Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Random Edition with Toys

Slinky_dogAfter a week of clearing out files and dealing with the accumulated debris left behind by departing coworkers I could use a round of Friday Writing Sprints to reboot my brain and get back into the creative mode.

Who’s with me?

Whether you wrote a lot, a little, or nothing at all this week, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  Find yourself a comfortable writing spot, turn off that internal editor, and get ready to write.  I’ll be sprinting from a lounge chair in the back yard so I can enjoy the hydrangeas that have decided to start blooming.  Feel free to virtually enjoy them right along with me.

Today’s random words are definitely random.  I can’t wait to see what you do with them.


For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how we 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.

Here’s today’s list of random words from our randomly selected random word generator:

weed                    slinky                    deceit                   plaything

scheme                bittersweet        amateur               afterworld

bearskin              toy                         adorable              screamer

vacant                   panic                     forbidden           nectar

Okay.  Are you ready?  Go!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

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

Happy writing to all.

18 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Random Edition with Toys

  1. Avery looked about her and t’ched in dismay. She was a customs agent, with the goddamn fucking government, and she’d had a hard day. She deserved to be able to go to a bar and hook up with a vacant, lovely plaything of a man, and forget there was such a thing as a Form I-80, to be filled out in triplicate and signed by the diplomatic corps of three different worlds.

    Instead, her sweet one-night stand had led her into a den of iniquity. There was a forbidden Xavclavian bearskin on the floor in front of his roaring fire. Right there on the coffee table was Bee-bee oil (import duties, three thousand Imperial Dollars per 10 milliliters), infused with the nectar of bittersweet bananas. It caused complete sexual ecstasy just before it paralyzed the user for hours. There was the newest toy slinky, straight from Earth, banned in 15 different police jurisdictions. And even in the pot of his houseplant (elephant ear, thankfully legal in this and most of the districts), there was a stray jewelweed. A jewelweed! A lovely, pernicious danger that would quickly clog the sewers of the planet if even one spore made its way into the plumbing.

    “I hope you’re a screamer, Avery.” She turned to find Fred, her amiable date, snapping on surgical gloves, and she suddenly realized, she was dealing with no amateur. Fred had that vacant stare of a killer. She’d mistaken it for alcohol poisoning, and now, she was facing some hard choices. A hundred million Imperial Dollars worth of property damage and a month’s probation, or the afterworld. It wasn’t a hard choice. She put her seven years of Imperial training to work, and brought the apartment building down in three minutes flat. It was slightly amusing to see Fred’s vacant stare turn into something approaching panic, but all in all, she was disgusted. Ever since she’d entered the Customs Service, she’d had to deal with deceit and lies and schemes every day of the year. Was it too late to change career tracks? As the flames burned down the contraband and assorted non-native species, she pondered carefully. Maybe she could become a mime. Surely, they had to deal with less shit on an average day.

      • It was also fun to read, Micki!

        I want to play, too, but have limited time today (out of state graduation party this evening). Still, Nicky O needs a story. I haven’t visited him and Copenhagen for far too long…I will cogitate while running desperately necessary errands.

        • Oh, tis the season to be busy! I’m pretty lucky to have this morning free, but then I have a farewell party this afternoon, and then about eight days of laundry to do because tomorrow is supposed to be the only sunny day for another good long while. We’re not supposed to have rainy season in Hokkaido, and it hits us harder because we aren’t prepared to make the sacrifices. Like buying a goddamned dryer.

          Please play! I would love to see Nicky O, but you don’t have to.

    • Excellent job Michaeline. “Was it too late to change career tracks?” – loved that. You’ve set the bar high indeed with this.

      • Like so many of my characters for the Friday Writing Sprints, she has no future. The poor woman is so unhappy and bitter that I don’t want to spend a week with her, let alone three months to a year. And Fred’s already dead in the third paragraph. LOL, where would I go from here?

        But hey, it’s a writing sprint, and it’s lovely to gas off some of that vague angst I feel, and then I can concentrate on happy for the weekend.

    • LOVE that one, Micki. Glad she torched the building. Very satisfying indeed.

      And I hear you about the rain. It’s nearly midsummer, I feel as though I might grow mould from all the rain and I’m trying to remember what a sunny summer’s day feels like. Every day I try to wear flip-flops, just because, and every day I switch back to woolly socks. I’m counting the days to RWA in San Diego, and not only for the social goodies and excellent workshops.

      • I had no idea that I’d been having such a bad week emotionally until I wrote this (-:. I like rain a lot because I grew up in a near-desert climate and rain always brought good things, like a 20 degree F temperature drop and wonderful thunderstorms. But I hate mold with a passion. I hate that smell you get in the closets when the clothes aren’t properly dry.

        I hope your weather dries up a little, and your trip to San Diego is quite clement, and full of lovely social goodies and education!

      • (-: I think this is a common female fantasy. “Let’s Just Burn This Whole Effing Thing Down and Start Over.” And of course, “towering” your life (to borrow from tarot terminology) is rarely a practical or easy thing to do, so one makes do with waving around an LED flashlight and saying “blah”.

        (LOL, love the “what a gas” comment. It probably was the natural gas main that ruptured and caught on fire from a stray spark, but I’m not quite up on xeno-energy resources.)

  2. 17 June was bittersweet, the one day each year that Sol looked back.

    Wherever he was, whatever dark deeds he was engaged in, he always found a private moment to sip a dram of Bruichladdich Black Art Islay Single Malt Whisky. The Hebridean nectar had been Andrew Fairlie Gordon’s favorite tipple, and it was a fitting way to mark Drew’s birthday.

    If Drew had stuck with family tradition and joined the Guards, even now he’d have been standing outside the Palace in his bearskin, dress uniform, shiny boots and brass buttons. Instead he’d joined the Paras, breezed through a series of hellish missions designed to weed out the superlative from the merely outstanding, and unexpectedly found himself declared missing, presumed dead.

    And so The Afterworld acquired a new operative. Rank: Shade. Rules: none. Deceit and danger: a given. Pension Scheme: not required.

    He didn’t even get to choose his name. He found it somewhat ironic that a man who didn’t legally exist, whose entire purpose was to strike from the shadows, had been tagged with the Latin name for the sun. Sometimes he thought, given Management’s penchant for puns, it derived from ParaSol, a shady play on his previous occupation. More likely it was a prediction, given the number of times he found himself S.O.L.

    The hardest part of joining The Afterworld had been learning the dialect. They did what they did, and they did it superbly, but one of the ways they dealt with the dark side was to adopt a vocabulary straight out of Ian Fleming. The Toy Shop, for example, had exploding gadgets that would have made Q weep with envy. There were others:

    Amateur Hour – what happened before they got called in to clean up the mess;
    Panic Button – the trigger on any weapon held by an Amateur.
    Vacant Possession – what happened to hostile territory after they got called in to clean up the mess;
    Slinky – an attractive enemy operative running a honey trap. Also Forbidden Fruit unless/until she could be neutralized (a Plaything) or turned into a double agent (Screamer). Politically correct, it was not, and the women were as bad as the men.

    As if he’d conjured her up, The Boss materialized on the balcony beside him, took the glass from his hand and sipped appreciatively. “I have a new game for you to play,” she breathed, sounding more Marilyn than M. “I have a feeling you’ll find this one simply adorable.”

    • Oh, I love this! I love the wordplay (I almost wrote worldplay, and that would be fitting, too). I sat up and took notice at Sol in June. I’m choosing to read this as true Ghostriders, although someone else can read it as “death faked, metaphors engaged”. Wouldn’t that be an interesting story to write? One where the reader is never quite sure if they are in reality or a magical place where the dead have power over the living? I love the ambiguity. Two stories for the price of one!

  3. This contribution makes practically no sense and it was a total struggle to get “afterworld” in there, but Esther Nectar just jumped out at me, so here we go.

    “Don’t panic, Sweetie, but there’s an adorable amateur over there I just have to take a nibble from.” My companion, the delectable Esther Nectar, looked over the equestrians and their mounts from the safety of the Afterworld Stud Farm paddock fence. Sitting on the fence was not allowed, but Esther, in her slinky dress and bearskin hat, was too delicious for officials to resist.

    “Don’t,” I pleaded. “We’re in public. You’ll be found out. It’ll be bad.”

    “Some of us are dreamers, and some are screamers,” she said, unrepentant.

    By dreamer, she meant me—the sideliner, She Who Waits and Worries. The screamer—well, we all knew who the screamer was.

    “Who?” I asked, with trepidation. “And how?”

    “Deceit, of course,” she said. “The vacant barn. Give him a little weed, he becomes my plaything.”

    I admired her determination, if not her methods.

    “You would toy with his affections?” I asked.

    “Life is nothing if not bittersweet,” she replied, hopping off the fence.

    Later, though, the amateur in question joined me at the paddock.

    “I didn’t hear any screaming,” I said.

    “No,” he said. “I’m not the screaming sort. I thought instead it would be fun to dream about the stars.”

    • Awwww! I’m a dreamer, not a screamer, and I love a good story where the good, shy girl gets the guy just by being her! And men on horses . . . god, I hate horses IRL, but there’s something about this trope which is very sexy in my brain. Yum!

    • Esther Nectar is fun, but I’m glad “I” got the guy. This story gave me the warm and fuzzies. Lovely way to start a rainy Saturday 🙂 .

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