Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #146

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. Claw
  2. Square
  3. Enough
  4. Change
  5. Random
  6. Eat
  7. Tip
  8. Ask
  9. Upset
  10. Noise

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


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

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: My wife’s procedure is today. I’ll be out all day. You guys be good, have fun, and I’ll respond later tonight.

  2. No matter how hard Roger tried, he couldn’t claw the box open. Something wouldn’t let him do it. He’d seen it open before. But he didn’t have such luck. No, he would have to be patient and wait for the right person to do it.
    He returned to his square, and sure enough, Katie was standing right there.
    “Where the hell have you been?” she yelped at him.
    “Just out, having a little smoke break,” sniffled Roger. He was never the type who fared well with confrontation.
    “Well, hurry up then. Change your clothes. You can’t wear those random ragtags at the meeting,” said Katie as she pulled at his shirt.
    “Can’t I have a little to eat first? Smoking always makes me hungry.”
    “Sure, but here’s a little tip: Eat fast. We have a deadline to meet. And you are just wasting time. Come on.” Katie was getting a little impatient.
    “Look, you only have to ask me once to hurry up and I’ll do it. Quit pressuring me and I’ll go faster,” Roger quipped, trying to sound more defiant.
    “Roger, I don’t want to upset you, but you need me here to rush you. Now come on, come on. Let’s go.” Now she was getting irritated, and Roger could see it in her face. He started to pace himself a little faster.
    Then he heard a noise from the storage closet, and he thought about the box. Maybe it opened itself…

  3. Tanja Cilia says:

    1.       Always eat a square meal, so that you won’t nibble random rubbish later.
    2.       Don’t make any noise when chewing, and keep finger and claw out of your mouth.
    3.       Ask before you tip the waitress, lest you upset the management.
    4.       Keep enough small change in your pocket, just in case it is allowed.

  4. Lydia says:

    “Do you believe in ghosts?” Startled, Marlene looked up from dull flicker of her computer screen.
    “Of course not. Have you found anything yet?”
    “No.” A pause. “What if you had a very upsetting end, though? Sometimes people die suddenly or violently.”
    “You’ll go back to God all the same,” came her reply. The archive room of the Paradise Record settled back into silence, the only noise coming keyboard clicks as the two of them continued searching.
    “I have the fight,” Ed began reading aloud. “July 14, 1913.  An altercation that began Friday evening in Lincoln Square ended with the destruction of three tombstones. In order from left to right the markers of the graves of Mr. Hezekiah Stone, Mrs. Alfred Combs, and Mrs. Jonah Pritchett were tipped over and destroyed during the fight. Mr.  Isaac Crane, former editor of the Paradise Record, and Rev. Jonah Pritchett were apprehended in the Paradise Municipal Cemetery. A Witness who requests anonymity said that the argument began when Mr. Crane accused Rev. Pritchett of aiding and abetting the concealment of a murder.
    Official charges are pending for the accused. A restoration fund has been established for the Stones and Pritchetts. The Combs family requests that in lieu of their portion charitable assistance should instead be sent to the Paradise Presbyterian bell tower fund – Phillip Weeks, ED.”
    “Do we know why Isaac Crane left the newspaper?” Marlene asked.
    “It looks like he wrote a series of editorials that skirted around the circumstances of Adela’s death.” Ed continued browsing. “He never actually accused anyone in print but he did bring up many of our questions. Why was her time of death and the name of her deceased husband mis-reported? Why was she buried so quickly?”
    “Did he find any answers?”
    “He found enough to scare a few people, especially when he printed her death certificate. Widows aren’t suppose to be in the family way three years after their husbands die.”
    “I wonder if that is why the Combs clan moved to the other side of the state,” Marlene frowned and stared at her fingers as they clawed a frayed buttonhole on her sweater. “Small towns don’t forget stuff like this.”
    ” It’s late. Did you want to get something to eat?” Ed changed the subject.
    “Soon. Let’s see if we can dredge up anything else first. This database is so randomly organized that for all we know the right keystrokes will bring up a signed confession.”

  5. Sisterhood of the Void – 6th Point

    Jebubba thrummed. Her vibrations reached into the conscious sheet and synchronized with the beats of her sisters.  Between historic echoes and mitochondrial connectivity, every conscious thought was visible to each sister. Privacy was the realm of universes; it held no sway in the void. Consequently, the noise was truly a palpable element, ebbing and flowing in meandering swirls, reaching into gravity wells, splashing up and down inter-universal cavities and coursing through the essence of the creators. Jebubba sampled the ripples and considered who should be her quest mates.

    Two beats later, the sisterhood solemnly acknowledged her choices, quieting down just enough to allow Jebubba to bind her consciousness to the chosen sisters.  She didn’t have to ask them; Bet’s mandate had given them their automatic answer.  Afetar, the analytical, would expand on her insights. Neva and Avena, the creative thinkers, might hit upon a feasible counter-attack. Rekikka, daughter from the Ber power line and Seninna, from the Bes destruction line, would blaze the path and protect the team.

    In the Bek Realm of Atefa, the waves of acknowledgement poured over the celestial bodies, depositing syncopated pre-echoes that would become part of their history. As the waves reached the anomaly, it annihilated the beats, momentarily rending the conscious sheet with its mysterious claw.

    “The anomaly has slowed its growth rate,” reported Bet. “The latest change in mass occurred four beats ago.”

    “That thing has desecrated my realm!” Atefa’s pounding reply landed square on the conscious sheet, sending angry vibrations that upset nearby stars, some of which erupted into supernovas.

    “Well, Atefa, your reaction is desecrating some of our designs.” Ben counterpointed with her soothing riffs. “Let’s hear what Jebubba has to say. Hmm?”

    Atefa, somewhat sullenly, damped her pulsing rage. “…Bekumtuno…” Of course.

    Jebubba ceased thrumming and began rhythmically plotting a course of action for the team. “We must not assume that this anomaly is a random event. As there is only one such entity, it would be safer to assume that it came from beyond the void to eat Atefa’s Bek Realm. Afetar, you think it dies like those supernovas we just witnessed. Our consciousness may control the destruction, if we can discover how the interaction works.”

    Afetar concurred. “Our concerted efforts a few beats ago seemed to overwhelm its metabolic rate. Yet, just as we ourselves can not sustain rapid vibrations indefinitely, I suspect that the anomaly does not remain indefinitely suppressed.”

    “Speaking of supernovas,” added Rekikka, “this mystery mass seems to destroy planets by exploding them like stars.”

    “Ah, but supernovas come from the fusing of matter,” Seninna, and expert on destruction, chimed in. “Sure,  some supernovas result from cessation of energy output but, in either case, Bed energies are overwhelmed and energy is free to collapse or expand violently. The Bek Realm planets shake apart.”

    “Exactly, Seninna,” Afetar continued the discussion. “At the moment of disintegration, matter and energy simply cease to exist as we know them. They become part of the mass. We know this because the mass increases. However, consciousness fades slowly, as if being turned into a type of plasma that we also know nothing of.”

    A beat passed in silence as this new insight was digested. The sisters had never considered the possibility of a fifth element. Simultaneously, with their next conscious thoughts, they negated the neverness of that possibility forever:

    “This mass manifests a new reality.” Thus spoke First Mother, reinstating herself in the role of mediator. “We shall call it ‘silence’, to honor the absence of elemental consciousness that it destroys. We, who create matter and energy at our whim and fuse it to plasma at our will, submit to the essence of consciousness, which we neither create nor destroy. But, we will not submit to the anomaly which is not a creator, but a destroyer. We acknowledge the existence of ‘silence’ and its power to destroy the only thing we do not manipulate.”

    The sisterhood acknowledged First Mother. Jebubba waited a respectful few beats before resuming her own role as leader. She used the pause to refocus all of her energies and to prepare her ultimatum:

    “Sisters! We have defined the enemy of our essence. Though it is but the tip of a new knowledge, it shall join the mitochondrial library, that our daughters may know this threat.  Our quest shall not end until we have expanded that knowledge with the tactical resources to dispatch the enemy from our presence!”

    A rumble of enthusiastic agreement pounded the conscious sheet and marked time as Jebubba and her team set off for the Infinite Boundary.

    • Lydia says:

      I didn’t think this story could get any better. I was wrong. 😀
      This, though, would drive me up the wall as an introvert. I’d have to create my own reality to get some peace and quiet:

      “.Consequently, the noise was truly a palpable element, ebbing and flowing in meandering swirls, reaching into gravity wells, splashing up and down inter-universal cavities and coursing through the essence of the creators”


      • Lydia, thank you so much for this wonderful compliment! I’m having so much fun putting it together.
        Hold on to that thought (no pun intended). You are beginning to feel what I imagine the sisters feel – and I wonder if the missing sisters have found peace and quiet? 😉

    • Anne Wayman says:

      Wonderful… love the noise stuff, the physics.

      • Thanks, Anne. I just hope my head doesn’t explode, keeping everything straight. Spreadsheets notwithstanding, the permutations are starting to mount 🙂

    • Best. Line. Ever: This mass manifests a new reality.

      I studied political science in college. It’s actually true of most masses. All of our cultures were like that once upon a time. And they still are. Our cultures are our lenses to reality, a reality formed by a majority opinion. I mean, look at the mass media for example: what kind of reality is they creating for us? But I’m not open up any conspiracy theories or anything. Just putting it out there. Interesting stuff!

      • Wow! Thanks, Matt. I love it when inferences like yours are shared. As for conspiracy theories, I would elevate your insight waaay beyond that – at least to the threshold of Provocative Thought.
        In fact, I’d love to discuss this a bit more. When I was working for the city, someone decorated her cubicle with a motivational quote:
        “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

        Never mind that Elanor Roosevelt said it. I think it’s clever but wrong. For what would that say about writers and political scientists? LOL!


        • Well, this may make me sound like only an average mind, but when I was mentioning the mass media, I was trying to elude to the fact that most (if not all) of the mass media in the United States (home for me even though I’ve been in Sweden since August) is corporately owned. The biggest example of this is NBC, which is owned by Universal Studios, of which Comcast owns 51% of the shares and the rest being owned by General Electric. When seen like that it’s almost meaningless, but when you add to the fact that Jeffrey Immelt (GE’s CEO) is one of President Obama’s key advisors (and has been most of his presidency), then it starts to bring in a few problems…
          But that’s only the tip of an iceberg. Just throwing out some other names… Disney, Westinghouse, Newscorp… I don’t know, it’s just, we let a few people actually control our viewpoints. It’s not good for us. But it’s really good fuel for the fire when you’re writing. 😀

          • Matt, like I said, I disagree with Eleanor, even though I’m lifting the quote out of context, surely.
            In fact, I haven’t considered the overall effect of singular or plutocratic control of mass media. I had limited my thinking to the consolidation of newspapers – particularly as this control is exploited in literature and film. In addition, censorship is more readily reported than day-to-day propagandist agendas.
            The big questions I have for you is this: how much potential or actual power does a person like Jeffrey Immelt have? Doesn’t the corporate mandate to the shareholders temper such potential or is shareholder power an illusion? After all, the board of directors control things, and the majority stakeholders always seem to have positions on the board!
            Beyond that line of questioning is the more disturbing issue that you bring up. Consumers are guilty of personal abdication of critical thinking. We “peons” suck when it comes to making informed decisions about what we buy, eat, read and believe.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Mitchell: buy less, eat your own homegrown food, read your own books you write, and believe you can write them. 🙂

          • Shane, that works for me. With a little modification: “Buy other people’s homegrown food.” I buy local 🙂

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Mitchell: You should try growin’ stuff. It’s as addictive as the CCC. Check out these two books:



            I own these two and can’t recommend them enough.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Enchanting, cryptic, and captivating!
      When you mentioned “the sisters had never considered the possiblility of a fifth element,” I found myself thinking the Bruce Willis movie, “The Fifth Element.”  😉
      This is a lot of fun, Mitch — I’m enjoying it and can’t wait to see what becomes of ‘the anomaly.’

      • Chris, Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying this.
        We’ve been sharing our creative processes, so I’d like to mention that, beyond the lure of lucrative words, I’ve filled my idle moments turning this story over, viewing it from several angles and generally just enjoying its existence.
        During one such moment, the anomaly became clear. It makes so much sense to me now! I can’t wait for the sisters to find out! I’m actually champing at the bit, trying not to rush it. (Thank goodness for Larry Brooks’ Story Structure Demystified.)



        • Chris Fries says:

          Mitch, the positive results of all that story rumination and incubation shows in every word.
          And I’m really curious and eager to see what the anomaly is, but am enjoying the trip in getting there.
          Write with the wind, my friend!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mitch- your talent is awe-inspiring. I love this: Privacy was the realm of universes; it held no sway in the void. Outstanding story!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: Just amazing! I couldn’t imagine my brain ever coming up with anything remotely as cool as this. Carry on!

  6. Anne Wayman says:

    happening right now:

    The noise! Obviously the crow is upset. I ask what’s wrong, what’s up and he flies to the tip of another branch – not to eat it seems, but to caw in random to me ways. Ah, a change! He’s decided it’s enough and quiets. Now he sits squarely, in the tree, silent claws gripping, waiting for… ah, another crow to take up the cry.

  7. Anne Wayman says:

    Actually, I stepped out, and had that very thought Mitch… something’s messing with the crow for sure.

  8. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Sending you and your wife positive thoughts.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Charlotte was upset that Matt broke up with her, but deep down she knew it was coming. She didn’t have to ask what he wanted to talk about when he sent her an “S.O.S.” text last night. He said it was urgent and needed to see her. At least he had the guts to break up with her in person. Charlotte had so much noise in her head that she couldn’t eat. She had enough and had to go for a run. She grabbed her new Adidas sneakers and headed out the door. This time she would change up her run by incorporating sprints. She would run through Buckingham Square to get to Avery Park. Her random plan would help ease the pain of being dumped for Alexandra Claufield. She wondered how Alexandra managed to claw her way into Matt’s life. Maybe it happened last month when he left her a nice tip at Slammin’ Sammy’s. Charlotte thought leaving 40% was too much, especially for a 16-year-old boy who didn’t earn much from his online video game store. Who knows, maybe he lied about how much he earned.

    • But was the S.O.S text actually for breaking up or something else? Does he leave her for the other gal? Or is he just going to give her a surprise?
      I need answers!!! Please write more! 😀

    • Chris Fries says:

      …or maybe he’s the son of a mobster.  And she’s absolutely right to run — run, run, far away!
      A very fun piece, Rebecca!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Rebecca-great tale – I think that noise was in my head last night-very little sleep, but awake enough to enjoy your well-told story. Nice. 🙂

    • This is an intriguing opening, Rebecca. I love how you dangle the page-turner with the final sentence. Will we be getting that page? 🙂




    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: I’ll have to say this is my favorite from you. I don’t know why, but this one did it for me. Subtle but I definitely want to know more about what’s going on here. I could see this going many ways.

  10. Chris Fries says:

    Happy Monday, all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.   So here’s my entry for this prompt:  Episode #19 of my on-going series.  I hope you all enjoy it!

    “The Look of Murder — Part 19”

    Johnny Mangano sat across from me, his square jaw rising and falling as he devoured a hefty potion of steak and eggs.  The small café was filled with the early-morning breakfast crowd, and the background noise of clattering silverware, clinking glasses, and murmuring voices was a steady drone. It did little to ease the throbbing in my temples.  Too little sleep and too much stewing over Margaret and the murders of her husband Charles Thurston and his hide-a-honey Vivian Powell had given me a pounding headache.

    Johnny looked up at me between bites and gestured with his fork.  “You should eat something,” he said.  “You got enough problems; you don’t need to add malnutrition on top of them.”  He laughed and returned to his half-eaten steak.

    I just shook my head.  Coffee was plenty.  I thought anything heavier would only upset my stomach.  Yesterday had been a long day and I felt like I’d been run through the wringer.  I’d stayed at the Flint police station well into the evening.  Alden and the cops had continued hounding me with questions, and I’d even gotten the chance to ask more than a few of my own, but we never got past the point of them leaning towards Margaret or Warren Powell as the killer or killers, and me being certain that Margaret wasn’t involved. 

    But Warren Powell had me wondering.  He seemed like he should be an upstanding professional guy, but he’d been a pretty edgy jitterbug when I’d seen him; it was clear he’d been really keen about giving me the brush off as soon as possible.  So I’d like to learn a little more about the guy, and I was hoping Johnny could give me some information to go on.  I’d just have to claw him away from his steak to get it.  Either that or wait until he was done, and knowing Johnny, it was wiser to wait.

    After the Flint cops and the State police had finally given me the boot, I went to the address I had for Vivian Powell’s parents, but there was no answer when I knocked, and no sign that anyone was home.  I figured the death of their daughter had been enough to make them change their residence, at least until the heat blew over.  I couldn’t blame them for that.  I wrote a note asking them to call me and stuck it in their mailbox, in front of the business cards from several reporters.  But I wasn’t going to hold my breath waiting for them giving me a jingle, even though I’d improved my odds by pocketing the reporters’ cards.

    Johnny finished his steak and eggs, set the silverware on the plate, and took a deep drink of his ice water.  He ate like a horse, but I never saw him drink anything but ice water.  It was just one of his quirks.  He wiped his face with the napkin and folded it neatly onto his plate, covering the silverware.

    “You done?”  I said.  “Now can we talk?”

    “Sure,” he said.  “But you could have talked the whole time.”

    “Not much I could say.  Everywhere I go I either get nowhere or find another dead body.  So all I got is questions.  I’m hoping you’re the man with some answers.”

    Johnny smirked and shrugged.  “I talked to some people downtown like you asked, but there’s not much I can tell you, I’m afraid.”

    “So what do we know?”

    “First, it’s clear that Thurston and the Powell dame weren’t random killings.  They’re obviously related.”

    I nodded.  Johnny was starting at the beginning and stating the obvious, but that was the way he worked, and I knew it was pointless to try and rush him.  It would only irritate him and waste time — he’d just go right back to the beginning anyway.

    “In fact,” he said, “the Flint cops have already found plenty of witnesses and evidence that put Thurston and Mrs. Powell together on multiple occasions. It also looks like Thurston was paying for the apartment she was found in.  It was rented several months ago, so this has been going on for a while.”

    “Not to mention the film,” I said.

    Johnny nodded.  “Not to mention the film.  Vivian Powell was clearly the broad in the nudie pics.”

    I exhaled and shook my head.  A husband stepping out on his wife was nothing new, and it did a lot to put food on my table as a private gumshoe.  But I was frankly surprised that any man would turn away from Margaret Thurston.  Vivian Powell had been attractive enough, but it still made no sense to me.  It was like Johnny tossing out his steak and asking for chopped liver to go with his eggs.

    “And Margaret Thurston and Warren Powell are the suspects,” I said, “and Margaret’s still sitting in a Detroit cell even though she hasn’t been charged yet.”

    “Not any longer,” Johnny said.

    I gaped at him. “You mean they’ve charged her?”

    “Nope.  Dotson was making a huge stink, saying the cops either needed to charge her or release her.  The window for questioning and protective custody had closed, so with Powell looking like the chief suspect, Dotson was able to get her out yesterday afternoon.”

    My spirits picked up.  I’d finally be able to talk to her, and she could help some of this make sense.  Then I had a thought.  “Do the cops think Powell planted the film at Margaret’s place to try and take the heat off him?”

    Johnny shrugged. “Won’t know for sure ’til the police talk to him, and he’s suddenly decided to take a powder.”

    “So what do they know about Powell?”

    “Not much.  As far as they can tell so far, he’s a model citizen; never even gotten a speeding ticket.  They’re digging into relatives and known friends, but my sources had nothing they could offer yet.”

    Damn.  That was little help. 

    I rubbed my chin.  I’d tracked down Vivian Powell before the cops had found her.  Maybe I’d get lucky with her husband, too.  If I didn’t find him dead — so far I was batting a thousand in the stumbling-over-stiffs department.

    But first I wanted to talk to Margaret. 

    I grabbed the check and told Johnny I’d get it.  It was the least I could do for all the information he’d given me, and in my current financial state, I was all for doing the least I could do.  I told Johnny he could leave the tip.  He smiled.  “Say hello to the Thurston broad for me,” he said with a wink.  I hadn’t said a word about her, but Johnny was pretty sharp.  Too sharp, sometimes.

    The drive to Margaret’s place went quickly, even through morning traffic.  I parked in front, went to the door, and rang the bell.  I tried collecting my thoughts so I wouldn’t sound like a babbling idiot when I talked to her.  I had a lot of questions, but I also didn’t want to hound her too with too much too fast.  I wanted to know if she had any hint about Vivian Powell and her husband.  I wanted to know if she knew anything about Warren Powell.  I wanted to know if she was Ok, if I could help, if there was anything she needed from me.  I wanted to let her know that I was doing all I could to find the real killer.

    The door opened and I was disappointed to see it was the maid.

    “Hello,” I said.  “Is Mrs. Thurston available?”

    “I’m sorry,” the maid said.  “She can’t come to the door.”

    “Is she ok?”

    “She’s resting.”

    I paused.  Was she alright?  “I do hate to disturb her, but would you at least please tell her I’m here?  My name is Nick Sharp, remember?”

    “Yes sir, I do.  Missus knows who you are, too, and she saw you drive up.  But she said to tell you, ‘thank you for all your help, but there’s nothing more she needs,’ and that she was resting and couldn’t come to the door.”

    I didn’t know what to say.  My mouth was all open and ready, but nothing came out.  I didn’t understand.

    “Thank you again, sir,” the maid said, and started to close the door.

    I considered forcing my way in.  The maid was big, but I thought I could take her.  But then what would I say to Margaret?
    The door shut and I heard it lock.

    Maybe Margaret really did need to rest.

    Or maybe someone had put the wrong thoughts about me into her head.  There were some Detroit cops who didn’t think highly of me, and the feeling was mutual.

    What would it take to be able to see her?  And why did it matter so much to me?  I’d known her less than a week.  Thinking about it only made my headache come back. I had to do something — anything — to try and at least understand. Or, better, to get her to talk to me. 

    I walked back to my car and sat in it without starting the engine. What could I do to change things?

    Maybe I could find Powell.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Chris-I want this to be a series on TV-I love it & there’s so little good TV-can’t wait for the next one 🙂

    • Yay! Yippee! Hoorrah!
      That’s three cheers for this wonderful yarn! Full of fun phrases, a bit of humor and the best analogy for adultery I’ve seen in a long time.
      Keep ’em coming, Chris!



      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Mitch!  It’s great having a cheering section!!!  You’re very kind for all your positive support!
        Five more to go…  (give ‘er take)

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: I can’t belive this story is already at episode 19. Can you?

      The maid was big, but I thought I could take her – That’s just too damn’d funny.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Yeah I know — Seems weird to me that I’ve been doing this story since Episode 1 back in Challenge #127 on 3/17!!!
        But we’re winding down (or winding up, in terms of action and drama, I hope)– only 5 more to go!

  11. Jen says:

    Darla had had enough of The Community’s so-called four-square life. Unless by four-square you meant drinking, gambling, smoking, and men, Darla wanted no part of it. She planned her escape for days, hers would be no random emancipation; she would get clear and get clear for good. She would not ask to leave the compound. It took them days to figure out she was gone.
    By the time they noticed her absence, she had made it 100 miles north into a town she’d never heard of. Days and days of travel left her tired and dirty but did not upset her resolve. A rickety wooden building leaned into the mountain at the side of the road, noise spilling from its doors when tall men in dungarees stumbled out, blinking in confusion at the sunlight, as if surprised to find it daytime. Darla headed for that building, the claw of hunger clamping her belly painfully as the smell of roasted potatoes, fried steak and burned toast seeped into her nose.
    A waitress in a faded pink dress and splattered apron nodded to her as she opened the door. The room was dark and smokey, pocked by the empty visages of tired workmen on lunchbreak. For a moment, she couldn’t decide what was more important and her hungry brain didn’t seem able to choose. Finally, Darla tipped her head at the waitress and asked for a booth.
    “Sure, Sugar. Right this way,” the waitress said with disinterest. Darla was not her sugar and they both knew it.
    “I need to eat.” Darla managed to say.
    “Yer in the right place, hon.”
    Darla scanned the menu covered in sticky plastic and marked with cup rings. She ordered eggs on toast and water. Two glasses of water, please. After the waitress waddled away, her gummy shoes thunking on the linoleum, Dara rose and carried her bag to the bathroom. She knew she’d feel better in a fresh change of clothes.
    She washed as best she could with water from the dripping sink and a bunched up wad of paper towels. The towels came away from her dusty body caked in evidence of her long walk. She drank water from this same sink. Then she applied a fresh coat of Ruby Red Maybelline lipstick and strutted back to her table. She was ready to begin living her new four-square life.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Excellent piece, Jen!  Gripping and engrossing — you did a great job of building interest and connection with the character.  I’m intrigued by “The Community” that she escaped, and curious to see what becomes of her.
      Nice work!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jen-Wow-what a vivid scene you paint-great, descriptive writing-loved it! 🙂  I’m going to study that style/

    • Jen, this is a homerun! I do hope it’s also the first inning, hint-hint 🙂
      I was good and hungry after reading your descriptive prose.
      More, more!



    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: Love your style. Again, I’m left yelling,” What happens next? Damn, I have to wait another two days to find out.”

    • Lydia says:

      I agree with everyone else – please do continue this story. There are so many interesting places it could go!

  12. Rebecca says:

    @ Matt … Great questions! As soon as I figure it out, I’ll write more 🙂
    @ Chris … I like the ‘son of a mobster’ angle. Hmmm….

    • Chris Fries says:

      LOL — my stepson loaned me a DVD of the first season of “The Sopronos” and I watched some episodes last night, so I have mobsters on the mind…  ;^)

  13. This is actually a continuation of a story I started LAST YEAR. (ugh! has it been that long?)

    Detective Arthur “Art” Linus of the Meadow Brook Police Department, stood next to the vending machines adjacent to the emergency room waiting area of St. Juliet Hospital.  It wasn’t even 11:00 on a Monday morning and his week was already off to a crap-tatsic beginning.  He fiddled with the change in his pants pocket as he decided what to snack on.  It’s not like he was hungry or needed anything to eat.  It was he needed to pass the time while that bastard who just got out of surgery wakes up from anesthesia.

    The TWIX looked quite delectable.

    He blocked the noise and chatter from the adjoining room out.

    The place was currently a mad house full of police, upset family members, and reporters.  The wounded from the Meadow Brook University shooting were being brought in for treatment.  This included the bastard.  The guy responsible for all of this.  The guy who walked into a school building after eight this morning and started shooting random people.  Not just people, but kids. Kids his daughter’s age.

    Thank God she joined the Army or she could have been here.

    It was the only time he’s ever thought those words when it came to Alex joining the military.  Then he laughed at himself because she’s really no safer in the Army with her current location.

    Dammit! Not enough.

    He pulled the money out of his pocket and examined what he had available.  Art looked around to the Triage station and started to approach the desk to ask if they had any loose coins when his phone buzzed.


    “Art, it’s Nate!  There’s been a mix-up.  Where’s the shooter?”

    He just got out of surgery a few minutes ago.  What’s going on?”

    “The bodies were switched.  You don’t have the killer in the OR, you’ve got Tennpenny!”

    “How do you know?”

    “Tennpenny’s wife came to identify the body of her husband, it’s actually the shooter.  If the guy you were with is still alive, then that means Luke is still alive.”

    “Crap!  I need to get to him ASAP. It’s been quiet, but as soon as word gets out he’s out of surgery.  Someone who thinks he’s the killer may try something.  I’ve got Bartlett at the door.  I’m getting back there now.”

    Art hangs up and his phone and makes his way through the throng hindering his path to the door.  Having to claw his way past more and more people, the door seems to get further and further away.

    Where the hell did all these people come from!?


    That helped out some.  Art was able to make it past the horde towards the OR hallway.  He slams the silver square on the wall to open the doors.  The slow moving doors barely open enough for him to slide through and continue running.  Running past stations, doctors and patients in wheelchairs, he pays them no notice as he descends on room 15 and comes to a walk a few feet before


    No answer.

    Art takes another step towards the door and sees the police issued shoes of Officer Bartlett on the floor.  He pulls his gun and and slowly enters the room.  He looks down to see Officer Bartlett face down on the floor with a syringe sticking out of his neck.  Art slowly moves to the curtain in front of the hospital bed, finds the edge of it and pushes it aside to see the bed empty.

    The shooter.. I mean Tennpenny’s gone.

    He turns around to tend to Bartlett when he hears a struggle behind the curtain.  Art throws it open to see feet kicking on the other side of the bed.   He advances around the bed with his gun pointed as he sees a woman in blue nurses scrubs, tears coming out of her eyes and the tip of a syringe about to puncture Luke’s neck.


    “Stay Back!”, Blue Scrubs demands.  “I will kill him!!!”

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Eric-welcome back! Great story-I love the Blue Scrubs 🙂
      P.S. I promise I didn’t read your story 1st & steal your change 🙂

    • Eric, this is a compelling story! You’ve packed a ton of goodness into these four chapters.
      I hope it won’t be a year before the fifth chapter is in.
      Here’s links to the comments, if anyone wants to find your story more easily:
      There is so much goodness here: tension, of the high-wire kind; malevolence; vigilantism; domestic drama. WOW! With all that, the story is tight, man! Great job!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Eric: Outstanding! More of this!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow!!!  What a ton of story, action, and drama to get into one of these prompts!
      Fabulous story, Eric!  I’m on the edge of my seat — what will Blue Scrubs do?!?!?!?

  14. Cathy Miller says:

    She had to claw her way up the side of the hill until finally she reached a square patch of grassy relief. There she collapsed and tried to ignore the painful rasping of her lungs. Did she have enough to go on?
    Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes as the last few days played against the canvas of her mind. Why? She had asked him over and over. Why? What had she done to warrant such cruelty? She could still hear the sound of the change in his pocket as he rolled them in a relentless beat.
    She no longer acknowledged the random flashes of pain that had ruled her last few days. If only she could find something to eat. She needed the strength to go on, to endure beyond all she had known. Wiping her eyes with the bloodied tip of her finger, she prayed for one more surge.
    Groaning with the sound of a wailing mother, she struggled to sit once more. What more would God ask of her? How much more could she take? Upset with her train of thought, she rose, bracing against the pain. And then she froze. She heard that noise – the sound of clinking coins, pounding against her brain.

  15. Casper says:

    ENOUGH with the NOISE!” she yelled as he CHANGEd RANDOM stations on the radio.She seemed really UPSET.She looked at him SQUARE in the eye ‘n said “A lil’ TIP for honey.I am gonna ASK you one last time ,please let me EAT in peace or I will CLAW out your eyes.”

  16. Shane Arthur says:

    “Billy. Come in Billy. Dis is Bobby. Over.”

    “Bobby. Only hold down the right button when you’s wants to talk, else all we’s hear is random noise. Over.”

    “Oh, Okay. Billy, I’m running back to the store. Call security. Over.”

    “What’s happenin’? Over.”

    “Billy, I’s real upset. I was taking carts in when the cart-pushin machine done tipped over. I knows I ain’t supposed to drink and drive, but nobody told me I can’t eat and drive, so I decided to eat one of them Walmart chili dogs that I bought with my spare change and eat it while I was stearin’. Anyway, I swerved to avoid hittin’ dis truck backin’ up with a “FUPA Hunter” bumper sticker and since I was only usin’ one hand the carts wrecked. They landed right in front of dis white pick-up truck dat had this fella in the back with enough blubber to make a whale jealous. He was sleepin’ in the truck bed with his pants fallin’d down and his bowling shoes stickin’ over the edge. He was so big his body was square from fillin’ in the truck bed. He looked like a stuck blubber ice-cube. I guess the noise from the carts was loud enough to wake him from his hibernation, and he yelled dat he was gonna’ kick my ass. Over”

    “What’d ya tell him, Bobby? Over.”

    “I asked him how he was gonna get his ass out dat truck to kick mine if’n his was stuck. But, just then, he saw my chili dog and clawed his big self out dat truck and came bouncin’ after me. He’s gainin’ on me on account of my missin’ runt toe. Over.”

    “Bobby, stop, drop and roll. Over.”

    “Billy, dat’s the fire safety advice they done gave us in orientation. Over.”

    “Bobby, stop hittin’ both buttons, drop the chili dog, and roll it over to him. Over.”

  17. Enough!” I shouted, and threw another iPad in the fireplace. Crash! It exploded into a thousand tiny iPods, each bursting into flames and vaporizing instantly. The sound was like a symphony warming up, staccato.

    The office cat was momentarily upset by the noise. She held up one claw tip as if to say “Ssssh.”

    Crash! went another iPad in the fireplace. “I cannot change the laws of time,” I shouted. Crash! “I cannot make a circle square.” Crash! “I cannot make the random care.” Crash! “I cannot eat any more naugahyde.” Crash! “But by God I swear – ” Crash! “- I will not bear  – ” Crash! “- another dare – ” Crash! Crash! Crash! “- from that…that… -” Crash! “- …Shane!”

    I woke up, and sat bolt upright in bed. My wife rolled over and said, “What were you dreaming about this time?”

    “Don’t ask,” I said, and went back to sleep.

  18. meek willed says:

    After we had had enough of the boxing game and changed the TV to something that lots of loud noise so we could get out of the house with out being notes or being eaten alive by my mother.
    I asked her were we were going as she started to take the lead and she gust turned running backward pull me by my chin with the tip of her finger for a bit  then turned and slowed are pace as we were drawing close to her house.
    Randomly a thought of how upset my mum would be as I shunned the thought for my mine whilst I held my claw shaped pendent spuarely agenst my chest and smiled at sue.

  19. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane, Cathy, and Mitch … Glad you liked the story. I may keep going with this one and add it to my YA short story book I want to create 🙂

  20. Rebecca says:

    @ Cathy … This was a very moving piece. I felt the pain of the character.
    @ Chris … Very exciting! This is a page turner.
    @ Shane … Lol! “He looked like a stuck blubber ice-cube.” Great line and imagery.

  21. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … I’m really enjoying this story. I feel like I’m “tagging” along for the ride. Great job!

  22. sefcug says:

    In numerical order today:


    I saw the claw dangling by the square panel of the stained glass window.
    The sight was enough to have me change from random fasting to defined times to eat.
    After about a month of eating at six in the morning, noon, and six in the evening, I suddenly fell tipping over my plate.
    The guard asked if I was alright. I replied that I was just upset because I missed the noise since all the other prisoners had been moved out.
    As he moved closer by the window to check me out, the dragon’s clawed forearm burst through the window grabbing him tightly around the middle.
    Quickly, I told Shondra (my dragon) not to kill the guard. I explained that this guard had always treated me well, unlike those previously.
    Needless to say the guard was shocked. He begged to be taken with me when I flew away on Shondra, instead of having to face the head guard when my escape is discovered.
    He turned out to be very helpful in the great “Dragon War” that followed.
    Treat others well no matter the circumstances. You never know when they might reciprocate.

  23. Brad says:

    “I’ve had enough of that damn hipity hop noise“, thought the upset old man as he growled and grovelled in his second floor apartment. “If that no good kid doesn’t turn it off, I’m going over there to punch him square in the nose.” As the change in volume increased, so did the old man’s rage. He marched over to apartment 27B, knocked on the door, fist cocked and waited for the brat to open it up. To his surprise an old woman in a wheelchair answered the door. He noticed that she had a claw for a hand too. The tip on one part of it was shiny, like it had been put through a knife sharpener. Fearing for his own life, he pulled his Glock 9 out from his back pocket and yelled “Eat lead”. He then proceeded to fire random shots through the apartment until the clip was empty. When the smoke cleared, he had missed everybody and everything in sight, including the stereo. The old woman wheeled herself over to it and turned the volume up bellowed out an evil laugh that would have made the Devil sing and God cringe in fear. She looked at the old man who was crying and said, “all you had to do was ask.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Brad: Oh man! Welcome to the CCC. You caught me so off guard with that submission. I damn near teared up. Hope to see you around every Monday and Thursday. This place is a blast and an addiction we can’t live without. I’ll add your name and url to the CCC Community page now. Everyone welcome Brad.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Brad-Welcome to the CCC!

        When you claw for words that cannot be found and a few square meals is not enough, come feast at the banquet of creativity, known as CCC. Your writing will forever change as the random words inspire you to achieve more.

        The frustration that could eat you alive is forgotten as you are sucked into the sweet addiction that embraces all who come to CCC. Soon the greatest tip you will ever hear is, Get thee to CCC. Never again will you ask How can I break through this dam of words? Be upset no more, you have found your home. Anything else is just noise.


    • Lydia says:

      Welcome, Brad. What a great first entry!

  24. Casper says:

    @Brad: gripping…..’n a nice finish.

    • Brad says:

      Hey Casper, Thanks…
      And everyone above, thanks as well. This site is definitely going to be one more thing I will need 12 steps for.

  25. Sorry I am late this week, here is the poem I just came up with for these words.  It is a little bit of a harsh poem.


    Enough with this
    random noise
    ask for square truth
    eat words
    from somber to upset
    moods change
    wanting only love
    receiving claw
    the tip of the iceberg
    feelings revealed

  26. Michelle says:

    Fun 🙂

    John awoke. Upset by the noise ringing in his ear, he clawed at the nightstand to find his cellphone. Feeling among the random objects on the square stand John used the tip of his finger to drag the phone toward him. The woman on the line asked, “Wanna get something to eat?” John said yes. He knew he had enough change to catch the bus.

    Not sure is past tense is acceptable.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Michelle: Welcome to the CCC. No rules here on the tenses. We stretch words all the time here. I loved this first submission. Fav line: John used the top of his finger to drag the phone toward him. Great visual. Hope you will stop by each Monday and Thursday for more of our addiction. Everyone welcome Michelle to the fun. Speaking of fun, your site looks like a ton of fun.

      • Michelle says:

        Thanks Shane. I enjoy this type of challenge. It’s a nice break from what I’ve been doing all week. I like writing within parameters. It keeps me focused. I’ll probably participate in some of the older challenges too. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Michelle-Welcome to the CCC!

        Each week we claw and fight our way here, despite the obligations of work and family. We square away our tasks so we can get our weekly CCC fix. We simply cannot get enough of the challenges, the community and the sheer joy that CCC brings. So, if we must change our priorities to visit every week, it’s an adjustment we are happy to make.

        The random set of words inspire and invigorate as we eat up the keyboard with the voracious appetite of unleashed creativity. Stories soar to the tip of the universe and back as once more we ask where will it end? We upset the rules of time to silence the noise racing inside our heads.


  27. Prunebutt’s Complaint

    The little fuzzball rolled and skittered its way across the floor like a vorpal tribble. To the unwary, my musty little Muse, Prunebutt, looked cute and fluffy; the compulsion to pick it up, dust it off, and cuddle it in the palm of a hand while cooing smarmy endearments at it was almost impossible to resist – particularly if you were a teenaged girl, or a boy who mistook it for a hairy little PacMan.

    I am not so naïve, anymore. The evil creature tries to claw its way into my brain once I fall, exhausted, into a dreamless sleep. I dare not dream. Prunebutt sends random nightmares, disguised as stories, full of characters and noises that I cannot shake loose even as the daylight floods my bedroom. Like a Willi is forced to dance until her partner drops dead of heart failure, I am forced to listen to these aberrant creatures and take dictation until my fingernails turn black and peel off.

    Enough!” I yelled, and the noise of my own voice reverberated around the room, bouncing off the walls, causing Prunebutt to giggle maniacally.

    Dave smiled indulgently and handed me another pen. A nice pen. A fountain pen. Dave has discovered my weakness for pens that glide like ice-skaters across the Zamboni-smooth surface of a snowy page. Visiting from Florida, Dave is amused by the fuzzy little Muse; he finds Prunebutt endlessly entertaining, for some reason. And the demon senses that – it has allied itself with my friend, turning Dave into his – its – protector. Dave is all that stands between me, a cast-iron frying pan, and the fuzzbrat, some days.

    I would find both of them more amusing if I had one square scrap of paper left in the house – and if the pen weren’t nearly dry. I change the nib out for a gold one with a finer I would find both of them more amusing if I had a scrap of paper left in the house – and if the pen weren’t nearly dry. and dig out a cartridge of fresh, blue-black ink. Prunebutt immediately started warbling away, gyring, gimbling, and gorbling the words faster than I could scribble them on my forearm. Maybe I shouldn’t have used such a fine tip; a thin line of blood rose up to underscore the words that appeared on my skin. It stung. Dave looked mildly upset, but Prunebutt looked downright gleeful. There was an unnatural light glinting off his beady little black eyes. It bared its fangs – perhaps that was meant to be a reminder that it could simply eat me, then and there.

    Just then, something inside me snapped. I grabbed the foul creature, rubbed it against my arm, using it like a towel to sop off the blood and stanch the flow. Out came the claws, but it was too late. I tossed it across the room and glared at it as it wildly berated me.

    I told most of this to the nice young men in their clean white coats when they asked why I was huddling in a corner, glaring at the cobwebs where Prunebutt rested – as if they were a tiny hammock. Half asleep, he swung it gently side to side while a spider dangled overhead, thumbing her nose at me. I knew better than to mention the voices – but Dave helpfully told the medics all about the “characters” in my novel, and how I’d introduced him to all my imaginary friends.

  28. margaret says:

    One square of chocolate is enough 
    to change  my mood to great from rough.
    Any random piece will do
    but euphoric I am when I eat two.
    The noise in my head always goes away..
    I’m never upset, just want to play!
    But don’t ask me to share, cuz I don’t don’t do that well.
    I will claw your face and send you to hell.
    Not trying to be rude, or give you some lip..
    It’s just a preventive safety tip!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ma: I’d love to see you release a line of chocolate called Ma’s Chocolate with the slogan “Get your own bleepin’ piece.” 😉

  29. Kelly says:


    You say you want a revolution? Change your self first, bucko. I get tired of hearing how everybody else is doing it wrong from smug punks (“upsetting your future” as if the future of the ragged masses doesn’t count) who’ve never had to claw and fight for anything in their lives. You’ve got enough to eat 4 squares a day, you’ve got your fancy degree handed to you on a platter, you’ve got money to create a bubble of leisurely navel-gazing around you and your equally arrogant friends. Not one real tragedy, not one belief-shattering danger, has ever dared to touch your gently-moisturized skin. You’re set up in your tower assessing the masses for their failings, making a lot of noise about their third-world bargains and their wasteful autos, their mixed-up kids and their McHorrid diets, without ever stopping to ask yourself whose priorities are the crazy ones—theirs or yours?

    Their choices seem random to you, unjustifiable and short-termist, but it’s day-to-day survival in the real world, baby. The world you and your organic-juice, single-malt-whisky, solar-condo, hybrid-SUV-friends live if complete ignorance of.

    You wouldn’t take a tip if I offered one. It’s far beneath you to examine anything but other people’s failings. But hey, you’re always spouting your drivel unsolicited, so I’ll give it a shot—address today’s tragedies today. Lift the people around you who can’t lift themselves—you know, the ones you think won’t lift themselves?

    Give everybody a tiny breath of that secure, soft, navel-gazing time that you take for granted. Then maybe the ragged McMasses will give you a hand with your Save the Future Revolution.

    Truth is, you can’t do it alone. You need the McPeople.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: You need the Mcpeople. That’s my fav line. Just let me know when your 1st fiction book comes out.

      • Kelly says:

        Shane—I’m still searching in the sofa cushions for an advance so I can take time to write one, LOL.
        (We all need the McPeople. I get so annoyed by ppl who don’t get that!)

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