Imogene’s Flight

OLWG #1 – The prompts are:

  1. Miss Wilson did her best to hush the class
  2. But that’s not what it said
  3. The cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown

Imogene risked a look over her shoulder as she scurried down the street, the pavement cold on her bare feet; her eyes were wild and her shock of curly blue hair untamed, manic. A cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown. The gown that she could not hold closed and continue to move as quickly as she felt she needed to.  She needed to look like she did this every day. She needed to appear as if nothing was out of the ordinary, she needed to blend in; but she was clipping down the street wearing nothing but a pastel blue hospital garment that was tied only at her neck in the back.

How do you make that look normal?”

She thought that she had been lucky to get away from the infirmary at all. She had heard them coming and moved when they began whispering outside her door. She hid behind it; and when they came in, with weapons drawn, she had managed to slip out the door, unseen, and down the passageway to the exit stairs.

Now she was on the boulevard, moving towards 32nd Street, against the flow of pedestrian commuters emerging from the subway exits. Her attire assured that she stuck out like a sore thumb.

She had to get inside. She had to find clothes. She didn’t have much time before they would be on her again so; she ducked down a narrow alleyway and through the open kitchen door of a diner. Could she find clothes here?

“Probably not,” She thought to herself, “but at least it gets me off the street, out of the open.”

Someone was coming from the front and making no attempt at stealth, Imogene picked up a knife from the prep counter and crouched low. The knife was a prop, she wouldn’t be able to use it and she knew this, but if she could scare someone enough to give her their clothes? Well?…

Five minutes later, wearing an ill-fitting black suit and a white button down shirt she left the diner. She still had no underwear, but that was a little less obvious now. She tugged a purloined watch cap down to cover her unruly hair. She was still barefoot and stood out, but maybe not as much as she had before.

“The waterfront,” she thought to herself, “that was where this all began. I need to go back there if I ever want my life back.” She took a left on Ocean Street and turned up her collar.

Time’s up – 27 minutes (I cheated to get that last short paragraph in). No editing – this is raw and not very pretty. It could be the germ of an idea that I might develop later though.


Novich Technologies – TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #28


I shook my head as she shook my hand. I must have gotten a puzzled or confused look on my face.

“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Jensen?” she asked.

“Oh, there’s no problem,” I replied, “It’s just that you seem very familiar to me somehow. Are you sure this is the first time we’ve met?”

“I’m certain,” she responded, “Perhaps we knew one another in a previous life!” She smiled, then she laughed and her entourage laughed along with her. She was younger than I had expected and decidedly more beautiful.

I led them into the conference room where my team was gathered around the table waiting. This meeting could be the one that finally put Peter Jensen Advertising on the map.

Introductions were made all around, business cards were exchanged. I studied her card.

Ana Petroff
President, CEO
Novich Technologies

I knew everything there was to know about Ana Petroff. I had studied a long time for this meeting. She looked younger than the photos I had seen and I commented on it.

“You may have been looking at photos of my mother, we share the same name. I’m quite protective of my privacy so I’m pretty careful to keep my photos off the internet but my parents have not been so lucky. I’ve been told that I look a lot like her.” Her accent was quite slight, yet very musical. I thought I could listen to her speak forever.

Her father, I knew, had been Sasha Petroff, a popular Russian Cosmonaut. Always in the public eye as he traveled the world marketing and “ambassadoring” for the Soviet Space Program.

Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks. She was that girl from the West View.

The West View is a luxury apartment complex, situated directly across the river from my house. For years I had been spying on the residents of West View with the telescope I kept set up in my bedroom window.

Ana Petroff had moved into the West View about six months ago and had captivated my attention since I first noticed her. She had floor to ceiling bedroom windows that offered a spectacular river view. She liked to stand naked in her window to bathe in the morning sunlight, and watch the river traffic. I knew because I liked to stand in my window and watch her through my telescope.

I grinned and thought I suddenly know a whole lot more about Ana Petroff than I did just seconds ago.

What a perv, I am! I thought to myself. Then immediately, I thought, how much that sounded like something my mother would say. Something she would say right before she sent me to my room and grounded me for life. My smile broadened.

“Well, let’s get started, shall we?” I suggested, “There’s coffee and pastries on the sideboard. Please help yourselves.”

Step away from the keyboard. Your 25 minutes are up. – No editing other than to place the quotes around “ambassadoring”. I’m pretty sure I just made that word up.


OLWG – DelMonte



DelMonte’s spurs jingled, and dust billowed from his boots, as he pushed through the swinging door. He paused and surveyed the room, looking for any possible threat and when he was satisfied he made his way to the bar. He fumbled a bit with his duster as he pushed it back to ensure easy access to the ivory handled six-shooter he wore strapped to his leg. There was supposed to be a button back here somewhere that would keep it back and out of the way. That would keep his gun handle clear. When he finally found it he worked it through the button hole, shook his shoulders to ensure that it held and touched his piece, for luck.

The bartender hovered near, eager to attend but not too close. You never knew what would set off a man like DelMonte, gunslingers can be a touchy lot. He cleared his throat.

“What’ll it be Mr. DelMonte?” he asked.

“How do you know my name, Barkeep?” DelMonte asked, his hand resting at his side, poised to unleash lead if need be.

The bartender hooked his thumb over his shoulder indicating the poster that was tacked over the bar.

Wanted, Dead or Alive, it read, and DelMonte saw his picture smiling back at him. “What’s the bounty up to?” he asked the bartender.

“Twenty-five hunnerd dollars.”

DelMonte scowled and nodded his head. All he said was, “Whiskey. Make it a double.”

The bartender slid away, a man in his element, to fetch the drink.

An older show girl sidled up next to DelMonte and put her hand on his shoulder. “How ya doin’, Butch?” she asked him. She smiled and her tobacco stained teeth peeked out from beneath her painted red lips

He glared at her, “Damnit, Mom, what’re you doing in Idaho?” he growled in a whisper, “And, don’t call me Butch. My name is DelMonte.”

“What’s wrong with Butch?” she pouted, “I gave you that name. I like that name.”

“Not tough enough.” He said. “Listen, Mom, you gotta leave me alone or folks will figure out we’re related. I can’t afford for my enemies to know that there is anyone I care about. They’ll come after you.”

“Well, I love you too, I guess.” She stared at him for a moment. Waiting to see if he would respond, “I have to get ready, DelMonte. I go on in a few minutes.” She said to him and turned; heading backstage.

“It’s just not that simple.” He muttered to himself and slammed the palm of his hand down on the bar.

The bartender jumped at the loud report and grabbed a bottle and glass. He scurried down and set them in front of DelMonte, “On the house, sir.” His voice quavered a bit. The last thing he wanted was an angry gunslinger in his place.

Butch DelMonte reached for the bottle and pulled the cork with his teeth, staring at the bartender, watching him back slowly away. He smiled and his tobacco stained teeth peeked out from beneath his mustache.

39 minutes but I was interrupted by a phone call. Still probably a bit more than 25 though. Sorry.

Cherie, Chief Inspector Ricard, and TBP’s OLWG#24


Chief Inspector Ricard had been in New York for almost a week. He had come to attend the Law Enforcement Officer’s Conference. He had not gone to any of the proceedings.  Nor had he visited the show floor yet, but there was still another day remaining. He had time.

He nudged the shoulder of the young lady lying next to him in his hotel room bed and wished he could remember her name.

“Cherie,” he said, “put in another quarter.”

She sat up in the bed, modestly covering her breasts with the sheet and leaned over to rummage through the debris on the bedside table. She pushed a couple of empty wine bottles aside. Moved Ricard’s service revolver, and a pile of room service plates.  Finally, she found the proper coin and inserted it in the coin acceptor.

“Magic Finger’s Vibrating Bed,” she read. She dropped the coin in as she dropped the sheet. They both rolled over onto their stomachs. Over the course of the last several days, they had decided that they enjoyed the motion of the bed better this way.

They stared into one another’s eyes until she finally broke the silence.

“You’re going back to France soon?”


“Could you take me with you?”

“I’m sorry but no, I could not.  I am seriously considering taking this bed though, and a large supply of quarters.”





I had a bajillion friends, till

It slowly came to light that

My friends were all broken

I cast them aside one by one and

Vowed to find new friends

Friends without flaws

Or cracks

Unbroken friends

Friends who were worthy

Unpugnacious friends

Friends lacking relentless bellicosity

Friends who do not play accordions

Or banjos

Friends who are not always flat broke, busted, looking to borrow money

I have a dog around here somewhere

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #22 – Dad

  1. It was nothing more than a rusty old nail
  2. But he didn’t really believe in them
  3. I’m younger now

I sat across the table from Dad. We were talking about what the Doctor had said.

“Dr. Domenicalli wants you to slow down a little bit, Dad.” I thought I would try this argument, but didn’t expect it to do much good. Dad never really believed in doctor’s anyway.

“Yeah, well screw that. I’ve never had so much fun. What does he know? Just a quack.”

“He’s worried about you, Dad. Hell, we’re all worried about you. Jeeze you went to  a free concert and saw Guns and Roses at the Boardwalk last weekend. You’re almost 96 years old. What do you know for Guns and Roses?”

“I know a lot now. I know that they used to be famous. I know one of them is named Axl, and one is  named Slash, I never knew anybody named Slash before. I took Carrie to that concert too. Afterwards we went and got matching tattoos. Did I show you?”

Dad stood up and started to undo his belt and turn around.

“That’s OK, Dad. I don’t think I want to see your new tattoo… Wait a minute, did you say you and Miss Loudermilk got matching tattoos?”

“Yeah.” He grinned impishly, “I let her watch me get mine and she let me watch while she got hers.”

I held up my hand, “Too much information, Dad. I don’t think I really want to hear this story.”

“Aww, fer Christ’s sake, Richie, I just watched her get a tattoo. Nothin’ happened. Remember, I’m almost 96 years old. And Carrie’s a month older than I am. I mean – I’m younger now, with my lifestyle and all, but I’m still pretty damn old. I enjoyed watching; but there wasn’t much either of us could do about it. Next weekend me and Carrie are going out to see The Burning Man with some people we met at the concert. We’re gonna turn on and tune out. We might be gone for a few days, maybe a week or more. Make sure you water my plants for me. Will ya?”

“Dad, you don’t have any houseplants.”

“Oh yes I do, Richie. Carrie’s teaching me to grow pot. She had some legacy seeds that she gave me. She said they produced Panama Red and it was some good shit. I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about that. They gotta be this high by now.” He held his hands out, one about 12 or 14 inches above the other.

“Dad!” I started.

“Don’t worry, Richie. I’ll share some with you. I’m no Bogart.”

I stood up and turned towards the refrigerator.

“Can you bring me a beer, Richie?” Dad asked.

“It’s only ten o’clock in the morning, Dad.”

“Yeah, but it’s five o’clock somewhere. Make it a Guinness would ya?”

27 minutes – 27

On-line Writer’s Guild #21

  1. It’s good to see you Bernice
  2. A handy blade
  3. I need a crowd to get lost in

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #21

I pushed open the door and stood inside letting my eyes adjust to the lower light level that was in the restaurant. The hostess greeted me.

“Good evening, sir, how many in your party?”

“I’m not sure,” I answered, “I’m supposed to be meeting someone. Can I go in and look around?”

She nodded, and turned her attention back to the iphone that rested on her podium. Sticking my head around the divider that separated the dining area from the entry, I scanned the tables. There she was at the other side of the room. Waving, bouncing up and down in her chair, I expected her to yell or whistle. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. I crossed the room and slid into the chair opposite her; she took my hand.

“Thanks for coming, David.”

“It’s good to see you, Bernice. What’s up?”

“It’s Danielle. I think she’s…”

That was when the waiter showed up, demanding our immediate attention in order to recite a litany of menu items we could order that were not on the board. Bernice ordered a Bouillabaisse and a glass of Chardonnay. I settled on a long neck beer and a cheese Panini because it was the closest thing to a grilled cheese sandwich that I was going to get here.

As the waiter turned to leave and go bother another group of diners I took the time to look at Bernice. She was a handsome woman and I had been her second husband. Our relationship, while it lasted had been solely physical. We couldn’t keep our hands off one another. Danielle had been the product of her first marriage: her marriage to Chet.

She had enjoyed the company of two additional husbands since she had left me. Danielle was her only child and had been two years old during my brief marriage to her mother. That seemed to have been a long time ago.

Danielle was the reason I had stayed with Bernice for almost a year. After the shine, the gloss, of the physical relationship wore down we both realized that we had nothing in common. We had nothing to talk about, except for the fact that we both adored her daughter. I used to delight in taking Danielle down to the park to feed the ducks in the pond, or push her on the swing. She loved the swings, I think she would have happily spent her life on the swings. I had stayed in touch with Danielle but maintained only limited contact with her mother over the ensuing years.

“Are you listening to me, David?” Bernice trilled. “Did you hear what I just said?”

“Of course, I heard you,” I answered.

“Well, what should we do about it?”

“Do about what?”

“Honestly, you haven’t changed, and you’re such a shit, you’re not listening to me at all. I said that I think Danielle is pregnant.”

“Pregnant? Are you sure?”

“I’m pretty sure. A woman can recognize the signs, you know.”

“Have you asked her?”


“Why not?”

“I was hoping you would do that.”

“Sure, I’ll come over this weekend and take her to the park. We still go to the park a lot. I’ll ask her then.”

Bernice and I didn’t speak to one another for the rest of the meal. When I left I drove downtown. I needed people. I needed to become just another anonymous face in a faceless throng of people. I needed a crowd to get lost in.

Instead I called Danielle.

“Hi, David.” She said when she picked up.

“Hey Danielle, I just had dinner with your mother. She tells me that congratulations might be in order.”

“Thanks, I’m about four months along.”

“How you feeling?”

“I feel great but I’ve been worried about how I should tell Mom. Guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore, huh?”

“Don’t tell her that I called. She wants me to ask you about it this weekend. I told her I would come by and pick you up so we could talk about it. Want to come to my place for a barbeque? You can bring your young man if you want.”

“That sounds great. Saturday?”

“Yeah, I’ll pick you up in the morning, around ten. I’ll grill burgers for lunch.”


TBP’s On-Line Writer’s Guild #20


  1. Kerouac, Steinbeck, Twain
  2. Stop me if you’ve already heard this
  3. Wasabi

There were four of us competing for the post.

Bonnie Kerouac was the front runner and favoured to win but Rich Twain had mounted a strong comeback. Bonnie was starting to get worried. Andy Steinbeck was considering dropping out of the race but was still discussing options with his advisors. Me? I didn’t care if I won or not. I had thrown my hat into the ring with the sole purpose of getting extra credit for my Poli-Sci class.

My name is Mailer, Thomas Mailer and I’m an English Major.

Rich Twain studied Marketing Communications. He carried a solid 2.0 GPA and liked to party more than he liked to study. He was a smart guy – if you could catch him sober. I think his faculty advisor had sobered him up just in the nick of time. The smart money was still on Bonnie but there was a faint glimmer of hope that he might edge Kerouac out of the race at the last minute.

I had dated Bonnie a couple of times during our sophomore year but nothing ever came of it. She was studying Computer Science – wanted to be a game developer. We had absolutely nothing in common, nothing to talk about, but the sex had been good. The parting had been amicable and we were still friends. I had led her on for as long as I could, but Bonnie Kerouac had dumped me when she understood that I was not prepared to give her the commitment that she wanted. She was looking for something long-term. I was chasing skirts.

Andy Steinbeck was a jock who had lettered in two sports, tennis and darts. He might’ve had a better chance in this race if he had played a higher profile sport than darts – maybe football or rugby?

The election was on a Tuesday. I woke early and headed to the library to vote for myself. I didn’t have any classes so I strolled downtown with a detour past The Bent Taco where I treated myself to a breakfast burrito. As is usually the case I wound up at The Bookshop and wandered in. I did a lot of reading at The Bookshop. The staff there was all hippies and they didn’t seem to mind if I sat all day, reading without buying a thing. I went straight to the shelf that held the book I had been slowly working through. It had been written by some guy in 1986 and was titled Miami and the Siege of Chicago. One of the TA’s had recommended it. I thought it was a little old fashioned but still entertaining. Yanking the copy I had been reading I made my way to one of the soft, easy chairs that The Bookshop provided. Thumbing through the book, I was relieved to find that my bookmark was still in place.

OOPS – I spent almost 35 minutes writing this much. I’m not going to edit. You get the rough cut, the first draft. Sorry guys, there’s no lipstick on this pig!

Parliamentary Procedures

  1. Time is on our side
  2. The squeak on the stairs
  3. Movie of the week

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #19

They were gathered in the upstairs bedroom, the bedroom that looked out over the courthouse. The doctor called the meeting to order.

“Quiet everyone, quiet,” he said. “We have a serious problem here and we need to address it. I think you are all aware that a new family has moved into the house and they have begun redecorating. We can’t have that. When Bill died we all naturally assumed that the house would stand vacant and we would have free reign.” Doctor Johnson looked over at Bill, “What happened, can you explain it?”

“Of course I can. It’s my son and his wife. They have the house now! I told you about this before I died but all of you arrogant spirits didn’t want to accept the facts. You didn’t listen to me.”

“We’ve got to get them out of here.” Lamont said, “They’ll screw everything up.” Everyone began talking at once, and Dr. Johnson let them rant for awhile. He took inventory of who was here.

Lamont had been a railroad man who had worked at the roundhouse years ago when the rails were a viable concern in town. In a tragic accident he had lost his leg to the steel wheel of a boxcar. By the time he got to Dr. Johnson’s he had lost too much blood and he bled out in the very room where they now met. For thirty years Dr. Johnson had run his practice from this old house. When he passed away; he stayed. It had been his home and he knew that other spirits lingered. All of them had passed in the house. Lamont, from blood loss; Elizabeth had expired during childbirth; she was still here, but the baby had moved on. Randall, Buck, Leticia, and Carrie Belle were here and so was Patsy. Bill was the latest. He had lived in the house until his death three years ago. He was still here though, he had loved the house too.

Buck finally appointed himself as spokesperson, “We need to scare them out,” he said. “We’re ghosts, this should be easy for us.”

“No way,” Bill interjected, “I won’t have any part of this. That’s my son and his family. I won’t let you do it.”

“Nobody asked you,” Buck shot back with a sneer, “we need to get them out!”

“My boy won’t scare easy.” Bill said.

“We have the squeak on the stairs. That’ll scare him,” said Buck.

Everybody laughed at that. “What’s so funny?” Buck asked as he looked at each of them in turn.

Leticia answered, “A squeak on the stairs? A squeak on the stairs? That’s not gonna scare anybody, Buck. I think we oughta just get used to them. I think we oughta make nice. Be friendly. Ya know?”

Bill pointed at Buck, “you go ahead and squeak the stairs if you want, but I agree with Leticia. We need to make nice. They’re family and I kinda like having them here.”

“Let’s take a vote,” Dr. Johnson’s commanding voice silenced everyone. “All in favour of trying to scare them off say ‘aye’.”

“’Aye’,” said Buck immediately.

“Yeah, I suppose I have to vote ‘aye’ too,” Lamont looked at the floor and raised his hand. The rest of the ghosts were silent.

“All in favour of making friends and coexisting?” the doctor asked.

Randall, Leticia, Carrie Belle, Patsy, and Bill all raised their hands. Dr. Johnson looked at them all and raised his hand too.

“So it’s decided then. Buck, you and Lamont need to sign up for this, are you on board with the program? Or will we be kicking you out instead?”

“I guess I’m OK with it as long as I don’t have to listen to that music those kids play all the time.” Lamont said.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Buck grudgingly conceded.

“Meeting’s adjourned,” Dr. Johnson said, “Y’all all go downstairs and introduce yourselves.”


OLWG #18

  1. It was mockery
  2. I liked the way she spoke
  3. While the dog wheezed and sputtered in the other room

Wearing only shorts, I lay on the cool tile floor seeking relief from the heat, while the dog wheezed and sputtered in the other room. Poor girl, she was having as much trouble with the oppressive temperatures and humidity as everyone else was. I finished the last beer and knew it was only going to get worse now that there was nothing cool to drink. The water was unsafe. The beers were done, as were the coca colas. Eventually I was going to have to venture out to the market for supplies. I craved ice and wished for bottled liquids. Perhaps this time I would stock up on bottled water instead of beer and soda. That might be smarter. I dozed; off and on to pass the time.

As the afternoon waned and the shadows began to lengthen I sensed the respite promised by the evening. A breeze began to kick up and blew a bit of life back into the city. People began to take to the streets again; I could hear them as they passed by my curtained window. Almost reluctantly, but knowing it was vital, I picked myself up off the floor and pulled on a thin white cotton shirt and my Huaraches. With a few pesos in my pocket, I checked the dog’s water and walked out the front door, pulling my rolling cart behind me. It was a few blocks to the Mercado and I intended to buy lots and lots of water.

It was still hot outside, like a furnace, I estimated it to be at least 45 degrees and I considered going back in the house. No, I had to do this; else I would surely perish tomorrow. I trudged slowly up the hill to the end of the block, turned left and walked down to the store where I bought water. I filled my cart with water; water and three large bags of ice. I greeted Sr. Zuniga and asked how his day was going. His wife answered for him. In Spanish she told me that it had been a very good day for them. The weather was good for business. She was from somewhere down south and I liked the way she spoke. Her accent was lilting and soft. Zuniga was a lucky man. She was beaming as she scurried about the shop, staying busy by straightening shelves and making sure everything was stocked properly. She pointed out that they had watermelon and I took two of those as well. I would have bought them all but I was a little light on pesos, with no income anticipated until late next week. I had to conserve.

Melons balanced precariously atop my basket of ice and water, I headed home. The old dog, who lives in my house, greeted me when I got inside and sniffed around my basket to see if I had brought her something. My refrigeration system here consists of three old Igloo Ice Chests I keep them iced and anything that requires refrigeration goes into one of the coolers. I got the ice in the coolers and threw some water in there with them. The rest of the waters I stacked on the floor in hope that they might be kept temperate by the Saltillo tiles. I cut one of the melons in half and set one part on the rough wooden table. The other half I lowered into a chest. I would save it for tomorrow.

Slicing off several thick slabs of melon I sat at the table and ate. I offered some to the dog and we ate our dinner together. The melon was delicious, juicy and sweet. The old cur seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

Oh, times up – 25 minutes passes fast when you’re crafting a story. I spent another five to edit. I choose 3!

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