Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #140

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of 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, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. In
  2. Out
  3. Far
  4. Near
  5. Use
  6. Abuse
  7. Thrust
  8. Launch
  9. Smile
  10. Die

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


152 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #140”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    In! Out! In! Out! Four more! Three more!”

    “Holy Bleep, Billy! Look how those purdy woman is using them things! They’s thrustin’ and launchin’ their bodies off the ground and damn-near abusin’ my Little Bobby by not doin’ it on top of me. Dis is the best idea you’s ever had.”

    Smile, Bobby. Far as I can tells, we’s died and gone to Aerobics Class Heaven.

  2. margaret says:


    smile can launch a thousand ships, but..
    Abuse of your food will land on your hips.
    Use common sense, don’t just thrust through your lips!

    Though fast food is near, you should live in fear,
    of what it can do when that junk stays in you!
    Stay far away from the processed and quick,
    or I guarantee, you will start to get sick!

    What goes in, must come out.
    But fast food doesn’t process, just turns to grout!
    Our bodies were meant to have natural things.
    If we eat correctly, our body sings!

    But keep eating junk and your bile duct goes dry..
    you get on food overload and could die!
    Don’t mean to be preachy, it’s just, you see….
    That two weeks ago it happened to me!!!

    Note:  I am a good cook and love food and have always eaten healthy.  BUT
    the last couple of years I have gotten careless, as my schedule became more hectic and
    eating processed foods became easier.  Two weeks ago I went into the hospital with a severe
    attack of gallstones,…so much pain!!! I was told I had to have surgery, but went home and dealt
    with it holistically and am back to normal now but learned my lesson well! Am eating whole, organic
    foods and cannot believe the difference in my energy level, digestion and sleep patterns!

  3. Julia Martin says:

    Interestingly, I thought “little” words like today’s would make a writing challenge easier, but it’s not true. In a way, it’s not so easy for me to use words like these in a creative way. Maybe I miss the abuse of figuring out how to use unusual words, like hoodoo, maelstrom, incongruous, or synchronicity, from previous far-out challenges. And maybe I might die of embarrassment because you’ll force a smile and thrust me to the wolves when today’s words launch me into this near-miss of a story?

  4. Wrote a little short story for this one today, not sure on the title so left it untitled.


    Smile, your about to die the controllers voice echoed with a hint of amusement and satire.

    “What kind of good luck abuse is that?” Jimmy asked, already on the verge of letting out some bladder juice as his fear of the launch skyrocketed.
    “I’m just teasing Jimmy, don’t worry this time it will go smoothly. We won’t lose the rocket, I promise!” words which were not very reassuring echoed from the controller’s lips. Ironically, Jimmy didn’t even know the name of the controller as this was a “closed” experiment where names were anonymous.
    “We launch in 2 minutes” the controller stated abruptly interrupting Jimmy’s thoughts.
    The team had been trying to use this launch as a test to see if they could get this one manned rocket into space without the fuel typically expended in a shuttle launch. Our future lied in going far out into space to expand human colonization on our sister worlds.
    The last rocket that launched didn’t even come near its goal of entering orbit, in fact the rocket exploded at 25km in the sky like a firework taking the previous pilot with it.
    “Ignition in 10…9…8…7…6…”

    Jimmy’s insides felt like worms burrowing to escape the coming rains.

    A quick prayer to whatever gods may hold sway on mankind these days, Jimmy readied his finger to set the thrust.

    The ignition switch was punched and the rocket took off like a bat out of hell, accelerating with such force that Jimmy felt his Adams apple play pinball with his stomach.
    At ten kilometers the rocket was still going strong with no signs of wear or dangerous vibrations. Jimmy was thinking this could be the one, he could be the one to break orbit in the first non-commercial craft ever. The rocket continued its arc in the sky, an unscheduled launch where nobody had been notified. Yes, what they were doing was illegal but it was all in the name of research.
    A siren chimed at the 20 kilometer mark indicating it was time to drop the first booster and kick in the secondary burner. Jimmy was shocked at how hard it was to move his hand against the G-force pushing against it yet he managed to punch the button in time and hear the “thwock” of metal parting metal.
    Sixty five kilometers now and Jimmy felt like his stomach was jettisoned with the last burner. He was more than half way of reaching his goal and officially entering “space”. Wondering if control was still on the communications he decided to muster up a few words.
    “How’s it looking”

    Silence, frighteningly disturbing and Jimmy wondered if the communication array couldn’t tolerate the friction heat. He was afraid he would be isolated and alone from human contact when a voice chimed in about two minutes later.
    “Congratulations Jimmy, you have officially entered space”


  5. Anne Wayman says:

    Without warning, there we were, at In ‘n Out burgers, so far from home and so near to food we loved to use, but that abused our scaled bodies. Thrust into a scary situation we launched our space car, and with a smile refused to eat and die.

  6. Lydia says:

    The snow-sprinkled couple walked in the front door twelve minutes before closing.  Carls Collectibles hadn’t had a solitary customer for the last hour thanks to a heavy storm blanketing the town.
    Rowena smiled and said hello to the man and woman who had begun browsing the vintage postcards. When they didn’t respond she walked to the next aisle and resumed stocking hockey memorabilia. She was near enough to offer assistance if they needed it but far enough out of the way that they wouldn’t feel smothered as they browsed.
    Ten minutes. She could almost taste the soup bubbling away on the stove at home. Daniel had been home for a few hours now. Hopefully the kids hadn’t talked him into opening any presents early. She stood up and dusted some dirt from her jeans. The most useful thing about heavy snow this time of year was that it enabled her get a head start on the cleaning and stocking that needed to be done before she launched into her day off before the post-Christmas sales. Thirty seconds to closing time.
    “Can I help you find anything?” she asked brightly. The couple had meandered into the glass figurines section.
    “No, we’re just looking,” said the man, his back still turned to her.
    Ten minutes later. Basketball jerseys. Thirty minutes later. Signed photographs. One hour later. Antique dolls. They wanted no assistance, carried nothing in their hands. All merchandise had been replenished, all shelves straightened. Rowena couldn’t mop the floors or count the tills until after this couple finished shopping. At home the soup had long since been taken off the burner, cooled, placed in the fridge. Her boss sat at the far end of the room absorbed in paperwork.
    Ninety minutes. Her cellphone vibrated in her pocket and she signalled to her boss that she needed to visit the washroom.
    “Is everything ok?” Daniel said.
    “Yes, we just have some wanderers,” she said. “I’ll let you know when the store is locked up.”
    She returned to a man standing at the front door with an angry expression on his face.
    “Your door is locked!” he said, jaw thrusting forward in annoyance.
    “Yes,” she said. “We’re closed.”
    “What about them?” He pointed at the couple now browsing in ceramics.
    “I’m very sorry, sir,” she said, not sure how to respond. “We will open up again on the 26th.” He watched her walk to the back of the store.
    Two hours. Novelty keychains. The one the man had selected had been losing battery strength all week. He pushed its buttons harder and harder to make the little lights dance.
    “Don’t abuse the merchandise, dear,” said the woman. She turned to Rowena and said, “Do you know if your downtown location has any more purple hats?”
    Rowena logged into the computer and checked stock.
    “Yes they have six more,” she said.
    “We’ll go pick them up right now!” said the woman.
    “Unfortunately their location closed for the night a few hours ago,” Rowena said. “I can leave a message asking the manager there to place them on hold for the day after tomorrow, though.”
    “Can’t you call them at home and have them open up the store again for just a couple of minutes?” the woman replied. “My kids will die if they don’t have matching presents!”
    “No,” Rowena said. “But I will leave them a message. What name would you like your items to be held under?”
    “Never mind,” said the woman. “We’ll take our business to someone who can be more helpful. It’s Christmas Eve!”
    Rowena watched them stumble out into the falling snow, locked the door and walked to the storage room to prepare the mop.

  7. In and out of  consciousness.
    Far from home, near death
    Use needle, abuse vein with a thrust.
    Launch. Smile. Die.

    I had to laugh at my self-indulgent poem. I was in no mood to do any work today. I was mentally out of joint. Ha-ha, another  drug reference. I didn’t make it this far in my life by coming near drugs. I don’t even use aspirin, though I will abuse coffee.

    I thrust another sheet into the typewriter and tried again to launch this stupid story. I felt the mirth leave my body. My smile melted away and the sense of jovial amusement began to die.

    In the beginning, out in the far away void, Jebbubba floated near a speck. She decided not to use the ten pillars of creation, as they were constantly subjected to abuse by her mitochondrial forebears. Instead, she thrust her finger toward the speck, causing it to super-heat into plasma.

    The undulating speck couldn’t choose between matter and energy and, consequently, failed to launch. Jebbubba had to smile in resignation, as she watched the damned thing die.

  8. Tanja Cilia says:

    Far out, man!    I will make the silly smile on your face die when I tell you the main thrust  of the hidden agenda behind the near-perfect campaign he will launch tomorrow. In case you didn’t notice, the use of certain words is a veil for the abuse he intends to conduct on the helpless.

  9. Rebecca says:

    I loved all of these — Very clever!
    @ Margaret … I too enjoy eating organic foods, especially locally grown foods. I think all U.S. citizens (and the world) could read A Cautionary Tale … perhaps you could submit it to Prevention Magazine 🙂

  10. Rebecca says:

    Amy thrust herself into her art after she was placed into foster care. She was a skilled painter at the tender age of 16; her art teachers encouraged her to pursue art full-time. The abuse she suffered at the hands of father and step-mom would have killed the spirit of most adults let alone a teenager, but she managed to smile. She wouldn’t grow up to be one of those adults who allowed their soul to die because of a horrible childhood. Amy would use her experience to reach other teens near and far, even though they too may be in and out of foster care like her. The launch of the Amy Arts Foundation for Teens was a success. At 16-years-old, Amy was on her way to becoming a successful entrepreneur, painter, and philanthropist. She was unaware the impact her artistry would make on the world. Luckily, Amy was tough and could handle the pressure of fame and success – it wouldn’t eat her alive!

  11. I can finally stop and smile now because I’m not far out traveling like before, but rather near home. The launch into my bucket list has begun. And I promise I won’t abuse it. But really, traveling around the world is something I want to do before I die, so if I have the opportunity, I’ll do it in a moment. That’s how I should use the list, right? And as long as there is a little thrust to begin with, I believe inertia will keep it going.

    • Lydia says:

      To where would you want to travel?

      • I was just in Italy. And it was definitely on that list. I’m thinking Spain sometime. And England definitely. Norway and Sweden are off that list already. I still need to go to Denmark. And maybe explore a little bit more of Iceland. Also, while in Italy, I strangely visited San Marino, it’s own republic, and also the Vatican. Now I also want to go down south, you know to South America. I made a couple of friends from Brazil and Chile, and then maybe head north to Honduras and Costa Rica. I hear the beaches there are artificial, and it’s probably a better spring break vacation spot.
        But that’s only the traveling portion of the bucket list. There’s more. Like be friends with someone famous. Try to have 15 minutes of fame. Stupid stuff like that.
        What about you? Do you have a bucket list? If not, do you have a list of places you’d like to travel?

        • I am taking a cruise out of Rome in July, stopping in Athens, Crete, Sicily…etc.  Was one of my biggest bucket list items was to visit Italy.

          • I hope the cruise goes well. And I hope by then all the tourists are out of Rome. I was there for Easter and the beginning of Pope John Paul’s beatification. Lots of people. There were a lot of people sleeping in Rome’s main train station Easter morning. It was crazy. But, with a cruise, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

        • Chris Fries says:

          Not sure why, but I always thought it would be cool to walk on the Great Wall of China.  That and to see the Pyramids at Giza.
          But it’s looking like the closest I might ever get is if I can find a pyramid scheme based on multi-level marketing of cheap china dishes…

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wonderful thoughts, Matt!  I hope you get to make every item on your bucket list!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Matt-love that you are following your bucket list!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Matt: Super, super style with this one. I’m a big fan. Write on.

  12. Rebecca says:

    @ Lydia .. Thank you! It’s one of the reasons why I started a parent/teen life coaching, consulting, and educating company. I want to help teens stop the cycle — they need all the help they can get.

  13. Tiffany Hudson says:

    *Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. If you remember in my last post I wrote about Coral’s and Sam’s Wedding so today I’m going to writte about their Honeymoon. Hope you enjoy*
    The plane was in the air and Sam had the window seat!! But the ground was near.
    The plane landed and we got off, grabbed our luggage and jumped in a taxi the hotel wasn’t to far.
    and yes we had our honeymoon in vegas. Sam smiled at me. If I lost him, that smile I would die. I couldn’t go through that again.
    The car stopped we got out and made our way into the abuse of an amazing honeymoon suite.
    I laughed as I thrust my body backwards onto the bed.
    Sam walked into the bathroom leaving the door open so he could use the tolet.
    He walked back out and launched him self onto the bed next to me. I giggled.
    He lent down and kissed me gentaly. I deepened it and ended up on top of him.
    A maid opened the door.
    “Ohh sorry” She squeeked and closed the door quickly.
    Both Sam and I burst out laughing.
    “That wrecked the moment.” I laughed and stretched out on top of him. Resting my head on his chest.

  14. Chris Fries says:

    Happy Monday all!

    Here’s the latest episode in the on-going series:

    “The Look of Murder — Part 13”

    Joan Dawkins had given me the home addresses of Albert Silari and Warren Powell, and both were near downtown; I could be at either place within a half-hour.  But it was only midday, and odds were that I wouldn’t find either of the gents at home; they’d probably both be in their offices. 

    I didn’t want to wait, and I didn’t want to go back to Thurston Motors to try and find Powell — I doubted the security gorillas behind the counter would smile at my return.  So that left Albert Silari and Fulton Automotive.  Luckily their office was not far from the library.

    While Thurston Motors had settled for one receptionist and a pair of muscle-bound wallflowers to keep an eye on the joint, Fulton Automotive had a curved granite counter with three good-looking ladies eager to greet me as I walked in, and there wasn’t a thug in sight.  It might have been the lobby of an exclusive hotel instead of a thriving automotive company, although I doubted a hotel would have had much use for the shiny roadster sitting in the middle of the floor.  I guess it was tradition for the auto companies to thrust out a glimmering sample of their top-of-the-line car for all their visitors to drool over.  A part of the advertising for the launch of their latest models, I suppose.

    I approached the nearest woman, gave her my name, and asked for Albert Silari.

    “Do you have an appointment?” she said, all chipper and cheerful.

    “No,” I said, “but it’s a matter of some importance.  You can tell him it’s in reference to Charles Thurston.”  I hated spilling the beans even before talking to the guy, but I figured I had to play my ace if I wanted to get past the receptionist.

    She picked up the phone and called upstairs, speaking in a low voice, and then hung up the phone and looked up at me, the ever-present smile just as big as ever.

    “Mr. Silari is in a meeting, but it should be ending soon.  You may go up to his office and wait there if you would like.”

    I liked.  She directed me to Silari’s office on the seventh floor.  There was a small seating area outside, and a frowning secretary at a desk guarding the office door.  “Hello,” she said, speaking through a dour scowl.  You may have a seat and wait.”  Then she looked down at papers she was reading, giving me an attitude of what seemed to be a well-practiced, “I’m ignoring you, but I’m still keeping an eye on you.”  Evidently the smiles ended once you got above the main floor.  Maybe it was altitude sickness or something.

    In about ten minutes, two men came out of the office and it was easy to tell which one was Silari.  I figured he had to be the guy holding the door and brow-beating the other one.  That poor schmuck was apologizing and promising to make things right as he cowered and backed his way away from the office.

    Then Silari noticed me. “Who the Hell are you?”  He didn’t wait for an answer before turning to his secretary.  “Gladys, who the Hell is this?  I shouldn’t have any further appointments.  Did you screw something up?”

    Gladys said, “He’s a drop-in, Sir.  Said he had important information about Charles Thurston.  I thought you might want to speak with him.”

    “Oh really?”  He turned towards me.  I stood up.  Silari continued talking to his secretary.  “Fine. I’ll see what he wants.  In the meantime, get me some coffee.  Black, and strong.  Not like the crap you got last time.”

    It was easy to tell why Gladys wasn’t big on smiles.  Frequent doses of Silari’s abuse probably went a long way to stifle them.

    I walked across to him and extended my hand.  “Mr. Silari?” I said, “I’m Nick Sharpe, a private investigator.  I’d like to talk to you regarding Charles Thurston, if I may.” 

    Silari ignored my hand and went back into the office.  “Fine, but make it quick.”  He took a seat behind a wide, heavy desk.  He didn’t offer me a seat.  I took one anyway.

    “So you have some information on Thurston?” he asked.

    “Actually, I’m not here with information, but to ask some questions.  You’re aware he was murdered, correct?”

    “Hell yes, and I jumped for joy when I heard it.  I can’t think of anyone who deserved being killed more than him.  The bastard needed to die.”

    Not quite the reaction I expected.  “Why do you say that, sir?”  I said.

    “He was a crook and a thief and a dirty, lying, cheating S.O.B.  That enough reasons for ya?”

    “Cheating?”  I wondered if Silari knew about the girlfriend.  “In what way?”

    Silari opened a box on his desk and took out a cigar, then lit it from a heavy lighter on his desk.  He didn’t offer me a cigar either, but I left them alone.  Those he could keep.  He blew out a swirling gust of smoke.  “Eleven times in the last six years — at least, if not more — Thurston Motors has stolen my designs.  I’m VP and lead designer here at Fulton, and I should know.  Our innovative new brakes, our new engine components, our body styling — you name it, and Thurston’s pilfered it.  They may have made some small cosmetic changes to try and make them seem original, but every one was our idea.  This past year was the final straw, but I finally have the evidence I needed to nail the bastard.  I presented my case to the board and we’ve filed suit.  We’re going to drive Thurston Motors completely out of business, if I have my way.  But with Charles Thurston gone — and good riddance — I was hoping you were from them offering a deal.”

    He seemed pretty smug about the whole matter.

    “You saw Thurston in his office before he left for his cabin.” I said.  I didn’t put it as a question.

    “Yeah. So?”

    “So why’d you go over there at all if there was such animosity?”

    He laughed and put his feet up.  “To gloat, actually.  To look that bastard in the eye and let him know that we were going to sue, and that we were going to win.”

    “So what was his response?” 

    Silari snorted.  “He denied everything, of course, and accused me of harassment.  He even claimed to have information on me that would force me out of the industry.”

    I paused.  “Did he say what it was?”

    “Pfft.  Who cares?  It was all bluster and lies — the only way Thurston knew how to deal with people.”

    “Mr. Silari, it appears that you were one of the last people to see him alive.  Did he say anything about his planned trip to the cabin?”

    “No.  Only some rude comments about ‘needing some fresh air’ and getting away from me.”  He stood up, the cigar clenched in his teeth.  “Look, you don’t have any information for me regarding a settlement, and there’s not much more I can tell you, so let’s call this meeting closed, alright Mr. Sharpe?” 

    I stood, and decided to throw one more question at Silari.  “Did you have any information on Mr. Thurston’s…personal life?”

    Silari walked towards the door, his arm out as if to herd me out the door.  “Personal life?  Like what?  He was a Commie or something?”

    I moved towards the door.  “No, Mr. Silari.  But your beef with him was all business?  There was nothing personal?  Nothing regarding his marriage?”

    “No.  Why?  His wife’s a knockout, but I didn’t mess with her.  I never figured what she saw in a snake like Thurston, so I assumed she’s just a gold-digger, and I can get plenty of those on my own.”  He opened the office door and held it open.  “Look, I’ve got other things to attend to, Sharpe.”

    I left, and Silarli slammed the door behind me.  At least he wasn’t still ranting at me like he’d done with the last poor sap to leave.  I gave Gladys a smile and a tip of my hat on my way to the elevator. 

    I figured she deserved it.

    • Chris, remember Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine? This chapter reminded me of those gems. You set up a nice, airy atmosphere, dampen it with a dour secretary and “murder it” with a slimeball who’s obviously (?) not our suspect. LOL Great job with the tone!
      I’m loving this adventure! the smile thread is priceless (altitude sickness. whoo!)

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Mitch — I really appreciate it.
        Yeah, this one’s fun to write, too. But it keeps expanding as I do — I originaly envisioned a 10 to 12 part series, and I now know it will go at least 20.  ;^)
        Glad you’re enjoying it!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Chris-I love this story-the characters are great.  I want to rent the series. 🙂

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thank you very much Cathy!
        But you don’t have to rent it — I’m giving it away for free right here in the CCC!  Of course, if you still feel obligated to send me cash, I can give you my PayPal account e-mail…  ;^)

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: I’m loving this story. You knoww what would be cool? I’d love to see a video of you with this submission on the screen and describe the thought process that you went through when choosing each word, and how each would relate or shape the story. Fascinating process.

  15. This was another day for Detective Reynolds…I guess this is part 2!
     The crime scene techs worked. Mal Reynolds smoked through his first pack of cigarettes and started in on the second. It was indeed a marlinspike that had obliterated the features of the victim. Where that fit in detective Reynolds could not begin to figure out.
    He did know that the abuse the victim had suffered looked too personal to be happenstance or a mugging gone wrong. He was still waiting for the Hoodoo expert to come and decipher the symbols on the wall, but what kind of rage would make one person launch such a vicious attack at another? Why did the as yet unidentified victim need to die?
    Finally the medical examiner was ready to take the body away. Mal stepped up to speak with him as the gurney carrying the body came near. “Hey Bob.” Mal said. “See if you can get an ID for me quick huh? Use whatever you have to.” “Sure Mal.” The elderly medical examiner said. “I will call you as soon as I know something.” He nodded to his assistant pushing the gurney and they went on to their van. With a quick thrust the victim was inside and soon they were heading into the city, Detective Mal Reynolds staring at the taillights as the disappeared around the corner.
    With a small and sad smile the detective turned back to one of the crime scene guys. “You guys got anything else useful so far?” The tech nodded.

  16. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: I’m still here…just busy as hell. I’ll read all the submissions and comment when I can. In the mean time, be good or I’ll send Bobby and Billy to stay at your house for a month.

  17. Troy Worman says:

    I don’t know how long I was out, but when I came to, Song clued me in.  “The revolution we launch today will end Shane Arthur’s misuse and abuse of character once and for all!”  She smiled a wry smile and leaned in near.  There was a far away look in her eyes.  She thrust a brass quill into my hand.  “The tyrant must die,” she hissed.

  18. Cathy Miller says:

    “Joshua Gabriel, either come in or go out, but stop slamming that door!”

    “Sorry, Mom.”

    It seemed trouble was never very far from nine-year-old Joshua. Near as he could figure, his angel middle name was his Mom’s little joke. But, boy, she sure did like to use it to let him know she was serious.

    Trying to control his abuse of the door, Joshua caught it just as it was ready to slam a third time. Racing into the back yard with Black Bart barking at his heels, Joshua came to a skidding halt. His heart beating against his chest, Joshua silently strained against the tips of his toes, stretching his body to its tallest height.

    “Can you see it, Bart? Whoa, awesome.”

    Joshua watched the baby birds thrust their hungry beaks towards their mother’s morning offering. He couldn’t wait for the day the birds would launch their first flight and the picture in his mind made him smile.

    Settling on the grass, Joshua dropped his arm around Bart’s neck, thinking there was no better place than right now, and he would surely die if he had to move.

    But, that was a worry for another day.

  19. Rebecca says:

    @ Chris … Thanks! I’m hoping the story will inspire teens to rise above the adversity they may face.

  20. meek willed says:

    I walk out of the house and checked in my wallet making shore I had some money to spend on chocolate.
    The sweet shop was not far but it gave me time to let my mind wonder and I smiled as i thougt about reading the next chapter (Thoughts on Dying Horribly) of my book it was called skullduggery pleasant and how I love the way it depicted magic the ability to thrust the air like a cannon or launch fireball from there hands and how the bad guy actually die but there are those who use and abuse there powers near or far all over the world and don’t expose it to the mortals.
    it makes me long for a life like that.

  21. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note #2: I’m still here. I’ll comment when I can. Promise…if you promise to remain good.
    P.S. Thursday and Friday and going to be bad for me due to a wake/funeral I need to go to (but Thursday’s post will be there).

  22. Jen says:

    First, let me say that these words are apropos of the only thing in my mind right now: the fact that I ran my first half marathon on Sunday. I woke to thunder and ran in the abusive driving rain. But I had come too far to quit, run too many miles to give up now. I started slowly as my coach told me again and again and again. Going out on the route meant I had to pass all the lazy walkers who walked their lazy ways down the middle of the streets in groups of four or flve, flanking each other, making a nearly impassable wall of walkers. Can you tell how I feel about the walkers? I did not like the walkers. I finally managed to make my way past them when I felt the urge hundreds of others before me had felt. I had to use the portapotty. But not just use it; first I stood in line with other runners, making light chit chat about our shoes while we waited to do our intimate business. Nothing makes me feel as exposed as that little routine. I thrust myself back into the teeming masses in lycra and ball caps. As the finish line grew near, my mind tormented me. My brain told me this was ridiculous and wanted, nay, demanded I stop this madness. I did. For a moment. I walked. I was a walker! The horror! The gorgeous green banner marking the end of the craziness beckoned me. I ran on, launching myself over the rubber mat and into my own personal sports history. I smiled a smile so large it hurt my painfully cold cheeks. And I did not die.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: Welcome to the addiction that is the CCC. Excellent, funny 1st submission. I think everyone will relate to the portas.
      Hope to see you back each Monday and Thursday. Everyone welcome Jen to the fun.

      P.S. I like the photo treatments on the pictures on your blog. I’ll add your name and url to our CCC Community Links page now.

      • Jen says:

        Thanks, Sean, for your kind words.  You might just change things, I’ve been here before but I have updated to WP and changed my email. Was jkluit…

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Jen: You’ll have to forgive me on my bleep-up. I KNEW I knew you, but your submission showed up on my pending folder. I went to your site and said, “I know her, right?” But I went to the CCC Community Links page and didn’t see your name, so I thought I was going crazy.(Been a crazy week too). I’ll leave this up as a reminder to the CCC community to be more careful when interacting with their own communities. After all, you’ve submitted like 7 times already. #face/palm

          • Jen says:

            No worries; I changed it all around so I threw you for a loop. I’m just glad I finally made my way back here. (I’m writing my first book, will be out Sept. 1)!!!

      • Hi Jen,
        I enjoyed this submission. While I never ran for anything other than a departing bus, I did participate in a March of Dimes Walkathon. Back in the prehistoric days when you had to actually cover 20 miles. Your entry brought back the blisters to my soles. 🙂

    • Cathy Miller says:

      Jen-I am in awe of marathoners-half or otherwise-love the masses in lycra and ball caps 🙂

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great piece with wonderful scene-setting, Jen.  I felt like I was there, running right along with you.
      And, you know — I ran a half-marathon several years ago…  Well, technically, I mean that if you added up all the running I did over several years, it might add up to a half-marathon.  But that’s like the same thing, right?  ;^)

  23. Rebecca says:

    @ Cathy … Thank you! I hope it will encourage teens not to give up on life or themselves.

  24. ellenem says:

    For many years it did not make any sense.  When I was young, my mother came down with a bad cancer and died.  I could not reconcile her death with what I believed should happen in this world.  She was a good woman, a strong woman.  She was a solid and dependable and accepting mother.  She had four children and a husband, and many friends who needed her.  I could not think of anything she had done to deserve to die.  And yet she did.  It did not make sense.
    One day shortly after she died, I saw an overweight smoker on a street corner holding a cardboard sign on which she had written, “Homeless.  Any amount of money is appreciated.  Will not use to buy booze.”  Around that same time, a woman had called my home to relate to us her experience with my mother many years before.  She said that Mom had been her 6th grade history teacher.  My mother’s influence on her life as a girl had served to launch her out of her life as a glum adolescent to a hopeful one in which she believed she was smart and capable.  I could not reconcile why the inhabitant of the street corner was near me and my mother was permanently somewhere very far away.
    Now, thirty years after my mother’s death, I have a better understanding of how my life is better in part because of my mother’s death.  Had she lived, I doubt I would have felt the impetus to leave my hometown and go to law school. Although it was largely an experience of self-esteem abuse and recovery, I met my husband there.  Now, many years later, we have three children who daily put a giant smile on my face.
    Although my mother’s death ended one family and thrust me into a bumpy adulthood, my life would not be the beautiful place that it is today had she survived..

  25. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thanks 🙂

  26. Kelly says:


    “Did you paint in here?” Ellen struggled to remove her bright red coat as she looked around the office.

    “Yes. Well, no. No. I didn’t personally paint…” Dr. Gurley’s goofy smile matched his embarrassed stutter perfectly. He was always so ill at ease, so un-doctor-like, that somehow he made his patients feel at home. As if they were in charge of the visit.

    “It looks nice,” Ellen reassured him.

    “I’ll be back in just a sec,” the doctor called out. Ellen followed Dr. Gurley’s sole nurse-slash-Girl-Friday back to his sole examining room, and looked for a gown to use for the follow-up. Her bronchitis hadn’t gone away, and every time she launched into song at the nearby cabaret where she was the main attraction, she had a terrible feeling she was causing some sort of abuse to her lungs. She was about to thrust her hand into the good doctor’s sole storage cabinet to fetch her own gown when his nurse stopped her with her own smile.

    “You won’t need it today, Ms. Potter. Doctor says the visit won’t go that far.”

    Odd, Ellen thought. She sat down and reached for the M&Ms in the front pocket of her purse.

    The last yellow M&M (her favorite) was on its way to Ellen’s soft middle before Dr. Gurley knocked on the door and came in. He sat down without a word.

    “Doctor, what is it?” Ellen asked. Without a thought, she added, “If I’m gonna die in six months, give it to me straight, but help me breathe in the meantime. I’m only 46, but it feels like I can’t fill my lungs anymore.”

    The doctor fiddled with the buttons on his white polo shirt for a minute before clearing his own throat.

    “The timing’s right, but the diagnosis is wrong, Ellen. I’m glad you’re sitting down—” his embarrassed stutter returned, ever-so-slightly “—t-tell the truth, I’m glad I’m sitting down.” He stared into space for a moment, then looked straight at the woman whose life was changing forever, starting with his next six words.

    “You’re going to have a baby.”

    An empty M&Ms bag dropped to Dr. Gurley’s floor.

    Ellen didn’t feel quite so in charge of the visit any more.

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