Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Vanilla Ice Cream Day” (if you’re reading this on July 23th).  It’s also “National Peanut Butter and Chocolate Day”, which sounds like a pretty good combination for a milkshake. 

Personally, I’m holding out for “National Internet Service is Fully Restored Day”.  It has been a full week now of an internet that has been working for random 10-minute intervals here and there or just plain non-existent.  The “repair estimates” have alternated from “soon” to “sometime on Saturday.”

Thank goodness for my cell phone and for being able to work from the office instead of home–though that does mean I’ll have to actually wear shoes and something other than yoga pants.

Ah well, this too shall pass.

Other than wishing for internet service so I can go back to randomly Googling things, I plan to work on perfecting my mixed-drink skills and take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words after work today–though possibly not in that order.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

Hi there.  Welcome to Wednesday and another story short.

This week we’re continuing the story that started last week.  Detective Cassie is undercover at Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse trying to find out who is stirring up trouble in town. Just as she was about to get some information from Nicolai Papadopoulos, this happened:

Nicolai fell forward, crashing into her. She smacked her head into something as she landed on the ground, his dead-weight on top of her. Her last thought, as the darkness closed in was that this wasn’t quite the scenario she had in mind when she fantasized about getting closer to Nicolai.

And now for our next installment, which used the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint that included the words from the following list:  harpoon, confetti,, bubblegum, dalliance, anvil, witness, contradiction, ticking, riddle, incinerate, decode, and bluff.

I hope you enjoy it.

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The Saga Continues

“Get off me you big lug.” Cassie pushed at the beguiling testosterone based life-form currently pinning her to the ground. After a few tries she managed to shift him just enough to squirm free.

Once upright she tore off her dolphin mask, quickly regretting the sudden movement. Apparently Satan’s own blacksmith had been using her head for an anvil. “Ouch.” She gingerly felt her scalp. There was a sizable lump but, fortunately, no blood.

Cassie surveyed the scene. The earlier strange glow and big bang didn’t appear to have raised any alarm. Not surprising. The folks at Barnacle Bob’s were used to all kinds of unusual sounds. They probably considered it business as usual.

With dalliance off the agenda for the evening, she reached for the zipper of her costume. It went partway down then stuck fast. After a few unsuccessful tugs, she gave up and ripped the costume straight down the middle. She didn’t have time to deal with a recalcitrant zipper.

“Undressing for me? I guess this evening won’t be a total waste after all,” said a deep, far from innocent voice from the floor.

Cassie glared at the finally conscious Nicolai as she stripped off her costume and kicked it free. Sadly for him, she was fully dressed underneath

“If you’re done trying to incinerate me with your gaze, do you think you could give me a hand here?” Still flat on the floor, he was attempting to reach something on his back.

Cassie let go of her annoyance and focused on the scene in front of her. That’s when she noticed something sticking out of Nicolai’s back, just below his left shoulder blade. “Is that a . . . harpoon?”

“Or a spear. Hard to tell from this angle.” Nicolai glanced up at her. “I’m going to need your help to pull it out.”

“Pull it out?” Cassie crouched down next to him and took a closer look. “Well, I guess it doesn’t look like it is in too deep. Are you sure you don’t want to wait for me to call the paramedics though?”

“We don’t have time. Just do it.”

“Okay. If you insist. On the count of three. 1, 2, . .” She grasped the metal shaft in one hand, braced the other against his back, and pulled.

“Agh!”

“Hmm, that might have been in a little deeper than I thought,” she said as the barbed end came free.

“I’m going to bleed to death here,” he said faintly.

“Oh, don’t be a baby,” Cassie pressed the folded up fin from her costume against the bleeding. “It’s just a flesh wound. Look, it’s slowing down already.”

Her words of comfort fell on deaf ears. Nicolai was out cold.

Cassie shook her head. He looked fearless but swooned like an innocent at the sight of blood – she didn’t have time to ponder the Nicolai Contradiction. After quickly checking to make sure his pulse was strong and steady, she followed the line on the spear out through the door and down the hall.

Naturally there were no witnesses in sight. There was nothing but a treat bag full of bubblegum amidst a pile of glittering confetti at the top of the stairs. The attached note read “use this to keep your mouth busy so it doesn’t get into trouble.

No riddle to decode there. It screamed out Goody-Two-Shoes Gang. I should have known.They believed in the virtue of “good clean fun” and they weren’t opposed to getting their hands dirty to get rid of anything that didn’t follow their rules.

Maybe Nicolai and his brother were in the clear after all. The thought cheered her up immeasurably and had her envisioning sunrise perambulations on the beach, preferably after hot sweaty nights.

She was walking back to check on Nicolai when she belatedly noticed the ticking sound. Well, that can’t be good. Ticking generally meant an explosion wasn’t far behind. A sure way to put an end to playtime.

The bomb could be a bluff of course. The last time the squad had been called out the “bomb” turned out to be a vibrator wired to an old alarm clock. Cassie pushed her personal alarm button, alerting her police backup of the potential problem, while she located the source of the ticking – an elaborate flower arrangement on the console table by the elevator. Definitely not a trademark of the Goody Two Shoes Gang.

As she quickly walked back to her room she pulled the fire-alarm to get the others out of the building. Grabbing the again-conscious Nicolai by the hand she yanked him to his feet. “Honeymoon’s over Cupcake. We need to get out of here. Now.”

Nicolai didn’t need to be told twice. In seconds they were out the window and down the fire-escape. As soon as they hit the ground they sprinted away from the building, making it only a few yards before the explosion hit.

The giant head of the Barnacle Bob statue that stood at the entrance landed a few feet away, followed by various and sundry parts of what used to be the Bordello. And once again, Cassie found herself flat on her back with Nicolai on top of her. Her last conscious thought was still not quite the scenario I had in mind when fantasizing about getting closer to Nicolai.

Flashing lights and sirens filled the night air. So much for a simple undercover assignment.

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If you enjoyed that short and are hankering to see what others did with these same random words, head on over to the original post and check out the entries in the comments section.

Enjoy and Happy Writing!

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Spinach Day” (if you’re reading this on July 16th).  It’s also “National Corn Fritter Day”, which is not quite so healthy, but they definitely something I remember loving when we had them on “Fish Fridays” when I was a kid.   

It’s also both “World Snake Day” and “Guinea Pig Appreciation Day”.  I’m guessing it might be best to celebrate those separately, just to be on the safe side.  

Frankly, I’m holding out for “National Lay Around the House Reading and Watching Television Day,” but I haven’t been able to find that on any list.  Instead, what I’ve found is a ToDo list that never seems to get any shorter; probably because I keep ignoring it.

Today’s another regular work day for me, so there’s not likely to be a great deal of celebrating to do.  On the plus side, a number of my co-workers are off on vacation, so it is at least likely to be a relatively quiet day.  Our crazy weather has been quite chilly this week (the heater even kicked in one morning!), so whatever I do, I’m not likely to wind up sweaty.  Well, except during my time on the elliptical.  After that I plan to work on perfecting my Gin & Tonic skills and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

Hi there.  Welcome to Wednesday and another story short.

Today’s offering, which eventually evolved into a book, all started with a Friday Writing Sprint.  I’m now attempting to revise that book into some sort of reasonable shape, but it’s a challenge since the mystery can’t decide if it’s tongue-in-cheek or serious.  As you will see from the snippet below, there was nothing serious about how it all started.

So, without further ado, here is how Cassie and Nicoli first met at Barnacle Bob’s, based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, which included the words from the following list: salubrious, mythical, high-class, antique, glow, cosmic, costume, wholesome, photograph, barnacle, delightful, legendary, dolphin.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse

Cassie dug through the pile of shoes on the floor, searching for the just the right pair for tonight’s undercover assignment as the Dolphin Lady at Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse.

“Perfect,” she said, fishing a pair of green and blue sequined stilettos out from beneath a flip-flop and her old hiking boots. The shoes were just what she needed to complete her costume. She had fond memories of the last time she wore them, though her informer Snake would probably disagree since, in a pinch, the stilettos were detachable and lethal.

Though hardly a wholesome enterprise, Barnacle Bob’s was far from the least salubrious case Cassie had been on recently. She hadn’t exactly volunteered for tonight’s assignment. The costume fit, so the job was hers, simple as that. Better than being back at the precinct dealing with paperwork. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “World Kebab Day” (if you’re reading this on July 9th) as well as “National Sugar Cookie Day.”  Now if only there was something beverage-related on the list, you’d almost have a meal.  

Looking outside, it appears to be “Summer is Definitely Here” day.   After a few weeks of very temperate weather, Mother Nature has slowly been during up the heat these past few days.  Nothing like the blast-furnace temperatures that other places have been experiencing, but just enough to mark the end of some of the less hardy flowering potted plants that sit on my back deck. 

Apparently those “likes full sun” indicators on the pot labels were not completely accurate.  Time to move the remaining pots into the shade out under the trees for a bit and see how that goes.  I won’t be able to see them from my desk as I’m working (which is why they were on the deck), but at least they’ll still be alive.

Today’s a regular work day for me, with a dentist appointment this afternoon (ugh!), but somewhere along the line I definitely plan to spend some time on the elliptical and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

If this is Wednesday, then it must be time to share another story short.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading my way through a folder full of story shorts, written during the Friday Writing sprints–looking for laughs and also possible ideas for new projects.  Some of the sprint results were definite misses, but a few still manage to make me chuckle.

Today’s offering features an enterprising nanny and some troublesome employers.

So, without further ado, here is my short story based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, which included the prompt “Having poisoned the soup, a disgruntled nanny thwarts an assassination attempt“, and words from the following list:  corruption, severe, healer, aftermath, subsonic, photograph, memory, chamber, brainwash, furious, festival, autopsy, innocent, battle, zebra, panic.

I hope you enjoy it.

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The Perfect Nanny Handbook

Rule #14: Always leave a room in better condition than you found it. A messy room is the sign incompetence.

Frances tossed the handbook down on the table, successfully battling the urge to send it flying out the window, or better yet, directly into the shredder.

Obviously, the handbook author had never met the Smith Family, if that was in fact their real name. In the two months Frances had been acting as the combination housekeeper, cook, nanny, and Jane-of-all-trades, she had far bigger concerns than tidiness. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Anisette Day” (if you’re reading this on July 2nd), which seems like a pretty odd thing to have a national day for.  On the other hand, yesterday was “National Gingersnap Day,” so the bar isn’t that high.

According to Wikiedia, July 2nd is also”

“. . . the first day of the second half of the year, as well as the midpoint of a common year because there are 182 days before and 182 days after it in common years. . . “

So there you go; stuck in the middle.  If the first half of the year hasn’t been quite what you planned, you have the whole second half to straighten things out.

As for me, I’ll be enjoying 5 whole days off of work and doing my best to make them all “Don’t Check Work Email” days.  Although other parts of the country seem to be close to bursting into flame, I am lucky enough to be in an area that has been beautiful and temperate for the past week.  I’m hoping that continues, since my plans include repotting a few plants and removing some “volunteer” shrubs before they take over the back hillside.

Whatever I wind up doing with my time off work, I definitely plan to spend some time on the elliptical (ugh!) and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

As I mentioned last Wednesday, I’ve been looking back at the past a bit lately, digging out old stories and seeing if they can be resuscitated or reimagined.  I’ve also been reading my way through a folder full of story shorts, written during the Friday Writing sprints.  Some were definite misses and their pages could be best folded into paper airplanes, but a few others were amusing enough to keep.

I thought I’d share another one of my favorites today.

So, without further ado, here is my short story based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, which included the Loch Ness monster and the words: sun, sand, cabin, canoe, heat, melt, ice cream, floaties, bikini, raft, breeze, freckled, hat, campfire, lake, and towel.

Enjoy.

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Nigel vs. the Nephews

“No charades.”  Oh, kill me now.  Nigel Weatherby did his best to ignore the whine of disappointed voices and remained on the couch with his eyes closed against the midday sun, doing an excellent imitation of a boneless mass.

It was just an illusion though.  When he wasn’t draped over the sofa thwarting his nephews, Nigel was a championship swimmer, as well as a black belt and who knows what else.  He merely preferred to conserve energy for when it was absolutely necessary.

Charades in no way qualified as necessary. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Strawberry Parfait Day” (if you’re reading this on June 25th).  It’s also “National Catfish Day,” so if you fry up some catfish and have a strawberry parfait for dessert, you can celebrate two things at once.

If you’re looking to celebrate something non-food related, it’s also “National Take Your Dog to Work Day.”

“A celebration of the companionship between canine and human, National Take Your Dog to Work Day hopes to inspire others to adopt from shelters and humane societies.”

Those dog owners who are currently working from home, especially those who adopted a dog during the pandemic, should be able to celebrate with no trouble.

Personally, I’ll be celebrating “Ignoring the Things I Should Do and Reading Instead Day.”  I feel like I’ve earned the right to do that, after suffering through both a phone and a computer upgrade this week at work, and making it through with two fully functionally devices and only a small amount of angst.  

The garden may also have some demands on my time–how can those weeds grow so fast?  I swear the bamboo-shoot from the neighbors yard grew six-feet this week alone.  Rounding things off with some time on the elliptical and a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words sounds like a good plan.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

As I mentioned last Wednesday, I’ve been looking back at the past a bit lately, digging out old stories and seeing if they can be resuscitated or reimagined.  This week, those “digging in the past efforts’ were a direct result of a spate of technology upgrades.  There’s noting like having gigabytes of files to move around to make a person think “what is all this stuff and do I really need it?”

One of the things I found, misfiled in a folder entitled “receipts,” was a number of story shorts, written during the Friday Writing sprints.  Some of the shorts weren’t worth saving and took a one-way trip to the recycling folder, but a few others were amusing enough to keep.

I thought I’d share one of my favorites today.

So, without further ado, here is my short story based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, in which the main character has to deal with a difficult client, including the words: moonbeam, undersea, bulldog, entertain , lonesome, miserable, façade, ambush, bluntness, cynical, wealthy, detox, grill , chain, audience, injury

I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading