Monday, November 10, 2014


Welcome back, Nanoers and non-Nanoers alike! My Nano got off to a great start and has struggled ever since. I have high hopes still! Go check out the prompt and write something amazing! :)

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

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Christy Shorey. Follow her on Twitter as @weylyn42. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here! Christy is predominately a writer of novel-length works, particularly those generated in the fine month of November, but is seeking to stretch her writing limbs in the areas of short stories and flash fiction. Born and raised in Florida, she continues to live there with her husband and two lap warmers, urm, cats.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-19 is:

How did you get in [there]?

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include a strange addiction AND the names of at least two games (but not as games). 



  1. Pause for Thought

    How did you get in here? You know I’m not to be disturbed while I’m doing my crossword. Okay, okay, you can help.

    1 Across: Choice of food sent back by fool breaking taboo brazenly. Thirteen letters.

    ‘Choice of food’ could be MENU. ‘Sent back’ means turn it around, so UNEM. ‘Fool breaking taboo’ means a synonym for fool inside a synonym for taboo. A fool is an ASS. Taboo means BARRED. The definition is ‘brazenly’. UNEMBASSRRED.

    7 Across: Short of time, hotshot eats fish. Eight letters.

    Too easy! ‘Hotshot’ is STAR. ‘Short of time’ means take out the T. ‘Eats’ means DINES. The definition is ‘fish’. SARDINES. Yes, I’m hungry too.

    9 Across: Sit next to Posh during her bingo game. Nine letters.

    ‘Posh’ is one of those little tricks that crossword setters use. It stands for U as in upper-class. Yes, it is a bit silly but there you go. Ah, now remember I told you not to let the surface reading distract you? Here’s a perfect example. ‘Her bingo game’ isn’t referring to the game at all. Game is an anagram indicator. So an anagram of U HER BINGO? ‘Sit next to’ is the definition. NEIGHBOUR of course.

    3 Down: Othello’s principal ass taking energy from cat. Six letters.

    What are you getting so excited about? I thought you were helping me do this crossword.

    Okay. ‘Othello’s Principal’ means the first letter of Othello. O. Now, ‘ass taking energy’. Energy usually means E, so we have O plus a synonym for ass with an extra E in it. It won’t be fool because we had that in one across. How about CLOT? I see it now. ‘Cat’ is the definition. OCELOT.

    12 Down: A pal in The States with bottomless addiction to emirate. Two words: three and five letters.

    This one’s tricky. ‘A pal in The States’? An American term for a pal? A BUD? Let’s try that. ‘Bottomless addiction’ means a synonym for addiction without its end. An addiction could be HABIT, without its end is HABI. A BUD HABI? Ah! An emirate. ABU DHABI. Very clever. My compliments to the setter.

    15 Down: Hearts of drab crew not often found. Four letters.

    This is another easy one. ‘Hearts of’ means the middle of drab and crew: RA and RE. ‘Not often found’ is the definition. RARE. I told you it was easy.

    Okay, last one.

    18 Down: Right and left, a rambler. Five letters.

    Oh, you’ll like this one. ‘Right’ gives R, ‘left’ gives OVER. The definition is ‘a rambler’. ROVER! Done. Come on boy, let’s go for that walk.

    435 words
    challenge accepted

  2. Cup O’Kitten
    375 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted!

    “How did you get in there? That will never do. Kttens don’t belong in priceless crystal cups.”

    The kitten mewed. Shauna wasn’t sure how to interpret that. She wasn’t a cat person and never had been. Rachel had turned sad eyes on her in the pet shop last night and somehow they’d ended up bringing the creature home.

    It was cute, of course. It was tiny and striped and it had green eyes too big for its tiny face. The meow was high-pitched and pathetic, and it couldn’t jump anywhere without digging its claws in and climbing. That part was cute to watch but infuriating when he wrecked the sofa.

    “His name is Tiddlywinks,” Rachel had said. “We have to have him.”

    Rachel rarely asked for anything. Shauna was weak to her requests.

    “Please come out of there,” Shauna said. She had three hundred and seventy-four of the cups, but of course the kitten had chosen her favourite (and the most expensive). Her anxiety was increasing and her urge to kill was rising. She loved those cups, all in a shining row. She went out every Friday and bought a new one, and made sure it lined up perfectly with the others. They all had names.

    “Get out of Kismet, or I’ll be forced to take extreme measures.”

    “Extreme measures? Just pick him up, dummy.”

    “How long have you been watching?” Shauna asked.

    “Long enough.”

    “I can’t pick him up, the glass might break.”

    Rachel rolled her eyes and carefully scooped the tiny furball out of the cup. It immediately rumbled with purrs and swatted at Rachel’s long hair.

    Shauna picked up Kismet and examined the three cat hairs and two streaks with no small amount of dismay.

    “I’ll polish it later,” Rachel said.

    “You have to keep that animal out of my glasses.”

    “Cats get into everything. It’s what they do. We’ll go out later and buy a display case, okay? They’ll be safe that way.”

    Shauna opened her mouth to protest. Her glasses were like her family, and they had to be just so – but she was still weak to Rachel’s requests.

    “Fine,” she said.

    Rachel handed her the kitten, and to Shauna’s surprise, it continued to purr. What a strange little beast.

  3. Joshua 1:9

    “How did you get in here?”

    The man whirled around to face her, with his sidearm drawn. Gena didn’t even flinch at the weapon, but instead her eyes were drawn to the word ‘Agent’ printed on his shirt.

    “We were told this house was abandoned.”

    “Well you were told wrong. I want you out of my house.”

    The man put his gun away and relaxed. He was handsome, about her age with kind, brown eyes.

    “I’m sorry I can’t do that. The operation has already started, if I leave my post someone is likely to get hurt. I am an agent with the DEA and we are about to take down a meth lab across the street.”

    Gena knew the house immediately. She was glad it was going to be busted. She had made numerous reports about the obvious drug activity, but the police seemed to dismiss her.

    “Okay.” She said it quietly and sat down at the kitchen table.

    He stepped forward, “I’m sorry. I am sure this was a horrible shock.”

    “It’s alright I was just praying when I heard a noise.”

    He reached out and touched her hand. “Go back to your prayers. Pray for us something about this whole operation feels wrong.”

    Gena got up, secretly reeling from the man’s gentle touch. She turned to leave and then a question came out. “Who told you this house was abandoned?”

    The agent didn’t answer but the expression on his face got darker. Suddenly, a man burst through the kitchen door. It knocked the agent off his feet and showered Gena with splinters. The resident of the meth house also had a gun, and this time Gena’s eyes locked onto it.

    “Look at this, willya, a couple of narkos. The neighborhood snitch and the G-man. It was easy bringing you two together, now wasn’t it?”

    He secured the agents weapon, and then proceeded to tell them both they were as good as dead. In mid rant the man used the gun to point between the two of them, but as he did, the agent raised his foot into the man’s crotch and then delivered a side kick to his knees taking him off his feet.

    The man got a shot off that trimmed the agent, who then received a barrage of kicks and stomps from the man. As he fought he laid his gun arm across the table for stability. Gena seeing the opportunity pinned the arm down with a kitchen knife sunk, between the bones and into the wood.

    The man was disabled enough for Gena to recover his weapon, which allowed the agent to recover his own.

    “I thought you were a Christian?” the agent blurted out, staring at the damage she had done to the man.

    “Strength and courage are spiritual attributes.” Gena said defensively, “besides, someone had to save your behind!”

    It took a minute but soon they were both laughing.

    487 Words

  4. Fate:

    "How did you get in that?" you shall ask.

    The criminal will avert her eyes, like she will think that will help. She will attempt to let all of the air out of her lungs to wiggle herself free from the chimney.

    Her spirit will captivate you, the scent of her desperation, and the poise in her will call to you.

    "Nine Men's Morris" she shall curse upon seeing the way you shall look upon her. "What is next? I hazard you wish to take me to the tables?"

    Her words will voice your thoughts. You will know the idea is ridiculous. You know that fox & geese are never meant to be together. But for one flash in time you trick yourself into believing it is possible.

    "What is your name, love?" you shall ask.

    She will offer -- what you shall know is a fake -- smile. "They call me Alquerques. I have an odd desire to break into buildings,” she shall say in a sultry voice.

    You will feel longing battle against wisdom. "If I get you out of there, will you stay with me?" you shall ask.

    Alquerques shall look around at her predicament. You shall see what looks like her pondering. Then she will say, "Yes. Forgive me and free me and I shall by yours."

    You will chip away the brick fire-stop from the outside of the chimney. It was that, which in the dark, she will have been unable to see. It will have pinned her to the wall.

    Once freed, she will slide to the bottom. Alquerques will wait on you at the base of the chimney.

    You will note her thin form and how pretty she is covered in soot.

    She will be nervous and rock on her feet. "What now?" she will ask.

    You will take her soft hand and rub the dirt and ash between your fingers. She will smile back.

    You will put her in the wagon and travel to the courthouse.

    She will look like she doesn't believe that it is happening. She will allow you to lead her by the arm into the courthouse. She will ask, "Do I have time to freshen-up?"

    You will tell her, "No need."

    She will cry in surprise as you spin her to face the wall once inside. She will scream and kick when she feels the cuffs on her arms that you pinned behind her back and you lead her past the judge's chamber to the jail. She will ask, "Why are you doing this? I thought you wanted to marry me. You do like me, don't you?"

    You will feel remorse as you answer, "I do like you. But we both know you'd kill me in my sleep."

    She will give a coy smile and ask, "Would I do that?"

    You will tip your hat to her as she is led away by the guards.

    486 Words
    Challenge Accepted (Alquerques, Fox & Geese, Nine Men's Morris, hazard, tables)

  5. “Contortions”
    by Michael Seese
    418 words

    “How did you get in there?” As a professional contortionist, I get asked that a lot. The truth is, contortionism (which is not a word, but should be) is a lot like life. More often than not, getting into the box isn’t the challenge. Getting out of it is.

    “What are the qualifications?” others ask. Loose ligaments. Oily skin. Anti-claustrophobia. And a sense of humor. Maybe the latter isn’t a requirement. But it sure helps.

    Think about it. Consider the inherent absurdity of the profession. Looking at an impossibly small and unforgiving contained volume, and thinking, Yeah, I can fit in there. As a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Extraordinarily Nimble Daredevils, I’ve spent a lifetime getting into and (so far, always) out of some tight squeezes. The strangest? A vacuum cleaner. OK, so, it was an industrial model. But still... And yes, Steve Martin got that one from me.

    Quick joke: What’s a contortionist’s favorite movie? Twister! Another quick joke: What’s a contortionist’s favorite rock band? Twisted Sister! On a roll, so: Favorite food? Pretzels! I know. They suck. They’d never fly on Fallon. One more: Favorite car? Mercedes Bends! But it’s not like I have a monopoly on bad humor.

    A third question I get asked a lot is, “Why?” Sometimes I wonder myself. The pay isn’t great, though I do appreciate the flexible hours, especially as a single…

    What’s that expression? “If I weren’t laughing I’d be crying.”

    Well, I should be crying. But I can’t. Not right now.

    For right now, I’m wedged inside of a safe deposit box, with a flashlight clenched between my teeth, trying to jimmy the lock from the inside.

    Back to question number 3. “Why?”

    Because they insisted that I do it. They said it would be the perfect crime. Rent a safe deposit box. (Thankfully, the largest one at the bank.) Right around closing time, two people go into the room. And only one comes out. The other one uses her unique skill set to hide away in one of the cold metal coffins. Wait a few hours, until the cleaning crew has left. Emerge. Start drilling out the locks of others. Collect as much loot as possible. Climb back in. Then wait until morning.

    When I woke up today, I had no intention of starting a second career as a criminal.

    But if some very determined, very dangerous men kidnapped your daughter, you too would bend over backwards to save her. And that’s no joke.

    1. Okay, that acronym midway alone is worth the price of admission. The bendy-puns turning out to be a strategy in the processing of a crisis--phenomenal.

  6. The Gospel according to Stacy. By Mark Driskill
    Word count- 497
    “How did you get in there?” Stacy screamed. She didn’t know whether to panic or burst out laughing at the sight. There he sat, covered in slimy ooze with a grin as wide as a football field, while tiny goldfish performed gymnastics on her newly baptized carpet. She just stood there, swimming emotionally, stunned at the sight of her two year old son, Jeremy. He splashed in unbridled glee holding the little toy mermaid in one hand and a suffocating fish in the other, with only an inch of water left in the tank. “I’m a fish, mommy.” Slowly, taking hold of her nautical wonder, she tried to lift him out, his fat little leg rolls sliding squeakily along the glass. She held her “aqua boy” up at arm’s length over the bathtub letting the gravel fall off and the water drain from his pull-up. “You stink, little boy! You smell like a fish! Let mommy wash this mess off.” Washing away the adventure of the day, while at the same time planning her clean up strategy for the living room, she felt her love, fear, anger, and joy intertwine in the garden of her heart and explode into a bouquet of gratitude. Until now it had always seemed impossible for a child to fit into an aquarium. But Jeremy had a habit of doing the impossible. Only months earlier, he lay in the NICU at All Saints Memorial Hospital, fighting for his life. She thought she was going to lose him. The required procedure involved donating her blood in a risky transfusion. It was nothing short of a miracle that he made it. Reflecting on that made the mess in the living room inconsequential. She had felt the same way when he dug up her flower box to catch a worm, half eaten by the time she caught him. Another time, she found him sitting in the floor, covered, literally in Vaseline. Ever tried to pick up a child covered in Vaseline? Then there was the rain dance he did in the living room full of guests...only Jeremy provided the rain as well. Finally, there was the time he slam dunked the Gerbil, into the toilet. Splash!
    Hours later this human cyclone finally slipped into unconscious recharge mode, and lay peacefully on Stacy’s lap, breathing calmly, and doubtless dreaming that he was a fish. Stacy settled into the moment and allowed herself to catch her breath while the damp smell of water, fish food and carpet rose like the fragrance of holy incense at a sacred altar. The same love that had rescued him in the emergency room, now embraced him in the living room. Looking down at her little mess of a son, Stacy just beamed and stroked his little head. “My sweet little mess, rescued with my very blood, I can never take my love from you. And that’s the gospel according to Stacy.”

    1. Well done, Mark! I enjoyed your story, and the analogous touches of the redemptive power of blood, the love that brings about that redemption. You have quite a didactic story here, and it reads really well. Great job! :)

  7. What's Best

    What are you doing in there?

    Never mind, I know. Don’t be embarrassed. I’m not going to judge you. Not ready to come out just yet? I can wait. I’ve waited this long.

    Put that down. It’s not going to make you feel any better, right? At this point, even indulging the craving has lost its comfort. You know I’m right.

    Because I’ve been there—don’t look at me like that. Oh, not the same obsession as yours, of course.

    You know what we need? A new perspective. And that requires a change of scenery. I know just the place.

    Hey, don’t lash out at me. You want an enemy, look in the mirror. Let’s go.

    You must be thirsty. Here, raspberry ginger ale—your favorite, right?

    Tears—that’s good actually. Let it out. Crying equilibrates the nervous system. Sleep would do you some good too.

    Here we are. Hold on, now, the only thing you’re going to find out there are poisonous snakes and hungry wolves. If you don’t freeze to death first.

    Bracing, isn’t it? Cleansing being out here. Ever see so many stars in your life?

    Now, there are a couple ways to approach this. The easiest one is transference: you can transfer the need onto something else, something less harmful.

    Careful though: some things may seem innocuous, but in the end become just as damaging. I had a friend who was addicted to carrots—perfectly benign, right? You’d think so. You gotta look at the impulse driving the addiction, the need that it’s meant to fill. And she had a chasm, a maw with the teeth of a rabbit. By the time she died, she looked like a scrawny pumpkin.

    Careful there, love. Stay on the path. You’ll get a nasty sprain. What she really desired? Desire itself.

    That’s our Achilles heel as humans. That’s what Genesis was all about. We can’t relax with what we have. We can’t not want something. Yahweh didn’t care about obedience of his puny creations; He was trying to caution us against our insatiable appetites.

    See? You keep trying to run away from what’s outside you. Don’t be ashamed, my sweet, it’s not entirely your fault. We’re a society of addicts. Advertisers and politicians bank on it. We were programmed from birth to submit our true souls to our various hungers.

    Hey, don’t hurt the messenger. You lash out at me when it’s the entire fabric of your existence that needs shredding.

    We can break out, love. That’s the other way, the tough-love way. It’s gonna take guts. That’s why were here. Isolation. Cold turkey—no pun intended. I’ll help you.

    Like those security guards you kept outside your apartment—did you really think they could protect you? The monster is inside. You need someone who understands you to exorcise that demon.

    Shh, it’s okay. I got you. I may be the only one in the world who understands you. I’ll see you through this. It’s the only way.

    499 words
    Nancy Chenier
    challenge accepted