Monday, November 17, 2014


Welcome back! We're over halfway through November now (hopefully NaNo hasn't driven you completely crazy yet!). My family has been struggling with sickness for over a week now, but I'm hoping we're on the end of that train. I really need to write some words, which has been impossible with fevered children on my lap for days! Join me in writing words today! The prompt is fun and flexible! 

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 Michael Seese. Read his winning tale from last week hereMichael Seese has published three books, not to mention a lot of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. He currently is shilling his latest work, a long short story / short novella titled Rebecca’s Fall From.... Other than that, he spends his spare time rasslin' with three young'uns. Visit or follow @MSeeseTweets to laugh with him or at him. 

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-20 is:

"If you step on my [toes] again, I'm going to POP you."

Michael wants to remind you of the rules that allow you to change pronouns, tense, punctuation, and anything in brackets; but also wants to add that if you would like to take it out of dialog, you may. ie, I vowed that the next time he stepped...

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include at least three (3) one-word song titles. Highlight them so he can find them. eg, make them ALL CAPS or <b> </b> 



  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 489
    Special Challenge Accepted


    “If you step on my book again, I'm going to pop you!”

    “Can't make me.”

    Backtalk. I felt the blood ROAR in my ears, rushing past my eardrums to swirl in my brain and explode in a million angry sparks. I fought for control.

    BREATHE in, breathe out. Slow the pace, temper the thoughts.

    His blonde locks curled across his neck into the cowlick that mirrored his father's, the FOOTLOOSE fool for which I had fallen at an age far too young. His trusting, innocent face was screwed up into a grimace of frustration and anger.

    I pulled in a lungful of air, let it out in tiny increments.

    “Come here, Bud.”

    He stood rooted to the carpet, his dark gaze slicing through the room. His RESTLESS fingers fidgeted with his Buzz Lightyear. I could see the angry tears peer out from the rims of his eyes. The silence between us filled up with memories and guilt and swirling feelings that ebbed and flowed into a RADIOACTIVE tension that threatened to volcano into a messy, sobbing, screaming plea for understanding, right there in our living room.

    The first glistening tear that escaped, that streaked silver down beside his nose and settled in the dimple next to his mouth, broke my heart.

    I crossed the space between us, collapsing to my knees and winding my arms around his back. His head buried itself in my neck, and together, we allowed all the pain and heartbreak of the last month flow from our rifted hearts—the month of realizing that we weren't enough, the month of knowing that someone else was better, more satisfying, the month where our family triangle turned into a straight line with no third dimension, where we felt flat and stale and endlessly stretched.

    Finally, our sobs subsided, and I pulled back, my hand cradling the tear-streaked cheek in front of me.

    “It feels bad all the time, Mommy, on the inside.” His words knifed into me, and I hated the man more than I had ever loved him.

    “I know, Baby. But listen, even when people are MEAN, even when they make you CRY, you have to remember that they're just showing us a little of what's inside them. It's got nothing to do with what's inside you.”

    He sniffed and swiped his sleeve across his runny nose. Yuck.

    His liquid, limpid eyes mirrored my reflection, and I kissed his nose and let him run outside to play, to string his childhood memories together into a woven blanket that could block the pain that had already intruded on his heart.

    I rose to my feet, steeled my spine, and marched into the kitchen were I had left my phone. With trembling fingers, I picked it up and dialed my lawyer's number. When his voice hit my eardrum, I pushed my quavering words past my lips. “I'm ready to sign the papers.”

    1. This is a great piece of writing! So true to life. Such a clear intermingling of love, hurt and rage. Nicely done.

  2. Serendipity

    “If you step on my toes again, I’m going to POP you.”

    I suppressed a sigh. “Aggressive.”

    “Get OFFA my toes or I’ll SMASH YOUR HEAD IN.”

    Forget suppression. I sighed loudly. “No. No, I’m sorry; that just won’t do, Dominique.”


    “If a gentleman steps on your toes, the ladylike thing is to ignore it.”

    “IGNORE stepping on my TOES?”

    “Yes. I’m afraid so. It is generally considered ill-mannered to point out another person’s faults, and this is doubly true on the dance floor.”

    “So it’s not bad manners to STEP ON MY TOES?”

    “Yes, of course it is. But one does not respond to poor manners with more poor manners.”

    She huffed and threw herself on the floor. “It’s not fair. If he steps on my toes, I oughta be able to pop him.”

    Relax, my dear. Think of the orchestra, the gowns, the jewels—it’s glorious, and well worth whatever slight discomfort you must endure.”

    Her scowl only grew. “I FOT YOU SAID THERE WAS DINNER.”

    “Yes, yes, of course; as I said earlier, there’s a buffet. You will likely be too busy dancing to eat, however. Please remember the very short window of time—”

    “I wanna eat! You said I could eat!”

    “Well, I—”

    “I WANNA EAT!”

    Believe me, I fully understand the value of a good meal. There is just so little time, and the prince will be—”

    “If I cain’t eat, I ain’t going.”

    “Perhaps something small. Quickly.”

    My offer was met with a furious glare. “You cain’t tell me how much to eat. I’m gonna STUFF MY FACE.”

    “Remember you’ll be in a corset.”

    “A what?!”

    “A corset. It’s a little thing you’ll wear underneath your gown to help—dear child, please refrain from picking your nose.”

    “My nose got itself a BOOGER!”

    “Here. Please. Take my handkerchief. No, here—please! Take it.”

    She stared at the delicate square of lace suspiciously. “Whassat for??”

    “For your nose, dear.”

    “I gotta dress up my nose too?! This big fat gown ain’t enough?”

    “It’s for—oh, nevermind. Just be quick. It’s almost time to leave.”

    “But the booger’s STUCK.”

    I closed my eyes. Breathe. Just breathe. For the first time in a hundred years I questioned the Council’s wisdom. What had they been thinking?? Rags to riches isn’t for everybody. They must know this. Or they would, if they’d leave the clouds and mingle with humans every so often…

    Just then the door opened and a voice spoke, the words falling gracefully, like chimes. “Dominique? I came in early to cover your shift tonight. Is there anything I can do to help?”

    Her work clothes were ragged, but she had scrubbed her face and her eyes glowed with intelligence and warmth.

    “Yeah, take this stuff and clean out that grate. I gotta take care of this here BOOGER.” Dominique threw the tools at the newcomer and flounced off.

    I stared at the girl, whose nametag read “Cinderella.”

    Hope bloomed.

    499 words
    Judge's challenge accepted

    1. It's hard to see the boldface. The song titles are Dominique, Relax, and Breathe.

    2. This was fun to read. Nice work

  3. Streetfighter by Mark Driskill
    “If you step on my foot again I’m gonna pop you!” It’s so dark out here, and it’s hard to stand and fight with such a big guy standing on your foot. My arms and legs are really tired. It’s been a long day and I just want to go home.
    “Hey man I don’t know what your deal is. Just leave me alone and nobody gets hurt.”
    I take another swing, but he just stands there looking at me like I’m crazy. It seems like we’ve been at this for hours. I wish he’d just leave me alone. I’ve got a long walk home before I try to get some sleep, then it all starts over again. I go out for the day, stop off to see some friends and then make my way home, only to meet this same big jerk again. Why does he do this to me?
    “Take that you CREEP!”
    “IF I get my FOOTLOOSE you’ve had it!”
    “Why don’t you go back to FUNKYTOWN?”
    “Listen, I was a boxer in college, and you’d better hope I don’t land this next one on your hard head!”
    “Gotcha that time. Ouch!”
    “I hate you! You bully. Don’t you have anything better to do than harass people?”
    Every night I fall into bed exhausted, after the same scrap. I called for help, but nobody came. Most people just scurry away, pretending not to see. Some even watch for kicks.
    “Hey what’s wrong with you people? Doesn’t anybody care anymore?”
    So I’m left to tangle with him all alone. I swing with all my strength but he’s just too fast for me. Sometimes he brings a friend to help. They both stand there, silently mocking, weaving in and out like dancers. They have such hard faces! I wonder if I’m ever gonna get past this. Sometimes I dream about him. I wake up on the floor, sweat pouring. I dream that he followed me home. My head pounding, and my arms and legs are weak. I never knew a dream could feel so real. I stumble to the bathroom and stare in the face of a man who is ready to quit. I can’t remember a time when I was able to walk home in peace. I had a family, but they’re gone now. The bully frightened them off. I had a job, but he followed me there and got me fired. I tried going to church a time or two but he waited outside for me. Now I just hope I can finally fight him off one day and get my life back. But today I’m so tired. I don’t have another punch left. I can’t fight any more. I just want…to...sleep.
    “Hey mom! Look! That drunken guy is sleeping on the statue again.”
    “Mikey, stop staring at people. Let’s go home, it’s getting dark. Really, somebody ought to get these drunks off the street!”


    "If you step on my [toes] again, I'm going to POP you." Ares landed an elbow into Dionysus’ ribs. The dreadlocked youth in the Bob Marley tye-dye t-shirt and the wizened warrior in dirty camouflage were at constant odds.

    “If you don’t get out of the way, you’ll feel the sharp end of my lightening bolt.” Zeus shoved Hades out of the way, ushering Hera to the front of the looking glass. She motioned for Aphrodite. As the Goddess of Love stepped forward, Dionysus grabbed her scantily clad rear. Zeus couldn’t blame him, he had the same thoughts himself. Hera’s purple eyes flamed as they met his, and he immediately turned his attention to the couple below. He would be hearing about that later, he sighed.

    ”Just cut the thread, already.” Hades kohl lined eyes were bored. “They aren’t going to make this work.”

    “Don’t be so cynical,” Aphrodite smacked heavily glossed lips as she leaned over, showing just enough UNBELIEVABLE cleavage to make Hades’ pierced tongue flick out of his black lips. “Love and passion ALWAYS find their way.”

    “It’s gone too far.” Ares said removing his metallic-tinted shades, “It’s all-out WAR in that house. I haven’t seen conflict like this since I spent the weekend dodging GRENADE(s) in downtown Baghdad.”

    “He cheated on her! Should it be me, I’d cut his thread myself,” Hera’s neon pained fingernails dug into her palms. Message received, Zeus thought.

    Dionysus sipped Absinthe from his golden chalice, a few drops beading in the beard that hung braided to his navel. “Let’s get them into bed. The best cure for lover’s conflict is sex.”

    Ares and Zeus nodded. Aphrodite arched a heavily drawn brow, “SOMEDAY, you will see, Dio, he has to win back her heart, not her body.”

    “He must suffer,” said Hera vehemently. “Send my MANEATER to destroy him.”

    “POISON is easier,” Hades offered, his black cape twisting around his tattooed form.

    Zeus stepped forward. If he didn’t take charge, they would be at it all day. “Alright. Let’s have a vote. Who will speak for?”

    “I will,” Aprhodite stepped forward, standing taller than Zeus himself with her six-inch stillettos. “They can work it out,” Aphrodite batted her eyes at the three men, “It must be that a man can behave FAITHFULLY, isn’t it? He had one INDISCRETION. These two love one another. We ROYALS must help them if we can.”

    “The relationship is in shambles,” Ares said, “Too much conflict and CHAOS. Cut their losses.”

    “Cut the thread,” Hades said.

    “Cut his manhood” Hera spit.

    “Enough!” Zeus bellowed. “I’ve made my decision. Hermes!”

    “Sir,” the youth raced into the room, his black and red kicks shooting flames behind him.

    “My will be done.” Zeus wrote one word on the scroll he placed into the hands of the winged messenger. “Be FOOTLOOSE, my swift friend. “

    The other five gathered around the pool watching the couple who sat across the table from one another believing their fate was in their hands.
    Special Challenege: accepted

    ALWAYS – Bon Jovi
    WAR – Jimi Hendrix
    GRENADE – Bruno Mars
    SOMEDAY – Mariah Carey
    MANEATER – Hall & Oates
    POISON – Bel Biv Devoe
    FAITHFULLY - Journey
    ROYALS - Lorde
    CHAOS – Mute Math
    FOOTLOOSE – Kenny Loggins

    1. Bwahahaha. Unbelievable (in the good way)

    2. I swear, as I wrote that, I knew you were going to comment.

  5. The woods:

    “If you step on my crops again, I’m going to POP you.”

    The Appalachian man’s accent scares me bad enough to jump. I can’t place where the voice came from.

    A geezer steps out of the deep woods aiming a shotgun at me. Sure, I’m armed as well, but I’d rather not pick today to become a killer. “Relax fella. We haven’t stepped on anything.”

    The gunman looks like a TWISTED love child of a moonshiner and a clown. “You IMAGINE that I aim this at everyone who comes by?”

    Yes, of that I’m a BELIEVER. But, I don’t think telling him this is the right move. “Look, I know enough to watch for drug plants. I try to be SMOOTH, but I’m not seeing what plants you are talking about. I don’t see anything worth getting mad about.”

    The man, through his UNBELIEVABLE beard sneers. He points at the ground near an oak tree. I look but only see weeds.

    “The holly?” SARA asks. I was hoping he would ignore her.

    “It’s ginseng, try to better yourself and learn something. This your LADY?” the gunman asks.

    “Yes sir. We are heading home and trying to avoid trouble.”

    “That’s a FANTASY. You stumble through a man’s crops, but think that isn’t a problem?” He’s rocking like he’s having a BREAKDOWN.

    The shiny green leaves remind me of Christmas holly. It looks fake, like how the plastic plants at the home stores always shine. I lean down to look better.

    The click of the shotgun cocking pulls me back.

    “Are you dense, boy? I’ll blast you to COPACABANA.”

    SARA steps around me. “How about you tell us the way out without hurting any of your crop?”

    The geezer gets a grin on his face that shows the few teeth he has remaining. “How about you ditch the boy here, grab some TEQUILA!, and we have a CELEBRATION?”

    I’m game with her being brave, but protecting is my duty. She may know PEOPLE, but I know WAR. And the lost banjo player is the one who will be learning it if he continues. I step back around her. “There are only two ways this ends CASANOVA, and neither of those is her staying with you.”

    The old man coughs up some bloom. “You got guts kids. Stay on the path, and keep away from the trees. I’ll be watching.” The man blends back into the woods.

    We jog out of the woods, keeping to the path. Once clear, SARA turns and asks, “Would you really have shot him?”

    My leg feels like it’s getting a cramp. I stretch it out while stalling. “What do you mean?”

    SARA smiles and kisses me. Then she steps back and says, “Like I didn’t see your hand move onto the pistol? You were ready to shoot that man. Don’t worry, I love that.”

    “My defender instincts?”

    “No. But I support any resistance to homeopathy.”

    488 Words
    1 word song titles are in caps.

  6. Nice- more than one Mariah Carey shout out.

  7. And bonus points for Copacabana!