Monday, June 22, 2015


Welcome back! Thanks for joining us for the fun this week. I just got back from UtopYA con (at which I had a blast!) and I am still recovering. The con is in Nashville, TN and features indie pubbed books as well as small press books, a few traditionally pubbed books, and hybrids. They're changing their name and expanding genres next year, so check out their new website at With that out of the way, go check out the prompt this week! 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 D.E. Park. Read his winning tale from last week here! Dave (D. E. Park) spends his spare time writing flash and micro fiction, and just attempting to get enough sleep. He’s a first-generation computer nerd (older than the internet), a lifetime devourer of SF&F (loser geek), even a comic book fan (three strikes!). He actually hasn’t been actively writing for very long (you can't tell?) He lives in Chicagoland with his wife Annie. Follow him @parkinkspot and check out his writing blog at

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-51 is:

As per the rules, you only need use the given first sentence. However, I allowed two sentences today so you may use the first or both as you see fit.

Going with a father's day theme opening line this week (a quote from Spike Milligan):

My Father had [a profound] influence on me. He was [a lunatic].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include a classic aabba limerick (extra points for clean, amusing, and related to Dads). Don't worry, I won't judge them on anapestic precision--I'm not even sure how to!



  1. Nothin’ for Nothin’
    500 words
    Special challenge accepted

    “My father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic.” The overflowing remains of an ashtray were apparent through the phone. I read her name on the computer screen: Joanne Wilson. Beyond that, I had nothing. She had never called us before.

    “So, you were saying, Joanne?” I asked, in what I hoped was an empathic sounding way.

    “He really was. You can ask anyone.”

    I silently sucked in a long breath of air, and waited for what seemed like ages. ‘Client is king. Let them speak.’ The posters that hung all over the office were decorated with a crown and an illustration of a mouth that had a red X over it. I leaned back in my chair.
    “In what way?” I asked her.

    “In every damn way you can imagine, from sunrise to sunset. That’s what way.”

    “Uh huh,” I said.

    “You people think you know everything, don’t you?” she replied angrily. I could hear the lighter light up, and a long inhalation, a crackle as the nicotine burnt bright orange at the tip of her cigarette. This will take a while, I thought, and scribbled a few lines:
    There once was a caller named Joanne
    With a raspy voice and a Volkswagen van
    We talked for ages
    I sent her some pages
    She wasn’t buying; just ranting about her old man.

    Her voice, low and even, jolted me back. “You aren’t really a person, are you? You’re a bot. I can tell.” I hadn’t been accused of being a bot since 1993. I sighed, this time loudly, so she could hear.

    “No, I’m not a bot. I’m a person. Just like you. I’m here for you. Just tell me how I can help you out.”

    “I can see you, you know,” she said. I sat up and smiled brightly at the screen.
    “Really? That’s nice.” I didn’t want her to think I doubted her in any way, but I was pretty sure the new technology we had installed last week did not include video chats. Who knows, though, she could be a hacker.

    “But tell me about your dad, what kind of influence did he have on you?” I asked, forming an image in my mind of the woman on the other side of the phone. She was middle aged, her hair a wiry mess, probably underweight, her face hard and lined. Her fingers bony. She had been beautiful once. A long time ago. I recognized that feeling.

    “He taught me that no one was gonna give me nothin’ for nothin’ in this world. And I took that advice and I believed him. And you know what I got from it? Goddamn nothin’. That’s what. “

    I flipped through our latest catalog. There was a whole new line, specially created with this woman in mind. That’s why we got all the crazies on the phone now.
    I pushed her a pic of our latest tunic in soft organic cotton. “This isn’t nothin’, though, is it?”

  2. @fs_iver
    WC: 228


    “My father had little influence on me. He was a nobody. Married to one woman his whole life. Worked the same city sanitation job for 50 years. Ate cold eggs every morning. Drank the same aluminum beer every night. A regular first class low class citizen.

    By high school I knew I’d be anything but him. If it meant lying, cheating, stealing, or bribing I’d climb that ladder so fast it’d make his wall-eye spin. I had my sites on the Stock Exchange. Rumors of booze, women, and drowning in green fell like cigarette ash from Tommy Benton’s lips. His dad worked on the floor and they had 2 cars, a valet, and a swimming pool. I promised myself I’d be 200k richer than Mr. Benton by the time I was his age.

    And I was. Didn’t take long either. Graduated summa cum laude from one of the Ivys, can’t remember which, and pulled a friend connection to get me up to New York. I was drunker, richer, and more “experienced” than 98% of the country by twenty-five, a solid 15 years on Thomas Benton II. And my old man? Not even a contest. I could have bought his soul and he wouldn’t have had dime to put toward it.”

    “Look, Mr., I don’t have time for a life story. Take your bowl. Soup line starts there. Next!”

  3. The Gentleman

    My father had a profound influence on me.

    He was a lunatic. At least that is what my mother always said. She never attended any of Dad’s shows.

    Today was not an exception. “Like he gets any good money out of it,” She grimaced. Little Neha threw her raggedy doll on the floor and looked at Mom with expectant eyes. Mom absent-mindedly picked it up and tossed it in her crib. Neha liked this game and threw it on the floor again.

    “Let’s get our magic on the road,” Dad put on his glittering vest on.
    Mom was livid. “Don’t tell me you are taking Jay with you again. He can’t miss any more school,” she raged, “he is going to become a gentleman my father, and not a hobo like you.”
    My ears burned because I don’t like her calling Dad names. She looked positively irate like I had never seen her before. But, Dad remained undisturbed, and we finally escaped Mom’s disapproving eyes. As soon we stepped out, Dad’s face relaxed and he whistled. He looked like a perfect gentleman to me.

    Although I knew all his secrets tricks, I was always surprised at how suavely he performed those on stage. No one would ever figure out how he produced rabbits out of nowhere, how in the blink of an eye, the recently sliced apart body of his assistant would magically become whole again. I was envious when Dad produced Ravalgaon Toffees out of his hat and tossed them into the crowd. The kids in the front rows squealed and grabbed the candies greedily while backstage, I sat candy-less. A small sacrifice to learn those mind-blowing magic tricks, I figured, and a whole lot better than sitting in the stuffy classroom with those dumb kids.
    I wanted to be a magician and a gentleman like my Dad.

    Dad recited his opening speech. “The trick is to look directly into audience’s eyes and keep pattering. It distracts them,” he was always offering me tips about the routine.

    The house was dark when we returned. A flickering porch light welcomed us. I was hungry, so I ran inside. I flipped the light switch. There was dinner on the table, but no sign of Mom or Neha. The phone rang, and Dad answered. When he hung up, he pulled the chair and filled my plate.
    “Mom has gone to her Father’s house. Neha and she will remain there.”
    “So it’s just you and me tonight?”
    “Not just tonight. Forever.” Dad’s voice quivered.
    “Forever?” My voice cracked. “Can we go too?”
    I knew the answer. Grandpa never liked Dad. I was not ready to leave Dad, the Great Wizard, the gentleman.

    Dad hummed,
    There once was a man from Mumbai
    Who cast spells on the passersby
    When his son began to ape
    Papa’s acts in a black cape
    The man said, “you’re such a fine guy.”

    I smiled and cried all night.

    490 words
    Challenge accepted

  4. Just a Taste
    (305 Words)
    Special Challenge Accepted

    “My Father had a profound influence on me.
    He was a lunatic, can’t you see?
    Now I’m up all night
    Trying to bite
    Everyone who pays the entrance fee.”

    “Is she telling the truth?” The guard asked his companion, Ms. Jones. She was a veteran in an institution where the staff rarely lasted more than a year.

    The prisoner laughed from behind the bars. “Step closer blue-eyes and you will see.”

    The guard stepped forward without thought, just a mix of instinct and curiosity. Ms. Jones hand shot out, grabbing his freshly pressed uniform shirt. The prisoner behind the bars cackled.

    “Oh my, oh my, oh my, aren’t you a pretty one.”

    “We should be moving along,” Ms. Jones declared.

    The white of the prisoner’s eyes glinted with moisture, a single tear fell down her cheek. “Oh but Ms. Jones, he looks so tasty can’t I just have a…”

    Her words trailed off and a feeling the guard tried to suppress stirred instead with interest. It was only his second day on the job. He could feel the sweat forming on the back of his neck as the woman -no, the prisoner- reached her hand out. Her fingertip felt strangely soft against the hard curve of the guard’s knuckle –when had his hands reach out to touch the bars?

    “Just a little taste!” The woman -no, the prisoner- moaned.

    “That’s enough Inmate Limerick,” Ms. Jones demanded. “We should move along.”

    The guard stepped back, shaking his head to break the trance. He eyed the inmate cautiously, worry coursing through his veins. It had been much too easy to fall under her spell.

    “Yes, let’s go,” The new guard agreed.

    “Go! Go! Go!” The inmate squealed. “But you will soon return, for once I bite I never surrender. My father had a profound influence on me....”