Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Welcome to the 20s!

FlapperWelcome to another installment of Random Word Improv, or as I like to think of it, an excellent way to flex your creativity.

Whether you wrote a lot, a little, or none at all this week, a few minutes of Improv is a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page. As a plus, you might just wind up with a new story idea.

All right, let’s get started. This week we have a 1920s theme going on. The words are meant to invoke images of women with bobbed-hair, marathon dancing, gin-joints, and the exciting feelings of the 1920s. How you choose to turn the words into a story is completely up to you.

Today’s bonus word is:                  Spifflicated

Today’s bonus phrase is:              “bee’s knees”

Here are the rest of today’s randomly selected random words:

Speakeasy          prosperity           flappers               jazz

Automobile       suffragette         bootleg                  caper    

Charleston          talkies                  cloche                   fringe

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how to play:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

Okay. Are you ready? Go tell us a story!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

You’re back. Kind of fun, right? Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Welcome to the 20s!

  1. Grandfather lived in conspicuous prosperity on the fringe of the law, or more often on the wrong side. When he wasn’t fine-tuning the recipes for his hidden stills, he was running bootleg booze from the back of his automobile to the disguised cellar under his speakeasy, sorry, Jazz Club.

    Grandmother was a suffragette. She campaigned relentlessly around the clock, spending her days chained outside various edifices and her nights on the steps of the club pressing pamphlets on spifflicated flappers in Charleston dresses.

    Gramps thought he was up to every caper, but when he invited Gram to the talkies he found himself out-thought, out-maneuvered, and comprehensively outwitted. The result was my mother, a constitutional lawyer who funds her pro bono civil rights career from her global whisky empire, and the only woman alive who can mix a perfect Bees Knees while quoting Gloria Steinem.

    • Excellent effort Jilly. Finally getting some free time to work on my own effort too, though Cassie and Nicolai are very resistant – neither appear to be fans of Jazz or the Charleston.

  2. Annie patted her newly-marcelled bob, not missing the weight of her now-gone long hair at all. She felt free; Bob had told her that she looked like the bees knees, and he himself was looking like the cat’s meow in his white suit and boater. He knocked three times at the door of the speak-easy, paused and knocked twice. Hot jazz was barely muffled, then suddenly amplified as the door opened to admit them. Annie giggled. She felt so free, so splifficated even though she hadn’t had a drop to drink! The night was young, and so was she!

    Michaeline here: I read a very interesting fact (or rumor?) the other day — young women would dip their manicured fingers into the drinks during the Prohibition era. If their lacquer dissolved, they knew not to drink the drink! Isn’t that totally cool and scary at the same time?

    • Good job Micheline and interesting bit about dipping the fingers in the drinks. Interesting, if true. I seem to remember some young entrepreneurs recently came up with a nail polish that changes colors when exposed to an a drink adulterated with a drug. I guess everything old really is new again.

      • That is interesting! I really like the idea of a multi-purpose nail polish.

        (-: We may one day have real thumbnails painted on ourselves, with little updates from friends and family. And the circuits in the paint of all of the fingers would allow us to touch type anywhere, on any surface that registered the right kind of bounce. So we could tell if our drink was drugged, and type the number for emergency services in right away! (or maybe that is too multipurpose, but still)

  3. Okay, I think I got most of the words. This was more of a challenge than I expected. Apparently Cassie and Nicolai aren’t big fans of the 20s.

    * * *

    Cassie reached out and smacked the snooze button on her alarm clock, silencing Catherine Zeta-Jones right in the middle of All That Jazz. “Five more minutes,” she mumbled into her pillow.

    Normally she bounced out of bed, ready to attack the day, but after a late night at the crime scene and a Nicolai sized distraction she was wiped out. Plus, she still couldn’t figure out what it was about the object she’d noticed at the explosion that seemed so familiar. The answer was hiding just out of reach in the fringes of her mind like a bootlegger during Prohibition. Frustration left her feeling dull-witted and cranky.

    A brisk shower and a couple of shots of espresso later Cassie stood in front of a big blank whiteboard at the precinct, ready to get to work. “Okay, what victims do we have so far?”

    “Mr. Masters and Councilman Andrews we the first two disappearances,” Nicolai said. “That’s when the FBI was called in on the case.”

    Cassie wrote the names on the board and then added the name Andy Phillips, the casualty from the explosion at Barnacle Bob’s. “Do we have an ID on the victims from last night’s explosion yet?”

    Nicolai checked the case file. “Looks like there was only one, a Mr. Charles Ton, age 42.”

    Cassie turned toward him and frowned. “His parents named him Charleston, really? Who does that?” She shook her head in disbelief before turning and adding his name to the whiteboard.

    “Maybe he was from a long line of flappers and suffragettes.”

    “Or maybe his folks were spifflicated at the time.” Cassie focused back on the whiteboard. “So, we have four victims, all male, all around the same age. What else do we know about them?”

    “Well, Philips and Masters worked together down at the automobile dealership on Pine Street and Mr. Ton’s sister runs the Fascinating Cloche shop in a building owned by Councilman Andrews.” Nicolai flipped through the pages in front of him one more time. “Looks like that’s all we have so far.”

    Cassie drummed the marker in her hand against her leg as she thought. “There has to be something else that ties these victims together. These weren’t just random attacks.”

    Chief Daniels bellowed from his office. “Cassie, Nicolai, get in here.”

    When they entered the office, he tossed a report across the desk. “You’re going to want to see this. It’s an account from an eyewitness at last night’s explosion.”

    Cassie scanned the report. “The woman identified Nicolai as being at the scene? That’s not possible. He was with me.”

    Nicolai looked over at Chief Daniels. “We were having dinner at the Vault. There are plenty of witnesses who can confirm that.”

    The chief nodded. “What about Demitri? The description fits him as well.”

    “I haven’t seen him in a few days, but I can’t imagine that he’s involved in any of this. What motive could he possibly have?”

    “Only one way to find out.” Chief Daniels looked over at Cassie. “Bring him in for questioning.” When the phone on his desk rang, he picked it up and waved the two of them out of the office.

    Cassie gave Nicolai’s shoulder a squeeze as they went back to their desks. “You don’t think he could be involved in this, do you?”

    Nicolai shook his head. “He’s been involved in some madcap capers before, but something like this? No. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

    “I think it’s time we get some answers.” Cassie called over one of the plainclothes officers and sent him out to bring in Demitri. Turning back to Nicolai she added, “Why don’t you see what else you can find to tie our victims together. I’ll handle Demitri.”

    Nicolai looked like he was going to argue for a minute, but then he picked up his coat and turned toward the door. “This case just keeps getting better and better.”

    • Excellent! I am in so much awe when you guys get all the words to go in. I really like how this shows you don’t have to go back to the 1920s in order to use the vocab (-:. I tried to time-travel to 1967 last week, but only made it as far back to 1975, I think.

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