Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #151

James Chartrand of MenWithPens choose today’s words. Show her how to knock it out of the park.

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. Angelic
  2. Demonize
  3. Exalted – Elevated in rank, character, or status.
  4. Hail 
  5. Pedestal 
  6. Repentant – reproaching oneself for one’s past actions or sins; contrite
  7. Lost 
  8. Soul 
  9. Saviour – Per James, “and yes, it’s f#cking spelled that way :P”
  10. Liquor

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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224 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #151”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Bobby, don’t gets mad at me when I tells you this, but remember when I hailed dat truck and he said he’d take us to California to see Margaret?”

    “Yeah! Dis gonna hurt ain’t it Billy?”

    “Well, he musta either got lost, was an evil soul in need of saviourin’, or was liquored up, but either way, how come I see a Welcome to Canada sign right over younder?”

    “How come Billy? How come? Cause he’s demonized, dat’s why? And dat Walmart company of ours ain’t angelic no more, I can done tell you dis much. But, ain’t no need to keep cryin’ over spillt mountain oyster milk. I’s got me one of them light bulbs over my head.”

    “What’s dat Bobby?”

    “Remember dat copywriter, James Chartrand, that feller dat’s really a woman and should be wearin’ those underbritches like all woman should … da britches dat were on Copyblogger dat one day we seent when we was browsing da Internet at dat Starbucks dat threw us out?”

    “Bobby, I remember. You be placin’ her on a pedestal, like she’s exalted.”

    “Billy, she ain’t tired, but dat’s besides the point. Perhaps she can get us a job writin’ stuff.”

    “Bobby, you done kilt her assassin down in Gator’s Crossing. She ain’t gonna give us no jobs unlessin’ you be repentant and stuff.”

    “No need for reproachin’ one’s self, Billy. Dat trucker may have snookered us, but dat was a wine truck, and I don’t stolt a whole case of dis here Shiraz. Even though we can’t write none, James gonna promote us to VPs for sure!”

  2. Maria Holt says:

     

     

    Her angelic face
    belied the lost soul that resided
    there. Her mother lay just a few feet away, her head bashed in, blood staining
    the cracked earth. She knew she would be demonized
    for her actions, would suffer in the hailstorm
    of controversy and blame, but it didn’t matter. It was over. Finally, finally
    over.

     

    As a child she, as all children do, put her mother on the
    parental pedestal, exalted her for her position as the
    sole parent, looking up to her for guidance and love. When those were not
    forthcoming, she hoped for security, finally settling for benign neglect, as
    the liquor slowly took over and then
    destroyed not just her mother’s life but hers as well.

     

    She dropped the fence post. It clunked to the ground,
    raising up a small wisp of dust. She sank down beside her dead mother, too
    weary to cry, and waited for nightfall. A good Catholic would confess her sins,
    ask the Saviour for repentance. She would not. She wasn’t
    sorry for what she’d done.

     

    James returned with Addie to find her still sitting beside
    the bloody body. Their eyes met and he jumped off the horse and carried the
    still-sleeping child into the house.

     

    “When did she show up?” he asked, as he rolled the body, now
    cold and stiff, into a woven blanket.

     

    “Just after you’d left. She said you’d pay for the showdown
    with Delbert McClintock. Said she was going to marry him and then you’d pay,
    said if I backed you, she’d take Addie.”

     

    “Go on inside, get some rest. I’ll take care of this.
    There’s a mine sinkhole just up the canyon.”

     

    She didn’t move. She wondered if she’d cry. She didn’t think
    so.

     

    Later, when James returned, they went on with their lives as
    if nothing had happened. The sheriff rode out and poked around, asked some
    questions, but her mother’s blood was swallowed by the desert.

     

    At suppertime, Addie said, “Where’s my granny?”

     

    “I don’t know,” James said. “Maybe we’ll see her tomorrow.”

    • Lydia says:

      This gave me a shiver down my spine.  I wonder if they’ll get away with it?

      • maria says:

        Thanks so much. I am about 2/3 done with my first novel. I got Larry Brook’s book from the library and it turned everything around for me. I now know how to get it all together and make it work.
         
        Maria

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Maria: Larry Brooks set me on the right path for sure.
          P.S. For those of you that don’t know, my post is live over at storyfix.com

    • Jen says:

      “The blood was swallowed by the desert.” Oooh. Magnifico!

      • maria says:

        Thanks for your kind comment. I grew up in the desert. Once I stepped on a nail and the next day, we couldn’t even find the scene of the crime. Swallowed. Gone.
         
        Maria

    • Dark and mysterious, though we know liquor was to blame. You have a great story here, Maria.
      I loved the untold backstory of Delbert McClintock.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • maria says:

        Thanks for your kind comments. You wouldn’t believe that I was raised by a tea-totalling mother who doted on me. It’s fiction. Not even close to the truth!
         
        Maria

    • Kelly says:

      Oh. My gosh. Maria, that was wonderfully told. So few words, such an enormous picture you painted. Great.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Maria: HOLY BLEEP! What an excellent way to enter the CCC. That was such a vivid image you painted for me. I could see this as a Clint Eastwood Western. I hope you come back each Monday and Thursday for more of our addiction.
      Everyone welcome Maria to the fun. Adding your name to the CCC Community Links page now.

      • Kelly says:

        LOL. Shane, “HOLY BLEEP” was exactly the words I was looking for. I guess it would be a little late for me to say “Holy bleep, Maria” now…
         
        🙂

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Maria, C Rich, Carla-Welcome to CCC!

        Here we go from the angelic to demonize the innocent in exalted prose. We hail all newcomers and elevate your entries to the pedestal of creative challenge.

        That you will become addicted is not something we are repentant about because we know it is a sweet, shared addiction that brings lost words the soul they crave.

        So, come back often to the saviour of the words. We’ll provide the liquor of applause.

        Welcome!

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Wow.  Just plain out and out WOW!

    • Chris Fries says:

      BLEEPIN’ HOLY BLEEP!  (You’re right Shane — it does feel good to say that)
       
      What a wonderful, creepy, and engrossing piece.  Great job!!!  I really liked this.

      • Maria says:

        Thanks to each of you! I will continue the story with the bi-weekly prompts.
         
        Maria
         
        I really enjoyed all that I read. Lots of talent out there!

  3. Lydia says:

    “Don’t you think you should replace the dirt first? Dawn is coming and if we leave Adela’s grave as is they’re going to know it’s been dug up right away.”
     
    “You’re right.” After all of the soil had been put back more or less where it had been  found Ed helped Marlene avoid a repetitive stress injury by personally rearranging the sod over the small mound of dirt.
     
    When Marlene and Ed finished showering they spread out the blanket holding the bones and pipe on one of the hotel room beds and stared at them for a moment.
     
    “Great-Grandma Adela was my ideal,” Marlene said quietly. “When mama had too much liquor or merlot I’d go visit Grandma Iris and ask her stories about when she was a little girl. She didn’t know much and wasn’t always in the mood to tell what she did know but we pieced her mama’s life together. After she died I’d sit up in the attic and tell them to myself. When hail beat against the windows I’d imagine that it was her knocking to invite me over for soup and cookies. ”
     
    “You never told me that!”
     
    “It was a private family matter and I didn’t want to demonize anybody. Grandma barely even wanted me to know but she needed someone to help her figure it all out. Especially after her health began to fail.”
     
    “Have you ever thought that you’ve turned a flesh and blood person into a saviour figure by putting her on a pedestal?”
     
    “Of course not! You don’t have to be angelic to be a loving mother and wife.”
     
    “It just seems like you’re making her into much more than she actually was in life. No one is always good and kind. Not even saints.”
     
    “Drop it, Ed.” Marlene’s voice turned to stone.
     
    Silence.
     
    “Do you see any clues?” Ed asked.
     
    “I’m not a pathologist but I don’t see any obvious injuries. I think that rib broke after she died.”
     
    “The other skull is so tiny. Poor soul. Were our kids ever that small?”
     
    “Isaac was about that little when we lost him. He was premature, though. Her baby might have been born early, too.”
     
    “J.P. Exalted.” Ed picked up the pipe and abruptly read aloud a small engraving on the item. “Jonas Pritchett? Do you think he had something to do with what happened? The pipe could be a message from a repentant man.”

  4. margaret says:

    I am so tired hearing about yet another politician who was exalted on a pedestal of false self righteousness and has taken a hard fall caused by his own perversions and self destruction.
    The hail of publicity that ensues is always a  gag-worthy shitstorm of raunchy pictures and tiresome tales of debauchery.

    They can demonize the liquor that led them to go astray and become a lost soul. They can blame
    their mothers or the various temptations our society has to offer. The reality, though, is that they
    were never that angelic to begin with, and the only reason they are repentant is because they got
    caught with their hand on their zipper.

    Don’t look for any magic saviours, pervs, Just publicly announce that you are going into rehab for your perversions, resign your public post and assume it will all go away. It is a time tested solution for celebrities and politicians.

  5. Lost on the Serengeti during a freak hail burst, I ducked under an umbrella tree and took the final swig of Ugandian liquor. I grew repentant over my decision to runaway from my comfortable life in Chelsea, MA, and seek adventure with the African TV saviour Obadada. We met at a televangelist conference in NYC.

    He whispered in my ear during our volcanic hot love-making sessions in Central Park, “Leave your boring life and I’ll place you on an eco-friendly pedestal made of recycled sandalwood.”
     
    I fell for his angelic face. I fell for his exalted status. I fell for his brazen soul.

    We ran away to his furnished tree-hut in Rwanda. I’d never been so in lust or satiated. Then out-of-the sky blue, he slapped me across the face and started to demonize me. He doused me with lion pee and monkey spit, while chanting something about hairless armpits.

    My dream to give birth in Africa inspired by a Louis Leaky film in college on Olduvai Gorge turned into a hellish mush.

    I grabbed my compass, a six-pack of coffee nips and headed into the deepest part of the jungle. Somewhere before me lay the vast expanse I saw in the movie “Africa: The Serengeti.

    A ride on a zebra seemed like a fitting end to my adventure …

  6. Carla Smith says:

    Nine year old Nancy held tight to her June report card as she ducked finally into the dealership, seconds before the rain turned to hail. Braving the distinctly male bastion, a boy’s club of sorts and seeking out her Dad’s office was always a challenge for angelic Nancy.  A shiny new 1968 Pontiac Parisienne dominated the showroom, slowly rotating on the pedestal.  Men in short white shirt sleeves, cigarettes in one hand, always looked up non-chalantly then went back to the task at hand. The grimy smells emanating from the darkened back aisles of the Parts Department demonized her. She had nightmares of being lost amongst the mysterious boxes of nuts, bolts and other miscellaneous car parts.
    Nancy unfortunately missed lone female secretary’s ‘just wait’ signal and opened the door to her Dad’s office. Her eyes widened at what she saw. Clearly she had interrupted. Father Joseph was there, across the desk from her Dad, with a bottle of what looked to be liquor between them. In a strange twist of circumstance he was on his knees, repentant, for God knows what. Was it possible that her Dad was the true Saviour, and not the priest, something her gut had told her all along? Was it possible that her soul wasn’t stained with the sins of the entire known world?
    Strangely exalted she shut the door, secretly triumphant, as though she’d peered through a crack and the universe had shared a secret. She waited her turn.

    • Carla, wow.
      You just signed a movie deal, didn’t ya! This is solid gold! Not only have you sparked insane curiosity, the vantage point of an innocent young girl is priceless!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Carla Smith says:

        Thanks Mitch. First time today, and I loved the challenge. Todays words, with a little help, allowed me to adapt part of my Father’s Day blog. I was raised Catholic and the priest was about as elevated as it gets but to me, my Dad deserved that role. And I always wondered who the priest could go to for some kind of real time redemption. My Dad was always friends with the parish priests – sold them cars- so it kind of all just worked. Thanks for your support! My blog is The Grace of Great Things:Dad, My Inadvertent Philanthropist. carlamariasmith.blogspot.com

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Carla: HOLY YOU-KNOW-WHAT! You crushed your first CCC submission with that one. Man, that was good! I know this place is gonna’ love you. Hope to see you back each Monday and Thursday. What did you think of it?

      Everyone welcome Carla to our playground. I’ll add your name to the CCC Community Links page next too.

      • Carla Smith says:

        Thank-you, Shane. Really enjoyed the challenge. It started my writing day off with a great exercise. I have to thank Scott Myers at Go Into the Story for sending me over today. It’s fun seeing you all support each other.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Carla; Thank YOU. Did he mention us on his site? I just visited but didn’t see anything. Seems like a great resource for storytelling.

          • Carla Smith says:

            Yes. He did. But now I can’t find it either. He’s a great resource – my twitter commander in chief for illuminating resources and real online help. Highly recommend him.

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Welcome to CCC.  you blitzed it!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Welcome, Carla!
       
      What a terrific entry.  This convoluted car-dealer confessional arouses such wonderful story questions!  I love the girl’s PoV, too.
       
      Excellent entry!

    • Lydia says:

      This was fantastic, Carla. I could see it playing out before my eyes.

  7. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: Wife is having that rescheduled procedure today. I’ll comment later tonight all. Welcome all new CCCrs. Be good! (on second thought, scratch that. Go crazy!)

  8. Chris Fries says:

    Happy Monday the 13th to all of you! 

    …and so it ends:

    The Look of Murder — Part 24 (Conclusion)

    Margaret Thurston sat next to me with one shapely leg tucked under her, poised on her stiff-back couch, in her plush living room, in her luxurious home.  The lighting was low; her angelic face was bathed in a gentle glow.  She had changed into a slinky and silky dressing robe which now curled around her, revealing her supple ankles.  Her deep, dark eyes were turned in my direction, her moist lips were parted slightly, and she seemed rapt and eager to marvel over whatever profundity I might spew out of my mouth.

    I was her saviour; her exalted rescuing knight, who had saved her, body and soul, from the demonic clutches of the evil murderer Samuel Dotson.  All hail the avenging victor, Nick Sharpe!

    I let my gaze glide over her lounging form, relishing each tantalizing curve.  She was beyond beautiful.  Her presence was more intoxicating than six shots of high-powered liquor.

    I could easily see why Dotson had fallen for her like a ton of bricks; why he’d lost himself in a twisted urge to somehow win her over by knocking off her philandering husband and his shack-up honey Vivian Powell.

    In fact, I might want to make it sound like I’d been the tireless gumshoe on a relentless quest for justice and the truth, but the honest truth was that I’d only been doing all I did because I’d put her on a pedestal myself. 

    Margaret had only to look at you and you’d also be willing go to the ends of the earth to keep her from a killer.  Or maybe even to kill for her yourself.  Either one — whichever it took to be next to her. 

    And now I was.

    But somehow, something had changed.  Maybe I’d had too many bodies show up at my feet.  Maybe I’d seen enough of the insanity that men were willing to commit when they were around her.  Maybe I’d somehow become repentant of all the lecherous thoughts I’d been having about her, now that they might actually come true.

    Or maybe I just realized that a two-bit P.I. like me had no business with a ritzy broad like Margaret — Anything we started tonight could never last.

    I wasn’t sure.

    But I was suddenly sure of what I wanted to do.

    I took Margaret’s hands in mine, thanked her for a wonderful meal, told her I’d always remember her, and wished her well.  Then I stood up and grabbed my hat and coat.

    She looked at me with gaping eyes, like I’d gone completely insane. In some ways it felt like I had, but in most ways it felt like I’d finally come to my senses.

    I smiled to myself as I stepped out to my car, light-hearted and amazingly eager to leave.

    Because I had a date with a librarian.

    *** END ***

    • Jen says:

      Oh, dear. I can’t decide how I feel abou the “ritzy broad.” But, you can’t pass up a date with a librarian. Fun stuff.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks Jen!  I’m glad you enjoyed it.
         
        I’d developed such an affinity for Joan Dawkins (see parts 12 and 16), that I decided Sharpe had to come to his senses and and up with her instead of with Margaret.  😉
         

    • Yay! Bravo! Encore!
       
      Way to go, Mr. Fries! I’m so glad Nick did the right thing. LOL Only in the 1940’s, right?
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thank you, Mitch!
         
        I’m very glad that you liked it.  Yeah — I was tempted to have Sharpe come to his senses the morning after, but I like it better like this.  Not sure what will come of Margaret, but she’s rich and good-looking and I picture her happy in the Caribbean, with a new, loving, and dedicated husband, and kids on the way…

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: YEAHHHH BUDDY! That was a super ending. The whole time I was reading this I was saying, “I hope he doesn’t forget about the Librarian … shoot, I think he’s going to go with Margaret and forget he mentioned the Librarian … oh bleep, I’m almost done reading and he didn’t mention the — oh shit! He did mention her! Chris is the man!”

      I still sit in amazement that ANYBODY can do a full series and fit in the prompts. How amazing.

      • Chris Fries says:

        LOL!  Thanks, Shane!  I’m very happy you enjoyed it.
         
        No — we couldn’t forget the librarian.  Joan had only a bit part, but she turned into one of my favorite characters.  Sharpe needs her to keep him in line, and it’s about time he realized it.
         
        So… Ummm…  Is a 24-part series enough to get a series link in the community page?  ;^)

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Chris: Yeah, the series link thingy was something I did in the earlier days of CCC, but I mentioned I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep up with it. Hopefully with some restructuring of our blog, the archiving will happen automatically. Until that time, I’ll have to add new series like yours when they are completed. That way, I only have to do the process once. If you wouldn’t mind compiling them into one file and emailing them to me, though, that would be a great help to me. You can use the contact form. I’ll set up that page for you.

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Now I am going to read the whole series from start to finish.  🙂

      • Chris Fries says:

        I hope you enjoy it as a full piece.
         
        I know it kind of evolved a little as I wrote it.  In retrospect, I might go back and edit a few things here and there (like having the camera as the murder weapon now seems goofy), but given that it was mostly a rough draft all the way through, and I was do some contortions to get all the prompt words in at times, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
         

  9. 06/13/2011

    My Dearest Amanda,

    It’s been two years to the day we first met.  I was a depressed soul working at a crap job, when an angelic being walked in and ordered a grande mocha frapaccino.  Your smile was infectious from the very beginning.  It complemented the way you walked, you talked, and even the way you would scratch your nose.  Your presence pulled this tortured and lost wretch of a beast out of a pit of depression, drugs and hard liquor.  It was not hard for me to put you on the pedestal you deserved and exalted your works completed in me.  All this caused me to be repentant to my way of life prior to June thirteenth, two-thousand and nine.  I was in love with my saviour.

    It wasn’t long after when I started staying over at your house.  I learned to appreciate Lifetime movies from all the the time we spent watching TV.  During bad weather, I would be your protector and get as close as I could to you to try and protect you from the sounds of hail banging against the patio cover.

    Sometimes I would just watch you sleep.  I liked to imagine you were dreaming of me and the reason for your continuous smile while you slumbered.  I’ve never learned so much from anyone so interesting or fun in my entire life.

    You are my world, Amanda.  There is no place I would not follow you.  Some people may try to demonize the relationship by inferring it’s only temporary or superficial; I ignore the naysayers.  They just don’t understand the relationship we genuinely share.

    But something inside my head is starting to believe those accusations.  I can’t let them continue.  Which is why as soon as you are finished reading this letter, I will kill you.

    Remember I will always love you, even if you have no idea who I am.

    Love Always,
    Derek.

    p.s.  Don’t worry, I’ll let myself in.

  10. Anne Wayman says:

    For James:

    Hmmmm. She doesn’t seem liquored up, and her spelling of Saviour is f*cking correct despite what word insists. I know d*mn well her soul isn’t lost; she does not need to be repentant. However, on a pedestal, listening to all hail her exalted status, some might demonize her rather than recognizing her true angelic beingness.

  11. Kelly says:

    NOBODY OWES YOU

    Girl, don’t wish for a lottery win;
    Don’t wish for a miracle to make you thin;
    Don’t wish for a man to be your saviour,
    Just get out and make it on your own behaviour.

    Sometimes you feel like a little lost soul,
    Like God didn’t give you enough to be whole.
    But God doesn’t owe you, you stand on your own;
    Whatever you face, you push through it alone.

    Girl, don’t wish to be seen as angelic,
    Martyrdom’s out and you’ll look like a relic.
    Enemies come and they demonize you
    Don’t wish them the worst, it just comes back to bite you.

    It hurts to work hard and receive no reward
    To keep going back when you mean to go forward
    You just want to wish and have wishes come true
    Why can’t a boatload of luck hail on you?

    Girl, don’t wish for the easy way out
    Those who don’t sweat will always have doubt
    The pedestal you stand on, you’ve got to score
    The liquor tastes sweeter when you do the pour

    Exalted or not, there are smaller successes
    Making the rent, cleaning your messes
    Not waiting around for a ship to come in
    That doesn’t have your name on it, and doesn’t house your djinn

    Girl, don’t wish for a lottery win;
    Be unrepentant, make miracle happen;
    Don’t wish for a man to be your saviour,
    Just get out and make it on your own behaviour.

  12. Jen says:

    Darla, for the first time in ages, didn’t feel lost. She didn’t feel repentant or smug or tired or angry or anything at all much like what she’d been feeling. As she sat at the booth in the sticky hot diner, drinking her hyper-sweet tea, she let the thoughts that had been swirling in her skull settle like undissolved grains of sugar.
     
    The idea dawned on her slowly, like the warm burn of liquor held on the tongue. It rinsed over her, and she tasted it, this idea, this tingling, welcome burning gem of a thought. She held on to the notion, allowed it to settle over her, a luminous glow.
     
    The idea was, potentially, a soul-Saviour. Or not. She wasn’t sure she cared. She only knew she liked the way it sounded in her head, washing over her thoughts, a sandblasting of her past.
     
    She had walked away from her mother, the one she had demonized for so long for her apathy, her disinterest in anything but the dirty needle. And Patrick was no angelic figurehead either, she had realized, too late. The only one who exalted Patrick was Patrick himself. The others stayed at The Community out of fear. She understood that deep, persistent fear; it pelted her resolve to leave like a hailstorm until finally she didn’t care anymore.
     
     
    She was tired of extreme pedestals of good and evil. She was tired of living according to the whims of others. Darla pushed a stringy chunk of hair behind her ear. She patted her face again with a paper napkin. Her spine grew straight and tall. Her eyes opened wide. She knew what she was going to do.

  13. C Rich says:

    They were coming:  The hoards of Satan spawn determined to demonize this lost soul

    Sam McGee sat on his barstool, liquor in hand.  He didn’t remember what he had ordered.  It didn’t matter, as long as it took away the pain, left over motor oil would do.  He couldn’t believe she was gone.  He took another swing, hoping to erase the image of her angelic face from his tortured mind.  Maybe he had exalted her to a pedestal thinking she was incapable of hurting him.  Repentant or not, he would not forgive her.  He didn’t have to.  He was no saviour

    A riotous pounding started in his ears.  He clutched his head, swaying as the deafening hailstorm increased.  Then silence.  He looked around the bar searching for some sign that he hadn’t been the only one to experience that strange sound.  Ice crackled up his spine.  He was alone.

    • Yikes! Okay, I want to know what happens next!
      You really got your hooks in me, C Rich!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @C Rich: Welcome to the CCC. You came out swinging with this one. Super job. Everyone will love you here. Hope to see you back each Monday and Thursday.
      Everyone welcome C Rich to the club. Adding your name to the CCC Community links page now. You’re the 3rd new person today.

      • C Rich says:

        You might want to thank Larry Brooks.  I had no idea CCC existed until he mentioned it on his blog.  This is fun.  I’ll definately be back.  Thanks!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow!  Awesome opening, C Rich!   Welcome to the CCC!
       
      I’m intrigued by what you’ve done here — compelling characterization, excellent scene-setting, and a great tease at the end.  Fabulous work.
       

    • Lydia says:

      Welcome, C Rich. Great job! I hope you continue this story in future challenges.

  14. Casper says:

    High on the pedestal sat He,the saviour of the repentant,lost souls.Shouts of “All hail the king” echoed all over the place.But his angelic demeanour was oblivious to the exalted praises.
    A million thoughts reeling through my head.Blurry eyes,throbbing heart ‘n staggering steps! Is this a vision? A window to salvation or some evil spirits trying to demonize my tormented soul? Or am  I just unable to hold my liquor tonight.

  15. “Day after day, I’m more confused
    Yet I look for the light through the pourin’ rain
    You know that’s a game that I hate to lose
    And I’m feelin’ the strain
    Ain’t it a shame”

    Congratulations! You’ve just won this week’s Virtual Lottery! Come on down to the very real Department of Revenue to claim your prize! Don’t delay; the prize is only valid for 6 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes. We’ve only had three people miss the deadline this year. Don’t be the fourth! Be sure to print the attached ticket.

    Penelope stared at the email. Through the haze of sobriety, she struggled to understand just what she had bid on. This site was totally weird. Players were encouraged to imbibe while playing. Some people swore you needed to be high to do well. Penelope had tried, but the only buzz came from a fly that had been attracted to her bottle by the sickly sweet aroma. She hit the delete button.

    ***

    “Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away
    Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away”

    Congratulations! You’ve just won this week’s Virtual Lottery! Come on down to the very real Department of Revenue to claim your prize! Don’t delay; the prize is only valid for 4 days, 17 hours and 13 minutes. We’ve only had four people miss the deadline this year. Don’t be the fifth! Be sure to print the attached ticket.

    Peter slid off the sofa. The little smart phone bounced harmlessly off his head as he squirmed into the deep shag carpet. “Hey, pet. That shit worked. For real. I jus’ won. Go get the car, willya?”

    “It’s two o’clock in the morning, dumbass.” Gina reached down and grabbed the phone. “You got plenty of time.” She tossed the phone carelessly, watching the overstuffed pillows swallow it up.

    ***

    “Beginnin’ to think that I’m wastin’ time
    I don’t understand the things I do
    The world outside looks so unkind
    Now I’m countin’ on you
    To carry me through”

    “Hey, Penny!” Jake rolled up beside his co-worker. “I haven’t had much luck with the Virtual Lottery. Want to get drunk with me tonight?”

    “Aw, Jake, that’s sweet. I actually won, but I thought it was spam. Obviously, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind, huh?” Penelope peered at Jake’s flushed cheeks and wondered if she could ever have that much power.

    “You won? Don’t tell me that! What were you drinking?” Jake squinted, ready to demonize her if she misspoke.

    “Alabama Slammers. But I ran out of peach liqueur.” Penelope winced.

    Jake guffawed. “No wonder! Listen, I got vodka, I got tomato juice. Add some Tabasco and we gonna knock back some Holy Hail Marys! You won’t even notice that you’re getting smashed.” He winked, clearly enjoying his plan for an intimate party. “It’s almost quittin’ time. Let’s sneak out.”

    Penelope grabbed her purse.

    ***

    “Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away
    Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away”

    “How the fuck you lose my phone?” Peter was pissed. He was a mean drunk and Gina tried her best to look repentant. He wasn’t buying, though: “Don’t gimme that innocent, angelic look. You best be gettin’ me my damn phone, Gina!”

    “Baby, it’s not lost, it’s around here, somewhere.” Gina knew her sharp tongue and nonchalance was no match for fists of liquor. With growing alarm, she glanced at the piles of magazines, dishes and laundry scattered throughout the tiny apartment.

    “Babee, it not lawst…” Peter was winding himself up. “Well, then where is it, gold digger!”

    ***

    “And when my mind is free
    You know a melody can move me
    And when I’m feelin’ blue
    The guitar’s comin’ through
    To soothe me”

    Jake poured another drink. “I’m going to go three hearts. First time I get those all night, huh?”

    Penelope thanked him. Took a sip. This was starting to make sense. “No, Jakey-boy. Save the hearts. I’ve seen the neatest trick-taking tactic ever, but you have to have at least five hearts and there’s only seven left. Truss me. Um Trust me.”

    Jake mumbled, “Well, what’s the bid, then? I gotta play in two minutes.”

    Penelope belched. “That’s what you do, man. Just pass. They’ll think you got a bust hand.”

    Jake giggled, “Your belch smells like french fries. Did it taste as good the second time?”

    “Go on, you,” Penelope smiled. She was really enjoying this time with Jake. She didn’t want this to end, but she was pretty sure she had figured out where this was going. If he just listened to her, everything would be fine.

    ***

    “Oh god, here it is!” Gina pulled the phone from the jaws of the pillows. “We have an hour to get you downtown! Come on!”

    ***

    “Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
    I want you to know I believe in your song
    And rhythm and rhyme and harmony
    You help me along
    Makin’ me strong”

    Jake was truly plastered. His permanently lopsided grin threatened to run down his chin and onto his lap. He kept whispering encouragement to an equally inebriated Penelope. Together, they had managed to accumulate four hearts, with two left. He had no idea what her strategy entailed. But he felt that his losing streak was about to end.

    ***

    “Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away
    Give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away”

    Welcome to the Department of Revenue. Please state your business.

    Peter ignored the drone of the tinny speaker and rumbled toward the elevators. Gina hastily informed the ghostly gatekeeper that her boyfriend had won the Virtual Lottery. As she hurried after him, she wondered what would happen to her if she were to slit his throat while they rode up to claim his prize.

    The elevator doors whispered open, accepting its new charges. Peter stabbed the five until the car began to move.

    ***

    “Oh-ho, ah-no
    Give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away”

    “Yay, baby! Now what do we do?” Jake stared at the flush on his screen.

    Penelope stared at the flush on his face. With all the pleasure of an exalted magician, she whispered, “Pass.”

    ***

    “Hey, hey, hey, yeah
    Give me the beat boys and free my soul
    I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
    And drift away”

    “Ticket, please?” The little lady was dressed all in white, a wizened cherub at the gates of Hell. She held out her hand expectantly.

    “Ain’t got one.” Peter was boiling with a suppressed fury far beyond anything instigated by man or beast. He seemed ready to kick the old crone where she sat.

    Gina proffered a sheet of paper. “It’s a bit soggy, sorry.”

    The little lady reached for the ticket. Barely glancing at the smudged numbers, she beamed up happily. “We have a winner!”

    The gates of Hell opened.

    ***

    “Damn, Penny, I thought you knew what you were doing.” Jake watched as his five hearts disappeared from the screen.

    “I do, Jakey, I do.” Penelope leaned into his face, planting a sloppy kiss just below his nose. “I do.”

    ***

    “Na, Na, now won’t ya
    Won’t ya take me
    Oh-ha, take me”

    Gina was about to follow Peter to Hell when the little lady snatched her by the knees. “Nuh-uh, sugar. Not this time.”

    Gina toppled onto the floor, her nose inches from the slowly closing gates. “Oh, Peter…”

    ***

    Ladies and gentlemen, the Virtual Lottery will be shutting down for the remainder of the year.  We hope you had fun playing. Be sure to sign up now for next year’s tournament! Don’t miss the excitement! Click or call today!

    Reaching over the snoring form, Penelope turned off the radio. It wouldn’t do to have Jake remember the wild times. Abstinence was a wobbly pedestal, after all. She wasn’t sure she was up to playing the saviour again.

    • Kelly says:

      Mitch— THIS ROCKS.
       
      I want to choose favorite lines but there are too many!
       
      “…the only buzz came from a fly that had been attracted to her bottle by the sickly sweet aroma…”

      That’s my fave, but basically, you had me completely hooked from the first strains of the song. This, if I may sound for a minute like Shane, is one of the most masterful short stories I’ve read on the CCC.

      Out-f-ing-standing.

    • Carla Smith says:

      Okay. It’s my first night here and I wanted to listen a bit and catch the drift of how this all works and I’m just beginning to reply but I loved this. I could see it all. And if you’re speaking of favorite lines, mine is “Abstinence was a wobbly pedestal, after all.” Beautiful. Sounds like a narrative movie moment.

    • Carla Smith says:

      P.S. Mitch …Love how you brought the song in. I was singing along on each verse as I was reading. Fun!

      • Hi Carla! First, welcome to the CCC! Second, thanks! I’m glad you had as much fun reading my story as I had writing it.
         
        Heh, I did a sing-along, too. That was kinda nifty. 🙂
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Okay a few things:
      1. My mind is blown away. Ctrl, alt, delete, reboot. Shit, still blown away.
      2. His permanently lopsided grin threatened to run down his chin and onto his lap. – That’s love of writing right there.
      3. I’m reading this again.
      Outstanding.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Oh man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       
      What an awesome piece, Mitch!  I love the juxtaposition of the song’s lyrics of comfort and solace against the gritty self-destructive, addictive imagery.  Such wonderful writing, my man!
       
      You literally led me to Hell and back on this one, and I enjoyed each and every step of the trip.  Wonderful!!!
       

    • C Rich says:

      Mitch, the song added a menace to the story.  I didn’t know we could do a whole short story.  Great job on this one!

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @C Rich: You can do whatever you want here. This is the CCC playground. 😉

      • Welcome to the CCC, C Rich. You got that feeling, too? I really felt it when I had a chance to sit back and read it after the editing was done. Like I was telling Carla, I actually sang along in my head and each part really painted the scene for me.
         
        I hope you let your muse run wild all up and through here!
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

        • C Rich says:

          Thanks, Mitch.  The chilly thing about that song is the yin and yang inherent between the verses and the chorus.  Each verse is somber as if the singer is saying goodbye to his life.  The chorus is happy.  It makes you want to dance, which to me represents living life to it’s fullest.  It was the perfect metaphor for your story.

          I’ll do my best not to cage the muse.  You sure didn’t in this one.  Thanks for sharing.

          Christie

    • Casper says:

      @Mitch….Wow…that was really creative,playing the song in the background.Smooth.Yep i think that word would sum up this story.

  16. Anne Maybus says:

    (Grr -can’t add the bold, sorry)

    Another day, another bottle
    You’d think I could do without it
    But it soothes me.
    Saviour of my day
    Demon slayer of my night,
    All hail liquor,
    Water of the soul.

    Oh exalted wine
    Succulent grapes of ruby power
    Fill me like a vessel.
    Tip your angelic peace
    Into my weary mind
    Keep the stress of life at bay
    Until the bottle’s dry.

    You can demonize me
    Drink dependant and weak
    I don’t want your pedestal.
    I’m not lost;
    I know exactly who I am.
    I’m sodden veined
    And wholly unrepentant.

    • Kelly says:

      Anne—dark, disturbing, terrific. “I’m sodden veined/ And wholly unrepentant” is such a great, gloomy ending! Love it!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne M: I’m just going to repeat what Kelly said.
      THE CCC HAS SO MUCH BLEEPIN’ TALENT, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACT TONIGHT! UNBELIEVABLE!

      • Kelly says:

        >>THE CCC HAS SO MUCH BLEEPIN’ TALENT, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACT TONIGHT! UNBELIEVABLE!

        Scary. Just plain scary, what the CCC has unleashed on the world.

        Thank goodness!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wow, Anne — Such a strong, emotional piece!!
       
      What an absolutely great tone.  Like watching a pilot who’s arrogantly unaware that the plane is just feet from impact, you just know this narrator is bound to crash and burn at some point in the very near future.
       
      Great job!
       

    • C Rich says:

      Moving!  Great job!

    • No worries, Anne, the whole poem is a bold statement.
      I know fatalistic people like this, too.
      You always know how to get your point across, I love that!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Thank you all for your comments.  After I post my story I go to read yours and I am always blown away.  If I read yours first I would never dare to post at all.

  17. Jake says:

    In the midst of a life that Howard had grown to loathe, Tiffany was an angelic diversion for him.  A point of peace in an increasingly chaotic world that seemed to be continually growing darker.  She was his friend, and he felt no other emotions toward her other than just that.  What he felt made him feel good about himself.  It made him feel that he was still capable of love and that somehow some element of purity still lingered in him. Through her presence in his life, his soul seemed to find a peaceful refuge and kept hopes of redemption lingering in his life.

    Just a little over two years ago, Tiffany had become a born again Christian, becoming involved in one of the last churches in existence anywhere near the Denoncorp Township.  Howard never forgot the morning that she bolted into his office, declaring that Jesus Christ had become her Saviour.  He nearly dropped his cup of morning liquor, as she danced over to his desk and grabbed his shoulders.  “A stripper turned Christian?  I’ll drink to that!” he said with a sarcastic snicker.  “A modern day Mary Magdalene, right?”

    “I know!  Did you ever think that this nasty girl had a repentant bone in her body?” Tiffany said, pushing Howard in his rolling chair against the office window.

    “Well, hail Jesus!” Howard said with a think Southern drawl.

    “It’s PRAISE Jesus, you old idiot!”  Tiffany laughed and gave Howard the finger.  She may have been a Christian, but she was still edgy.  She was still Tiffany.

    Even though he didn’t share her faith, Howard felt no animosity toward Tiffany.  He knew that whatever change occurred in her was real, and he accepted it for what it was.  She had never been the typical obnoxious Evangelical Christian that exalted themselves above those that were doomed to damnation and eternal Hell-fire.  She was real and Howard assumed that it had much to do with her past.  Tiffany talked opening about her faith with Howard, but never even came close to judgment or demonizing him because of who he was, or what he wasn’t.  She never put herself upon a self-righteous pedestal and he respected her for that.

    It wasn’t that Howard didn’t believe in God.  He somewhat grew up in church and even occasionally attended during college.  But as the Church became more underground, Howard was one of the many that grew to believe it wasn’t worth the fight.  As industry progressed, it made it more and more difficult to believe that God was at all present among the waste, pollution and the hope-ridden populace that inhabited it.  Faith was not easy for Howard.  It wasn’t easy for most.

    DenonCorp only complicated issue even more with their strict anti-religion codes.  In fact, Tiffany was not allowed to practice her faith in public, while on company grounds.  Howard had no problem with it, so he gave her freedom to pray, read her Bible and the any other books that she found through the illegal networks.  She often prayed for him, and although he had no intention of changing, she jokingly made it clear that she wasn’t giving up on his “lost ass”.  She loved him.  Howard knew that.  And as the endless industry that surrounded him continued to create a hell that seemed void of any salvation, that was enough for Howard.  Enough for the day at least.

  18. I wish I could say I was repentant, or even the teensiest, tinsiest bit contrite, but I’m not. Let them come after me with stones and torches, if they will – I won’t be pigeonholed as the author of insipid, childish rhyming verse, or exalted as one who penned a prayer that moved a thousand people to spontaneously confess their sins and seek absolution on the spot. They talked of nothing else for days, on cable news; it seems the media has a special fondness for mass hysteria.
     
    I refused to be the voice of a lost generation or the saviour of souls. At seventeen, I had had enough of the tent revival circuit, the staged miracles, the orchestrated mass conversions and hysteria. Let them demonize me for what came next; before they could lift me in effigy onto that ridiculously high and tottering pedestal, I grabbed a bottle of liquor and leapt up upon the bar – unveiled my bronzed bust in a way the artist never imagined – took a long, deep swig of rum, and belted out “Hail to the Chief.” I don’t know what possessed me, then, to use the Holy Bible for target practice, but I hit that book right out of Pastor Practical’s hand with a Smith & Wesson I’d stolen from his end table drawer the night before. The look on his face would’ve shocked Satan himself. The “Angelic Angela,” child mouthpiece of God, had grown up and gone out with a bang.

  19. Rebecca says:

    Feeling philosophical today…
    Is there an angelic realm? Or, are these spiritual beings a figment of our imagination? We hail them as light-workers. We worship and put them on a pedestal like a God, but we’re still lost. Are they not our savior? We demonize Lucifer, but the real meaning of Lucifer is light. How did we lose sight of this? Why are we so easily led like sheep? What really happens to our soul when we die? Must we be repentant to get into heaven? Does it exist? Will we be exalted? Perhaps, it’s the liquor talking. But, I have questions that deserve to be answered.

  20. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thanks! I must be feeling the energy of the full moon and lunar eclipse. Lol 🙂

  21. Brad says:

    The text said, “Liquor in the Front, Poker in the Rear” on the front part of the trucker hat that fell to the floor as Johnny got punched. He should have never insulted him the way he did. Malcomb was a true soul brotha who hailed from Queens and couldn’t stand red necks.
    “You lost boy? I axed you a question. You lost?” roared Malcomb. Johnny picked his hat up, grinned and said in a southern drawl, “Exxxccuuuuuse me ohh exalted one, for I am now repentant of my last transgression.”  Malcomb threw another punch, Johnny ducked, broke one of the feet off the pedestal nearby and smashed Malcomb in the ribs. He dropped faster than an angelic being speared by a flaming trident thrown by Satan himself.
    As Malcomb looked up at Johnny, Johnny chuckled a bit and said “you have demon eyes.”  “Demonize? what the hell you talkin bout hillbilly?” Johnny was about to answer when Malcomb grabbed an empty bottle from the bar and bashed it over Johnny’s head.
    Malcomb stood up,  spit on Johnny who lay unconscious and yelled, “I’m your saviour biatch.” He bent over, took the trucker hat off of Johnny’s head and put it on his head with the afro sticking out the sides. Counting the money from Johnny’s wallet, he bellowed. “Drinks are on Johnny”.

    • Now, see, that’s some Quentin Tarantino stuff right there! Samuel L. Jackson with a ‘fro and Billy Bob Thornton with a sneer.
       
      Great scene, Brad!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Brad: Oh, damn! Loved where you took this. I had one of those short-burst, unexpected laughs that builds into a full laughs. What a visual with this one. This is my new fav of yours. Write on … please.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great characters!
       
      I also loved the ‘demon eyes / demonize’ exchange — made me laugh out loud. ;^)
       
       

    • Brad says:

      Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time to read it. I friggin love this site. It’s never dull.
      Keep on bangin the keys because the world needs huge dose of creativity!

  22. Jesse says:

    His angelic, almost exalted demeanor formed the facade for his total lack of self-confidence.  She could see through his act and relished the idea of becoming his saviour.
     
    The harder she tried to build him up, the more he demonized her.
     
    After too many lost years spent trying to keep him on a pedestal, she admitted defeat.
     
    Now she finds herself trying to hail a cab in search of the nearest liquor store in hopes of soothing her own repentant soul.

  23. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch & Chris … Thank you … The words were perfect for a philosophical piece.

  24. Rebecca says:

    @ C Rich … I agree, the answers are out there. But, sometimes it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

  25. Jill Groce says:

    Samuel’s Bar and Grille
     
    The liquor flowed freely at Samuel’s Bar & Grille. Customers asked Sam about his full name and the Grille thing, especially in this neighborhood. Sam never told. Why should he? People came in and asked, and then they drank, and they always came back.
     
    When Freddie sat down on the pedestal stool at the bar, he wondered once again why Sam didn’t use four-legged barstools like everybody else. He knew not to ask. It was just another unanswered question. “Scotch and soda, Sam, please.”
     
    The exalted one arrives, thought Sam, and asks for the same thing every night, complete with “Sam” and “please.” He’s too good to order the usual, or just nod. Who is this guy? he asked himself yet again. No hail fellow well met for Saint Freddie, nosirree. He poured the scotch, using the cheap stuff. It’s funny, Sam thought, nobody ever talks to the exalted one. It’s as if they don’t see him, as if he’s lost his substance in a puff of smoke.. Wonder why that is. He’s got that pinkish angelic face, probably easy to talk to. But I don’t trust him. I guess they don’t either.
     
    Freddie got up and strolled among the tables, invisible as usual. He looked down at the customers, sometimes taking careful note of what they ate or drank. When Freddie came back and sat down, Sam noticed that the lost soul at the other end of the bar didn’t come over to tell Freddie his troubles. Always looking for a saviour, Sam thought, and Freddie sure won’t save him.

    Freddie pulled out a notebook and pencil and started checking off items. Sam, experienced at reading upside down, realized the notes were about the customers at the tables. There were pencilled paragraphs telling what they looked like, what they were eating, and—Sam’s scalp prickled—their names and relationships. There were detailed transcriptions of their conversations. Freddie hadn’t touched the notebook since he came in, Sam could swear to that. Who the hell is this guy? And why is he checking off certain names and not others?
     
    The next night, Freddie came in at his usual time. “Scotch and soda, Sam, please.” This time Sam poured Glenfiddich. Taking his drink, Freddie whirled the barstool around to face the diners, paused, and turned the stool the rest of the way back toward Sam. His notebook and pencil had appeared as if by magic on the bar. The wet spot made by Freddie’s glass had disappeared, so the notebook was pristine. It was small, about three by five. The pencil fit neatly into the spiral binding on the left side.
     
    As Freddie picked up the notebook, Sam saw writing on both covers. The Repentant, it said on on one cover. On the other, it said The Unrepentant. Sam took a step backward, rubbing his arms to smooth down the hair that was standing on end. “Who are you?” he said in a shaky voice.
     
    “Wouldn’t you like to know,” Freddie said childishly. He remained on the barstool, not taking his usual trip around the dining room. Instead, he turned his notebook back and forth, right side up and upside down, adding information, crossing out old notes, circling names. His expression changed with each name. Anxiety, bewilderment, joy and anger appeared and disappeared, changing Freddie’s sweet face moment by moment.
     
    Finally he closed the notebook and walked over to a table where a well-dressed man and woman sat eating sandwiches, not talking, not looking at each other. Freddie watched them for a while, then reached over the woman’s shoulder and touched her sandwich as she brought it to her mouth. He walked around the table and did the same for the man.
     
    When Freddie was back at his place at the bar, Sam pretended not to have seen this odd act, wiping the bar without looking up. The well-dressed man came up to pay his bill. Opening the register, Sam saw the man was smiling, his eyes crinkling at the corners. At the table he had been sullen, with his head down. When his companion came up to follow him out, she hadn’t changed a bit. Her body drooped and her eyes were downcast. She shuffled through the door the man held for her.
     
    Freddie leaned against the bar and watched them leave, pensive, chewing a toothpick. Sam couldn’t stand it any more. “What the hell were you doing putting your fingers on their food?” he said angrily. “Don’t you know they could sue me for that?”
     
    Freddie turned slowly on his stool. “Did they see me?” he asked slowly. Sam shook his head. “No, I guess they didn’t. But what… the… fuck??” He kept his voice down, but he was vibrating with anger and curiosity.
     
    “Here’s how it goes,” said Freddie. “I’m not telling you who or what I am. I’ve got more secrets than you have. And I’ll never be back here again.”
     
    Freddie removed the notebook from his pocket and waved handed it across the bar. Sam took it and turned it this way and that. Should he start with The Repentant or The Unrepentant? He decided it didn’t matter. He turned back one of the covers and found only blank pages. He started to close the book and turn it over, then stopped and riffled through it. Only one page had writing on it. The names were gray, as if half erased. The descriptions matched the two customers who had just left. When he turned the page, the same information appeared upside down. “Repentant and Unrepentant,” Sam said. “One of each.” He looked up at Freddie, eyebrows raised.
     
    “Here’s how it goes,” Freddie said again. “I always look for one of each, sitting alone at a table. I’m going in for the touch, but I don’t know how it will go. The repentant person might have the pain removed, will no longer demonize themselves for what was done in the past. The unrepentant one might be forgiven, might get a free pass, or might become even angrier, knowing nothing good will ever come. Either way, neither one will never do evil to another person again, that’s part of the deal. The repentant might be made happy, free of the burden of guilt, or might be driven deeper into misery. The unrepentant gets a gift or a greater curse. I never know how it goes. I’m not allowed to know. It drives me nuts, but I have to keep doing this.”
     
    Freddie kept on before Sam could ask why. “Because one of these days I’m going to get it right. Both people will be forgiven and they’ll get a fresh start. Trouble is, it has to work precisely—each person gets exactly what’s needed. I don’t control that, I just touch their food. Then when they leave, I watch. Did it work? Do I get to go wherever I’m going next? Not today, I guess.”
     
    Freddie put down his glass and drew out a $20 bill. He handed it to Sam and started for the door. “Wait!” Sam called after him. “Who are you? Ya gotta tell me. I’m dyin’ of curiosity here!”
     
    “Serves you right for keeping secrets from your customers,” Freddie said. He waved airily as he passed through the door and disappeared.

    • Jill Groce says:

      Okay, I thought the formatting was gone. I wrote in Notepad, bolded in Word, then didn’t run it through notepad again. Sorry.
       
      Jill

      P S This is my first short story in many years; I never write stories. Also, I’ve never seen this website until this morning. That’s my excuse.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jill: That was an OUTSTANDING 1st CCC submission. We have over 250 people here that have submitted and I think your style is unique. That’s hard to do, and I love seeing this.
      Everyone welcome Jill to the addiction. I’ll add your name to the CCC Community Links page next. Let me know if you have a website and I’ll add that too.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Jill-Welcome to CCC!
         
        Don’t let the angelic prose fool you, we can demonize when the mood strikes us with our exalted words of choice. We hail those who join us and offer you the pedestal for all you’d like to share.

        So, let your repentant side shine in the lost soul of your making as you have stumbled across the saviour within us all, the liquor of sweet success.

        Welcome!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Welcome to the CCC, Jill!
       
      I absolutely love the unique way you took these prompt words.  Fabulous character-creation!  Just WHO or WHAT is Freddie?!?   Excellent mystery and surrealism.
       
      Wonderful job, Jill!
       
      Oh, and if it helps:
      — I write my pieces in Word (GOTTA have the spell-check, LOL!), then cut and paste into Notepad, giving each paragraph another line return to separate them for easier reading, then cut and paste from there into the Comment box here on the site, and then bold the prompt words here using the comment box formatting.  Not sure if that’s the easiest way, but it works for me.
      — To get your avatar icon to show up, you need to create a gravatar.com account and use it there, then make sure you use the same e-mail account here that you did there and it should pop in auto-magically using the technical wizardry of the inner-webness…
       
      Welcome, again!
       

      • Jill Groce says:

        Thanks so much for the good words.
        I knew about running copy through Notepad to clear the formatting but I forgot.
        Gravatar thinks I’m a Gravatar/Wordpress member but won’t let me in.

        My email address is already in use, but I never signed up
        Gravatar.com and WordPress.com share the same user database. It’s possible that you registered a WordPress.com account (either for a blog or for an Akismet API key,) which automatically now gives you a Gravatar.com account…. Use your WordPress.com password to log in and If you cannot remember it, use the forgotten password link on the login page to reset.

        I have friends with WordPress Blogs, like Lindsay Edmunds’s Writer’s Rest. I’ve been going there since it started, but it wouldn’t let me in today.
        Did I mention I have a new computer with Windows 7 and my whole online life is cattywampus? Anyway, I’ll be back when my identity is established. I won’t be disappearing in a puff of smoke, at least as far as I know.
        —Jill
         
         
         

  26. Jill Groce says:

    It took me a while to find the link to my own website. Then the picture didn’t come up, so I had to go back and… oh, never mind.
     
    Thank you for the compliment. I’d love to hang out here. Don’t know when my muse will visit again, though. She’s quirky.
    J
     

  27. Paul says:

    It was an angelic smile. But Barry couldn’t help demonise its owner.

    Revered and exalted by those who fawned at his feet; pebbles on the river bed, rounded by the smooth roughness of water. ‘All hail!’ they chanted, individual voices clinking together. Cacophonous.

    His pedestal jutted out of the sea of humanity, a solid platform supporting a corporeal reality. Like any rock at sea it was covered in shit from uncaring gulls.

    ‘Repent, and all shall love!’ he squawked, arms outstretched at shoulder height, white robe gull-like. Repentant, scoffed Barry, chewing over the thought like grapefruit toffee.

    He lost his thoughts in a tumult of adulation, the swarm of humanity flowing towards the one man who claimed he could save their soul. Their saviour.

    Barry ignored them, pushed his way through them, a salmon swimming upstream. His saviour lay in the opposite direction; peace could be found in the liquor bar of Heaven. He believed.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Paul: FANTASTIC 1st submission. I know the CCC folks here will love your style. I do.
      Everyone welcome Paul to our Monday and Thursday addiction.
      I’ll add your name to the CCC Community Links page now.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Paul-Welcome to CCC!

        If you’re feeling angelic or want to demonize your world, welcome to the exalted pedestal of words. Here we hail the hilarious and are not the least repentant about loving our murderous plots. Many a lost soul has found redemption here, as CCC is the saviour of the challenge and our words the liquor of creativity.

        Welcome!

    • Lydia says:

      Creepily awesome, Paul. Welcome to the CCC.

  28. Anne Maybus says:

    I wonder how many post comments it takes to break wordpress?  We’re doing well this time!

  29. Catching up on my CCC. Finally got this one done today.
     
     

    Katie gazed at Roger with her nearly angelic eyes and said, “I don’t mean to demonize you, but you really are an idiot. What the hell do you think you’re doing? That woman was probably sent there to steal the same egg you took. And worst of all, she’s probably a trained killer as well. Don’t you see what you’re up against?”
    Roger raised his hand to his chest. “I’m flabbergasted. I was just extremely honest with you, and now here you are, calling me an idiot. I feel very betrayed right now.”
    “Roger, that’s not going to work this time. You have to return your highly exalted egg.”
    “There’s a little problem with that.”
    Katie’s eyebrows raised. “Yes?”
    “The egg hatched,” said Roger with the gesture of splitting an egg.
    “And?”
    “It hatched into a little box.”
    “Unbelievable. You expect me believe your tall tale? No. No more.” She began to walk away.
    Roger grabbed her by her arm. “Listen! There’s more. It told me to hail the mothership.”
    With her free arm, Katie pointed to the sky. “Even further over the top.” She tried to free her other arm, but Roger’s grip was too tight.
    “I’m not going to let you go until you hear everything.” Roger tightened his grip.
    “Ok, but loosen up a little,” said Katie, but he didn’t.
    Roger continued with his story when he felt that she would stop resisting. “I took the egg home and that’s where it hatched into the box. When it started talking to me, I sat it up on a pedestal to give it a little more respect.”
    “How was it talking to you? Does it have a mouth, eyes, and ears?” asked Katie, beginning to show some interest again.
    “No, I just knew what it was thinking. It told me that if I was repentant it could save my lost soul.” Roger paused before going on. “I believe it.”
    “Again, you’re starting to go over the top with this. The box is not your savior. It won’t be able to save your soul.” Katie massaged her temples with her free hand. “You’re going to have to find me some liquor before you can go on. I really don’t think I’m drunk enough to be taking any of this in right now.”

  30. meek willed says:

    Whilst looking at the tiny cut along my arm leading towards the exalted blue ribbon that helped me get lost in angelic fantasy before my saviour sleep finally bought  peace to my soul.
    I remember being on a pedestal in repentant pose as people try to demonize me by drenching me with liquor before the sound of hail agenst the roof woke me and I relisted how cold it was.

  31. Downward Spiral Part 5

    The man in the long coat stood in front of the door to the basement, waiting, listening, trembling. William had snuck to the front door to see what was happening, despite having to step through his brothers coagulating blood on the worn floorboards. He could see his other brother James lying on the floor inside the house, blood dripping down the walls and pooling on the floor.

    What was this nightmare? William dared not move and alert the man in the coat that he was there. He didn’t want to die. Yet here he was thinking about Sunday School and wondering if his soul was saved or lost in the horror story he was now witnessing.

    The man began to turn in a slow circle looking toward the ceiling like some sort of repentant sinner, not the gun toting madman that William knew him to be. While William was not given to judge people in general, what he had seen thus far led him to despise and demonize this man. He also worried that his life would end like his brothers’ had, in a hail of shotgun pellets or with some other violent means.

    William hoped that his father would be home soon, to deal with this man, to be the savior of William and his brother John and sister Amy who were both sleeping upstairs. He hoped they were still asleep in their cribs, their angelic faces lost in the sleep of toddlers.

    Finally the man turned back to the door of the basement and started down the creaky staircase. William needed to get to the top floor and protect the little ones; to get his fathers pistol from behind the liquor shelf and climb up the pedestal that James and Robert had previously stood on. Saving the kids would leave William exalted in his fathers eyes.

    He waited until he thought that the man should be in the basement and then slowly stepped over his brothers body, through the open door, and into the house hoping that he could remember all of the creaky floorboards and avoid them on his way upstairs. He moved slowly, even more careful than when he was sneaking out to go swimming in the middle of the night.

    After what seemed an eternity, he reached the stairs and began to climb ever so slowly, managing to avoid the creaks as he climbed. He didn’t hear the man in the long coat step up behind him, and he didn’t register the bang of the shotgun as he was hit in the back with the blast. His lifeless body slid down the stairs he had managed to climb as his lifeless eyes slowly closed. Just then, upstairs, the twins woke up and began to cry. The man in the long coat pumped his shotgun, inserting a fresh cartridge into the chamber, waiting for the next one to come along.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin M: Damn! I thought for a few seconds there the kid would at least get a chance to aim. This character you created is one mean mojo. Write on.

  32. Himanshu says:

    Every night he drank liquor. Quarts after quarts. Though it wasn’t the liquor he was addicted to. But to the angelic face from his past.
    He would welcome every morning while drawing rosaries on a string. A self imposed repentance. He felt his past fading away with every bead he drew.
    Yet, the nomad remnants of the elapsed, struck often, hurling him back into the elated time. A time when he was unstrained.
    A jubilant, venerated lawyer, he was hailed as ‘The Law Himself’. He was on his career extremum, when this lady approached him. Beseechingly, she requested him to fight an acquittal for his guiltless husband.
    Her husband, impeached for his workplace arson, was the sole breadwinner in the family of four. Complexity of the case made her put all the faith in him. Charmed by her sublime beauty and unparalleled grace, he accepted the case gratis.
    He made his soul sweat to construct an unassailable case. She exalted him as a savior. But below all the layers he was a mortal man with worldly affairs.
    He stood thunderstruck upon hearing the news of his mother’s death. It was an unbearable blow to his life. The loss of the person who loved him, but the pain demonized him when the scheduled trial clashed with the funeral day. At that very moment he knew he couldn’t see the look he craved for, on her face ever again.
    Here, the blackness of the funeral and the mourning requiem aggravated his plight. There, an innocent was sentenced to a death row.
    Upon his arrival, he geared up for an appeal, but for whom? For the lady who was found lying in a pool of blood besides the pedestal of a church with a self-inflicted wound on her throat.


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