Monday, October 5, 2015


Welcome back! I hope your October has begun splendidly. Thanks for joining us for the fun this week. Go read the prompt that the judge picked just for you. Then get writing. :)

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 Pratibha Kelapure. Read her winning tale from last week here! Pratibha is the editor of The Literary Nest, an online magazine of fiction, poetry, and art. She hangs out with the flash fictioneers on Twitter, and that's how she discovered Finish That Thought contest. You can follow her @needanidplease.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-14 is:

Last line from The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen:

She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Incorporate two original unrhymed lines of poetry. 



  1. Changes
    Word Count: 284

    She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life. Her mother had passed away a year ago, and with the grief came relief. There was no one left to impress, no one to curtail herself for, to protect.

    The first thing she did was get a tattoo. The dragon of her dreams flying over her shoulder blades. The tattoo artist asked her, twice, if she was “sure”. So, she flicked him off because she could.

    The second thing she did was cabaret. She had to show off her tattoo somehow. Walking on stage in garters and a corset did just the trick. Through the darkness, she could see the flashing camera lights and smiled for them. She no longer feared going viral. No, she looked forward to it.

    The third thing she did was start a business. Ideas she had held close to her heart finally broke through the flood dams. So what if it was tacky, so what if it was beneath her status; she went to the park, laid out a tattered comforter, and sold her handmade jewelry.

    The fourth thing she did was sex, lots and lots of sex. She brought men and women to the home she had shared with her mother. She left the bedroom door open. She lounged with her partners in the nude. She screamed obscenities and desires into the night; let herself experience the pleasure of it, over and over again.

    The fifth thing she did was visit her mother’s grave. A recurring fling dropped her off. She brought a handmade string of pearls and placed it over her mother’s gravestone. Then she sat, and told her mother all her stories.

  2. The Last Ride
    494 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life. Even if it killed her. That wouldn’t be so bad. She’d lived seventy-five good years. Maybe mediocre was a better word.

    Poetry had always been an aspiration. She had sat down at the kitchen table, broken light streamed in through the crack in the blinds. She’d written exactly two sentences:

    Rise up from the dirt,
    And lift your limbs high

    Her life in two sentences. Anita sighed, started to erase it with the nubbin left on the back of the pencil then stopped, leaving the piece of scrap paper in the center of the yellow vinyl table cloth. Her grandson might like to read it on his next visit. He could pass it off as his. Get an A on his next English test. God, how he needed an A. But she hadn’t seen him in a long time or Calie for that matter. Anita knew it had to do with their fight last time Calie’d come around. It was unlike Calie to keep Rudy from her, but perhaps Rudy was too busy. With girls, with life, and all the stuff teenage boys thought mattered. All the stuff that did matter when one was young.

    She lamented not having more children. Calie had been a disappointment in her own way, but Anita had loved her elfish ears, crooked nose, and unsymmetrical face as only a mother could. Then Calie had given birth to Rudy, and he was a near perfect specimen of a child. The first time Anita had looked at Rudy she knew Calie’s tumultuous upbringing had been worth it. Rudy was the prize from all the years of torment and hate between she and Calie, a mother and daughter relationship at its worst.

    Anita stood up and turned off the light in the kitchen and headed out the back door. She walked down the uneven path to the garage. Against the wall stood the rusted old blue bicycle Kalie had ridden to school as a teenager—cursing her mother for not providing her with a car. Anita remembered her, pigtails and knee-high socks pedaling as fast as her legs could carry her.

    Anita balanced the bike, pushing it out over the cracked sidewalk and onto the jagged asphalt of the street. She threw one varicose veined leg over the bike and placed her other foot on the pedal. A balancing act. Her feet slipped off the pedals once before she gained her footing. She pedaled as fast as she could. She laughed and smiled as she hadn’t done in years. The pleasure of youth pumped through her body, and her heart beat faster as the momentum of joy carried her toward her final destination. She turned the corner, so distracted by the pleasure of a relived childhood that she didn’t even see the blue truck until it was too late. The ride had been worth it.


  3. Sapphire 75


    She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life. She would begin at the end. There was still harmony left in the eyes met with restless hair tinted with lingering youth. Sunshine. A breeze playing her strands like a golden harpsichord tuned with a moon swept sky. The first change she would make would be to write down all her wonderful, creative thoughts and not let them continually spark into a dark abyss.

    There were all the things she wanted to do, combined with all the things she had, each playing off the other with a half-baked insistence. Her experience moved her to caution, while at the same time giving her freedom from restriction that came from a well-rounded perception. Her caring had escalated into the measured growth of a full victory garden.

    Her book was 75% complete. It had been 75% complete for several years. She started it in 1975, right before her second husband suffered his third heart attack. Now, the time was right to finish it. She walked China Beach in San Francisco with the Golden Gate bridge cradled with fog and an orange lit dusk. She sat on a small grassy area above the beach at a picnic table. The sky was heavy. A storm blew curves of waves toward the shore like pages brushing past blue stung dreams. The paper of her manuscript sat in an old box in front of her. The energy to create came to her in memories and longing but stopped short of articulation in concrete forms. But she had to finish what she started. Even if it was no good.

    Her reflection in the mirror was like the sea, it favored a clear antique freshness. Under the surface were worlds no one had seen bristling with life. A polished levity.

    She returned her pocket mirror to her purse. She could tell the rain would be coming, soon. Out at sea a sapphire curtain of water was visible approaching with a midnight ambiance. Her pages rustled. Lightning strikes stretched to earth touching white caps. The salt air spun with a clean exuberance. She gathered her manuscript and started her walk home; up a long flight of stairs that leapt to a road, then followed the darkened street through the Sea Cliff neighborhood.

    She placed her manuscript on an old oak desk. The title with the type slightly faded and cracked; "Sapphire 75." Her blue eyes took in the bulk of prayer. The years of neglect. The countless pages of ambition. She thought she would end her novel the same way she started it; with a young woman's hope and desire. The rain started to play the window like an Underwood. A quick constant tapping with tiny shadows pointed against white curtains. The words ran down the page. They gathered in a puddle. Then a lake. Then an ocean.

    She was seventy-five and she was going to make some changes in her life...


    (497 words)