Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Traveler Edition

So many desserts, so little time.

Can you believe I almost forgot it was time for our Friday Writing Sprints?  In my defense, I was traveling this week which has my schedule all out of whack.   There’s nothing like getting up at oh-my-gosh-o’clock in the morning to catch an early flight and then spending hours and hours in a conference room to leave you a little disoriented.  Or maybe that’s just me.

Fortunately, along with crowded planes and hours of meetings, my trip also included a nice hotel and several hours of downtime while I waited for the rest of the attendees to arrive.

It also featured afternoon tea.

I have a definite fondness for afternoon tea – scones, little sandwiches,  decorative desserts – what’s not to like.  To be fair, the desserts, with the exception of the tiny crème brûlée that is hiding in the back by the macaroon in the photo above, had better looks than taste, but the scones and sandwiches and ambiance more than made up for it.

Now that I’m back home, back on schedule, and full of enough tea to float an armada it’s time to turn my attention to getting some words on the page.  Sounds like a round of Random Word Improv is in order.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re at home, away, or just wishing you were somewhere else, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  I have another full day of meetings to get through first, but once those are done I’ll be giving today’s words a try.  Hopefully you’ll find the time to play along as well.

Ready to write?

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.

Okay, here is today’s list of travel-themed random words:

crowd                   suitcase          map                menu

pillow                    lobby               delay              peanuts

turbulence          wait                 cocktail         pool

taxi                        passport        view                ticket

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.

5 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Traveler Edition

  1. I grabbed my suitcase, pillow, and map and headed to the lobby. It was 4 a.m., too early just yet to catch my taxi, but I was awake and decided not to wait to get moving—hell, a cocktail and peanuts might just be the right breakfast to face the turbulence of the day ahead of me. Why delay the inevitable, you know?
    When I stepped off the fetid elevator and walked past the damp pool corridor, I was shocked to see a crowd already gathered by the bar, but not a crowd exactly—just a mass of solitary bodies, each holding a menu, a passport, and a ticket in hand, some staring at that potential trifecta of success, some just staring blankly at a view to nowhere.
    And so my work week began.

  2. (-: What good timing! Can you guess what news stories I was browsing this morning? LOL. I think I’ll work a little more on this later, but here’s the beginning of the first draft, anyway.

    “Well, it’s all very well for them,” Anthony huffed. He waved his hand at the crowd mobbing the front desk. “THEY get to go home to penthouse apartments, and $3,000 is nothing but a minor glitch in the cashflow to THEM. I, on the other hand, I ate nothing but macaroni and cheese for the last month to buy the plane ticket, and I don’t know how I’m going to cover my credit card bill when I get home. Three thousand dollars is a fortune to me.”

    Suzanne sighed and kicked her heels against her suitcase. No chairs left in the lobby; in fact, they were lucky to find a little corner behind the potted plants that wasn’t covered in sleeping bags. Not only was this the third time that Anthony had trotted out the same rant, but she was in exactly the same position. They shared a rat-infested closet in New York, and had come out to the Exhume Festival in order to make their fortunes, vlogging and making connections with the happy concert-goers by the pool. Instead, the whole party had turned into a disaster.

    The luxury accommodations on Fyer Island had turned out to be tents from the hurricane relief effort in Haiti.

    The promised gourmet catering? Cheese sandwiches on wholegrain bread. Suzanne appreciated the effort – someone had obviously taken time to fly in wholegrain health bread from the mainland that was, amazingly, as soft as a pillow. It pained her to see the spoiled rich kids throw it in the trash. “We were promised sushi, prepared by Jiro. I can’t eat this crap. Where’s the sushi?” That was last night. Today, there’d been nothing at all, and the trash cans were overfilling with other refuse. Whoever was in charge had underestimated the number of working portable potties a concert crowd of 10,000 would need, as well.

    Two hours ago, they’d shared the last packet of cocktail nuts they’d gotten on the plane in. Suzanne heard one of the hotel’s staff mutter to another that the kitchen was bare; they’d had to fight off a group of young men from a certain advertising firm who had organized enough to invade the kitchen and carry off all the scallops. “They’ll get theirs,” the mustached one growled to the other. “Chef said they were to be thrown out, anyway. Bad scallops. Still, keep an eye out for anyone who heads toward the restaurant. Tell them we’re closed.”

    Suzanne had to get out. “I’m going for a walk on the beach.”

    “Do what you want. We’re not going to be able to leave here for another three days. I’m going to sleep.” Anthony put his head on his own suitcase, and ruthless shoved hers into the potted palm on the left, which toppled over, and fell on him. Suzanne picked up her suitcase and left him spluttering under the dirt and leaves.

    Her batteries were all dying, so she didn’t film the scene outside. The bright, blue Caribbean sky was balmy and the breeze was perfectly fresh, but despite the weather, the people underneath that sky were wailing in misery. A woman with a Birkin bag was cursing at the taxi driver. “What do you mean, you don’t have the gas to take me to the airport? I don’t care if you’ve been shuttling people all night long. Go get some gas, then come right back and take me to the airport!” The driver rolled up his window.

    A group of men stumbled out of a bar. “Hey, pretty girl, where you going?” one of them said. Suzanne picked up the pace, and left their catcalls behind in a few minutes. She turned a corner, and there was a staircase to the beach, below. Here, too, hundreds of people camping on their suitcases, using makeshift towels to create sunshades. They mostly ignored her as she trudged down the coastline. She just wanted to find a quiet spot where she could take out her notebook, and write down all that she saw. She stopped from time to time, taking pictures. At least she had enough battery life for that. She remembered reading something in junior high school, about people stranded on a desert island. And her teacher had said something like it only took three days of empty bellies to turn civilized people into beasts.

    There was a beautiful girl in the doorway of one of the last tents on the beach, her mascara horribly smudged, but the evening sun shining in her hair and making her look like a deranged angel. Suzanne stopped and took a picture. “Get that fucking camera out of my face,” the girl snarled, all of her unbearably white teeth gleaming in her dirty face, turning her into some sort of animal. Suzanne scurried off.

    She should head back to the hotel, before it got dark, she thought. But last night had been full of terror – security officers bustling them around from station to station, and she’d heard awful rumors in the morning that some of the officers had demanded bribes and “gifts”. She couldn’t afford to give them her camera or her phone. Her whole life was in her phone, and now it seemed that her whole career was in the pictures in her camera. She remembered camping on the shores of the Great Lakes as a kid in Michigan. Surely, things couldn’t be much harder here, on an island paradise? The tourists were lousy, but the island itself, once one got past the lack of electrical outlets, food and water, was very beautiful. She walked another two miles down the shoreline, and came upon a shack that seemed empty. She went in just as the sun was setting.

    “Excuse me, ma’am, you shouldn’t be out here.” It was a manly voice with a southern accent, not threatening or growly, but calm and just stating a fact.

    Suzanne gulped. There was a boat between her and the man, and she really didn’t want to walk back to town in the dark. “You probably shouldn’t be out here, either. Is this your shack?”

    “Naw, not my shack. I’m just squatting in it until my assistant gets my flights in order. Couldn’t stand all the whining going on in the hotel, so I came out here to get some peace and quiet. If you can be peaceful and quiet, I might let you stay.”

    “That’s all I want, too. You just stay on your side of the shack, and you won’t hear a peep out of me.” Asshole. Sounded like a conquistador, staking his claim on this little shack as if it was his divine right. Probably a rich bastard who wasn’t used to sharing. Well, he’d share tonight, by god.

    • Nice job, Michaeline. I hope you get a chance to let us all know what happens next. Today’s news was definitely a good match for this set of words.

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