OLWG · writing

OLWG# 188- Magic

Written for OLWG#188

Exploring the stalls and barrows I came across a crone offering pastries home baked

The flaky crust and coarse sugar dusting of an apple-centric tart intrigued me

In my pocket I found ₡200 and I held it out pointing to my choice

The old woman presented me my prize and waved away the crumpled bills I held

I bowed in thanks

I took a bite

Closed my eyes to savour the flavour and felt something happen

Something that had never happened before

Not without the aid of codeine or cleaning products

I felt my hair grow

I opened my eyes and the hag was holding up a mirror

My reflection showed a younger me

Long red hair gone the grey



My eyes widened amazed

Did this I pointed at the apple tart

Do that I pointed at myself in the mirror

The gammer nodded and reached for the tart as she lowered the looking glass

I pulled the pastry back

She shook her finger at me like a primary school teacher and held out her hand

Reluctantly, I returned it as she demanded

She smiled at me

I smiled back

She waved me away

I turned to leave

Wait I blurted your cake made me younger

“It did,” she said

And then she was gone

This week’s prompts were:

  1. the magic of your wares
  2. they did
  3. it’s what I do between the bars
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 187- Spontaneous Combustion; No Time to Scream

Written for OLWG#187

None of Robert Raynott’s friends or neighbours had heard from him in weeks. His elderly neighbour, up the lane, had called the local police for a welfare check after she had been unable to raise him either by knocking on his door or ringing his cell. Officers found his remains in the kitchen.

When he caught fire and died, at his home in Derby; it marked the end of the Raynott family name. Robert had been preceded in death by his older brother, Richard, and his father, Patrick. The two elder Raynotts had been drivers. They were killed in an accident on the M40 many years prior.

Evidence gathered at the scene, and testimony from the coroner confirmed that the fire had been fast and intense. The wooden chair seat on which he had perched was scorched but not burned. Both feet were intact as were his boots. The right leg, below the knee, remained, although cauterized at the end. The rest of Mr Raynott was little more than a pile of ash.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. pray for them
  2. there was no time
  3. his office phone was ringing
The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #1- Allegory

Prince Preston set his Daughter, Princess Imogen, on the saddle in front of him. “Today’s a big day for you, Immy,” he said, “Today we set out on a quest for the monsters. I need to introduce you to them one by one, just as my father did for me when I was your age.”

“Monster’s, Dad? Should I be frightened?”

“Not at all, Princess for the most part, the monsters are our friends. They protect our kingdom from foreign invaders and ensure that the press reports only the truth.”

The pair set off with a full entourage including; soldiers, cooks, nannies, cartographers, fools, and other consorts. Prince Parson’s plan was to head North first, then work around in an anti-clockwise direction. He would introduce Imogen to each of the monsters who patrolled the perimeters of the kingdom.

These included Persephone to the North, Germsnake in the West, Trancemouth in the South, and The Donald. The Donald who is ‘Keeper of the Eastern Purlieus of the Kingdom of Hoi Polloi.’ During the journey, Prince Presley regaled Imogen with tales and stories of the monsters.

“I expect that first, we will encounter Persophone,” he told her, “She is a dreadful and terrifying green-skinned being, but she has a gentle soul. Most imposing, she is taller than a tree, and when opening her mouth to roar she reveals hundreds of long razor sharp teeth used to slice our enemies to ribbons. It’s been aeons since anyone attempted to invade Hoi Polloi from the north. She likes kittens and could eat six score in a single bite. She’ll like you, I’m certain,” and she did. Persophone and Imogen got along famously and even built a treehouse where they could take tea.

“Next we will find Germsnake, in the west. When I was a lad, I used to sneak away from the castle. I would come to play with Germsnake. He has always been my favourite. As his name implies, he is a serpent. A five headed serpent whose bite is laced with deadly venom and whose scales are coloured a mottled brown and ecru. I would trust him with my life. I would trust him with your life. In the wars of Oh-Four, I watched him single-handedly repel 10,000 invaders from what used to be the Kingdom of Texas that lay along our Western border, but after Oh-Four Texas was annexed by Hoi Polloi.”

Germsnake was smitten by the princess and immediately asked her father, Prince Pomeroy, for her hand in marriage; but the prince said that she was too young. Germsnake vowed to try again in a few years.

“Trancemouth is the third monster who guards the Southern frontier. She is a vixen, a beautiful maiden with coffee coloured skin who used to lure sailors onto the rocks before coming to work for my father, King Kenny the Just. She can hypnotize our enemies with the sound of her voice and tell stories to entrance all listeners. She reasons with invaders and convinces them of the folly of war with Hoi Polloi. She is also fond of fruitcake. In fact, last year she presented your mother and me with a very large rum soaked fruitcake for our Christmas.”

“We never ate that cake, Da.” Princess Imogen pointed out.

“Right you are, girl,” he answered her as he poked the dimple that was centred in her chin. “And, we never will. Fruitcake is vile and disgusting. We will re-gift that this Christmas.”

After a polite and cordial visit, Pumpernickel and Imogen left the company of Trancemouth and headed towards the East to meet The Donald.

As they travelled Pantomine told his daughter about the final monster, “The Donald is the most frightening of all the monsters. He surrounds himself with minions who do his bidding and praise him. He is covered with an orange outer wrapping, that one must suppose is skin, and has hair that even wise men are unable to explain. He cannot be trusted, but he can be bought. He is the one to whom we will re-gift the fruitcake because he likes that kind of stuff. We hope that it will keep him pacified for at least another month. I shudder to think of what might happen if it doesn’t work. Then I remember the other three faithful monsters. They who serve the people of Hoi Polloi and seem to posses a genuine affection for you. I believe that, if necessary, the good people of Hoi Polloi, our three trusted protectors, and our armies could defeat him; but it would not be an easy battle. Never allow yourself to be caught alone in the company of The Donald.”

Author’s Note: The work above is a slightly reworked version of a post I wrote several years ago. In these days it seems appropriate. Does it count as allegorical, Ms Rose?

This week’s prompt:

Literary devices highlight important concepts in a text, strengthen the narrative, and help readers connect to the characters and themes. Some might work on an intellectual level, while others have a more emotional effect. They may also work to improve the flow and pacing of your writing.

Use Allegory in your story, character sketch or poem.

(from reedsy.com): In an allegorical story, things represent more than they appear to on the surface. Many children’s fables, such as “The Tortoise and the Hare,” are simple allegories about morality — but allegories can also be dark, complex, and controversial. Example: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell is a commentary on the events leading up to Stalin’s rise and the formation of the Soviet Union.

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 186- Three Guys Walk Into a Bar

Written for OLWG#186

Patrick and Pete are in their local sippin’ on pints. There’s a couple ‘a fellas tossing arrows at the back. Mary’s workin’ the bar. It’s quiet ‘cept for Van Morrison softly singing about snow in someplace called San Anselmo over the speaker mounted high in the corner near the front.

Patrick says to Pete, “Pete, didja hear the one ‘bout the three guys? An Englishman, an Irishman and a Poet walk into a bar …”

“That’s only two.”

“Whatcha mean, that’s only two?”

“Think ya heard me Pat. I said that’s only two.”

“Two what?”

“Two guys.”

“No, it’s three. An Englishman is one. An Irishman is two, and the Poet; well the Poet is the third. Right?”

“Nah, the Poet is the Irishman. I never met an Irishman who wasn’t a Poet. Have you, Pat?”

Patrick watches Mary leanin’ on the bar for a couple minutes. The neon light flashing on and off through the window her heavy breasts resting cross her forearm Then he looks at his beer for a time.

“That queers the whole joke then. I can’t tell the joke if only two guys walk into the bar.”

“Change it up then.” Pete says.


“Maybe make ‘em an Englishman, a Poet, and a Mexican? Or a Swede? How ‘bout a ‘Merican?”

Pete hears the thunk of a dart hitting the board in the back. He turns his attention to Mary as she pushes a stray wisp of curly red hair behind her ear. Catchin’ her eye he points at his nearly empty pot, then at Pat’s. She straightens up and walks over as the boys finish their beers.

Mary watches Patrick gulping down the dregs in his glass, clears her throat and says, “Don’t matter where they’re from, Pat.”

“Ah, Mary; you don’t know what ye’re talkin’ ‘bout.”

“They could be from anywhere! They’s jist three guys. Jist three guys.” She scoops up the empty glasses and turns to go fill them.

Pat shrugs on his coat and is shuffling towards the door. Mary turns just as he pulls the door open, two pints of beer in her hands.

“Pat,” she warbles, “where ya goin’? I gotcher drink right here.”

He pulls his cap on his head and walks out to the street.

“There goes the poet, then.” Says Pete.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. girls lit by neon
  2. don’t pray for me
  3. An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Poet
The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux 11- Jack

I haven’t seen Jack in person since we were shipmates, homeported together in Pearl. When I picture him in my mind’s eye I see a big guy with broad shoulders, bear sized hands, dark brown hair and a thick full beard. He wears dungarees and has a 36” pipe wrench resting on his shoulder. Jack was probably too tall to be comfortable on the boat, with it’s low overheads and short racks. He never complained though.

I saw him on the facebook the other day. He’s still big, has less hair than he used to, and his beard is now grey. Good to know he’s still doing well. And, he has grandkids. I’m not sure how many, but I saw a photo of one young granddaughter. At the top of his page, he is pictured sitting in a small chair, at a small round wooden table, his feet on the ground and his knees at about the same height as his ears. A sparkling tiara perches atop his head and a young girl holds his hand as she busily paints his fingernails with a light coloured lavender polish.

There is a tiny tea service on the table. Jack and his granddaughter are both beaming; they’re having so much fun together. I’ve seen lighthouses on the Oregon coast that don’t shine that brightly.

This week’s prompt:

    “The apparel oft proclaims the man” – Wm. Shakespeare (Hamlet)

    “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today,

    when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” —Miuccia Prada

    “I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world.” —Bette Midler

Write a fashion related character story. Here are some ideas to use, or to get you thinking:


    Her first high heels or his first suit.

    “That guy” in the ruffled tuxedo shirt and powder blue tails.

    Uniform vs. “civies”.

    The time the kids dressed and made up dad, or a pet.

    A character’s clothing choice and how differently they feel, how they might change if they are made to make another choice.

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 185- The Old Victorian

Written for OLWG#185

After that last house, my wife, Alicia, pulled the realtor aside, “Jessica,” she began gently, “I think Ed and I are going to have to find another agent. This arrangement with you doesn’t seem to be working.” She paused and studied the carefully arranged face of the young Citadel Partners representative. Only a slight quivering of Jessica’s lower lip gave away any emotion.

Quickly re-gathering Jessica answered, “Why? Is something the matter, Alicia?”

“I believe so, yes. Every house you have shown us these last few days has been well past the ‘Sell By’ date.” Alicia pivoted her shoulders around and gestured at the old Victorian behind us, “I mean, look at this Jessica. The siding is falling off; the house needs a new roof, new paint; the screens on the porch have all rotted in the sun. It looks like the garden hasn’t been tended or cared for in decades. There was mouse poop all over the Formica countertops in the kitchen, and I don’t even want to guess what that stuff was in the upstairs bathroom.”

I was paying close attention while pretending a keen interest in a good-sized crow perched on the picket fence.

“Well, I told you it was a bit of a fixer-upper.” Jessica looked like she was ready to cry.

Alicia changed her tactics, “Jessica, when we first spoke, Ed and I told you we had a budget of around 1.6 million dollars.”

Jessica nodded her head and wiped the corner of her eye with the back of her hand.

“And, this one is only 1.45,” Jessica squeaked.

I could almost see the lightbulb come on over Alicia’s head, “You need this commission, don’t you?” she asked.

Jessica nodded her head and looked down at the cracked sidewalk where a dandelion peeked through.

“Okay, listen up, Jessica. Ed and I will stick with you. We’d like to help, but you gotta show me something better. You need to show us something better. We don’t need anything grand or palatial. Just show us something more move-in-ready. Can you do that?”

Jessica nodded again, “I’ll take you guys back to the hotel and do some more research this afternoon. In the morning, I’ll collect you early, and we can have another go.”

Alicia smiled, “Not too early though; okay Jessica?”

“Yes ma’am.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. needs more salt
  2. past the “Sell By” date
  3. show me something better
The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux 10- High School, Senior Year, Debate Team, State Finals

Emily, Madison, Ashley, Hannah, and Jacob were seated together. Emily, Ashley, and Madison were the stars. Hannah and Jacob were alternates. They were all five prepping for extemporaneous motions and were about twenty-five minutes in when Hannah first noticed the problem.

“Ah, jeeze, Jacob,” she screwed up her face, “Was that you? That’s just nasty. It smells horrible, and it really makes my eyes burn.”

Jacob did not reply he just kept fiddling with his key ring, trying to look casual.

Picture prompt time! The instructions were to select one or all 3 of the image options (this was my choice):

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 184- Confusing

Written for OLWG#184

Brian sat in the third row along the windows. He was sort of ‘half listening’ to the boresome Mr Chesboro discuss the impact of individual colonial militias against the British in the early days of the American Revolution. His attention had diverted from revolution by a murder of crows on the lawn in front of the school.

Danny Parr sat one seat closer to the front of the class, and one row over. Brian turned his attention from the birds to the width of Danny’s shoulders and his narrow hips. He knew that Danny had no trouble attracting girls. Maybe, Brian thought, he should start working out. Maybe he could sculpt himself to look like Danny Parr so that he could attract girls too. He might even be able to attract the attention of Danny Parr. He knew that he should want to attract the attention of girls. Girls like Linda Baldwin, or Amy Juarez. Girls who were popular and had hourglass figures. Sultry girls, sexy girls, with shiny hair and damp lips, but honestly he found himself more attracted to Danny Parr.

The whole situation was confusing. Brian knew that his parents would understand if he could gather the nerve to talk with them about it. After all, his dad had married Jim the day after his divorce finalized. Mom spent a lot of weekends away with her girlfriends and came home with stories of shopping trips and visits to museums. Uh-huh…

This week’s prompts were:

  1. prosaic
  2. labourious
  3. boresome