Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #166

Johnny B. Truant chose today’s words.  Show him what EPIC writing looks like.

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. Endoplasmic reticulum – A membrane network within the cytoplasm of cells involved in the synthesis, modification, and transport of cellular materials.
  2. Articulated
  3. Clown
  4. Random
  5. Obsidian – A usually black or banded, hard volcanic glass that displays shiny, curved surfaces when fractured and is formed by rapid cooling of lava.
  6. Morose – Sullenly melancholy; gloomy.
  7. Gelatinous 
  8. Ford Pinto 
  9. Bilateral 
  10. Taco Bell Grande

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

85 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #166”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy! How’s it you understand all this obsidian rock formation talk, and all dis biology, geology and all da other ologies?”

    “They say to understand complex stuff, you gots to break it down into small chunks, and since I only have two brain cells, I’m an expert in chunkification. All this endoplasmic reticulum talk just reticulates into mental articulation for me.”

    “Well, Dr. Billy, I still don’t get our Biology teacher. He’s a gigantic, hissy man with gelatinous legs dat looks like they’s filled with Taco Bell Grandes and gravy. I don’t see how he fits into dat Ford Pinto he done drives. I keep expected him and 10 other clowns to jump out like they’s at a circus. And I wish we had morose in this classroom so I could move further back so he ain’t always callin’ on me.”

    “People say he’s bilateral.”

    “Oh shit! Dat means those winks and A-pluses he’s done been givin’ me ain’t random after all.”

  2. Anne Wayman says:

    Oh no! Not only did my Ford Pinto’s gas tank explode just like Ralph Nader said it would, my doctor articulated some problem I have called Endoplasmic reticulum, the clown. Everyone knows that occasionally a cell membrane will break down on a completely random basis and it means nothing! I told him that and his obsidian eyes became oh so morose. Later I was absolutely disgusted by the gelatinous nature of the cheese on the Taco Bell Grande nachos I was served during the bilateral peace conference. Sigh – what a day! An absolute epic.

    Do I get a bonus point for epic?

  3. Jeanette R. says:

    “Let me get this straight… You can’t speak Chinese and they can’t speak English but you are here to teach them about the human anatomy?”  Sarah put down her tray and wiped her seat of crumbs.

    “Yup, that’s about right. I take Mandarin classes twice a week to help me communicate.  Look at how they stare at me.  It’s like they’ve never seen a dark skinned Latina before.”   Ursula surveyed the Taco Bell Grande restaurant and saw that everyone was looking in her direction. “Some clown in my class yesterday drew a picture of me with a big butt and lips and passed it around like a freakin’ third grader.  Sometimes I feel like when I got on the plane ride from Miami to China I entered some time travel capsule that put me dead smack into the 1950’s.”  

    “I feel you on that one.  Luckily I took a few years of Mandarin at the university before taking this job.  I don’t know how they understand me with my British accent but at least I don’t get random pictures drawn of my ass.” Sarah reached over and squeezed Ursula’s hand. “It’s going to be OK. Hopefully the economy will get better and we can all return to our regularly scheduled programming.  One day we won’t have to drive around in a beat up Ford Pinto and eat at global Taco Hell’s.”  

    Ursula poked around at her burrito.  The gelatinous meat stuck to her fork.  Her morose attitude worsened each day and she wondered how much more she could take of her situation. “You know…my dad told me it would be a strategic bilateral move to come to Beijing.  He said I could learn the language of the future.  He articulated his obsession to me everyday until I no longer could argue with him.  They do have the faster growing economy.”

    “True, but what good is it if the rest of the world is in a financial freefall? At least we can get some cool souvenirs.  I found a place that sells carved obsidian elephants.  I bought a bunch the other day for under 10 U.S. dollars.”

    Ursula laughed and took a few sips from her drink. “I’m not really in the mood to shop.  I’m trying to save as much as I can.  Anyway, I have to get to my Mandarin class. I’m going to see if the teacher can help me translate the process of Endoplasmic reticulum.”

    “Good luck with that one, sweetheart. And if you get any more notes passed around, tell them they will have to deal with your British buddy.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: That is such a wonderful, wonderful scene you painted. Do more of this. Great job.

    • Esther Celestin says:

      Gigi I absolutely loved it!! It’s as if you have been here the whole time recording my experiences.! I did learn how to give them a piece of my mind! : Weishema ni xiao wo? Ni shi wu li! Ni bu renshi wole! I tried it out and it worked!!! LOL
      Anyway, I am planning on writing a book on my experience. We’ll see how that turns out.

      • Martha says:

        Esther I am now dying to know what all that means! Jeanette: this was such a lovely picture of teaching across cultures and managing parental expectations.

        • Jeanette R. says:

          Thanks, Martha. I was amazed that my friend went across the world to teach because there are no teaching jobs here in the states. She’s a trooper!

    • Jeanette, this was way cool. It made me think of Jaden Smith’s character in the Karate Kid remake.

  4. margaret says:

    OK, I’ve articulated this before, but I’ll say it again….What clown picks a random phrase like “endoplasmic reticulum” and expects my bilateral brain to not go gelatinous and my eyes to go blank and lifeless like obsidian marbles?

    This makes me morose and want to go back to 1975, get in a Ford Pinto, order a Taco Bell Grande and have the tank explode before diarrhea sets in!

    This was too easy, LOL

  5. Jeanette R. says:

    @Margaret.  Cause: Taco Bell. Effect: Diarrhea. LOL!

  6. Wait! Read CCC 152, first! 🙂
    The clown in the Ford Pinto was about to experience the most extreme form of random violence. He’d cut off the obsidian Mercedes 500 SEL as both vehicles aimed for the reserved slot nearest the entrance to the Taco Bell Grande. Abram slammed on the brakes to avoid ramming the smaller car. Both drivers emerged simultaneously. Only one was enraged.

    “Are you blind, sir?” Abram’s sneer made a mockery of the ennobling title he’d conferred on the dumpy waste of DNA standing before him. “That sign clearly states that this space is reserved.”

    “Ho, ho ho!” chuckled Dumpy, actually drawing out the final ‘o’, an off-season Santa keeping his voice in tune. “Listen, pal. You and your fancy wheels don’t impress me. Matter of fact, you can kiss my ass!” With that, he turned and waddled into the restaurant.

    Abram was seething, but he decided to wait two minutes. Dumpy wasn’t going to find a bite of food inside and, when he came rolling out, Abram would deliver a kick instead of a kiss.

    It took less than a minute for a confused Dumpy to come back out into the blinding light and dry, dusty heat of Cherrywood Heights. In the time it took for him to adjust to the glare, Abram had planted his well-worn Ferragamo Python loafer into the offensive little man’s gelatinous bilateral cheeks.

    “Listen, Pinto. This is my town. This is my parking space. If I ever see you around here again, you’ll head for the border with a one-way ticket to hell.”

    Only slightly deflated, Dumpy rose with dignity, brushed off the seat of his pants and got back into his car. As he drove off, Abram saw him mouthing epithets.


    The country club would have been a better venue but it had been reserved by the socialites for some boring soiree. Abram, as president of the New Syndicate, demanded – and got – the largest single-story structure left standing in post-quake California. The previous owners, entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, handed over their American dream in exchange for safe passage to the evacuation point, said passage having been threatened by their initial refusal to surrender the premises.

    Despite its smaller size, it had been lavishly appointed. The plush booths were filled to capacity with members of the NS. A jerry-built platform, complete with podium and whiteboard, dominated the space that used to serve as the checkout counter. Abram acknowledged his partners as he strode to the stage.

    “Men, the time has come to take a more proactive approach to the over-crowding problem.” Abram waited for the membership to acknowledge the euphemism. He thought about how strange it must seem that a band of killers would resort to such delicate language to describe their craft. He supposed it was no worse than the military’s surgical strike. Looking over the assembly of three dozen thugs, he hoped that it would never become necessary to frag any of them. He resumed his speech.

    “Just today, I was accosted by a ruffian. Then, right outside these doors, that fat slob you saw wandering in, cut me off from my parking space. Of course, I dispatched them both. However, these one on one encounters are only going to intensify as food reserves are depleted or denied to these people.

    “I’ve taken the liberty of creating a task force from the esteemed ranks of our clients. A bunch of talented physicians and pharmacologists have come up with what they’re calling ERAD. A handful of you will be assigned to this task force to carry out the distribution of the payload. You will be briefed.

    “Those of you who are not going to this task force will become part of the new “Emergency Relocation and Deportation” team, our own little ERAD. Jim Dyson will brief you immediately following this meeting.”


    Six members of the New Syndicate were lounging at the country club bar, two days later. They were trying to inebriate themselves ahead of what was sure to be a mind-numbing briefing by a band of pin-heads. Jim Dyson was also mixing it up with the group, although his part would come later. Abram had wanted him there for background.

    As the seven men were ordering a third round of drinks, Abram entered the country club. He was surrounded by half a dozen men and women who really did look like stereotypical geeks. Jim groaned morosely, loud enough for the other six to look up at the entrance. The groan multiplied in a ripple of dismay that even Abram couldn’t help but hear. He smiled benignly and waved to the cluster of men. Then, he pointed to the conference room, made a “let’s get this over with” gesture and led his entourage through the double doors.


    The briefing was almost over. The New Syndicate had sat through a well-articulated but thoroughly dry discourse on the efficacy of initiating endoplasmic reticulum associated protein degradation via subcutaneous injection of compromised doses of acyclovir.

    Seven thugs and their associates had no clue that six physicians, playing God, decreed that all indigents would be vaccinated against herpes simplex, using a tainted vaccine that would cause major problems at the cellular level. Abram chuckled. A kiss of death is what it was. Slowly but surely, the sickened masses would simply be eliminated.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Shane. Post-apocalyptic beauty.  What a world you’ve created here.  And taking the weaker species out by herpes is genius.

      I had never read the original,  so today I got a #2 story treat from you!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Put this in a bleepin’ book! That is all. #awesomestuff

    • @Jeanette, Thanks! There’s a parallel storyline in CCC #153. Imagine if I maintained both arcs!
      @Shane, Thank you. This would be kind of fun to flesh out.  CCC is turning into my EverNote for story ideas. 🙂

  7. Okay, just whipped this one up real fast.

    Bad Food
    A random meal choice gone wrong
    Taco Bell Grande burrito torture
    gelatinous obsidian mass of torment
    crashing through gastric tract
    like a speeding rusty Ford Pinto
    corrupting endoplasmic reticulum
    morose bilateral facial expressions
    with articulated sounds of distress
    flailing like some insane clown
    food not likely to stay down

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Justin. Wow, I literally got nauseous reading this. LOL!
      “Morose bilateral facial expressions.” Great line!

      • Honestly, I feel like this right now about the food I ate last night.  It wasn’t Taco Bell.

        • @Justin, my reply got lost somehow. I had joked that you and your digestive tract seemed to have a love-hate relationship. Now I see this was based on how you were feeling.
          I hope you’re feeling better. That said, you and  your digestive tract seem to have a love-hate relationship! 🙂 I recall several thematic poems along these lines.

          • Hmm.  It must starting to be too obvious, I think I have maybe 10 out of 950+ poems about food or stomach related pain but you were able to put it all together.  My previous CCC entry had something to do with lactose intolerance.
            But yeah, I am plagued by stomach issues on a regular basis, one of the things I deal with on occasion.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: CASE CLOSED! Quick, real fast, whipped up content from Justin Germino ROCKS! Had me laughing out loud.

      gelatinous obsidian mass of torment – damn that was funny!

  8. Kelly says:

    Naw, I’m not morose, just feeling like the world is pretty stupid. Taco Bell Grande-Dame-of-the-Month Geri Schoenfelder left a message for me on my machine after that argument we had last week at the dealer…
    Yeah. Ford.
    Pintos aren’t beans, she said. I said they are.
    Well, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it devolved from there. She called me a gelatinous something-or-other.

    Endoplasmic reticulum, I think. What does that even mean? I called her an SAT showoff and an historic underachiever. Anyone who can throw out random words like that and chooses to spend their days asking if you want hot sauce on your burrito is a just a clown, y’know?
    I don’t know, but she wouldn’t last three days in my house. My dad would have a cow that she didn’t get herself into some good school. Look at what he does to me, and I’m Mister-Solid-Cs!
    Well, it’s bilateral, believe me I get it from all sides. Mom kicks my ass plenty for being in StateU and taking archaeology. Doesn’t see a future in it.
    Well, I found a huge piece of carved obsidian the last time we were on a dig, but nobody was impressed with it. Didn’t let me take it home, y’know, but not really thrilled either. They want stuff with kings’ names on it and stuff. Maybe I won’t make a million bucks but I won’t work at Taco Bell, either. That’s a fair trade!
    Oh, the dealer? She was there with her boy-friend. Jack Thibodeau, you know him? Punk. I was thinking about replacing the hoopdee. Sweet little used Jeep there, just a few dents and dings, but better than dad’s old Volvo, y’know?
    Once I articulated to them that I had a 1992 Volvo and 2 thousand bucks in my hand, they articulated to me that I’d better lower my sights. Her boyfriend got a Focus.
    Yeah. They’re meant for each other. On the message she said we should get together sometime. What’d’ya think of that?

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Kelly. This was very creative!  It’s cool how you can follow the conversation even though it’s one sided.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: What an interesting, fun slice of life you gave us there. I’m grinning.

    • @Kelly, I’m thinking, “This is pretty cool.” I’ve been watching Eureka re-runs and there is a thread of the superiority/underachiever in many of the characters. I mean, if they’re so brilliant, why are they work for this parasitic company?
      Eh, anyway, the best part is the reverse ponytail pulling attraction. We’ll always wonder what attracts people to one another. 🙂

  9. Frank Ruiz says:

    Hey, everyone!
    Wow, Johnny B. Truant gave us an interesting list today, and you all have come up with incredible results!
    Shane, like Mitch said, using “morose” for “more of us” was awesome! I loved it!
    Anne and Margaret, it’s amazing that even this list is no match for your ability to complete the challenges with brevity!
    Jeanette, like the others mentioned, you’re ability to paint a detailed, complete, real picture never ceases to amaze, to the point that it looks like your inspiration even commented and said it was authentic to her experience as well! Bravo!
    Mitch, you have an amazing ability to create complex, persistent worlds throughout these continuing challenges! The post-earthquake California and its classy-assassin clique you describe for us here are incredibly textured. It’s amazing that you managed all this and also layered in today’s words without them jumping out at me!
    Justin, I never thought I’d think of a post-Taco-Bell dump as poetry, but you managed to bring art to even this experience!
    Kelly, I love the voice of your narrator in your submission today! Plus, Archaeology could make him the next Indiana Jones!
    Wonderful stuff from everyone!

  10. Frank Ruiz says:

    “Ah, Justin, we’ve finally got your sample ready for viewing.  Come over to the microscope, will you?”

    Ugh.  School’s a drag, and these mandatory psychology experiments are even worse.  If doing five of these didn’t increase my grade by an entire letter, then I’d never be their guinea pig.  Luckily, this was my last one.

    “Fine, but don’t expect me to get too excited at the sight of my own blood.”

    Dr. Irons’ excitement could never be dissuaded.  Mine could never get started.

    “Oh, but this is worthy of excitement, my boy.  We’ve made a grand discovery today!”

    I look into the microscope.  My blood looks like a gelatinous mess; just a bunch of cells lazily dancing around each other in random patterns.

    “Where’s the exciting part, Doc?”

    “Well, Justin, notice the lining of your cells there?”

    “I guess.”  I wasn’t sure what this clown was talking about.

    “That lining is known as the ‘Endoplasmic Reticulum.’  Yours are markedly thinner than those of an average person’s.”

    What’s this guy trying to tell me?  “So, are you saying there’s something wrong with my blood?”

    “Not wrong, per se, Justin, just different.  Your blood cells are healthy enough in that state to continue functioning as they should.”

    “Oh, alright.  That’s a relief.”

    The Doctor smiles.  “It’s a relief for us as well, Justin.  You see, this difference of yours allows us to be able to definitively test, on a scientific level, the difference between you and the rest of us.”

    There he goes pissing me off again.  “What?  What do you mean, difference?  You just told me my blood was fine!”

    “Oh, Justin, no need to get upset or morose, dear boy.  You’ve been an incredible help in our quest to be able to divide society bilaterally between its two fundamental types!”

    “Uh, anybody with two eyes can tell the difference between men and women, Doc.”

    “Yes, Justin, but this difference is much more fundamental, usually taking much longer to discern.”

    “What difference is that, Doc?”

    “The difference between assholes and cool people!  It’s a revelation!”

    “WHAT?  What the fuck?  I’m not an asshole!”

    “Come, come now, Justin.  It’s too late to protest.  We’re scientists, remember?  Our experiments with you have proven it!”

    “The Hell they have!  They were just dumb wastes of time where you had me look at pictures or hear sounds in your darkroom!”

    “Yes, Justin, but those weren’t our real experiments during those times.  They were simply a ruse so that we could observe what you did before or afterward without you being aware that you were being studied.”

    “What is this?  I don’t remember shit before or afterward!”

    “Well, we remember plenty, young man.  After one experiment, we paid you in food, remember?  We had several choices, all Mexican.  They were all labeled, Justin: wonderful fare from all our local Tex-Mex restaurants here near San Jose University.  Only one choice we had was the aberration: the ‘Taco Bell Grande.’  You immediately went for this choice!”

    “So what, man?  That doesn’t mean anything!”

    “As I told you, Justin, we’re scientists.  We don’t just jump to conclusions based on one piece of evidence.  After our initial results, we only had a suspicion that you might be an asshole.  More verification was needed.  As a result, I had one of my assistants follow you afterward.  He saw you get into a Ford Pinto with obsidian-black tinted windows and rims that probably cost more than the car did!  Only an asshole would do that, Justin!”

    “You’re wrong, you fucker!”

    “Well, your ‘well-articulated’ rebuffs notwithstanding, Justin, we were pretty sure of our results before taking your blood this morning.  Today sealed our conclusions, however, and we’re overjoyed for it, as it makes the validity of our blood test that much more valid.  You came in here with the collar of your polo shirt popped up, Justin!  If that’s not the mark of an asshole, I don’t know what is!”

    “Whatever, man.  I’m out of here!”

    “Don’t worry, Justin, we’ll fully credit you in our findings once we publish them!  You’ve been a valuable asset to the scientific community, and to society, my boy!  That ought to make you feel good despite being an asshole, doesn’t it?”

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Frank.  Boy did I need this laugh today.  The examples you gave of your typical a-hole were hilarious! I’m sure most of us wouldn’t need to take any blood samples for the jerks in our lives but proving it scientifically would be pretty cool.  Very smart!

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks, Jeanette!
        Johnny’s list of words made me laugh just reading them, so I was hoping to do something funny in return 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: Your best, funniest, yet! I think you’ve found your niche. Funny with an extra helping of pissed off. Run with that!

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks, Shane!

        Yeah, I definitely have fun when writing with that combination!  I’ll have to see how it feels to write with some other tones from time to time to see how they feel as well.

        Thanks again!

    • Frank, I’m glad I wasn’t drinking milk as I read “the revelation”. That was priceless!
      I enjoy your lively dialogue. I can hear the tones of voice, so clearly!

    • Particularly amusing because my name was in it, the condescending nature each time the name was spoken was very apparent.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks, Mitch and Justin!

        Mitch, thanks too for your reply to my grouped-comments post earlier, much appreciated!

        Justin, whoops!  Sorry, I didn’t even realize the name connection when I was writing it.  I thought of the name of the college student as Justin Orpheus as a play on what sounds like “Just an orifice.”  I named the Doctor Dr. Irons because it sounded like “irony.”

  11. David Kirba says:

    Endoplasmic reticulum. Define it.”

    The Question was simple, if the clown had bothered reading his textbook instead of watching random videos on YouTube. But then he was a clown, not a student. He had a bright red nose to prove it. His finger absentmindedly poked the aforementioned nose which was actually a gelatinous mass created by tying old red balloons together and sticking them together with glue. He had then used rubber-band to keep it attached to his face. Bright red rubber-band.

    He stared at The Question again. It hadn’t changed.

    “Why oh why do these questions have to be so well articulated?”, his mind screamed. Give me a simple question like like the one the waiter asks at Taco Bell Grande: “What would you like to eat?”

    The thought made the clown morose and that’s no mood for a clown. He decided this problem could be solved by opening a bilateral discussion with The Creator of this difficult question.

    The idea gave him hope and up shot his hand.

    The Creator of The Question turned obsidian eyes the colour of Darth Vader’s suit toward the clown. For a split second deep black and bright red faced each other. Staring into those dark emotionless eyes, the clown just knew he didn’t stand a chance. He mumbled an excuse and quickly ran out of the room.

    Breaking through the doors, the clown looked around and spotted his mother’s bright pink Ford Pinto.

    Running toward the car he flung open the door and flew into the back seat. Free from the bondage of The Question, he heaved a sigh of relief and turned to look at his mother. But instead of her bright blue eyes he found the dark eyes of The Creator.

    A scream rose in his throat as he jumped away – to suddenly awake in his bed with 2 months of glorious summer ahead of him.

    No Questions. Just the joy of being a six year old clown.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @David: Outstanding first submission. That was so unique and funny. Welcome to the CCC.
      Hope to see you each Monday and Thursday. I’ll add your name and url to our CCC Community Links page now (super interesting blog you got there too). Everyone welcome David to the club.

      • David Kirba says:

        Glad you liked it Shane 🙂 And thanks a lot for adding me to the links page. Much appreciated 🙂

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @David-Welcome to CCC!

        Once you visit you’ll find yourself trapped in the endoplasmic reticulum of word genius. Each week, the stories articulated between our green walls set off a circus event of fun that makes even the most serious clown laugh in sheer joy.

        Who knew such random words delivered obsidian, morose plots of melancholy in the same place as a silly romp through the mind of a child. Gelatinous prose transforms with an artist’s touch that turns a simple Ford Pinto into a Bentley ride of delight.
        So, take the words into bilateral discussion to create your finest dream of Taco Bell Grande proportions as we welcome you to the fold.


        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Cathy: THAT’S my new fav, hands down.

          • Cathy Miller says:

            @Shane-thanks, buddy-my @#%$ 3-month-old computer crashed during one of my busiest times work-wise and I have been dealing with that for 2 days-still going on. So, sorry I have not been around. I have sooo much reading to catch up on!

    • Awesome! Poor kid must be a genius, though. Imagine the pressure!
      This line is so – umm! – tasty!
      For a split second deep black and bright red faced each other.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @David. I liked the twist at the end.  You clearly expressed the anxiety this clown/kid felt with the thought of being in school again.  At least he has two months to recover!

  12. “Johnny?” I asked, “You had Johnny B. Truant come up with a word list?”

    Shane weariy waved a beer bottle at me. “Yes, why?”

    “Are any of them printable?” I asked.

    Shane laughed. “They’re all printable! Stop whining and start writing. And it had better be EPIC!”

    “Fine, whatever, okay,” I said. Epic. Like Star Wars crossed with Gone With the Wind.
    I’ll call it “Gone With the Star Wind.”

    Scene 1

    “Epic? You want epic? Baby, I am epic. Through and through. Why, after I resigned, they had to rename it to the Bilateral Commission. That’s how epic I am. I can eat a Taco Bell Grande in one bite,” I bragged.

    She seemed impressed, batted her eyes (fake lashes? I can’t tell), and said “You’ll do. Walk this way,” and headed off, swiveling.

    “Baby,” I thought, “if I could walk that way, I’d have to wear skirts. And would have a lot more dates.” But I followed her just the same.

    To a Ford Pinto. I laughed as I got in. “A Ford Pinto? WFT is this? This ain’t epic, unless it’s some kind of Transformer.”

    “It is,” she said. Every surface of the car articulated, a random scattering of metal and plastic bulging like a coccoon, then it settled down into a more-or-less sphere. The skin looked like obsidian, and the car (ship?) gave a little jump. I could see stars out the window – and through the floor.

    “Now that’s epic,” I said. I felt like a clown on the inside though, as the stars rushed towards us. WTF had I gotten myself into?

    “We need to make a slight adjustment to your corporeal form before we break lightspeed,” she said, poking me in the arm with some kind of Star Trek salt-shaker. It hissed.

    I felt cold, then warm, then shorter. My body had become gelatinous, and I could barely see over the dashboard. “WTF was that?” I asked, morosely.

    “Oh, just a nano-injection to adjust your endoplasmic reticulum a little bit,” she said. She looked like a bag of Jello now, and I suppose I did too.

    Then the stars jumped past us in straight lines, and I blacked out.

  13. Martha says:

    “Welcome to the Taco Bell Grande School for Taco Masters. I am sure you will enjoy the course, and today’s lesson especially.”
    The instructor paused eyeing the group with his obsidian glare. There was always a few clowns who refused to take the program seriously, and he expected this year’s crop would be no different. The company took a random approach to student selection, one he considered shortsighted. He thought again that this was not what he intended when he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. He shook his head. Such morose thoughts were not productive.
    “First on our agenda today is to study the chicken. Without understanding the component parts of the chicken, you will not understand how we make our chicken tacos so special.” Good God, he thought, this drivel got harder and harder to deliver.
    “Let’s look at the articulated joints. I know most of you will get your chicken nicely separated in your kitchen, but again, you need to know the theory before you can appreciate the practice.” He flicked through his binder and found the slide he wanted.
    “The bones provide essential flavour and also the gelatinous texture essential to a tasty stock. The beauty of chicken is also its bilateral form: we have two wings, two breasts, two thighs, and two legs.”
    On and on he went, paging through the binder with its regulations, diagrams, and descriptions. he ticked off each section with a mental thwack of the slaughterhouse axe from his childhood.
    “When we marinate our chicken with the TB special seasoning, we are relying on the endoplasmic reticulum to facilitate the transfer of these new flavours as well as the tenderizing enzymes necessary for some of our older product.”
    They were all alike these students. They only sat up and took notice when he threw in the odd scientific term. It was funny how it galvanized them into thinking this was so serious. Funny like a Ford Pinto bursting into flames when you least expected it. No, not really funny at all. Just sad.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Martha: That … was … wonderful. I love your style.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Martha. I feel his pain and disappointment. Not everyone can be an Iron Chef.

      Well done.

    • Martha, I knew there was something funny about those chicken tacos:
      “…tenderizing enzymes necessary for some of our older product.”
      This sounds very realistic. I only lasted two week at McDonald’s, so I don’t know what I missed.

  14. Martha says:

    I’ll never tell!
    Please excuse my errors though: just realized I used it’s for its and left the “d” off graduated. I tried to edit but it would not let me. 😦

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Martha: Fixed.

      • Martha says:

        Thank you Shane! I shouldn’t obsess about it but seeing typos I missed is like an itch you can’t reach: frustrating and painful! Have I told you how much I am enjoying this site? What an awesome place to be!

  15. Rebecca says:

    The Ford Pinto Jane drove was still in good shape. She received many stares from customers when she pulled into the Taco Bell Grande. Jane was morose because she was stuck in her crappy home state when she longed to be back where she was – over 2,000 miles away from her vile family. She articulated this very well in her journal last night. Jane purchased a necklace with an Obsidian crystal to ward-off the negativity from her wacko family. They were typical Midwesterners who couldn’t see beyond their backyard. That was their problem, not hers. Jane didn’t want to make a bilateral move in her job – she wanted a fresh start. She thought about studying endoplasmic reticulum but this sounded too much like being a Ghostbuster. Jane also thought about becoming a clown and traveling with the circus; after all, she was born into a circus of a family. How hard could it be? Jane looked at the person’s order in front of her. She thought it had a gelatinous look to it which grossed her out. Jane tried not to have too many random thoughts because she didn’t need or want negativity in her life.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: I got a kick out of this one. Extra bonus points for mentioning one of my fav movies of all time. “Where do these stairs go?” “They go up!” 🙂

  16. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Thank you! I love Ghostbusters.
    Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore, has a recurring role as Dr. Fields on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

  17. Jason wolfed down his Taco Bell Grande. His belly had been rumbling and bubbling for the past hour. He’d have been all for grab-and-go at the drive-thru, but Jake had insisted they dine in, so as not to get grease and salsa all over the shabby upholstery of his hand-me-down Ford Pinto.
    Alicia slumped in the corner of the booth, her expression hostile and morose. “I don’t know how you can eat that,” she grumbled. She fingered an obsidian pendant, testing its glass-like edge against her finger until it drew blood.
    Luis played the clown, using plastic drinking straws like blow-guns to shoot paper wrappers across the table at random intervals, barely missing Alicia and earning himself a kick in the shin.
    Alicia suddenly sat up, her face animated as she poked at what was left of Jason’s Taco Bell Grande. “That is a fantastic metaphor for cell structure, right there!”
    “What the–?”
    “Yeah – the shell is the endoplasmic reticulum,” she explained, articulating the consonants carefully and savoring the feel of them on her tongue. There was nothing else to eat in this joint. “It’s a packaging and transport mechanism to get that gelatinous mass you call meat into your mouth…”
    “Vegan witch.” Jason licked his fingers, balled up the taco wrapper, and tossed it into the nearby trash can. “Ready to hit the road again?” he asked.
    “My, aren’t you the violent one,” snarked Alicia. “Let’s go.”
    “Hey, can we get a bilateral cease fire?” asked Luis. “Or do I need to grab some more straws before we leave?”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Holly: Bilateral cease fire and straws. Reminds me of being young and having spitball fights at McDonalds. 🙂

      • I should plead the fifth, but you know, you can make a great catapult out of a spork, a couple of straws, a few sugar packets, and a rubber band.
        Just sayin’…
        What? I haven’t forgotten how to think like a kid!

  18. (:Smiley Extrodinare :) says:

    I used to be a class clown in the earlier grades, back when I was innocent and carefree. I always came up with the random, but witty, comments, and I laughed when the teacher had bilateral conversations with him and his many inner selves. He wasn’t the best teacher, but at least one of his personalities knew big ol’ words like endoplasmic reticulum.
    But now, with college right around the corner and the grades skipping by faster than I can grasp the lessons, I grow morose. Now I don’t even start food fights in the cafeteria with the gelatinous blobs the lunch lady slaps onto my plate.

    I can’t articuate how I feel at the moment, except maybe a bit like a black lump of obsidian, sitting at the base of it’s volcano unloved and feeling sorry for himself. And that aint a good feeling, you know.

    So now, as I trundle down the road in my rusty Ford Pinto, balancing a taco from Taco Belle Grande on my thigh, a soda in the glove compartment making my cars important papers sticky, I sigh, and wonder where I went wrong. I sigh, and take another bite of my taco.

  19. (:Smiley Extrodinare :) says:

    thank you 🙂

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