Flash fiction challenges such as Five Sentence Fiction has kept me writing and improved my craft, so I serve up some here every Tuesday. Since every one likes choices I’m providing you with two weekly writing prompts. You can participate in either one, or double your pleasure by trying your hand at both. Submit your efforts any time between now and next Tuesday.
The Standard Prompt will always consist of a two-word prompt to be used as inspiration. The Non-Standard Prompt will change from week to week. Sometimes it will be a visual prompt, sometimes a first sentence or phrase, sometimes a scenario, etc. The limit for the Two for Tuesday Standard Prompts is 200 words and the Non Standard Prompt has a minimum of 200 words but no limit allowing for more in depth explorations. Use the little blue link thing below to submit your link or leave an entry in the comments section.
Don’t forget to check out the other entries.
Here is this week’s two-fer:
You have lots of creative leeway. The limit is 200 words. The words can be used:
- simply as a point of inspiration and do not have to be used directly
- they can be included exactly as provided
- or each word can be used independently of each other (for example if Death Row was the prompt instead of crafting a story about an inmate on the way to the gallows, you might write something like: Despite feeling like death from an excess of cheap vodka consumed the night before, Evelyn moved on to planting her next row of spinach).
For this week’s alternative prompt choose at least two of the four quotes (taken from different popular movies) and write a story that uses the chosen unrelated quotes:
“Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.” (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
“Any man who falls behind is left behind.” (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl)
“I said, ‘I had a bad experience.’” (The Italian Job)
“We thought you was a toad.” (Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?)
As per usual with the Non-Standard Prompt there is no word limit (to allow for more in depth explorations) but there is a minimum of 200 words.
For those who prefer to write first and read later, be forewarned that my personal effort follows.
This week I follow the alternative prompt in a light, coming of age story of sorts…
The group of five wandered through the woods effortlessly picking their way through the bracken and undergrowth. A thin path could be ascertained if one studied the landscape closely but it had become overgrown without the benefit of consistent foot traffic. The boys knew, almost instinctively, where they were going, though, because just like the undergrowth they had grown up here too.
“You scairt the shit outta us,” said Gabe as he held the arm of nasty pricker bush aside letting the other four march past.
“Me? What was you scared for?” Percy bent and picked up a small rock and chucked it at a tree. It was about 20 yards off and he nailed it. The rock bounced off the tree with a satisfying hollow knock before dropping into the collected leaves scattered around the floor of the woods.
“Black magic or some sort. Thought creepy Old Man Horowitz had cast a spell on you for stealin’ a swim in his pond.”
“Yeah,” piped up Newt, the youngest of the bunch. “We thought you was a toad.”
“Shut up, Newt. I’m tellin’ this.” Gabe punched at the shoulder of his younger brother. “Last Tuesday, Buzz said you had headed for the bluff and we figured you had cut through Horror-witz’s back field.”
“Horror-witz!” said Carl barking a short laugh. “Good one Gabe.”
Gabe shifted an annoyed look at Carl and continued. “As we broke cover at the edge of the old fart’s back field we saw your clothes laid out under a tree next to that scummy pond a his. You was no place to be seen but for a big fat toad peekin’ outta one of yer boots like he owned it.”
“Yeah,” contributed Pete, “an’ he even burped. Sounded just like you.”
“Croaked,” Gabe clarified. “Carl said it kinda looked like you too, an’ we all agreed. So I says, ‘maybe that troll Horowitz turned Percy into a toad.’”
“I ain’t fond a toads,” admitted Percy. “Had sumpthin’ bad happen once.”
“What, Percy? Tell us.” Newt asked. “A toad crawl down your shorts an’ leave warts on your wang?”
Carl barked another laugh, “Good one, Newt. Wang warts.” Percy shoved Carl who stumbled backwards and went down as his feet tangled in the vines.
“Hey, asshole, there’s poison ivy in these woods.” Carl stood up and brushed himself off.
“I said, ‘I had a bad experience.’” And that was all the explanation they were going to get. Carl was checking the area to make sure he hadn’t landed in any poison ivy. “What’s amatter, Carl? ‘Fraid you got poison ivy on your pecker?”
This time it was Newt’s turn to laugh. “Good one, Percy. Poison Pecker! Carl’s got a poisoned pecker.”
“Anyways,” said Gabe pulling everyone back to the original narrative, “that big ol’ toad looked straight at us, gave another croak, hopped around that tree an’ then you came swingin’ down offa that branch nekid as a jaybird, like you had transformed back”.
“You bein’ nekid,” said Pete, “was the scary part!” Everyone laughed seeing as it was rare for Pete to make a decent joke. “What was you doin’ up in that tree all nekid anyways?”
“Okay,” confided Percy in a whisper, “You can’t tell no one. You have to swear.” Percy looked each one in the eye—one by one—and then spat in the palm of his hand. The other’s followed suit and they stacked their hands one on top of the other like a football team about to break huddle. In unison they all chanted, “Swear on my ass, swear on my head, I’ll stay true to my oath or wish I was dead.” They all looked at Percy waiting for the juicy details. Percy let out a big sigh and continued.
“I stripped down and were about to slip in the pond. Tuesday was hotter than a sonuvabitch.” Newt giggled. “But just as I were ‘bout to wade in I hear a bunch a hollerin’. You know Horowitz’s border shed, the one by the fence just beyond that tree?” All of them nodded. “The shed was shakin’ and there was a bunch of gruntin’ like a serious wrestling match was takin’ place inside.
“All a sudden like, it went quiet.” Percy paused for dramitic effect. “I was like thinkin,’ shit, musta been some sorta death match and I was about to climb down when the door banged open. Out struts Leslie Hardigan yankin’ at her dress followed by Jacob Talbach. In one hand he’s carryin’ his shirt and his other hand’s reachin’ inside her dress grabbing at her titty. She slapped at his arm and pulled away but she was still smilin’ like she liked it.”
“No way!” said Pete. “Hot Hardigan and the Toolbox?”
“Way’” replied Percy. “They passed right under the tree. If they had looked up at the right time they woulda had a clear view of my nads. I waited a good five minutes after they left ‘fore I even dared ta move, an’ three minutes after that I hear you lot come tromping up. I thought for sure Talbach woulda seen my clothes and I’da been a goner, but they were too busy stickin’ their tongues down each other’s throats.”
“Aw jeez, Percy! Gross!” Young Newt was not quite as engrossed in the conversation as the others. “Where we going anyways?”
“Aw, I don’t know…” Percy’s voice trailed off but then he snapped his fingers and his eyes sparkled. “Hey. I know a good climbin’ tree. It’s over near Horowitz’s scummy pond on the edge of his back field.” The five of them took off through the woods with Percy in the lead.