Goodbye Pants

Prompt provided by Writers DigestFavorite Piece of Clothing Eulogy: You favorite article of clothing has finally out-lived its life (and then some). It’s time to say goodbye, but you love it so much you feel a need to send it off properly. Write a eulogy dedicated to that piece of clothing and all the times you shared together.

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“A perfect pair of jeans who can find? They are worth far more than rubies. The owner has full confidence in them and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:10-11 (Personal Paraphrase)

I’ll never forget the first time I saw you, hanging there on the far back wall of American Eagle, the last day of summer before my Senior year of high school. Has it really been over ten years since that moment? I’ll always remember how soft you felt in my hands, despite never having been worn. You were the perfect shade of indigo, and I knew I had to have you.

We’ve been through so much together. I wore you the first time I hung out with Josh Barnes, the school heart-throb and quarter back of the football team. You and I were together the day they announced over the intercom that I had made the Royalty Court and we jumped around like fools in the library.

Dearest wide leg flares, you were there for me when during my first experience of heartache. I denied myself nothing, and despite the copious amounts of pasta and Metropolitan Steakhouse Philly sandwiches, you stood by me, fitting like a glove, in the best way.

I’m twenty-eight now. No longer the stick legged eighteen year old with the choice of any pair of jeans in the room. You’ve been so faithful, loyal and dependable all these years. I really don’t know what I’m going to do without you. What other jeans will make by butt look so good even though I’ve neglected the gym for far too long? What other jeans will make me feel like the giddy high school senior or college junior with her whole life ahead of her? You mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

Rest in peace, my dear friend. I will never know another like you.

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90 Years.

Prompt provided by Writer’s DigestYou’re a construction worker and, while in the middle of a dig to build a new building, you stumble upon a box with contents in it. There are five very specific items in it along with a note: “When you find this, call me. This is only phase one.” The is a phone number so you call it. What happens next?

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May 1917

“You’ll never find it, Hattie,” Dot teases me as I crawl deeper into the abandoned badger den.

“You always say that and I always find it,” I stretch my fingertips out into the darkness, awaiting the cool touch of the tin, but there’s nothing. Ugh.

“Why must I always be ready for an adventure with you?” I huff, wiping dirt off my face as I surface from the earthy tunnel.

“If you can’t find my tin in the fields of Easton, Kansas,” Dot sighs, “how can you expect to find anything in the thick forests of the Amazon or the icy caves of the Arctic? ” I roll my eyes, but Dot always plans the best birthday presents.

“Did you hear that?” Dot asks.

“Hear what?” Normally I would ignore my sister’s flare for the dramatic but the look on her face stops me. “Dot?”

“Run Hattie!” before I can think Dot has her hand in a vice grip around my wrist and we’re tearing through the woods. I can hear something chasing us. Something big. And fast.

May 2007

“Thank you for coming Mr. Holmes,” Hattie Harker motions towards her sitting room. “Please, have a seat.”

I step into the sitting room, and I couldn’t feel more out of place in my bright orange construction vest and clunky brown boots. The house looks like it’s been trapped in time.

“How long have you lived here Mrs. Harker?” I ask.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. I was born in this house May 21, 1907.”

“May 21, 1907?” She’s a hundred years old.

“That’s right, Mr. Holmes,” she says as if reading my mind. “I turned 100 last week.” She smiles but her eyes are sad, broken.

“I won’t beat around the bush, Mr. Holmes. I would very much like to see the box that you’ve found,” Hattie holds out her hands expectantly.

“Yeah. Um, here you go,” I hold out the dim silver tin and place it into her tiny soft hands.

“Oh my,” Hattie whispers. “Oh, Dottie.” Hattie pulls out the piece of paper, her hands shaking.

“My sister, Dot, prepared a scavenger hunt for my tenth birthday,” Hattie’s voice was tight. “She—she died while we were out looking for the first tin. I—I’ve searched high and low. Where exactly did you find it?”

“It was buried next to the peach tree in Harker Field,” I tell her. I feel heavy and uncomfortable. The whole town knows that Dot Harker was killed, but no one knows exactly what happened all these years later.

“She saved me,” Hattie’s voice cracks. “Daddy came across us in the woods, but he was in another place, in his mind. He did that a lot when he came back from the Great War…” Hattie’s voice fades as she shuts the tin.

“Thank you Mr. Holmes for calling me. Ninety years is a long time.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what is phase two?”

“Well according to the clues, I’d say I’m due to meet Dot at the Corner Fountain for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Do you like ice cream, Mr. Holmes?”

“I’m always ready for an adventure.”

Interview with a Villain

Prompt provided by Writer’s DigestYour old villain quit over creative differences, so you’ve put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.

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“Come in,” I call towards the door as I shuffle my manuscript notes into a neat pile and set them to the side. The large solid oak door leading into my office creaks open and a tall slender woman with pale yellow hair curled into a low tight bun steps inside.

“Ms. Knowles,” she says warmly with a slight nod of her head. Her long black linen dress covers her from wrist to boot, her starched apron stiff and brighter than my freshly painted white walls.

“Agatha,” I smile in return. “Punctual as promised. Please, sit down.” She nods again, this time with a slight smile, and sits rigidly in the squashy leather chair across from me.

“So, tell me about yourself,” I say to her. She has maintained eye contact with me without so much as a blink. Her silvery blue eyes look like they belong to a shark, not this pretty, genteel sort of woman in her neatly ironed clothes.

“I’ve worked as a nurse at Holloswaithe’s Asylum for Lunatics since my sixteenth birthday,” Agatha says brightly. “Sixteen is the youngest one can be hired. I waited my whole life to work there, for Dr. Benek.”

“That’s not exactly a profession many little girls dream about,” I say to her, probing.

“Most little girls aren’t raised in asylums,” Agatha replies simply. “I was. My mother was a nurse there and I was brought up within the halls of Holloswaithe, learning from Dr. Benek. I know everything about Holloswaithe. I know its secrets.” She still doesn’t blink, her eyes fixed unflinchingly on mine, smiling slightly all the while. I begin to rub my right thumbnail, a nervous tick I’ve had since I was nine.

“What secrets?” I ask intrigued despite the light tingling along my spine.

“I know why the walls moan in the middle of the night,” Agatha says flatly, but there is a cruel sparkle in her eyes. “I know why empty rooms whisper. I know why women with sound minds whimper with fear. I know why graves appear in the Asylum cemetery before there’s a body to go inside.”

She keeps her cool lethal eyes on me, studying me. I wish she’d stop smiling. It adds to the danger of her countenance somehow.

“Does Dr. Benek know about these secrets? The villain I’m searching for needs to be untraceable, their closest friend wouldn’t suspect them of a harsh word, let alone murder,” I ask her as I learn forward, reminding myself that I’m the one in charge, it’s my story. Her smile disappears. The once cool silvery blue of her eyes darkens until they seem to go black.

“Dr. Benek is the reason for the secrets. I keep him safe, pure, without sin,” she says calmly. She reaches up to her neck, twirling a silver cross pendant hanging from a necklace between her thin alabaster fingers. “‘Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.’ That’s what God says, does He not, Ms. Knowles? I’m the best kept secret of Holloswaithe.”

Hiding in Plain Sight

Writing prompt provided by Writer’s Digest! You’re driving to your favorite city when you’re stopped by a police officer. Sure, you were going a few miles over the speed limit, so you’re not overly surprised. But you are surprised when the police officer gets to your car and screams, “Get out of your car with your hands up!” This leads to a unexpected night for you. Write this scene.

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“What?” I shout through my closed door window. He can’t be serious. I was going five, seven miles tops, over the speed limit.

“Get out of your car with your hands in the air, NOW,” the cop yells so aggressively his thick face and neck are turning purple.

I turn off the car and unbuckle my seatbelt, keeping my gaze on the cop. It’s nine at night for goodness sake, and we’re in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention he hasn’t shown me a badge. And he’s alone.

“I’m sorry,” I yell through the locked door, “but you haven’t shown me any identification. Until you do, I’m not moving.” I’ve heard one too many stories of wack-jobs using old cop cars as a ploy to rape women driving by themselves. This spot couldn’t be more ideal, fifty five miles deep in Texas hill country.

“Excuse me?” The purple cop looks like I’ve smacked him in the face with a cast iron skillet. “Ma’am, I’ve told you twice and I ain’t gonna say it again. Get out of the car with your hands up, now.” The gun in his hands, which he has kept aimed at the ground, is now pointed at me.

“Alright,” I take my hands off of the steering wheel and grab the mace keychain on my keys. If I make it out of this alive I owe my dad a big apology for all the whining I did when he forced me to take those self-defense classes. I unlock the door and step out of the car with my hands up.

“Go get in my car and lock the doors,” the cop whispers. His voice has changed. “Please, ma’am.” Goosebumps spread over my arms despite the raging humidity. I drop my arms to my sides and slowly walk back towards the cop car. It’s only a couple yards away but it feels like a mile. The cicadas chirp and a warm breeze blows, completely oblivious to the crazy situation. Finally I place my fingers on the door handle when,

BAM! BAM! BAM!

I drop to my knees with my hand still on the door handle. A red and yellow glow from the cop car illuminates the road. The cop is flat on his back, dark red blood pouring from his neck and onto the asphalt. I yank the door open and jump inside the car. I lock the doors and hop into the drivers seat. There is a walkie-talkie clipped to the sun visor and I grab it.

“Hello? Hello?” I whisper into the mic. “My name is Maggie Holmes, and a cop has just been shot. I’m on Old Fairvale Road fifty-five miles west of Austin.” No answer.

Where the hell did that shot come from? There’s no way someone was in the car with me. The only place I’ve stopped was at that sorry excuse for a gas station about ten miles back and I always lock…..

Oh my god.

The back door of my Denali GMC opens and an enormous hooded man steps out. He pulls his hood down and my blood runs cold. It’s Mark.

“You wouldn’t move to your favorite city without your favorite man,” Mark laughs as he yells, gun pointed directly at me. “Now be a good girl, Maggie, and get out of the car. You never know what kind of crazies might be out this time of night.”

Bacon with a side of Haiku

Friday prompt ! I’ve challenged myself to post a prompt every Monday and Friday to keep me on my toes. We’ll see how it goes! Today’s is provided by Writer’s Digest.

In an ironic twist, a dog really ate your homework. When you try to explain this to your teacher she says, “Come on, you can do better than that excuse.” Instead of arguing, you take that as a challenge and come up with an elaborate story as to what happened to your homework. Let us hear it.

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“You won’t believe me if I tell you,” Molly sighed to Ms. Kellybrooke.

“Try me,” Ms. Kellybrooke huffed, her mossy green eyes peered over her purple glasses like frogs peeking out from under lily pads.

“Well it’s all my brother Tommy’s fault really,” said Molly. “We were sittin’ at breakfast and I was readin’ my collection of haiku to everyone so they could tell me which one I should recite in front of the class today.” Molly stopped for a second, scrambling her thoughts together like a hungry hippo game.

“Go on, Molly,” said Ms. Kellybrooke, one of her penciled eyebrows arched so high it nearly touched her hairline.

“So…as I was readin’ the haiku Tommy snatched the papers out of my hand. He said that he wrote the haiku and I was trying to take all of the credit. But it’s not true! Tommy is in Mr. Kilkenny’s class and they have the same assignment. Tommy never does his homework. Anyway, he grabbed the papers and I tried to grab them back, but when I yanked them from Tommy’s hand I fell backwards and crashed onto the table! Plates were flying, cups spilled all over and my papers got stuck to the syrup and bacon covered plates. Before I had time to grab my papers our dog, Destructo, was already eating his way across the mess. He ate up my best haiku with a side of crispy bacon and half a buttered biscuit. He’s a grouchy old git that will eat anything so long as a piece of meat is stuck to it. And that’s the honest to goodness truth Ms. Kellybrooke.”

Ms. Kellybrooke stared at Molly through her purple cat-eye glasses. Her lips were pursed so tightly Molly couldn’t tell if Ms. Kellybrooke was trying not to scream, or laugh.

“It’s the truth Ms. Kellybrooke. My mama was too angry about the mess to bother writin’ me a note. But it’s as true as the freckles on my face,” said Molly.

Ms. Kellybrooke took a deep breath. She was about to bark at the whispy little girl to get back to her seat along with her tall tales when she noticed a large clump of Molly’s hair stuck together and matted to the side of her head.

“It’s from crashing onto the table,” Molly said sheepishly as she held her hand up to her syrupy tangle of hair. “I landed headfirst onto my dad’s plate of biscuits and honey. I was so afraid of what they were gonna do I forgot to wash it out.”

Ms. Kellybrooke let out a deep sigh and as she did the corner of her eyes crinkled into a rare smile. “You take yourself on back to the water closet and freshen up young lady.”

“Thank you Ms. Kellybrooke,” Molly beamed as she puffed her chest. She turned on her heel and jogged quickly down the hall to the girls restroom. Grateful that for once Destructo saved her skin instead of nipping at it.

Three’s A Crowd

Writing Prompt provided by Writer’s DigestAfter months of planning, you and two of your friends pull off a major scam and steal $10 million dollars from a Vegas Casino. Your tracks are completely covered, there’s no way they can track it to you guys and you’ve escaped to a far away country. While you lay in your bed, dreaming of spending your share, you overhear your friends in the next room—plotting to kill you! Write this scene and what happens next.

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Webster defines a sucker as, “A person who is easily tricked or deceived.” Lucky for me, I’m no sucker. But as for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in the next room? Suckers.

While my “accomplices” praise themselves over our victorious thievery I have packed away every piece of paperwork, their passports, credit cards, debit cards, identification cards and all ten million (in various checks) into my backpack. It wasn’t difficult, as I’ve insisted from the start that I’d keep track of all the logistics. In fact the whole thing was my idea. I got them safely out of the country with a little over three million each. They were simply the muscle. Without me they’d still be scraping off buffet plates by day and mopping bathrooms by night at the Mandalay. I have to admit I find amusement in imagining them trying to work their way through the Latvian countryside. They barely speak English, let alone Latvian. Thanks to Craigslist, I’ve been taking lessons from an old Latvian lady the last nine months. Atvainojiet zēni! (Sorry boys!)

As they bicker over the details of my imminent and, apparently, brutal murder I am finishing up the last knots of my bed-sheet rope. A little medieval I know, but when you’re in a creaky old hotel and there is only one door in and out, you improvise.

“Do it now before she wakes up,” I hear one of them growl. Thank God the old man at the desk downstairs gave us the suite with the extra room. There’s no lock on the door, but I didn’t sleep anyway.

I pry open the window and fling out my makeshift rope. There’s not a soul in sight on the dimly lit cobblestone street. I double check that it’s secure on the wrought iron bed frame and begin shimmying down as quickly as I can. Three stories seems a lot higher when your only lifeline is a rope made of ancient sheets.

“She’s climbing!” one of the idiots shouts. I still can’t really tell them apart. Better to not get too personal with people you’re committing criminal offenses with. Thank God they don’t have guns. I stashed them when they went downstairs to eat in the lobby, thinking I was asleep.

Just as my toes touch the pavement I’m knocked off my feet with impressive force. My head feels like it’s splitting in half. I push myself up and rub the back of my head. Blood. I turn back up to the window and see the two buffoons staring at me, hoping their little stunt worked. It didn’t.

“You’ll need more than a bedside bible to do me in, boys,” I sneer at them. I couldn’t feel more elated to see their idiotic dumbstruck faces.

“Your money’s on the table,” I cheer before turning to run down the street. I laugh to myself as they’ve undoubtedly read my note; next to the $6.60 in US dollars I left, by now.

“T & H—spend it wisely, suckers.”

Fool Me Once

Prompt provided by Writer’s Digest! I promise my next post I’ll switch things up…perhaps.

After arriving at your favorite lunch destination and eating your favorite meal, your waitress rushes to your table. She looks panicked. She grabs you and looks into your eyes, but doesn’t say anything. Finally, she turns toward the wait staff, who is all gathered just outside the kitchen, and yells, “We only have 6 minutes until he dies! We need to save him.” Write this scene from your perspective.

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“I’m sorry, what?” I stare at the waitress, whose complexion is as tomato red as her hair.

“Six minutes,” she rasps, “six minutes until you die!” Despite my best efforts my laughter clamors through the awkward silence of the restaurant, stunning the waitress.

“Where is she?” I ask, scanning the room. I know she’s behind this. Annie always was one for dramatics. Price you pay for straying from the marriage bed.

“If I were you,” the waitress pleas, “I’d be in the next cab to the hospital, mister.” Ignoring her again I stand up and walk back through the kitchen towards Annie’s office with the waitress on my heels.

“I wouldn’t go in there!” She wails, “Seriously, sir, you need to get to a hospital!”

“Listen, you’re obviously new here,” I warn her as I hold my hand up. “Annie is a close friend of mine. So if you’d be so kind as to get out of my way.” Niceties have never been my strongpoint.

I push open the office door and there’s Annie, leaning against her desk, looking perfect as usual. Her slender legs go on for miles and her hazel eyes take a man’s breath away. But beneath all that gorgeous perfection is a hailstorm waiting to strike.

“Enough with the nonsense, Anne,” I say to her. “Your little friend is making a scene and I’d like to eat in peace if that’s alright with you.” Annie smiles exposing two rows of flawlessly straight pearly whites. She laughs her rich sultry laugh and for a minute I’m almost swept up in her storm once more.

“Ezra Kane,” she says, “what a way to spend your last six minutes. Tell me, how was the milkshake?”

“Annie, I’m tired,” I begin, “it’s been a long day. I thought we agreed to leave well enough alone.” I see her left eyebrow begin to rise like it always does when she’s about hurl a lightening strike.

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you wasted three years of my life, Mr. Kane,” she hisses at me. “And of all the diners in this city, you still come to mine? You had it coming.” It’s as if she has said the magic words. A searing pain slices across my lower abdomen as a burning sensation tingles in my hands. My vision blurs at a rapid pace as my heart booms in my chest .

“Goodbye, Ezra,” Annie bends down and whispers. Through the pulsing in my ears I can hear Annie’s favorite soundtrack playing on her computer. It’s “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago. Just as my world is going black she sings the words, “You know some guys just can’t hold their arsenic.”