Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #308

John E. McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for The Baltimore Sun, chose the words for our writing prompt again. Show him your talent. And then check out his new book.

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.) NOTE: Our bolding plugin is gone, so you’ll have to put <b> and </b> around each of your words if you want them to stand out, but NOT REQUIRED THOUGH.

  1. Vegetate
  2. Arrogant
  3. Psalm: A sacred song or hymn; A book of the Bible comprising a collection of religious verses
  4. Emotional
  5. Smokehouse
  6. Aria: A long, accompanied song for a solo voice, typically one in an opera or oratorio
  7. Bloviate: Talk at length, esp. in an inflated or empty way.
  8. Treadmill
  9. Epiglottis: A flap of cartilage at the root of the tongue, which is depressed during swallowing to cover the opening of the windpipe.
  10. Tickety-boo: fine, okay <everything is going to be ticketyboo eventually

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.)

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54 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #308”

  1. Plasm 46:10 — I believe it went something like this:

    Be Vegetative. Don’t masticate through epiglottis, in a smokehouse, like Honey Boo Boo’s cousin, Tickely-Boo, while being arrogant and emotional, and bloviating an aria on a treadmill like the band OK Go.

  2. […] is my submission for Creative Copy Challenge #308. Click on over and take the challenge yourself, or just read the comments to see what others have […]

  3. Tanja Cilia says:

    From inside the tiny smokehouse in the forsaken village, which doubled as a chapel, came the words of the psalm, transmuted into an emotional aria. The arrogant pastor stepped onto the podium, and in a sermon overflowing with arrogant bloviate, insisted with the congregation that everything was tickety-boo, and that the treadmill of war was nothing to be afraid of. He berated them further, saying soldiers were supposed to fight to the death, not vegetate. The infection in his epiglottis caused him to take rapid, shallow breaths, with a high-pitched whistling sound. Drooling, he went on in this vein for thirty minutes.

  4. Jen says:

    1. I’m sorry this is so long, and 2. Epiglottis? Well played, sir.

    The thing I always loved most about Aunt Janice was that despite appearances to the contrary, she was made of ore. Her eyes, though hazy and brown and fringed by scant lashes, almost childlike, had a chunk of ferocity in the very center, and this chunk, it told me everything I needed to know or understand about Aunt Janice.

    She had entered the hospital room erect and slowly, a veneer of calm belied by her face which was stern and take-charge. Her feet, as they covered the ground between door and me, propelled her with confidence. Aunt Janice, though she could be the emotional type—which The Duchess normally could not abide— did not give way to that compulsion then.

    “How is she? I was on the treadmill when I heard.” She began unwinding the myriad scarves from her neck while I marveled at how many swaths she had loaded onto her creped neck. She threw me with the treadmill comment; I tried to picture this retired professor in overly long skirts doing any kind of workout on purpose. “Now, don’t leave anything out, and no need to bloviate. You know your mother will tell me anyway. Get to it.”

    I had forgotten all the terms. I had not memorized the words the doctors had thrown at me. I could not have taken in both the enormity of their arrogance and the meanings of all the latin or whatever language they were speaking. They spoke with an expectation that their words meant something concete to me, the daughter of the dying woman. I had just begun the long aria of her medical history, the story of how it came to be that Aunt Janice found us at that place, when The Duchess awoke.

    “I won’t vegetate, Janice,” she had hissed, her voice raw. “Egg, get me some water. My epiglottis is parched.”

    I jumped to fill the styrofoam cup while Aunt Janice sat near The Duchess, taking up her hand, ignoring her abrasiveness. Janice and Da were the only ones immune to her. I put the cup on the table between the women.

    “God.” The Duchess hissed again. I flared and clenched, waiting for the blow. “You smell like a smokehouse. Where the hell have you been?”

    I ignored her and stepped away from the old friends. Aunt Janice pushed right back.

    “Margaux, not everything is tickety boo, and it isn’t going to be tickety boo. So out with it. What’s the news?”

    I couldn’t listen. I went away, back to an evening with GranDa, in his library, the scent of brandy and cigar. His words sounded like the room smelled, and he read from the Psalms: “O Lord you have known me. You know when I sit and when I rise.”

  5. Liss Thomas says:

    *Game face on!*;)

    Continuation…

    Jill stifled a yawn listening to their science teacher, Ms Caldwell bloviate about the epiglottis. She appeared to have learned the word as of last night and compensated with long exaggerated explanations that sounded like an aria sorely out of key. Robbie sat next to her at their workstation in a vegetative state. She nudged him and he turned a glazed smile her way. Shaking her head, she tried hard to listen to the teacher but all she wanted to do was cut the teacher’s tongue from her mouth, epiglottis and all and sell it to a smokehouse as mystery meat.

    Ms Caldwell paused her droning when someone knocked on the door. She smiled.

    “Class, we have two guest speakers joining us today to discuss the very serious subject of drugs in school.” She went to the door and ushered the guests in. “May I introduce to you Doctor Bernard Pendergast and former police officer, Billy Smith, who recently joined Dr. Pendergast in the private sector to help reduce drugs in our local school system.”

    The class clapped, relieved to have an interruption. Jill’s body went rigid. She sucked in a gulp of air, her eyes wide in disbelief. She jumped when Robbie laid his hand on hers.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked leaning in. Jill remained silent. Her eyes met Billy’s arrogant smile as he spotted her in the back of the classroom.

    “I don’t trust those guys,” she whispered, finally finding her voice through the emotional hurricane boiling inside her. She listened to their canned drug statistics while the teacher politely sat at her desk, her Bible forever opened to the book of Psalms as if she read piously in her spare time. Jill never saw her turn the pages though.

    “Let’s demonstrate how we do a drug screening. We brought a model of the machine used to test blood samples. How about a volunteer?” Dr. Pendergast asked. No one raised their hand. Jill watched Officer Billy stroll down the aisle to her desk, his pace easy and even like he walked on a slow speed treadmill.

    “How about you, young lady? There’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure it will show negative,” he said.

    Jill looked wide eyed to the teacher for help only to be chided.

    “Jill! A good student like you afraid of a little pin prick? It’ll be fine, just tickety-boo!”

    Jill shook her head emphatically and hid her hands below the desk. Billy raked her with a knowing look before he found another student to harass. She couldn’t breathe until the class was over. She bolted from the room with Robbie close on her heels. He grabbed her hand and pulled her through the halls to the cafeteria and out into the courtyard. Jill sat outside and concentrated on the woods. Robbie sat close, holding her hand for support.

    “You want to tell me what that was all about?” he asked. She shook her head ‘no’ before she nearly squeezed the life from his hand.

    “They’re coming this way!” she hissed. She felt tears pricking the backs of her eyes and a soft sob escaped her lips.

    “Come with me,” Robbie said as he pulled her up. He grabbed their backpacks and led her toward the woods. Jill hesitated. “We’ll lose them in here and hide by the stream,” he said as he guided her along. Jill followed Robbie moving quickly and quietly through the woods. They reached the stream with no way for Officer Billy to find them. Jill sighed with relief when Robbie came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. She felt safe, finally calming down.

    “Thanks,” she said.

    “Don’t worry, Jill. They won’t find you,” he whispered.

  6. Anklebuster says:

    “If I’m wrong, I will peddle my ass to the devil and rip out my epiglottis for the smokehouse.”
    -Jake Weintraub, Apocalypse Wow Conference, May, 2012, after predicting a new end of days.

    Jake was arrogant enough to believe that he would keep his body parts. The Mayans weren’t wrong. They just were off by a bit. He was spending an emotional Valentine’s Day frantically searching for a way to save the world. Normally a big believer in maximizing the flow of oxygen to the brain during intense ideation sessions, he was famous for his treadmill-based bloviating. Today, however, he vegetated in silence. He was glad he’d given the staff this day off – if he didn’t come up with something soon, this would be everyone’s last chance for romance.

    Last April, he’d discovered that the Mayan calculation was foretold in the 23rd Psalm. The Book of Psalms was a precursor of the later Book of Revelation. His evidence was that the psalmists used a coding scheme that was similar to backmasking – a technique for recording messages and reversing them for obscurity. The Mayan proclamation, foretelling of preparations for the return of Bolon Yotke, the god of war, prophesized a date which had translated to December 21, 2012.

    Ironically, Jake had this encoding scheme epiphany while reading his Bible and listening to Def Leppard’s Rocket, which contained a backmasked reference to Gods of War, another one of their metallic arias. When Rocket was played backwards, Jake heard, “We are fighting with the gods of war.”

    He had idly wondered if the Bible had hidden messages in reverse. He purchased a digital version, created a database and went hunting. When he got to the Book of Psalms, he had his answer. Each verse, read in reverse, took on a different meaning. Most of the meanings were indecipherable, but the message Jake read into the reverse of Psalm 23 was unmistakable:

    I will dwell in the house of the Lord.
    Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
    Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
    He restoreth my soul.
    Maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
    The Lord is my shepherd.

    The obvious reference to Bolon Yotke’s return to the “green pastures” of Tortuguero, was bolstered by all of the terms for hospitality. Clearly, the Mayan sanctuary was to play host to “Lord” Yotke!

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
    I shall not want.

    Definitely fighting words. Bolon Yotke knew he was among enemies, but he wasn’t afraid. Evidently he would have everything he needed.

    Jake published his findings and presented them to the world the following month.

    Seven months later, on December 22nd, 2012, while everyone else breathed a sigh of relief, Jake was convinced that everything was not tickety-boo. While the other scientists were coming out of the woodwork to say, “We told you so,” Jake knew that the end was still nigh. Since he had no idea when this new end of days was coming, he kept running the Mayan b’ak’tun simulator on his computer. The simulator crashed a few seconds after reaching 13.0.0.0 (12/21/2012). The Long Count was stopped on 13.0.0.2.17 (02/15/2013). The two, in the Mayan vigesimal numeral system, was equal to 40. Jake was horrified.

    40 – 17 = 23.

  7. K says:

    After encountering an emotional misfortune, the children I watched since birth bloviate about my muted existence and tune me out. I’m afraid my figure in their lives fade from their eyes. No longer can I recite the psalms or sing the arias alongside my wife as the words meant to be said never make it out of my head. Exercising on a treadmill or walking to the smokehouse for selective portions of pork become things of the past. Never has food slipped past my epiglottis in the last seven years. My daughter’s arrogant words promise me of life until her kids reach adulthood, but through the mirror of her life, it reflects the weariness, tears, and abandoned dreams she holds. She wears her heart on her sleeve unlike her sister, and every time she pours her tears on my bedside, I want to comfort her and tell her that everything is going to be tickety-boo; however, my arm merely twitches, and I release guttural shouts. Please leave me in this vegetative state. I only serve as a hindrance to everyone. Send me off simply with curt, genuine words instead of long, halfhearted phrases. My peace lies within my children’s and grandchildren’s happiness.

  8. When life seems to vegetate

    And arrogant no longer works

    I look within for meaning

    To find the psalm of my heart

    Life can be an emotional smokehouse

    With an aria filled with beauty

    To moments where I bloviate

    In a treadmill of forgotten dreams

    Words without truth are the epiglottis of my soul

    Leaving me longing for a tickety-boo future

    That obliterates the past

  9. Alistair Kruger says:

    Oh how I pity the arrogant! They vegetate on their own love… an emotional exchange between them and themselves. Psalm 112:6, “Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever”. But the arrogant are the putrid haze in the backyard smokehouse. Their voice in aria as it bellows beneath the stench of their vanity. Their walk in life is like a treadmill on slow. If it wasn’t for their epiglottis, they would choke on their words as they bloviate their quarrels. But such is life and I guess the only answer would be… tickety-boo.

  10. […] Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #308 (creativecopychallenge.wordpress.com) […]


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