Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #198

James Chartrand chose today’s words. She has a thing for pirates; what can I do! 🙂

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. Pirate
  2. Rum
  3. Buccaneer
  4. Deadhead – skull and crossbones symbol
  5. Pistols
  6. Barrel
  7. Pantaloons – a man’s close-fitting garment for the hips and legs, worn especially in the 19th century
  8. Brig
  9. Swashbuckling
  10. Groupies

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


83 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #198”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Help Billy! Help! They’s rum-smellin’, swashbucklin’, buccaneer-pirate-vampires attackin’ me and suckin’ da fat out of my big-boned gal. They’s got pistol barrels pointed at me and threatenin’ me wit’ da brig if I’s don’t stop likin’ da big-boned gals and bang their skippin-stone-thin groupies they brought wit’ ‘um! Man, these gal-groupies is as ugly as deadheads and skinnier them ‘um too. Oh shit, Billy! Now they got me tied down and a pirate is sittin’ on my face wit’ exposed satchel! Now he’s slappin’ me wit’ it! Oh da horror! Oh da…Billy? What you slappin me for?”

    “You was wailin’ around in yo sleep, thrustin’ and gyratin’ and carryin’ on like you was trying to rip the crouch out of some M.C. Hammer Pantaloon pants. I tried to wake you nicely, but you didn’t budge, so I slapped you wit’ my skinny-gals underpants filled with frozen mountain-oysters.”

  2. Whipped this one out

    Pirates Cometh
    Deadhead straight ahead
    instead of rum or grog
    swashbuckling pirates
    with pistols instead
    Groupies in a brig
    pantaloons in a barrel
    one buccaneer pleading
    lying hogtied like a pig

  3. Frank Ruiz says:

    What’s a pirate, aside from the folks who wear fancy pantaloons and drink rum by the barrel?  A pirate is someone who takes what isn’t theirs from others, mostly by force or threat of force, and usually on the high seas.  What’s the equivalent on land?  A robber, a criminal.

    What happens after the forced change of property holding, if the pirate/robber successfully keeps their ill-gotten gains?  After some time, things adjust to a new social equilibrium, and property-holders begin to be seen as owners.  In other words, the identification of owners of property seems to be more a function of successfully holding onto property rather than whether or not the acquiring of the property was through lawful or criminal means.

    So how does that reality shape the upward-mobility-potential of members of a society with pirates and robbers?  It means “might makes right” and “the winners get to write the history, and the laws.”  Therefore, not only do pirates and robbers get to take others’ property, and not only do they get to become “owners” if they hold onto their spoils long enough; they also get the exclusive right of “truth”-legitimizing for all actors involved (also defended through “might”).  This means that the most successful pirates/robbers can transition from criminals to owners to “legitimate, deserving owners,” because the “winners” always create a new “truth” (overwriting the actual, original truth reporting their criminality) that says what’s happened was supposed to have happened, and shouldn’t have happened any other way.  The “deadhead” outlaw flag becomes a legitimized national flag, and pistols for robbery now become “national defense technology.”

    Over time, pirates and robbers aren’t just legitimized, but also idealized (with subsequent new rewrites of the “official history” improving their popular image over the previously-instituted societal mythology/history).  This means yesterday’s pirates and robbers become today’s heroes, and society’s members with ambition can either try to become pirates and robbers themselves (or whatever their new version is named: swashbuckling buccaneer, adventurer, hero, soldier, patriot, etc.), or try to ingratiate themselves to the existing pirates and robbers by serving them.

    The existing pirates and robbers discourage competition (usually forcefully), and they encourage being served.  So, for the ambitious who are averse to possible confrontation, the brig, or annihilation from society’s “now-chosen people” (the pirates/robbers), folks are guided to achievement paths based on being groupies to the pirates and robbers who are now the lawmakers.

    For those who can’t accept the legitimization of having been robbed to the point that they now have to serve their robbers, the only choice left is resistance, be it through open war or nonviolent resistance.

    Why am I writing about all this?  It’s part of my reflection on yesterday’s news coming out of “Occupy DC” (http://rt.com/usa/news/occupy-dc-police-barn-089/).  The occupiers are currently seen as the illegitimate grabbers of property (the public park space at McPherson Square), and the US Federal Park Police seen as the heroes defending the national interest.  If we were to dial the time-machine back, I wonder what the descends of the US Park Police would have looked like to the park area’s original inhabitants, the Native Americans?  I guess it’s not easy for us to get an answer to such a question, as the Native Americans weren’t the winners, and thus didn’t get to write the “official” history or make the laws during that confrontation.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: Powerful stuff that.

      Speaking of powerful, check this out. Best one hour you’ll spend to see where we really are as humans in the human history timeline. Eye-opening stuff.

      • Had to pause the Crash Course to get coffee. I don’t get what he’s saying – that’s dangerous – but it makes a magical sort of sense – that’s frightening.
        Any mathematicians/economists in here?
        N.B. I’m only at minute 13!!!

    • Frank, you are an amazing documentarist (If that ain’t a word, it should be!)
      The precedent for land-grab persists in real estate law. Something I learned in class.
      Check this out:

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for the comments, and the awesome resources, Shane and Mitch!
        @Shane: Chris Martenson gave a great “crash course” in our society’s continued transitions toward more and more concentrated forms of energy-source dependency.  Looks like we’ve tapped out that line of societal development, and the death of the petro-dollar will mark a change along the lines of what we’re starting to potentially see hints of in these new populist movements.
        @Mitch: thanks for the “documentarist” kudos, and now that we have the term, I just need to spread it and hope it catches in popular usage.  I think I’ll start using it when people ask me “What do you do?” 🙂
        Thanks for the land-grab legal-case precedent too!  It’s crazy to see how “use it or lose it” is codified in our laws, as recent news shows that it now seems to be “use it AND lose it: your clean arrest record!”

        • KathleenKL says:

          Frank – -amazing how I it seems we are allowed by our constitution to protest… but government officials in some towns are now not liking the gathering and the protesting so they are running “emergency laws” and/or ordinances onto the books to make it illegal to stay overnight in XXXX location. What happened to the fact that the citizens actually own the government buildings and parks, unless they are privately owned …?


    The mess hall was crammed with nearly one hundred civilian technicians. They had been watching pirate videos in the Hologram Theatre. The revelry had spilled over into their mealtime, with various members clowning around with cardboard pistols and a soda canister doubling as a bottle of rum.

    “Hey, Jim, what kind of swashbuckling pirate are you? Where’s your buccaneers?”

    “On my buckin’ head, that’s where!”

    “Well, I heard you threw them in the brig for soiling their pantaloons.”

    “Arrgh! Ya got me over a barrel, matey.”

    “That’s what she said!”

    Uproarious, raucous laughter followed that last outburst. Just then, ten servers, all female, wheeled in the dinner trays.

    “Arggh! Groupies! Hide the doubloons!”

    “Bring me the ale, lass!” That earned the speaker a faceful of water and a gale of laughter.


    Deirdre Skye shook her head sadly at the misogynistic behavior that her Zeta Team was tolerating. Every rotation, these fools climbed out of the tanks, ate and acted like pigs and generally ransacked the colony pod. She was sure Earth had rid itself of every known criminal and dead-beat by blasting them to the next star over.


    Morgan stalked over to the emergency enclosure beside the hatchway. Using the butt-end of his wrench, he smashed the glass and pushed the ominous-looking red button. Its deadhead insignia glowed white. A piercing klaxon erupted in the hold and – nothing. The hatchway did not open.
    Morgan went back to the console, punched in a number and hailed the Science Officer’s frequency. After a few seconds, the speaker came to life:

    “Zakharov here. What is it, Morgan?”

    “Commander Lal has sealed the habitation hatchway. Can you override it?”

    “No. I only have codes for Level 2. Yang is in charge of Level 3. I’ll patch you through.”

    The speaker crackled, barely audible over the rising and falling whoop of the klaxon. A different voice came through.

    “Yang. What!”

    “Morgan here. Please turn off that damned siren and open the habitation hatchway at once!”

    “Very well. Commander Lal is becoming a nuisance. What is the problem?”

    Morgan hesitated, then blurted out, “We’re being bombarded with cosmic rays or something! The nutrient tanks are about to blow and only half the coffins have been fed!”

    “Calm down, Morgan. I can activate a nerve-staple procedure within two minutes of any outbreaks.”

    Morgan was horrified. “That’s unacceptable! My brother is in there! Your wife … man, what are you thinking?”

    “Well, my friend, you’d better make sure you are in control at all times. Yang out.”

    The speaker and klaxon went silent at the same time. With a soft whoosh, the hatchway opened. Morgan stared back at the rows of stasis chambers – the coffins – and tried to figure out what he and his squad could do. With an air of hopelessness, he summoned the troops.

    “Gamma team! Forward! Evacuate the hold! Double-time! Meet in mess at 19:00 hours.”


    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Awesome!  We get a part two, and it’s delicious with intrigue!  Looking forward to more episodes from this series!  It’s nice to get stories where the overruling protagonists are aware of their precarious positions with regard to the populations they’re in charge of.  Anxious to see where this leads!

      • Thanks, Frank. I am embarking on a long overdue journey into fanfiction. There’s loads of stories based on SidMeier’s Alpha Centauri:
        I reinstalled the game recently, pure nostalgia.

        • Frank Ruiz says:

          Oh, that’s awesome that it’s based on this game! I used to love Civilization, and when it ended with “the future,” I didn’t even know they made a whole other game to explore that aspect further!

          Fan fiction is so cool, as it continues tales in universes I’ve loved that got abandoned by the original creators.  I hope other Alpha Centauri players get to see your fan fic too!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: This is first-rate stuff. I could see this running on SyFy.

      • Shane, I wonder if Sid Meier ever contacted the studios. So many other games have made it to the big screen.
        One of the things I notice about this series is that, as I’m thinking about the game-play, the factions and personalities, certain “clichés” emerge. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t coming too close to the official fan story – I guess I need not worry, whoever wrote the official backstory was more into hard science and stayed true to military protocol. Hah! I know nothing of either, so I’m just doing the human interest angle.
        The original is fascinating, though!
        jump down to #14

        • KathleenKL says:

          Mitch — tis the season for nostalgia. Glad it comes out in an  entertaining way, oh… sorry that was a bit selfish there! And I agree with Shane… SCIFi Channel watch out.

  5. Jen says:

    I wanted this to be shorter, but I got carried away…

    The weather app on my phone shows an expected high of 37 degrees. The sun shines through the windows as we shrug on our down jackets, our boots, our hats. We throw a carton of chocolate animal crackers into the backseat, their little animal bodies crashing together as we bump over the asphalt from our house to the first stop.
    Quick Trip beckons, thirty pumps connected to underground tanks of fuel, a bright orange and red building, low slung and brimming with food products packaged in plastic, the promise of hot coffee-like fluid for less than a dollar. The kids empty the trash—old french fries, broken CDs, a shattered pair of headphones, candy wrappers— from the car while I run the pump and grab a styrofoam cup of “Italian Blend” which promises an “invigorating boldness,” I know it can’t deliver.
    Next we roll up to the ATM and bills shoot from the silver slit in the white box, money to gain admission.
    The sun hides behind a low grey sky as we drive forty minutes to the east, to the Port of Muskogee. Who knew? Were schoolchildren tumble off long yellow tubes, huddling together against the cold, like a bunch of buccaneer groupies. What we’ve all come to see are replicas, exact replicas, of the Nina and the Pinta, ships Columbus used to cross the sea and discover new land.
    From the gravel lot, we can make out small, dark ships sitting low in the water. Flags flutter in the stiff Oklahoma gusts, not a deadhead among them, but we are not disappointed.
    The crew shows us aboard. We can walk onto the brig, imagining the swashbuckling swagger it would have taken to cross the water in such a small vessel. We see a barrel, also smaller than we imagined, with a placard next to it. The newest reader in our group tells us that the sailors stored run, wine, beer, water almonds and oats in the cylinders. On board, a glittering, pearl-handled pistol winks from under glass. A tour guide explains that there were threats from Barbary pirates,  but still, the ships plowed through the water, making it from there to here.
    We are so cold. Our faces turn against the wind, but it just whips us from behind. We want to take photos, but our bodies are wrapped in layer upon layer of fabrics specifically engineered for our comfort, trying to imagine the sheer pain of wind storming through the flimsy protection of cotton pantaloons or some other kind of old fashioned clothes.
    We agree we would not have been great pioneers.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: Super visuals here.
      Reminded me of a great book I read called Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. So much I didn’t know about the Pilgrams until I read this book.

      • What? No red sofa? LOL
        This is an interesting trek through time. You did make me shiver with you stark contrast of comfortable overcoats and flimsy pantaloons.

        • KathleenKL says:

          Jen –“…the promise of hot coffee-like fluid…” this sooooooooooooo hit home with me today! I loved your discription. good ending too.

  6. sh13151223 says:

    Sure, he is a pirate, a pirate of hearts
    He left them in agony,
    The barrels were brimming,
    Rum overflowed, yet they were left thirsty
    Those pistols in his pantaloons mocked at them
    Angel like groupies were just deadheads of that buccaneer
    Prisoners at his brig
    Leaving them behind,
    He went swashbuckling his way ahead
    Somewhere somebody worth was waiting, sure.

  7. margaret says:

    There once was an old bucaneer…
    a swashbuckling pirate who drank beer.
    He preferred beer to rum, and I know it sounds dumb,
    but his groupies would watch him and cheer!!

    He had pistols of silver and gold…
    which he used to escape the the brig, I am told.
    He wore a deadhead on his vest, o’er his big, barrel chest, 
    with frilly pink pantaloons just for jest!

  8. KathleenKL says:

    The questons asked by many who have walked in your excited shoes — Frank:
    Will it be a deadheaded buccaneer?

    Will it be a swashbuckling barrel-chested gal who gains groupies as she avoids the brig as she compares pistols with a rum-running pirate all awhile keeping the pantaloons on?
    No worries Frank… whatever flavor – boy or girl – God gives you and yours… this is the beginning of new adventures for you and your story writing.  

    Please let us know!
    I will be praying for a healthy beauty for you.

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Hey, Kathleen!

      Thanks so much for the wonderful piece wishing us well as we’re on our way to have our daughter introduce herself to the world!  My wife is going to be induced tomorrow morning, so our little swashbuckler is going to have to say goodbye to the “high seas” of amniotic fluid, whether she wants to or not!

      Thanks again, Kathleen, and we look forward to being able to tell everyone our little lady is out here with the rest of us landlubbers!

      • KathleenKL says:

        Frank, Mrs. Frank and the Swashbuckler –
        May this entry into our world be an uneventful beaching! May the delivery come before the sun sets and the first mate come through this exhilarating body battle in great shape with the captain at her side. The good Lord knows this is a most exciting time in parents’ lives… Oh it brings many joy-filled memories to this old gal. I hope everyone of the landlubbers here at the CCC family joins me in Praying for a carefree delivery of the new Swashbuckler!  
        Looking forward to hearing of her arrival, but only after you have a few hours to enjoy the glow of the oil lamp as you gaze at her.

        • Frank Ruiz says:

          Hey, Kathleen!

          Wonderful sustained metaphor in your generous well-wishes for us!  Me and my wife Linda are happy to announce the birth of our daughter Haven!  Our little swashbuckler was born on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 4:54 p.m.  She weighed 7 lbs. and 2 ozs., and she was 19.75 inches long at birth.  We got back home with her on Sunday afternoon, and now we’re just trying to catch up to our lives and introduce Haven to it 🙂

          Thanks again for the wishes for us!

  9. Anne Wayman says:

    late to the party again…

    She was a swashbuckling pirate known for smuggling barrels of rum. Her pantaloons and two pistols made the groupies swoon. This winsome buccaneer flew the deadhead flag high above her curly locks as she escaped from the brig and joined by her lusty crew set sail once again, lessons unlearned.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne: Again you hit a home run with the last two words. Love this calling card of yours.

    • For some reason, this reminds me of one of those college songs of yore:
      “He was a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech, and a helluva an engineer!”
      I enjoyed reading this!

  10. Rebecca says:

    An Ode to SyFy’s Neverland

    Jimmy aka James Hook turned into a pirate after being transported to Neverland; he took over the brig that as captained by Elizabeth Bonny. While he was from 1906, it was clear he was a swashbuckling, buccaneer of a man.
    James Hook handled pistols with ease and was a good shot. One look at the deadhead on the ship and you knew it was a warning to turn back. If you felt like you could get James Hook over a barrel, you better have swallowed a bottle of rum and pray you make it out alive. If Jimmy aka James Hook had groupies, I’d probably be one of them. I’d get past the pantaloons. Too racy?

  11. Dee says:

    sorry all – having some health issues – be back soon!

  12. Anne says:

    He was a failure as a pirate. No matter how much rum he sucked in, and he could drink a barrel dry, his style of swashbuckling was more tentative than flamboyant.

    Instead, the groupies always preferred the buccaneer with his weathered good looks and honeyed accent. The groupies laughed at the pirate even though he was the ship’s captain, joking rudely to each other about the deadhead in his pantaloons. If they’d actually compared pistols, the buccaneer might not have been so popular after all.

    The Captain wished they were still on board ship so he could have tossed the lot of them into the brig with the rats. In fact, a little rat food might come in handy on the voyage…

  13. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Neverland just aired on SyFy on December 4 & 5. It’s getting mixed reviews, but I liked the idea of telling the story from Peter’s point-of-view. I’ve always been a fan of J.M. Barrie and liked Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp. The ending of Neverland left the door open for a continuation of the miniseries. We’ll see…

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Thank you! I thought Neverland was a good adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s tale. There were some questionable moments in the beginning, but overall I liked it. Some people have an issue with SyFy’s adaptation because it has more of an ‘adult’ feeling to it than previous adaptations. SyFy is re-airing the episodes; it started at 3:30 pm yesterday.

    I haven’t watched Grimm but will check it out. I tried watching Once Upon a Time but couldn’t get into it. However, the promos for the latest shows look good. I’ll see if the episodes are online.

    • Rebecca, there was an earlier discussion on CCC about the merits of Once Upon A Time and Grimm.
      I think of Grimm as an occult branch of CSI. LOL (CSI:Kingdom)
      On the other hand, the writers of Once Upon A Time have a nice storyline that just happens to have a fairytale theme.

  15. I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! – The White Rabbit  (A date with the CCC that is)
    I passed out one night in the back of a grog hall, and soiled me pantaloons.
    I woke up in the alley with me head a ringin’ and me pockets light on dubloons.
    The sun was too high, I was late for the ship, the brig I was all set to go,
    But I stood tall and proud as the captain I faced, o’er the barrel I was about to be throwed.
    A day or two later I could stand up again, the Bosun’s daughter’s marks had fled,
    I climbed up to the crows nest to spend me watch, thinking of all the blood I’ve bled.
    For a pirate be I, me pistols be primed,
    I salute the Deadhead so bold,
    And as the bell chimes, I slide the ratlines to deck for the rum will run out I am told.
    For e’er I’ll be swashbuckling, entertainin’ groupies by the score,
    And I’ll see yer hide on the wild side, if this buccaneer ever hits shore.

  16. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Sounds good! I’ll try to catch up on episodes over the holidays. I keep missing episodes “Ringer” with Sarah Michelle Gellar. I think it’s a good show, and ‘Buffy’ fans everywhere are glad she’s back on TV.

  17. Done 200 and 199…I’m hooked.
    A pirate aboard the Barrels-Pistol ship was sipping on some rum one day when he heard a bang in the brig.
    He hurried, as the captain was there, but old Captain Buccaneer-Fitzgerald was only messing around with his maidens and swashbuckling groupies.
    With his pantaloons at his ankles, he turned and in that instant the pirate laughed as he seen the captain’s shining, pink cotton underwear bearing a purple deadhead symbol, front and back.

  18. Clarabela says:

    Pistols at the ready and sharp-eyed, the old rum soaked swashbuckling buccaneer waited in the brig for the fate he knew was coming all too soon.  He thought about the day when he would be starring down the barrel of a gun of a firing squad. Thinking of the day he ran Ole Deadhead Morgan threw with his sword… “but it were him or me”.
    He stared out the tiny porthole in his cell looking at the sea stretching out towards the horizon, offering him a glimpse at the freedom he longed for and he prepared himself for his chance to escape and return to his ship hiding just ahead. Soon one of the galley groupies would come to throw a filthy bowl of food throw the bars of his cell and he would seize the moment. He held the pistol at his side, hidden in his well worn pantaloons.
    Footsteps coming down the stairs…get ready…

  19. Kelly says:

    I had a thing for that dark rum back in the 80s. You know the one. A faux-pirate-stereotype on the bottle, silly red pantaloons (were they red? the 80s are a long time away), pistols cocked, I suppose, a patch on one eye and all ready to make you say “Aaaar” with your first swig.
    But I liked to make hot toddies with it, sit quietly in the lounge, and hold court with my artsy Deadhead friends surrounding me like groupies after a show. Ooh, I thought I was civilized! My college roommates just liked to wander around with the bottle and turn themselves into swashbuckling buccaneers, drunk as if they’d taken it straight from the ship’s largest barrel (can you say “low tolerances”?), and always ready for a fight.
    We all woke up feeling as if our heads had been thrown in the brig while the rest of our bodies had gone overboard.

    😉   Drink It How You Like It. We all pay the same.

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