07 June 2014

07 June 2014

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The prompts are:
Ignore it, maybe it’ll go away
You’re losing your edge
Whining is unacceptable

Begin Writing
The prompts today seem negative and confrontational. I don’t think I like them when taken all together.

A single one of these could be great if mixed in with other prompts about smiles or rainbows but all three at once? Jeez, I’m gonna have to go home and take a nap or eat a cupcake; something, anything to lighten it up a bit.

What are the odds of these three prompts being chosen on the same day? Statistics can be manipulated to prove anything you want them to; so let’s examine this a little deeper. There are 50 prompts to choose from so one might think that the odds are 3 in 50 but they are, in reality a lot longer than that.

Those choosing the prompts are picking blind; they cannot relate the prompts one to another. This assumes a 1 in 50 factor that needs to be considered in our calculations.

Separate people choose each prompt and there are eight people here today. 8×50=400 so we must include another 1 in 400 factor. This brings the odds to one in 450 but wait, there’s more. There are three individual prompts so we have to multiply that by the odds, so far. 3×450 brings our chances to one in 1350. Pull in the constant of π, rounded to 3.14 for simplicity, takes the odds to (3.14×1350=4239) 1 in 4239, which must be multiplied by 52, number of meetings per year. For a grand total of

 1 in 220,428

 Those are the odds of getting these three particular prompts on a single day, at a single meeting. I suppose I should quit whining though. In general whining is not acceptable and at this rate it’ll be more than 4000 years before we get another set of prompts this bad. I’ll make sure not to attend that meeting.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.



17 May 2014: Book Bandits

17 May 2014

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It’s great to see so many of you out this morning and good that the weather is getting a bit more hospitable.  Don’t forget to tip your prompt master before you leave.


The prompts are:

  1. I’m just a businessman
  2. History is not a novel
  3. Hey, you can’t park here


Begin Writing
The judge slammed her gavel on the bench twice.  The staccato rapping sealed my fate.  She closed the file and handed it to the bailiff.  “Call the next case.” she said.

The big guy with the uniform clipped handcuffs around my wrists, put his hand on my shoulder and led me out the door at the side of the courtroom.

He said, “Sorry about this Mr. Wilson.  If it means anything, I agree with your argument.”

“That’s the thing, Doug.  It was not just an argument, I’m nothing but a businessman.  Locking me up is not going to stop the trade.  Someone else will just step in and fill the void left when I’m put away.  It’ll be someone meaner and smarter than me too.  I should have known better than to make the mistakes I did but history is not a novel so I didn’t read it.  And, because I didn’t read it I was unaware of the pitfalls and traps.  The next guy’ll know; and your job won’t be so easy.”

“You may be right, Mr. Wilson.  I can’t say”

Doug led me back to the holding cell in the basement of the courthouse and removed my handcuffs before he closed the door.  As the door slammed shut with a solid metallic clunk, he stuck his hand through the bars.  “Best of luck to you in there sir, watch your back.”

“Thanks, Doug.” I said and I shook his hand.

I turned and surveyed the cell.  Maybe 8 foot square with three masonry, or concrete, walls and bars facing onto the corridor.  There was a metal bench bolted to the floor that ran the length of the back wall.  For the time being, I had the place to myself so I lay down on the bench and listened to the sounds of the courthouse around me.

Another deputy was seated at a metal desk at the end of the hall.  I could hear him open a drawer and soon the sounds of a hand held video game could be heard.  Pings, whistles and explosions from the game almost drown out the tapping sounds of his thumbs on the controller.  My eyes closed and I relaxed.

I woke to someone tapping the bottom of my foot with a billy club.  It was the video game deputy.  “Lets go Mr. Wilson,” he said.  “Time to get you on the bus.”
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

10 May 2014

10 May 2014

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Today’s adventure with the Book Bandits – Missed ya Lisa.

The prompts are:

  1. Go ahead, what’s the worst that can happen
  2. Normal, I guess
  3. Will you take four?


Begin Writing
“How much do you want for that washer?” she asked.

“Five hundred dollars.”

“That seems a bit exorbitant since one of the settings is missing.  Will you take four?”

“What are you talking about? There’s no missing settings.”

“There sure is,” she shot back.  “Look at this dial.  The setting names have been worn down and one is completely missing.”

“Which one?”

“Normal, I guess.  I can make out ‘Delicate’ and ‘Heavy Duty’ so the missing one must be ‘Normal’ right?

“I’ll tell you one thing, you’re not normal.  This is a garage sale.  You buy used things here.  The machine works.  All the settings work.  I can write ‘Normal’ on the dial with a Sharpie if it helps.”

“If you’re going to graffiti the machine then I can only go three,” she said.

“Lady, if you’ll go away, I’ll let you have it for two fifty and, I’ll have my boys load it on your truck for you.”

“I don’t know,” she sighed, pursed her lips and looked like she was giving is serious consideration. “What if I get it home and it doesn’t work?” she asked.

“Bring it back,” he said, “I’ll refund your money.  Go ahead, what’s the worst that can happen?”

“Well, you could move,” she said.  “Is this a garage sale or a moving sale?  What if I try to bring it back and you’ve moved out of state?  What if you move to North Dakota? I don’t want to drive all the way to North Dakota just to return a faulty washing machine.”

“It’s not faulty.” he said.

“That’s what you say. But, there’s no ‘Normal’ here.  That concerns me.”

“Lady, do you want the machine or what?”

“Of course I want the machine.  I just think one-fifty is a bit steep, price wise.  I mean, it’s not normal, it’s covered with graffiti and I might have to drive to North Dakota if there are any service issues.  I’ll give you seventy-five if you throw in a bottle of fabric softener.”

“Is Downy OK?”
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

03 May 2014

03 May 2014

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This is the second of the overdue posts.

The prompts are:

  1. The warmth of a smile
  2. The wind was kickin’ at my house
  3. Picture Prompt found on the whiteboard in the meeting room



Begin Writing
It was windy – really windy.  The wind was kickin’ at my house pretty good.  Relentless.

Mid afternoon brought some respite from the gale so I ventured outside to see how the chickens were doing.  All but one of them was accounted for, safely tucked away in the hen house.  Only Noodle was missing.  I hoped she hadn’t blown away.

Noodle was a friendly bird.  She had assumed the role of ‘Mother Hen’ at my little egg factory. I call it an egg factory but in all honesty it was a small time operation.  I got eggs for my own consumption and enough to earn a bit of extra scratch peddling eggs to some of the neighbors.  I made enough money to buy chicken feed.  But if Noodle had been carried away by the storm it could potentially change the dynamics of the coop.  If ‘Mother Hen’ was missing it might interrupt the laying of the other birds.

I don’t have a graduate degree in chickenology gut I figured there might be a reason for me to worry.  I needed to find Noodle, no doubt about it.

I began by searching underneath and behind all the nearby bushes.  I came up empty so I broadened my search area and ventured outside the backyard fence.  There she was, in the truck patch.  Crouched between the lettuce and the radishes, sat Noodle.  She sat with a rabbit.  Was she protecting my produce? Was she keeping the pillaging bunny at bay?  Was she protecting the hare? Keeping him from being swept away by the storm?

As I pondered, the rabbit leaned over and nibbled a leaf of lettuce.  Noodle gave him a peck on the cheek and he seemed to smile.  I think Chicken Noodle had fallen in love.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

26 April 2014

26 April 2014

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I’ve been slacking.  I’ve been remiss. I have been neglecting to transcribe my “Book Bandit” posts to this blog.  The inspiration for this blog is the writers guild.  I have no excuse.  I am going to try and catch up today.  This is the first of the overdue posts.

The prompts are:

  1. If I could, I would write this in fire
  2. They were worn and tattered
  3. Traffic lights and toenails


Begin Writing
I pulled to the side of the road.  The cop pulled in behind me.  I watched in the mirror as he got out of his prowl car and unsnapped the strap on his holster.

He stayed close to the side of my car as he approached the drivers side window, “License and registration,” he said with his hand close to the grip of his pistol.

I leaned to the right and took out my wallet for my Drivers License and retrieved the registration from the pocket on the visor.  I held them out the window.

“Keep your hands on the wheel where I can see them.” the officer ordered and when I complied he glanced at the documents I had surrendered.

“Councilman?” he said, “I didn’t recognize you, sir.”

“That’s because your were staying behind me officer.” I said, ” You never looked at my face.”

“I did see your face when you blew through that red light councilman but, it was mostly obscured.  You apparently had your foot in your mouth.”

I laughed and I guess at that point he realized he had just cracked a joke.  I mean, it’s funny right? A politician with his foot in his mouth.  He blushed and leaned down to the window.

“I have to write you a ticket councilman, because I already called in the stop.  They expect a ticket and there’ll be hell to pay if I don’t.”

“I understand Officer…?”

“Templeton,” he said.

“I understand Officer Templeton.”

“I’m just gonna write you up for the traffic light violation.” Officer Templeton said, “But, I gotta ask, was your foot really in your mouth?  Didn’t you see the red light?  Anybody but you Councilman and I’d be writing this ticket in fire – you’d be looking at 7 – 10 years for traffic violations.  Pretty serious stuff.”

“I’m sorry, Sargent Templeton.  It was a perfect storm.  I caught my toe on a wire hanging under the dashboard and when I looked down to free it I noticed that all my toenails were worn and tattered.  I didn’t have anything to trim them with in the car so I was biting them.” My turn to blush.

He handed me a ticket for a red light violation.  He smiled and pointed down the street, “See that strip mall?”

“I do.”

“There’s a nail care shop in every strip mall these days.  You should find the one in there and get yourself a pedicure.  It’s a lot less embarrassing, and a lot less disgusting than getting pulled over for biting your own toenails while operating a moving vehicle.”

“Thanks, Lieutenant Templeton, I think there could be a promotion in this for you.  I’ll start the paperwork first thing Monday morning.”
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.

05 April 2014

05 April 2014

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The prompts are:

  1. Keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times
  2. Forty-five miles to go
  3. Irish twins

Begin Writing
“How much further?” I heard from the backseat, “I really have to pee!”

“Can you hold it a little longer dude? We have 45 miles to go to get to Grandmas.” I turned my head and looked in the back of the car. Joaquin, the oldest boy, was looking out the window while his younger brother’s legs were bouncing up and down; then slapping together rapidly. Justin was doing the pee pee dance with his seat belt fastened. I was actually kind of impressed.

“I can’t hold it dad,” he said with an edge of panic in his voice. “If you don’t want to stop I’ll just roll down the window! Please?”

I looked in the mirror, nobody behind us. The road, right now was deserted and traffic had been sparse since we got on the highway. “I don’t want you peeing out the window,” I said, “you have to keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times – all other body parts as well.” He laughed at this. “I’ll pull over and you can run into the bushes.”

“Hallelujah” sounded up from the back seat.

I nosed the car over to the shoulder and slowed down. Joaquin chimed in, “Hit a few potholes dad. Lets see if we can make him leak.” We all laughed at that. Justin moaned.

Before the car was completely stopped Justin had the door open. As soon as I was stopped he was streaking for a large creosote bush about 20 feet away. He ducked behind it and stayed there for what seemed a long time. I was about to go check on him when he came back around the bush, high tailin’ it to the car.

“I peed on a rattlesnake,” he said breathlessly as he slammed the car door and fastened his seat belt.

“Uh uh,” said Joaquin. “You did not.”

“Did so.”

“Did not… How big was it?”

“I don’t know, maybe four feet.”

“Really, did it rattle at you?”

“Course not, you dork. You think I’m dumb enough to pee on a rattler? What a doofus!”

Joaquin made a fist and drew his arm back.

“Easy boys,” I said and pulled back onto the road.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.


29 March 2014

29 March 2014

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The prompts are:

1. You’ll never get that out
2. Por siempre adios
3. Chewing gum and wearing headphones

Begin Writing
I bought new soap yesterday.

Whatever happened to soap that smelled like lavender, or bay rum, or Ireland, or even just soap?

For God’s sake, I had a choice of “Tsunami”, or “Breeze”, or “Sport”. I was unsure what a tsunami smelled like, and the bar was sealed in plastic so I was unable to preview that scent. I reached for “Breeze” but then I remembered what the breeze smelled like when it blew up from Tacoma. I was able to sniff the bar though and thought I’ll never get that smell out of the bathroom, it was that bad.

I chose “Sport” and I’m glad I did. I kinda halfway expected to exit the shower this morning smelling of gym socks but that didn’t happen. I’m not sure what sport I smelled like but after work today, I’m going back to that store and buying the rest of their stock of “Sport” soap. Here’s why…

I was late for work this morning.

I was late for personal reasons.

I showered, with my new “Sport” soap, shaved and returned to the bedroom to dress. I won’t go into detail but suffice it to say that my wife was suddenly “attracted” to me.

I was late for work.

I was in a great mood when I got to the office and boarded the lift for the 19th floor, where I work. We stopped at 5 and a beautiful young lady got on board. “Mmmm, someone smells like sport” she said and she leaned next to me and breathed deeply. I pried her off when we got to 19. Her phone number was written on the back of my hand.

I spent the rest of the day at my desk, in my office but the women I work with kept coming by and lingering outside my office door all day long. For the most part, they weren’t talking to each other, they would just stand there and breathe deeply.

Late in the afternoon, Carol and Roxanne were brave enough to come into my office.

“Hi Chuck,” Roxanne said. “Did you get your hair cut? It looks great. Something’s different about you but I can’t figure it out. What is it? New glasses?”

Carol piped up, “Some of us girls are going to McMurphy’s for drinks after work. Wanna join us?”
“I’ll take a rain check Carol, I have to go to the store and buy soap.”

“Sport” Soap. Who knew?
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.