It’s been awhile since I could think of a blog topic I wanted to write about. GD inspired an idea with the “Open Comments” week. 

While we have Showcase with it’s prompt, I thought it would be fun to try something a bit more impromptu. A bit of  ‘Writer’s prompt meets Improv open mic night at the comedy club.’

So for this particular exercise, I have listed several prompts below. 

In the comments section, let us know which prompt you chose and then write a short piece, including the parameters of the prompt. I think a max of 700 words should be enough for a writing exercise. Hopefully, this will jumpstart anyone needing to break out of a writing bog, entertain those wanting to read new and fresh, and maybe help others work through a particular tricky passage in whatever they are currently working on. Regardless, we’re writers. Writing exercises are fun. Let’s stretch our boundaries and have some fun!

Prompt 1:

Genre: Historical

Character: A boy with one shoe

Object: a lump of metal

Prompt 2: 

Genre: Action/Adventure

Place: A library

Character: A horse with no name

Prompt 3:

Object: A box of noodles

Place: The caboose of a train

Prompt 4:

Phrase: Seems like that happened once before …

Advertisement

58 responses to “Writer’s Gym”

  1. Sandy Randall Avatar

    Bonus points for anyone using all the prompts in one piece in 700 or less words… 😁😎

    Liked by 3 people

  2. GD Deckard Avatar

    Prompt 4:
    Phrase: Seems like that happened once before …
    ——

    An Old Story

    The people of New Haven gathered in the drive-in lot, some climbing onto abandoned vehicles. Early fall chilled the night air. Overhead, star swarms lit a clear sky. After some eating, greeting, and refreshing, the older kids piled wood on one of the campfires to turn it into a communal bonfire.

    “Pay attention, Spice,” Piper told the short ovoid Alien. “This meeting is about why our civilization collapsed. You’d like to know that, wouldn’t you?”

    They moved to stand by a man who raised his hands for attention.

    “Is that an Alien, Andy?” a woman asked.

    “Yes,” the man said reasonably. “And by the rules of New Haven, he is accepted like everyone else.”

    “Well, OKAY I guess.” To the chuckling of others, the woman added, “After all, we accepted my ex-husband.”

    “Andy!” a thick looking man shouted. “I know we accept him and all and I do, but.” He spoke to the others. “You all know the collapse began when the Aliens arrived. I’d like to hear what he has to say about that.”

    With tense eyes turned on him, Spice seemed to shrink. He whispered into Bob’s ear, “Correlation is not cause and effect.”

    “Excuse me,” Piper stepped forward. “We are Piper and Bob, Alien Companions. Due to the subtleties of the English language, and, given the importance of clear communication here, the Alien has asked us to translate for him. Allow me to introduce Old Spice, Earth Mission Commander of the Aliens.”

    Spice genuflected as best a near-spherical being could, holding the pose until the crowd went silent. He rose to his full three-foot height, somehow making it all seem majestic. The thick man smiled and returned a short bow.

    “What did he say to you, Bob?” Piper prompted.

    “The Alien says their timing was unfortunate and unrelated to the circumstances on Earth when they landed.”

    “Use his name, Bob!” To the amusement of the crowd, Piper kicked Bob. “Damn, man! Try to make him sound human.”

    Andy laughed. “Well, people, we need answers, not scapegoats. What do you really think happened?”

    “You can’t fool me!” a man screamed.

    “Ignore the screamer,” Andy told Bob, “He’s crazy. He’s not screaming at us. Herb screams only at himself.”

    “Take your hands off that!” the screamer demanded.

    Bob winked at Piper, “Don’t look.”

    “We already know what happened.” A young man spoke from the roof of an SUV. “My family lives in this car because the rich stole everything away from us. Away from all of us! The rich sucked up all of the oil with their planes and their yachts and moved their companies overseas and we’re left with no jobs and hardly any food.”

    “Scapegoating,” said Spice.

    “What’s that mean?” the young man retorted.

    “The word is from a Yom Kippur ritual,” Bob explained. “The high priest would symbolically lay the sins of the people on a goat’s head.”

    “So?” the man huffed. “I know what I’m talking about. I listen to public radio.”

    Stepping in smoothly, Piper said, “Spice is saying that blaming a group is no answer.”

    “Scapegoating a group is just a way of setting up a straw man argument,” Bob elaborated. “Meaning, anyone in the group can be attacked for supposedly sharing the groups’ alleged sins. It’s a way of saying, ‘Politicians are greedy liars and can’t be trusted. That lets you attack anyone who is a politician.”

    “Exactly!” The thick man nodded. “It was the Koch brothers!” He rotated slowly, nodding to the crowd. “They’re greedy billionaires. You can’t trust ’em! And we all know they are lying Republicans.”

    “What about that billionaire George Soros?” countered a woman. “FOX News exposed him as a Democrat. You gotta be crazy to trust a man who’s both.”

    “Stop that!” Herb screamed. “You can’t pee here.” That caused a slight commotion as people next to Herb drew back.

    Spice seemed confused. “Scarcity drove up the price of oil,” he told Piper and Bob, “I saw this happen once before. A planet of eight billion kept buying it anyway. Soon, not enough was left to power all their needs. Most of them starved to death.”

    Bob shook his head, “Let’s get out of here.”

    On their way out, they heard Herb scream in the distance, “Stop Whining.”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. sootfoot5 Avatar

      loved the line about the exhusband!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. mimispeike Avatar
      mimispeike

      I love to hear from Old Spice.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. victoracquista Avatar
      victoracquista

      GD, I do so like political and social commentary. Who better than an alien to make sense out of nonsense? Great little piece, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sandy Randall Avatar

    I know I’ve encountered Old Spice and Bob somewhere before…
    😂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. mimispeike Avatar
    mimispeike

    I have the beginning of an idea for Prompt 1, but it’s still very fuzzy.

    You know I want to go with Historical, if I can make it work.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      I look forward to what you come up with!

      Liked by 4 people

  5. sootfoot5 Avatar

    Love the idea behind this. However, I’m currently I’m currently in the NYC Short Story Comp – my prompts, if you are interested, are Ghost Story, Purification, and Fly Fisherman. But if I need a break from this story, I will come back to yours-it sounds fun!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      Im in that too!
      My prompts are crime caper, kindergarten and proud mother!
      I like your prompts better! lol. Good luck to you!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. sootfoot5 Avatar

        oh you poor thing, to get the dreaded crime caper! A word of advice-go for the absurd. The proud mother must be important to the story but need not be a main character, so, if it were me, I’d have some fairly young kids (maybe 3 kindergarten age girls) plan something ridiculous that upsets some adult’s plan. Believe me, ridiculous works for crime caper. For their flash comp I once scored high writing the most absurd story about 3 morons who want to steal the money out of slot machines on the beach —they do it one dressing up like a woman in an antebellum gown and another hiding inside the dress and stealing the money out of the machines. stupid stupid stupid. And the judges loved it.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Sandy Randall Avatar

          I totally appreciate the suggestion, but about a year ago I decided that every contest I entered would add a chapter to a book I decided to write, because of a contest piece I wrote. Talk about adding a challenge to the sometimes very challenging contest prompts. In addition, each chapter has to be able to stand on it’s own as a complete story. Regardless of how I do in the contest, I consider it a win if I get a good, plausible chapter for the story. So far, aside from contest judges, my mom is the only one who has read the story.
          This current contest brings me to chapter nine. I’ve used the NYC Midnight, Literary Taxidermy and Yeah Write contests. So far, I have noticed an improvement to my short story telling. The Writer’s Co-op Showcase has also helped immensely, though I am using Showcase to develop another story.
          I really do like the way NYC Midnight does the prompts. I also like that they provide feedback on every entry.
          While crime caper is not at all even close to a genre I have written, I think I have decided on a course of action for this story. It will be fun to see what the feedback says! I don’t expect to find myself in the next round, however. lol

          Liked by 3 people

          1. mimispeike Avatar
            mimispeike

            I totally appreciate the suggestion, but about a year ago I decided that every contest I entered would add a chapter to a book I decided to write.

            That’s why I’ve chosen Prompt 1. So far I’ve got zilch (that seems like it will be useful). I have to stop trying so hard, let it come on its own.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Sandy Randall Avatar

              There are two notable things about this exercise… firsts there is absolutely no time limit.
              Second, which GD has already noted … by example… prompts are simply to get the creativity going and creative license is definitely at play here. (I totally had to go back to the original post and see if I wrote horse or sheep! 🤣)
              Ultimately the goal is to write and stretch your skill. Maybe jumpstart an idea that might not have occurred otherwise. Full disclosure… I crafted prompt 1 with you in mind, Mimi!

              Liked by 3 people

          2. sootfoot5 Avatar

            I hear what you are saying- i have used the NYC Midnight Comp to write two chapters of my novel. I don’t recall my prompts, but they really seemed to fit although I had jumped ahead to a section of the novel I hadn’t even started writing yet. I actually made it to the next round, and feel that I was close to making it to the final round with the second story based on the judge’s comments. I am now editing my almost 120,000 word historical fiction/ ghost story novel. So if writing through contests works for you, DO IT -and who knows? You might make it to the next round after all. I’ve been doing the NYCM contests since 2008 and those judges care more about a good story than one that heavy follows the prompts. Write the best story for your novel and just kinda do the prompts. 😘

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Sandy Randall Avatar

              Thanks Sootfoot! I love the encouragement. I made it to the next round once as well. It was about that time I decided to use the contest to write this particular story.
              I think I write like I read … I usually have four or five books going at the same time (in different mediums and genres) and I have several writing projects with my artwork tossed in. What I like about that is I can wake up and say “I feel like (insert project) today.” get my coffee and be energized to start. Come to think of it, I listen to music that way too.
              Only problem … I discovered this song from “Willow” and now it’s stuck in my head!

              So I researched it and found the original by Donovan, written way back in the day. Didn’t help … damn song is acting like a soundtrack in my head!

              Liked by 3 people

              1. sootfoot5 Avatar

                love the song! Might need to add it to my “sleep” soundtrack It is definitely a song I could fall asleep to -at least until it gets to the rock-n-roll bit. I’ve made it to the next round lots of time, especially with the Flash Comp, but I’ve only made it to the final round once. If you do the forum there, look for me-I’m Sootfoot5 there too.

                Liked by 3 people

              2. victoracquista Avatar
                victoracquista

                Loved the original by Donovan. Haven’t listened to it in many years.

                Liked by 2 people

  6. GD Deckard Avatar

    Prompt 2:
    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Place: A library
    Character: A sheep with no name
    ——

    Sergeant Roy

    During his (brief) stint in the military, Roy traded a rare singing codpiece to his lieutenant in exchange for an assignment to the General Staff as speech writer. The adventure solidified his reputation as a speech writer.

    “I can’t say this!” Brigadier General Hawking dropped the speech to the table and glared at Sergeant Roy.

    “You don’t have to say it, General. You sing it.”

    “Sing it?!”

    “Yes.” Roy turned the speech to face the General and tapped it. “That’s what those little squiggly things above the lines mean.” General Hawking’s face reddened. Roy surmised that the man didn’t get it.

    “I’m a general in the god damn United States Army, for Christ’s sake! I don’t sing speeches!”

    “Excuse me, General. But uh, we’re in the base library.”

    Although the General looked as if he wanted to rip Roy’s face from his skull, he settled for harshly whispering. “I have to give this speech now, Sergeant. The division commander and his staff are in the other room, and they expect me to participate in the grand opening of our brand-new base library. This is my chance to be noticed, Sergeant,” He caught himself, looking around, sheepishly at first, then surprised. “Is that a sheep?”

    “Over there? Yes, and a fine merino sheep it is, General.”

    The General seemed to look closely at his new speech writer for the first time. Suspiciously. “And?”

    “You sing the speech from the back of the merino sheep. It will be unforgettable.” The General appeared to be speechless. Probably processing that image, Roy guessed. “The sheep’s name is War Admiral. And that is what will get you your next star. I did some research. The division commander had a cuddly sheep as a toy when he was an infant.”

    It took a moment, but Roy’s General found his voice. “Let me guess. The toy’s name was War Admiral.”

    “Exactly! You’ll not only steal the show, but you’ll trigger a fond memory in the Commander’s mind.”

    It took Roy more persuasion but pressing time and the guarantee of finally being noticed saw General Hawking riding into the meeting room mounted on a merino sheep and loudly singing Roy’s speech, which was, mercifully, short. In the silence that followed, two things occurred simultaneously to derail the General’s career. And Roy’s.

    “What is this?” The Commander asked in a deadly tone. That was one thing.

    The other thing is that General Hawking spotted the fleet admiral sitting next to his own commander. The admiral’s nickname was “War Admiral.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      A backstory on Roy! This makes me so happy!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. victoracquista Avatar
      victoracquista

      Awesomely creative, GD. I’m still smiling.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. mimispeike Avatar
      mimispeike

      GD, I love your sense of humor, your sense of the ridiculous.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. victoracquista Avatar
    victoracquista

    Sandy,
    I like the idea of a Writer’s Gym. Sounds as though that might be a good prompt by itself. I’m going to let the creative juices percolate and hope to pen something later in the week. meanwhile, this crossed my desk today: https://www.writermag.com/writing-inspiration/writing-prompts/sensory-writing-prompts/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      It took me several tries to Title this post. I landed on Writer’s Gym because the post is an exercise meant to hone a skill.
      I started out my college career with thoughts of being a PE teacher. I ended up a mom and a customer service rep… still a teacher in many senses of the word!
      Thanks for the link. It looks fascinating… today my brain is a lump of lifeless gray matter… tomorrow… yes tomorrow I get to unpack the fun stuff!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Perry Palin Avatar
    Perry Palin

    Sorry for not being more involved. I don’t have anything right now that I can connect to the Gym prompts. I’m reading and writing now for the winter Zoom writing class, and writing two lengthy guest posts for another writer’s blog, and writing a book review for a friend’s new book. Good to be busy.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      Hi Perry! You sound as if you have plenty of writing prompts to keep you going. At least you know this post is here if you need a jumpstart one day!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. mimispeike Avatar
    mimispeike

    I’ve got my idea pretty much worked out in my mind. It has caused me to consider relationships I hadn’t yet thought about. I’ve got my other business I’ve been working on out of the way. I have my next Showcase. I just emailed off a submission of Sly to an agent in London. I probably won’t get a reply, but it’s a start, and I have my material in shape for another submission after I choose another recipient.

    I give myself a few days to write this new piece. More Sly, I’m afraid.

    But what did you expect?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      I’m excited to see what you did Mimi. The intent of the post was to exercise our writing skills, hone something, explore something and above all just write. Not that we really need a reason to write, but I find writing prompts lift me out of a writing rut and allow me to see my work from another angle with outside parameters. It seems this has worked for you too.
      I am working out a piece for prompt three and have decided it will be a chapter of my Cosmic Chalk piece.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. victoracquista Avatar
    victoracquista

    Apologies for going over. I needed a longer workout.

    Genre: Historical—Victorian Era
    Character: A boy with one shoe
    Object: a lump of metal

    Body Language

    “Do we know his name?”

    “No, Inspector. No one has claimed the body or come to identify him.”

    “A street vendor seems to recall seeing the boy dodging about in the market. Took him for a cutpurse or young ruffian. Though, the vendor said he only got a brief gander.”

    “Doesn’t have the look of a street urchin.”

    “What gives you that notion?”

    Inspector Griffiths leaned forward while fingering the boy’s shirt. He brought his large nose forward, almost touching the dead lad’s chest and inhaled. “The cloth is fine linen and not nearly soiled enough. Many of the street children and orphans bathe in the river. That leaves an unmistakable smell. Furthermore,” he pointed to the corpse’s feet, “the one shoe is hardly worn on the sole. It could be stolen, of course, but that strikes me as unlikely.”

    He inhaled again, this time near the collar. The Inspector’s nostrils flared several times and he looked lost in thought. “I daresay I detect a hint of lilac, maybe some gooseberry as well.”

    “I’d not noticed that, Sir.”

    “Did you also not notice the fingernails trimmed short, Constable? How many street urchins have you seen with manicured nails?”

    “Who found the body? Where was it found?”

    Details followed about the young couple having their picnic in the grass ruined by a gruesome discovery.

    “And this lump of metal?”

    “Found it next to the body. Took quite a blow to the noggin. The murder weapon I presume.”

    Inspector Griffiths stroked his well-manicured beard with one hand and gently fingered a depression in the dead boy’s skull. He produced a comb from a hidden pocket within his cloak. A quizzing glass followed . The detective adjusted a light and peered intently at the scalp as he combed through thick black hair. “Ahh!” He gasped, then concluded with a brief examination of the boy’s cap.

    Wordlessly, Sir Griffiths lifted the metallic lump and appeared to be judging its weight. He handled the oddly shaped mass in various ways. A satisfied grunt accompanied a particular hand grip.

    “I need you to turn him over.”

    With hardly any effort, the Constable obliged, turning the body face down on the table.

    The detective gripped the metallic lump in his left hand, began to swing the clenched item towards the boy’s head, then abruptly stopped.

    “Idiot!” This utterance appeared to be directed towards himself. “The body needs to be on the floor, not the table.”

    The two men gently lifted and placed the corpse on the floor of the police station.

    Griffiths grasped the metal in such a fashion that the most protuberant portion of the nugget presented as the leading surface to make contact. He bent forward. Holding the object in his left hand, he swung towards the victim’s skull, stopping just prior to delivering a crushing blow. The protuberance fit neatly into the depressed portion of the youth’s skull.

    “Come, let us return this lad to the table.”

    The Constable dutifully complied.

    “Now, I shall require a list of all the nearby herbalist and apothecary shoppes that sell lilac and gooseberry.”

    “Sir?”

    “An object of that size and weight, wielded by even an average man, would likely have done considerably more damage than we see here.” He pointed to the corpse. “It’s likely the perpetrator is a murderess, a left-handed one at that, as an object of this weight used as a weapon would almost certainly be wielded in the dominant hand. And, she likely knew the victim.” There could be no mistaking the smug satisfaction and confidence in the statement that followed, “The blow to the head came after he was already dead. Poisoned, I suspect, but that will be part of questioning the herbalists and apothecaries.”

    The Constable looked puzzled. He shuffled a moment then sheepishly asked. “Not doubting you for a moment, Inspector, but how…how can you be so sure?”

    “Quite simple. There are several scalp lacerations, but no blood either on the head where the skull is crushed inward, the inside of the cap, or on the metal object. The cap was not on the boy’s head when the blow was dealt as its thickness would have prevented the depression in the skull. Upon his death, he likely fell to the floor. She rolled him face down because she could not bear to look him in the eyes prior to striking him to make it appear that a mortal wound to the head was the cause of death. I suspect that she delivered the blow after placing him in the field. Dead men, and boys for that matter, do not bleed. In her haste to remove the body, she overlooked the missing shoe.”

    He continued, “Constable, are there any rumours of wealthy women who fancy young boys?”

    “Not to my knowledge, Inspector. Although, I’ve heard gossip about Lady Beaumont’s husband. His Lordship is said to have some unnatural inclinations towards that sort of depravity.”

    “Well then, we might have a motive as well. We’ll need to question the brothel owners about any missing boys.”

    Inspector Griffiths busied himself with removing the dead boy’s shoe.

    “Though the lad cannot speak to us postmortem, his body tells a story of treachery.”

    “If I might inquire, Sir, why the shoe?”

    “I should like to see Lady Beaumont’s face when I show it to her.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      Brilliant Victor! His Lordship’s alibi will be most interesting….

      Liked by 2 people

    2. GD Deckard Avatar

      Victor,
      That is a well told story. I enjoyed it and I’d read more. Maybe, stories about The Coroner, who found it fascinating to solve murders?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. victoracquista Avatar
        victoracquista

        Thanks, GD! I don’t see myself writing crime fiction. Perhaps we can collaborate on an alien autopsy story? LOL!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sandy Randall Avatar

          I would be down for reading that!! 😂

          Liked by 2 people

        2. GD Deckard Avatar

          Victor 😏
          Now that’s a thought. Hmm. Not sure how to do it but, maybe, you send me something, I’ll add/modify/detete & return it. You add/modify/detete & send it back to me. We keep doing that until there’s nothing to change? No rush, no pressure, but we end up with a collaborative story we like. Then we can submit it to Sci-Fi Lampoon, or The Rabbit Hole, or wherever.
          Could be fun!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Sandy Randall Avatar

            I think that’s how Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett collaborated on Good Omens.
            Maybe start with a conversation between characters? Roy converses with one of Victors characters

            Liked by 2 people

            1. victoracquista Avatar
              victoracquista

              I believe you are correct, Sandy.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. GD Deckard Avatar

              Thanks, Sandy. I didn’t know that. I like the idea of a conversation between characters approach.

              Liked by 2 people

          2. victoracquista Avatar
            victoracquista

            I wasn’t being serious, but it could be entertaining. I am thinking aliens conducting an autopsy on a human. I know the human anatomy given my medical background and so do you given your medic experience. Haven’t a clue about the aliens you write about. Jammed here till mid Feb. but I want to think about this a little. I’m sure it would be fun.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Sandy Randall Avatar

              What fun!!! I hope you guys come up with something! Maybe it will appear in a showcase??

              Liked by 2 people

            2. GD Deckard Avatar

              Aliens, conduct an autopsy on a murdered human?
              Good start.
              I’ll think about this, also.

              Liked by 3 people

      2. Sandy Randall Avatar

        Hmmm thinking about His Lordship … I wonder if an alien had something to do with the boys murder, and His Lordship’s penchant for “unnatural inclinations?” And what was that lump of metal? Have we seen Lady Beaumont lately?
        “Roy! Put that woman down! You can’t carry off disgraced gentry like that!” Dunia, hands on hips is scowling at Roy. There’s a cat standing on two legs, next to Dunia. His front paws are crossed in judgment.
        Mrs, Polansky standing nearby, with a firm grip on Jo’s leash, watches the episode unfold. She’s got a gleam in her eye. Something is brewing in her noggin.

        Sorry, took a page from Mimi and decided to unabashedly steal ….

        Liked by 2 people

        1. victoracquista Avatar
          victoracquista

          I like the way your mind thinks!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Sandy Randall Avatar

            I’m thinking Roy might enjoy hanging with Dunia, except she’s got high moral principles. He’d have to watch out for that, but I can see it being a fun challenge for him! lol

            Liked by 1 person

        2. GD Deckard Avatar

          😂🤣
          You have fun, writing, Sandy.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sandy Randall Avatar

            Aye!😈😎😁

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Sandy Randall Avatar

            Ooooooo
            Out walking the dogs and letting thoughts stew…
            Dunia gives Roy a phone number for an Alientologist she met during her college years … there ya go GD …

            Liked by 1 person

  11. mimispeike Avatar
    mimispeike

    From a disappeared shoe, we get Sly’s philosophy of life. Oh, I’m having fun with this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      Yay! I’m so glad!
      I totally derailed my contest piece!
      I still have a few days to reel it back

      Liked by 3 people

  12. mimispeike Avatar
    mimispeike

    “There are two notable things about this exercise… first, there is absolutely no time limit.”

    Is this true? That would take the pressure off.

    My big problem will be to whittle it down to 700 words. I’m up to 1250 and far from done.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      Keep going… I just put 700 so it wouldn’t be too daunting for someone who struggles to write… Mimi if this unlocks a whole new Sly section, then you have taken the point of the exercise and run with it… totally the intention!
      As Victor mentioned … he needed (I’m trying to remember exactly what he said here) more gym or a bigger gym 😂
      My piece has already exceeded the 700 as well…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. mimispeike Avatar
        mimispeike

        What this has done is to give me a place to get in a lot of stuff I’ve been thinking about but didn’t know where to put. I’m going to try to slip chunks of it into my finished book one.

        But I’ll have all this thinking worked out. Some may have to wait until the end of the series: Sly, on his deathbed, reflects on his storied life.

        Liked by 3 people

  13. mimispeike Avatar
    mimispeike

    I steal from everyone. When I hear a good line, I jot it down. I’ve seen a lot of interviews with David Crosby in the last few days. (I’m watching him now.) He just said, in reference to being looked up to, an icon, “I can’t afford to look at myself that way. I’d lose touch with reality very quickly.”

    A lot of stuff Crosby said fits very nicely into Sly’s mouth.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      I love it. I can see that about Sly. I watched an AXS TV piece on David Crosby and Stills Nash and Young (got to meet Young, he lived in Kona when I was working for United there)
      But David Crosby was interesting to listen too.
      A side note… I find some musicians to be awkward and kind of out there when they give interviews. Like writers they live in their heads and seem to be a bit surprised to discuss their creative thoughts with someone who is looking for sound bytes. 😂

      Liked by 3 people

  14. mimispeike Avatar
    mimispeike

    A Real Piece of Work
    (History, a boy with one shoe, a lump of metal)

    Belasco and Esmeralda Zendegi are to be presented at court. It’s a huge achievement for a man born and raised on the wrong side of the tracks. (Figure of speech. This is the sixteenth century.) Igon and Eder are their young sons, who have for the past few years been in charge of protecting the king’s rascal cat.

    * * *

    “My shoe!” cries Eder. “Where’s my damn shoe?”

    Sly and Igon exchange glances. “What do you mean, where is it?”

    “It’s gone.”

    “Impossible.”

    “It’s gone, damn it!”

    “Ridolfi’s assistant,” says Sly, “I watched him, we all watched him, pack that stuff away back into the garment bags.”

    “Well, it ain’t there now. Someone snuck in here, then, to get us in trouble. Igg! Check your bag. Maybe you’re missing something.”

    Sly and Igon exchange glances again.

    “Don’t stand there like an idiot. Go look!”

    “Calm down,” mutters Iggs. “Your damn shoe will turn up.”

    “Ya,” says Sly. “It’s here. We’ll find it. I’m sure of it”

    Eder turns on Sly. “You!” he spits. “You took it!”

    “Me! Why would I take it?”

    “Why do you do anything? Because you’re you. Where’s my damn shoe?”

    “Easy, my friend. The shoe’s safe. It’s in safe hands.”

    “Whose hands?”

    “Crap! I meant it to be a surprise.”

    “Christ, cat! We don’t need more of your surprises. Where’s that shoe?”

    “Iggs and me thought it would be fun if I got in on this.”

    “In on what?”

    “In on the Presentation, knucklehead. Your shoe is out at my bootmaker, being copied.”

    “Copied!”

    “Ya, copied. I’m in love with that shoe. That embroidery, a work of art. The high heel elongates my legs, my best feature these days, my mid-section not the taut tum-tum it was. The curve of that heel, I want exactly. It’s an amazing piece of work.”

    “You couldn’t wait till after the Presentation?”

    “I intend to wear it to the Presentation. The Three Amigos pull off one last, knock-em-dead prank. I want us to go out with a bang!”

    Eder frowns. He asks his brother, “You knew about this?” Igon says nada. Eder grabs his brother by the shoulders. “What does he mean, go out with a bang?” He gets, again, nada.

    He interrogates Sly. “Cat! What do you mean, out with a bang?”

    Sly spits, “You don’t get it? You don’t understand what’s in store? Seriously? You think, ummm… Don Belasco,” he hikes an eyebrow and wiggles his toes daintily, “is going to continue to allow his boys to caretake a lunatic cat? The good times are over, my friend. Your folks have big plans for you. From here out, we’re on different paths. You have a long life ahead of you. I’m on the downhill. I have things I need to do before I maul my last birdie. I’ve tried to explain this to King Jakome. He doesn’t want to hear it. We fight about it all the time.”

    “You two,” yells Eder, “you get that shoe back pronto! Mama’s coming to inspect the Queen’s jewels day after tomorrow. She’ll swing by here to look us over and give her approval, the only approval that matters to her, of a lengthy dress rehearsal, during which she’ll tutor how to step, how to address your betters, all that. A shoe gone missing, that ain’t gonna go over too well: ‘I should have been here for the final try-on, taken possession myself. You two can’t be trusted, ever, with anything.’ Iggs, creep, why’d you grab my shoe? Why not your own?”

    Sly answers. “Yours is way the smarter, that’s why. Look, your Mama’s preparing the both of you to slide into high society. You’re a young man, almost. He’s still a pup. And Iggs takes after her, he’s on the pudgy side. We may hope he grows out of it, but I wouldn’t bet on it. You’re the spitting image of your Pa, lacking but a few more inches on you, and a few more years. She sees you as her high card in a high-stakes game. Iggy’s kit is sharp, nothing to pick on there, but she went all-out with you.

    “She’s shopping you around. You’re her big hope for a grand alliance. She’s gonna turn you into young gentlemen if it kills her. This Presentation, it’s the end of us, don’t you get that? The good times are over, lads. You’re on a leash from now on. By the way, where’d your ma get the dough for the flashy duds?”

    “Zamanthe is footing the bill. Mama’s suckered her good, with a sunny personality. Sunny! That’ll be the day! She means to be the queen’s new lady-in-waiting. The Contessa of Coruña has called it quits.”

    “Kids,” says Sly, “we’re done. I want one last blow-out good time. Zamanthe is lending your Ma jewels for her big day. You two demand to go along, you want to help her choose. She tries one necklace after another, in front of a mirror, in dim. What does best in candlelight? The guard juggles trays of picks. Edds, you make a fuss over her. That one, Ma! Makes you look gorgeous. Wait, let me see that last one again. Create a diversion. The cabinet stands open. Iggs, you edge over. Grab Felipe’s bracelet if you can lay hands on it, you know the one, the Queen waves it in our faces enough.

    “That hunk of gold catches the light, shines like the sun. That piece, oohed and aahed over the day the Spanish ambassador presented it to her, it will make a stunning collar. I can hear them now. Dear God in heaven! Felipe’s bangle, on the cat! The snub of snubs. Phillip’s charm initiative has fallen flat. The French ambassador is openly jubilant. The English are struggling to keep their composure. The court is in an uproar. Guys! The Three Amigos are done for, one way or t’other. Let’s go out on our own terms. One last glorious goof, what ’ja say?”

    Eder groans. “We’ll be done, all right. Ma’s gonna kill us. That’ll put an end to her lady-in-waiting dream.”

    “Nah. Gus will fix it up. He’s tight with Zamanthe. He snuck your Pa into the Household Guard. He wants your Ma in the queen’s apartment, as a back-up. Bela’s drifting away from him. He’s the king’s best-boy now. Kids! I want to go home, see my Mama. But for her, I wouldn’t be who I am. My fascination with footwear, that was her doing. I ever tell you that story?”

    * * *

    They’ve heard the tale a hundred times. They’ll sit through it again, make a show of being delighted. I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. Read the full version in my book.

    As a babe, Sly had weak ankles. His mama bound them tight in yarn, as a corrective. He hated that. He was forever chewing the supports, unraveling them. Finally, his mom had the idea to wrap his shins in leather, criss-crossing the skins with her yarn, folding a deep cuff down over the yarn to hide it as much as possible. Presto! Pirate boots. (Playing pirate was his favorite game.) Ever since, he’s had a thing for fancy footwear.

    * * *

    Sly’s in a sentimental mood. He’s going to give his best friends his heartfelt advice.

    “I’ve gotta beat it, guys. Got to! I’ll miss you like I never missed anyone, ever. Kids, life is long, and full of choices. Some sit and twiddle their thumbs, unwilling, or unable, to be bold. Don’t wait for permission to be who you are. Go after what you want. I have to give it to your da in that regard. He’s tipped to be King Jakome’s next Valet de Chambre. On general principle, good for him. He’s pulled himself up, same as me.

    “Problem is, he’s used folks in the process. You two. Pirka. Butter. Your ma. It’s the way he operates. But, who am I to judge? I’ve been ruthless in my own dealings. You can trust Butter. Butter will look out for you. Zagi, you can count on him. You have a friend in Zaza. She’ll prod Bitts to do right by you. He’ll forget all the mornings he pulled on boots full of worms. Ha! Sooner or later.

    “I need you two to grow up real fast. You’ve got to take over for me with Jakome. You’re his link to me, who he misses terribly, whether he admits to it or not. He’s a lonely old man. Don’t let him sit and brood. Do what you need to do to keep him laughing, like I always did, even when we quarreled. He scowled plenty, but he chuckled more. Keep him chuckling and you own his heart.”

    Eder picks Sly up, cuddles him. “Don’t never change,” he murmurs. “Stay the nut-cake you are. I love who you are. Now get me my damn shoe back. We’ll talk about the Presentation after I’ve had time to think it through.”

    “Know what I love most about those shoes?” whispers Sly. “I’ll have a piece of you with me always. I’ll think of you every time I step into them, forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sandy Randall Avatar

      Well done Mimi!! I want more. I want to see where these two go in your tale. I also want to know if Sly still has those shoes. I imagine he does and he keeps them in a box safe, only to pull them out, to reminisce of a more carefree time in life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. mimispeike Avatar
        mimispeike

        Do you have time to look at book one (55,000 words) in which all these mentioned folks figure? Email me at mimispeike@att.net

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sandy Randall Avatar

          Awesome… I got it. I’ll begin reading on Sunday after this contest is over … lol this piece is in pieces …

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: