Monday, April 27, 2015


Welcome! I hope the first third of the year has treated you well. (It'll be May this week! What?!?!?) I'm looking forward to planting a few things in the garden and enjoying pleasant days outside. What are you looking forward to? Well, whatever it is, I hope there's not a police officer involved... Go check out the prompt and 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 #2-43 is:

The [policeman] took off [his hat] as he said, "You should [sit down, sir]."

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include three Charles Dickens' book titles.



  1. A “Dicken” of a Block
    491 words

    The policeman took off his hat as he said, “You should sit down, sir.”
    Xavier stared at the sentence written on the lines in the journal. He crossed it out with his Uni-ball pen, and when that wasn’t enough he kept scratching until there was a black hole in the paper. He sighed, took another sip of his coffee and picked up “Hard Times.” He’d just immerse himself in a book—easier than writing, that’s for sure.

    But that didn’t work. He set “Hard Times” back on top of his stack of Dickens, covering “David Copperfield” and “A Tale of Two Cities.”

    Another sip of his coffee, and he held his pen to the paper but no words would come. Why couldn’t he just be like Dickens? His first lines always sounded unique and never spoiled the plot. Xavier knew the “policeman” line would make his readers think something terrible had happened, and wanted it to be mysterious—not give it all away at the very beginning. The only words that could follow a policeman saying, “Sit down,” were tragic. Words like, “I’m sorry sir, your fill-in-the-blank has died.” Not like Dickens’ famous line, “It was the best of time, it was the worst of times.” Oh yeah, well which was it? Good or bad? The line made the reader want to keep reading.

    Xavier set down the pen and started cleaning up the living room. It was noon, and he wasn’t out of his pajamas. He’d read the key to success was getting up and getting ready for work every morning. After “Zombie Killers ‘R Us,” had made him a tidy little profit, he’d gotten rid of all his suits and decided to put himself into writing full time. Although, his near instant success with “Zombies,” had not translated to more words streaming from his now empty noggin.

    He had on his flannel pajamas, which made him feel like he was wearing a security blanket, as he shuffled to the mailbox. He was surprised when he saw it. The return address in New York. The logo. It could only mean one thing, the agent had found a home for “Killer Fairies.”

    He tossed the envelope on the kitchen table, without opening it, and paced around the kitchen. News that should have been exhilarating brought anxiety to his racing heart. Because it meant they’d want more, and the truth was Xavier hadn’t written anything in nearly four months.

    He went into his closet leafing through clothes. He shed his Flash shirt, which had become a second skin to him, and threw on a button up shirt, leaving the top noose of a button undone. He found some khaki pants and slid into them. He grabbed his laptop and slid it into his briefcase.

    If the words wouldn’t come at home, then he’d just go to where the words would come, he thought as he left the house traveling to destination unknown.

    1. Forgot, again, to say "Special Challenge Accepted."

  2. Word Count – 398
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Ginger Nut

    The Animal Welfare Officer placed his evidence as he said, “You should get rid, sir.” At last someone could see a necessity for what I was doing and that we were not a good matching. All guilt left me. I had my permission to seal the deal.

    The subject matter is my ginger kitten who if you see him you’ll hopefully - I have everything crossed - become smitten. But I’ll now explain how he greets me by telling you our story -

    His claws pointed like sharpened swords. I need a powerful shield. Trust me to get a nutter of a kitten. Every chance he gets he lunges at me, whether I’m supplying food or chastising. He can be a tale of two cities, sometimes purring and lavishing me with attention, Peaceville, but mostly a nightmarish, talon bearing attacker, Horrorville. My house used to be happy but at the moment can only be called Bleak House.

    I am regularly ensconced in my bathroom, terrified as the door is being speared and scratched. Have stockpiled books there, The Old Curiosity Shop, wish I’d bought him there, being one that I keep putting off, but must read. Held captive by a ball of fluff, how ridiculous, he hears the ping of the doorbell and he’s gone for fresh meat. I dash for my bedroom and safety, whoever’s at the door can fend for them selves.
    My neighbor must have heard my cat’s attacks and thought he was the victim, all that spitting and screeching, I can’t tell her that was me. So now me and my new best friend and salvation, George are in the process of writing my freedom.

    Here goes:

    It is with regret that I pen this advertisement but needs must.


    Have you got a budding gladiator ready to take on a new contestant, or are you a cat whisperer. I’m sure this little fellah will be content and docile in the right hands, but we just don’t get on. He’s full pedigree, I’ve got his papers and he is yours for free, I REPEAT FREE my number is 1800 966 777 free phone. If this not agreeable I will pay you what I paid for him which is €250.
    P.S. He is neutered which he’s probably not forgiven me for, and I shouldn’t have called him Ninja.

  3. Emily Clayton
    329 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Little Book of Horrors

    The book binder took off his spectacles as he said, "You should sit down, sir."

    His sigh resonated around the empty space, bouncing against my delicate ear drums. I didn't like the sound of that sigh. It smack into my face like a runaway newspaper, with headlines that warned of apocalyptic doom.

    "What seems to be the trouble?"

    Mr. Brambleton rubbed his bloodshot eyes, massaging the temples and muttering a half-hearted verse. A last minute attempt to stifle the news? Naturally, I failed to dematerialize, and he looked my way with a dejected second sigh. "Them books is dead."

    No. This couldn't be! "Dead? I don't understand. You promised me they were repairable. I bought those books twenty years ago. I . . . I planned to give them to my daughter for her 21st birthday. It's in two days!"

    The measly little man only stared back at me, his mouth hanging open like a roasted hog on the embers. All I needed to do was plop a fresh red apple into that gap. Instead, I watched his false teeth jiggle against glistening gums.

    He shook his white-topped head. "Nope. They was no good. Crumbled to pieces when I cracked open the spine." Smacking his gums, he wandered to the counter. "I loves books, but you can't save 'em all. Them books is only fit for the flames now."

    I braced myself against the table, fingers clenching an invisible stress ball. My doctor said it would help in times of trouble. Fat chance on that. No matter how many times I squeezed, my blood pressure continued to spike. Next time, I try a real stress ball. "Are you sure it's my order? Dickens? I handed you A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and The Adventures of Oliver Twist."

    Mr. Brambleton blinked once and froze, like I was a stealthy wizard who'd turned him to stone. "Dickens, you say? Oh. Oh dear me. I though you were here for the Chaucer."

  4. Foy S. Iver

    WC: 417
    Special Challenge Accepted


    The stockbroker took off his hat as he said, "You should sit down, young man."

    I was already sitting.

    “You’re not going to want to hear this.” He poured two shots of bourbon. “Hold this will you?”

    My hand cupped the glass. He threw back the first, his toupee rolling down his shoulders and onto the identical otter brown carpet, then reached for the second. “Thanks, Old Boy.”

    The stockbroker’s pate glistened like a sweating pig, and he dabbed it with the armchair cover. I said nothing as he placed the dirty green cover neatly over the slightly less dirty green armrest.

    “Right, bad news can’t be put off forever.” He cleared his throat and his soppy blue eyes stared at my face. “Boy, you’ve lost everything.”

    Tocktocktocktock, the clock murmured from the mantle, uncomfortable with the stillness. I stared back, unblinking. The stockbroker wheezed in his snug tweed jacket, the bourbon sharp on his thick tongue.

    “Our mutual friend didn’t pan out like we thought it would,” he said. “Stocks fell. The whole floor–we were frozen, there was nothing we could do, I need you to understand that.”

    This wasn’t the first such speech of his I’d heard. He made the place into a bleak house with his perpetual bad news. Used to it, I didn’t even ruffle.

    “Hard times are coming and I just want you to be prepared.” The stockbroker’s thumb and middle finger rubbed circles into each other–chuffchuffchuffchuff–filling in for my lack of words.

    “You know these things happen, but I have faith you’ll find your feet again.” He coughed rubbing his left knee. Self-soothing. “The numbers go down but they also go up.”


    He smiled. My silence seemed to comfort him. No screams of fury to drive his blood pressure into a stroke. No threatened lawsuits or unhappy “accidents.” Not yet.

    “That should do it, now where is my…” His lower lip pushed out the way it did when he forgot his spectacles, or his hat, or his–

    “How did that come off?” he said and doubled over his elephantine girth. His pincher fingers fished the toupee off the rug and restored it to his crown. “Couldn’t do this without my manhood.”

    He chuckled. I didn’t. Grabbing his hat from my dirty green lap, he perched it on his nest of brown and gave himself one last inspection in the mirror. Satisfied, he left.


    I wondered what poor David Copperfield he was about to devastate.

  5. ...It Was The Worst of Times
    Word Count: 211

    The real estate agent took off his spectacles as he said, "You should be aware that the property is riddled with woodworm and dry rot." The prospective buyer thanked him for his candour and bade him good day.

    In the battle of life, Barnaby Rudge was a lowly foot soldier. His inability to be economical with the truth was not compatible with his chosen profession. As a result, he was experiencing hard times. Things looked positively bleak; house sales were at an all-time low and he had no great expectations that they would improve any time soon.That was why he had taken up his somewhat unsavoury sideline.

    The chimes of Master Humphrey's clock indicated that it was lunchtime. Rudge left the offices of Dombey and Son -'Purveyors of Property to The Gentry' - and made his way to his usual haunt, 'The Cricket' on the heath.

    David Copperfield, his contact at 'The Old Curosity Shop', sat in the corner, cheerfully whistling a christmas carol.

    "Are you aware," whispered Rudge, "that Nicholas Nickleby has been arrested for possession of pictures from Italy?"

    "You mean... sketches of young gentlemen?" said Copperfield, in trepidation.

    Barnaby nodded. "I suggest that we lie low for a while to avoid the same fate as our mutual friend."

    1. Anybody spot all 16 Dickens titles?

    2. I have to admit that I don't know all 16 titles without looking them up! I am very impressed that you managed all of them. But I'm not sure all of your story made it in though because I don't see Oliver Twist or A Tale of Two Cities...unless you hid them within other words or something. My favorite was 'whistling a Christmas carol'.

  6. The Oliver Twist (498 words, special challenge accepted) by @DoctorMikeReddy

    The policeman took off his hat as he said, "You should sit down, sir."

    Waiting for the polite imperative to be obeyed, he sat opposite and addressed his notebook. “Mr Copperfield? David Copperfield?” Seeing the apprehensive acceptance he continued, dismissing the unasked question, “Like the book?” as inappropriate, given what was to come next.

    “It’s about your wife. Her car stalled at a railway crossing. The signalman was too late to stop the 12:22…” Nothing more needed saying. The man’s mental image could hardly be worse than PC 3582’s own memory, judging by the sudden widower’s expression. “The car exploded on impact. We only identified her because she had a mimeographed brief case. The D case. Yours, I believe?”

    The constable handed over a plastic sheaved photograph containing a barely recognisable brown leather bag, the gold lettering obscured by burnt patches, with only the first character readable. D for David, everyone had assumed. Charred letters inside had confirmed the address, if not the driver. That had come by association, verified by the licenced owner of the car. The victim of the road traffic incident – police officers were not allowed to say ‘accident’ anymore, because it implied a lack of blame, of culpability – being a woman, and the owner being married, there appeared to be a simple solution.

    “We will need you to come and identify the body…” As if to signify the importance of the request, the young officer stood up, reseating his hat and gazing down patiently. All this time, the man had not reacted with emotion, saving a grimace at the manner of her death. The news took some that way. Grieving at leisure, his commander would call it, though few were as calm as this one. Mr Copperfield stood up. Complying with the implicit urgency of the situation.

    “Is there… I mean, was the body badly burned?” Not ‘she’ or a name. Just the ‘body’. Now that was cold.

    “I think it best that we wait to discuss this, sir.” 3582 held his hand out, gesturing to the door, then followed outside to the waiting patrol car. “We will be at the station in a few minutes.”

    “Not the morgue?” The man paused, holding the passenger door in confusion, then remembering himself and sitting down. He left the door open to hear a response but, thankfully, fastened his seat belt.

    “Just a couple of things that need sorting out before that.” The policeman smiled reassuringly. “Just routine.” He closed the car door decisively, then strolled to the other side, starting the engine, smiling again, and pulled away into the quiet lane. If his passenger could read his thoughts, this man would not have been so calm. But that was his duty, and his responsibility. Get the man to come quietly. That was why he was always volunteered for this sort of job. His poker face. Questions about the other passenger in the destroyed car. The accelerant. The damaged fuel line. All those would come later.

    P.S. Sorry if this is late. My internet... fallen tree... argh!

    1. Wow, thanks for posting your story anyway! It was too late to be included in the judging, but I enjoyed reading it. ...And a fallen tree??? That doesn't sound good... I hope everything is alright.