Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #219

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. Move
  2. Chair
  3. Network
  4. Lift
  5. Punish
  6. Pass
  7. Fast
  8. Speak 
  9. Crack
  10. Clip

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


75 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #219”

  1. Cathy Miller says:

    Through a blanket of shadows, he watched her move. His heart beat with the rhythm of each rock of her chair as she settled into a network of routine. Back and forth, back and forth, his heart raced in anticipation, bringing a lift in his somber mood.

    He would punish her for her transgressions. He could not let it pass, no matter how much she might beg, And, oh, she would beg before he was through.

    Slipping silently out of the shadows, he made a fast move towards his destiny. He would not speak a word. She deserved no explanation for she knew. She knew.

    He felt powerful as wood groaned in a dying crack of release as his world exploded with a kaleidoscope clip of his life.

  2. “Where’s Batman and Robin?” Detective Sam Waters was excited. “Tell them we need to talk.”

    A large man walked into the room and glared at Detective Waters. “So, talk, man.”

    Detective Waters spun around in his chair. “Ah, Bateman. Your Bentworth Mansion just collided with my Towers.


    15 minutes earlier …

    Detective Sam Waters completed the last of his calls. The Homicide Bureau was a busy hive, much too noisy for thinking at his desk. He grabbed his jacket and case folder and headed for the break room.

    The only other officer in the room was fast asleep on the sofa. Detective Waters passed him quietly and sat at the round table, using one of the plastic chairs to prop up his feet.

    Assuming no conspiracy involving Cornelius Watson and the concierge, what if Watson were lying? The conclusion would be a complicated mess that may or may not involve Watson with this case. What could he possibly lie about? A second daughter? Why?Ahh, let’s move on. What if he is telling the truth, as I suspect? Then, he is a dead-end. What about the concierge? He is a rather astute eyewitness – can I trust him? It is his job, after all. The 911 call checked out and the emergency room records do have Vanessa Watson for that day. Cornelius was surprised when I called to confirm that his kid’s name is Vanessa. But she was never admitted to Mercy General, so who the hell was treated in the emergency room?

    Detective Waters rubbed his eyes until his vision was blurry. A connection was trying to form between the circumstantial nodes and the presumptive facts; yet, he would not be able to complete this jumbled network without hard evidence. All he had was a pair of blank portfolios and two dead bodies. Suddenly, his mind clicked. Without realizing that he was speaking aloud, he began reconstructing a possible scenario:

    “A scam. Vanessa never intended to kill those guys. She went through a lot of trouble to establish herself, as well as them! She knew she could count on the excellent recall of the concierge. Obviously, they were either partners in a scheme or victims. More likely, partners – with something to lose. She could walk away from a couple of marks, but not accomplices. Maybe they threatened her and she lured them in with some kind of promises. That’ll work!”

    The officer woke up and muttered something about crazy bastards before shuffling from the room. Detective Waters laughed and brought out his cell phone.

    “Jacob? Sam. The two from the Towers, did those civil prints turn up?” He laughed out loud as the crime scene technician yelled something about crazy bastards wanting everything yesterday. Then he quietly waited while Jacob tapped keys and flipped papers and mumbled good-natured deprecations.

    “Hey, whaddya know? Anthony Pearson and Walter Koenig. Pearson worked at Lehman Brothers and Koenig was the principal at WK Securities, LLC. Looks like your hunch was right – time to crack this case wide open, heh-heh. But wait, there’s more!”

    Detective Waters didn’t move a muscle. The anticipation was both agonizing and delicious.

    “Those portfolios? I gassed them for prints. Of course Pearson and Koenig are all over the fronts and backs but, you know that clip that goes through the punched holes? I got a good lift from it.”

    Waters couldn’t take it anymore. “Well? Who is it?”

    “I have no idea.”

    Waters could picture Jacob shrugging. He could also picture him in a punishing headlock. “Then, why is this news, Jacob!”

    “The lift matches the right index finger recovered from a cleaver in another double homicide.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch. That ending! You added another gear to this 6-shift hotrod! Well done.

      • Shane, it’s definitely spreadsheet time. LOL
        I’m glad you liked it. I’m enjoying the 15 minutes earlier format but almost ditched it this time because my first draft was kinda forced.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mitch-love it when it comes together 🙂

      And ♥ this line A connection was trying to form between the circumstantial nodes and the presumptive facts – very cool! 

      • Thanks, Cathy! Yes, I’m slowly reeling the line back in. Speaking of lines, I was afraid the one you like was going to sound corny. But it does seem okay, eh?

    • Chris Fries says:

      Uh-oh!!! Forensics brings in the ‘gotcha’!!!  No doubt who that index finger’s going to be attached to, now is there?
      Awesome work as always, Mitch — So many tasty tidbits of talented writing here!

      • Thank you, Chris!
        Say, do you hang out at everydayfiction and/or raygunrevival? Have you submitted anything to them? You and I were just joking around about x-ray glasses, now we see another relic: the monthly pulp magazines, reborn…

        • Chris Fries says:

          Yes — there’s some very good flash and sci-fi there.  I have submitted to both (including a couple in process), but have yet to get published.  Have gotten some great feedback and extremely helpful suggestions though.
          Another great site for a daily dose of sci-fi shorts is Daily Science Fiction:
          dailysciencefiction (dot) com  (not written as a link to avoid having to make Shane moderate this reply).

          • That’s awesome, Chris. Best wishes. I’ll be looking for your work – you’re not under a nom de plume, are ye? 🙂
            I think all of us should at least try sites like these – the feedback from readers can really be encouraging (as we all know from here.)
            Thanks for another site to check, too!

          • Chris Fries says:

            Nope — my plume is nommed the same as me…  
            It takes a loooooong time for a piece to work its way through the process at EDF (around 60-75 days), but the editorial feedback on the rejections I’ve received so far has been great.  I’m currently 0-for2 at EDF with another in the slush pile at the moment and have my first submission in the pile at RGR. 
            So far the only ‘published’ work I have has been one piece at 5x5Fiction and some 50-word stories at Fiftywordstories (have two new ones this week in celebration of ‘Pirate Week’ if you want to check them out).

          • LOL, okay Mr. Plume. 🙂
            Do you have all this stuff linked on your blog? It would be fun to keep tabs and check out all your writing.
            Otherwise, can you email me the links? That way, I can put them in my Google Calendar/reminder system and not feel like I have to drop everything before I forget.
            P.S. thanks for confirming that the Gremlin is not limited to my laptop.

          • Chris Fries says:

            Oh yeah — anytime I get a publication credit, I’m going to add the link to my blog under the “Published Works” tab.
            And I do general updates from time to time of what I’m working on, but I don’t list every piece I submit to every publication as they go out — that would just be too many rejections I’d have to update. So I’m only listing the ones that get accepted.  So far it’s a very small list…  ;^)

          • Okie dokie, then. Got it. 🙂

    • Jeanette says:

      @Mitch.  I love when you branch out into the ‘mystery’ genre.  I remember the one about the guy who opened fire in the courtroom. That blew me away. Pun intended. 
      Awesome job!

    • AWESOME STORY!  This is really coming together Mitch, I can’t wait to read the next one.  and props on the Checkov reference…I like to toss in names like that as well….another story has Mal Reynolds as the detective

      Nice work!

      • Thanks, Justin. I’m trying to stay out of the unpainted corner. 🙂
        There is some coincidence in this submission as I have no idea who’s being referenced.
        {wanders over to Wikipedia…Pearson? Nope, Walter..oh, DOH!}

        That Chekov. Must have been a subconscious recall. 🙂


  3. David Kirba says:

    I had intended to get up at the crack of dawn but I was having a difficult time opening my eyes at eight in the morning. I ran the words through my head, the words that were supposed to inspire me every morning, the words that would get me out of bed and into my chair in front of a laptop: “Feed the baby.” Even the goal of providing for my little boy wasn’t enough to get me jumping out of bed. 

    But I guess that’s what happens when you lose passion.

    Let me explain. 

    I loved my job. I was all fired up when I started. But then just when I was about to achieve something, someone higher up would decide to move the goalposts. The team I was supposed to be heading didn’t know who to listen to because my rules kept being overruled by someone in management. 

    Sometimes I get so mad I can’t think. 

    Why tell me to do something if you’re not going to use it? Take that rock-solid network I built from the ground up. Nobody uses it. I spent a good week or two getting that baby up and running like clockwork. What a waste of time and effort. I could’ve spent that time lifting weights! Not that I would’ve spent an entire two weeks lifting weights at a stretch – that would be insane. 

    The point I am trying to make: Punish me if you must, but I’d rather hear the crack of a whip over my head than be tortured this way. I feel totally useless. Like I’m running fast and working hard but getting nowhere. I see no fruits from all that toil.

    What did you do about it you say?

    I tried to speak to the powers that be. I presented my case, explained my reasons and told them how frustrating their lack of forethought was. All to no avail. I saw the heads nodding, but I knew what was coming:

    “You are a creative type. You’re moody.”


    Moody? You just walk in whenever you feel like it and trash everything I’ve poured blood and sweat into and I’m moody because I react? Grrrr.

    This is frustrating. I’d like to pass this job to the next gullible fool that walks around the corner and get out of here as fast as I can.

    But there’s something very important I have to do. I’ve even put it down on paper and taken the time to clip it to my notebook. It says: “Feed the baby.”

    I have to provide for my family. If there’s a test for husbands and fathers I want to pass with flying colours. Right now that means I have to get up every morning and drag myself to a job that’s not going anywhere. 

    On the bright side, I get to rant on Creative Copy Challenge!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @David Kirba- I love this and every writer out there feels this one-well done & keep on ranting…er…writing 🙂

    • I feel you on this one, David. The worst of it is being dismissed with the wave of a hand and a smirk. But, when you leave that place, they’ll remember the guy who made things happen.
      As for your “moody” – it is your very sensitivity that brings out the miracle of creation. Heh – not counting the baby. LOL
      Nice to see you here!

      • Chris Fries says:

        Excellent work, David.  Rant on, dude! 
        Nothing at all wrong with working to live — living to work is when it gets to be a problem.  Feed the baby, but keep on feeding your creativity, too.

    • Jeanette says:

      @David.  This touched me on several levels.  Although I’m not a parent, I plan to adopt your “Feed the baby” mantra to mean that I need to feed my passion of writing.

      I’ve been gone awhile from CCC because of obligations but when I come back and do a challenge, I certainly feel like I’m feeding the baby.

      Your struggles are not foreign. I admire your dedication to your family as well as to yourself. 

      Write on!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @David, Welcome back, man! It’s been so long, I mistook you for a new edition. Love what you did here.

      The iteration of “the words” was awesome. I love that technique. And the rant was powerful. Come here any time you need a break from The Suck.

  4. Chris Fries says:

    Hey all,

    Sorry for the delay in getting this up — yesterday was a bit crazy.

    Anyway, I offer another 10×10 story (10 sentences of 10 words each, using the prompt words in order and in number position within each sentence).  This bit of space fun owes more than a minor debt to the “Captain Quasar” series from Milo James Fowler:

    Milo’s website: http://www.milo-inmediasres.com/

    Milo’s 1st Quasar Story: http://www.everydayfiction.com/captain-quasar-and-the-%E2%80%9Cif-only%E2%80%9D-elixir-of-opsanus-tau-prime-by-milo-james-fowler/

    Milo’s 2nd Quasar Story: http://www.raygunrevival.com/captain-quasar-and-the-insurmountable-barrier-of-space-junk-milo-james-fowler/

    Milo’s 3rd Quasar Story: http://www.everydayfiction.com/captain-quasar-and-the-popularity-contest-on-goobalox-five-by-milo-james-fowler/
    So here is:

    “Captain Bulwark’s Galactic Quest to Liberate the Empress’s Stolen (lesser-but-still-greatly-prized) Treasure”

    Move to disrupter range,” Captain Bulwark barked at the helm.

    Bulwark’s chair swiveled as he scanned the flashing tactical displays.

    “Our shield network is energized,” said Ahz’Hul’e, the Andromedan helmsman.

    “We’ll need to lift shields before we can fire, sir.”

    Bulwark sighed. Must Ahz’Hul’e punish him relentlessly with the obvious?

    “Yes, Ass-hole-y.” Bulwark could seldom pass on his favorite taunt.

    “Just get us near the cruiser. Fast, before it warps.

    And open a channel. I want to speak to them.”

    Ahz’Hul’e nodded — both heads. Communications static began to crack noisily.

    “Cruiser, halt!” Bulwark said, “And surrender the Royal Hair Clip!”


    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Chris Fries - “And surrender the Royal Hair Clip!” 🙂 Cracking up- love this style-so creative!

    • Yeah, Chris, bring it! I’m Reading Marian Allen’s Force of Habit right now, so this was extra-terrestrially funny.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Mitch! 
        I wasn’t familiar with that book, so I did some quick searching and based on some reviews, I think it would be right up my alley.  Thanks for the tip.  ;^)

    • David Kirba says:

      @Chris: Nice! Loved it 🙂

    • Jeanette says:

      @Chris.  So creative!  I don’t think anyone has done the words in this style before…at least I’ve never witnessed it.  “Ass-hole-y” Very clever.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thank you Jeanette! 
        I know I’m a bit of an oddball, but somehow the added constraints (only so many words and the prompt words have to be in a certain spot) seem to make it more fun.  ;^)

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: You should collect these things and put them into a Advanced Writing Prompts book. Bad-ass!

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks Shane!  Maybe I will compile a 10×10 collection as an e-book at some point — Of course, I’ll be sure and give massive credit to you and this site.  Which makes me think — have you ever considered doing a “best of the CCC” anthology as a book? 

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Chris; Yeah, we’ve wanted to do that since the site started. Going through 220 posts with on average 70 comments is quite a task. Then we have to determine who would want to and which ones they want. But, I do want to do this. I think it would be great.

          • Chris Fries says:

            Yeah — the selection process would be the hardest part. 
            And frankly, one of the best things about this site is that ALL posts are appreciated and welcomed.  Deciding which post are “BEST” and selected for inclusion in any collection could kind of take away from that wonderful, all-accepting nature of the CCC.  

  5. JEANETTE RUIZ says:

    She reached for the card and stared at the animated drawing. 

    “I’m horrible at networking, but my dad has engrained in me the necessity for giving out business cards.”

    She didn’t speak but tilted her head in agreement.  The loud music was blasting through the tent and the wind whipped furiously around the drawings on the table.

    “I started this series about five years ago.  It’s about a brother and sister team that fights off evil aliens in different galaxies.  I got caught drawing at my desk one day and was fired and decided that I should make a move… so I made this my full time job.  I’m trying to get paid for living in a fantasy world.” 

    He pulled his coat shut and stuffed his hands in his pocket.  A man whom she presumed was his father, sat quietly in a chair in the corner, observing.  

    “As you can see, I’ve made t-shirts and magnets and bumper stickers all with the logos and images of the book drawings.  If you could pass me that box right there…”  

    Slowly lifting the box, she noticed the tape marked “fragile” that sealed it shut. Using a small knife he kept in his back pocket, he slit open the tape and cracked the box open.  

    “I just got these made to give out to kids who stopped by.” 

    He held up a small figurine dressed in a superhero outfit.  He passed it to her and the woman carefully turned the figure back and forth admiring the details and coloring.

    “If you press the clip on the side, the cape pops out.”

    She did as instructed and nothing happened.  The man frowned and picked up another figurine from the box and tested it out, it worked.

    “I guess I’m going to have to check all of these out. I was suspicious about how fast the manufacturer could get these done.”

    The man laughed and started to unload the box.

    “Take your time looking around. I’ve punished your ears enough. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.”  

    The woman ran her hands across a few drawings.  After a few minutes , she waved goodbye and walked out of the booth.  

    • Chris Fries says:

      Intriguing, Jeannette. I love how smoothly this flows!
      I’m also filled with curiosity about the woman: She says nothing, buys nothing, and then moves on.  Who is she?  Is she connected to the man hawking his work?  And what about the father overseeing everything???  You did a great job of piquing my interest in these characters!
      Very nice!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: Lovely, lovely, lovely! You do this style so well. You truly need to write a book.

    • Jeanette, this is really cool. I may have mentioned this before but, you could write about anyone doing anything and transport us into another world. You are able to tap into the humanness of us all and pluck a responsive chord.
      Who among us hasn’t done the business card dance? And the encounter with a mysterious person always leaves us wondering… (c.f. Chris Fries. LOL “cf” for both!)

    • who has 2 thumbs and was totally drawn in by this story?  This guy.

      Nice flow, nice scene, nice work all around.  I am looking forward to more…

  6. margaret says:

    I want to punish and crack on the head
    those who drive in the fast lane but won’t get out the lead!
    They sit behind the wheel as though in a living room chair,
    clogging up traffic….it just isn’t fair!

    I have to slow down and try to pass
    because they are clueless and won’t move their ass.
    I speak to those who in the busy network of cars
    need to clip over to the slow lanes, lift their heads out of the stars!

  7. Jen says:

    Ack! I’m late to the party again! 

    I saw her and knew her, instantly; I was aware of her like a punishing crack of lightning. The way she clipped her words at the end, as if biting them off, keeping a portion in her mouth, along with her superiority, but certainly not her volume. She was loud. Everything about her was loud. The mouth, the make up, the dress. The way her slight frame settled into a chair as if she was announcing the dawn of her reign. 

    I knew I would speak to her before the night ended, looked forward to making my pass, to use the vulgar term, to watching as she tried to lift her already lifted eyes, and cheeks and face and other parts. 

    She was fast, ambling about the room, air kissing the leathered but polished faces of her friends. Perhaps a better term would be “network” since the idea of this woman having actual warm relationships with others boggled the mind. When I moved out the French doors, onto the patio swimming under a full moon, I licked my lips and bowed to my own genius. I would not need to cast a very wide net to reel this one in. 

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great job — I love how you created this ego-driven character.  I’d like to see how the narrator would handle a big brushoff by the woman, lol!
      Some great lines in here — I loved, “The way she clipped her words at the end, as if biting them off, keeping a portion in her mouth, along with her superiority, but certainly not her volume”
      nice work!

    • Jen, I really can’t wait for the book. This is seriously engaging. The sarcasm of the narrator is delicious. I love how you show his perception of a shallow woman 🙂



    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: You are on fire lately! Write on indeed.

  8. Wow, Part 4 of this story already and almost time for the next challenge….Well, here it is!
    Part 4

    The smoke had risen enough to finally tickle the nostrils of the demon circling high above the scene, leathery wings extended in lazy flight. He smiled to himself as he completed another pass of the site. He thought that he had done a better job with this assignment, something to punish the mortals, something that would speak to all of them, not just a select few.

    The conflagration was glorious for the beast, a taste of the home he had left to punish mankind. The heat was reaching him at last, giving his wings additional lift, and letting him move effortlessly in the sky. He continued to watch, grinning madly at how fast his plans were coming about.

    His superiors would be happy, they would not clip his wings again and keep him in that prison of a mortal body any longer, tied to a chair in the customer service network of the collection agency. A job he had enjoyed, but it was not meant for a trueborn demon of his lineage.

    The loud crack of the dolphins bones came faster than he had anticipated. The pattern was forming, soon it would be noticed. After a few more lazy circles, the delicious scream he had waited for came. His smile broadened and he flew on, laughing into the night.

    • Ah, as the smoke had risen, so has the veil shrouding your mystery. You rock, Justin. I had no clue you were going in this direction. See you later today!



    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin M: Man, did you ever want to be a cop? You were meant to do this genre. Write on.

      • @shane arthur…nope never wanted to be a cop, but I love detective noir from that period in the late 20s to the 60’s….I love to write the style with modern twists, although there may be a Tommy Gun in the near future…and spats.  Who doesn’t love spats?  And dames that walk into your office with the best set of pins I had seen that week.  I didn’t know where she was going to be taking me, but it would be one enjoyable ride.  “Sit down doll.” I said.  “Take a load off and tell me what’s crackin’.”
        She sat and drew out her silver cigarette case, but she never drew out a cigarette from within…..

        Dang, that is another story altogether…..I am too tired.

  9. Chris Fries says:

    Edit: Whoops — another orphan comment. Gotta be careful which button you click at the end of the thread, lol! Anyways this is directed at Justin’s post just above…

    Whoa — our “who killed the dolphins?” mystery has taken a definite surreal twist!  
    Excellent work, Justin. 🙂

  10. OFF-Topic

    Anybody else having fits with Firefox and the commenting system?

    I had to switch to Chrome because the Firefox browser kept jumping to the end instead of moving the cursor into the editing box.

    With so many comments, it’s nearly impossible to find the reply box. LOL 



  11. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. Speakin’ ’bout crack, dat fat-crack boss of mine passed me over for da promotion I was hopin’ on so’s I can build dat pool I always wanted next to my outhouse. Son’a bitch is just liftin’ a punishment on me for what I done did to his chair.”

    “Bobby. Not so fast. Perhaps you done got passed over cause you’s always breakin’ company dress policy. You can’t wear no clip-on tie with a wife-beater. They may not see you come in, but they’s got a network of spies movin’ around in dis place. They knows everythin’. Hey, what did you do to his chair anyhows?”

    “Think of it, Billy. How many people actually looks down at they chairs before they sit? Boss had no idea I filled his chair wit water. He never woulda caught me either had I not takin’ off my clip-on tie — so I could wipe my nose on my shirt — and left it on his desk.”

  12. Social networking. Living our lives in an array of digital environments. Short snippets of life condensed into soundbites, two minute video clips and status updates that speak nothing but mean everything. Hundreds of “friendships” that carry us on a fast trip along the cracked line of the gossip train. We get sucked in, glued to our chairs and unable to move lest something meaningless get past our shortened attention spans. Is this really the age of enlightenment? Has technology really lifted us up to a better place? These empty relationships seem to be a punishment for our inability to get out of our own way. Like mindless sheep, we buy bigger computers, faster machines, more efficient things to make our lives easier so we can get back to being non-productive, this life we are each blessed with passing us by with one more click of the mouse and one less moment in reality.

    “You’ve got mail.” My computer just informed me. I open it in eager anticipation. It’s an email from my spouse. “What do you want for supper?” it says.

    I look across the couch at him on his laptop and type back. “Dunno. Takeout? You ordering or am I?”

  13. Kelly says:


    At the annual sales meeting, Rhonda held the floor just long enough to irritate everyone in the room.

    To hear her speak, you’d think we’d personally caused the recession. Every single one of us knows it’s tough out there, but forcryingoutloud, it’s impossible to punish a bunch of guys on commission more than we’re already punishing ourselves. Or more than our bank accounts are. Or more than our wives are. Everybody in here’s got a story.

    My wife, thank goodness, makes more than I do. And thinks working on commission is crazy. Maybe it is a bit like gambling as she says, but during the good years she didn’t complain. I have to give her a pass, honestly. She might wince at the paychecks since this industry went into the toilet, but she takes the ups with the downs pretty well. I clip coupons and go back to making cold calls with my copious free time, she says it’ll be okay soon.

    We’ll weather this all right, but a lot of the guys sitting in this meeting are on a fast track to divorce court, to hear them tell it. Take Pete, for instance…

    “You can crack the whip all day, but you can’t make us want to work harder that way,” whispered the guy behind me. I turned my head—discreetly—to see Pete Starling sitting behind me, his thinning grey hair not combed since at least yesterday, his face a network of wrinkles in the exact shape of the permanent frown on his face. A couple more useless grumbles and he lifted himself up and said what every one of us would have liked to.

    “We get the point. Madame Chairwoman, I move to adjourn.”

    I don’t know Pete very well, but I know him well enough to know he’s taking this worst. After all, he’s married to the hard-hearted boss who’s just sighed heavily, and seated herself at the right of the podium.

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