Monday, February 23, 2015


Welcome back! I went to IKEA this past weekend for the first time since I was a child, and I bought myself a new office chair. I'm very excited to use it, but it is, as yet, still in the box. Hopefully, by the time you're reading this, I'll have put it together. It's the first office chair that I can say actually fits me (and I have tried many - plus I sat in all of them at IKEA). Your work space is important; please, take care of yourself. I am going to throw in an optional Host Challenge for the best use of an office chair... Have fun! :)

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 Geoff Le Pard also known as @geofflepard. Read his winning tale from last week here!  Check out his website here. Geoff Le Pard writes, walks and cooks. The dog approves two of his current career choices. Geoff has given birth to one novel, a second is on its way and he hopes for a large family.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-34 is:

'Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that [ladder] at this [time of night]?'

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include three of the five senses.



  1. The Clown
    499 words
    Special Challenge and Host Challenge Accepted

    “Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that roof at this time of night?”

    I thought it was Petey, but when he turned around I saw the made up face. A putrid smell hit my nostrils, and my stomach turned with nausea. I’d always hated clowns.

    I’d been sitting in my office chair, working on the next great novel, the feel of “Q” and “L” beneath my fingertips when I heard something up on the roof. "Up on the House Top. Quick, Quick, Quick." But it wasn’t Christmas—snowy white—so I knew it wasn’t Santa Claus.

    I blinked, and when I did, he’d come down from the roof. The dreadful smell of rotting fish filled the air around him, and I leaned closer to see a maggot wiggling out of his nose. I had the strongest desire to touch him, but I didn’t. He stood only about four feet tall. The red spots painted precariously against the white makeup adorning his face. Just a child. But what was a child clown doing on my roof?

    He wore one of those pointed hats, with a red ball dangling off of it. You could imagine him in an ancient circus. The white of his costume was stained around the edges. Was that blood near the torn place on his sleeve? I wiped my eyes, because I had to be dreaming. Maybe I’d fallen asleep in the office chair and this nightmare had come to wreak havoc against my coulrophobia.

    “Hey mister, want to play?”

    The pint-sized clown suddenly was holding two hula hoops. The streetlight shined on the lawn, as I grabbed one from his hand. I placed it over my body and securely on my hips, then I started wiggling, but it kept falling down to the ground, thudding loudly against the grass. The clown laughed, but his hula hoop was spinning around fast, even though he wasn’t holding it.

    “You’re good at this.”

    “Lots of practice in the circus,” the clown said.

    I reached out, wanting to touch him again, but he backed away from me.

    “Look, no touch—like the bearded woman at the circus. She bit a man’s finger off once,” the boy clown said.

    “What are you doing here?”

    “You should ask yourself that question.”

    I looked around. The street was dark and silent. The houses all shuttered like eyes closed for sleep. The moon shined, a giant ball sitting in the sky. When I looked back, the clown smiled at me, a sincere grin. I heard the front door squeak open; it needed some WD40.

    “Dad, what are you doing out here?” Petey asked

    I looked at him. “I was just talking to the clown.” But when I turned back the clown was gone.

    “Sleep walking, again. I’ll help you get into bed.”

    The smell followed me back into the house, putrid, rotting meat. I knew it wasn’t the last I’d see of him. They liked to come out at night.

    1. Great horror story Lauren.... I'd like to know more about Petey, his dad and the Clown

    2. Shuddering over here! I don't have coulrophobia, but I might have to reconsider after reading this. You sure do ramp up the creepiness. I like how the sense of smell calls into question the easy explanation of him just dreaming.

    3. Ohhhh, that's just freaking creepy!!! Awesome read!!

    4. Hi @susanoreilly3 (just so you know who i am because my url? won't work lol great story x

    5. Thanks y'all! This is another one I may take further. Had fun crafting it.

    6. Clowns are the absolute worst!!! Creepy, creepy, creepy!

  2. Word count 499
    special challenge accepted
    host challenge accepted


    ‘Excuse me but what on earth are you doing up that pole at this time of night?’

    I rolled my eyes, how many times I had told her, that I did not want to join her exercise class, and that I was not listening to her Health and Safety Training anymore.

    ‘Mom, I’ve told you I want to be a firewoman, and the only time I can practice is when you are in bed, and unable to nag me constantly.’

    She murmurs something under her breath about pulling a muscle in my spine and grabs the office chair.

    There are times I wish I was blind and deaf as she proceeds to drape herself across it all the while telling me I have to learn the basics as her pole is completely different than a Fireman’s pole.

    I wonder can she not smell the fear emanating of me. She is a naturally, lithe, sexy woman whereas I take after my dear lumbering dad, with all the grace of an elephant trying to learn ballet.

    I know I’m not going to get any sleep tonight if I don’t at least put on a show of trying to keep up with her and learn a move or two. ‘Okay, mom, you win give me the chair.’

    She claps her hands like an excited toddler and begins to manipulate my body into all sorts of unmentionable positions. I felt like I was playing twister but with no visible means of steadying myself should I start to fall.

    ‘See, it’s working, your already at least fifty per cent more nimble than last week.’

    ‘Mom, you meant last week when I had the flu, and you tied me upside down, and left me there for half an hour.’

    ‘Don’t exaggerate dear, it was at the most fifteen minutes and I do believe it cut your out of work time by half, the rush of blood to the head or something.’

    I couldn’t argue her point, but I think it was more the heat that surged through my body when her mixed pole dancing class arrived an hour earlier than she thought. They must have thought I was enjoying some weird bondage session. Mr. Roberts has never looked at me the same since.

    I begrudgingly have to admit to myself that since she has got me to participate now and again my posture and along with it confidence has greatly improved. Being a stroppy teenager I could never tell her that, and the only time it was safe to practice without being caught was the middle of the night.

    I gave up the idea of the fireman thing months ago, my mind now totally engrossed in catching the eye of a certain Paul, unless of course mom can teach him to give me a fireman’s lift. It’s hard to try and be sexy when it’s your mom teaching you but she can teach me the basics, I smile to myself, I’ll take it from there.

    1. this had me smiling all through the story.... Well done Susan!

    2. Don't know how to put in my url Stella sorry but its Susan I'm glad it made you smile and thanks for reading x

    3. Love this. l laughed so hard at the end!

    4. Hi Lauren glad you laughed cheers x

    5. Love this take! Who would seriously want to take lessons from their mother in pole dancing??

  3. 390 words
    Special challenge only accepted

    Moon Roses

    “Excuse me but what on earth are you doing up that ladder at this time of night?”
    “I’m smelling the roses”

    I knew that would infuriate her, she already thought I was senile. I suppose I might be else why was I living in this prison. My family call it a home but I’ve never lived anywhere that runs so closely to a fixed regimented timetable. Up at six, washed and ready for breakfast then into the lounge to read the newspaper, watch Jeremy Kyle then lunch at twelve noon precise, back in the lounge to watch more daytime TV then supper at six. Supper! When did anyone in my circle ever call tea supper? I may as well be living in Outer Mongolia. I could see my old mum telling me all about Genghis Khan, one of her heroes; she always liked a strong dominant man, trouble was she ended up with my dad as indecisive as you could ever get.

    I didn’t want to tell her I was trying to get to the Moon. I keep hearing that old song ‘Fly me to the Moon’. Once saw Frank Sinatra sing it at the Palladium. Steve had his arm draped around the back of my theatre seat, his touch was intoxicating. Why I let him go I’ll never know. Maybe I’ve been senile all my life!

    “Can you come down now” she instructs

    I can almost taste the cheese, Mum always laughed when she said the moon was made of it. I have several choices, climb down, try and get onto the roof, fall off the ladder and land on Matron. She hates it when I call her that, reminds us all of the Carry On Films, priceless.

    I can hear her calling for help as I pull myself up over the tiny balcony wall leading to the flat roof above the dining room. I’ve made my decision. Bette Midler starts to sing ‘Wind beneath my Wings’, I’ve always loved that song. I sit on the edge of the roof with my scrawny legs daggling over. Wish I’d put better underwear on. I want a decent picture of me in the paper when they come with the Simon Snorkel to get me down. God forbid my old lady bloomers will be on show. I’m not completely senile yet Matron.

    1. Stella lovely write cheesy moon lol much enjoyed still won't let me put in a url I'm such a technophobe Susan x

    2. "I can almost taste the cheese." So great!

  4. The List

    “Excuse me, but what are you doing in the backyard at this time of night?”

    I heard her ask the question, but didn’t look up right away. I needed to muster a little more self-control before attempting to speak.

    “I am not done yet, you asked me to do several things for you before coming to bed. After I finish this, I need to put up the Christmas lights and assemble your new office chair.”

    “I don’t recall digging a hole in the backyard being on my list.”

    “It wasn’t, I’m sorry dear.”

    Actually it was, but she didn’t understand that, and I wasn’t going to explain it to her. So I kept digging. She harrumphed her way back inside saying something mankind being useless. I paused from my digging to pick up a handful of dirt. It felt moist and rich. It felt like freedom.

    I skipped the Christmas lights and put together the office chair. Then I stepped into the bedroom. She rolled over and asked me about the lights. I lied and said they were up.

    She did exactly what I knew she would do. She stormed outside to see and forgetting the hole she tumbled in. The ring of my shovel silenced her whining, and I began filling in the hole. Tamping it down and carefully replacing the sod. I put the sprinkler over the spot and in a few hours it would be hard to know see anything had happened there.

    Then I slowly walked inside and looked over her list.
    Before coming to bed please take care of the following.
    1) Get rid of your bad attitude.
    2) Assemble the new chair.
    3) Take out the garbage.
    4) Put up the Christmas lights.

    Sitting down in my new chair, I crossed off the first three items. Behind the fourth I wrote maybe later..

    309 Words
    Yes, there is a chair in there and, yes, I included hearing her voice, feeling the rich soil and looking over the list.

    1. Erg, this blog does not seem to like my WP account.

      Anyone obnoxious enough to write a note like that for someone else *almost* deserves whatever fate befalls them. That is some sinister fun, right there!

    2. lol very good much enjoyed x

  5. loved this tale Charles.... especially the list :)

  6. Moth King
    493 words
    Special Challenge (sound, sight, touch)

    "Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that ladder at this time of night?" My voice startles the flashlight from my son’s hand. It cracks against scarred linoleum and goes out. It’s ridiculously past Santi’s bedtime and he knows it. I put myself into no-nonsense stance, feet apart, fists on hips.

    He fumbles with a blue plastic cup. "The moths," he squeaks. Two of them escape the cup and flutter into the rafters. His head drops in defeat.

    That’s a new one. I take the bait. "What about the moths, hijo?" He’s the baby of the family, the only boy, admittedly I spoil him silly.

    "We can’t let them get away." His little-boy desperation melts me. You’d think after four kids I’d be immune to this kind of thing.

    "It’s for Leonora," he whispers.

    I sigh around a stab of annoyance. Leonora. That girl has been trouble since she nearly killed me being born—and has been trying to finish the job ever since. That first year of colic, her persistently capricious moods. I pluck him off the ladder and gather him in my arms—something Leonora never let me do.

    "Okay, my treasure, tell me about the moths."

    He talks into his empty cup. It turns his sweet syllables hollow. "The moths come to steal away smiles. They like Leonora’s the best. Ever since she moved into the front room they come. I guess they didn’t know about her until she moved rooms."

    Leonora moved out of the kids’ room, asserting her right as eldest. We really don’t have the space, but her father and I fashioned a sleeping nook just off the patio. "You miss your sister at night."

    "They must’ve discovered they could get to her out here." Santi sucks the cup against his face, releases it. "She used to tell good jokes, but her jokes are attached to laughs. You can’t have laughs without smiles."

    I ruffle his thick thatch of hair. "Ah, sweet treasure, she’s almost nine. She can’t be your best friend forever." How to explain the maelstrom of puberty to a little boy?

    He shook my hand away. "Papa can’t even stop them."

    Goosebumps prickle my skin. "Papa?" A hulking thing moves in the shadows of my memory.

    "The moths keep taking her smiles, even when he goes to guard." Santi’s little heels tap against my thighs. "So I have to catch them before they take the smiles to the moon, where the Moth King lives."

    My heart beats too hard. An old panic squeezes my lungs like a toothpaste tube.

    "Mama, do you think the moths are taking Leonora’s smiles and not Papa’s because she’s a girl?"

    I push him off my lap. "Go back to bed."

    "But, Mama—"

    "Do it now, Santiago." My hands clutch his shoulders and shake him with the words that burst out of me. "And don’t let me hear you talking about this nonsense ever again."

  7. “Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that tree at this stupid hour?”

    It occurred to me I should make some type of response. Of course, how should a grown man, sitting on a tree branch 30 feet above the ground at three AM respond? I was of the opinion there was no good response to make.

    “Um. Reliving my childhood?”

    I knew from her facial expression, my wife was not happy with that answer, and I should give her a better answer before she took a saw to the tree trunk.

    “I needed to get outside.”

    “Like when you walk?”

    “I don’t really know, I just…” Sometimes it was hard to explain why I did anything I did. “I had to get outside. I couldn’t stay inside.”

    “You couldn’t take a walk? You’ve taken them before. At this time of day.”

    That was true. I’d left the house at three AM more than a few times in the past eight weeks. I’d taken walks that lasted two hours or more.

    “I didn’t want to scare you any more.”

    That was the truth, really. I knew she worried about me walking, especially before dawn. She worried if I’d come back, or if I’d end up dead by the side of the road somewhere, or mugged, and beaten, and left to die.

    “I figured if I stayed in the yard, you wouldn’t worry so much.”

    What else could I say? I knew it was nuts, sitting in a tree at 3 AM. Normal people didn’t do that. Normal people got up at five or six, then got ready for work. Normal people got in their cars, and drove to work. Normal people sat at their desks, or in their office cubes, and worked all day long.

    For eight weeks, I’d watched them. Every morning. I’d watched them drive to work. I’d watched her drive to work. And then I sat at home, feeling like everything was wrong and broken. Like I was. Broken.

    When I did things at stupid times, no one could see me. No one could watch. Everyone was asleep, and wouldn’t be thinking, “What’s he doing? Why isn’t he at work?”

    “So, you think climbing a tree at this time of day means I won’t worry?”

    “I’ll come down.”

    She shook her head. “No. Stay up there. Just let me know when you have to climb a tree.”

    “I’m OK. You know that. I’m OK.”

    “I know.” She waved at me, then went back inside.

    I’d have cried, really, I would have. But after eight weeks, I didn’t have any more tears. I knew she’d go back to bed, but she wouldn’t sleep. She’d worry about me. Even though I’d told her I was OK.

    I wanted to tell her I would be OK. But in that tree, 30 feet off the ground, at three AM, I knew I couldn’t, because I honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever would be.

    490 Words

  8. Nighttime Troubles

    “Excuse me, but what on Earth are you doing up that ceiling at this time of night?!”

    Peter froze, unable to move for a moment. He slowly turned his head to see his older sister, Jane, staring at him in disbelief. He blinked, wetting his lips nervously, trying to come up with a reply. The fact that she didn’t seem put off by the fact that he was, indeed, on the ceiling was a bit surprising. He would’ve thought that would be the first question to be asked. At least, that’s what he would have done, had the situation been reversed.

    “Peter, I asked you a question! Now answer me, or I’m telling Mom that you were up there tracking dirt all over the ceiling.” Jane stamped a foot impatiently.

    Peter sighed. How best to explain this to his sister? He’d merely been sitting in the office chair at the desk, playing a computer game since he couldn’t sleep and the next thing he knew he was just sort of…on the ceiling. This kind of thing didn’t normally happen to your average 8 year old on a regular basis, but for some reason, it did tend to happen to him far more often than he would like. Normally, it wasn’t quite this drastic, and could be glossed over, but when your 10 year old sister finds you hanging on the ceiling like a spider at 3 a.m., well it’s hard just pass it off. It wasn’t like the time he’d developed the eyesight of an eagle for about 24 hours, or experienced the hearing of a bat, or even like the time he’d had the ability to distinguish scent like a wolf. He had no idea why this had happened, but it had.

    “That’s it, I’m getting Mom!” Jane started for the door, but Peter called to her and she stopped, waiting.

    “The thing is, Janie….” He paused, unsure of himself, then continued. “The thing is, you’re sleepwalking again. Go back to bed. This is all a dream.” He waved his hands around as he’d seen a magician on television do once, then waited to see if he’d believe her. She squinted at him suspiciously, chewing her bottom lip. She was considering what he said.

    “Well…..alright,” she said drowsily “But if Mom catches you up there, you’re gonna get it.” With that, she turned on her heel and marched off. He heard her climbing the stairs back to her room and heaved a sigh of relief. Now to figure out how to get down AND why this was happening to him!

    433 Words {including title}

  9. Foy
    WC: 499
    All challenges accepted. :)

    Bold Ergonomics

    - Excuse me, but what on earth are you doing up that thought-stream at this stage of the acquaintance?
    - What? He’s got a nice butt, is all I’m saying.

    I watch as Mr. New-To-Office-Suite-354 bends over the parts and pieces that will soon be my replacement chair. Just a little strategy and a throw-on frazzled grin, and I’d reeled him in.

    - Well, you shouldn’t be. He seems like a nice man. Don’t objectify him.
    - Maybe he’d like being objectified…”

    My inner ought to’ve-been-librarian won’t shut up. It’s like she wants to be a virgin desk plant for the rest of our spreadsheet and workbook days.

    - He’s your coworker. It’s against the rules.
    - It’s not like he’s going to know what I’m thinking. Damn…his arms look even better with the sleeves rolled up. Is it hot in here?

    Clark Kent glasses and legs long as winter nights by a fire with cocoa. He probably enjoys poetry and Chevre and wouldn’t mind sharing my one bedroom flat with three territorial cats and a snake. His eyebrows, tastefully bushy but not monstrous, push into a frown of concentration. The arm-thingy and back frame don’t appear to fit as well as we would strolling by a lake in Fall.

    “Here are the instructions if you’d like them…” I say offering a square of folded paper from my pocket right on cue. All eight languages might as well have been written in Klingon but when it had fallen from the packaging, I’d snatched it up. His fingers look like they could shame silk and when he brushes my hand, thanking me, I can hear the jealous screams of a thousand eclipsed silk worms echoing through my eardrums. He turns back to the plastic puzzle.

    - Stop it! You’re ogling him!
    - He’s not even looking this way.

    “It’s so lucky you came by,” I say, leaning across my desk and hoping I’m pulling off a “Marilyn Monroe sprawled over a baby grand” look. A bit of my leg flashes white hot from under my skirt and I abandon the desk pose. Forgot to shave and none of my hose were clean this morning. I’ll have to try something else.

    - He probably has a wife and kids and a mortgage. Do you want to be a home wrecker?
    - We don’t know that. Besides he smells like warm skin and cuddling.

    The chair is coming together, a black phoenix rising from the ash of bubble wrap and cardboard box. Stupid phoenix. Couldn’t your rebirth take a little longer? The taste of our shared Chevre is dying before it can even materialize.

    - Serves you right. Putting yourself out there like a hussy. He’s almost done.
    - That’s it. No more from you.

    “I think that’s it.” He comments cheerfully and slides the chair under my desk. “Fits perfectly. Anything else I can help you with?” He turns and those summer blue eyes melt my insides.

    “Go out with me?”

    1. A "virgin desk plant." I love this. Terrific use of the prompt!

    2. This one is a riot. Her internal dialogue is hilarious. I absolutely adore the figurative language this MC uses. I could read a whole novel in her voice.

    3. Thank you, ladies! I appreciate that. I don't usually pull off funny so I've decided to try and hone that area. :)