Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – What’s in the Trunk?

locked_trunkGetting back into the daily habit of writing has meant more than just putting words on the page; it has also meant a very tidy house.  When my characters don’t want to cooperate or when a scene just isn’t working and I don’t know quite how to fix it, a mindless activity like cleaning out a cupboard is often just the break I need.  I invariably wind up thinking about the story and, on occasion, I’ll run across some random item that triggers a story idea.  That happened just today when I was cleaning out the trunk of the car.  Of course it wasn’t an idea for the current story, but still, and idea is an idea.

Anyway, now that the car is devoid of debris, the kitchen junk drawer is a vision of organization, and the DVDs are in alphabetical order it’s time to get back to the computer and turn my attention to a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re cleaning, working, or just enjoying some beautiful fall weather, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  I’ll be doing my writing in my newly reorganized writing space after work.  Feel free to start on today’s words without me.


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 (or a whole mini-story) incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

All right, let’s get started. Here are today’s pseudo-random words – all things found during my recent cleaning endeavors.  I’m sure you can find a story hiding somewhere amongst them.

Screwdriver        book                  crayon                  battery

Tape                       pencil                headphones       bottle

Dice                        stapler              tire                        coin

Bracelet                t-shirt                receipt                 camera

Are you ready?  Go!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Back already?  Can’t wait to read what you’ve come up with.

Happy writing to all.

12 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – What’s in the Trunk?

  1. T-shirts and Tape

    For most it would be sad when your life comes down to a junk drawer, poured into a box, that you should’ve thrown out months ago. A few memories, and a lot of things that could be misconstrued or possibly used against you in a court of law. For Marlena it was good times and business-success-as-usual.

    Such is the life of a member of a t-shirt crew- humble, plain, and invisible, just like anyone wearing a t-shirt in a room full of people. Almost indistinguishable, except for the color, like a box of crayons, there were t-shirt specialists of every kind.

    Black and white, like dice – they handled casino and gambling issues.

    Red, like the coveted Swingline staplers – office and CEO clean up specialists.

    The grey battery and tire crew that handled anything mechanical, with wheels, that was ground-based.

    The infamous green pencil pushers. If you had money, they could find it, follow it, reallocate it and wreck a company or a country, all from a single receipt.

    A tourist book for Brussels, a coin from Cambodia, a beer bottle from Brasil, her missing right iHeadphone (wireless, what a pain!), a tennis bracelet taken from Tiffany’s which she secured to her left wrist, and one of those disposable wedding cameras… still undeveloped. She stepped on it, crushing so whatever images there were might remain unseen.

    Other than the Tiffany’s bracelet, all that remained after cleaning up and throwing out was her favorite Craftsman, flat-head screwdriver and a fairly new role of “classic silver” duct tape. Oh the stories those two items could tell, if they could talk. Good thing they couldn’t or she’d have to kiss them, then kill them.

    She smiled. A brilliant bit of her lone wolf nature shone in her sparkling girlish-grin, the one dangerous men and targets saw just before she took them down. She dropped her towel into the final “to go” box, pulled her favorite, somewhat faded blue-jeans on, laced up her black ballistic boots, and donned her chromatically adjustable t-shirt. The screwdriver found a back pocket spot, next to a burner phone, and the tape found a temporary spot of honor on her right wrist. Protecting her burnished-bronze eyes with some Ray Ban tortoise-shelled Wayfarers, she exited the building and dropped the final box in the dumpster. Whistling as she walked down the street, towards the park, on her way to handle the handlers in Washington D.C.

  2. Gosh, this was fun! Here’s mine.

    Marsha picked up the screwdriver and pried the back off her husband’s camera. The stupid coin had to be somewhere. The bastard had hidden it, along with his other assets. Well, he wasn’t getting away with it. She’d sue for the shirt off his back for what he’d done to her. The nerve of him! To say that he was tired of her!

    The back of the old single lens reflex—the space where the film rolls used to go—was empty. Dammit! And now the back of the camera was dented and wouldn’t close. She put a piece of tape across the camera back, which made the camera look okay if you didn’t look too closely, and shoved it to the back of the shelf. There. He’d never notice.

    Now what? She’d gone through his receipt book, so she knew he’d bought it. The irony was, when he first courted her he’d given her a charm bracelet of old pennies. He’d said it was to remind her that she was worth everything to him. Well, that turned out to be a lie. Her soon-to-be-ex, that neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, pinch-penny numismatic, spent more time with his display cases than he spent with her.

    She picked up the stapler and whacked the headphones to pieces, looking to see if he’d hidden the coin inside. She’d taken apart almost everything in the house, and there wasn’t much left to search. She’d looked in all the drawers and cabinets. She’d ripped up carpets and swept the top of shelves. She’d emptied first aid kits, mixing bowls, sewing kits, and tool boxes. She had broken into battery casings and poured out the contents of bottles. She had looked everywhere.

    No dice.

    She wiped her sweaty face on the edge of her grimy t-shirt. She could murder that man! That coin was worth millions!

    The front door opened, and Marsha whirled to face her husband. He stared in shock at the devastation of the house.

    Marsha grabbed her razor-sharp, gold-plated mechanical pencil, the one with the black precious resin barrel, inlaid with a mother-of-pearl emblem—the one that used the hi-polymer, .9 mm lead and had an individual serial number—and stabbed the lying, traitorous cheat through the heart.

    Because sometimes a crayon just wouldn’t do.

  3. “Nurse, hand me the screwdriver, please.”

    “Doctor, I really don’t think a screwdriver is an appropriate . . . .”

    “Hurry, Nurse, I don’t know how long this elephant will stay knocked out on the Ambien we gave her. We have to make do with the tools we have!”

    Nurse Nancy Sullivan sighed. It had been such a bizarre day . . . first, an escaped circus elephant had shambled into her garage, then sucked up a battery-operated pencil sharpener into her snout. The pain had driven the animal mad, and it had stamped flat the car (including the fuzzy dice), the winter tires, and half the Christmas decorations until Brad woke up and turned on her home security camera. With a lucky shot, he’d managed to fling a bottle’s worth of sleeping pills into the enraged beast’s mouth, and in half an hour, the elephant was sleeping restlessly amongst the debris.

    Brad was not a real doctor; he only played one on Tinder. But he took to the job with frightening enthusiasm. That’s how Nancy wound up in the garage on Sunday morning, dressed only in his t-shirt from the night before, helping him extract the stuff that had gotten up the elephant’s trunk.

    “I think these forceps would be gentler on the poor thing,” Nancy said.

    “Oh, all right,” Brad said. “Nurse, forceps.”

    Damn, he was really getting into the thing. The elephant, the forceps, even Nancy herself . . . were they all just objects in Brad’s little play on reality? She handed him the forceps anyway and was amazed.

    Brad deftly withdrew the pencil sharpener, then a crayon, a tape dispenser, a stapler, set of headphones, a mini-book (the kind you buy in stationery shops on a whim), the receipt for the mini-book, a Pez dispenser, a . . . .

    “My diamond bracelet! Oh, what was that doing in the garage? I’ve been looking for that for three months!” Nancy patted the elephant on the leg.

    Three coins and a Pez dispenser later, Brad declared the job done. There was a knock at the door just then. A growly, bear-like male voice said, “Animal control. Are you the nuts, er, folks who called in an elephant?”

    Nancy opened the garage door. “Yes, sir. Here she is.”

    The animal control officer and his assistants held butterfly nets like an American gothic triptych and stared at the supine elephant. “Damn, boss,” the blonde said. “There really was an elephant.” The brunette went back to get a stretcher, and together, the five of them hoisted the elephant into the van, taking especial care for the tender trunk. The elephant stirred, moaned, but did not wake. Brad handed them the Ambien bottle, and gave some quiet instructions to the blonde who would ride in the back with the elephant.

    “Well,” Nancy said. “For a random guy I met in a bar, you sure knew your way around an elephant. I’m impressed.”

    Brad grinned, and tugged at her T-shirt. “Thank you ma’am. I’d like to get this back, but maybe I could pick you up tomorrow night and get it then? You were the best nurse I’ve ever had.”

    Nancy grinned back, and they walked hand in hand to the house.

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