Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #275

Mitchell Allen is choosing our words today. (I’m on vacation this week, so you guys take care of each other while I’m gone. And be good. Just kidding; go nuts!)

This is a writing prompt. Bet you can’t do it! Take the 10 random words below and crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story! And remember: after (if) you finish entering your submission into the comment field, 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. Diocese – the district under the jurisdiction of a bishop
  2. Anthropologist
  3. Judge
  4. Fish
  5. Baker
  6. Chromosome
  7. Derby
  8. Handicapped
  9. Drum
  10. Parliament – An institution whose elected or appointed members meet to debate the major political issues of the day and usually to exercise legislative powers and sometimes judicial powers. (also: a collective noun for a flock of owls or rooks)

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.)



45 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #275”

    A judge, a baker and an anthropologist are sitting in a jazz lounge. The unlikely trio are old college mates, gathered for the sad occasion of their professor’s passing. The funeral had been held the day before, at St. Thomas Episcopal. The men are sipping drinks, languidly discussing the incongruities of politics and rituals in the Catholic Church.

    Baker: I’ve never been to a funeral where the casket was set up like that.
    Judge: Joe was a deacon. It’s customary to turn the casket so that his feet are toward us, because deacons face their congregations.
    Baker: Ah.
    Anthropologist: Death rituals are fascinating. Catholics have that extreme unction, while in China, the body is washed and placed in an upright position. It’s all about getting a good death on.
    Judge: You amoral lout. Show some respect. These rituals prepare the gravely ill for passing.
    Baker: I do the same thing with my loaves, you know. But it only takes a few hours for mine to rise. (He guffaws, drunkenly.)
    Anthropologist: Morals are overrated. Don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of the Church.
    Judge (Nostrils flaring): You’d best leave off. Every organization has its skeletons.
    Anthropologist: Yeah, but with the Catholics, we’re shooting fish in a barrel. C’mon! What about the Archdiocese refusing that lesbian priest a proper burial?
    Baker: The hell?
    Judge: Get your facts straight! If you knew anything about canon, you’d know women can’t be priests. She excommunicated herself by trying to become ordained.
    Baker: Lesbian? Huhn.
    Anthropologist (Looking pointedly at Baker): Yeah, a human being who died from a terrible illness. She wasn’t given the same care and respect as our Old Joe.
    Judge: shut up, Mike! That’s not true. I am so sick of non-Catholics trying to tell us how to run our business. Do I tell you where dig your damned bones?
    Anthropologist: Actually, yes. I had a restraining order from digging up the cemetery on the grounds that I was in violation of some stupid Indiana Grave Robber Law.
    Judge: That’s different. There was precedent. You should have known better.
    Anthropologist (Triumphantly): Your priests should have known better! Don’t you have “laws” governing conduct unbecoming?
    Judge: That remark is so full of isms, I oughta sock you in the mouth. I bet you park in handicapped spaces, too.
    Baker (Laughing): Good one, Tony! My delivery van gets ten tickets a month from those overzealous meter maids. I have a mind to give them a piece of  my…
    Judge: Please don’t say “mind”. You’ve hardly any to spare.

    As if on cue, the drummer plays a rim shot.

    Baker: Ouch, my chromosomes hurt. Speaking of which, didn’t they find a link …
    Judge: I’m going to stop you right there, Luigi. You’re drunk as hell and babbling. Correlation studies are the weakest forms of evidence in all of science. Do you remember nothing from Old Joe’s classes?
    Anthropologist: Ha! Remember that joke I made when we were discussing affirming the consequent? Old Joe said, ‘If the horse is fast, it will win the Kentucky Derby. That horse is fast, therefore it will win the Kentucky Derby.’ I piped up, ‘In 1978, that was consequently Affirmed!’
    Baker (Confused): I don’t get it.
    Judge (Chuckling): that’s because you’re a moron.
    Baker (Hurt): Can’t we all just get along?

    As if on cue, the keyboardist and drummer break into a bluesy rendition of Parliament Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove.

  2. Liss Thomas says:

     You don’t make it easy, Mitch!
    Continuation . . .

    My palms sweat as the judge looks down from his high chair.  I know it’s a dream.  Someone else stands in judgment over me as ruler of our Diocese.  My father no longer rules and sits handicapped to help me.  A parliament of owls echo their call in the night in search of fish.  Baker’s wares waft through the air but offer little comfort.
    I’m no Anthropologist but I know enough about humans and their chromosomes to know my actions were just.  I argue the point to uncaring officials.  The gavel falls loud, harsh and echoing like a drum in my ears.  My actions toward my human judged just as harshly.  My heart races like I’ve run a derby.
    My eyes flash open.  I gasp at the lingering nightmare and check my human.  Her sleep holds more peaceful dreams.  A smile plays at her lips.  I will make this day count for her.  It will probably be our last.

  3. K says:

    This was definitely not easy.

    Judge me not from my outward appearance, but please see me for who I am. I may not be the prettiest, smartest, or most talented human being in the world, but what do you expect? If you constantly scrutinize a fish‘s ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it won’t amount to anything. I may not be an anthropologist, but haven’t we, as the human race, seen that everyone’s genetic makeup and chromosomes differ from one another? No, I guess we haven’t, reflecting upon the archetypes and stereotypes still in existence. Parliament, or in this case society, has yet to liberate itself from its handicap and persists in placing their ideal of human appearance and behaviors in the media, and in turn, people strive in order to be seen as a beautiful person by the objective eyes. True, the trend to be deemed acceptable changed from let’s say a decade ago, but does that rationalize others’ self deprecation and general intolerance of “different” people? Let this message reverberate in your ears and engrave its moral in your heart like a drum’s beat. Life is no derby. Approval requires no competition. No one from the diocese should vigilantly watch you until you crash and burn, but unfortunately, this is the world we dare to thrive in. Think of it like this. You hold in your hand thirteen cards, a lifeline the world has entrusted you, and you are struggling against your opponents which just happens to be everyone else. Although you might have the ugliest cards on the face of this Earth, it doesn’t matter that you failed to overtake the others. However, it matters how you play your hand containing all of your assets. By trying your best, you might spark motivation in others to follow their own path as you did. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and approval or acceptance in society doesn’t necessitate ridiculous actions to solely gain it. 
    But what do I know? I’m merely a baker in this small town, but I’ve seen many things in the past few years and been a contribution to things I’m ashamed to recollect on. Know this. Never change who you are because of people’s opinions, even if it may get more difficult in the future. To whom it may pertain to, I’m sorry that it happened, and I am unable to stop their operations nonetheless instigate them. I hope you…” 
    Gripping the letter tighter in her hand, she stared up from weathered piece of paper and glared at the large, marble structure in front of her. The tenebrosity inking the skies vastly contrasted with foreground. A flash of lightning streaked as rain droplets began pounding on her head. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Despite the turn of events, the girl started up the steps leading to the entrance. She stowed the note inside her pocket to prevent it from being destroyed. As if the building was trying to ward her off, strong gusts rammed into her, nearly picking her off of her feet. She continued holding her ground and struggled up the stairs. Upon getting to the entrance, billows of black cloth snared her in a tight formation. With their eyes sheathed underneath the protection of their hoods, they held the identical, dour expressions. Her lips twisted upwards in a small smile. Of course, the mission of delivering this letter was of utmost significance along with her other objective, so resistance from the opposition was at least anticipated. Even if it cost her life, that note needed to be delivered. One of the cloaked figures extracted a pair of cuffs, humming with electric blue energy.
    Let the war commence.

  4. Anthony Smits says:

    The afternoon had sneaked up on dusk as Micah walked between the parliament‘s tall, narrow entry doors, without ceremony. Deep shadows invaded the entrance as it waited for him in silence. In past days there might have been one of the spontaneous town gatherings to celebrate a live birth somewhere in the diocese. A chromosome getting its act together to reproduce properly seemed a rare happening now. Micah felt another wash of despair about the future. Their whole esistence was being handicapped. 
    A councilmen meeting would be later; the judge was probably already holding court with one or two over ales. But would he be of a mind for some revolution?
    Ahh! He was sitting with Norman, his future father-in-law, on one of the benches in the arena.
    “Hello,” said the judge, his red face gleaming, under the brim of his derby, in the glow from the one-crys at his elbow. 
    There were no windows in the parliament; the amphitheater was gloomy. Micah removed his own one-crys and split them. He rested the halves in the nearest holder, a crude metal dish atop a long stick held by iron loops at the end of each bench. His crys brightened the spacious hall like a sun gleam does on a cloud-covered day when it escapes from its closeting.
    Norman threw up a hand as if to ward off the glare. “That’s a bright pair. Are they just renewed, Micah?” 
    “At the last moon, Micah answered.
    The man nodded.”How were the fish today?”
    Micah slouched lower on the wooden bench. “Not so good. But better than last week.”
    “Why don’t you go work for Joseph Baker,” grunted the judge. I hear he needs another hand. You like the leatherwork.”
    With the skins? Micah couldn’t imagine anything nastier than a life enveloped in tannin stench. “I like making crys-belts, but I wouldn’t do it if I had to work in the tannery.”
    “Judge was asking me if you wanted to be part of the councilmen, this round,” Norman continued. “I told him I didn’t know.”
    You did though, thought Micah. But he had heard the drum; it was his moment. 
    “Yes, Judge, I do want to be in the fifteen,” Micah heard himself saying.  “The settlement needs more people to stand up for it. People are scared. They won’t do anything.” 
    Against the feii, he wanted to add, but thought better. It wasn’t politic. He breathed. Time waited; everything seemed frozen except his blood that seemed to surge faster.
    Norman cleared his throat. “There is a vacancy, Judge. Ploughman died.” 
    The judge rubbed his nose and sniffed. 
    “We don’t do change around here, young Micah. The feii don’t like it. And you know that.” He stood, and enveloped his crys halves in his pudgy palms, closing them together and pushing the whole into the belt pocket. They’d given a poor glow; the hall didn’t dim much.
    He turned at the doorway; his face lost in the silhouette. “I’ve heard some whisperings. You think you’re some kind of anthropologist, don’t you? A whole new world in mind. We’ll put it to the vote.”

    • Shades of Card! I would love to read the completed work. Is this a novel you’re working on?

      • Anthony Smits says:

        Shades of Card? As in Orson S? I don’t know his stuff; but seems you like mine 🙂  Yes, the WIP is a novel. That scene is from the setup, about a tenth in. A few of the words weren’t in my first team for the scene, but what do you do? Drop ’em at the play-offs, perhaps. A clearly unrelated bunch, Mitch. Well picked.

        • Absolutely correct. I LOVE Orson Scott Card. Your scene was a reminder of the Seventh Son, only more future-oriented.
          As to the words, I clicked the “random page” link on Wikipedia a dozen times, discarding two terms.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anthony: I can’t wait to read this novel of yours. When you finish it and it goes live, let me know and you can choose the words for a challenge linking to your book.

  5. Briony Coote says:


    Gina grinned. “You got it, John!” And that was really surprising for him, finally getting a ghastly word like that. “Now spell ‘parliament’.”

    “P-a-l – no, p-a-r-l-a….” John lost it.

    “No, it’s p-a-r-l-i-a-m-e-n-t. Try again?”

    John poked his tongue out. “Bleech! “Why do they pick such yukky words for our spell test?”

    “Well, it wouldn’t be a real test if we had to spell ‘bike’ or ‘drum’ would it?” Inwardly, the word ‘drum’ had Gina think ‘dumb’. But her brother wasn’t really dumb – he just didn’t like school and would rather go fish or play football than sit at a desk doing math and learning stupid long words. 

    John jabbed an angry finger at the list. “Yeah, but why do we have to spell words like those. It’s not like we go around saying ‘diiioceeese’ or ‘chroomosooome’ all the time, is it?”

    “We do say ‘handicapped’. You’ll need it if you want to go to the Derby.” John loved horses and would seize every chance he had to get near them. “Don’t they say something about handicaps and horses, whatever that means. Anyway, Miss Baker says you’ve got to learn them. You know what she’s like if you flunk one of her tests.”

    John burst out, “It’s not my fault she’s such a lousy judge of words, is it? Well, if I louse up, it’ll be all her fault for picking those stupid words. Well, I’ve had enough – I’m outta here!” He stormed off.

    Gina shrugged. Ask him to play football and he would play for all he was worth, even if he had a broken leg. Ask him to learn a few long words and he would quit after five minutes. Go figure.

  6. Anthony Smits says:

    Very nice variant, Briony. Love the ‘diiioceeese’!

  7. Briony Coote says:

    Thanks, guys! I quickly decided that some sort of word game such as scrabble or a spelling test was the way to incorporate the more difficult words that are not used much in everyday speech. Come to think of it, I suppose I could have also used a story about someone working on a crossword puzzle. Oh well, that might be for another time.

  8. Was a super busy week, so just getting to this one today:

    Anthropologist in the Diocese
    judge of the religious parliament
    another chromosome handicapped
    with each discovery dismissed
    fish out of water sweating
    pounded in this drum derby
    how can fact be molded
    like some baker dough
    under pretenses? 

  9. The anthropologist stepped off the train at the Derby station after his testimony in London before Parliament. 
    “Who were they to judge his research. So what if this changed some of the fundamental beliefs of English history. What did they know about chromosomes and carbon dating.”
    Dr. Calvert  was feeling defeated as he stopped by the baker‘s on his way home. They handicapped his research by refusing him access to dig at the National Historic Site.
    “How was your trip to London, Dr. Calvert?” the baker, Mr. Welsh inquired.
    “Not so well, I’m afraid. Parliament was afraid I would upset our history. And of course the new bishop for the London Diocese is against testing on the remains of the deceased.”
    “Well Darwin didn’t let anyone stop him from preaching that we were born from fish, so drum of science will beat on regardless of what those in London say.”
    Dr. Calvert wasn’t sure that Mr. Welsh had all his facts straight, but his words were comforting, so  he thanked the baker and paid for his bread. Dr. Calvert was renewed in efforts after talking with the baker. The truth of Stonehenge would be reveled if it was the last thing he did.

  10. Shane Arthur says:

    This one makes no sense, but I love every bit of it.

    Dysfunction in the mental diocese
    Dust to make an anthropologist sneeze
    Laws to make a judge kill
    Or block a fish gill
    Like a bakers kitchen
    With low-fat chromosomes missin’
    A derby-less gamblers fit
    A handicapped pick
    A drum kit
    Funky like Parliament

    • Like seeing a smiley face in an electrical wall outlet, this reveals its meaning to those who look.
      (The trick is to squinch your eyes and turn your head sideways!)
      Oddly enough, as befits this entry, my favorite line was the Seussian or block a fish gill!

  11. The teenagers of Ancestoline had found a new way to annoy their elders, and nobody could figure out quite what to do about it.
    Scientists found themselves severely handicapped by their insistence that life on other planets could not possibly exist. It would take decades to rewrite their hypotheses and formulate new theories. They could not agree on which was worse: that a fourteen year old girl had made the discovery first and exploited it for public amusement – utterly circumventing all the proper scientific protocols – or that the aliens had been so careless as to misdirect the signals, letting them fall into the hands of children.
    Soon, the Ancestoline teens were swooshing about the streets on things they called “skates” – leaping and punching each other as they circumnavigated the roundabouts to a cacophonous noise they called “music.” This music was heavy on banging – like drums or pots and pans, accompanied by the wailing of angry toddlers with lusty lungs. This, they informed their neighbors, was a new “sport.” It did not involve graceful bending and stretching, but rather speed and a sort of gleeful violence. Shocking. Just shocking.
    Parliament had briefly entertained a motion to outlaw the alien sport, but when the wine ran dry and the hired comic ran out of jokes, the entertainment value thinned. When the baker declared a dearth of cake and a paucity of scones, they reluctantly invited the team into the House to make their case with a rousing demonstration of ultra-light gravity skating skills. Such legal and moral challenges had become so frequent that the girls had taken to calling these little demos “mandatory practice sessions” and reminded themselves that what didn’t kill their sport would make their legs strong. As the first notes of the classic Terran tune, “We Be Jammin’” issued from the portable soundmaker, the Roller Derby Dervishes began to dance on wheels.
    The Bishop of the Darynesis Diocese had declared it blasphemy, though he spluttered and coughed each time he tried to articulate the rationale, since apparently the girls had taken to praying frequently – “Oh, God, not THAT move again!” and “Holy [bleep] you did NOT just elbow me in the ribs!” and “I swear to God I’ll take you down if you do that again!” As far as he could see (and he did try diligently to see), the Roller Derby Dervishes wore shorts over their fishnets and were amazingly polite when they weren’t trying to knock each other’s teeth out.
    An Ancestoline anthropologist was called to testify, but instead of satisfying Judge Gerodian that this “Roller Derby” was a corruption of Ancestoline culture that must be stopped at all costs, she examined the mode of transmission – a barrage of viewing waves and sound waves that appeared to have traveled through space from a solar system over a light year distant, materializing on the vidscreens of teenagers all over Ancestoline at the same time – and could find nothing particularly troubling about its origins, except that no one could explain how such a marvelous sport had evolved in a positive density gravitational field like earth’s. From what they now knew of earth, the people must be absolutely languid from the exertion of movement. That, or they were all much stronger than they appeared. Something in their chromosomes, maybe. Perhaps they had evolved to slide their bulk upon wheels in order to move at all. As the girls got ready to hold their fourteenth “mandatory practice session” in a month (something they did not really seem to mind doing, at all), the anthropologist, who had taken to calling herself “Lollipop Fire Lizard,” donned a pair of skates and joined them.

    • Holly, this works.
      You know, the story was more enjoyable because I know a real roller derby skater (@MelloKittie on Twitter). Plus, it brought back fond memories of watching Whip It.

      • My daughter’s a skater, Mitch. :) 

        I can just imagine her rolling her eyes. But she’s too sick right now to read any of my nonsense (spent this past weekend in and out of minor emergency with the flu – confirmed Type A – so she’s pretty miserable right now). Seriously, I don’t know where she gets her athletic talent – but it’s not from me!

        • Holly, I wish a speedy recovery for your daughter.
          I take it you don’t consider your husband to be very athletic, since you “have no idea”???
          LOL. Oh well, maybe the angels dusted her or something.

          • Nope, not really, I don’t.  🙂 I think he and I are both more likely to want to compete at crossword puzzles or Chess than in serious sports. (We both played sports when we were younger, and we’re all fairly competitive in our own quirky ways – none of us are really determined to “win at all costs,” but we’re still pretty determined to win if we can. I suppose that’s enough.) My son wasn’t athletically inclined until he started fencing, this year, though. Now that he’s discovered a sport that’s aptly described as “Chess, with swords” he’s pretty athletic, too. Come to think of it – while I cannot understand ANY of the sports involving balls, bats, or serious running – I always enjoyed (ice) skating and I think I would have enjoyed fencing, if I hadn’t missed a week of classes in college and come back to think they were all trying to KILL me! 

  12. […] Fire Lizard by Holly Jahangiri Inspired by Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #275. Challenge words include:  Diocese, Anthropologist, Judge, Fish, Baker, Chromosome, Derby, […]

  13. Rebecca says:

    Robert McKinley is an anthropologist who felt handicapped on the golf course. His wife Debbie is a baker who enjoys baking cupcakes. Her cupcake shop, Debbie’s Delights, does a good business. She was lucky to get the baking chromosome from her mother. Debbie always beat to her own drum and didn’t care what others think. She was excited to be chosen to supply cupcakes for next year’s Kentucky Derby. Robert was looking forward to next year because Kentucky is a great place to fish. 

    “News from the British Parliament…” yammered the news anchor. 

    “The diocese is under fire for…” said the news anchor. 

    “The judge in the matter…” said the news anchor.

    “Debbie, let’s turn off the television. It’s the same old stuff,” said Robert.

    “My dear, I agree with you,” said Debbie as she turned off the television and embraced Robert in a passionate kiss. 

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane… Thank you! I couldn’t resist using the words diocese, judge and parliament the way I did since it’s a political year. 

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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


Connecting to %s