Sunday writing chat prompts for 16 April 2023

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    • #9663

      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: breed, twin, move, reach, reserve. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “What day is it?” (10 min)

      3. Write about talking in code. (10 min)

    • #9664

      There was a timid knock at the door. Becca finished the sentence she was typing and looked up. “May I interrupt?” said the visitor.

      “Of course. Come in. We’ll just move this stack onto the, uh… floor over there, I guess,” said Becca, jumping up to remove papers and books from the only other chair in her office. “I know you, I think… You’re one of Dr. Kreuzfeld’s students.”

      “Right. I’m Eck,” said Eck, sitting down. “Is it OK if I shut the door?”

      One of those sessions, Becca said to herself, as she nodded. “What’s up?”

      “So a month or two ago… lemme see, it was wintery out, about half the usual Friday afternoon breed of lab rats, er, grad students, had something else to do, so three of us ended up at a table with three students from the Gender Studies Department. Uh, I guess it’s not a department, actually. Program. Something.”

      “I’m gonna need to keep track of who’s who to follow this,” said Becca, tearing a piece of paper from a tablet on her desk. She wrote Eck on it.

      “Probably wise,” said Eck. “So we were introducing ourselves, and what with Gender Studies, Ann…”

      Becca wrote Ann under Eck’s name.

      “…and I were trying to do things their way, introducing ourselves with our pronouns. They did that, too, and so I met Joey (they, them). Peter, the third physics lab rat, wasn’t having any of it.”

      Beca wrote Peter under Ann’s name, and Joey in a second column. “Ruh-roh,” she said.

      “We didn’t think anything much of it; Joey and Ann and the others talked me into admitting I wanted exotic pronouns… Is it safe to tell you that?” said Eck. “I mean, I probably shouldn’t ask you that…”

      “It’s fine,” said Becca. “My little unofficial side business counseling grad students is equal opportunity, whatever pronouns people want. Which would be what, for you?”

      “I told them she, him, theirs, just to be inclusive,” said Eck. “I respond to the obvious he, him, but I guess maybe they, them?”

      “So, like, whatever,” said Becca, with a smile.

      “Right. You get it,” said Eck.

      Becca wasn’t sure if she did get it.

      “Anyway, a week or two ago… what day is it? I get so bush sometimes…”

      “Welcome to academia,” said Becca.

      “…somebody found the office of the Gender Studies program and took a chisel to the wall, removing the last 3 letters.”

      “Which would leave Gender Studs,” said Becca. “That’s kind of… hostile.”

      “Exactly. That’s what we thought.” Eck sighed. “So people are a little freaked out, wondering if they should have been a little more reserved, like undercover or whatever.”

      “Closeted, is how we said that in my generation,” said Becca.

      “Ann said she thought you’d understand. I’m so relieved there’s somebody to reach out to,” said Eck. They relaxed visibly. “Oh and we happened to be at the next table from a couple who are a detective and a journalist. Olivia thinks we should try handling this within the university.”

      “We can try,” said Becca. “But I’m sure you’re aware we live in the South, even though we can get to the Lincoln Memorial on the Metro from here, almost. I could imagine the legislature defunding Gender Studies project, even if they’re not actually funding the research there. Maybe having a chat with your friends would be good.”

      “Off-campus, like,” said Eck.

      “I’m almost tempted to say out of state,” said Becca.

      “As you point out, we can almost get there on the Metro,” said Eck. “How about if I set up a meeting and let you know? Some evening, then?”

      Becca was about to protest that Friday was date night at their house, when she remembered suddenly that Stephan had died, that the office next to hers was locked up and empty, that there would be no more date nights, except, possibly, out of state, potentially with April.

      “Yeah, that’ll be fine. Maybe I’ll bring my, uh, partner? Is that what kids these days call that? And have a date afterwards, far from prying Confederate eyes.”

      “They can ride the metro as well as we can. Just not officially,” Eck pointed out. “And yeah, I think of Ann and Joey as my partners.”

    • #9665

      This is Ude’s contribution:

      I caught the cab to A and E. Cars were getting harder to hire with the high cost of living and all the other stuff. I’d had to reserve the car. I felt for the working man and woman trying to get by, so I didn’t complain when he said, “ The fare’s £50”

      Forty years ago, I would have laughed if someone had told me that the fare for a 2 mile trip to the hospital would cost me so much money. It was roomy inside and I had space to carefully move, my swollen foot and stretch it out onto the back seat. He didn’t complain just gave me a faint stare then turned to the front mirror and started the engine.

      “The People’s Hospital?” he asked.

      “Yes. I could have travelled on public transportation but I was worried I wouldn’t reach the hospital in time. I have children you see, waiting for me to make their dinner”

      The cab operative laughed.

      “Yes, children are a breed all of their own. Mine are grown up now. Both twins. The corporation allowed us to keep them

      “What day is it?”

      “Wednesday” The cab operative turned to face me, the traffic was crawling like a sleepy snake.

      “It is the Queen’s coronation today. You should know that”

      I nodded then smiled. Today was certainly an important day if you supported Royalty.

      The cab operative’s voice dropped in tone and volume. He gave me a sideways glance. The traffic was in no mood to move quickly. My children would be eating a very late evening meal.

      “Look, I noticed your foot. All swollen. You’re limping. What happened?”

      “I bought a pair of shoes. My fault for not checking the fitting with the government catalogue”.

      I didn’t add that I’d bought the shoes from a store selling retro footwear in the restricted area. Citizens had to buy their footwear from Government regulated zones.

      The driver stared at me with a – can I trust this woman look. He took out a pouch like, blue plastic food bag, from the glove compartment.

      “It is a long time, is it not?

      “A long time?

      “Has anyone told you of those days?”

      I took another look at the cab operative’s face reflected in the front mirror. His skin was slightly creased he looked older than I had thought.

      “I’m 70 years old. You wouldn’t know would you”

      “I have something for you. Something that will help your condition”

      I didn’t know about the old world but I had heard from friends and family who were brave enough to speak that it was an innovative, time when medical care from New Age Therapists was allowed. Herbalists, Homeopaths, Naturopaths, Reflexologists, Acupuncturists all the experts in alternative medicine were rife and still able to make a living.

      “Take this bag. It contains a herb. It will cure your swelling”

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