Sunday writing chat prompts for 15 Nov 2020

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    • #6455

      The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

      The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

      If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

      This week’s prompts are posted below.

      1. Use the following five words: radiation, debt, trouble, glue, entry. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Time to recharge.” (10 min)

      3. Write about having enough to share. (10 min)

    • #6457

      “I, uh…” said Susie. Everyone stopped their conversations around the table to listen. “What were you thinking? What are you trying to do here?”

      “Addressed to whom, exactly?” Mo asked quietly from her spot at the head of the table.

      “Both of you, really,” she said, turning to where her moms were sitting at the far end of the table. “Let’s start with Lia.”

      “I kinda figured that my esteemed partner, since she’d engineered a generation of women with no response to normal sexual cues, might want to come up with a little something they could respond to. So I inserted the bit of genetic code that I thought I understood into some yeasts, brewed with them, and I was right, that’s what she was up to. My beloved has fallen in love with me again, mediated by a chemical she herself invented.”

      “And this doesn’t strike you as… trouble?” Susie said.

      “I’m good with it,” said Sarah, who couldn’t take her eyes off of Lia, and wasn’t trying very hard. “People are big chemical factories anyway. It helps to manufacture a little glue that’s not quite natural, to help pay the debt I contracted to my child progeny.”

      “Child progeny,” said Jim, smiling.

      “Debt…” said Susie.

      “Well, I accidentally swapped the “find this” and “replace this” bits in the self-modifying genetic code, so Miranda ended up asexual like me. Hey, I was making it up as I went along, trying to give her a better life. I’m sorry.”

      Miranda pulled her attention away from the toddler long enough to smile. “No complaints here,” she said. “I have a pretty good life.”

      “I’m so glad you think so,” said Sarah. “Jim?”

      “I’m… a little behind here, with all the high level genetics going around the table,” said Jim. “But I think you fixed it so Miranda will… like… I dunno, radiate puppy eyes at me or whatever. It’s cute; it’s a little alarming? I mean, I’m gay, but I seem to be straight enough to have a kid.”

      “Double entry bookkeeping,” said Vicky. “Or something.”

      Sam rolled his eyes and groaned at this attempt at accountant humor.

      “Aaaaand so that’s Miranda’s part of the grandchild progeny sorted out,” said Susie. “And the Matriarchy are back in chemically assisted love. Hooray for Ye Olde Ladies.”

      “Hey!” said Lia.

      “Yeah,” said Sarah. “Hey!”

      “Sorry. You do have another daughter,” said Susie.

      “Right,” said Sarah. “With the time to recharge in between, and learn how to actually fly the gene editing thing, I am happy to announce that I only made the same mistake once, kept paws off the gene that is the thorn in my side, the bane of my existence, and you inherited it.”

      Susie nodded.

      “But what I hadn’t figured on, though Lia reminded me from time to time…” Sarah said. “So many details, so hard to keep track of everything… Turns out she’s a carrier for the same condition, or rather another one very like it.”

      “Zap. Ace,” said Susie. “I dunno how I feel about being a lab rat.”

      “Guinea pigs are cuter,” Skud pointed out.

      “And now I’m a pig,” said Susie. “But I’m accidentally under Jim’s spell as well. It’s hard to eat my dinner and drool at the same time.”

      Vicky’s sister Susan took her hand, intertwined fingers and put the joint fist on the edge of the table. “I’ve always thought you were cool,” she said.

      “Aw, thanks,” said Susie. “It’s just I spent years figuring out I’m Ace, and then it turns out I’m not. Just… I dunno, chemically deficient or something.”

      “Androgen insensitive,” said Sarah. “Aaaaand proper terminology isn’t helping right now, is it? I’m sorry, for whatever that’s worth.”

      “I guess I wanted to hear that, but I’m not sure what do to with it now,” said Susie.

      “Well,” said Lia. “Maybe think of it this way. Life, for everybody, is about using what you have to cope with whatever situation you find yourself in.”

      “Woh,” said Mo. “One sentence, neat and tidy.”

      “And it took me a couple decades to come up with it,” said Lia. A cloud of remembered pain passed across her face. “But I’m here, now, with all of you, and a much better understanding of who we all are, and how the extended family fits together.”

      “I… uh…” said Susie.

      “That’s where we started,” said Jim. “How about this… I’m gay. But I live with Sam and Vicky and when she’s in town, Miranda. Who contrary to expectations… Well, yeah. Sonia. What a sweetie. I wouldn’t have missed her for the world. So what does the gay label even mean? There seems to be plenty to share. Or something.”

      “I… have the hots for you, I guess?” said Susie. “I mean, I never felt this before, so who knows.”

      “Girl, you’re blushing,” said Skud.

      “I’m honored,” said Jim. “Maybe you should think about it while I’m far away and…” He moved Susie’s wine glass. “And when you’re not drinking Lia’s wine. I’m around; you know where to find me.”

      “Thanks,” said Susie. “I’ll think about it. It’s what I do, making mathematical models of my emotions…”

      “Building bridges, that’s my trade,” said Jim.

      “What about these folks?” Miranda said.

      “Yeah, it turns out I’m another product of your lab experiments,” said Webb.

    • #6458

      ARIF: So are you ready to venture out into the world again this weekend?
      ME: actually, I was going to stay close to the house over the weekend and venture out on Monday instead. Seeing the crowds in Ontario and Quebec make me want to close the windows, seal the entry and lock the doors again.
      ARIF: wait a minute, I though I was the germaphobe.
      ME: Apparently, Covid isn’t the only thing contagious. Germaphobia seems to spread like radiation and stick like glue.
      ARIF: Is it wrong that I’m glad to hear it.
      ARIF: I’m so sick of the lockdowns and all of the precautions but I also have no desire to be reckless and find myself in trouble.
      ME: I know. This whole coronavirus has turned me into a fraidy-cat.
      ARIF: So how about we ease back into life on the outside. I propose a mid-afternoon, picnic lunch down by the river. We each bring our own food, blanket to sit on and hand sanitizer.
      ME: that sounds like a perfect plan. I’ll bring my mask if you bring yours.
      ARIF: It’s a date

      It was the first time since the pandemic began that I was looking forward to going out. Sure, I haven’t been a recluse. I’ve still been going to the store and buying groceries myself and running other errands rather than plug up delivery services that are needed by people with underlying conditions.

      I felt a huge debt of gratitude to my clients that they retained and in some cases, increased their need for my company’s services as they adapted to the global new normal.

      Monday dawned clear and bright. I was surprised at how much I was looking forward to getting out without the stress of rushing to get back to the safety of my own home. It was time to recharge my social batteries.

      I met Arif at Fraser Park, close his old workplace. It was a wider section of the parkland walkway between the Queensborough bridge and the eastern end of Vancouver. We avoided the picnic tables and put our blankets down on a little incline where we could see some of the river. I put my bags on the ground the requisite six feet away from him.

      “It looks like you packed up you’re whole fridge.” He said.

      “I know we’re not supposed to share food but it seemed rude to pack only enough for myself.”

      “Same here.” He said, standing a little hesitantly. “I really want to hug you hello right now.”

      “Me too.” I said. “I really missed seeing your face in real life. Video chats just aren’t the same.” I held up a finger. “Although the girls and I came up with a safer alternative. Or at least we’re hoping it’s safer ‘cause, let’s face it. Sometimes you just need that physical touch of comfort for your mental and emotional health.”

      Arif raised his eyebrow. “How do you safely hug?”

      “Well, Covid is spread by airborne particles so we keep our masks on and our backs to each other. Then, preferably when you’re outside like we are, we just lean our shoulder blades together so our backs touch but our breaths never mingle. We’ve even adapted it to let our head rest on each other’s shoulders so our ears can kind of cuddle.”

      Arif’s grin was immediate. “That sounds like a perfect compromise.”

    • #6459

      Name stumbled through the entryway, supporting Name2, and shut the door behind them. As it slid closed, the howl of the wind was abruptly cut off. Inside the building, there was no light, but something was radiating heat. Name swept the room with his flashlight. Empty. Name2 leaned against the wall and sank to the floor. This appeared to be an antechamber, with another door on the opposite wall. In addition to the open/close button, the inner door had additional buttons, and a slot, presumably for a key, and did not unlock with the open-button alone. Not that name expected it to, but you never know.

      Name checked his phone, but there was still no signal, and the battery indicator was getting low. Time to recharge, but the solar collector barely got anything outside, even during the slightly lighter phase that might charitably be called “day.” Well, perhaps there would be something in this building that could provide power. The door had worked just fine, despite the dust’s testimony that no one has entered this way for a very long time, and though it formed a tight seal, the indoor air was fresh, and the temperature pleasantly warm.

      Name checked his supplies; there was enough to share–for now.

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