Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #155

Chris Pearson of DIY Themes chose today’s words. Show him how to rock a challenge.  (And if you don’t have a website, check out his Thesis Theme.)

Writing prompts cure writer’s block. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, do those too.)

  1. Peripatetic – One who walks from place to place; an itinerant. Or A follower of the philosophy of Aristotle; an Aristotelian
  2. Straddling 
  3. Expunge – To erase or strike out
  4. Ensconced – To settle (oneself) securely or comfortably
  5. Blaze
  6. Polarity – Intrinsic polar separation, alignment, or orientation, especially of a physical property
  7. Effete – Depleted of vitality, force, or effectiveness; exhausted; Overrefined; effeminate.
  8. Exonerate – To free from blame.
  9. Imperturbable – Unshakably calm and collected.
  10. Profligate –Given over to dissipation; dissolute; Recklessly wasteful; wildly extravagant.

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

Advertisements

172 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #155”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. Dat Brogan feller was a profligate spender weren’t he, beings how dat car of his costs a fortune, huh?”

    “Bobby, I’s don’t know what profligates are, but iffin he wants to buy dem and some blazin’ fast cars, effete! Dat’s his bid-ness. I’s just mad he kicked us out only after three or twenty miles, give or expounge a few.”

    “Billy, I know. I was all comfortable straddling da bitch seat. I was all ensconced and imperturbable in dat comfy leather seat, so I can’t be exoneratin’ him fully of da wrong he done wronged us wit at da end.”

    “Bobby, you need to stop doin’ them there crossword puzzles. Them big words are perturbin’ the turd outta my two brain cells’ polarity.”

    “Okay Billy. I’ll use small words, but dat ain’ gonna change da fact dat we’s walkin’ again, lookin like a peripatetic fools.”

    “We may be pathetic Bobby, but dat Brogan feller gave us Chris Pearson’s bid-ness card and directions to his house. We’s gonna be da best web design assistants Chris ever done had.”
    ““

    PS. Read this article on Writer’s Block. http://www.copyblogger.com/beat-writers-block/#more-18249 The world needs more CCC I believe. 🙂

    • Excellent wordplay, Shane. Not patetic at all. LOL
      I got a kick out of the “Two brain cells’ polarity.”
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
      P.S. Great article! #3 gets me all the time. Stoopid idears cloggin’ my noggin. I feel much better after giving my hard drive a digital enema. No more writer’s block!
       

    • Anne Maybus says:

      It always amazes me how you can take the set words and make them fit so well into Billy and Bobby’s world.  It’s like they belong there.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wonderful job, Shane!  I wondered how all these high-falootin’ words were gonna be squeezed into Billy ‘n’ Bobby’s hilarious hick-speak.
       
      Well done! ;^)

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Shane-love the two brain cells’ polarity 😀

    • Lydia says:

      I don’t know if I’ve ever said this but I love Billy and Bobby. They have such entertaining adventures! 🙂

    • Hi Shane,
      While I have just met Billy and Bobby here, I think I know those boys!  I’ll dig around here and read up on them some more … but I’m sho’ they live down the road from me. Or maybe their cousins.  I gave one a dictionary (after all, I grew up reading the dictionary before going to school, figured it couldn’t hurt) — so he could throw the big words out on his schoolmates.  I gave the other one a backpack, so he could tote the dictionary around for his friend.
      I guess these ain’t the same boys. 🙂
      I loved how you work these fellas, and they work us in return.  I plan to keep up with y’all.  Great fun, Shane!

  2. Martha says:

    Charlie remembered Samantha straddling the bed. Her peripatetic approach to love disconcerted him even as it occurred to him her behaviour was no different from some men he knew who had left a trail of unfortunate lovers working desperately to expunge the memories of those stolen moments, their efforts as inexorable as moths beating their wings frantically against the burning blaze of light.
    But Samantha had wormed her way into his heart, had ensconced herself in his life as firmly as a pupa secured itself in its cocoon, waiting for that moment to effect transformation. Sometimes he wonderered at the imbalance of their relationship; the utter polarity in their roles left him worried that she would consume him until he was nothing more than an effete husk crumbling into ash like those sorry moths.
    He paused, remembering again, her watching him, her imperturbable gaze scanning his body the way he imagined a lepidopterist examining the latest specimen pinned to the collection board. He prayed that she would continue to be profligate with her affections for however long she chose.
    The sudden knock startled him; the screen slid back. “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned ..”
    Oh yes whispered Charlie, I too have sinned, but exoneration is not possible any more. He wept as the roar of wings filled the confessional.

  3. katirra says:

    Some looked embarrassedly away seeing a soused sorority straddling the table with a definite lack of effete. Others hurriedly swigged hidden liquor to expunge an unwanted view blazing in their memory.  Ensconced quite snugly she defied attempts of removal with profligate profanity. Cops peripatetically entered the room imperturbable to the gasps and shouts of horror of library patrons. Leaping down with a fit of giggles she cried out, “I’ve exonerated myself and restored polarity!”

  4. margaret says:

    Don’t mean to be unsympathetic
    if you wind up peripatetic
    or esconced under house arrest
    because of another breath test.

    If you once had a blaze of stardom
    and soon it turned to boredom
    and you  behaved in a manner profligate
    which you hoped they would exonerate.

    You thought you were imperturbable
    but instead found it disturbable
    that you were straddling sanity
    because of extreme vanity.

    Rehab failed to give polarity
    and you think that was a rarity? 
    Well,  you’ve done it all yourself…
    And this you can’t expunge with wealth!

    You thought you were elite
    but now your dignity is effete
    and you can’t buy back respect
    when you’ve caused this through neglect!

  5. Sisterhood of the Void – 11th Point

    Universe 17 million plus one was identical to all the others before it in the Spot Realm – save one. Ensconced in Universe 17 million was a plasma beacon, sending out one pulse per conscious beat. Jebubba led her sisters to the center of Universe 17 million plus one. Using her inherent speed advantage, she waited for just the right instant to release the harmonic damper holding the second beacon. Its first pulse perfectly matched the control pulse from the first beacon. Its second pulse shoehorned neatly into the space just before the control pulse pinged again. The result was a pleasing two-pulse tocking that was imperturbable in its lock-step cadence.

    An excited ripple from Afetar bounced in syncopated counterpoint to the tocking. The waves reached the colony, causing the Sisterhood to raise answering thunderclaps of support and encouragement. The team felt the waves and their eagerness increased two-fold. Afetar confirmed the synchronization and signaled for the team to move on.

    At Universe 17 million plus two, Neva marveled at the apparently identical clone. Afetar, however, was the first to notice that Universe 17 million plus one was no longer visible through the star blaze of surrounding galaxies. Jebubba, who was just about to repeat the beacon synchronization, hesitated. She wondered aloud, “Is there anything else that is different?”

    Afetar made a second observation. “Light is moving a bit more slowly. In fact, this accounts for the intensity; it’s like a fog.”

    Seninna and Rekikka reported that the towed beacons seemed lighter. Neva smirked, “Maybe because you’re dragging three apiece?”

    Seninna, to exonerate her elder, gave an unvexed reply. “Actually, these three were heavier when we left.” Having the next beacon to be released, she turned toward Jebubba, waiting.

    Jebubba had no idea what to make of these developments. “Well, the beacons are still synchronized and arriving each beat.”

    Afetar gave up trying to extract data from these tenuous clues, suggesting that they proceed as planned. She led the team to the center of the universe.

    Seninna handed damper number three to Jebubba. Once again, Jebubba waited for the right time to expunge the beacon. Immediately, the team recognized the successful synchronization, as four pulses per beat replaced the two pulses. The team’s enthusiasm was re-energized. They shot off toward Universe 17 million plus three.

    “Whoa!” exclaimed Rekikka. “We overshot the center!” The team pulled up short. Indeed, they were about two-thirds the way across Universe 17 million plus three. Collectively suspicious now, they paid close attention to every detail. “I feel like one of you is helping me to tow these beacons – and I have the largest one!”

    “The fog of light is denser,” said Afetar.

    “My beacons are definitely lighter.” Seninna was straddling her cargo like a witch on a broom made of balloons. “I’m barely feeling them behind me.”

    Jebubba, always curious, asked the big question: “Does this have anything to do with the anomaly’s behavior?”

    Rekikka, misunderstanding her, said, “The thing barely has enough power to reach outside of Atefa’s Bek Realm. It can hardly be affecting us this far away.”

    Jebubba clarified, “No, but its effects on matter and energy might be similar in characteristics to the behavior of light and matter within the Spot Realm universes.”

    Afetar was grateful for the insight. She thought about things for a few beats before she ruled that the data was inconclusive. “First of all, the conscious waves have not been altered in any way. Secondly, the plasma beacons are unaffected. When Seninna and Rekikka made their remarks about the apparent change in mass, I noticed that the harmonic dampers were still tightly bound, suggesting that no material has been lost. Finally, we detect no anomalous vibrations whatsoever.”

    Jebubba said, “In that case, let’s get back to the center and set up the next beacon. It’s beginning to look like this beacon idea is not going to help us. I want you all to consider the wisdom of retrieving them.

    The team, slightly deflated, trudged back to the center and languidly, but accurately synchronized the fourth beacon. The smooth eight-pulse signal matched each beat precisely. The sisters continued their peripatetic trek through this profligate realm, ever closer to the Infinite Boundary.

    The beacons released at Universe 17 million plus four and Universe 17 million plus five were accompanied by matching pulses of sixteen and thirty-two per beat, respectively. The sisters made note of the increasingly effete light particles and the incredible lightness of being. When they arrived at the center of Universe 17 million plus six, Afetar issued a proposal:

    “Sisters, instead of leaving our next-to-last beacon here, let us test the synchronization and then repack it in the harmonic damper. We may need it.”

    Cries of “Excellent!” reverberated around the team. None of them had wanted to admit the futility of the experiment, thus far, and this idea seemed to defer that judgment momentarily. Jebubba performed her task, the synchrony was noted and Neva deftly clamped the harmonic damper back on the massive beacon. The near buzzing rattle of 64 pulses per beat abruptly returned to thirty-two. Next stop: Universe 17 million plus seven.

    The team was hardly surprised that they reached their penultimate destination in half a beat. What astounded them, though, was the glimmering light shower. Photons were literally degenerating into matter, condensing all around them as droplets of helium. Solar flares leaked from stars like water from a kinked garden hose. Mesmerized, the sisters simply floated about the center of Universe 17 million plus seven.

    Afetar spoke first. “I can almost predict that our pulse experiment will bear fruit, at last. Unfortunately, it is likely to be bitter and hard to swallow. The plasma beacon will probably disintegrate, as its non-material polarity is assaulted by whatever force is converting the light.”

    Rekikka grunted. “Perhaps not. We do have the largest two beacons. Can we combine them?”

    Neva responded, “Let’s test the smaller of the two, first. It may be unnecessary.”

    Seninna was happy to turn her last beacon over to Jebubba. The sisters squelched their conscious drumbeats so that Jebubba could focus on catching the beginning of the thirty-two pulse cycle. With her usual confidence, she released the beacon. What came out was a puddle, reminiscent of her very own doughy nebula. The beacon dripped uselessly into the universe. The sisters looked at Afetar as if the entire fiasco were her fault.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Always a pleasure reading this series. I want you to give me your mind map of this when you’re all done so I can see how complex I imagine it must be.

      • Thanks, Shane. That’s an idea for that thing we talked about 😉 I’m glad you mentioned that!
         
        Some explosive developments are on the horizon …
         
        OMG! That video reminded me of how much fun I used to have, playing with the Commodore 64 “SID” chip! Good link! (Look up Daft Punk on iTunes, if you like this sort of musical construction)
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

      • Lydia says:

        I agree with Shane. This is a great idea!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: P.S. I just found a great video that reminded me of your story. http://blog.ponoko.com/2011/06/24/diy-synth-making-workshop/

    • Chris Fries says:

      Mind-blowingly wonderful as always, Mitch!
       
      This definitely has a great beat, even if I can’t dance to it… ;^)

      • Thanks, Chris. Just dance like nobody’s watching. As they say, in space, no one can hear you scream. So, even if someone were watching, you probably wouldn’t hear her groaning.
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mitch-I am sooo loving this series-pure genius!I love the Infinite Boundary!

    • Hey Mitch,
       
      This bestseller is shaping up so nicely! I have no doubt we’ll be seeing it on some TOP 10 list, on the Kindle, in those other ebook readers . . .  (These aren’t hints, buddy!)
       
      I’m not a fantasy/sci-fi fan — for the most part — because it’s hard for me to gel the concepts and understand the action.  Strange, I know, but I’ve accepted it. 🙂  But as I love to read your writings, I can almost understand.  Nevermind my ineptitude in this genre, you tell an awesome story, my friend!

      • Thank you, Vernessa. I’ve mentioned here before, this is the story I’ve been wanting to tell. I just needed a little “prompting”. 🙂
         
        I totally understand genre rejection vs. attraction to style. I’ve really enjoyed many of the authors on CCC – even though I might not pick up a similar book at Borders (hmmm, are they even still in business?)
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

  6. Chris Fries says:

    Wow — some tough, high-falootin’ words today!  Hopefully, I managed to work them into something fun…

    Weapon Test

    The bigger of the two men in front of Wendell gave a kick and the desk chair that Wendell was tied to rolled across the floor and slammed into the wall behind him.  The back of his head collided with the laboratory’s cinder-block wall and Wendell’s vision exploded in painful splashes of light.  The shorter man grabbed the arm of the chair and spun it so that Wendell faced him.  He leaned in, his harsh fetid breath and unshaven face only inches from Wendell’s own. The man’s raging eyes seemed to blaze with a crazed intensity.

    “Are you going to give us what we want?” the man said.

    Wendell tried to speak, but the duct tape over his mouth made everything a mumble.  The short man stood closer, straddling the chair, and, in a brutal jerk, ripped the tape off Wendell’s mouth.

    Wendell cried out in pain.  The taller man laughed; a cold, taunting snort that chilled Wendell’s blood.  “See, my brother?” the tall man said.  “The American scientist does know how to sing.”  He jabbed Wendell with the barrel of a rifle.  It was grimy and held a long, curving magazine. “You just need to sing us the tune we wish to hear.”

    Wendell took a deep breath to try and calm his nerves.  “I think you gentlemen have made an unfortunate, inadvertent, and profligate error,” he said.  “Surely, I’m not the person you actually intended to abduct and secure, tightly restrained and ensconced, in this chair.  But if you release me now, I’ll guarantee to expunge any mention of this intrusion in all police records.  I will fully exonerate you of any charges if you simply undo what you have already done.”

    The bigger man jabbed Wendell again with the gun.

    “You use many big words, but you say nothing,” he said, his voice a deep bellow.  “You will tell us where the weapons are, and we will let you live.  Delay, deny, or attempt to flee, and we will kill you now.” 

    The shorter man grabbed Wendell by the throat.  “Make no mistake about our commitment to get what we want.  We have little to lose in killing one more insignificant member of this criminal corporation.”  He released Wendell’s throat with a brutal shove.

    Wendell gagged and coughed.

    “Please,” he said.  “I know our lives are complete opposites of polarity.  I’m a quiet, bookish — some might even say effete — scientist who lives in quiet, isolated laboratories working on my studies.  You are soldiers, rebel fighters, following a peripatetic, wandering path as you fight for your cause.  But perhaps we can still reach an understanding.”

    “Enough!” the bigger man yelled.  Spittle flew from his mouth.  He shoved the barrel of the gun under Wendell’s nose, pushing Wendell’s head back against the wall.  “No more empty words.  You will speak quickly and clearly, or you will die.  We know we are in the right place. Where are the weapons?”

    “Alright, alright,” Wendell said.  The gun was gouging into his nose.  “Please don’t kill me.  I don’t know how you found out about us, or how you got in here, but much of what you say is correct:  My team is developing a whole new type of weapon; one that will completely change the face of war.  But it has not been refined yet.  We do not have a stock of weapons — we have only one working prototype.”

    The tall man pulled back on his gun and lowered the barrel.  “Only one?  I do not believe you.  Our information is that you possess enough weaponry to destroy an entire army.”

    The shorter man kicked Wendell’s leg.  “He lies, my brother.  Kill him and we will find the weapons on our own.  They are here.”

    “No!” Wendell said. “Please. I’m telling you the truth.  It’s in an isolation room next door.  Untie me and I can show you.”

    “Give us the key and we will see for ourselves,” the larger man said.

    “There is no key,” Wendell said.  “You have to release me so I can deactivate the palm, voice, and retinal scanners and open the interlocks.”

    The two men looked at each other briefly, then nodded. “Yes,” the larger man said.  “But any foolish actions on your part will lead to your death.”

    They untied Wendell and he struggled to his feet.  His head throbbed and his heart was racing.  He was sure they would kill him eventually, even if he tried to give them what they wanted.  As he walked to the lock interface on the wall, he came up with a plan.  He might be able to pull it off, if he could get them to both go in at the same time.  He stepped to the interface and pointed towards the door.  “It’s in there; our field-ready revolutionary killing system.  We call it the “Fully Autonomous Neutralizing Guard”.  It is easy to activate, and responds to simple voice commands.  We hope to make it smaller, but it will take both of you to carry the prototype.  You can go in as soon as I remove the security locks.”

    The two men glared at Wendell, and he turned to the security display.  He tried to remain as imperturbable as possible, to not raise their suspicions any higher.  He put his hand on the reader, centered his eye on the display to let it scan his retina, and issued the voice command. “Dyson, Wendell G.  Remove security interlocks and open the containment door.”

    There was a slight hiss and the door began opening next to the two men.  The larger one raised his rifle towards Wendell, but the shorter one pushed the barrel down.  “Not yet.  Let us first make sure what we want is inside.”

    They stepped into the bright light of the room.  Wendell hit the emergency lock button and yelled into the intercom, “FANG — Enemy present.  Sic ’em!”

    There was a blood-chilling roar, and screams, and gunfire, and then the containment door hissed closed, stifling the sounds.  Their rifle might knock out a few lights in the room, but it would be useless against FANG’s armored skin.  There would also be a bit of a mess to clean up since FANG hadn’t quite mastered the concept of when to stop.

    Wendell smiled. He knew it was another successful test of the prototype.
     

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: You’re a natural storytelling. I wish I had popcorn and a drink while I read that. Such a cool story. Thoroughly enjoyed that.

    • Nice one, Chris. Those words fit in quite well, too! But, it’s your words that made this awesome:
       
      He leaned in, his harsh fetid breath and unshaven face only inches from Wendell’s own. The man’s raging eyes seemed to blaze with a crazed intensity.
       
      Carry on, Word Warrior!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks Mitch!
         
        Yeah I initially really struggled with some of the words, but then suddenly envisioned an exchange between some high-brow guy using the words in an exchange with some seedy character who has no idea what the words mean, and this story began taking root.  I don’t quite have a full image of what FANG actually is, but I pictured some sort of robo-killer-dog kinda thing, and so had to come up with a familiar dog-name that could work as an acronym, and of course the kill command would have to be ‘sic ’em,’ right?
         
        Thanks again!

        • Heh. Yeah, “sic ’em” is the bomb. Something else: the image of FANG was firmly planted in my head from watching Wall-E. LOL That’s the beauty of the written word.
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Chris-great, great storytelling. This line had me chuckling out loud-There would also be a bit of a mess to clean up since FANG hadn’t quite mastered the concept of when to stop.

    • Hi Chris,
       
      I’d love to see how you work out who or what FANG is. 🙂  I suspected something was up (I can almost hear that telltale music) but you really reeled me in for a surprise with the prototype.
       
      Good stuff. Turn the page!

  7. Anne Maybus says:

    When I Was Young.

    Mine was a profligate youth.  I covered my wild morals with “Make love not war” stickers and flowing cheesecloth.  My days were a blaze of passion and opportunity which I sucked up with imperturbable self-belief.  I was headstrong and free; free from the rigidity of my gossip-fearing family.

    From the time I was little I sensed a polarity in our attitudes to life, though I couldn’t put it into words.  Caution was not my friend.   I wanted to taste everything the world could offer but my family played things safe. They were comfortably ensconced in their suburban lifestyle and had built little fences to separate right from wrong.

    They called me reckless.  I called them effete – scared of the sheer force of life which was the thing that I felt powering inside me.  It burned me.  I was a torch aflame with life.  It’s so sad that they could never feel that alive.

    I tried straddling the two lifestyles for a while when I moved out of home.  I was the good and obedient daughter when I visited but those little fences kept tripping me up.  Their kind of right and wrong didn’t mean anything to me.  They tried to exonerate me of my so-called sins but you can’t clean up after a sin that isn’t there.  To me there was no sin.  There was only a peripatetic freedom that made me happy.

    Staying in one place and with one man wasn’t for me. I thrived on human contact and free love was made for sharing.  Each new love expunged the old and made my world blossom again.  I travelled, I sang, I laughed and I loved.  I loved with my soul and with my body.

    I believed that the more love we made, the more peace we could share.  I spread a whole lot of peace when I was young.

    • Martha says:

      Ooh I experienced chills when I read this line: I was the good and obedient daughter when I visited but those little fences kept tripping me up.  It made me think about some of the fences I have in my writing life that trip me up.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne M: Such an excellent submission! Such a smooth flow to what you write. And that ending! Peace indeed! 😉

    • Chris Fries says:

      Very, very nice, Anne!  A wonderful narration, with a delightfully deft insertion of the prompt words!
       

    • margaret says:

      That was great, Anne! I grew up a “good little Catholic girl” in the 60’s…never wanting to cause my parents any grief, but having a secret life of “peace and freedom” and values which I knew my parents could never understand or embrace.  I had a great time and turned out ok 🙂

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Martha and Margaret, we need to talk.  LOL!

    • Anne, I enjoyed this. From tripping on fences to cleaning up non-existent sins to thriving on human contact, you’ve touched a lot of bases. Home-run, in fact!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • maria says:

      really, really excellent. I thought those words would ‘trip us up’ but they were some of the easiest I’ve ever written to. But you, my friend, nailed this one to the wall. (I know, it’s a cliche. But that doesn’t make it not true.)

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Anne M-wow, you take me back-what beautiful storytelling and yet somehow melancholy

  8. This is my last poem contribution for a few weeks as I am traveling to Rome for a cruise and won’t have Internet for about 12 days starting Thursday.  I really wanted a challenge for this one, so I tried to craft a poem where every word in the same line had to start with the same letter.    Let me know if you think I pulled this one off successfully.

    Heretic


    Peripatetic profligate prophesier
    straddling stern societies
    blaze banishing beatitude
     
     
    Paralyzing polarity predetermined
    imperturbable insurrections invalidated
    enigmatic enemies ensconced


     
    Exonerate emerging emissaries
    expunge effete expectations
    swallow sedulous scripture

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin M: That was bleepin’ outstanding stuff. And making each word the same letter add such a level of complexity that I’m amazed. Love your stuff. Have fun over there.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Amazingly awesome and a… a…  A-beautiful!!    Crap, I can’t do the it anywhere as good as you, Justin, LOL!!!
       
      Great job!
       
      Have a wonderful trip!!!
       

    • margaret says:

      astute and alluring alliteration!!

    • This is awesome! From the title to the alliteration to the slant of the poem, this accurately conveys what was swirling around in my head when I came up with the words.

      Thanks for the fun read, Justin!

    • What a send-off, Justin! You nailed it. Oddly, I picked up TWO perspectives:
      Since the title is Heretic, one might assume that the poem denigrates such a person.
      Particularly supporting this idea is this line:
       
      Paralyzing polarity predetermined
       
      Although the very first line really sounds like a smack in the face. LOL
      To me, it sounds as if the poem decries a hidden agenda of the Heretic.
       
      Now, the other perspective praises the Heretic, championing the actions that others are too frightened to initiate:
       
      blaze banishing beatitude
      imperturbable insurrections invalidated
      expunge effete expectations
      swallow sedulous scripture
       
      So, which perspective, if either, had you intended?
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
      P.S. Enjoy your vacation!
       
       

      • Honestly as I wrote the poem I had many stories swirling around in my head, one was picturing holy crusaders spreading Christian faith and expunging the pagans.  Another was possibly some lenient faith breaking the rigid archaic faiths.  The poem tells how people were afraid or rebuked against initial spreads of some faith or religion only to eventually give up resistance and “swallow” what they were selling.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Justin-well nothing like going out with a bang! Have a great trip and safe travels. We’ll keep the light on for you.

  9. Thanks for the kind words, for this one I had to admit.  I knew which words I wanted to convey for each line but I had a thesaurus open to find the words starting with the right letter.  So maybe I cheated a little by referencing a thesaurus for this one.

    • Cheating?! Hell, we need Thesauri to avoid bland cliche like the plague.
      We’re not expected to know every word with which we may wish to fecundate our paragraphs. 🙂
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

  10. Lydia says:

    Note: the last several days have been bursting full of family celebrations – I hope to actually have the time to go back  a few challenges and comment on all of your wonderful stories on Thursday! 🙂
     
    ——
     
    “I can’t imagine anyone we know doing something like that,” Marlene said, straddling the thin, grim line between massaging the truth and asphyxiating it. The conversation quieted down when the server arrived to take their orders. After he dropped off their drinks Deputy Velasquez leaned back, his imperturbable eyes studying the Masseys.
     
    “I’m going to be honest with you,” the deputy said. “and I hope you’ll be honest with me as well. Pastor Small called me earlier today with some suspicions about what you two have been up to these past few weeks.”
     
    “It’s all been a big misunderstanding…” Ed began.
     
    “Let’s pretend that I’ve heard your latest excuse already,” Deputy Velasquez interrupted. “Arresting and charging the two of you would create a lot of paperwork for me. We all know your niece would find a way to have you exonerated on a technicality if it even made it to trial. Taking this route would also be bound to irritate voters who can’t see past your age and reputations. I don’t want to do any of this. I just want the truth. What have you been doing?”
     
    “Learning what really happened to my great-grandmother,” Marlene said quietly. “We thought she was murdered at first but now I think she died accidentally and her family and pastor covered up the ugly truth of it.”
     
    “How do you solve a century-old case?”
     
    “You’d be surprised what you can find on the Internet and in old books.”
     
    “Did you really dig her up?”
     
    “Yes.”
     
    “You know that’s a crime, right?”
     
    “Yes. We weren’t going to keep her, though.” A small shudder tickled down her spine. Marlene didn’t think she’d be entirely comfortable until the remains were  ensconced with their other relatives in the Baptist cemetery.
     
    “You have them in your car, don’t you?” the deputy groaned. “If we leave after supper we can bury them again and help Pastor Small reseed the ground. I’ll blame the disturbance on a wild animal or something in my official report. ”
     
    “We don’t have them with us but we can bring them to you first thing tomorrow,” Ed said. “They’re on family land up by Dougville. It’s too far for us to drive the entire trip tonight, especially with those wild storms that have been predicted.”
     
    “Fair enough. I have to warn you, though – if I don’t have those remains in my hands by 10 AM tomorrow I will have to take you into custody and unlike the snowman incident a few years ago you won’t be able to expunge this from your record.”
     
    “We will see you bright and early tomorrow morning, deputy!” The food arrived in the blaze of steam of a meal just scraped off the grill. “In the meantime, let’s eat!”
     
     
    “What are we going to do, Ed?” his wife whispered as soon as they continued their  peripatetic journey. “If we go home he’ll know something was fishy about your story.
     
    “We’ll drive as far as Muddy Ferry and get another hotel room,” came the reply. “It’s close enough to Dougville that any officer he asks to check up on us will assume we stopped early for the night.” The profligate journey began. When they arrived an hour later Marlene checked in at the front desk while Ed wrapped up their evidence in a blanket.
     
    “Is there anything else we can learn from the bones before we give them back?” In the harsh, fluorescent bathroom light the skulls were delicate and effete.
     
    “I have my digital camera,” Marlene said. “We could at least take pictures. Maybe someone will know something one day?” She washed the dirt off of the bones and arranged them on the chilly floor for an impromptu photo shoot. Meanwhile Ed sat on one of the twin beds reading Reverend Pritchett’s book. Most of the entries were about the sort of thing any religious leader would commemorate – births, deaths, marriages, the occasional ordination. Every dozen pages or so, though, the polarity of the piece shifted the tone into a more personal document.
     
    “Marlene, you should come hear this!”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lydia: Oh my goodness! That first sentence was like something shot from a cannon. Perfect example of how all stories should start with a bang. Love what you did here. This is like a false climax isn’t it? The ending tells me it is. So cool!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Fabulous use of the words, Lydia!  Your series is really gathering steam, now. I’m extraordinarily eager to see what happens next!
       
      Also — glad they came clean (mostly) with the deputy.  ;^)
       
      And finally:  “The snowman incident??????”  I’m intrigued!  LOL!!!

    • maria says:

      Well, not short, but really excellent! BRAVO!

    • Lydia, it is clear you are thoroughly enjoying this series. I’m so glad that you are, because the poetic prose coming our way from your keyboard, well, let me just say, “What Shane said”!
       
      I love how they came clean and how the Deputy allowed it to happen so gracefully.
      This is too much fun!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Lydia- I love this story=great, great line this one - straddling the thin, grim line between massaging the truth and asphyxiating it. Love it!

  11. Anne Wayman says:

    ye gods, I got late notice!
    The seemingly profligate son actually wandered peripatetically straddling the philosophies of Aristotle and Abraham-Hicks as his theme, his Thesis.

    His efforts to expunge the negative thoughts that were often ensconced in his brain worked and he blazed a trail to success. Except, of course, when polarity kicked in leaving him feeling effetely exhausted. Back in alignment, knowing he was exonerated, he once again became imperturbable.

  12. Shane Arthur says:

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: Our own Kelly Erickson has a guest post over at copyblogger.com. Show her some comment love.

  13. Rebecca says:

    You could be ensconced in the drama of others without even knowing it. Do you want to expunge your past without examining it to find sabotaging patterns? It may be profligate. It’s time to exonerate your parents and take responsibility for your adult life. Perhaps a polarity session can shift your consciousness before you blaze out of existence. Stop being peripatetic because you take yourself with you wherever you go; you can’t get away from you. You’ll become too much of an effete being if you continue straddling the masks you wear. How can you become imperturbable?

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: You nailed this one. This sounds like an infomercial. I found myself waiting for the 800 number. Can’t believe you ended it there! 🙂 A cliffhanger informercial. That’s a first. Well done indeed.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Heck, yeah, I want me some of that imperturbable stuff!!  Preach it, Sista!
       
      Well done, Rebecca!
       

    • maria says:

      hey, I like the ones that are the shortest. I think it’s easier to write a big old piece, but to nail it in a few words shows talent. Bravo!

    • Rebecca vs. Anne Maybus. Incredible how the same ten words can be used to both celebrate and bemoan the stuff of life.
       
      I’m not trying to start something, I’m just sayin’ 🙂
       
      Where you tell us to exonerate our parents, Anne tries to straddle, not masks, but fences raised by hers. This is really something worth considering within ourselves.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thank you! I’m feeling philosophical again. I think I’m feeling the energy from the solar eclipse that’s happening on Friday 🙂

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Lol!
     

  16. Rebecca says:

    @ Chris … Will do! “For a limited time only, get this offer for $19.95. Price does not include tax and shipping. Price is subject to change without notice.” Lol…

  17. Cathy Miller says:

    I needed a break from too much work and then I see these words. 🙂 Well, here goes…jumping in
    ==============================
    The chair rocked back and forth, back and forth in a peripatetic path of pain..

    Straddling a chair from behind, Michael reached over to stop the rhythmic motion.

    “Mary, look at me.”

    He looked down on the trembling form that seemed intent on retreat. He would give up his badge if he could expunge all the pain this poor girl experienced. Ensconced in that battered body was the soul of a lost child.

    Nervously pulling at a thread on the frayed hospital gown, Mary once again began the comforting movement she knew as a child.So long ago, when she rocked her stuffed horse, Blaze, in an imaginary race against time. The polarity of then and now was lost in the numbness of a broken mind.

    Her effete form pulled at Michael’s heart, as he searched for the words to exonerate her from the prison inside.

    “Mary, I want to help you, but I don’t know how,”

    Expecting the same incessant rocking, Michael blinked in surprise when she stopped and raised imperturbable, defiant eyes.

    “Destroy him,” she whispered, then went back to her rocking, her head bowed, as if the use of those two words was a profligate use of her energy.

    “Count on it.”
     

  18. maria says:

     
    I ensconced myself in the wingback chair, my brandy nearby, secure in the knowledge that if I was unable to exonerate myself, I could always splash the liquor over my balding head and set myself alight, a veritable espion flambé.
     
    The polarity that surfaced between myself and my long-time associate left me imperturbable on the surface, allowing me to conduct my business while straddling the world of freedom that I took for granted and the much more tangible world of trial, incarceration, and death.
     
    “Pardon me, sir,” the butler inquired, “there are two gentlemen to see you. In the foyer.” He handed me a card. With a trembling, liver-spotted hand I retrieved it.
     
    “Show them in, please,” I said, more bravely than I felt. Ten minutes later, their message relayed, they were off, having properly relayed the utter ruthlessness and power of the KGB. I was left a peripatetic; having lost my position and standing in the organization; unable to expunge my exemplary record, it was necessary to face the charges head on. I would be dead by morning.
     
    I desired to fling open the window, shout to the world what I had done, what I knew, who was to blame. I’d spent their money, traded British secrets for the comfortable lodgings I enjoyed, but I hadn’t killed Ripley. He was dead, of course, but it hadn’t been my doing.
     
    Instead of a last act of heroism, both to Ripley’s family and my country, I chose to stay silent. Effete in my old age, I preferred to go out in a blaze of glory, or perhaps, just a blaze. My profligate nature overwhelmed me, and I wrote a huge check to my butler before pulling out my silver cigar lighter, at the ready when I doused myself with the brandy swirling in my Judas cup.
     
     

    • Cold war intrigue! This is fantastic, Maria. I used to love spy thrillers. I could see this as either the climax or the prologue to a riveting tale!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Anne Maybus says:

      Great piece of writing, Maria.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Maria: That was your best yet! Fantastic!

      • maria says:

        Thanks. It was the easiest by far. I appreciate your kind words. They help me when I have doubts that I’ll ever be able to finish a novel that’s readable and good.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @maria: I tell everyone to look in our right side bar for Larry Brook’s Story Engineering book and participate in the book deconstructions over at storyfix.com. I can’t recommend him highly enough.

          • I second that! Maria, the books by Larry Brooks are phenomenal!
             
            Cheers,
             
            Mitch
             

          • maria says:

            oh, that’s the link that sent me here in the first place! It’s true. The book pointed me in the right direction I’d been wanting to go all along, but never knew how.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Super job, maria!  Great character in the old spy — a very smooth mix of outward dignity and inner turmoil and desperation.
       
      And self-immolation in brandy!?!  What a way to go!  Nicely foreshadowed at the beginning and hauntingly presented at the end.
       
      Superb stuff!

  19. maria says:

    thanks. I could write it if I knew even the SLIGHTEST thing about spies and war and stuff. But, alas, I only know brandy.

  20. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note 2:
    Speaking of comment love, our own Cathy Miller wrote a book review and is offering a chance to win a free book just for commenting. Here  Where else can a comment get you a chance for a free book?

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Shane-thanks so much for the link love-I had to take a road trip to Bliss, Idaho (I am not kidding) this morning. Just got back. I guess you could say I’ve been to Bliss and back. 😀
       
      Thanks again and good luck to all on winning one of the 2 free books!

  21. Rebecca says:

    @ Maria … Thank you! And … I love the picture you paint with the brandy and wingback chair. I envisioned the balding man in a Victorian home.
     

  22. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Cracking up … excellent use of the words. I love Billy!

  23. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Loving the adventure of your story. I can see the ‘universe’ in my mind. Great job!
    I had to go back and read what I wrote. Lol! What can I say? I’ve been on a spiritual/transformational path and woke up. I see everything and everyone in a new light, through a new lens. I question more. 🙂

    • Thanks, Rebecca! As for your transformation, that is wonderful. I mean that literally. The wonderment of it all – and the contemplation, questioning and inspection that it creates – is powerfully uplifting. Enjoy your new perspective! 🙂
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

  24. Rebecca says:

    @ Chris … I loved this line, “The American scientist does know how to sing.”  He jabbed Wendell with the barrel of a rifle. Gripping story … great job!

  25. Hello Everyone!
    This is my first time participating, having been inspired by several recent articles by Mitch Allen (Morpho Designs) who sings the praises of CCC every chance he gets. Thanks Mitch!  Here’s my offering.  Hope you enjoy it.
    ##########
     
    He was a walking contradiction.  Free, almost peripatetic in his wanderings about the mountains, yet ensconced in a misunderstood culture that defined his very being. Oh, he’d travelled the world, experiencing diversity of habitats and humanity.  Having witnessed polarity of thinking and methodologies — from the imperturbable ice fishers braving wintry fishing in the far north to Andean women searing their fresh-water fish in fiery blaze — he no longer straddled the notion that all people were the same.

    The impossibility of humanity had tied him in knots as a young man, forcing an almost effete surrender upon him.  Rather than struggle with a true estimation of who people were, he’d settled upon an easy explanation, a profligate dismissal of humankind as a whole.  Time and chance happened to him (he never was one to take the bulls by the horn); in those happenstances he’d come to face-to-face with his repressed ruminations and joyfully found a way to exonerate humanity from its weaknesses. Yes, every weakness (save murder and mayhem) was held up to glorious light! He chose to expunge their crimes — at least in his mind — loosing each one from the collective whole, so he could begin anew.

    With enlightened eyes, and an open — if not pure — heart, his goal was now relationships that could be built upon a bedrock of equal footing, more lasting than even his beloved Chimborazo.  Even a culture that set him and his fellow dwellers apart by landscape and tradition could now be embraced and held forth without guilt, shame, or dissimulation.

    At the crossroads, he went left. He finally felt right.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Varnessa: Holy Bleepity bleep that was OUTSTANDING! I can see why you and Mitch know each other. Talent attracts talent. The CCC folks are going to LOVE you for sure. Hope to see you each Monday and Thursday.

      Adding your name and url to our CCC Community Links page now. Everyone welcome Varnessa to the best damn prompt site out there.

      • Hi Shane,
         
        Your enthusiasm contagious! Thank you for such a warm welcome to CCC. I’m not sure you should mention Mitch and me in the same paragraph.  When the man picks up the pen (or lays his fingers on the keyboard), I get awed before he even writes the first sentence!
         
        Thanks for adding my name to the Community Links page.  It’s unlikely I’ll participate every time, but I’ll certainly drop by to share as time permits.

    • And with that, she elevates herself into the pantheon of CCC Block Busters.
      Vernessa, you slew those words! This submission is outstanding on every level. Technically brilliant, philosophically provocative and descriptively delightful, your words have left a deep impression on me.
       
      Welcome!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Hi Mitch,
         
        An alliterative feast, you’ve really got a way with the words!  *Takes a bow.* Really glad you enjoyed it.
         
        You’ve written such wonderful words about CCC, this time when I came I wanted to jump into the alphabet soup.  The welcome has been heartwarming.  I’ll be back.
         
         

    • Chris Fries says:

      Wonderful job, Vernessa!  Great use of the prompt words to generates omething so fresh and unique.
       
      I particularly loved the last lines!
       
      Welcome to the CCC!  Hope to C-C-C-See ya every week!

      • Hello Chris,
         
        Funny thing about the last lines.  After I’d submitted the story, I checked my email and had one from Dictionary.com.  The word of the day was “haw.”  It was (is) a fitting word for a mountainman. 🙂
         
        Thanks for the kind words.
         

  26. Anne Maybus says:

    Vanessa, that is fantastic.  Welcome to CCC.  I look forward to reading more of your work.

  27. Cathy Miller says:

    @Vernessa-Welcome to CCC!

    Your peripatetic wanderings are over. You have found your way home to words straddling genius and a community ready to expunge all doubt. Soon you will be ensconced in the madness that happens every week as the submissions blaze in the sweet polarity of right and wrong, long and short, funny and sad.

    Effete words we exonerate and breathe life between each consonant to return them to an imperturbable form where each is cherished and none are a profligate waste.

    Welcome.

    • KathleenL says:

      Cathy — Bravo

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @KathleenL-Thanks-I have been so busy and just hopping by to welcome-I need to get caught up on my reading-good to see you around CCC again. 🙂

        • KathleenL says:

          Cathy — Thanks. It’s good to be back around again. And I know what you mean about gettin’ caught up. I am just now gettin’ to Reading Bayou Billy’s saga. So glad to have gotten it downloaded! Happy crafting.

    • Hi Cathy,
       
      What a unique way to welcome new members!  It’s been a while since someone has penned a poem in my honor. It still feels good! 🙂
       
      Just so you know, I’ll probably remain a peripatetic wanderer.  I love to walk, taking long strolls so I can talk to myself aloud without any interruptions.  I need to practice saying something as profound as what you said in as few words as you managed to say it in. 🙂

  28. KathleenL says:

    Another Mind-full Conversation

    He wants to be exonerated,
    especially by all who looked upon him with such hateful disgust. He thrives off
    of the pity he get others to feel for him; the hatred is draining him. But, try
    as he may — straddling the fence
    like a muscle fatigued acrobat on a fraying tightrope — Mike’s attempt to continue
    to present himself as a guy who is just down on his luck was becoming downright
    profligate. We both know he fancies
    himself as a horseman, okay, he used to be a very good horseman, I will give
    him that, but he has lost that too. He has lost more than just the horses you
    sold to avoid the feed bill he stuck you with. His natural abilities are gone
    now too; nothing but the memories of it all. Fate … it has a way of equalizing,
    doesn’t it? He is just a good old-fashioned has-been. Being a pathological
    philandering fraud playing the system and anyone else he comes in contact with has
    beginning to wear thin…. again.

    Not one to ever become ensconced
    in anything akin to what most would refer to as a home, residing for not more
    than a few years in any one location… his inner identity, the one he made up; the
    one he long ago convinced himself was really him; the one he thought was imperturbable, has begun to, due to his
    own self-destructive behavior, imploded upon him, again. He has stayed milking
    the hind-tit too long.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could expunge him from the face of the earth. Hummm what would be the
    best way … in a fire? We know that he is fond of fire. The fire-bug started
    enough of them himself… always managing to avoid injury. Maybe this time we
    could watch him burn.  I know you could
    from your vantage point. Or would a Mac Truck be more effective? Painfully so.
    But a fire would effete that waste
    of flesh from this earth. Oh, if wishes were horses beggars could bloody well
    ride on this.

    What about taking him back to Hawaii… making him a
    “tide-problem”, as he used to call it, and feed him to the sharks? Wonder if the
    sharks would even eat that? Doubt it. – was that you saying that or me Lovie?

    Don’t worry Lovie. Between the Police Officers, the lawyers,
    and the neighbor-lady’s comments… it is crystal clear the folks down there are
    not blind to the glaring polarity of
    him … the scumbag and the image he is trying so hard to make others see.  The days of blazing a trail to someone’s heart and their banks account are
    gone.

    My peripatetic boy … oh, sorry Lovie … young man …
    oh, hell no… I always told you ‘even when I am 93 and on my deathbed you would
    still be my baby.’ So my peripatetic baby
    boy, go and find someone you know or someone you have always wanted to meet. Go
    take audience with Richard Nixon, you can now and I will talk to you again soon
    Lovie.

    • Kathleen, I won’t pretend I understand what I just read but I will truthfully say that it is mind-bending and intriguing.
       
      I’m confused because “Lovie” could either be a person’s name, an endearment or a sarcastic epithet. Considering the title, Lovie might even be the narrator himself! Help! 🙂
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • KathleenL says:

        Hello Mitchell — well… the mind-bending is working. It is a bit of a flowing bunch of thoughts the “speaker” is unable to say.  Rambling a bit like a real mind does. And Yes “Lovie” is the term of endearment…. the most recent “Mind-full Conversation is back in CCC#154. It will make a bit more sense who Lovie, might be… and Make sense of the rambling… but it not… stay tooned.

        • Thanks for the mention of CCC #154. That helped … a bit. Courtroom as “scene” from a victim’s family member’s POV.
           
          I’m staying tuned for this one!
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           

          • KathleenL says:

            Mitchell — Yes… glad to have been helpful. Mind-full Conversations will continue to be a compulations of chats with the Victim… from the mom’s point of view. Showing how she will continue to talk to her son… as she did when he was still alive and earthbound… as many folks still do with their loved ones.

    • Hi Kathleen,
       
      This is interesting on several levels, but what strikes me most is how it could be a poster video for avoiding scam artists.  Payback is a you-know-what; I can imagine those who have been victimized wanting to tar and featherr this has-been equestrian.
       
      Now, is it grandma telling a story? Talking to the scammer? Thinking?
       
      Thanks for sharing this one. 🙂

  29. Adam M says:

    Straddling the bench, I raised my cuffed hand with an effete gesture, “That’s going to be a little tough with me so ensconced here.”
     
    “They wouldn’t be necessary if you weren’t so goddamn profligate all the time,” Johnathon pulled a keyring and began flipping through them, one by one by one.
     
    “You could have joined me,” I said, breaking the silence, “you know; after it all went down last time.”
     
    He scoffed as he knelt down, “Joined what? That peripatetic lifestyle you chose for yourself? I always wondered why you chose to leave after it was all over. Did you think leaving would exonerate you of all blame?”
     
    “You can’t blaze like that forever.”
     
    “Don’t think I was the one responsible for you being expunged, then. And don’t pretend like I could have joined you. Some of us have responsibilities.” He turned the key and removed the cuff attached to the bench, eyeing me cautiously. I saw myself reflected in his glasses, my gaze imperturbable, in sharp polarity to what I was feeling inside.
     
    He locked the cuff around my other wrist and stood up, adjusting his tie and glasses, “Now then. Get inside and we’ll get started.”

  30. Kelly says:

    HU3-2700

    “HUdson three- two seven hundred,” sang the announcer, while a cartoon company mascot skipped across the 13” screen in the living room. The modest console sat proudly on a rough oak table festooned with a lace doily which was just starting to rot at the edges.

    A blue jay ensconced outside the transom window complained loudly. Never a good reason, yet never a pleasant word from that effete blue boy.  In through the high window streamed a single shaft of morning light, twinkling with dust particles as it blazed its way to the floor in front of the table. There was an unmistakable polarity between the warm, bright spot on the rug and its counterpoint, the cool glare of the b&w, where the Three Stooges now nattered on in their endless dance of inanity.

    The fireplace wall opposite the window was a mass of peach-painted bookshelves and cheap wallpaper shelf-liners, occasionally interspersed with the latest in paperback propaganda. The Feminine Mystique. On the Road. The Bell Jar peeking out of a pile of movie magazines. The lower shelves housed cardboard boxes: “Summer—Size 8,” proclaimed one, but others were less optimistic; “Winter—Size 14,” “Winter—Size 16,” and the rest, straddling thin pine boards and spilling off the shelves like the flesh of their owner might if she were to open that Size 8 box.

    In front of the fireplace itself, the gold carpet was worn down and slightly stained, but elsewhere the carved design stood proud, casting miniscule harvest-gold shadows shaped like clouds and spots and warped paisleys over the most of the floor. The window-wall was, of course, somewhat in darkness at this time of day, and both the wool-wrapped sofa and the carpet seemed to be more of smoke than of gold in the queer lighting of mid-morning in Illinois.

    When the peripatetic jay finally made one last noisy squawk and flew off, then the cicadas could take center stage. They had been there all along—not a day in summer could go off without them—but in the absence of the morning’s complainer, suddenly their screaming seemed obscene.

    The Stooges took a break and the plumber’s mascot returned, with the deep song of the announcer to drown out nature once again.

    “Call HUdson three- two seven hundred,” he intoned melodically.

    He needn’t have bothered.

    True, the t.v had been running all night, but its owner would eventually be exonerated of such apparently profligate ways.

    Splayed between sofa and upturned coffee table, knee-high stockings encircling plump legs shown to disadvantage by the pleated skirt miserably wrenched up to her waist, a fireplace log dropped inches from her blood-matted hair in quiet indictment of an evening visit gone wrong; it would be apparent to anyone, including the officer who arrived on an imperturbable neighbor’s hunch three days later, that Miss Frakleton wouldn’t be calling HU3-2700 or any other number, any time soon.

    Imperturbable, maybe, but I’ve never been able to expunge that song from my memory.

    • Kelly says:

      Oops, just noticed as I was copying it into my CCC files at home that I forgot to write the title, which is (rather obviously)—
       
      HU3-2700

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: I beleive that’s one of your best yet, maybe even the best. YOu had me guessing more, and for longer, with this most than any other. So, when’s that book coming out?

      • Kelly says:

        Shane–

        1. I was trying to write one where the scene was the story, almost. Glad I kept you hooked long enough for the payoff! (Plus, I still can hear that jingle in my head, darn it. That deep voice with “HUdson3-2700” used to come singing out of our b&w 20 times a day when I was a young-un. Seemed like a good setup for this story.)

        2. As soon as I’m any good.

        😛

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Kelly: I’m about to delete point number two in your comment. 🙂

          • Kelly says:

            Shane–Hee hee… I’m still honing my craft, & probably always will be. Otherwise a book deal would be sitting here, tempting me (with some dough) to change my course.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s