Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Happy Friday all!  We appear to have reached the time of the year that confirms living on the west coast of the US, with the potential for earthquakes, has definite benefits over living on the east coast, with the potential for hurricanes.  News coverage here for the past few days has been all about Hurricane Florence and its path of potential destruction.  Although the firefighters on the west coast – which seems to have been on fire for ages – would no doubt appreciate a drenching of water, I’m glad Florence is far, far away from here.  Hopefully all of those in the path of the storm remain safe and Florence won’t have a lot of troublesome siblings following in her wake throughout the season.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . I mean back at the Day Job, it’s been a busy, busy week, as seems to be the norm lately, capped off with an early morning wake-up call at 3:45am to make a flight for a quick one-day meeting out of state.  Ugh!  Not at all my traditional wake-up time.

Fortunately, there is now a nice relaxing weekend on the horizon and I plan to make the best of it.  With September already halfway gone (how did that happen!), there will definitely be some writing involved, since I have goals to be met.  To get my mind away from current disasters and into a happy writing state, I think I’ll start by giving today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me?

For those of you working away on a story (whether a first draft or a polished version on its way to publication), we’d love to hear a bit – whether it’s a scene, a paragraph, or even a phrase that you are especially pleased with and would like to share. Seriously – feel free to share (thanks Jilly, for picking up the gauntlet and sharing last week).

If you don’t have a story in progress, or just want to work on something new, maybe today’s writing prompt will catch your creative fancy.  This month our story prompts are inspired by the Amazing Story Generator©.

Ready?

Here we go:

“On vacation for the first time in years, a drunken private detective is tormented by vengeful spirits.”

Feel free to include any (or all) of the following random words:

numskull       heartbroken         chaotic             atmosphere

luck                enrage                  bitter                revenge

strange          canyon                 guilty                diamond

boast              honeymoon         promised         coconut

Whether you’re sharing a bit of your current work or writing something fresh based on the writing prompt, we hope you’ll join us for today’s Story Time.

Happy writing to all!

13 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

  1. I loved this one! Here we go:

    The End of a Franchise

    “This is not the honeymoon you promised!” Furious George, the famed private detective, skipped the champagne flute and drank straight from the bottle. Damn, that was good. The wine was sweet and fresh, tender on her tongue and forgiving to her nose. At least on this vacation, her first in years, she would not be tormented by vengeful spirits. Her new husband might be a liar, a cheat, and a scoundrel, but he was no numskull sommelier.

    “Sweetheart,” Fast pleaded. “Angel. As luck would have it—”

    An enraged Furious picked up the coconut that graced the congratulatory fruit basket and pitched it at her guilty spouse. He ducked, and the coconut sailed out the open patio door, over the railing, and down into the canyon.

    “You gave my diamond to that harpy!” she said, hurling a bitter orange at his head. The generous fruit basket was providing unexpected consolation, although the orange missed its mark.

    “Yes, but I had to—”

    “And then you boasted about it!” She pitched a strange-looking red fruit after the bitter orange. The fruit gazed his ear and smashed on the stereo console behind him.

    “She was heartbroken! And—”

    She picked up a chaotic melon, ripe with atmosphere, and flung it in his direction with more force than accuracy. The action seemed to calm her raging temper.

    “Say no more,” she said with bruised dignity as the fruit smashed the mirror on the far wall. “I shall exact my revenge.”

    And with that, she stalked to the living room door, where they had, so many months before, etched their names in the woodwork. With the razor-sharp fruit knife, she excised their names from the paint.

    Fast and Furious were no more.

  2. Well, that went so dark that I barely dare post it, but . . . with nods to Dorothy Parker.

    It’s all the fault of that third bowl of pretty, pretty drinkies with the itty-bitty goldy fishies. Yasss, the only vengeful spirits here are tequila and whatever else they put in those drinks, yeah. Those fake ghosts can just fuck off, I say. So, where’s my gun? Oh yeah, I had to leave it because they wouldn’t let me take it on the plane. I wonder if I should go buy a new gun.

    And yeah, I told you Lionel, you can just fuck off. You heartbroken numskull. It’s not my fault you got killed. Nanshy, she didn’t want those surveillance pictures out. I told you to cut off all contact except through a lawyer, but noooooo. Had to go and tell her you forgave her, and she thought you were an intruder and shot you in the face. Nanshy, she really thought you were an intruder. Cried in court, I saw her. No winners there. Hey barkeep, where my new bowl of pretty fishies? No, when I said fuck the drinks, I did not mean stop serving them. That’s right, set her down here. Pretty, pretty fishies, let me slurp you up. You go tell my troubles to leave me alone.

    Hey, you, Suzy Q. I’m sorry baby. Sorry I couldn’t save you from your ex. He was bigger than me. Bigger than both of us put together. You knew after the honeymoon. You kneeeewwww, after the honeymooooon, that he was a gaslighting fool. Big boaster with the Big Lexus Dick Energy, but nothing to back it up with. We tried. We got the restraining order, but BLD couldn’t read, the big lunk. I revenged you, baby. Lil’ old me, five foot two, eyes of blue, got a big bad partner in, and sent his ass to jail for premeditated murder. Lucky he didn’t kill lil’ ol’ me as well. Lucky me. Hey barkeep, you got a drink with a coconut? It seems, here in this tropical paradise, with me ready for my fifth drink of the evening, that I should have something with a coconut. Does it come with more fish? No fish? An umbrella, you say? Sure, what the hell. Those fish aren’t doing me any good, anyway. They aren’t a damn bit of good. Umbrella might do the trick.

    Oh, Amelia! There you are. I knew you would be. Fourth drink finished, and there you are, right on time, another dead girl from my past. The umbrella didn’t do you much good at all, did it? I drink half this drink in your memory! Poke myself in the goddamn eye with the umbrella, and I hope it makes you feel better, dead girl. My first dead girl. Oh, god. I told you not to poke that cop in the balls with your umbrella. Aggravated assault, aggravated cop. Aggravated shoving in the back of the police car, with an aggravated bump on your head that turned out to be more than just a little lump. You bled out in the holding cell. He resigned from the force, and became a lousy drunk. A lousy, maudlin drunk, who used to call me at three in the morning, crying. We should all stop drinking, you know that? We should all just stop drinking. Just let me finish this drink, and I’m done. I drink this half in his memory. Oh, there you are, Jones. Glad you could make it to my crying party. You going to stab my brains with shards of guilt like these other bozos, or should I order up another drink, just for you? Barkeep, a shot of whiskey. Make it the cheap kind. Jones didn’t care by the end. Just a straight shot, something to put me to bed.

    Tell me, barkeep, where do you find a gun in this kind of tropical paradise? I just want one to take to bed with me, whisper little sweet nothings to it in the night before I pass out from all this booze. Ah, come on, now, barkeep. I didn’t mean nothing. Let me have that little whiskey, and I’ll be on my way. To bed, barkeeper, to bed. Yeah, I promise. Oh, you gonna call the bellboy and have him help me up to my room? That’s awful kind. Thass so terrbbly kind.

  3. Glad I wrote mine before I read yours, ladies. Great stuff today! Here goes:

    The sandstone canyon glowed like honey in the light of the setting sun. Will Harrison-Jones licked his parched lips and took another swig of bitter arak, which made his headache better or worse, he wasn’t sure which.

    He should have stayed in the swim-up bar, sipping overpriced hooch from a coconut and listening to sunburned businessmen boast to the heard-it-all-before waitresses. Instead, like a total numskull, he was deep in the desert at dusk, in search of a hundred year-old femme fatale.

    He solved mysteries, true. Cheating spouses were his stock-in-trade, also true, but not this sort. He didn’t even believe in the family curse. Great-Aunt Aurelia did, though, and she was his only surviving relative, so he’d taken the case pro bono.

    The path narrowed to a shadowy ravine barely as wide as his shoulders. Will’s teeth chattered as the temperature plummeted from sweltering to arctic. He kept putting one sandal doggedly in front of the other as bitter winds flayed every inch of exposed skin.

    Jooones. Jooones.” The woman’s voice was barely above a whisper, but it echoed eerily along the canyon walls. He walked grimly into the corridor of sound.

    Jooones. You promised.” She sounded devastated. Heartbroken, even. “But you left.

    “Not guilty,” he croaked. He choked down a slug of arak and tried again. “It wasn’t me. Great-Uncle Hubert died last week. His wife…widow…Aunt Aurora…sent me.”

    WIFE!

    The strange voice rose to a weeping wail and a chaotic storm of freezing droplets peppered him until he sank to his knees on the wet sand. Nice work, Jones. If ever there was a word guaranteed to enrage a jilted siren, wife would be it.

    Revenge…

    The atmosphere in the ravine stung his eyes. His throat froze. His lungs screamed as he filled them with the gelid mist.

    “Aunt Aurelia didn’t know,” he stuttered. “Not until she looked for his will and opened his safety deposit box.”

    The platinum chain ripped his skin as he fished under his shirt with fingers that had lost all feeling. He slipped it over his head and the ring it held slipped and slid along the fine links.

    “Aunt Aurelia says this must be yours.” His cupped hands shook as he held them out.

    Mine!” The mist swirled around him, lifting the chain higher and higher, letting the diamond swing until the blue fire sparking from it illuminated the smooth rocks like a mystical chandelier.

    Go in peace, Jones.

    The voice died away, the mist cleared, and the temperature rose, but the eerie blue diamond fire lit his way as he stumbled back along the narrow gully and out into the cool, starlit desert night.

  4. Late, but here’s my attempt at today’s prompt.

    —————————————

    How many fingers am I holding up, Mr. Danger?”

    “Okay, I get it,” Max said as he batted the offending hand away. “I’m drunk. It’s what people do on vacation and since I haven’t had one in years, I have a lot of lost time to make up for.” He leaned back in the butter-soft leather club chair and surveyed the chaotically cheerful atmosphere of the Hidden Island Canyon Resort lounge with a frown.“This place is like being trapped in some kind of lovers Noah’s ark.” He took a drink from the glass the bartender kept helpfully refilling and continued his perusal of the room. He might be drunk, but he was still a detective.

    His handler . . . agent . . . friend . . . whatever Josh was, tried to surreptitiously move the glass out of reach.

    “Knock it off, you numskull.” Max glared as he slapped Josh’s hand out of the way again.

    “I promised the station manager to make sure you stayed out of trouble.” He kept the this time unsaid. Memories of a recent string of bar-fights still vivid in his mind.

    “Good luck with that.” Max returned his glance to the couple in the booth in the far corner of the room. On their honeymoon, obviously. She had a diamond the size of a boulder glittering on her left hand and the two of them were wrapped around each other like boa constrictors. In a sarong tied low across her hips and a bikini top that looked like it might be made out of actual coconut halves, her curves were on full display to everyone around them.

    There’s not enough rum on the island to block out that image Max thought, unable to look away. Kill me now.

    “Hey, isn’t that . . .?” Josh stammered to a stop, a guilty flush staining his freckled cheekbones.

    “Satan’s Daughter? The bane of my existence? A living nightmare?” Max drank deeply, trying to drown the bitter revengeful feelings churning in his gut. Of all the places, she had to be here. Miss Delilah Defoe, or rather Mrs. Whoever she was now.

    Josh looked like he wished the floor would open up and swallow him whole or better yet, that he could magically transport Max to another galaxy and prevent the trouble that was sure to erupt.

    Max sympathized, really he did, but instead of doing the intelligent thing – putting down his glass and heading back to his room to sleep off what promised to be an epic hangover – he put down his glass, got to his feet, and walked over toward the happy couple with a steadiness he was far from feeling.

    He was just going to offer his congratulations, be the bigger man, but instead, “I see your heartbreak was short lived,” he said, once he reached the booth and caught her attention.

    Delilah looked him up like he was an unappealing insect and Max suppressed the urge to check to make sure his pants were zipped and he didn’t have food debris on his shirt. Her husband started to say something and she waved him off. “I’ve got this, honey.” Delilah stood and looked Max straight in the eye. “A deal is a deal. You sold your soul to those network gods for your chance to be more than some dime-a-dozen private eye. You knew what would happen when you took the deal.”

    “But, . . . “ Max started to say.

    “But what? You thought I’d just hang around in the background waiting until it was convenient for you to include me in your life? She stood there glaring, with her hands on her hips like one of those vengeful spirts of ancient myth.

    “No, I . . . “, he stammered, a little taken aback by the rage he heard simmering below her words.

    “Liar. That’s exactly what you thought, even though I told you what would happen if you signed that contract.” Delilah looked back over at her husband. “Well, you made your deal and I’ve made mine. I hope your Daring Detective show will keep you warm at night.” She looked him up and down again and then sat back down, dismissing him completely.

    Max just stood there like an idiot, trying to get his rum-soaked brain to put together a complete sentence. Then he gave up and decided to just smile, and walk away. How hard could that be? Yet his feet stood rooted to the ground.

    Delilah looked back in his direction. “You could at least offer your congratulations. Sydney and I are getting married tomorrow.”

    Tomorrow? “You’re not married yet?” Max felt a spurt of hope. Maybe it wasn’t too late after all. Surely running into Delilah before the wedding rather than after was some kind of sign, right? He flashed her one of his charming, cooked smiles. “That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.”

    Without waiting for a response, Max headed back to his own table, grabbed Josh by the arm, and towed him out of the room. “Come on youngster, let’s go get some dinner. We’ve got some bride-stealing plans to make.”

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