Monday, July 7, 2014


WELCOME, WELCOME!!! I'm here to kick off year two! Thanks so much to everyone who's joined me over the past year. I've had a good time, and I hope you have too! I'm not one for fanfare, so we're just going to get on with the party. We're open longer than usual to celebrate the milestone and allow everyone who wants to participate an opportunity. So put those thinking caps on and INSPIRE me!!! :)

And just to make everything MORE EXCITING, we're going to have a SPECIAL FESTIVE CHALLENGE (again, since no one took me up on it last week...)! We're having a party! Include one or more party items (including, but not limited to: streamers, noisemakers, cake, ice cream, pinata, fireworks, etc)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST (Special times for THIS WEEK ONLY!!! Prompt goes live Monday, Noon EST and ends Wednesday 7am EST (or later, as long as you get it posted before the judge looks at the blog Wed morning!) If you're close and would like me to postpone looking at the blog until 8 or 9, just message me and I can probably find something else pressing to do until then. ;) ) Winners will be posted before I go to bed Wednesday night (I'm leaving for vacation Thursday morning!).

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is... ME!!! Alissa Leonard
. Also known as @lissajean7. You already know where my blog lives (hint: you're here). If you would like to read one of my very favorite flash pieces I've written, you can go here. Or here. Or here. (Okay, I have too many! I'll stop now.) Our winner from last week, Eric Martell, graciously allowed me to judge on this first week of year two. You should go read his winning tale from last week (here) if you missed it though!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-1 is:

[He] paused and said, "[Fine], [inspire] me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief [that I could do any such thing].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Macgyver[ism] (use it as a noun, a verb, a person, a reference, whatever - if you aren't familiar with Macgyver *hangs head and sheds a tear for you*, here's a link to the wiki page)



  1. She pauses and says, "Fine, convince me," arms cross and eyebrows rise in disbelief that I'd impose on her like this. Elizabeth is radiant today. The white of her dress and her teeth pops against her flawless bronze skin. If ever an angel were to walk on earth it must be this moment.
    I rock on my heels while gathering the best words to ask this hardest of all questions. My carefully prepared argument evaporated into her eyes -- those disbelieving emerald wonders.
    "Spit it out," she says. Her posture is making it clear that I need to bring my "A game" to pull this off.
    Her clear Caribbean accent snaps me back to why I came. “I need your help Elizabeth. I can’t do this alone. Will you…bake this cake for me?” I hold out the gluten free, all organic, double chocolate cake mix box.
    “No,” she says. “Why do you think I’d bake this for you? Just buy a cake at the market.”
    I knew this was going to be hard. “This is a lot to ask, but I’ll love you forever. It’s Nicole’s birthday. She can’t eat gluten and the market lies when they say their cakes will be fine for her.”
    Elizabeth is on the verge of agreeing — or she’s going to punch me. Either are rational responses. Kay always remembered things like anniversaries, and paying bills, and our girl’s birthdays.
    She spins and walks towards her kitchen. Cautiously optimistic I follow her. She points at her blue tiled counter. I set the cake kit down as it if were a religious artifact.
    “You shall bake it,” she says.
    She rummages through cupboards and pulls out a host of McGuiverish tools: A mason jar with scratches for the different measurements, the bottoms of tin cans snipped and folded to make little bowls, and a metal coat hanger twisted into a double helix. She pulls out a container of powdered milk, and instructs me on how to make it.
    “I don’t suppose you brought eggs?” she asks.
    I shake my head.
    I follow her outside and watch as the angel sneaks into her neighbor’s coop and retrieves two eggs. She is my champion. We mix the ingredients into what looks like an old oil pan. I hope that’s been washed. Elizabeth fires up her propane over and puts the pan into bake.
    She leads me to the back yard. “It’ll take twenty minutes. I don’t suppose you bought party supplies?”
    At my blank look she sighs. “Streamers, noisemakers, fireworks? Nothing? When do you think you’ll get good at this parenting thing?”
    “Probably about the time Nicole leaves home.”
    “You know what you need,” she says.
    I stare at the banana tree trying to figure out what she means. I’m no good at decisions. That was Kay’s role. Oh, that. “Nicole. I don’t suppose you’d like to marry me?”
    “About time you ask,” she says.
    Whew, some questions are easier than others.

    Questions: 495 words
    Special Challenge: Accepted
    Special Festive Challenge: Accepted
    -- Michael

  2. Over The Hill Am I? Hah!

    He paused and said, "Fine, inspire me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief that I could do any such thing.

    Urania rolled her eyes, this had all been so much easier when she had just been only the muse of astronomy, now she was responsible for the gamut of human science and invention. She sighed heavily, "Take a good look at the materials to hand and I will help you with your escape plan." Really, some humans! She had been inspiring this particular individual for decades but this was the first time he had ever acknowledged her existence.

    The white-haired man snorted derisively, "Like they give us anything useful." He said sourly as he obeyed.

    "You might be surprised. I've gotten you out of tighter binds before this."

    "That's true." He acknowledged.

    "You can use that lawn chair, those party streamers, the packages of balloons, and the helium tanks. Take them to the patio." Urania told him patiently, pointing to each item in turn.

    A spark kindled in the old man's eyes. "Yes!" He hissed triumphantly, "I see where you're going now!" He chortled happily. "Just wait until those sticks in the mud get a load of me! I'll show them who's over the hill, that's the problem with this younger generation, no imagination!"

    He began placing the supplies on his scooter. It took him three trips to get everything outside. Joints creaking in protest he rose and unfolded the lawn chair. He used an old leather belt to buckle one leg to the heavy wooden picnic table. He commenced filling the balloons with helium and tying them to the chair with ropes braided from the party streamers. It took him several hours, slowed as he was by arthritis, but he had nothing but time. After adding a number of balloons to the chair it began floating several inches from the ground tugging at its restraint. He added several more packages. As a precaution he sat in the chair, testing it. Even with his added weight it hovered in the air. He grunted in satisfaction. The lunch bell rang. It was now or never! His absence would soon be noticed. Just then alarms blared from the building. A jumbled mass of people poured outside. He unbuckled the belt and floated skyward.

    "Angus! Come back here now! It's time for your medications!" Nurse Brewster shouted. "Stop him!"

    "Blasted Doctors, thinking that they know what's best for everyone and ignoring what you say." He grumbled and blew a noisemaker in the faces of the orderlies racing to restrain him. "The name is Macguyver!" He yelled defiantly. "So long boys!" He shouted gleefully as he soared away from the Rest Home for Retired Spies. The other residents clapped and cheered his escape. "I don't know if you're real or just a figment of my imagination like they swear you are, but thanks a lot Urania." He said gratefully.

    "I'm real enough and you're welcome." I said fading away, my work done for now.

    500 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted
    Special Festival Challenge Accepted

    1. Angus, nice touch. I guess he still doesn't like that name.

  3. Welcome to Pearville

    He paused and said, "Fine, move me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief that I could do any such thing. I thought to myself that this was another reason we shouldn’t have moved.

    A few minutes earlier we had pulled into the town of Pearville where my father would be the new yard manager for the railroad transfer station.

    We stopped at a little market. Upon learning the restrooms were out back I hurried that way. Then I met this bully and his friends. He took one look at me, stood in my way and announced I would have to pay him a dollar for the right to use the bathroom.

    I had told him he couldn’t charge me, and he responded as described. He was a couple years older than me, had about six inches on my height, and outweighed me—by a lot.

    I turned and headed back to the store. When I realized they were following close behind I panicked and took off in a run. His two friends were fast and I wasn’t going to be ahead for long.

    Hitting the front door I scanned the aisles for Dad. He wasn’t in sight, and neither was anyone else but a pretty girl about my age. They grabbed my shirt and yanked me backward.

    The bigger kid had not even come in, he just waited for me to be delivered. I was scared out of my wits and struggling to get away when all of a sudden the boy to my right stumbled forward and let go. I spun toward him just as the other boy stumbled.

    Then I saw what had caused it. The girl was standing there, red faced and angry. She had seen what was happening and had picked up the only things she could find, two small sacks of flour, and hurtled them at the backs of the two boys.

    I tried to grab her arm and run away, but she wouldn’t come. Instead she defiantly held her ground, and to my surprise the two older boys stood there looking whipped, and a little bit more than ridiculous dusted in flour. She called them by name, scolding them as the bullies they were.

    Then the big kid pushed between them.

    “Tammy it’s high time I taught you not to interfere with my business!”

    She still didn’t budge but raised her fists in a ready position. Meekly, I did the same.

    Right then the storekeeper stepped around us and stopped him cold in his tracks. Quietly he collected the cost of two sacks of flour from him. Then he sent them home with the warning a phone call would be made to their parents.

    The girl grabbed my arm and said, “Hi, my name is Tammy. What’s yours?”

    She was suddenly as sweet as she had been spunky a moment before.

    I thought to myself how wonderful it was going to be living in Pearville.

  4. The Birthday Party
    498 Words
    Challenges Accepted

    He paused and said, “Fine, impress me,” arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief that I could do any such thing.
    I blew out a small puff of air, exasperated with him and with myself for suggesting that I be the one to take the lead for this event.
    Cromwell Clutterbuck was the name in the party planning, name just because his alliterative title bordered on the ridiculous but because he promised that each event he put together would be entirely unique. There were never paper streamers or cardboard cone hats with elastic strings crimping chins at a Clutterbuck soirée, there were swags of antique lace and head pieces that would make the royal family weep in envy.
    As he stood there, scowling at me, buttons straining against his three piece suit I marveled that his devotion to his own elite competence created an aura of success that allowed him to wear expensive, but too small suits, and create the sense that he was the most sophisticated man in the room.

    “We’ll begin with a color themed selection of petit fours in gradually increasing vibrant shades of blue. These will be passed out with mini macerated blueberry bellinis as the guests socialize while walking through the garden paths,” I told him. He looked ready to interrupt me so I spoke faster and felt sweat began to run down my back.
    “There will be pictures of the birthday…king, blown up and and placed in chronological order leading to the main tent, showing off his incredible good looks as he grows up, leading to the ultimate portrait from a recent photo shoot showing him in all his birthday glory.”
    “The tent itself will be highlighted with blue uplighting along the outside. Inside there will be clusters of sumptuous pillows and poufs in blue jewel tones for the guests to lounge on while sitting under the warm glow of chandeliers hung over each section. There will be a giant buffet display table that shows a progression of meats from small game like cornish game hens all the way up to…” I paused, panicked about what the largest and yet not horrifying animal I could place at the height of the progression and then finally stammered out, “ a pig.”
    I figured with some creative wiring here, a little culinary Macgyvering there, the cooking team and I could make it look like the an edible evolution of carnivorism.

    “Once the guests are sated on food and drink, there will be a ten tier cake that can be enjoyed while watching a fireworks display.”
    I stopped and gave a single nod of conclusion.
    Cromwell Clutterbuck began a slow clap. Not one of surprised praise, but a mocking slow snap of sound meant to mock my spiel.
    “Amateur hour,” he said and strolled toward me, getting in my face as he spat out, “You can’t have fireworks at dog birthday party, all the dogs will be terrified and shitzu all over the place. Honestly.”

  5. Teacher, Teacher

    He paused and said, "Fine, then teach me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief that Courtney could do any such thing.

    “I will!” she retorted, shoving an empty cardboard box at him and pointing to the papers hanging haphazardly from the conference room ceiling. “In the meantime, put that 6 foot 7 of yours to use and take Cassiopeia and her friends down.”

    A slow smirk seeped across Jamison’s lips as he took the box from his assistant. She was so much fun to rile up, and he seemed to do it naturally.

    “Well? Wipe that stupid smile off your face and get to work!” she fumed. “You’ve tied up this room for long enough.” Courtney began scooping the mass of papers all over the tables and floor into another box. Jamison reached up to tug a paper off the ceiling, inspected it, dropped it into the box, inspected it some more, and then looked up at the next piece.

    “Faster,” Courtney prompted.

    “Why the hurry? It’s not like anyone ever uses this room.”

    “That doesn’t mean it’s your playground!” she snapped. “You’ve held up two committee meetings and you’re about to postpone a third with your dilly-dallying.”

    Jamison sighed and removed the second paper. “I make exceptional stick figures. Want to see?” he held it out to Courtney for her perusal. She snatched it from him and threw it into her box. Jamison pouted. “I worked hard on that one!” Courtney bit her tongue to keep from encouraging him with a reply.

    “I really don’t see what the big deal is,” Jamison complained a little while later. He had succeeded in adding five more sheets to his box. Courtney had cleared off two tables and was working on filling her fourth box. “My back is starting to give out. I’m hungry. My arm hurts. Can I go to the bathroom?”

    “No!” Courtney slammed a stack of papers into her box and paused to glare at Jamison. “You’re going to keep at this until you have your mess cleaned up.”


    The following morning, Jamison slid his key into the lock on his back door entrance and twisted the handle only to find it wouldn’t budge. He frowned and tried again. It didn’t move. He backed up, aimed his shoulder, and shoved. Still nothing. That darn Courtney.... He walked around the building and entered the complex by the front door. He stalked down the hallway until his little office was in sight. And what a sight! It stopped him dead in his tracks, mouth gaping.

    “Court!” he finally bellowed.

    “Yes?” Courtney asked innocently as she pinned the last streamer in place. With a satisfied smile, she brushed her hands together and hopped of his desk to survey her work. His boxes of papers had been shoved against his back door. Streamers criss-crossed from wall to floor. Half-filled water balloons littered the floor, the filing cabinets, and rolled off his chair.

    “Don’t worry,” she said pertly “you hardly use your office.”

    500 Words
    Festive Challenge: Yes Special Challenge: No

  6. The Getaway

    He paused and said, "Fine, show me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief that she could complete such a task. He had taken a look at the ships power generator, then at the supplies, and there was nothing they could do or use to repair it. She had looked over his shoulder, nagging all the while.

    “You should have slowed down. I told you the ship overheats, but did you listen? No, you just pushed the throttle handle forward full blast. Let me try to fix it. It’s my ship I know how to work it.”

    He’d had enough and let her attempt to get the heap going. She couldn’t make it worse, and he was already thinking of other ways to get mobile again. That was his main goal.

    “Ten MacGyver with an unlimited supply of duct tape couldn’t fix this let alone a party decorator,” he said as she started gathering some supplies.

    “Well then you’re lucky I’m not MacGyver,” Sarah sneered. He still had no idea. She started unfurling and cutting some rubber hose and stuck her head into the compartment. She needed to bide time. Just thirty minutes.

    “Will you hurry up? The ships distress signal probably alerted the ‘Good Guys’ that we‘re here,” he said.

    “Sounds like a personal problem,” she replied. “Hand me your gun. I need a power source to get the generator to turn.” He looked down at his weapon, hesitated, but then tossed it in her direction. She took the gun, turned back, and stuck her head in the small compartment again. Only a couple more minutes until the Rangers come and take this criminal away. She’d been pinging their location ever since she overloaded the generator, forcing them to land. Now it was just a matter of waiting for the Rangers to arrive. She would collect her bounty check that same day.

    The bounty hunter opened her mouth to speak when a Ranger ship landed a hundred feet away and thirty soldiers rushed toward them. She whipped around, pointing the gun at Atticus. “Don’t move. Don’t you dare move.”

    “You’re pretty clever MacGyver. You trapped me. After ten years of running from Rangers and Bounty Hunters it was a balloon blower that got me. You played on my weakness. I never could stay away from a good party, especially one with streamers and noisemakers.” The sarcasm reverberated in his vocal cords.

    “Sweet-talk won’t get you out of this one, but I do have to thank you for the money you will fetch me. I can quit bounty hunting.”

    He grinned, “No, no, no. I think it is I that should be thanking you.”

    Two Rangers rushed in to take him down, but collided with each other inside the hologram Atticus. Nearby, an engine roared to life and a Ranger’s ship lifted into the air. The soldiers fired, but shots bounced off the reinforced hull making a nice firework display. He sped off. She stayed broke.

    Festive Challenge: Accepted
    Special Challenge: Accepted
    Carlos Orozco
    Twitter: @goldzco21

  7. The Princess

    He paused and said, "Fine, leave me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief that I could do any such thing.

    “I’m not leaving you.”

    “Your suitcase is out.”

    “It… it had a rip. I was mending it.”

    “I see.” Skepticism tightened the corners of his eyes, but he grabbed another beer from the table and went into the living room without further argument. The TV volume suddenly blared, rattling the windows. He wasn’t done with the topic. He never was.

    My stomach lurched hard enough to send me racing to the bathroom. That had been too close. Two years of secret saving, coin by pathetic coin. Six months of negotiations. Then another year of waiting, bleeding out my heart hangnail-slow. To think I’d almost blown everything in a single forgetful moment.

    Mind you, the old suitcase really did have a tear in it. It had belonged to my mother, in her younger days when dreams, not cancer, sparkled in her eyes. Then it came to me, for that glorious year of college before I had to get a job to pay for my mother’s chemo.

    It wasn’t enough money, not by a long shot. Marrying George should have helped. He’d had a good job, one with a real paycheck. And it did help for a while. That was in the old days, though, when my mother was still around feeling worse about the payments than the cancer, and his mother was still around to nag him.

    I washed my hands and came back to the kitchen. A pot of beans chattered merrily on the stove, enough for George’s early supper as long as I made fresh tortillas. He’d go out later to watch the game at a friend’s house, and I could count on his not being back until well after midnight. I could—

    For a moment the room went black. I blinked, and found myself on the floor, looking up at him.

    “If you’re not going anywhere, why fix the suitcase?” said George, putting his fists back into his pockets.


    His foot this time. Something cracked. A rib, maybe? It’s okay. Mere broken ribs can’t undo four years of planning.

    “You’re an ugly liar.”

    “George—I—I was mending things today. And I remembered the suitcase. That’s all.”

    His eyes burned holes into me like the end of his cigarette. “Liar.”

    “George, I’m not leaving.”

    “You’d better not. You’d better be here when I get back.”

    I watched his dark shape thunder out of the house, a good hour earlier than expected. A miracle! Gingerly I pulled myself up. One step at a time. One breath at a time. Not long now.

    Marisol, my love. Wake, little princess. The royal carriage is coming to take you to your new home. Don’t cry, sweet one. The road is long, but freedom waits at the end. Be brave, like the hero I know you are.

    Leave him? No. George was right to disbelieve I’d do any such thing.

    500 words