Sunday writing chat prompts for 16 Jan 2022

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    • #8320

      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: punish, sausage, range, grace, network. (10 min)

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

      3. Write about a hurry-up-and-wait situation. (10 min)

    • #8321

      I tried my best to handle the situation with grace. It’s not Trent’s fault our timing sucked, same as it wasn’t his fault he was here now. I knew through my network of friends back East that he’d left the city shortly after I did. The few friends he kept up with had drifted away from me over the years.
      Again, no one’s fault.
      We’d all been work friends and when we no longer had work in common, we lost touch. There was no need to punish folks for the inevitable or uncontrollable.
      I just needed to get through this week. Once the switchover to the new payroll system is done, I doubt I’ll see him again except for when updates are needed. Easy-peasy.
      I tried to keep the range of emotions I was feeling at his appearance back in my life off my face. I thought I was doing a good job until Edna whispered to me.
      “Are you all right?”
      “Yeah.” I tried to smile reassuringly. “I’m fine.”
      When I tried to look away and not let her see the truth in my eyes, I ended up looking at Trent’s crotch where he stood in front of me.
      He must have seen where my gaze landed because the sausage behind his zipper, perked up as if to say, “Hello, old friend.”
      My cheeks heated as I looked up and smiled at him, or rather at his left earlobe. “Did you need to get in?” I paused. Feeling the colour flood to my face. “Into my computer I mean.”
      “Yes, please.” He said, “I just need to set up the path for your computer to follow to access the live program.”
      Once he was settled into my chair, He started talking. Well, babbling really. “You know, I often wonder, ‘What is it thinking?’ when I do something like this.” He waved his hand at the screen. “Is the new path like a new thought, or more of a new appendage?”
      Edna gave me strange look. “What the hell is he talking about?” she mouthed.
      I shrugged. “Dunno.” I mouthed back.
      My shoulders felt more relaxed at his obvious discomfort. It was good to know I wasn’t the only one affected by our reunion.
      It took him only a few minutes before he was finished with my terminal and moved on to Edna’s. As he stood up, he asked. “Can we talk over lunch?”
      I didn’t know what to say. Maybe having a discussion about what happened to us would help to smooth the way for the rest of the week. “Sure.”
      A few minutes later he was gone. Burrowed deep in the server room while they diployed what they needed to do.
      The rest of the morning was a weird combination of hurry up and wait, hold on, not so fast. Part of my brain wanted to rush toward lunch where maybe I could get resolution and closure to the way we left it. The rest of me was reluctant to spend alone time with him. Deep in my heart I knew I wasn’t remotely close to getting over him.
      He is and always will be the one who got away.
      Not helped I’m sure by me digging out the letter I’d written to him the night before I left town. I’d never sent it, hadn’t intended to, I just needed an outlet to say what I needed to if I wanted to have a chance of making a new life after I moved across the country.
      All my pain and heartbreak echoed through the pages. Itemizing how he’d hurt me and how I understood his fear, but that it didn’t make it any easier for me.
      That’s why I left. I couldn’t survive seeing him every day if we weren’t together.

    • #8322

      “Are you free Tuesday afternoon?” Ravyn asked.

      “I, uh…” said Bill, retrieving his phone. “Let me ask my minder.” He petted the phone for a few moments. “Looks like,” he said.

      “Ann and Annie and I are getting together to play cards if you want to come,” said Ravyn.

      “Not Renee?” said Bill. “Did I remember her name right?”

      “You did,” said Ravyn. “And, um…” she said, watching another neighbor pass by. “I’ll explain later.

      On Tuesday Bill reported as ordered, found the door marked Menendez / Perkins, which would usually represent a married couple with different surnames, but he happened to know in this case it was two sisters. He’d checked them in the directory to be sure he’d remembered their names.

      Renee answered the door. “Hi,” she said, “I’m just on my way out. They’ve opened up for visits in the extended care facility.”

      “See ya,” said Bill.

      Ravyn closed the door, offered coffee, which was gratefully accepted, and some finger food, sausage on crackers with cheese and the like. Bill was happy to accept, he hoped gracefully.

      “Renee got that entertainer’s habit from networking with Eric’s congregation. She wouldn’t hear of having people over without feeding them. She’s not here, but…”

      “Is that Eric Maxwell?” said Bill. “I had a bit of networking with him not long after I moved in here.”

      “Yeah,” said Ravyn. “She’s, like, conjugating him or whatever.”

      The Anns cracked up. “They’re, ahem, having a visit,” the two of them said together. Except Annie inserted the word “conjugal.”

      “Ahhh,” said Bill. “Quite a range of caregiving.” He smiled.

      Ravyn pushed the plate of crackers toward Bill. “So… d’you play canasta? I mean not to change the subject but I’m changing the subject.”

      “Probably wise,” said Bill. “My grandmother taught me.”

      Everyone laughed. “That’s what everybody says,” said Ann. “I guess it was a popular game in 1900 or sometime.”

      Cards were shuffled and dealt, and Annie paused over the scorecard, trying to remember everybody’s name so she could write them down. “Ravyn is unforgettable,” she murmured.

      Ravyn smiled. She was sitting across from Bill, and so after a couple rounds of play she murmured, “What is it thinking, we wonders, we does? What has it got in its handses?”

      “We wonders, Precioussss,” hissed Bill. “Will it punish us?”

      “It’s only a game,” Annie said. “No need to resort to murder.”

      “Alrighty,” Ravyn announced, laying several rows of cards on the table. “Ordinarily Renee would have played by now.”

      “I’m sure she has her hands full,” said Annie.

      Bill folded up his handful of cards, covered his eyes, and laughed out loud. “Ohhhh myyyyy,” he said when he could speak. “Could I trouble you for a tissue?” he asked Ravyn. “I can’t see around all the tears of mirth in my eyes.”

      When it was Ann’s turn, she also laid down a number of cards, pausing to count up the point values. “That’s most of my hand,” she remarked, “and I still have to discard something. I wonder what you don’t have…” She said, looking at Bill, then at her cards, then at Bill again, as if she could read something in his eyes.

      “Maybe I should take off my glasses so you can’t see the reflections of my cards,” said Bill, who did that.

      “Mmm, how about…” said Ann, and she dropped an eight on the discard pile.

      “Yessss,” hissed Bill, producing two more from his hand, and adding them to Ravyn’s stack of eights on the table in front of her. “Now you can just hurry up and wait while I figure out what’s what with all these cards from the pile.”

      He mumbled and produced a few matching triplets, rearranged things, mumbled some more, pulled on an ear, and eventually discarded.

      “Thank you,” said Annie. She drew his discard, and asked Ann, “May I go out?”

      Ann nodded vigorously. “Quickly, while our diabolical opponent has a fist full of cards that’ll count against them.”

      “Dang,” said Bill. “I figured I’d have another turn.” He and Ravyn counted the cards in their hands, subtracted them from what was on the table, and ended up with a modestly positive number.

      Annie wrote it all down and added up both scores.

      “You folks are wicked,” said Bill.

      “Anything for a friend,” said Ravyn, grinning. “More finger food? Coffee?”

      “You should give him wine, to dull his wits,” said Ann.

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