’s vibratin’ and fluctuatin’ like a motorboat when I hit da button. It got some jelly-like glaze all over it too. It…mmm… it tastes delicious. Billy, come take a…”

    “Gimme dat, Bobby! Don’t you ever touch this again, ya hear! I done scolded you a hundred times not to go snoopin’ in my stuff. Dis here’s a keepsake from my dear Yvonne from Gator’s Crossing.”

  2. Our lives are not merely cartoons.  We make mistakes and must live with the consequences. Those mistakes however don’t have to be unfortunate.How else would the alabaster colossi have been built in ancient Greece? Or even today to fluctuate a tiny hiding electron? The jeans we now wear are blue only because indigo somehow strengthens the cloth. And how did we find that out? No, we think not of this when we each drive our own theoretical motorboat over the Sea of Knowledge, feeling only the wind in our hair. We had ought to scold ourselves for this. Accidents are wonderful potentially. What is disgusting to some is delicious to others. What about us? Are we just some accident our creating entity has made? I choose to think not. Rather would I choose to believe we are his best creation, found only through serendipity.

  3. Anne Wayman says:

    I live my life by serendipity. My indigo dreams include puttering motorboats, screaming scolds and an Entity I know not. Alabaster likeness with essence hiding, my faith fluctuates like a Sponge Bob cartoon.
    I think, in many ways this is true for me.

  4. Rebecca says:

    The delicious scents of Morocco filled the air and Sheila took a deep breath and held it for a long time; she let it out and felt renewed. The motorboat came to a stop and Sheila got out. She was in Morocco on assignment for The Foreigner and took advantage of the wonderful markets and stores the country has to offer. She walked into an antique shop and a vase with an alabaster finish and exquisite indigo design caught her eye. Serendipity must have guided her to the store because indigo is Shelia’s favorite color. She wondered about the inspiration behind the design. This could be dangerous because her imagination had a tendency to consume her – it was as if an entity took over her body. Sheila’s friends believed it was her way of hiding from reality. She often felt like they wanted to scold her for being who she was. It was quite funny like a cartoon that wouldn’t end. At least her moods didn’t fluctuate ever day like theirs did. She smiled and turned her attention back to the vase. It was a great find and she would have it no matter the cost.

    • That was fun, Rebecca. Short and lively!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: I loved this. My mom and aunt are antique buffs(read addicts). I could see them being possessed with entities easily when a good deal crossed their paths. 🙂

    • I know what that feels like. You do something that is totally of your nature, and then you hear your friends in your head telling you that you shouldn’t do it. And then you just shake your head and continue anyways. For me it’s arguing about the minute things in life. Really, it’s the way I was raised and it’s a hard habit to break. Besides, I’m scared I’ll get an ulcer if I don’t live up to my nature. It’s what helps me to survive!

  5. Vera refused to accept the finality of the cartoon that was her marriage. No matter how much Roger thought he was hiding, she knew full well of his ongoing indiscretions. No woman should have to suffer through this, she thought, darkly. As she stared morosely into her cold coffee, she went over her plan a final time.


    Roger smacked his lips, sated. That zeppola was delicious and the sugary treat gave him a burst of energy that put a spring in his step. He couldn’t wait until Vera saw the 25th anniversary present he’d gotten for them. It had taken him five years but, finally, the deal was sealed. Soon, he would take possession of a used Beechcraft Flybridge Cruiser.


    Vera assumed Roger had no idea that she received email alerts from their bank. She had set them up to notify her of deposits over 200.00 so that she would know when one of their tenants had finally paid rent. As a safety measure, she’d also asked to be informed if the balance dipped below 500.00. For the past four years, she had watched their account fluctuate wildly between 10,000.00 and less than 100.00. The changes occurred regularly each week and didn’t coincide with rentals, Roger’s salary or her own royalties. She had a hard time tracking the reason, because everything was done either via ATM or branch transaction. Then she decided to follow Roger.


    Roger bounced into the lawyer’s office, eager to sign the papers. Their anniversary was in two days and he’d cleared his calendar for the rest of the month. He waved to the now-familiar receptionist and she returned a friendly wave. She told Roger that he was early; Rachel was in a conference and the seller hadn’t arrived yet. She told him to make himself comfortable.

    As he waited for everyone else to arrive, he took out the well-worn sheet upon which he had printed the description of the Beechcraft:

    Beechcraft 12-380 flybridge cruiser with steel hull and superstructure and marine grade aluminum flybridge.  Main engine Cummins 300hp with only 800 hours. 12 knots max, 10 knots cruising.  Wing engine with Volvo folding propeller, 30hp.  5 knots max, 4 knots cruising. Dek-King decking professionally installed.  New electric fridge, diesel hob, oven. New domestic water and shower pumps. Queen sized double bed in aft cabin with en-suite toilet and shower  Twin berths in fore cabin with en-suite toilet and shower…

    Roger couldn’t believe his luck. Finding the ad was pure serendipity. Initially, he had initially been searching for motherboards. He was so tired that night, he’d mindlessly typed motorboat. Chuckling to himself, he leaned back on the plush couch and continued to wait.


    Vera tracked Roger to the branch on Essington Avenue. Watching surreptitiously, she caught him making a withdrawal. When he turned to leave, she turned her back to the entrance and nervously waited for him to walk past. She let him get half a block down the street before she began to tail him but, almost immediately, he turned into a storefront.

    As Vera approached the entrance, she realized it was a lawyer’s office. Two alabaster columns flanked a huge plate glass window, which precluded her taking a good look inside. But what she saw sent a chill down her spine: Roger handing the envelope from the bank to a tall, good-looking woman with hair down to her shoulders. Vera hurried past the window, catching a satisfied smile from the woman to Roger.


    Roger looked at his watch. He was getting impatient. The sugar high was wearing off and buyer’s remorse was knocking at his mental gates. Following his lawyer’s advice, he’d set up an LLC, a legal entity that would protect Vera and him from personal liability arising from any lawsuits. He had never done something like this before and he didn’t like keeping secrets from his wife. But he told himself that, just this once, he was going to do something spontaneous to put a spark back into their comfortably dull relationship.


    Vera was livid. It didn’t take her long to discover that Roger had created a company called Indigo Holdings, LLC. She had contacted one her own lawyers and asked her to investigate. There wasn’t much to tell: the company had been formed two years ago and had no assets, no liabilities. The officers were listed as lawyers from Nevada. Oh. It was one of those, was it? Vera felt sick to her stomach. Whatever Roger was up to, she had a surprise for him…


    At last! Rachel and another lawyer came into the airy lobby, chatting amiably. When Rachel saw Roger, she patted her colleague on the arm and changed directions, approaching Roger with an outstretched hand. “Hello, Mr. Templeton. We’re just waiting for Bob and the title agent. This shouldn’t take more than an hour.”

    “Thanks, Rachel. I’m so excited, I just don’t know what to do with myself.” Roger shook her hand a little too enthusiastically, causing her to laugh with merriment.

    “Well, it’s not every day you buy a boat for your wife, now is it? Just relax. There’s coffee and bagels in the conference room, if you’d like anything.”

    “Coffee sounds good,” Roger decided, more for something to occupy his hands and mind while waiting.


    It was time. Vera knew Roger had an appointment at the lawyer’s office. She checked the clip, snapped on the safety, tucked the gun in her purse and marched out of the house.


    In the conference room, Roger spun around as Rachel, Bob and the title agent came through the door. Grinning ear to ear, Roger greeted the two men and shook their hands. Rachel beckoned them all to their seats. Just as they had settled in, a commotion in the lobby stopped all four of them. The receptionist was scolding someone very loudly.

    Rachel apologized and got up to shut the conference room door. She took two steps before she shrieked and jumped back into the room, falling into Roger’s lap.

    A disheveled Vera stood at the entrance, a menacing pistol pointed at Rachel’s chest. “Hello, Roger.”

    • Lydia says:

      I hope you’ll continue this story on Monday. I want to know what happens next.

    • Kelly says:

      Oh! Oh! Aaaaargh!!!

      I hate when the inevitability of a piece is staring at you from the beginning while you shout at the screen “No, no! You’ve got it all wrong!”

      This killed me. Nicely done, Mitch.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: That built up some great tension with this one. The whole time I was wishing she’s see the truth…but what fun would that have been right! Write on.

    • That was amazing. Like watching two freight trains accelerating towards each other at great speeds. A little of this one (Roger), a little of that (Vera). And then, the big crash (Vera with a gun, the angry wife)! Amazing.

  6. Tanja Cilia says:

    “Each entity looked like a miniature, delicious, collectable sculpture of alabaster.  In fact they were the marine gastropods Murex brandaris, the spiny dye-murex, which gave the Imperial Purple and Royal Purple dyes for which the Island of Malta was famous in Phoenician times.  It was pure serendipity, the discovery that the mucous secretion from the hypobranchial gland of the snail hiding deep within his shell would yield a dye the colour of which would never fluctuate or fade.  A related sea snail, Hexaplex trunculus, gave another dye, an indigo called tekhelet that was used for religious ritual clothing…” Home-schooling was fine, but it was not all that it was made out to be. Soon, the mother was heard to scold: If you don’t pay attention we won’t be going out on the motorboat to dive for our own Murex; and you can forget about watching your favourite cartoon, too.

  7. Lydia says:

    I was hoping to continue the adventures of Og but he’s never heard of motorboats or cartoons. Maybe on Monday! 🙂
    The motorboat purred away from the dock just as the first indigo and alabaster streaks stretched across the summer sky. Radio signals fluctuated wildly out here. No sooner would Dale adjust to the crackly static than a commercial for the latest cartoon or a jingle for a  delicious new fast food bacon burger blared across the water.  A few minutes after turning it down, though, the morning stillness grew so eerie and prickly that he had to have some sort of confirmation that somewhere other people were waking up, laughing and most importantly making noise. This had become even more important a few months earlier when he began living on his boat full-time after selling his home to settle old debts.
    When the craft reached the island Dale turned off the motor, picked up a  bucket and clam hack and stood at the edge of the boat watching the water lap the shore. As he stepped off the boat a sleepy duck hiding behind a large rock noticed an unfamiliar entity walking toward her nest and began scolding him with impatient quacks.
    “It’s ok,” he said, “I won’t hurt you.” He walked until her cries ended.
    The morning dig was a success. In less than an hour Dale’s buckets were full. He decided to add one more clam to his collection before heading back to town to sell them at the farmer’s market.  As his  instrument dug into the soggy soil, though, he felt it thud against something hard. When the object had been unearthed Dale picked it up. It was metal, a little rusted around the edges, about the size of a tissue box and a sturdy lock held tight whatever was inside.
    He took the bucket and mysterious box back to his boat. A few whacks of a hammer later and the lock reluctantly broke. He opened the box.
    A flash of silver serendipity. Coins, and old ones at that. He smiled.  Yes, there would definitely be a hot shower and soft bed to sleep in tonight.

  8. Kelly says:


    Mood Indigo plays. Face of alabaster peeks in my ersatz office door, blonde strands across the forehead hiding her concern. Are you all right?
    Don’t know.
    Sandwiches later? Okay.
    Okay’s the best I can muster. She understands.

    Motorboat screams past the summer house. Where are you headed? Wish I could go, too.
    Like a cartoon character I fluctuate between the punk anger of that speedboat and the delicious languor of our own canoe.
    I used to handle moods better. At least I think I did.
    A mere sunspot’s difference in sunlight seems capable of tipping my world on its side, now. A drop of rain is devastation.
    No serendipity brings solace as I walk along our stretch of beach.
    I’d rather not walk its warm, soft sands any more.

    My office, once a haven of reality here on this island of pleasure, holds no thrill;
    contains no rage.
    My woman, my lifemate, she watches
    from our whitewashed porch
    as beams of frenzied fury escape the battens of this 10×12 space
    and bolt to touch the sky.
    Never scolds.
    Never questions my ego. I am the only entity permitted this electric wrath.
    Never asks why she can’t have a hugs for the loss of our baby, too.
    I have no hugs to give.

  9. Rebecca says:

    These are fantastic!

  10. margaret says:

    An unknown entity put a bit of serendipity into my day when I answered a knock on my door
    only to find nobody there, but an old alabaster box hiding in the bushes. Before I could scold
    anybody for pulling a prank, I felt my mood fluctuate to one of surprise and joy!

    Inside of the box were two tickets to the Indigo girls concert, along with passes for a complimentary
    motorboat ride across the bay to the venue, and a gift certificate for my favorite restaurant which
    always has delicious food!

    An anonymous note with a cartoon happy face said “have a wonderful birthday next week”.

  11. Here is my entry today, also did you know Serendipity is the #1 most often contributed word to my Random Twitter Poetry game over the past 2 1/2 years.

    At Sea

    Alabaster motorboat serendipity
    hiding in the delicious ocean entity
    away from societies cartoon like scold
    where time doesn’t fluctuate like moods
    but stands still under an indigo sky
    at peace here alone at sea

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: You were meant to write poetry. Well done indeed. I bet that word is the most often contributed. I know we’ve used it before on the CCC.

      • Thanks, I sure do like writing poetry and just let it fly on the web now that I have a poetry blog.  To think I wrote hundreds of poems for 10 years that were just lost over time.  Though I think I have gotten better as the  years go on. (Or like to think so)

    • Kelly says:

      Justin–*Sweet* poem. I love “away from societies cartoon like scold.”

      Looks like “serendipity” isn’t a word that simply shows up serendipitously, eh? More like inevitably, LOL.

    • I like the way you describe “timeless” with the last three lines. It’s awesome. It really is.

  12. margaret says:

    Nah, don’t believe it for a second! They would have sent a dessicated possum or some skunk sausage or a sex toy of questionable origin 😉

  13. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Lol. My sister is the same way. She loves antiques and can spend hours in a store.
    @ Matt … I can relate. When I moved to Arizona in 2007, certain family members acted as if I committed a horrific crime! Wait until they hear I want to move to California and travel to Australia and New Zealand … Yikes!

    • How is Arizona a horrific crime? It’s actually pretty nice there. California I could maybe understand. They can be a little crazy, but still. But Australia and New Zealand, are you planning on a two birds with one stone type of trip? That would be awesome!

  14. sefcug says:

    In order:


    While out on the indigo sea, in my motorboat, I was about to scold Xprtx. Before I did that, I stopped to remember her/his entity as an alien species, which was due to her/him sitting/standing/lying there munching on an apparently delicious hunk of alabaster sandwiched between two pieces of scrap sheet metal.

    I had a hard time hiding my smile, as my mind would fluctuate between amazement and amusement. I must have looked like a cartoon caricature, if anyone else happened to be looking. But, there was just the two of use, and I could not remember now that the scolding was going to be for.

    All I could think of was an idea for a sci-fi novel about the relationship between two species with very different physiology and emotional make up.


    Always keep something with you to record your thoughts, as you never know where or when inspiration will strike.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Steve: and always write it down. You think you won’t forget those gems (especially song lyrics), but you will. Write on.

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Matt … Some people in the Midwest aren’t open to living in other states or countries away from their family. I have cousins who admitted they’re ‘mamas girls’ and couldn’t imagine living more than 15 minutes away from their moms. One cousin admitted she was envious of me because she doesn’t have the courage to move. They still don’t believe my mom was all right when I moved away. Lol.

    You don’t want to know their reaction when I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland in 2007 for The International Fringe Festival. I took a backpack and stayed in a hostel! I love Arizona and am torn between moving back or moving to California. I would like to combine Australia and New Zealand — it’s easier. I definitely want to jump off of the Sky Tower in New Zealand and do the ziplines in Australia. Fun!

  16. Cathy Miller says:

    Serendipity is a wild ride across an indigo ocean on a motorboat made for one. Far from all who would scold, racing toward an unknown entity of happiness with a delicious twist, it lands on an alabaster beach that’s made for hiding from the perils of life. Kissed by the gentle breeze of comfort while waves fluctuate in a teasing embrace, I have found my home, and smile in cartoon delight.

  17. meek willed says:

    I ran in to the spare room after sue who was hiding behind the door with one of those big inflatable cartoon mallet and decided to whack me repetitively until I pick up one of the indigo pillow and fought back a little untill her dad came up and scolded us for being so loud.
    After he left we start playfully Wrestling on the bed rolling and tumbling until she finally managed to pin me and my only respondse was to kiss her on the lips that were as smooth as alabaster with the delicious tasted of strawberries witch was such a serendipity way to fine  Infinit bliss and after that wonderful kiss we lay snuggling in bed were both were on the edge of consciousness I fluctuated between dreams of me and sue on a motorboat or at a party with ton’s of entity around us an the sight of her pretty face pressed against my chest deem in dreams.

  18. Foreign Identity
    Part 35
    Jax glumly surveyed the pile of compost. It was ironic how much he and Kel had enjoyed the delicious fruits only days ago. This time he had forced himself to eat and hadn’t tasted a thing. He sat back against the wall and frowned at the floating entity, the only company in this strange, lonely prison.
    Satiating his hunger had taken the edge off his anger, for the time being. He was still frustrated about his imprisonment, but at least he was alive. It could be worse.
    His mind was clear again, acutely aware of the newest challenge. Escape. It was just another problem for him to solve. And he knew without a doubt his only chance at freedom was through communication with the mysterious entity in front of him. Its translucent form fluctuated gently, hovering in the air nearby. It hadn’t left the room since bringing him dinner.
    He took a deep breath and narrowed his eyes, ready to begin the interrogation.
    “How did Kel and I get here?” he asked.
    The response was a sputter of flickers and buzzes as if the electric wave was a motorboat.
    Jax put up his hand. “Okay, okay. Calm down, Zapper. Let me rephrase the question.”
    The wave was silent.
    “Did you bring us to this planet?”
    Zap, zap.
    “But not to hurt us?”
    “Okay. Then did you bring us here for your benefit?”
    Zap, zap.
    “So do you think of us as like your pets or something?”
    “Hmm. It’s more than that, isn’t it?”
    Zap, zap.
    “Are there any other people…humans…on this planet?”
    His heart sank. Plummeted, really – all the way to his knees. So it was true: they were totally isolated. But somehow, they still had a bounty of provisions – as if it had been prepared ahead of time. If humans hadn’t made it all, then who? Then he remembered his visions. He had watched the creation of the cabin and seen the orchard develop from saplings.
    “So…Us discovering the cabin in the woods…and the fact that there was a garden and an orchard and a greenhouse nearby – that wasn’t serendipity, was it?”
    Everything they needed to survive. Jax thought hard. “Can you make stuff materialize from thin air? From nothing?”
    “But you can telekinetically move objects?”
    Zap, zap. One of the apple cores lifted up into the air and slowly revolved before his eyes. Then, it dropped to the ground where it was lifeless again.
    He nodded, then frowned. “I can do that, too. But that isn’t normal for humans, is it?”
    “So is it something having to do with being on this planet, then?”
    If that was true, how did they get their abilities? “Do you know why we have this power?”
    Jax waited for a response, but the wave entity didn’t humor him. What was it hiding? He decided to try a new train of thought. “So, if I asked you to bring me something, my notebook and pencil, for example, could you do it?”
    Instead of answering, the wave vanished. Several moments later, it returned, followed by the two objects he’d mentioned. When the book and pencil plunked down onto the floor, he scrambled over to see. He grabbed the notebook, turning it over in his hand. He recognized it as the same one he’d used to chart his journey through the woods, although those pages had been torn out when he’d created the map.
    He walked to the place where the objects had come through wall and placed his hand on the surface. It felt smooth and hard. He looked back at the floating ripple. “So, you’re able to bring objects through solid walls?”
    Zap, zap.
    “If you can bring things in here, then that means you can transport things out, too, right?”
    The wave hesitated for a moment and then gave two short pulses. Zap, zap.
    Bingo. Now all he needed was a bargaining chip. What in the world could he offer an electric, humming bug zapper from another planet?
    Jax stroked his chin and paced the room. Then, he stopped and looked straight at the wave. “I assume you know what I want – freedom. I need out of this cell. But what is it that you want?” He cocked his head and took a step closer. The ripple floated back, maintaining a fixed distance. He frowned, taking a few more steps closer. The wave backed up more. Swiftly, Jax lunged, trying to clear the gap between them in one huge leap. And with that, the entity buzzed and sank through the wall.
    “Zap, wait!” Jax called, reaching out his arm, but it had already vanished. He paced the room again for what felt like a good hour, waiting for Zap’s return. But when there was no sign of the alien creature, he finally sighed and settled himself down on the floor.
    Bored, he grabbed the notebook and began to doodle. After a few minutes, he stopped to survey his scribbles. Without consciously meaning to, he’d drawn a couple of cartoon characters – a little boy with spiky hair and a tiger that stood on two feet. Both were grinning wickedly. He took in the sketch with surprise, realizing he must have drawn them before, although he couldn’t remember their names.
    Sighing, he sprawled onto his belly. He thought for a moment and then turned to a fresh page. While his mind lingered on the only girl he could remember, his pencil scratched the paper, not doing her features justice. In his head he could see the piercing blue eyes, sometimes bright, sometimes so dark they were almost indigo. The colorless graphite did little to convey the vibrancy that shone in those irises. Still, he put all of his effort into the only task at hand, shading her jaw and neck carefully where the light might cast shadows.
    Where was she? What was she doing right now? Part of him wished she were here, but he scolded the thought quickly when it came. He could never wish imprisonment on her, even it would spare him some of the loneliness. He hoped that wherever she was, she was happy.
    Jax sketched for a long time. He felt himself drifting as the pencil drooped in his hand. Taking one last glance at the drawing that was perfect except for its lifelessness, he pushed it aside and lay his head on the hard floor. His lids flickered a few times and then he let them close, welcoming the escape of sleep.
    When he awoke, he had no sense of how much time had passed. Maybe thirty minutes…or maybe several hours. Opening his eyes, he wasn’t surprised to find himself in the same white room – he hadn’t dreamt and hadn’t forgotten where he was. What he was surprised to see was another person in the room with him. She lay on the floor nearby, her face peacefully calm, her pale lashes closed against alabaster cheeks. Her chest rose and fell softly as she slept, unaware of her surroundings.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Becca: He’s getting somewhere now isn’t he! And I like how you ended this with a hint that it might NOT be Kel. Carry on!

  19. Chris Fries says:

    OK, this one’s a catch-up of one of the prompts I missed.  I took a break from my current “The Look of Murder” series to do something a little different — a fun, off-the-cuff piece I call “Celebrity”.  I even managed to insert the words completely in order — something I’ve never tried before.

    Hope you enjoy it!


    Benny edged closer, bobbing on his toes as he tried to peer over the crowd in front of him.  He couldn’t believe his luck; it was only through a twist of serendipity that he was even here at all.  If he hadn’t decided on the spur of the moment to come to the mall to get new undershirts, he’d have missed her.  Who knew that Valerie Winston would be here, in this mall, in his home town, filming a scene for her new movie?

    Benny would never have forgiven himself if he’d found out that she’d been here, and he could have seen her in person, and he’d never come to see her. 

    If only he could get close enough to see.  Benny elbowed his way to the right to get out from behind an old lady with a towering indigo hat that teetered on her white bouffant and blocked his view.

    Valerie would surely be making an appearance soon, and he had to be able to see her.  She was his idol.  Benny could sense the growing excitement in the crowd around him, their whispered voices erupting to a staccato din that filled his ears with a roar like a motorboat racing across a lake.  Valerie might show up at any moment.

    Benny couldn’t stand it.  He pressed forward, shoving a couple of junior-high-aged kids out of the way, and taking the front spot at the guard fence set up around the mall’s courtyard.  The mom of one of the kids began to scold Benny for being so rude, but Benny didn’t pay much attention.  He mumbled an apology without bothering to look at the woman, but he didn’t move to give up his prime spot, right next to the fountain and with a clear view of the mall’s courtyard.

    He could barely contain his excitement.  Imagine it — Valerie Winston here; right in front of him.  A huge celebrity.  Making a film, while he was here to watch, where he could see every little move she made. 

    Who knows?  She might even look in his direction, maybe even make eye contact.  Benny’s heart fluttered and he gasped at the thought, squeezing the plastic bag of undershirts and pulling it close to his chest.  Just one look at him, maybe that’s all it would take.  Then she might recognize that Benny wasn’t just some nobody, some insignificant, unimportant non-entity; he was one of her biggest fans.  She might even come over to talk to him after the filming was over.  They could get to know each other, and people and the press would see, and then Benny would be famous, too.  A celebrity himself.

    Benny closed his eyes at the image of how delicious that would be.

    Then there was the sound of a bullhorn, and the crowd noise faded as they all stopped murmuring to listen.  Benny opened his eyes to look.  It was the director, describing what the short scene would be, and calling for complete silence during the filming.  The crowd quieted, but cameras were held at the ready.  Benny noticed a few local news stations continuing to record the event. 

    Valerie would soon make an appearance.  Benny’s pulse pounded in his ears as he leaned forward in anticipation of seeing her. 

    Then the action bell sounded and there was a brief pause, and then Valerie appeared at the entrance of the shoe store off of the courtyard.  Benny held his breath at the sight of her.  She was gorgeous and mesmerizing.  She walked out, speaking to another man who followed along with her, and crossing into the courtyard towards where Benny stood next to the fountain.

    Benny leaned forward, his focus fixated on Valerie as she moved closer.  Then he felt a sudden sharp pull on his pants and a brutal shove in his back.  He tumbled over the railing of the fence, his arms flailing, the package of undershirts flung wide, as he fell face-first into the fountain, a spray of water erupting as he flopped into the cold, chlorinated pool.

    Benny floundered and sputtered, twisting and splashing as he fought to raise his head.  He turned and looked to see his legs were hung up on the fencing, his pants and underwear pulled into a bunch along his ankles, and his alabaster buttocks squirming in the air as he struggled to push himself out of the fountain.

    He could hear the gasps of the crowd around him turn to laughter.  The junior-high kids at the railing who’d pushed him were laughing the loudest of all. 

    Benny couldn’t see Valerie, but he didn’t want to.

    * * *

    Now, two days later, Benny was still hiding in his apartment.  He wouldn’t leave, he wouldn’t answer the door, and he had to disconnect the phone because it wouldn’t stop ringing.  He kept the drapes drawn and stayed out of view.  He didn’t watch TV because he didn’t want to see himself on the celebrity news-shows.  His emotions would fluctuate wildly between anger, humiliation, and shame.  He could barely even eat.

    The one chance he’d likely ever have to see his idol and it had been horrible.  Yes she’d remember him all right, but for all the wrong reasons — she’d forever know him as the stupid, pathetic cartoon whose video had just exploded to number one on You Tube.

    Benny was now a celebrity.

    And he hated it.

    * * *

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