Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #429

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> before and </b> after each of your challenge words if you want them to stand out, but NOT REQUIRED THOUGH!

  1. Umbrella
  2. Vernal equinox
  3. Worm
  4. Sprout
  5. Slicker
  6. Melt
  7. Polliwog – a tadpole
  8. Breeze
  9. Chick
  10. Crocus
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5 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #429”

  1. Anklebuster says:

    We don’t have umbrellas on Mars. Duh, right? The folks who venture out from the domes wear exosuits—what you used to call spacesuits—for protection. The little precipitation they do encounter is more like a breeze than a downpour, due to the light gravity.

    Umbrellas and slickers–another Earthside relic—were symbols of the changing seasons in the temperate zones. I have a tough time keeping the kids engaged in geography, when the only books are from dusty Earth libraries. Here is a typical classroom discussion:

    Me: Today, we’re examining weather patterns. Why is weather important?

    Child 1: Because we can’t afford to lose any seedlings.

    Child 2: The polar caps are melting!

    Me: That’s right. If the dust storms uproot the sprouts, we’ll all be eating last year’s potatoes, again!

    Child 1: If we had worms, that wouldn’t be a problem.

    Child 2: If you had worms, you probably got them from kissing Marsha!

    Me: That’s enough, young man…

    Child 1: Your mama got worms!

    Child 2: Oh, yeah? Well, I heard your mama kissed a polliwog and spit you out!

    Me: Erm, true or false: the best time to plant the edible crocus is right before the Vernal equinox?

    Child 1: True.

    Child 2: Who cares? We don’t even have anything good to sprinkle it on!

    Me: Both of you are wrong. It’s after and we recently had some success breeding ostrich chicks.

    Child 1: Oh, I forgot—before is for potatoes, after is for crocus. “Pee before the Sea.”

    Child 2: I’ll bet you’d be embarrassed to pee in front of a chick. She would humiliate you!

    ***

    I’m retiring next month. Maybe get a small plot on the recently terraformed Elysium quadrangle and grow weed. It’s legal up here, you know!

  2. Author’s note – okay, this is a bit much. I don’t usually write sappy stuff like this but when you have crocus and vernal equinox in your prompt things can get out of hand.

    I’m here, and I feel rotten. Rotten inside, at least. On the outside I’ve painted on a happy face, a mask of fake emotion to cover my misgivings about this silly contest. I’m wearing my best suit, shoes that need shining, and even a tie. I haven’t worn a tie since she died, and before that it’s been so long I don’t even remember.
    Why did I get myself into this? I ask my coffee silently. It’s the stale stuff, like the kind you’d get at a Baptist church potluck, and it’s not helping my churning stomach. I take a sip. Cold. Bland. Like my soul. I throw it in the trash.
    “Welcome!” says the old lady in the bright violet scarf. Everyone in here is at least twice my age, some thrice it. I smile back at June, I think that’s her name. Grandma’s friend. The phony emotional response serves as an umbrella to shelter me from real emotions. I’m here to fulfill a promise. Nothing more. I don’t want any connections, or to be friends with grandma’s old friends. Not even June.
    The Southern California Floriculture Society’s Gala of the Vernal Equinox, grandma’s favorite event, is upon us. She’d made me promise to enter her favorite perennial the contest.
    “Carson,” she’d said, “be sure to enter for me if I don’t make it,” she’d said. I’d been numb. How could she sit there, dying, and think of nothing but what the old ladies at the Society would think about her flowers? What difference would it make if she won the contest? Did she want prize-winning flowers on her grave? What would it be to her after death?
    It was such a pointless thing, but through my tears I’d nodded and promised. “I’ll do it, grandma,” the words had sputtered through from my choked throat, “I promise.”
    It had felt like something at the time. Like it meant something. Like it meant I loved her, that my love could be demonstrated in a way my absence and procrastination over the past several years never had. Did she believe me? Or did she accept it like she had all those times I’d told her I’d visit when I hadn’t, when I’d had things like parties with friends or concerts or ballgames to attend. Grandma was always available. I’d get to her later. I’d spend time with her later. I’d give her the attention she needed someday. I’d thoughtlessly ignored that she wanted my attention like I’d wanted hers when I was little. Only she’d given it to me. Life had blown by quickly. How fast had time gone for her? They say it goes faster the older you get.
    The thought made me choke up again, to writhe inside like a worm on hot pavement.
    I looked over at my entry, the only living memento of my grandmother. She’d nursed it from a sprout and now it was in full bloom and as brilliant as June’s scarf.
    Which reminds me that I’m here, and not in my grandmother’s hospital room making promises and acknowledging regrets. I’m here to win the damned contest for her.
    “Thank you for allowing me to participate on my grandmother’s behalf,” I said with artificial warmth and a smile slicker than a car salesman’s. Slick enough to make any old lady’s heart melt. It worked on June.
    “Oh, Carson, you’re as cute as a polliwog! she exclaimed. “Your grandmother would be so proud!”
    I’ve never been called a polliwog before, much less thought of them as things to be proud of. I’d have laughed, but June’s confidence in my grandmother’s pride stung like a dagger through the heart. I thought it’d be a breeze to fool them, to cruise in here and go through the motions to fulfill my pledge. I’d stand there and take the prize or not take it. Let some other old lady have it, for all I care. At least these ladies are alive to appreciate it. They can stick the ribbon to a refrigerator or pin it to their favorite hat. I don’t care. My promise was empty. As empty as my fake smile.
    I think this but I don’t buy it. I can’t even convince myself.
    Here I am, empty inside and hurting. Smiling outside and pretending to be happy. Maybe I shouldn’t do this. Maybe I shouldn’t fake it anymore. Maybe it’s okay to have these feelings, to be guilty and loving and humbled all at the same time. Maybe I shouldn’t lie to this chick. Maybe I should let on. I can’t hold it in anymore.
    She’s looking at me now. My lip’s trembling and my eyes are welling up. The facade crumbles and reveals me, it unleashes my emotions from the dungeon in which I’ve stuffed them. Grandma’s loss is too fresh, too painful. My conscience can’t take it anymore.
    “Oh, Carson!” she exclaims. She’s coming closer now. She hugs me like grandma used to. She smells like an old lady, like mothballs and lavender. I’m crying now, full on. I’m not a man, I’m a guilty grandson. I’ve always been guilty, but now something’s different. I realize I’m guilty, that’s it! I’m guilty and repentant, not just guilty anymore.
    “It’s not just a crocus!” I’m sobbing. “It’s grandma’s! It’s grandma’s!”
    “It’s okay, Carson,” June comforts. “It’s yours now! It’s your entry!”
    But I don’t care about the entry. It’s the release that matters now. I’ll never come back to this gala. It’s too sad. A bunch of people worrying about the meaningless things.
    Flowers. They sprout, they grow, they die. They’re like us only they don’t feel.They don’t love, they don’t disappoint, they don’t promise. They don’t have guilt. They don’t repent. Maybe that’s why they’re here.
    They help us understand.


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