Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Wait . . .. what . . . it’s Friday?   Next thing you’ll tell me is that the kids have all gone back to school and football season is in full swing.

*checks calendar*

Huh, will you look at that.  Okay then, hold on a second while I go out and take the patriotic decorations off the porch and haul out the autumn wreath and pumpkins.

Great, now that that’s taken care of, it’s time to focus on all those unfinished things on the schedule to accomplish this year; specifically, the thousands of words, still needed on the current manuscript.  Far fewer words would be needed if I hadn’t spent so much time recently reading my way through my TBR list, exacerbated by just how easy it is to check out an eBook from the local library.

Today I’m determined to put down the book and make a serious attempt . . . oh look, squirrel! . . . just kidding.

Playing with the writing prompts on the last few Fridays has been such fun, not to mention reading the creative results that others have posted, that I think I’ll start my writing session with today’s story prompt.  Who knows, it may trigger an idea for my own story.

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.

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:

“After being left at the altar, a reformed hit man makes a deal with the devil.”

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

fugitive               mission                enforcer              captured

frigid                   deception            poisonous           confuse

boundary            charismatic         glutton                 hat

kingdom             gold                     dancer                  kitten

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!

9 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

  1. Here’s my attempt to get things started.

    —————————-

    Abandoned at the altar

    Well, technically not at the altar, since Max was at home when he learned about the change in plans. It was too bad though, he had been kind of looking forward to the, “if anyone knows any reason .. . “ part of the ceremony since, as many knew, there were a lot of reasons why he shouldn’t be slipping a gold band on the finger of any sweet, innocent starry-eyed maiden.

    Fortunately, none of those words applied to Lola “Kitten” DeVine. Yes, she was one of those DeVines; owners of the largest and oldest family winery in the Napa Valley and a magnet for trouble with a capital “T”.

    Max became involved with the family after Lola was kidnapped for the third time. If he’d have been called in the first time, there wouldn’t have been a second time, much less a third time, but the preferred problem solving method of charismatic patriarch of the family – William George Edward DeVine the 5th – was to throw money at it; a method guaranteed to result in repeat attempts.

    Max’s firm, Jackson Remediation (“Permanently taking care of life’s messiest problems”) was finally called in by Lola’s more practical mother, Bitsy, and the kidnappers were dealt with appropriately.

    Mission accomplished.

    The job had kept Max in pretty close contact with Lola – jaded debutante by day, exotic pole-dancer by night – and as was often the case, she’d seen him as a kind of savior and bonded to him like a baby duck.

    They dated for a couple months and Max wasn’t surprised when she popped the question. He was equally unsurprised when, the day before the wedding, he received the engagement ring back express delivery, along with her apologies.

    It was kind of like those movie-set romances. The actors spend a focused amount of time in close proximity, confusing familiarity with enduring affection. Once away from the set though, their natural personalities come out and things tend to fall apart.

    Max wasn’t particularly broken-hearted over the change of plans. Lola was a great girl – smart, funny, with killer curves – but he understood that being the wife of a hit-man wasn’t for everyone. Most girls he dated, once they got past his competent tall, dark, handsome appearance, freaked out when they really started thinking about his day job.

    Ironically, the job with the DeVine family was his swan song. The business had lost its charm a long time ago and he’d sold the company last month to a young enforcer friend of his, fresh out of the military and looking for a way to put his combat skills to good use.

    He was welcome to it.

    Unfortunately, with no job and no blushing new bride to keep him busy, Max suddenly had a lot of time on his hands.

    Too much time.

    He wasn’t in a hurry for a new job – he’d been working steadily for years and had a knack for making shrewd investments, so money wasn’t an issue. He’d do something else eventually. He wasn’t the type to sit around doing nothing, but he had bigger concerns to think about first.

    Like his personal life.

    “Remediation” wasn’t job that came with a lot of friendly co-workers and he spent a lot of time alone, engaged in deception, or hanging out with fugitives, criminals and other poisonous individuals. That was one of the reasons he’d said “yes” when Lola asked. She’d captured his attention, sure, but the it was the chance at a having normal life for a change that was too appealing to pass up.

    With Lola out of the picture however, it was time for Plan B, which Max put in motion on what should have been the first day of a tropical paradise honeymoon.

    He pulled into the parking lot of the business complex, double-checking to make sure he had the correct address. Without giving himself time to reconsider, he pocketed his keys and headed to Suite 2B, home of Madeline’s Matchmaking.

    By the time he left an hour later, after handing over his credit card and answering about a million questions that crossed the boundary between personal and invasive around question 69, he felt like he’d made a deal with the devil and he was seriously considering forgetting the whole thing, or at least drowning it in a 5th of well-aged scotch.

    He hadn’t even put his key in the ignition before his cell-phone pinged.

    Impressed, he opened the incoming message from Madeline and clicked on the attached image. When he saw the face looking back at him from beneath the brim of a polka-dotted floppy straw hat with a daisy nestled on one side he felt like he’d been punched in the chest, hit over the head with a ball-bat, and tossed off a cliff.

    There was nothing jaded, poisonous, or even vaguely negative about that face. It was innocent, open, and friendly, with a hint of mischief in the cornflower blue eyes.

    It was a face he could happily wake up to for the rest of his misbegotten life- a life he couldn’t wait to get started on.

    • Okay, apparently I wasn’t quite done with this little story. Here, then, is what happened next.

      —————-

      First Date

      Max wasn’t the kind of guy who let a lot of grass grow under his feet when a decision needed to be made. As a hit-man, make that former hit-man, it was a critical skill.

      Hesitation could be the difference between life and death.

      While arranging a date with the woman Madeline the Matchmaker thought was his one-true-love wasn’t quite a life or death matter, Max had lost no time calling Katie, the woman beneath the brim of that polka-dotted floppy straw hat with a daisy nestled on one side.

      Katie wasn’t one to let the grass grow under her feet either. When Max called to introduce himself she’d said, “I’m going to Luigi’s over on 6th for dinner tonight, why don’t you join me.”

      As simple as that, it was a date.

      They exchanged slightly awkward conversation over appetizers, found a number of things they had in common over salads, and by the time the entrées arrived, they were chatting like they’d known each other forever.

      The restaurant was packed, but over the din of a dozen conversations, one persistent, grating voice stood out. The woman it belonged to – middle-aged, peroxide hair, garish makeup, and clothes better suited to a much younger and more shapely individual – found fault with everything and made sure everyone knew about it.

      “It’s a wonder the manager doesn’t insist that she leave,” Max said, buttering a piece of French bread while he watched the spectacle.

      “That’s Councilwoman Sanderson,” Katie said, not bothering to give the woman a second glance. “She’s notorious for being a royal pain, but she wields a lot of power in this town and is vindictive as hell, so she gets away with it.”

      Max briefly regretted giving up his former profession – the Councilwoman was the kind of “messy problem” he’d happily take care of.

      While they were waiting for the dessert course, Katie excused herself and headed to the restroom, returning before her scoop of dolce de leche had a chance to consider melting.

      Max noticed the Councilwoman return to her seat shortly thereafter, explaining the reason the restaurant had seemed so peaceful there for a few minutes.

      What happened next was anything but peaceful. Just after the Councilwoman sat down, she began gasping for air and clutching her throat. Before anyone had a chance to even move, she collapsed on the ground and, after a final twitch, lay still as death.

      Someone called 911. Someone else called out “is there a doctor in the house?” and several other someones attempted to put what they’d learned in their CPR training to good use. It was obvious, however, that it was too late.

      The news would later report the cause of death as “anaphylactic shock” – caused by a previously unknown allergy to shellfish, or rather the iodine in shellfish. Few mourned her death.

      At the restaurant, Max and Katie were far enough from the scene that it made more sense for them to stay out of the way than to add to the confusion. Max couldn’t help noticing that Katie seemed completely disinterested in what was going on.

      She just casually kept eating her ice-cream with the same hint of mischief in her expression that had called to him when he first saw her picture.

      Though it made no sense, it didn’t take long for him to put two and two together.

      “You didn’t —“ he began.

      She looked at him with those guileless blue eyes and said nothing.

      “But you’re not —“ he tried again.

      She smiled at him then, with the kind of fond expression one might bestow on a well-liked but slightly slow pupil. “Why do you think Madeline thought we’d be perfect for each other?”

      Max could feel his plans for retirement and a normal life burst like a soap bubble and he couldn’t have cared less.

      There was only one thing left to say, so he said it. “Marry me.”

      And she did.

  2. Great job, Elizabeth! I also like how we both went for the name “Kitten.” 🙂 Here’s mine.

    An Eternal Love

    “I want my Kitten to love me again,” the enforcer said. He breathed in the poisonous air the devil seemed to have brought with him.

    “I’m confused,” the devil said, tipping back his hat. “Your kitten, although a toothsome delight to the eyes, is a gold-digging disaster. That’s who you want back?”

    “Yes,” the enforcer said. “We’re made for each other. But now she is a fugitive from my loving arms. I believe her attentions have been captured by the charismatic sheriff.”

    “What does she see in that gluttonous fool?”

    “I understand that he is quite the nimble dancer. Can you help me? Or not?” The enforcer fingered his belt, where he used to keep his Glock.

    “Your Kitten seems unable to keep her boundaries in sight,” the devil said.

    “The world is her oyster,” the enforcer said. “She’d give a kingdom for a horse.”

    “And she’s overly fond of the animal kingdom, I see.”

    The enforcer frowned, his face a mask of frigid disapproval.

    “This is not the time for levity,” he said.

    “Very well.” The devil narrowed his eyes in thought. “What will you trade if I make her love you again?”

    “Anything,” the enforcer said.

    Anything?”

    “Anything.”

    The devil, that master of deception, snapped his fingers. “Mission accomplished,” he said.

    Kitten burst into the room, her tight, short skirt cradling her lovely behind like the sugar coating on a peanut M&M. She threw herself into the devil’s arms.

    “I will always love only you,” she told the enforcer. “But the devil has my back.”

  3. I got started on this, and was going really well, when I suddenly had to leave . . . and it has sat on my computer for days! I’m going to try to tackle it tonight, but I’ll post the first two paragraphs, anyway. (And I’m another fan of girls named Kitten.)

    The dusk was deepening, and the light from the candles made the church into some sort of ancient castle, and we were lords and ladies of the kingdom, coming together in some old ritual. A wedding at sunset, with no electricity after the storm that had ripped through Florida last night.

    There was my bride, Kitten LaRue, coming down the aisle with a swish in her bustle like the dancer that she is. I admit, I was a little gunshy. Last time I was at the front of the church, my best man took off with my best girl, but this time, I had a guarantee. Matt Demon, the guy by my side, was not playing for her team, in every sense of the word. In fact, he whispered in my ear, “It’s not too late. You can back out.” He’d gripped my bicep, but I shook him off. Kitten was my destiny; I was almost grateful to Molly, because if she hadn’t jilted me at the altar, I would have never met Kitten at the reception-turned-return-to-bachelorhood party.

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