Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #136

Our own, Kelly Erickson, of Maximum Customer Experience and VisionPoints, The Experience Designers, is picking our words today. Show her what you’re made of.

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. Lilac – pale reddish purple; a shrub
  2. Import 
  3. December
  4. Golf Tees
  5. Parchment – the skin of sheep, goats, etc., prepared for use as a material on which to write.
  6. Incongruous – not harmonious in character; inconsonant
  7. Heartfelt
  8. New Client
  9. Bell
  10. Pumps

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.)

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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

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107 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #136”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Bobby, clean dis place up. I have an important new copywriting client comin’ over. And where them golf tees at? We’s gonna’ play golf and talk bidness.”

    “But, Billy, you don’t even know’d how to read or write none.”

    “It’s copywritin’, Bobby. I’s just gonna copy what other people done wrote. I…oh, the doorbell is ringin’. See if dat’s him, Bobby.”

    “Billy, dis don’t looked like your client. He’s incongruous since she’s wearin’ lilac spandex, 5-inch pumps and a fur coat like it’s December but it’s June, and givin’ a heartfelt suckin’ to a lollipop.”

    “Oh, dat’s my two o’clock. She’s early. Bobby, run a fetch me those Parchment-skinned rubbers under Yvonne’s sex toy.”

  2. Lydia says:

    Hugh adjusted his lilac tie with one hand as the other held his cellphone. His new client continued to ask questions about how Bell inc. intended to market the big parchment import due to arrive in December.

    “We will do everything we can to stimulate the market,” he said with what he hoped sounded like a heartfelt inflection in his voice instead of the vaguely incongruous promises that occasionally dribbled out of his mouth after living, eating and sleeping the office for the last six days. He quietly opened his desk drawer and counted the golf tees collected in a small plastic cup. One. Two. Three. Four.
     
    “My assistant will email our strategy to you on Monday,” he continued. A murmur on the other line.
     
    “Certainly,” he replied. “I hope you have a wonderful weekend.” His cellphone silenced he stood up, slid the tees into his pocket and walked out of his office.
     
    At the far end of the lobby the night janitor has begun to mop the floors. Hugh hadn’t been expecting to see anyone else in the building. His heart pumps faster for just a moment, jolted by the presence of another human being.
     
    He nodded at the janitor and then walked up to and through the front doors. Freedom.
     
    Or at least until Monday morning.

  3. Kelly says:

    INDIGNITIES AND IMPRUDENCE

    The imported lilac-colored polo shirt his wife gave him for Christmas last December made him stand out on the course, but no one seemed to mind.

    Out loud, anyway; folks hardly ever voice their sartorial complaints to a guy who’s six-foot-seven and outweighs ‘em by fifty pounds. Gerry could never quite tell the difference between acceptance and deference, in that respect.

    He reached into his bag and pulled out a fresh pack of golf tees, branded with the logo of his new client; a disturbing image that looked something like half a brassiere stared back at him as he placed one in the ground. If the shirt weren’t incongruous enough with his impressive size and dark, scowling looks, now he’d be a country-club-spokesman for Belle’s Beautiful Breast Pumps.

    Such are the indignities of being a p.r. flack.

    His hands dry as parchment, Gerry leaned over the waiting ball, took a heartfelt swing, and hung his head as both ball and club somersaulted into the woods to the left of the fairway.

    Belle leaned in, providing a view of her own inspirational breasts, and breathed a sympathetic “Oh, no!” in his ear. Nibbling said ear, very gently, with her red-satin lips.

    Such are the indignities…

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: HAHA! What a great snippit of a scene. I saw it so clearly in my mind. Thank you for the smiles today.

    • Lydia says:

      Very nice!

    • sefcug says:

      @Kelly
      What imagery!

    • Breasts rule! Hee-hee. Great scene, Kelly. I love the phrase
      could never quite tell the difference between acceptance and deference,
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch

    • Chris Fries says:

      Bwa-ha-ha!!!  Too wonderful, Kelly!!!
       
      Our unnamed protag might be a bust at golf, but I bet his new client will keep him abreast of any other indoor sports she might want him to try.  Sorry, but I couldn’t help trying to milk all the humor out of the situation.  Thanks for the great mammaries!
       

    • Kelly says:

      Shane, Lydia, Steve, Mitch, Chris,
       
      Thanks! If only I’d known such indignities would get such a fine round of responses… wonder if I could go back and work breasts in to a few old CCCs of mine… maybe politics and breasts?
       
      (Hm. Nah, no one would believe that…)
       
      Anyway, thanks for appreciating a piece that’s a little different for me.

  4. sefcug says:

    Here we go in no particular order today:

    *****

    A Golf Tale

    There she stood on the ladies golf tees, with parchment skin showing above the very low neck of the lilac blouse.

    Even though it was late December, and definitely very cold, she was also wearing a very short plaid skirt, bright red pair of pumps, and a little bell on a chain that tinkled when she moved. (Like she needed something like a bell to get attention!)

    My new client turned to me and expressed his heartfelt thanks for inviting him this particular day. With that, I was sure that this round of golf was going to be of great import to my struggling business.

    We continued to follow her and the rest of the foursome, without any complaining from either of us regarding slow play. We were just enjoying watching her play. She was hitting the ball a long way off the tee, but was struggling after that, never doing better than double bogie, but we didn’t mind.

    About five holes later she bent over, to pick up a pink golf ball that had fallen into the cart. We suddenly saw a large set of male genatalia showing below the hem of her skirt.

    My client, though a bit of a letch when it came to women, was very put off by this incongruous sight. In fact he was so freaked out he left his clubs behind, ran off the course, and has not been seen or heard from by me since.

    Note: I found out later, at the eighteenth hole, that the he/she golfer had lost a bet with his girlfriend, and playing dressed and made up like that was the consequence.

    Moral:

    If something seems to good to be true, it usually isn’t, so verify your perceptions before committing to a course of action.

  5. Peter moved his finger to the next entry on the parchment. An invisible bell rang and a sexy female angel in pure gold pumps sang out sweetly, “Number 89…”

    A rail-thin man with lilac-colored splotches on his face and arms separated himself from the general hubbub of the New Client group, shuffling past the tiny Inductee Group and the depressingly large Imminently Damned group. He stood at the ivory desk before the Pearly Gates, taking in the gnarly old man seated behind it. He tried, but failed, to keep from ogling the large-breasted angel. His first thought was incongruous: “They don’t wear togas in heaven.”

    Peter smiled benignly, as if reading the man’s mind. “It takes some getting used to. Even though it’s December, it’s almost hot as hell up here. I’ve gone through two pairs of golf tees and Speedos. Gabriel should be along momentarily with a thundercloud or two. Now, then,” Peter glanced down at the parchment. “John Smith, what brings you here?”

    The skinny man suddenly burst into tears.  “It was so stupid! I needed money for Christmas presents. I was laid off in July and my wife and I had spent every dime we had saved up. By September, we were broke, but I was too proud to go on assistance. So I robbed the local bank. I would’ve gotten away clean except Julie, the teller, put one of them exploding things in with my money.”

    Peter laughed. “You do know bank robbery is the stupidest crime to commit, right? With your skills, why didn’t you just hack into some investment accounts or something? And how much did you get?”

    John was taken aback. He had expected to be judged, but not on his intelligence. He shrugged and said, “I have no idea. Two minutes after I ran from the bank, I was hiding in an alley, getting ready to switch clothes. I peeked into the bag just as the money exploded. I was so scared, I ran out of the alley, right into the street and got run over by that bus.”

    Peter was in tears, himself. He laughed so hard, the angel turned toward him and started giggling. She approached John. Smiling sadly at his failed attempt to sway fate with his heartfelt sob story, she said, “John Smith, you dumb-ass, there is a special place in Hell for you.” She snapped her fingers.

    ***

    John Smith stared down the barrel of the shotgun. This was the eighth time today that the Export-Import Bank of India was hit. He wanted to give a laconic finger to the robber. However, hope springs eternal in the heart of the damned: he cooperated cheerfully.

  6. Julia Martin says:

     
    Is it possible that everyone is entitled to a second chance? That’s what Myra was hoping, as she bagged up the golf tees that mild December morning. That’s all anyone can ever hope for, thought Myra.
     
    Just then, with a rustle of the lilac bushes, the new client arrived.
     
    “Are you Myra?” The woman in front of the counter handed Myra a rolled up parchment. Myra opened it carefully and read:
     
    Whatever your heart’s desire,
    To your own self be true,
    Whatever lights your inner fire
    Whether red, white or blue…
     
    Myra nervously glanced up at the woman. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. How many tees are you buying?”
     
    “Tees? I don’t want any tees my dear, unless you mean camomile teas.”
     
    Myra paused. She glanced down at the parchment then back at the woman. Incongruous, Myra thought. Wouldn’t a parchment be brought by a knight or a scribe or something? This woman was dressed to the nines: with a smart navy suit and matching pumps.
     
    “Myra, I am here on a matter of import,” the new client said. “I don’t want any golf tees, whatever those are. I am your Fairy Godmother, and I am standing here before you to grant you the second chance you so fervently hoped for just seconds ago.”
     
    Myra shuffled uncomfortably. “My…my, fairy…”
     
    “Yes, Myra, your Fairy Godmother. And please, although my feelings are heartfelt, I simply can’t delay–there are many more on my list. At the sound of the bell, I must have your first wish!”
     
    Myra shuffled again, then somewhere in the distance a bell rang, and Myra made her first wish.
     
     
     

  7. Whee! Whimsical rules! Nice story, Julia!
     
    Cheers,
     
    Mitch
     

  8. Chris Fries says:

    Hey all,

    Sorry for being out of touch last week for the most part.  I missed challenge #135, but rather than make up that one with a chapter of my on-going “1949 Detroit Noir” series, I’m going to pick up with it here, and then go back and fill in #135 with something else.

    So here’s the latest installment in “The Look of Murder”, but with one small comment:  This is set in Detroit in 1949, so I mention a historical event in the following chapter (1943 Detroit Riots), and a period term for African-Americans that is certainly not meant to be offensive in any way.

    “The Look of Murder — Part 9”

    It had been two long frustrating days.  I should have been pounding the pavement looking for a new client so I could pay the bills, not beating my head against the wall over something out of my hands like the Charles Thurston killing.  It really didn’t concern me, and I’d never see a dime beyond what Margaret Thurston had already paid me to find her husband.  But I couldn’t let it go.  Maybe it had been the sweet and sultry lilac scent of Margaret’s perfume; maybe it had been the way her hips enticingly shifted when she’d strolled in her black satin pumps; maybe it was the way her eyes bored through me when she looked in my direction, like she could read my innermost thoughts. 

    I’m normally a pretty reasonable guy — I don’t usually turn into a blithering sap over every swanky dame, but something about Margaret knocked me for a loop; all I had to do was think of her and it felt like my heart was getting gored by hundreds of golf tees.  It was completely incongruous with the image I tried to maintain — the jaded hard-nose tough-guy PI turns into a pile of mush at the thought of some high-rent broad who’s way out of his league.

    And a lot of good all my stewing did me.  It got me nowhere fast with anyone that had anything to do with the case.  Margaret was still held by the Detroit cops, hidden away like some kid’s Christmas present at the beginning of December.  They must have found some additional evidence, or maybe something incriminating enough had turned up on the film, but they weren’t sharing it with the press, and they sure as heck weren’t telling me. 

    Samuel Dotson, the family’s lawyer who I did some work for time-to-time, wasn’t taking my calls and wasn’t returning my messages.  Maybe he was busy working on Margaret’s behalf, but I felt like I was getting the brush off.  I’d even tried calling Lawrence Thurston, Charles’s brother, but never made it past the guy running interference; probably the same fop who’d silently hovered in the background at the Thurston’s house the night they took Margaret away, but he was earning his pay now and doing a dandy job of keeping me hanging on seemingly heartfelt but ultimately empty promises of never-be-returned calls from Lawrence.

    Being left in the dark was driving me batty, and I’d reached my limit.  I was ready to head down to the station to try and get the scoop from the main cops themselves.  Maybe Lt. Walls would talk to me.  Maybe I could offer to help with the case. 

    Sure.  Maybe Walls would also give me a license to import all the Canadian Club I wanted from Windsor, free of duty.  Maybe he’d even give me a framed certificate on ancient Egyptian parchment naming me honorary Chief of Police, too. 

    Yeah, fat chance.  Walls had no reason to give me anything, so that’s just what I could expect from him. 

    So I decided to call Johnny Mangano. 

    Johnny was a former Detroit cop who’d been forced into retirement following the riots back in ’43.  He’d been right there along Woodward, trying to stop the white mobs beating the Negros, while the rest of the cops stood by and watched it happen, or worse, joined in with their own batons.  Johnny’s protests hadn’t done any good, and he was quickly pulled off the line and reassigned.  But he refused to let it go, even after the US Army troops had finally been brought in to put an end to the chaos.  Johnny made no bones about his disgust towards the behavior of the cops during the riots and how supervision had swept things under the rug afterward, and he hadn’t been afraid to make a stink about it.  But all it got him was his walking papers; they soon shoved him out the door just to shut him up. 

    Six years later, he still wasn’t popular among many of the cops who thought that he’d broken the blue line and spoken out against his brother officers.  But there were also a few decent cops who respected Johnny because they knew he’d tried to stand up for what was right.  So now, after being turned away from police work, Johnny worked for some of his distant cousins in the Italian Partnership, helping with what he called “security.”  I preferred to not know the details, although I think he avoided anything that was clearly a crime — he hadn’t completely turned his back on his values. 

    I’d gotten to know Johnny about four years ago; we’d met because of a mutual acquaintance we were both tailing.  The schmuck was cheating on his wife — that was why I was following him — but it turned out he was also sifting from some of the Partnership’s business, which was why Johnny was involved.  The guy’s jilted wife ended up being the least of his worries.  Johnny was a big, burly man of around forty, with an icy glare that could make a church bell stop ringing, and he was hard as a jackhammer, but he was also one of the fairest men I knew, and he was a priceless source of information from both sides of the law.

    If Johnny didn’t know what was happening with Margaret Thurston, then I figured he’d at least be able to find out.

    I made the call.

    * * *
     

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: Love this tale…and the words you used to stay true to the period. Write more of this indeed.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks Shane!
         
        And like death and taxes, there will be more of this:  I’ve got a definite story arc in mind, and will try to eventually bring this to a satisfying, “A-ha! — THAT’S whodunnit!!!” closure.

    • Chris, this is another enjoyable chapter! As an author, you should never have to disclaim your words. Being true to the period, as Shane said, makes your tale authentic.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Mitch — I always really appreciate your positive feedback and support.
         
        And you’re right — I shouldn’t feel the need to disclaim any of the words I use.  But I also realize how words can be hurled with hate and malice only to inflict pain and hurt, and I would never want to do that, even accidentally.
         
         

    • Kelly says:

      Oh, my. Chris, you do noir like nobody does noir today. Nicely, nicely done. I love it when people can craft CCCs like nobody handed them any words at all–smooth.

  9. meek willed says:

    The next day I woke up before sue and not wanting to wake her I just lay there gazing at her with an innocent heartfelt look you would believe I wouldn’t hurt a fly.
    I found myself wondering if this was incongruous behavior as this was the first time I had been so open with my fillings as if working with a new client I did not know how to act.
    should I play it cool like the month of December or keep going with brave exsiteing new side to myself.
    Sue started to wake and like a bell ringing me back to reality I shunned the silly thoughts of mine an pretended to be a sleep and she must of believed it as she started to shack me to try and wake me up  but i gust resisted the urge to smile through the facade.
    Sue then kissed me on the cheek and told me to “stop faking” god she new me too well but that what you get after knowing some one for ten years.
    I sat up grinning like an idiot  asking “so how did you know” only to receive  a simple “you blushed” and then Sue’s dad called up to offering breakfast so we hastily got out of bed and walk down to fine her dad cooking or should I say burning some bacon.
    Whilst we were waiting Sue asks me what i thoughts my Gran had got me witch was hard to answer because she got me the weirdest things like imported bike pumps , golf tees ow and some lilac parchment she had made her self.
    I answered “probably a set of nine irons” before we started eating are bacon sarnie.

  10. Rebecca says:

    It was a cold, long December and Bryan couldn’t take it anymore. He booked a flight to Phoenix, Arizona to leave the cold and memory of his wife behind. Her lilac perfume still lingered in the air, even though she passed away one year ago. He found himself lost in thought. Alana knew how much he loved golf and bought him personalized golf balls and tees from an online import store. She had them rushed delivered for his birthday and was thrilled to receive free shipping because she was a new client. Alana also bought herself a new pair of pumps. Bryan couldn’t remember the name of the store. He smiled. Alana loved her shoes! Bryan held the rose colored parchment in his hand and ran his fingers over it. It was the last time Alana used her ‘special’ paper. She always wrote heartfelt messages that cut through your soul. The bell on the timer went off and Bryan was brought back to reality. Alana’s behavior on the day she passed was incongruous. He still couldn’t put his finger on it, but something didn’t feel right about it.

    • Lydia says:

      Ooh! I hope Bryan figures out why Alana wasn’t acting like herself before she died.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow, nice!  This pulled me in and left me wanting more.
       
      Opened some really great story questions:
       
      What was going on with Alana?  How did she die?  What was written on the note?  What is going on in Bryan’s mind, and why has he waited a year to let it stew?
       
      I’m eager to read more!
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: You planted quite a seed at the end. Well done. I want to know more.

    • Rebecca, you got game! This is an intriguing opening. I join everyone else in clamoring for more on this!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Kelly says:

      Rebecca—From her lilac perfume onward, I was hooked. Lilac perfume just sounds perfectly like something that would set him into a nostalgic tailspin.

  11. Rebecca says:

    These are great stories!

  12. Tanja Cilia says:

    His Import / Export golf tees and pumps business has been on a roll since December last.   He never suspected that the person with the incongruous backward lilac baseball cap masquerading as a new client was in fact the eccentric multi-billionaire who was seeking a new protégé.  The man, wizened skin like dry parchment, had actually rung a bell for attention at the shop’s doorway, and professed heartfelt thanks at the prompt attention he got from the salesgirl on duty (he reminded her of her gramps), before he got down to business.  The rest, as they say is history.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Intriguing opening, Tanja!  Great characterizations!
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Tanja: I’d love to find myself in such a situation. REminds me of a country song where a rich man wills his forture to a complete stranger. (God is great, beer is good, people are crazy song).

      • Tanja Cilia says:

        I can’t take credit for this one… it wrote itself while I was on the phone.  But thank you! It must be because I’m Maltese that I thought of t-shirts rather than those things on which you put the golf ball.

        • Great vignette, Tanja. I was thinking of “Busted Tees” when I saw the word and I figured I would take the path less traveled. Imagine bumping into you along the way!
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           

    • Kelly says:

      Tania—I’m with Shane—that’s what everyone wishes for!! Nicely told!

  13. Anne Wayman says:

    52 comments already? I’m late to this party:
     

    The fragrance of lilac imported in December means golf tees under the tree. A parchment card a bit incongruous, but heartfelt nonetheless. The new client rings the bell and my heart pumps out gratitude for the gifts.

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Lydia … Stay tuned 🙂

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Chris … I’m glad the story pulled you in. Stay tuned…
    @ Shane … Thank you!

  16. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Thank you!

    I want everyone to know I appreciate your comments. It’s been one heck of a day!

  17. Unfortunately, it has become difficult for me to write on time. I’m on vacation right now. No, there are no golf tees in sight. Heartfelt Italy is where I am now an import. I love the pumps which are here and there in the older cities. Every once in a while, there will be a bell ringing, but that’s just for a church service. I’ve been planning to visit since December. Who would have ever thought I would have been here twice since then? Italy is incongruous with me. I’m not often like the people there. I feel like a businessman with a new client, trying to learn all I can about them. A lilac or two I saw in Venice just yesterday. And soon I hope to see an old parchment or two in Rome.

    • Kelly says:

      Matt—Saying there are no golf tees in sight just sounds so sad… even though I’m not a golfer, it makes it sound like a vacation without relaxation.
       
      Put enough parchments around me, though, and I’d be happy. I like geek holidays.   🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Matt: I love how you worked these words into the submission. Effortless as if you were just talking to a buddy about your day. Well done.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great job, Matt — I liked this Italian travelogue!
       

  18. Rebecca says:

    @ Kelly … I’m glad you were hooked! Thanks for the feedback.

  19. margaret says:

    While waiting for a new client to arrive for a bridal consultation, I spent time thumbing through an old December issue of Cosmo. Sandwiched between quite incongruous articles about the war between the sexes were glimpses into the trendiest fashion imports for Spring. The lilac pumps with
    the kitten heels made a bell go off in my head. I remember those silly looking shoes from ages ago when we would wear them to our high school dances! They looked oversized and teetered on
    heels that were inbalanced and looked like golf tees!

    I daresay, in the most heartfelt way, that this same fashion could have been found on parchment pages of Paris fashion rags when Marie Antoinette was hitting the sock hops. Fashion is eternally recycled.

  20. Troy Worman says:

    The cross was constructed of egg parchment imported from Israel.

    He strapped Mary to it with panty hose.  Then he tied a small brass bell around her neck, so he would know as soon as she stirred. The new client had been very specific about the mutilation and it didn’t include any unnecessary bruising or other defacement. 

    With somewhat less than heartfelt sorrow he stepped into his oxblood pumps.  Then he picked up the lilac tub of golf tees soaking in paint thinner and the rubber mallet.  It was all very incongruous with the December holiday, but he needed the money.

    And he wasn’t very religious anyway.

  21. Kelly says:

    Danny, Shane… I think it’s only 137. I can see everything else (Home, my Compilation page, earlier CCCs…), all load fine, and if you see this, they post fine, too… only 137 is wacky. Very wacky.

    EDIT: Yep, posts fine. ‘Cept 137.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Ah, so I’m not the only one!
       
      I posted to 137, but never was able to see it, and I can not see it or ANY of the comments on that post.  All the others seem fine, but 137 seems to be cut off…
       
      Not sure why.
       
      137 is definitely screwed up.
       

  22. Jesse says:

    The door bell rang.  She opened to find a fellow handing her an invite for a country club social printed on a crisp parchment that lent the function an air of import.  She wondered why anyone would think to schedule a soiree at the golf course in this weather.  It was feeling more like December than April.  The lilacs were still frozen.
     
    “What the hell,” she said to the snoozing cat, “maybe I’ll get a New Client out of such an affair.”
     
    She showed up wearing a business suit and black pumps.  The attendees, dressed in Dockers and Izod Polos, were sipping incongruous fruity drinks containing chunks of fruit skewered on golf tees.
     
    By the time she’d completely aerated the tee box with her heels, she’d decided to hightail it out of there.  She delivered a heartfelt thank you to the host, and raced home to kick off her shoes and pour a stiff bourbon, sans fruit.

  23. Anne Maybus says:

    The bell rang sharply and I was startled out of my reverie.  Who could it be at this hour?

    She stood on the doorstep in her lilac evening gown and sequinned pumps but her elegance was marred by her smile.  Teeth like sharpened golf tees glittered as she turned on the charm.

    “Need a new client, honey?”

    Stupid question, really. 

    I let her in.

    The moment I saw her in the light I regretted my decision.  We shook hands in a very limp and upper class way, but her skin felt like brittle parchment and her hair was the colour of cold December.   The cold of night seemed to have entered the room with her.  I was worried that somehow I’d break her, despite the menace of her teeth.

    With a heartfelt sigh she sank onto the only chair available in my office. Old and battered, it seemed incongruous with her moneyed looks.  I was suddenly conscious of my shabby surroundings and my even shabbier appearance.

    “What can I do for you?”  I asked, brushing my fingers through my hair in an attempt to restore order.

    “I’ve got a little import problem, darling.”

    And that’s when my problems all began.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Fabulous opening, Anne!  I love this — it sounds like the beginning of another noir PI mystery, something I’m definitely partial to. ;^)
       
      Wonderful.
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne M: Another fantastic submission. You are on a roll. I love how I can tell how much you love to write when I read your submissions.

  24. Troy Worman says:

    Love it! Well done!

  25. Cathy Miller says:

    Catching up…
    ================
    The lilac-colored morning was an import from another place. December had been brutal with frozen trees dotting the lawn like steely golf tees.

    The computer monitor stared back like an empty parchment, incongruous with the battle inside. Heartfelt words battled to be first as they rejoiced to show off for the new client. Fingers flew across the keyboard as if responding to an inner bell as the words raced towards the finish line, their letters acting as pumps of creativity.

    She was back in the game.

  26. Anne Maybus says:

    Cathy, that is fabulous!

  27. Hello folks!  It has been a long while but I am back like the prodigal son and I hope I am still welcome!  I have missed writing here but life has been hectic.  For today, Avenged in Blood is on hold.  The last I tried to write it was just stupid.  So I am onto a new story for a while.  Avenged will be back later.  I don’t have a title for the new one yet, so bear with me!
     

    The late December wind blew through the emaciated lilac bushes and rattled the windchime bells on the dilapidated front porch. The effect was errie, right out of a horror movie. Which is what this was about to become.
    The porch stairs creaked just like they did in the old movies, straining, groaning, even pleading under my deliberate steps. I paused at the top of the stairs and half turned to look out at the brown, dormant bushes and the grasses that would not see green for months yet. The covered porch had that winter unused feel. An old glider swing sat to the left of two wooden chairs that flanked a low table with a checkerboard painted on the top.
    I could imagine the players with their chessmen or checkers, sitting here, smiling, letting the heat of the day pass, and the condensation on their glasses of lemonade roll down and form the rings that were permanently engraved on the table.
    It all made me sick. There was too much….happiness here. I stepped across the worn boards to the front door and knocked with the back of my axe.
    ……………
    The strange man on the porch was incongruous to William’s young eyes. The farmhouse where he lived with his father and 3 brothers hardly ever had a visitor, much less a large man in a dark coat. William wanted to run up to the man and ask him questions, but something about the man made him afraid. Something was ominous and threatening. Then he saw the man knock on the door with the very axe that they kept by the porch for splitting wood.
    As much as he wanted to run and scream he couldn’t move as the screen door creaked open and his older brother Robert stepped out. The stranger moved like lightning and a spray of crimson answered the blade of the axe as it bit deeply into Roberts neck. William’s breath caught as he realized what had just happened. The stranger took a step inside, leaving the axe in Roberts neck, and pumping a shotgun.
    ……………………..
    This all seemed rather cliché to me. I knew that, but I didn’t care. This house was mine. The people living in it needed to die. The cleansing of my house was the only thought of any import in my head. I felt for the old parchment that I had found in the basement so many years ago. It was still there, stiff with age and bearing the spells that would transform the blood of these living wretches into a great focal point of power.
    Their heartfelt pleas for mercy would be some sort of balm to my tortured soul. The door was answered by an average young man of about 17. He opened the door, opened the screen and took a step outside. That was when I struck. My axe moved on its own, carving through the air and biting deep into the soft flesh of his neck before sticking fast in bone. The momentum drove the boy to the floor and wrenched the axe from my hand.
    I turned from him and drew the shotgun from under my coat, pumping it as I stepped inside. More blood was needed for the ritual to work. Inside the house all was still. I took three steps to the right and looked down at the detritus on the small coffee table. For some reason a tidy pile of golf tees caught my attention and the unopened letter underneath that had bold red letters across its face declaring, “Welcome New Client”. It was from my company, well the one I used to work for.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: I didn’t think you would top your other series, but damn, I have to say I think this is your best yet.

  28. Nicodemus walked up to the restaurant, the familiar pattern of the exterior shrubs making him smile to himself with contentment. He liked this place. Of course it was the only place he would actually eat, other than the restaurant at the country club. Twin Rivers had a good selection of imported beer, but there were too many occurrences of golf tees in the décor. And he didn’t golf.
     
    He entered Sterling, an upscale steak place lit by flickering votives and decorated with lilac roses that stood proudly in tall glass vases. The ambiance was much more his taste. Classy. Chic. Expensive. It was the perfect place for a date or an interview. And this instance was a little of both.
     
    Mercedes wasn’t used to preliminary consultations with new clients. Nic hadn’t met her yet, but Frankie P. had been dumbfounded when Nic had insisted on the meeting, especially when Nic assured the pimp that he’d take care of the bill. He didn’t mind throwing cash around when it got him what he wanted. And he was very picky when it came to women. He’d found that being precise about his demands was the only way to be truly satisfied.
     
    When the door shut behind him, it took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the dim atmosphere. He hesitated in the foyer, straightening his suit. When he looked up, he narrowed his eyes at an unexpected atrocity. The picture frame near the door was crooked. He looked away, trying to ignore the flaw.  He’d been coming here since last December and nothing like this had ever been out of place. But the image of the cockeyed frame tormented his mind, pulling his gaze back to it. It might have been a bad omen…if he believed in signs, which he didn’t.
     
    He glanced around quickly. A couple stood at the reception desk, waiting as the hostess grabbed the menus. No one else was nearby. Quick as a wink, Nic reached out and tweaked the frame, jerking back once the job was done. He breathed a sigh of relief, wiping his hand on his pants.
     
    That’s better.
     
    As the hostess headed off through the restaurant, leading the couple to their table, Nic stepped up to the hostess stand in their place. When the tall, wiry blonde returned, he met her with a frown. Where was Carly, the petite voluptuous brunette he was used to seeing? She always worked Thursdays. Instead of being greeted by her heartfelt smile and soft voice, clear as a bell, he was staring at the flat chest of some new bimbo. Standing nearly a head taller than him, open-mouthed, she chomped on a big wad of gum, intermittently popping bubbles. All her concentration was on the board in front of her. She hadn’t looked up once to greet him with even so much as a nod or a fleeting glance. What was he – invisible? Irritation pricked at him.
     
    He stood there, considering whether he should grab the stand in his fists, lean over and bark in her face or whether he should disregard formalities and just slap her upside the empty blonde head. The debate was interrupted when Mercedes entered the restaurant.
     
    Nic recognized the angular face topped with a mane of red-violet hair from the headshot Frankie had sent earlier. In a matter of seconds, he’d taken in every detail of her appearance: her unnatural violet eyes (contacts, most likely), her curvy figure cinched tight in the blue sequined dress, her long legs that ended in gold peep-toe pumps, out from which peeked toes painted in purple nail polish. That had to go, of course. Purple was absolutely unacceptable. But apparently Frankie had missed the memo. Nic would have to set things straight tonight. But that was the purpose of the interview, now wasn’t it?
     
    She walked right up to him and gave him a coy smile. “Nicodemus?” she asked. When he nodded, she flung a heap of her straight-from-the-bottle-red hair over her bare shoulder. Nic caught a glimpse of a bare earlobe and stifled a shudder. The unnatural hair wasn’t a problem, but the lack of earrings was scandalous. He had his work cut out with this one.
     
    When Mercedes stepped up beside him, the hostess immediately dropped whatever she was doing and looked up. “How can I help you?” The blonde bimbo spoke over Nic’s head, asking his date. Anger flared in him and he lunged forward, leaning over the stand.
     
    I have a reservation,” he said with a growl. “It’s under Nic Z.”
     
    “Oh, I’m sorry. Let me check.” The blonde quickly looked away, busying herself with finding the name.
     
    “Here we are. Follow me,” she said, grabbing two menus that were made to look like yellowed parchment. She walked over to a table near the front with a window facing the street and stood, waiting for them to be seated.
     
    “No, no. This isn’t right.” Nic said, frowning at the hostess. “I made reservations. Booth sixteen.” He always sat in booth sixteen.
     
    For a moment she was caught off guard, but then she regained her composure. “Right. Very sorry sir. Booth sixteen it is.” She walked back to the hostess stand, glanced down, and then said, “Right this way.”
     
    Nic crossed his arms, refusing to budge. “That’s not the right direction.” He was losing patience. Obviously this blonde chick was a totally incompetent newbie. It was making him downright irritated.
     
    “Okay. Then why don’t you show me where you want to sit,” she said with a swing of her non-existent hips. Her snippy attitude made him want to sock that smug face of hers.
     
    Instead, he strode past her, wound his way through the restaurant, and stopped abruptly, fifteen feet shy of his destination. When he saw the couple who had entered right before him sitting in the cozy booth in the back corner, his first thought was that he was imagining things. They couldn’t be sitting there. It was his booth. For a moment, the sight was incongruous but then reality gave him a swift kick. And with it came a surge of rage.
     
    He spun to face the hostess. “How dare you seat someone else in my booth?” He could feel his face flaming.
     
    “They were here first and I—”
     
    “I had a reservation!” he said, raising his voice.
     
    “Reservations don’t hold a certain table, just a timeframe that we can fit you—”
     
    Everyone here knows that reservations for Nic Z. are always for table sixteen. It’s the only decent table in this God-forsaken place!” Mercedes was gaping at him. Heads were starting to turn their way, but Nic didn’t care. He’d make a scene if he wanted to. Someone had to pay.
     
    “I’m sorry sir. I wasn’t aware—”
     
    “Obviously you weren’t! I demand that you kick them out – right now!” He gestured at the couple in the corner table. His hands were shaking.
     
    “But I can’t—”
     
    You can’t?” He shot out a string of curses. He grabbed a bread plate from the empty table next to him and hurled it through the building. It landed two tables over and broke another plate, sending shards of glass across the wood and onto the carpet. A couple jumped at a table nearby and the woman screamed. Nic ignored them.
     
    “You incompetent, ignorant little piece of—”
     
    A tall man in a black suit rushed up to them, stepped in front of Blondie and looked Nic square in the face. “Sir, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
     
    Nic was about to protest when another man, larger, joined the first man and stood there, arms folded, staring him down. Daring him to make a move.
     
    Seething with rage, Nic spun on his heels and strode out the door, knocking a place setting off of a table in the process.
     
    I’ll get that skank. She’s not getting away with this.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Becca: This character is INSANE! I love it. Show us more of this one indeed.

      • @Shane — Ha.  Thanks. Glad you like it. I’m using the CCC to get ahead in my novel. I’ve really needed to better flesh out my antagonist for a while now. This challenge was a great opportunity.

        🙂


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